The UX of New LED Televisions

46″ is just not big enough for our living room.  We moved the couch forward, but that wasn’t a satisfying answer.  I wanted more screen real estate.  Here are some of my findings:

Buying Experience
I purchased from Best Buy even though I could get it for $100 cheaper from Amazon. I just wanted to see the televisions up close, smell them, lick the glass.  Best Buy has this section called Magnolia.  It is the fancy-pants luxury section.  The TVs are stunning.  The sound equipment is awesome.  It’s a technophile’s paradise.  I wanted the
85″ mega TV, but $40,000 was way past my price range.  Man, that TV was gorgeous.  The presentation is so good, it really pushed me into buying right away rather than shop around.

The One I Got
It was past what I wanted to spend, but I have always splurged on televisions.  I’d be happy with a cheaper car, but the TV has to be super-deluxe.  I got the Sharp LC-70LE857 70-inch Aquos Quattron 1080p 240Hz LED 3D HDTV.  Why this one?  I try to find the sweep spot of diminishing returns.  The picture was better than the low-end 70″ TVs, but cheaper than the high-end 70″ ones.  It didn’t include 4G, which one day will haunt me.  In many ways, I think this is flawed thinking, but I am not a maximizer.  I am a satisficer and this TV met my criteria.  It was thin and bright with a crisp picture and most of all, it was 70″.

The Mounting Experience
The key to mounting a TV is to find the wood studs in the wall.  I had a stud finder, but it was broken.  I bought a new stud finder, but that didn’t work either.  I exchanged it for a better stud finder and that one worked, barely.  The instructions on the mounting kit were written by idiots.  They could learn alot from IKEA.  It was incredibly hard to follow.  Plus, I had to go online and fill out a form to figure out how high to put the holes.  I tried several times to think it through.  Once you drill holes and mount it, you really don’t want to do it again.

I measured and measured and measured again.  Then I drilled the holes and, with my wife, mounted the TV on the wall.  It was heavy, but we pulled it off.  I looked at my handy-work and realized…it’s about 1.5 inches higher than I think it should be.  Ugh.  If it was 5 inches, I would re-mount.  But 1.5?

closeEnough

 

Oh yeah, I also mounted the brackets a little wrong so the “tilt-angle tightening mechanism” were inverted.  (Don’t ask)  Again, I had a work around, so I didn’t bother remounting.

The Wires
All the inputs are hard to see and hard to reach when it’s mounted.  I think these things are designed to either be mounted on the stand, like a table-top or mounted on the walls with dedicated pipes through the wall to avoid unsightly wires.  The latter costs alot of money, so I didn’t want to do it.  It’s cool, but will likely only be useful for 1 TV generation.  My next TV might be a projector, so those holes in the walls could be a real pain.  I grouped all the wires together in a single tube and ran it underneath.

tvPlacement

 

The Viewing Experience
Ack, the colors are horrible!  What the hell!?  Apparently the out of the box experience sucks ass.  Everything looked jacked. We did some research and found that there are a bazillion settings for this thing.  Here are the ones I found online:

Calibration settings:

  • OPC: off
  • Backlight: +10
  • Contrast: +30
  • Brightness: +3
  • Color: -2
  • Tint: +8
  • Sharpness: 0

C.M.S. -Hue:

  • R- +6
  • Y- -1
  • G- 0
  • C- +16
  • B- -14
  • M- -7

C.M.S. -Saturation

  • R- -3
  • Y- 0
  • G- -4
  • C- +14
  • B- -4
  • M- -6

C.M.S. -Value

  • R- 0
  • Y- +5
  • G- +5
  • C- +7
  • B- 0
  • M- -2

Other

  • Color Temp: Med-High
  • R Gain (hi): -30
  • G Gain (hi): -3
  • B Gain (hi): +3
  • Motion Enhancement: AquoMotion240
  • Quad Pixel Plus 2 (advanced)
  • Active contrast (off)
  • Gamma Adjustment: 0
  • Film mode (advanced)
  • Digital Noise Reduction (Middle)
  • Monochrome (off)

Ahhh! Now that is much better.  The crazy colors went away and everything looked pretty good.  Who the heck knows what all these settings do and why someone would use them?  Certainly not me.

The Extras
There are so many “apps” on televisions now.  YouTube, Picassa and Tumbler and Pandora and a dozen more.  Even the remote control has a dedicated Netflix button.  Why would I want that?  It ruins the remote for me. I don’t use Netflix anymore.  Am I going to buy Netflix just because the remote has a button??  Plus new apps come up all the time.  I know my TV isn’t going to keep it up to date.

There is a USB plug, which I would certainly use.  However, it can’t read my DivX files for some reason.  More research is required, but the one thing I want it to do, it doesn’t.  The only thing I use my DVD player for these days is playing DivX files.  Maybe I shouldn’t have given away my Apple TV.  I am sure I will find a way.

3D
What a stupid technology.  First of all, there is virtually no content with 3D.  There are two stations and one of them is shutting down.  Secondly, the glasses are uncomfortable.  They don’t feel natural and work like complete crap if it is during the day with sunlight on the windows.  Lastly, they give me motion sickness.  I can’t shake the feeling something is wrong.

3D is not ready for prime-time.  Call me when they can project holograms into my living room with no glasses.  In the meantime, just remove all that crap from the TV.  It’s distracting and probably costs money.

Summary
I’m pretty happy.  It’s big and slim and tilted down at a great angle.  Maybe I could have paid less or found a better TV for the same price.  Maybe this one will break.  I just don’t know.  These things are so big, it feels like there is risk all over it.  A kid could send a baseball into it.  Still, I have been watching it and it makes me smile.  What else could I ask for?  Until next time…when I get a 90″ behemoth!

One thought on “The UX of New LED Televisions”

  1. I think you bought the TV at a bad time. The 3D TVs and the Apps are just beginning to have features that make sense. Although more 3D content will come, just like HDTV did (I’m not sure why the NFL isn’t in 3D), and there is a chance there might be a change in the standard, which your TV might be not be optimized for. 70″ is pretty awesome, I have a 65″ slim projection TV, which doesn’t have the highest resolution, but the size is great.

    You were pretty brave to spend that much on a TV and install the mount yourself. I don’t know if I’d trust myself.

    I’m surprised the high TVs don’t come with better remotes. The higher end logitech harmony remotes are apparently great and can customize for whatever you have plugged.

    The best thing I have on my TV is the “WD TV HD Media Player” (amazingly, I bought it for $40 on amazon a couple of years ago and now its over $200 for the same thing). Basically, you put media of almost any file type (pictures, music, movies, including divx, etc) onto an external harddrive, plug the hard drive into the Media Player, and plug the Media Player into the TV, via HDMI. Than you can watch whatever is on the hard drive. Although the newer smart TV are supposed to be able to connect directly to your computer and play whatever you have through your home network.

    How long will it be before all TV is accessed via the Internet, either channels as a package, or individually. There are already certain sports that you can view via the internet and you can choose which camera angle you want. Will today’s smart TV be able to take advantage of things like this? Are the days of keeping a TV for 10 years long gone (let alone the old Sony TVs that lasted 20 years).

    Anyway, Congratulations on the new TV. It looks pretty sweet.

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