TVs

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Thad
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TVs

Postby Thad » Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:27 pm

My Samsung plasma TV has developed a green vertical line, right about at the edge where a 4:3 picture ends on the righthand side.

According to The Internet, this suggests the panel is going south. A trip to YouTube indicates it's not difficult to replace, but I'm not sure I can actually find parts for a plasma anymore or, even if I could, that it would be worth the cost of the parts to fix it instead of just getting a new TV.

So I figure I'll just deal with the green line until the panel dies. But in case it does die, I should probably be prepared to buy a new TV, sight unseen.

Now, from what I've read, at this point OLED is the best technology but QLED is pretty good too, and LG, Sony, and Samsung are the best brands.

I don't want a smart TV, but accept that if I want a good TV it'll have to be a smart TV. (From what I understand, Sceptre is the best brand that still makes dumb TVs, but it still sucks.) So I want to find a smart TV that will get the fuck out of my way and not nag me to connect it to the Internet, because I'm not going to. Or, alternately, I could just get a computer monitor and a TV tuner card. Provided I can find a monitor as big as I want.

Current TV is 51". I don't want to go much above or below that size.

HDR support would be nice for future-proofing but I don't think I have any HDR content to watch anyway. I don't care about 4K except insofar as all the good TVs are 4K (and I suppose its main advantage over 1080p for my use case is integer scaling of 240px games, though I've got a CRT to play those on anyway).

Anybody have any recommendations about things I should look for? I'm willing to go, oh, mid-range on price; I'm not eager to spend $1500 but I'm willing to consider it given that I intend to spend a lot of time staring at this thing over a period of years. (Definitely won't be spending more than $2000, though.) Ideally I'd be walking into the local refurb TV store and drop about $500 on a TV that's old but still good (which is how I got a plasma in 2013), but I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be doing that if my TV suddenly dropped dead and we were still in the midst of a pandemic.

...actually, come to think of it, they've got a website and I'm sure I can buy a TV from them and have them toss it in my trunk without my having to step inside the building. So that's good, anyway, but it still means I'd be buying a TV without actually seeing what it looks like first. So recommendations are welcome.

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zaratustra
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Re: TVs

Postby zaratustra » Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:52 pm

If you get a smart tv, try to get a system that plays Disney Plus, meaning it's not immediately outdated beyond use.

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Brentai
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Re: TVs

Postby Brentai » Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:30 pm

I have a three-year-old model OLED and I don't know if the technology it's based on has vastly improved in that timeframe or not, but based on my experience I'd actually advise against OLED. Yeah, the infinite black is kind of nice, but not nice enough to warrant a $1000 price jump, a return to constant worries about burn-in, and occasionally being blinded by some hyperaggressive brights.

HDR support is the main important thing in new TVs (way more than 4K) but I think that's standard by now. Dolby Vision support is very nice, although the only way to take advantage of it afaik is through onboard Netflix apps. But Netflix has a good amount of content supporting Dolby Vision (notably, The Dark Crystal).

LG has an actually pretty okay app environment that's kept up to date. We got Disney+ on it pretty much day one, and recently finally got a native Twitch app, although that one kind of sucks and I still just use my PS4 most of the time. I never tried keeping it offline but as far as I know it won't complain about it until you go into a menu. Maybe I'll try it out later.

If you really want to get into detailed comparisons though, check out rtings.com (not a typo). They're fairly committed to objectively evaluating everything they test, so you can narrow down to the factors that really matter to you.
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Thad
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Re: TVs

Postby Thad » Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:43 pm

Brentai wrote:a return to constant worries about burn-in


I returned to constant worries about burn-in seven years ago when I bought a plasma.

But good advice on all counts; thanks.

(I also see that some people are reporting that they fixed a similar problem to mine by reseating or cleaning the connector cables, so that seems like something I should definitely try before I spring for a new set.)

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Mongrel
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Re: TVs

Postby Mongrel » Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:59 pm

*Eyeballs 13-year old CRT in the living room which hasn't been used in 2-3 years because all our DVD/etc. players have gone tits-up*
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Esperath
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Re: TVs

Postby Esperath » Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:19 pm

I'm sure there's a Smash player who would be willing to take that off your hands.
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Re: TVs

Postby Mongrel » Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:26 pm

Esperath wrote:I'm sure there's a Smash player who would be willing to take that off your hands.

I know some people like CRTs for older games, but... why Smash players? I'm assuming fans of the older ones? Or is there some bizarre reason current SSB players wants CRTs?
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Brentai
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Re: TVs

Postby Brentai » Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:00 pm

It's not relevant to Ultimate; the reference is mostly towards Melee players. Digital displays introduce at least a frame of extra input lag to analog sources* as they capture the signal for an entire frame and convert it to a bitmap, as opposed to analog displays that are drawing the analog source basically as it's coming in. For a game as frenetic as Melee a single frame of extra input lag is considered significant.

* For HD and higher resolutions they actually introduce even more input lag for digital sources, but that mostly has to do with how your HDMI cable isn't the size of a firehose.
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Re: TVs

Postby Grath » Sat Aug 08, 2020 11:04 am

zaratustra wrote:If you get a smart tv, try to get a system that plays Disney Plus, meaning it's not immediately outdated beyond use.

Get one that runs Android TV and you have standardized apps for all the currently available streaming services, built-in Chromecast, and it's likely that even if your TV never gets version updates new streaming services will build their apps for backwards compatibility to maximize their potential for profits.

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Blossom
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Re: TVs

Postby Blossom » Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:47 am

get one that will play video from a usb drive hooked up to it, and don't give disney any more money
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Re: TVs

Postby mharr » Sun Aug 09, 2020 10:13 am

On that front, anything that runs Android is a good bet because the mobile build of VLC has a very nice little built in network browser. This is the role my broken, headless Shield Portable ended up in, playing video from the shared usb drive attached to our router. (The d-pad and such still work so it's also my big-screen PSP.)

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Re: TVs

Postby Mongrel » Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:38 pm

Blossom wrote:get one that will play video from a usb drive hooked up to it, and don't give disney any more money

This is what we're after, when we bother replacing ours. All this linking shit is waaaaaayyyy too much bother for someone who cares little enough that they haven't used their TV set in 3 years and barely noticed (and before that we only used it to watch the occasional DVD anyway).
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Re: TVs

Postby Thad » Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:52 pm

For the record I've got a full-on mid-tower desktop PC hooked up to my TV, which is part of the reason I'm not really interested in smart TV features (other concerns are tracking -- obviously I realize Netflix is keeping track of everything I watch on Netflix, but I don't need my TV manufacturer logging my viewing habits too -- and security). So by all means keep sharing thoughts on apps in case they're useful to anyone else, but I'm probably not going to be using any myself.

Though what Brent said about the Netflix app being the only way to view HDR Netflix content is worth considering. I wonder if there's anything I can do at the firewall level to allow traffic to Netflix and maybe some other streaming sites while blocking pretty much everything else, and if the apps would even work if I did that.

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Re: TVs

Postby Brentai » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:15 pm

Thad wrote:Though what Brent said about the Netflix app being the only way to view HDR Netflix content is worth considering.


Dolby Digital. HDR* is a standard feature on newer consoles (PS4 Pro and after) and I'm pretty sure you can do it off a PC with the right drivers.

The good and bad thing about HDR is that it works partially by overlaying your TV's settings with its own embedded metadata settings. So if a particular scene looks a lot better with the brightness turned down to say 60% of normal, that information can be injected into the media stream and your TV should figure it out. That's great, except... there's kind of no single accepted standard for this, somehow. And that's immediately a problem, because one manufacturer's idea of 60% brightness can differ wildly from another's in real life. Games suffer from this the most; make sure you actually pay attention to those "set the brightness" screens at the beginning now, because it's the only way to get reasonably close the developers' intended levels.

It usually takes A/V consortiums about a decade to hammer out a single, only somewhat nonsensical compromise standard for these things, but TV manufacturers need a new feature out now because nobody's biting the 4K hook, so that's where we are. Currently there are two competing actual standards, "HDR10+"** and Dolby Vision. I haven't... really seen any content in HDR10+. Apparently despite being royalty free it's only a thing on Amazon Prime over Samsung panels? Yeaaaaah.

Dolby Vision is your typical Dolby product: Impeccably well-engineered, works flawlessly, transforms the media in ways you can't really believe is possible from silly little codec or spec sheet, and is such a god damned pain in the ass to license that anyone without major publisher backing is never going to bother with it. But you know, Dark Crystal. It's pretty.

* By which I really mean HDR10. I don't think you're going to see HDR and 10-bit as separate concerns much in 2020, but it might be worth it to check.
** Not to be confused with HDR10, which HDR10+ is a standard of, and not to be confused with HDR by itself, which is one of the two technologies combined to form HDR10. Do you want to hit somebody yet?
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Thad
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Re: TVs

Postby Thad » Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:07 pm

Brentai wrote:
Thad wrote:Though what Brent said about the Netflix app being the only way to view HDR Netflix content is worth considering.


Dolby Digital.


So does Netflix support any other HDR standards through a browser, then?

HDR* is a standard feature on newer consoles (PS4 Pro and after)


And I'll probably have my next TV long enough that I'll eventually use one of those with it. For now though the latest I've got are a standard PS4 and a Switch.

and I'm pretty sure you can do it off a PC with the right drivers.


I'm not sure whether the Linux/amdgpu stack has full support yet or not, but at a glance there's at least been some work done. If it's not supported now I think it will be soon, though I'm not sure if it'll work with the RX480 in my HTPC or not.

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Re: TVs

Postby Brentai » Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:17 pm

Christ, I just noticed I kept mixing up Dolby Digital and Dolby Vision. Now *I* want to punch somebody.

Apparently you can get Dolby Vision in your browser... if your browser is fucking Edge. Alternately you can use the Windows Store Netflix app which, you know, also no.

It does seem like most Android phones after about 2017 can do it through that app, so that might be an all-around better bet than relying on a TV app. Dunno about other Android based devices like Chromecast or Shield. Maybe? But yeah, they might not be nice, but there are alternatives to limiting yourself to TV apps.

Oh, and to answer your actual question, no, Netflix's two options are Dolby Vision and just "HDR". You hope they're using something close to HDR10 Media Profile for that, but never any promises.
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Re: TVs

Postby Thad » Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:07 pm

Brentai wrote:Christ, I just noticed I kept mixing up Dolby Digital and Dolby Vision. Now *I* want to punch somebody.


Yeah, I caught that but I knew what you meant.

Apparently you can get Dolby Vision in your browser... if your browser is fucking Edge.


Yeah, I remember hearing that Netflix only supported 1080p video if you were using Edge or one of the dedicated apps; otherwise you'd get 720p at best. Don't know if that's still true but wouldn't be surprised. MS up to its old tricks.

Is Dolby Vision still Edge-only even though Edge is Chromium-based now? I guess the video layer is probably separate from the GPLed bits since AFAIK Chromium can't play DRMed video.

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Brentai
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Re: TVs

Postby Brentai » Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:18 pm

If I was going to hazard a guess I'd say Netflix is probably running as an embedded application in Edge, and using whatever DRM-enabled h.264 plugin you have installed on everything else. It's not entirely Microsoft's fault. Probably.
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Re: TVs

Postby Thad » Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:32 pm

It couldn't be; obviously Netflix must be involved in any decision to make its service compatible with some browsers but not others. But it smacks of MS's old tactics in trying to get people to switch to a browser they don't want to use through the use of exclusive nonstandard features, and I wouldn't be surprised if they'd paid Netflix for the privilege.

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Re: TVs

Postby Thad » Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:26 pm

I mean, there's supposed to be a Linux version of Edge coming and I suppose I could install it just for Netflix. Running an MS browser on Linux seems kind of perverse but I don't think there's any technical reason I couldn't do it.

Assuming it actually has the same feature set as Edge for Windows, of course, which isn't a given.

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