Social Connect
« How to Watch 4K | Main | Great 1080p TVs for Less »

Beautiful Big Screen Bargains

A large room practically begs for a 4K ultra high-definition (UHD) television, and I'm often asked which to buy without breaking the bank. My sometimes surprising answer is "none." 4K display technology (screens, chipsets, related gear) continues to improve as prices become more affordable. In a couple of years, all 55-inch and larger LCD TVs will feature at least 4K UHD resolution. However, the selection of 4K content continues to slowly grow, and my current advice is to hold off on going 4K if it means sacrificing needed screen size.

A 60-inch or larger sized screen helps envelop the viewer and the ability to critique the quality of video sources. Deals on 2014 gear are peaking while we await the 2015 models, and these HDTVs impressed me in the lab and in the homes of proud owners.

The 70-inch and 80-inch Vizio M-Series HDTVs improves upon the company's value E-Series with twice the number of local-dimming zones, wider viewing angles, and a 120Hz refresh rate. Local dimming reduces an LCD's backlight level behind darker portions of the picture (like the black bars of letterboxed movies) to make them appear inky dark even in a dimly lit room. The more local dimming zones a TV has, the better its ability to deliver well-contrasted imagery with fewer related artifacts. A TV that can produce a dark black makes colors appear more saturated, and this direct-lit LED TV also has ample brightness for even the most sun-drenched rooms. Vizio's 2014 TVs have updated picture controls, and this M Series TV includes a comprehensive set of grayscale and color adjustment options for achieving accurate calibrated output. The M-Series TVs feature 4 HDMI ports, one component video input, and a USB port. With built-in 802.11n WiFi and a solid selection of popular streaming media apps, this Vizio is cordcutter and budget friendly. Amazon Prime Members currently save an additional $100 off of the 70" and 80" sale price!
The new Sharp LE660U AQUOS HD Series LED Smart TV is one of the best big screen values around, and it has the advanced picture controls that professional calibrators love! The LE660U features a modern thin bezel design (0.4"), a well-contrasted picture, and wide viewing angles for an LCD television. The LE660U's affordable image quality is available in screen sizes of 60-inches and 70-inches. The LE660U's low price doesn't skimp on the core specs: 3 HDMI ports (one MHL-enabled, one ARC-enabled), 120Hz screen refresh rate, and 2x10W stereo speakers. The LE660's Smart TV features include 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, popular built-in apps, Android/iOS remote control app, and Miracast support for WiFi-direct screencasting. Compare the price and features of the 70-inch LE660U to the similarly sized competition and you'll see why it's a big screen 1080p HDTV deal.
There is a lot to like about the 65-inch Samsung LED H7150 Series Smart TV including its excellent picture quality and superior video calibration controls. The H7150 enhances picture contrast with an advanced local dimming backlight system and a glossy screen that is great at reducing the intensity of reflections. The H7150's superior video processing and 1080p/240Hz LCD produces a detailed, clear picture with even the fastest on-screen action including 3D sources while accurately preserving the filmic look of movies and other video material with a 24p film cadence. The H7150 series also features Samsung's quad processor technology for a fast and seamless app experience, and its Smart Remote Control is a favorite of mine that enables precise point-and-click menu navigation that's similar to using a mouse. The Samsung H7150 series has 4 HDMI inputs, one component video input, and 3 USB ports.
The 65-inch and 70-inch LG LB7100 Series features IPS (in-plane switching) panel technology that maintains consistent picture contrast and color saturation at wide viewing angles. The LB7100 1080p LCD has edge-lit LED backlight technology with local dimming that further enhances picture brightness and contrast. The TV's 120Hz refresh rate is ideal for revealing the detail of fast action or sports programming while providing the necessary picture controls to faithfully reproduce movies and other video with a 24p film cadence. If you are a fan of 3D video, the LB7100's passive 3D technology is among the brightest currently available and it uses inexpensive and comfortable glasses - including lightweight clip-on lenses for prescription glass wearers. The included Magic Remote enables easy cursor-like navigation of the TV's beautiful webOS tabbed interface for accessing premium app content. The LG LB7100 has 3 HDMI ports, one component video input, 3 USB ports, and it's available at a great price!
If you are looking for one of the very best and brightest 120Hz 1080p TVs, look no further than the Samsung H6400 Smart LED TV (read my review). The H6400 features superb video processing with excellent calibrated picture quality right out of the box (using Movie picture preset) so its imagery is detailed, accurate, and colorful. The TV's quad core processor also makes for snappy access and use of its bountiful selection of built-in apps, and the included Smart Touch Remote is the best I've ever used. The Samsung H6400 and its slim bezel design is available in wide selection of screen sizes including 40-inches48-inches50-inches55-inches60-inches, and 65-inches.
For truly BIG screen enjoyment, it's time to step up to projection! The Sony VPL-HW40ES features 3-chip 1080p/240Hz display technology that produces admirably colorful and detailed imagery. Also, three-chip projectors like the HW40ES have greater color brightness and don't generate distracting 'rainbow' artifacts like single-chip DLP projectors can when displaying highly contrasted video material. I had the opportunity to setup and calibrate this projector, and I was impressed with its whisper-quiet operation and ability to produce a bright, detailed picture with exceptional color and grayscale accuracy. The HW40ES also features horizontal/vertical lens-shift for simplifying the alignment of its picture with the screen without incurring any loss of detail. Setting up a projector does require more planning than a TV, but the Sony VPL-HW40ES is an easy recommendation for an affordable way of enjoying a quality, immersive viewing experience with screen sizes of 120-inches or larger!

The Epson 5030UB is one of my favorite 3-chip projectors that creates beautiful imagery without the 'rainbow' artifacts and reduced color brightness of single-chip DLP projection systems. The 5030UB has ample light output, comprehensive picture controls, and quality touches like horizontal and vertical lens shift for greater placement flexibility without image distortion! There is a version of this projector that features a built-in wireless 1080p video link (the 5030UBe) and it includes a 5-port HDMI hub. Before you buy any projector, always consult a tool like Projector Central's Projection Calculator Pro to ensure an optimal fit for your room's layout and lighting.

Need a ceiling mount? I have great options here.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>