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Article/Guide: My 19" HDTV Comparison Guide for Dec 26 08

 Posted - 12/26/2008 9:48:29 PM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

PJPeter
Site Administrator
2020 Contributions
Article Title: My 19" HDTV Comparison Guide for Dec 26 08
Category Resource Page: HDTVs

Article:
I previously Tried Toshiba 19LV505, LG 19LG30 and Viewsonic N2230W and N1930W (N1930W Vanilla and N1930W-2M)

Considered getting:

Glanced at the new Toshiba 19AV500U ($369 CAD today),  but didn't like lack of a headphone jack and the general look... add to that my lousy experience with the 19LV505 and I decided to give this guy a pass.
It did have though a 1440x900 resolution that I liked (but the 19LV505 was advertised and even stated in them monitor that it had this, but it turned out it did not and the PC support was aweful...but see the review of the 19LV505 that info.) - I did a bit more checking after my intial pass, and found that on the official Toshiba site it says:
(1) PC Input (Supports Resolutions Up To 1360 x 768)
1360x768 is a very funny resolution, and it along with 1366x768 caused me large headaches with the 19LV505 in the past - hard to set and blurry/bad/distorted picture when it finally was ...
- I also confirmed this TV does NOT have a headphone port, and does NOT have R/L audio out either - the only option is digital audio out. The sound is not very good on 19" HDTVs in general from my experience, and from the reviews I checked on this model in particular so this finally broke it for me.

Also, I already had tried the 19LG30 back in June and had problems with the speakers making an extremely annoying high pitched whistling noise even when muted - maybe this would be fixed with the externals but I didn't want to go over the same ground again at this point when there were other completely different sets to try.

So I researched instead:

Sharp 19" Flat-Panel LCD HDTV** (LC19SB25U) - ($379 CAD today)
- Native Resolution  1366 x 768p (had problems with TVs with this resolution in the past when it comes to PC input...)
- TV Tuner  ATSC/NTSC/QAM  (naturally)
- Reports of incompatibility with HDMI input from a computer source...?
- Reports of low volume (no problem for me since I have my AL VS2420s all set to go)

So I decided to look into:

Samsung 19" LCD HDTV** (LN19A450) - Futureshop price: $389.99 Discount: -$40.00 Sale Price: $349.99 (till 1/1/2009) - Other Price Found: $449.99 - $150 Discount = $299.99 until 1/1/2009
- Native Resolution  1440 x 900
- Energy Star Compliant
- TV Tuner  ATSC/QAM (no NTSC?)
- Coaxial Cable Inputs  None (ATSC Tuner with no Coax input for the antenna? Something screwy with the Futureshop specs - So I went to the manufacturer and used those instead)
- Checked and there are a lot of connectors on this TV - they didn't scimp at all on them. Headphone and R/L Audio Out for example, along with Optical Audio Out, Component In, Audio, VGA, DVI, S-Video and AV.
- Some sites report 1366x resolution - one place stated it had an expert review, but it was just a fancy buy-this-awesome-thing-now product summary straight from Samsung
- Many sites had reviews of the 26" or other larger models and tried to pass them off as reviews of the 19" - one of the reasons I created Stuffopolis.net...no more of that.
- USB Firmware Upgrade Compatible (Makes me think back to how happy I was to have an use this with my good old Samsung YP-55 :))
- SRSTruBassSoundXT - Apparently this doesn't really help based on reviews, so I'll stick with using my Altec's with it
- Tiltable stand! - I haven't had one of these since the Toshiba I tried back in May and that only tilted a little bit. The LG didn't tilt at all, and the Viewsonics certainly didn't either.  

Results:

Went out and got the Samsung today at Futureshop - their website advertised a deal of $349 CAD, but in store it was $389 - apparently they want me to come back on Sunday to get my $50 back (I found an even better deal though for $299 - if they price match that I'd get $110 back which would be very nice ).

Testing on the Samsung LN19A450:
Note that I did testing on this vs my Viewsonic N1930W-2M, which I'm going to take back due to problems with the speakers...and because this thing is just so much better .

This thing is beautiful. I liked the styling of the LG just a little more (with its blue on cresent light/button at the bottom right hand corner) but other than that its just about the same and is much better than the others I tried. Being able to use the stand on the wall as well as it including mounting brackets really make it a complete system and I appreciate the flexibility this gives me for future use right out of the box.

The actual picture is very, very nice, much better than any other 19" I've tried.

Fast channel changing, only about 1 second to change to an HD channel (The Viewsonic/Toshibas I tested took 6 seconds to change picture to an HD channel, and about 1 seconds to change the sound on the N1930W-2M).

The sound was OK, but with external speakers its just as good as the external speakers are (in this case a VS2420).

Noise Reduction is much better than the Viewsonic, and everything is just much sharper and with better colours.

Note that my TV had a fatal flaw, at least for me. See the pictures for it, or click here, an extremely annoying bright green pixel at the side of the monitor about 3 cm from the edge, in a perfect spot to be completely visible whenever a picture is boxed in any way. On black it is extremely bright and noticable, I was not looking for it when I saw it and others noticed it instantly as well. The manual makes special notice of dead/bright pixels not having any effect on the operation of the system...but that dot is too bright ot ignore. I'll try stuck pixel fixer videos and maybe the wetcloth techique and I'll google around to see if I can find any other suggestions.

I found a great deal for another same TV though tonight $100+ less than what I paid for this one. I'm hoping that one will not have a similar problem since the other place doesn't have nearly as nice a return policy as the first one (Futureshop). I had planned to get a price match, but instead I'll just get a different one tomorrow and hope for the best.

It also has a very nice UI, and when picking your time zone it has a nice display and it includes ALL North American time zones, including the 30 minute offset Newfoundland.

Some repoted that the TV doesn't show the title of the show - I can safetly report it does through the Info button. I wasn't able to get an EPG display though, something my Viewsonic had...because it was not a Canadian specific model (it lacked Newfoundland as a time zone option, for instance).

Very little backlight bleedthrough. And a nice and unique remote, not cheap at all.

The one option I missed from the Viewsonic-2M was the CC-on-Mute function it had. But in terms of picture and other settings this thing outstrips it completely. The auto-remove scrambled channels is nice as well (The 2M would grey them out).

I like the pop-up quick menu, I think the LG also had something similiar. This lets you change from Air to Cable more quickly, without having to go into the main menu, which is definitely appreciated .

A little aside about the manual: It's a little odd, for example it never mentions ATSC, NTSC or QAM anywhere inside it - and it doesn't get into what the options mean, but the TV itself has useful 'tool-tips' for each option which are nice.

----

LN19A450 As a PC Monitor:

It wouldn't let me go to PC mode until I connected it, which could cause some problems if it isn't detecting the connector (I had a great deal of experience debugging that sort of issue involving S-Video cables during my time working at a graphics card developer) - for a computer you have an override to force it to pretend it detects the cable incase something goes wrong with the detector. But this wasn't an issue in my test and it worked right away, just something to note.

Picture in PC mode was just awesome. Sharper than any other I've ever tried. 1440X900 resolution with no problem via VGA. No auto-adjust missing toolbar bug as with the Viewsonic N1930W-2M. Did clone and extended desktop modes no problem, I haven't installed Ultramon 3 yet since I wiped my system yesterday but I don't think it will be a problem. It looks so good. It looks just as sharp as my WSXGA+ (1680x1050) 15.6" laptop monitor on my Z96JS.

Power saving was great, it didn't sit there flashing a 'No Signal' message like other monitors I had tried, instead it turned off with my laptop monitor with no problems at all. (Note that the general Energy Saving Modes though just turn down the brightness, which can be useful I guess.)

-----

My final word:

The Samsung LN19A450 looks great and works great, it has a lot of little things to it that make the experience better overall than any other I tried. Besides the extremely bright dot and my find of that $150 off special ($299 CAD ending January 1st, 2008) I'd keep this display - as it is I'll take it back and get another exactly like it - except for that darn dot :p.

-PJPeter

Edited by - PJPeter on 12/26/2008 9:23:53 PM


 Posted - 12/28/2008 1:02:29 AM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

PJPeter
Site Administrator
2020 Contributions

Update:

Got the new display for $299 @ Sears.ca and it's pixel perfect! The backlight is also a bit better as well - I'm quite happy - The only thing about it is the screen is not quite aligned with the rest of the unit properly - there is a much bigger border on the top and on the right side than on the bottom and left (Top: 20 pixels maybe, Right: 20 pixels, Left: 5 pixels, Bottom: Nada). But I'll get used to it, I'm quite happy .

PJPeter

 

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