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Buying an LCD TV 2011/4/10 17:57

I'm moving into my new apartment with my Japanese wife and we're after a new TV. We're hoping for an LCD TV with a 40 inch screen so she can watch her programmes.

I'm trying to get find some TV reviews for all the main makers (sony,sharp,panasonic,toshiba,hitachi etc) so I can find a nice TV that is affordable for us. However the Japanese TV model numbers don't match up with the model numbers of what they sell abroad. I tried comparing the spec sheets but it seems that the TVs are different for export sales.

Does anyone know a website that gives reviews in English for TVs that are sold in Japan? Or a site that will give a comparison to TVs sold in Japan and the ones that are exported. Or a site that has good Japanese reviews that is easy to "google" translate.

I would love to ask my wife to help but she's not een on spec sheets and details. I live in Miyagi, so I can't just go to my local store with my dictionary and ask someone lots of questions. Only one of the three stores is open and even then it's just the back warehouse.

I know it's a kind of bad time to be thinking about a TV, but just trying to get settled into our new place together. Any info or links would be great.

Thanks in advance
by Adam (guest)  

what's ur budget? 2011/4/10 22:57
whta's ur budget like? do u have any special requirement like youtube etc..

checkout the site below for listing of TV models and prices. click on each tv for manufacturer specs.

by asdf (guest) rate this post as useful

LED vs LCD 2011/4/12 11:16
If you are going to have it for a long time then it's worth the money to get an LED screen where as the LCD screen might burn out after 4-8 years at which point the whole tv is useless and you have to buy a new one. LED screens last a lot longer and cost 8-40,000 yen more.

I just bought a Mitsubishi Regza LED 32 for about 50,000 on the net.
by snowaterider rate this post as useful

cheers asdf 2011/4/14 08:50
Sorry for the delayed reply but I only have limited access to the internet just now. I'm also trying to get internet for my new apartment which is also difficult because of the quake. (Should be connected in 2-3 weeks).

asdf: Thank you for the link. I'll take a look just now.

As for specs and budget. We're looking to spend around 100,000yen on a new TV. Cheaper would be better but I'd rather pay for some quality since this is a big buy for us.

We're after 40inches because we like watching films, we also have a Wii, so would like something with a fast refresh rate (I read that some are bad for using with game consoles). Ideally I would like full array LED lit LCD screen but they are expensive and my brother has an edge-lit Samsung and says that you don't notice a difference. I would love a Samsung or LG as they are the highest ranked in the UK and US but the Japanese companies are keeping them out the market.

Something with a wide viewing angle would be good. Extras that are not really needed but a bonus would be internal memory (for recording TV) or a connecting to hook up an external hard-drive (read that some Hitachi TVs support that) and also ability to connect to the net (ideally Wi-Fi if that technology is around).

snowaterider: Thank you for the advice. Please know that there is no such thing as an LED TV. All are LCD. What they mean by LED TV is that it has an LCD screen that is lit by an array of LEDs behind it (either full array or edge-lit). Are you thinking of plasma TVs that can burn out (but most have protection to try and prevent this). LEDs also don't last forever and this website informs you to check the spec sheets to see how long the brightness of their LEDs will last.


Cheers for the help guys. I'll be back with an update when I can.
by Adam (guest) rate this post as useful

Update 2011/4/15 16:30
Thanks again for that link asdf.

Also snowaterider, I noticed that Japan still sells purely LCD TVs as well as LED LCDs.

From the main maker sites via your website I found that they're all a pain for stating the main facts like refresh rates, viewing angles and response times. I think that Sharp was the only one that would quote viewing angles and LED life expectancy in their spec sheets.

I'm just going to have to choose based on available features, connections etc. I'm going to try and get to a shop that's open to have a look. But it seems that prices on the net are much lower than in the shops.

Does anyone know who the leading company in Japan is for the quality and value for money of their TV's? I'm looking at Toshiba, Sharp, Panasonic, Hitachi and Sony just now (haha - all).

And is there a Japanese site with reviews from a professional non-biased group. The reviews on the website above were useful. But some reviewers were marking all 5s based on the fact that they got their eco-points on time. I'd just like another site to compare numbers with.

Cheers for all your help.

by Adam (guest) rate this post as useful

LED TVs are LCD TVs! 2011/4/18 14:15
dont be fooled by the adverts...
LED TVs and LCD TVs are BOTH using LCD! so it is a strange naming system meant to deliberately confuse people into thinking LED TV's are completely different and new from LCD Tvs.
All LCD panel TVs (including LED TVs) need a lighting source behind the LCD panel, in traditional LCD TVs this was CCFL lighting tubes (a bit like the kind of meter long lighting tubes you might find in an office of public space, I think in japan they even have ring shape versions for the home)
there are about 4 or or 5 of these long tube lights mounted inside your traditional flat screen TV behind the LCD panel. This makes it quite fat by today's standards maybe around 9 cm or so.
In the last few years makers are choosing a different back-lighting system...LEDs.
LED has many advantages.
1. They are smaller so TVs get slimmer ant lighter
2. They use less energy and last a long time.
(Ecology and Economy - reduce your elec bill and save the planet!maybe?!)
3. capable of "Local Dimming" for better contrast.

"Local Dimming" is complicated but if you imagine LEDs as a grid of hundreds of tiny dots of light (unlike the horizontal tube lighting before)
each of those tiny dots of light is an independent light which can be switched on or off or dimmed regardless of what the light dot next to it is doing. So imaging on your TV you want to show the image of a candle burning in a black room...
with the new TVs only the light dots directly behind where the flame is will be switched on, the LEDs behind the black areas of the room can all be switched off to make it pitch black as possible. It is this contrast that makes a great picture quality compared with the old TVs where the bar of light would have to be on the full width of the TV without that ability to switch of or dim those dark areas of the picture the blacks will look dark grey not black.

However beware not all LEDs have this high contrast advantage!, just to complicate things even more some LED TV's are "edge lit" LED Tvs (not using local dimming technology). This was a desperate attempt to make TVs even slimmer some makers like Sony arranged all the LEDs around the edge of the frame rather than in a grid formation behind the panel. It means the TV can be ridiculously thin maybe around 1cm (even for 46" screen size) but many agree local dimming gives a superior picture quality and it is still reasonably slim maybe around 3 or 4cm.
I think Toshiba Regza brand is the best but maybe I am biased, anyway recently in japan Toshiba has overtaken Sony as number one for market share of TVs. In other countries maybe Samsung is the best but in Japan there is some strange system where Korean competition is shunned by the big retailers who choose to protect domestic companies creating unfair competition.
by gilesdesign (guest) rate this post as useful

Bought a TV 2011/4/21 10:10
Hi again

Thank you gilesdesign for the info. But don't worry, I already knew that. The information like I said is all on: www.lcdtvbuyingguide.com if folk want to read into it more. Also, companies also went for the edge-lit system to reduce the costs of the new technologies for customers. It wasn't just based on the thickness of the overall TV. There is a trade-off for what you have to make.

I've also noticed in Yodobashi (Sendai) last weekend that LG have got their TV's into the market. Good for them, but their prices are way above their own prices abroad. I feel Japanese people have to demand better deals from their own companies. It's crazy that I can buy a similar (because they change the model numbers) exported Japanese TV in the UK cheaper than what they charge their own people here in Japan. I know that exchange rates will play a lot in this but the Apple Shop keeps its prices similar across the countries. So something's up with the TV companies and the Japanese people are letting it happen.

In the end, we bought a TV through the kakaku.com search website (using google translate). Went for the 42" Hitachi XP05.

I would recommend using this site as it lists lots of competitive shops in Tokyo and we manage to get our TV 20,000yen less (50,000 in some shops) than off the shelf prices up here in Miyagi. When using this site, it's best to go to the shop site itself and check out the final price at checkout. We found that the cheapest price listed on kakaku.com was more expensive when you took into account all the "hidden" costs. The fifth or sixth one on the list turned out to be the cheapest because they waivered some of the payment fees. It also pays to search for the product directly on the site that kakaku.com suggests because the shop we used had it at a few hundred yen cheaper for some reason. kakaku.com make their money through the adverts that they use on the site, so don't feel guilty if you don't use their paying link. (^-^)

Thanks again for all the advice.

by Adam (guest) rate this post as useful

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