Are you sure that this has FreeSat? All the reference to it I can find say FreeView only?
Sharply designed, technically advanced TVs seem 10 a penny these. Prices remain double-take keen as well. So where does an upgrader begin? Smart connectivity has been standard for a while now, but the usability of internet-delivered services is now immeasurably better than early forays. The seamless simplicity of LG’s webOS …
I can't speak for this model, but although very few TVs have actual "Freesat" (the branded EPG) many do have a free-to-air "FTA" satellite tuner built in, the two terms are often confused by reviewers. I bought a Sony 805-series a year ago, and the satellite tuner in it works well. One of the available apps is an EPG supplied from the Gracenote database, which gives a very usable 7-day programme guide. It's a bit fiddly doing initial setup, you have to manually re-order the channels into something usable after a scan, but once you've done that it's fine.
You can add Sat programs free by adding an old Sky box. Cheap at carboot or free from dumpster -- still supports similar line-up to Freeview and other programs without a subscription.
Dish may be a little harder to source but installation and alignment are simple using the utility built into the Sky box. Any existing dish should support a second feed.
It could be nice, but the GUI is very, very sluggish and full of really annoying bugs (it switches to the wrong input, keeps moving the cursor to the top-left cell when you're browsing the EPG, "forgets" that you want to use surround sound when you power up after last using the DVD player, won't let you timeslip or record some of the channels to a USB drive (the controls do not show when pressing "OK" for some channels), etc.
I would never get another one with the software in its current state.
Must do more testing in the store in future...
I've got a webOS LG TV as well, and have had none of the issues listed above, although I don't use the EPG, as DTV reception is almost none existent in my area. (Sky for my sins!)
The only slow thing is the initial switch-on, or boot-up time as most consumer devices seems to need these days. Takes a good 10-15 seconds before being ready to use. But once up, it's fine.
I use multiple HDMI inputs (Sky, 360, Media PC, and an occasional laptop), and my audio is via optical from the TV to a 5.1 cinema system. (Not used the internal speakers of a TV for about 20 years!). Plus the occasional USB drive stuck in the side.
All without issue!
Maybe I've just been lucky?
Re Slow start up times: Old enough to remember having a vale TV with a transistorised audio circuit. You could hear the programme when you turned it on, but ti would take about 20 seconds for the picture to appear. Ah, those were the days, before instant gratification!
I just recently purchased a 50" Samsung Smart TV and I haven't brought myself to agree to the terms and conditions of the Smart Hub yet. With it connected to a Mini-ITX media PC it's not really necessary. I kind of want to mess around with the features, but I don't know how much I want to just wave Samsung in to my home network.
Quote: Which one actually supports DLNA etc and not some bastardised OEM-only type thing?
I've got an LG with the webOS interface, it's SmartShare includes DLNA support.
I'm using MiniDLNA as the media server (on a FreeNAS.box).
So far I've played MP4, AVI, DivX, WMV and MKV files without issue, many at 1080p with 5.1 DTS etc. all without issue so far.
It also picks up my Windows laptop, as it's got media sharing switched on, although MS being MS, it only supports a very limited file formats. (I would guess MS have implemented strict DLNA, unlike MiniDLNA).
"I've got an LG with the webOS interface, it's SmartShare includes DLNA support.
I'm using MiniDLNA as the media server (on a FreeNAS.box).
So far I've played MP4, AVI, DivX, WMV and MKV files without issue, many at 1080p with 5.1 DTS etc. all without issue so far."
Wow, that must be one *amazing* piece of kit! High five yourself on being so tech savvy!
Oh wait, a cheap laptop can do exactly the same thing.
1. Why would I want to use a Laptop for NAS?
2. All I was doing was answering one of the Ops questions, DLNA tends to be a black art, with many TVs and Servers not talking nicely to each other, and only supporting a sub set of formats. I'm just letting the Op know the the LG webOS TVs have good format support, as long as it's paired with an equally good DLNA server like MiniDLNA (i.e. not using the one MS built into Windows, as it supports very few useful formats).
3. The FreeNAS box including 2 x TB drives cost me about £150 quid. It's a LOT more capable than a laptop, cheaper to run, etc. Your 'cheap laptop' seems quite costly to me, especially if you include running costs.
If you can't be helpful, why bother posting? oh wait, you have no friends, so you just like to troll all day instead. Must be such a happy life you have!
I would also like a TV that can play fast moving action scenes with artifacts or requiring a degree is TV menu system configuration (which only reduces it).
100Hz CRT's, whilst not scaling to larger sizes very easily, delivered a better overall picture in my opinion.
What's the point of seeing the hair on someones wart when you get taken out of the moment by some kind of 'oh dear I can't keep up and keep things clear at the same time' moment from one of these so-called smart tv's?
They're shit. Just my opinion of course and I'm still on my first coffee, but I'll probably stand by that statement when I'm >50% human again.
couldnt agree more. 100hz was fab.
right, stop bringing out half baked smart bollox curvey shit which doesnt work and make a better screen that is capable of displaying the content thats on it.
just STOP IT and make the thing work properly in the first fucking place from the ground up.
thankyou. nothing more to see here.
I like some of your posts Sir Runcible Spoon, but that last one is rose tinted and wrong! :)
100 Hz CRTs were far lower definition (and couldn't be boosted too high because the electron beam in a CRT disperses at higher intensities, which is why monitors with an extra bright setting lost focus at the same time).
100 Hz CRTs have lower max luminance than modern flat screens, resulting in a duller image (who wants that?).
100 Hz CRTs have a far lower colour gamut than what's possible with LCD screens.
I will grant you that LCD struggles a little with very dark colours and on cheaper sets the black level can be disappointing, but don't forget that CRT's never did proper black unless you eliminated ambient light that reflected off the white phosphor coating behind the screen. Higher end LCDs have very impressive black levels.
I'll also grant you that CRT never had any problems with light uniformity, but then it's another question about whether you buy a cheap LCD or a pricier one.
100 Hz CRT's didn't just not scale easily, they didn't scale at all economically. I have trouble believing a 48" CRT would be affordable to most people or that it wouldn't be so heavy that it would fall through the floor. :P
If you love CRT's so much why not go Plasma? They offer a very similar looking image, scale and have HD. Personally I love the rich, bright colours and spectacular contrast that LCD offers that completely whoops the ass of CRT and Plasma. I can't wait for HDR OLED, very excited about that.
Would have to agree - got a 46" dumb LG a couple of months back for £250. Paired up with a Pi running OpenElec, and it does the job wonderfully and plays back all I need in glorious full HD (inc iPlayer, not fussed about ITVPlayer as I think I've watched about 3 programmes on ITV in the last 3 years).
Nicest of all is the TV has CEC, so I can even fully drive the OpenElec interface using the TV remote, and stream all the stuff I need off my NAS box or the 'net as required (with a small bluetooth keyboard as back-up if URLs or other more serious typing is needed).
All in all for about £300 got the flexible functionality of a set that'd retail for double that. And if all else fails PC World were chucking ChromeCasts out the door for £20 on black friday, to fill in anything else that OE doesn't cover (which isn't much).
@HMB, I might be using some tinted specs here, but I didn't say that the *picture* quality was better - some of the stuff on my Samsung D8000 is jaw dropping.
However, no matter what settings I use, playback of the Blu-Ray 'I Superbiker' which pans across landscape very fast is almost unwatchable. My wife complains about HD making films look more like documentaries, it seems to have lost some it's warmth.
When you watch some of the old movies that have soft-focus etc. they tend to draw you in more on an emotional level than something that is so crisp you can hear the scenery crackle.
There's a place for both I'm sure, but I don't seem to be getting many options for the older style of viewing where the content trumps the presentation. I suppose for me it's more about the experience rather than the technical abilities of the device I'm watching it on - and for some things they just don't work very well.
I haven't tried plasma ever since I had a set that was so shiny any kind of light source in the room used to make it act like a mirror, something that seems to be happening with these LCD's/LED's too now I think about it. Where are the matt screens?
PS +1 for the Alan Partridge putdown :)
I don't want a completely dumb TV though. I bought a 32 inch for the bedroom last year without smart features as I've had a Raspberry Pi running XVMC to connect to it. However unlike our 2009 smartish TV downstairs it lacks HDMI_CEC which allows the TV remote to drive XBMC, so I have to use a wireless mouse instead. I also miss even a limited form of DNLA which allows me to send pictures and video from phone or laptop to the TV without having to change inputs to XBMC first.
Not so much Dumb as retarded. I might be tempted to buy a new TV if the programs didn't just get progressively worse and the ads grow in frequency and stupidity.
My now seldom used 24" Sony Trinitron CRT still has a better picture than older/cheaper flat screens. No, you say, CRT takes up too much space -- not when most people I know with flat TVs still put them in a corner.
The trouble is, the dumb versions are fugly so you end up buying the smart version regardless and making manufacturers think their pittiful interface is the reason you bought it. The results would be drastically different if the dumb and smart looked identical and the only difference was lack of "smart" and £50 off the price...
OK, I know you can improve a panel with better processors, and a few extra USB and HDMI slots cost a few more pence too. But wow!
I bought a Panasonic 50" for £500 2 years ago. It's full HD and LED. The screen copes perfectly with moving action - although it's not 800Hz (or whatever we're up to now), it's got a perfectly functioning Freeview tuner. The speakers are truly awful, and you can't hear the dialogue without turning the sound up so high that all the effects deafen the neighbours. But that seems to be true of all flat tellies, and of course the crap mixing from TV and film producers who always seem to over-do the bass. It's got Digital audio out, so my HiFi can deal with that issue.
From a quick look, it seems that similar quality can now be had for under £400. You can even get el cheapo 50" ones for £300! And I saw an LG 65" for £500 advertised at the weekend.
So what the hell is a 43" 'smart' one doing at £800? And one that shows a line of lights on the screen when it's supposed to be showing black?
Good Lord there's a forty-something inch Samsung for well over a grand in there. Although I suppose that's 4k, and I've no idea what they should cost, so perhaps I shouldn't criticise.
But for all those smart mid-40s inch tellies in there at £600-£800, I could buy a good 50" panel, a Chromecast (Amazon TV / Apple TV), a reasonable Android tablet or phone to control it - and have change for a decent quality sound system that also plays my CDs and stuff from my tablet. Or a surround sound setup, if I prefer movies to music.
Or the 50" decent TV, a good DVR box and less good soundbar.
And I can update my smart components as a I chose.
In some ways, I rather agree. I have a Samsung 40 inch 1080p screen that also has your TAS feature (loving the acronym). It has a good picture, plenty of ports and works fine (though I'd love to be able to disable the analogue tuner...). At the moment, the only thing smart about my Samsung is a Chromecast up one HDMI port and an XBOX 360 up the other. I can do most things a smart TV would do quite easily.
3D doesn't make me rush out to buy a TV, and really, the smart trinkets haven't sold me (especially as they seem to be very model-specific and poorly maintained as models age). 4K is probably about the only thing that interests me and even then, only if I got a bigger panel and the price/quality ratio was right.
Yes, you have to be careful about putting all your eggs into one basket.
I was recently very annoyed to see iPlayer disappear from 2 Sony 'Smart' Bluray players that I have. Apparently, the BBC changed the way iPlayer worked (they removed what was termed the "Big Screen" format) in a way that was incompatible with some devices made before 2012, and Sony are not intending to supply an upgrade to these devices. Now 2012 is no more than three years ago, however you look at it, so that's not a very long life for a consumer device.
As it turns out, I bought these Bluray players mainly for their iPlayer function (it was before NowTV or Roku devices were around at a low price), and I've never played a Bluray disk (although they are used to play DVDs), so I am none too pleased with both the BBC and Sony.
But at least I can replace these players relatively inexpensively, especially if I get a £10 Now TV box. If I had lost the function from the telly itself, I might have been even more annoyed.
@GitMeMyShootinIrons Same setup as you here; Samsung 40" with Chromecast in trap 1, console in trap 2. There's nothing within normal use cases that I can't do, which my Smart-TV owning friends can. And the cost of both of them was under 400€ (£315).
Can we all start using "TAS-TV" please? :-)
Those Sony TV's look awesome and I would be very tempted but for one thing not mentioned in the review or on some of the sites selling them. The stand folds back around to form a wall-mounting bracket. This is brilliant IF you don't already have a wall bracket. If you do, none of the current Sony TVs will be compatible with it.
Now, I'm all for innovation and a built-in wall mount is great. But the VESA mounting standard has been around for decades and I can't remember the last time I saw a TV or monitor that wasn't compatible. My walls are built out of Manx Stone. It was an absolute pain in the arse to put the brackets up. We got through two titanium drill bits (they melted). Those are not going anywhere.
Could we please forget 3D, curved screen, ambilight, and slow painful connectivity and just do a TV with a nice picture with loads of SCART (all three video types) and HDMI inputs, a game mode if having a nice picture means it's too slow for games, a usable guide, DLNA that doesn't play 'guess the codec', and doesn't think it's got the right to upload what I'm watching or what I've got on the LAN. If I want anything more I'll put a Pi or an Android box on it thanks.
Sounds like the Samsung 5000 series TVs - they also do pretty reasonable sound to boot. They're thick, ugly and have a pretty massive bezel but they are also cheap, focus on picture quality over design and gimmicks and can play any media format I've ever tried from the USB port. Network playback, alas, is limited to you having DLNA configured correctly and there just aren't enough virgins in these parts for me to sacrifice to the DLNA gods even if the Moon WERE in the 8th house.
I have a 'smart' Sony TV that has Demand5 on it. The other night I tried to watch Gotham on Demand5 but it wasn't listed as a catch-up programme. I eventually linked the laptop to the TV and watched it that way.
The following evening I fired up the Sony PS3 and out of curiosity checked the Demand5 app. Gotham was listed and I played the first few minutes to check if it worked. It did. I checked the TV app again and Gotham was missing.
My question to the panel is: Why does the same catch-up app offer different programmes on different devices?
And right from review number one I get the sinking feeling that the priorities are all wrong as the "cool" webcrap is salivated over and then the "okay" picture quality, lousy black capability and "lightbulbs across the screen" artifacts are shrugged off as par for the course.
This is how we ended up with telephones that can display a movie in one bajillion p and decode music into Dolby 15.7 surround sound but on which it is all-but impossible to make a call during which one will understand what is being said by the other party thanks to the digital clipping and other stupids.
A television should do one job excellently: be a television. In saying that I feel like Jim Hacker explaining to Sir Humphrey that a hospital should have patients rather than exist solely as an accounting exercise.
Speaking only for myself you'll do me a service by reviewing televisions first and foremost in terms of picture quality when in use as a TV, *including how well the picture survives being seen from an oblique viewpoint (such as will probably be the case for such small screens in the average home) rather than when standing directly in front of it in Currys*, and perhaps mentioning in passing the bloody OS running all the webcrufty, rather than blithering about WebOS and the maths printed on the box and casually dismissing what will actually be a lousy viewing experience for many with an airy wave of the pen.
*** Ever since I read about LG's sneaky spying on ones USB viewing habits here on the Reg I'm repulsed by Smart TV's... The link below is a sobering read and reminder that the 5-Eyes aren't the only ones spying on you:-
They will be in a couple of years when the manufacturers stop offering software updates. I have a 3-year old Panasonic. It will do iPlayer, YouTube and some other stuff I'm unlikely to use. However Panasonic won't update it any more so no ITVplayer, 4OD and the rest. Netflix? forget it. I'm not going to lash out several hundred notes & 'recycle' my current device for that but I can imagine some people do.
Will NEVER buy a WebOS enabled product ever again. Just returned TWO 55" LG 850 UHD/4K sets running WebOS as after an hour or so of use, the remote controls become unresponsive to the point that each key press takes a minute to register on screen!!! LG are aware of this issue and the update to fix it, didn't fix the problem! LG admit it is a WebOS problem but do not know how to fix it yet!!! Says a lot about LG as a company!
By far the best 'smart' system is Samsung's take on it, followed by Sony. The Samsung smart function can be used by a child, where as WebOS is all around the houses with very limited app support!
I just wish that Sony didn't use the same LG IPS UHD panel in their x85 series that is used in the LG 850 series's.
I'm completely confused as to what benefits at all a "smart TV" has over a dumb one. I'd even like a TV that has *no* tuners or built-in sound at all (just a load of HDMI inputs for external devices/surround sound systems) - yes, I know that's a "monitor", but 40-50" monitors don't really exist at sensible prices (if at all).
After all, tech changes and you want to be able to plug in whatever the latest HDMI external device is, thus completely ignoring any tuners or smart TV facilities built in to the TV. At the moment, I have an Humax HDR 1000S Freesat PVR (neat kit with twin tuners - yes, I like to record TV programmes - shock horror) and a Chromecast plugged into my smart TV plasma and have never, ever bothered tuning in the TV using the built-in Freeview HD tuner! I think I looked at the Panasonic smart interface about twice before abandoning it in pure bewilderment why they even bothered. Next year? Who knows what I'll go for - that's why built-in TV "smarts" (and tuners) are an utter waste of time, IMHO.
The smart TV offers the possibility (but rarely, alas, the actuality) of a seamless power-on-to-configure integration with one's internet service, allowing Mum to get Netflix without needing a degree in Networking to make it all work.
Whether you personally need this feature is, of course, a matter of taste, skill and existing infrastructure.
Off topic, sorry, but using one of the, ahem, VPN services that are readily available, you can trick your not so smart TV (well, you're tricking the provider really) to think it's in the UK. Or anywhere for that matter.
Just change the DNS and iPlayer etc will play nicely.
The beauty of this is that the /family/ can just /watch/ television with no faff. Happy dad. You just need to buy a UK set. Amazon are usually happy to oblige.
I have a Panasonic smart TV which is only 3 years old or so, but they gave up on the software updates a long long time ago. The advertised "lovefilm" never turned up, and there is no chance of them making NetFlix available on it. So my advice is buy the TV if you like it right now with the features and look/feel it ships with today, but don't pin any hopes on the 'future support via a software update' lies, or think that the new features are coming for your 12 month old player or TV...they aren't, they have had the money and you aren't getting anything more for it.
And don't get me started on patchy and flaky DLNA support - that's a bag of spanners too. The Viera interface, gurrr yuk. BTW don't buy a TPLink router to act as a media server either - it stops after the first 1000 items it finds (files, folders) on your hard drive. Now I'm using Plex which I can tune the transcoding to the Panasonics foibles, it works reasonably well, but TVs are not out-of-the-box ready for the consumer. Makes me wonder why they were all fighting over each other to get one in 'Shite Friday' last week.
//bitter ? moi? perhaps its just a Panasonic thing
LCD monitors - terrible blacks, blurry motion, colour and contrast drop off with angle.
CRT monitors - bulky, heavy, long persistence going from white to black, bloom on highlights from internal reflection on the glass. Most HD CRT monitors are really good to work with, but I don't know of any available as domestic TVs.
OLED monitors - really great all-rounders. Beautiful black level and motion handling. Slight colour change with angle, but really only a concern in a studio lighting gallery. Definitley the future for televisions. I would happily give one space in my living room. But why on earth do they insist on making them curved. What a pointless gimick. Perhaps for the minority living in windmills or lighthouses, but for the rest of us who live in houses with straight walls, please would someone make a 40"-ish FLAT screen OLED.
Having been in the trade, I was none too impressed with all the jiggery-pokery that some TV manufacturers tried in the past to allegedly "improve" their pictures, although I think that Panasonic seem to have things about right at present, having bought one myself. I remember the early 100Hz stuff from Philips without, I have to say, too many fond thoughts! I can only liken the effect to viewing everything through a permanent wire mesh, together with motion problems such as footballs vanishing whilst in transit from one player to another! Sports fans were always complaining about this.
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