I just thought I'd shoot the Duder signal out to see if anyone has any good recommendations on TVs for gaming. I think I am going with a 42" if possible and several people have told me backlit LEDs are really good, but I have no experience with that type so I thought I'd check the boards and see what you guys thought. Any recommendations will be much appreciated.
@jetsetwillie: I've had really good luck with Sony, LG, and Toshiba in the past so I suppose that I am partial to those but I will obviously pay a lot more for Sony. You do get what you pay for in a lot of cases but I've seen several friend's TVs who do not have the higher end brands and they were pretty great looking. I wasn't sire if there were a few that were considered really good for gaming as when I try and do some research I getting a lot of just general information crap.
if you're mostly going to be playing in brighter rooms, go normal ass lcd (Samsung, Sony, Sharp, LG, Toshiba, Vizio)
dark room (and you really care about black levels) plasma (Panasonic, Samsung)
LED backlit screens are still pretty expensive for what they are (i think??), don't sweat the details too much it's hard to fuck up too much these days.
If you can get an LED backlight display for near the same price as normal, go for it. If not, it's no big deal. Also, don't buy into the 120hz/240hz gimmicks. They're not relevant to gaming (and make everything else look unnatural). They'll add to the input/display lag (it works by interpolating two frames to produce a non-existent middle frame which supposedly smooths out the video). When you put a set into "game mode", it should automatically disable all of that garbage. The less processing that is going on, the lower the input lag is going to be. (note that input lag is a separate thing from RESPONSE TIME, which is usually listed on sets).
Which brings me to another point. Check around to find out what the response times on your set are. They'll be measured in milliseconds or frames. Lower the better. Samsungs may have gotten better, but for awhile they were known to be one of the slowest out there. You can check this information out often from the set specs themselves and if you can't find that, go look around for info on your prospective set at avsforum.com -- in fact, you should give it a look there to see if someone has recently asked the same question as you (almost assuredly). If not, post your own. You'll get some decent advice as to some sets to look for that perform well and are within your budget. Keep in mind that every set has one downfall or another - so don't get hung up trying to aim for perfection. If this will be primarily used for, say, gaming and Netflix - then just get something of nice size with decent display and low input lag. On the other hand, if you were primarily looking for something for an uber theater where every detail and color has to be perfect for your nit-picky eyes. . . . well, then that's a different priority all together. :)
The sets i have now are a 60" Sony SXRD from several years ago (rear DLP, instead of the current slim flat-panels). Even though it's the biggest, I never even use it. It just sits in the family room, doing nothing. My more recent sets are LGs. I've found that LG is a really solid choice for affordable consumer-level sets. They usually have low input lag (maybe not the absolute lowest, but low enough), very nice image quality, and don't really seem to run into a lot of problems. I would suggest looking for an LG LCD that is 60hz or 120hz (it's getting harder to find plain 60hz-only sets now, so probably 120hz) and doesn't have all the fancy internet connection garbage. LED backlight will be spendy. Actual LED *display* even more so. Probably just look for standard LCD flat panel model.
As for the actual buying: I would advise not buying directly at a store, unless you're certain of the deal. Best Buy and similar stores are going to be way over priced. Even specialty home theater shops will probably be overpriced (however, you can usually work a deal with them - the last set I bought that wasn't via Amazon was $4,000 and I offered the sales guy $3,000 cash on the spot - walked out the door with a new set). Amazon has a lot of good deals, good shipping (usually free), and while I don't advise getting extended warranties for most products, it might be looking into one of them on Amazon if that's where you get the set (I've been using the third party warranty service, squaretrade.com and they seem decent, so far -- and really affordable).
IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE IN MY COMMENT, READ THE FOLLOWING:
* Check for any input lag issues on your set, utilizing avsforum.com as needed. Those people are freaks about A/V stuff.
Also, don't buy into the 120hz/240hz gimmicks. They're not relevant to gaming (and make everything else look unnatural).
YES, a thousand times yes. This. I want to strangle people that turn that MotionFlow bullshit on. That is literally the worst looking thing in the world.
Personally, I've had two Samsung plasmas and I love them very, very much. I still think they're the best looking TVs on the market and they are also not the most expensive.
Amazon is great about returning items. Not sure about TVs, though I believe they often state that they have a 30 day return policy on them. You'd probably want to find a place with the same or similar set you want to buy in meat-space. Check it out. Make sure you want it. Then go find it online (at Amazon or elsewhere) if you can't get a similar deal in person. If the set ends up having problems, you'd just end up dealing with the manufacturer or whoever your warranty is through if you get a third party or extended warranty.
@Branthog: Thanks for your response and good explanation. I did read all of it. What has kept me from getting a TV on Amazon was I heard if you need to return it they can be a pain. I'll look into it a little more though. Thanks again.