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All posts by MikeB

Below are all of MikeB's postings, with the most recent are at the bottom of the page.

Looking at each point in turn, there is a lot of good stuff there, but from my experience, some of it is misleading or misses the point.

Tip 1 -
Getting the size right is everything. I will always spend a couple of minutes making sure that the size is right for the customer - often they are bag on, but I do get a fair number of people who will either want a TV set that 'does not dominate the room' or want something as large as possible, because their friend has a large TV (the latter category is always male).

The biggest single reason why we get TV's back is because 'its the wrong size'. Sometimes they have been bought off the net without really checking (the 75in TV bought sight unseen was perhaps the most obvious example), or have convinced themselves that a cheapish big TV is better value. I think TV's should fit the room (with a little growing space, you will get used to the size very quickly) - in essence, like a suit.

The ratio I always used to use for HD sets was roughly 2.5 to 3 times the size of the screen away from you. Unfortunately, the table is a bit difficult to use, because since TV are all still sold in inchs (because thats what Americans use), multiples of imperial measurements are much easier to use than cm. However, the 40in figure for 'typical' is roughly 5.5 ft, whereas I would have been recommending perhaps 8-10 feet, even 8 years ago.

In short, those numbers would be way too close for most of my customers, and frankly, for me. They have been around for some years, but I'd be cautious about them. Having said that, they do look like some of the ratios that reps like to give people regarding 4k, which would be more realistic.

The customer is always right, but they shouldn't be too close.

The other thing that the table does which is to assume there is a difference between 'typical' (SD - although arguably thats no longer 'typical' at all), HD, 'Cinema' (presumably Blu Ray) and then 4K. In reality, there are just three screen resolutions for practical purposes - SD, HD and 4K. HD on TV is 1080i, whereas Blu Ray is 1080p - I'm not moving my sofa to get the 'optimum' viewing distance when watching a blu ray, and then moving it back for Strictly - you just stay where you are.

Nowadays, I'd say closer to 2 to 2.5 for most customers - your watching HD on a 4K set, so you can sit a bit closer, but there is close and there is brain ache.

As for the statement that you can't notice the diffence between SD and HD at 3.5m away, even with an 82in set, I'm actually currently about 3.6m from our 32in TV, and I can tell the difference between BBC News and BBC News HD right now. On an 82in TV, you certainly would.

Tip 2 - Lighting.

I will ask about lighting - a lot of customers have french windows, etc. Actually, the lighting in a store isn't that low, but it is standard FL lights with a relatively high ceiling, so its not going to be exactly the same. And the reason for the lack of windows isn't down to some conspiracy, its simple because a window is somewhere you can't put merchandise, etc - big box stores are ....big boxes. Windows tend to be at the entrance, or for coffee shops,etc. In fact our nearest windows are in the bed dept, which is next to us, but the rumour is that was going to be the coffee shop originally, but it got switched round.

As for whether HDR or UHD will be worth it if your room is bright, etc - a) they all are, as we will see, and b) the lighter the room, the better the panel the better - its a more difficult environment.

Tip 3 - We do!
I'm working tomorrow, and Sunday Kitchen will be a staple (normal HD and family friendly). The bulk of TV's in my dept will be on an HD feed, in fact quite possibly Homes Under the Hammer or Bargain Hunt. We do put cartoons on, but they dont show detail all that well, and since you buying that, we'd rather show something else. There was an HD clip from the CGI Jungle Book that was amazingly popular,

Tip 4 -
Dont buy a TV just for the sake of 'smartness' - the platform and apps will only be updated for so long (Panasonic use Firefox, which just uses links, which is much more flexible, although ironically Firefox itself isn't being updated on the TV). Buy the TV because its the right size, picture, etc. As long as its got enough inputs (3 HDMI's at least), then you can just use a different box until kingdom come.

But the reality is that they are all smart (sorry Peter)- our buyers dont really bother with a non start version on a set any more - the economies of scale and the market dont make it worth it.

Out of a 138 TV's on our website, 124 are available as smart, and since I haven't seen one in store for a while, I can only assume they are basic models that are only online. Even three years ago, the non smart version would be generally less capable - a less good panel, fewer HDMI's, etc. Yes, they were cheaper, but often not markedly.

In short, your buying a smart TV, whether you use the smart functions or not, because the economies of scale make that standard.

And many higher end TV's will have a smart remote (often blue tooth), but often an app will be standard as well if you want to use that. Its easy to link a TV or blu ray with You Tube on your network to your phone, and 'cast' from your phone - much quicker to search.

And when the smartness isn't all that, then just slap another box in - Amazon Firestick, etc. But its not something you can chose to add instead of the smartness inside the TV - its just an upgrade. BTW - my Now TV box has the 4 channels, but to be honest, its not as fast as it used to be to react to commands, and of course, it too will need updating.

On the other hand, we have an Xbox, blu ray, Now TV - all of which are smart and the HD box is smart as well. And I would use the Chromecast I bought cheap last Black Friday, but I'm out of connections.

Tip 5 - Yes.
Actually, TV's are often not that bad, but a soundbar is a good investment - its a speaker system, which will have blue tooth as standard, and often a wireless sub - stream your music through it as well. Expect to pay roughly 220 for a decent mid range one from the big 4 brands, and frankly, there is a huge choice of audio systems - narrow it down to what you want.

If you go into my dept, the bulk of TV's will be 4K. You can buy an HD TV, but I can't give you much choice - out of that 138 stocked (and we wont have all of those models in store), only 12 are Full HD, and 17 HD Ready (32in or less). And of those full HD models, in 40in plus, I can only get you one model from each manufacturer . And they will OK models. TV's go entry, mid and high (and the prices rises accrodingly). Each time the quality of the panel will be better.

So the HD sets I can offer you in a 40-43in, etc will be, by the standards of 3 years ago, entry. A Samung 5500, A Panasonic 5 series, and a Sony W6. All decent, but not top drawer. And the biggest you'll get them in is a 49-50in.

Put it this way, we had the HD Samsung 6300 (classic mid level HD set for some years) in a 49 right next to a Samsung 4K 6500 decent entry set next to each other last year. I love the HD 6 series, but looking at them (both were curved, so they looked very similar) I was surprised to see that the 4K model had a better picture! We were watching Planet Earth II in HD, and it was clear that there was better motion and sharpness, even though the 4K set was working 4 times harder than the HD model. It was at that point that I decided my next TV would be a 4K.

The killer was that at that moment, the 4K set was actually slightly cheaper than the HD one. Now our buyers dont even bother with that model.

My advice hasn't really changed in years - buy the right size (nowadays thing perhaps 2-2.5 times size of screen away0, from one of the big four brands, with 3 or more HDMI's. Everything is going to be smart have wifi and Freeview HD - your paying for the panel - the better it is, the more its costs. get the best that you can that you like, because it wont get any better as a picture. As someone I used to work with put it 'dont becheap' (something he would never say to the customer, of course). Buy once, buy right.

Unless your very limited in your viewing and have no net access, your probably going to be buying a 4K set, which will possibly look better on HD than an HD set (although you'll have to stand a very very long distance away if your watching SD on a 4K panel). And that set will probably be only slightly more expensive (or sometimes cheaper)

Get a soundbar - again they go in levels, and although you certainly dont have to get the same brand, the brand might want to give you a deal on extra bits, like a soundbar or blu ray. Expect to pay 200-250 for a midlevel one, which is the sweet spot. And get a 4K upscaling blu ray, even if your TV is still HD - it will have more features, have a better chipset, and your future proofed. A customer had chosen a Sony blu ray to go with their Sony TV the other day, and asked me to put them through the till. I noticed that they had chosen the S3700. For 3 more, the S6500 was on the shelf - a much better player. So I convinced them to change.

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Abe: the only way for most people to watch 4K instantly is via Netflix or Amazon Video - so no, there is zero chance a 4k set wont be smart.

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Dr Bryan Roe: The rule of thumb is go up one size from what you've already got - if you got it right the first time, then it should be fine the next time. A 32in Panasonic with Freesat is a good 6 years old (G series? - so a good set with lots of HDMI's), and if you measure the width, probably around 29in. A modern 40-43in 4K set is 36in, and being able to sit a little closer, etc, should be fine.

But if you just want to update to stream, then a) look what you already have, or b) buy a streamer.
Blu Ray players, Freeview HD boxes, PVR's and games machines are all smart these days - we've got all of the above apart from a modern PVR (the old one has stopped working) under our Freeview TV, and can use any of them. See what you've got.

If your about to upgrade your PVR, then one with Freeview Play and wifi would be a good choice - you'd get an HD tuner for watching and recording, plus catchup, etc.

But a Amazon Firestick, Chromecast, Ruku etc would all be good streamers. The Ruku has the advantage of not being tied to any service, and is seen as the Swiss Army Knife of streamers (thats what the Now TV box is based on). Amazon, Now TV and Chromecast are all based on the Gillete model - they want to sell you product, and so the kit is relatively cheap.

As for the point about OLED, its good to see the Japanese (or at least the nationalised rump of the Japanese panel industry) going for it. LG has been the only brand making them for a couple of years (they supplied OLED panels this year for the very nice Sony and Panasonic OLEDs). However, OLED panels are still expensive to make, and its currently worth making them only in 55in plus - so economies of scale and competition might drive down prices.

OLEDs are great in many ways, but until now have had some problems matching LED's for motion and possible brightness, but I must admit to loving the Panasonic. On the other hand, its twice the price of the lovely Panasonic 750 LED - its still a competitive market. We will see what happens.

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Emley Moor (Kirklees, England) transmitter
Monday 23 October 2017 10:11PM

J Stewart: The transmitter has no reported problems, and certainly any problem that lasted for weeks would get widely noticed. Its probably not the transmitter, but its very likely your system.

If its happening to all the TV's in the house, then find the common link - possibly a distribution box, etc. You say you have various aerials, but are they actually feeding any TV's, or is it just one?

BTW - to see what your reception should be like, we need a postcode, which you can just put into the site - it will bring up lots of useful information.

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RichardW: Why would that channel be down? Sounds more like a fault with your system - I'd check the other muxes and then your cabling.

Brianist: I'm getting an expired security certificate when I try to access UKFree.TV on Chrome - is it just me?

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Briantist: Rtings is a good website (always useful if you want to find a panels response time for gamers), and I can see what they are getting at, but I'm wondering if they are just overthinking it a bit.

There is also the bit which goes 'Since resolutions found today are almost exclusively 4k/Ultra HD, It takes a very big TV watched from very close to see imperfections related to the resolution.'

A) It assumes every had 4k (and they dont)

B) It assumes your watching 4K res on a 4K screen, which for most people isn't true most of the time. A lot of people are going home with their new set, and just watching broadcast TV through it, and not even in HD.

C) That panel is up to showing motion etc well enough.

I get the impression they've crunched figures, and come up with 'science says'. And thats fine. But I did notice the fourth question down:

'What is the minimum and maximum distance for a 40" 1080p HD TV? I find 7.8 FT too close in my room.'

And the answer was :' You benefit from the 1080p resolution closer than 7.8 ft, and you will see pixels at 5.2 ft. Of course, you can sit farther - you just won't see all the detail (assuming you are watching Blu-ray quality footage).'

So even though the guy said that he found seven and half feet away a bit uncomfortable for him (about another foot would be probably more comfortable, perhaps two, in my experience), and the advice was 'sit closer...because we say it will be better!'

I just want people to be comfortable when they watch TV, and as customers, they can chose what they like. But buying the wrong size does mean we will get them....and we dont like getting them back.

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Finn: Most New TV programmes do have blu ray releases (just look at the number of BBC releases) , its just that the SD release tends to be cheaper, and since a lot of people still havn't upgraded to blu ray, SD is what they buy. I've long argued its insane, and I suspect force of habit is as much a factor as anything.

BTW - check out your local branch of CEX for blu rays - I've had some pretty good deals from them, and I'm waiting for Wold Hall to appear at a good price.

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nicholas MUGFORD: Poscode would be nice, especially since Himax are a good brand, with sensitive tuners, and can bring in too much signal, the symptom of which includes exactly what you've described.

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Finn: You make an excellent point - I checked out, and yes, its only the first season of The Americans on Blu Ray. And so on...

Its very strange, but the relative lack of TV Blu Ray releases might be for two reasons.

1) Since you can stream a box set, perhaps its more cost effective/profitable to simply have a streaming HD version only - the West Wing has a DVD box set (bought it, watched it, watched it again, watched it...), but you can stream an HD version.

But the more likely is:

2) The circular argument is that most people still buy DVD's, rather than blu-rays, so the commercial logic is therefore to release a DVD version (which is cheaper), but the blu ray is for 'special', or at least sets that you know will sell. But since of course you can't buy a Blu Ray version, you end up buying the DVD version, thus ensuring they will carry on bringing out DVD versions....

At some point this will change, if only because watching a DVD on a 4K screen is an underwhelming experience, but its not going to be easy to change people.

As Father Dougal McGuire would say, 'its mad!'

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Briantist: I have enough problems getting people to go up a single size from what they have now, so I'm not sure that the Rtings data would help me...

I take your point about the numbers, but customers are generally pretty conservative, and as a salesman, obviously always right!

Thats a very nice monitor - my brother has a 34in curved screen for work and gaming (he also has a 58in 4K set about 7 feet from him, so he certainly isn't thinking too small), which was fantastic. As you say, you can fit a lot of different windows etc onto that one screen.

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