The Samsung 50″ TV stopped working Thursday night. No TV on Friday meant the general mood at home was a mix of impatience (when are you getting the new TV?), boredom, anxiety (what is happening in Friday’s episodes), and excitement (shopping for a new gadget and reading reviews). After eliminating the power cable as the problem for the dead TV, I decided it wasn’t worth repairing and so began the search for a new TV.
- The dead TV was a budget model so it had only 2 HDMI ports. Since I had more than 2 HDMI devices, I bought a HDMI splitter that expands 2 HDMI ports to 4. So any TV with 2 HDMI ports will suffice.
- I use Apple TV for Netflix, YoutTube, etc. so there is no need for the “Smart” apps in the TV itself.
- There is a chart that shows optimal TV screen size for various viewing distances. I looked up the chart and found 50″-55″ to be ideal.
- Price range: $700-$1200.
Since my last two TVs lasted 4 years and 3 years respectively, I wanted to get a 5 years warranty so I didn’t have to buy another TV in 5 years. That narrowed down the seller to Costco. Other sellers either charge more for 5 years warranty or can’t be relied on for that long.
There are many TVs in the price range of $700-$1200. I narrowed it down to two based on reviews1, screen size, and some unscientific selection criterias. After considering Vizio M-Series 55″ LED TV, I decided to buy LG 55″ LED TV (Model 55LF6000). The pros and cons of the Vizio vs. LG are listed below:
- Ultra HD/4K
- Smart TV
- Better build quality
- 5 HDMI inputs
- Costs 37% or $412 lesser ($511 if 5 yrs warranty and taxes are included)
- Can’t play Ultra HD/4K but I anticipate limited Ultra HD content for the next
- few years so I would be viewing 1080p (HD) most of the time anyways, and I doubt the additional resolution and detail would matter to me.
- Not a Smart TV, but I don’t need it. Apple TV is much better (more apps e.g. Shomi, better designed apps).
- LG design and build quality is good. The metallic look is nice. Besides, all I see is the big display, the rest I hardly notice at all.
- Only 2 HDMI inputs but I have a splitter already so not an issue for me.
After 2 days of cable TV watching, XBox gaming, and movie watching both on Netflix and via USB, I am happy with the TV. Looks great and works fine. I gave it a 5-Stars rating on Costco’s website. I just have two minor annoyances with the user interface.
First, when I press volume up/down, even though I don’t use the TV’s sound, it still shows a round image at the lower center of the screen. This is much better than Samsung’s rectangle in the center of the screen but I wish it showed nothing at all. Second, when playing movies from a USB, the movie names are truncated so files with the similar long names are indistinguishable.
Conspiracy against LG?
We almost didn’t buy it! At Costco, the LG model mentioned above was on display so The Wife and I compared the picture quality with other TVs (including a Vizio M-Series) and to my disappointment, it was not as good as the others. Images were not as sharp and text wasn’t smooth (the curve of the letter C looked pixelated). We went back and forth comparing different TVs and came to the same conclusion that the picture looked worst in the LG one. I suspected it had to do with the picture profile settings so I started looking for a Costco employee for help.
There was a gentleman in the next aisle helping another customer so I waited. When I got his attention, I told him about the LG TV picture quality and asked him if he can change the Picture settings to improve it. He said that is how that TV is and there is nothing he can do. He didn’t even bother to see it for himself! His reply wasn’t satisfactory and I got the impression he didn’t know or care so I went back and tried to change the setting myself.
It was awkward since I was reaching above my shoulder height and under the TV to find the control button. I did manage to change the setting from “Vivid” to “Cinema” and the picture quality improved. It looked just as sharp, clear and smooth as the rest of the TVs we were comparing to! With confirmation and agreement with The Wife, I loaded up the TV and headed for the cash counter. There are lessons here about many things and it makes me appreciate all those times when I depended on a knowledgeable and helpful store people.