Flat Panel TVs

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Well with the 3D revolution well underway and the 4K (four times the resolution of HD!) as well as OLED coming, it’s a tough time to buy a flat screen TV. We seem to be in another technology wave at the the high end even as it is incredible what you can buy for $600 now at Costco. But here is a high end review. Also known as what you will see five years from now in the average living room 🙂
Sound and Vision is a pretty reliable source of reviews for this kind of stuff particularly 4K TVs and a dedicated site FlatPanelHD.com seems pretty good too with Wirecutter.com being good for good value/low price offerings:

  • Panasonic ST60. This is a great value choice and this a plasma screen (which has better black levels and is being discontinued next week). The big competition are the VT60 and then the ZT60. These are all going to be brighter than the ST60. It comes in 50, 55, 60 and 65″ models.

So the higher end Sound and Vision choices are:

  • Sony KDL-55W900A 3D LCD. The main thing is that this 55″ is super bright and does come with four pairs of 3D glasses. It is the best TV they offer which isn’t 4K.
  • Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 3D Plasma. $4K. Panasonic is discontinuing their plasmas this year (which is too bad), but this is pretty much the gold standard for 2K quality.
  • Sony XBR-65X900A 3D LCD Ultra HDTV. $5K (Amazon with 6% rewards back). I remember when I bought my first 32″ XBR a zillion years ago. It was a beauty. Sad to see it go. But this one is the latest in technology with 4K display. The only gotcha is that it supports HDMI 1.4 which is limited to 2160p30 so you need to go to HDMI 2.0 to get 2160p/60. That is, 4K at 60 frames per second. The FlatPanelHD.com says that it calibrates well in Cinema1 mode and that it is really easy to see Ultra HD even with a 55″ panel and that it is too bad there is no DisplayPort input for PCs to show off 2160p60 and lacks HDMI 2.0, rec.2020 gamut.

Speaking of which, you will need some sound to go with your speaker system. If you don’t want a full surround sound. Here is what is out there. The soundbar is nice because you don’t need a dedicated AVR that you have to stick someplace. This is the validated by Digital Trends:
Goldenear SuperCinema 3D Array. $2K. It is supposed to be a stunning technological accomplishment. The soundbar is $1K and you get a matching subwoofer and surrounds for another $1K. It is a passive three channel system, so replaces the left right and center, but you still need an AVR.
Polk SoundBar 9000. Wow cheap at $800, this has just about everything you need including decoding of DTS and Dolby for multichannel. It uses a wireless subwoofer also. It has the most excellent sound apparently as well. It is +/- 5dB is 200-10KHz, which is pretty incredible.
MartinLogan Motion Vision; $1.5K. Another example of a good sound bar that is active and multichannel. So a good choice if you don’t want more gear. The main thing is the dispersion of the sound. It has a flatter response and is +1/-5dB in 200-10KHz.
Yamaha YSP-4300. This the speaker for the geek with 24 speakers and you calibrate it with a microphone and the result is that it really does help to create a true 5.1 sound. And when calibrated it is quite flat -4/-3 200-10KHz.
Definitive Technology SoloCinema XTR. I have a soft spot for Definitive  because my first great speaker system used these things (13″ subwoofers!). And supports HDMI audio with a passthrough to the HDTV. Response wise, it is quite bright  and is +5/-3 in 200-10KHz. Good notes from AVS Forums too.
B&W Panorama 2. This is the one to wish for with HDMI inputs and the sound is incredible. It is a breathtaking $4K including the subwoofer! Interestingly, while is apparently sounds good, when it goes into the anechoic chamber, it has a huge -8db dip at 3KHz.
 
 

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