As much as we all hate to admit it, consumer TVs are installed all the time into meeting rooms and even digital signage applications. And, you can’t blame people for doing it as sometimes it’s cheaper to buy five consumer TVs (buy a new one every time it dies) than one commercial AV display with the same size and resolution specs.
The reasons for not doing this are obvious and I don’t really need to outline ALL of them to you — I would be preaching to the choir, as they say. Consumer TVs are built to be one longer than a few hours a day, most can’t be color-corrected, limited performance and none can be mounted in portrait mode.
But, let’s just admit that there are times where a consumer TV is fine.
So, with that I’m mind, I set out to find out which consumer TVs are the best for this. I decided to focus on the top five brands according to Consumer Report’s last brand study: LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and VIZIO. (As a significant aside, Sharp actually announced today that it would exit the TV business altogether in the Americas after several years of financial struggles.)
The result? Hands-down, the best consumer TV, right now, for ProAV installs is the Samsung Smart TV. And, there’s one biggie that makes it the best choice, right now, for these kinds of applications.
Well, the picture quality of the Samsung TVs is equal to the best — Sony. Panasonic is a near-second place finisher (not by much) and then there’s a giant gap between LG and Vizio. So, you can throw Vizio and LG out.
Next, colorimetry and uniformity. Again, Sony and Samsung are nearly identical, but the Panasonic, although is incredible in colorimetry, uniformity suffers. Just look at one yourself. It’s important to note that this is NOT a [problem, on the commercial monitors from Panasonic — only the consumer TVs. Don’t believe me? Go to Best Buy and see for yourself. Color-wise, they’re incredible. Uniformity: not so much!
Smart-ness: Both Sony and Samsung have so-called Smart TVs. And, their menu structure and apps are nearly identical. But, I’d give Samsung a bit of an edge here as they have adopted the Android operating system and their TV’s seamlessly allow for wireless content from any Android device (and even iOS with a bit of a work-around) to be displayed on the TV with a 15-second process. So, I’d have to give Samsung a bit of an edge here.
Warranty? Well, here’s where it got interesting. Both Sony and Samsung — the two remaining — say their TVs have either an 18-month or one-year warranty, until you read the fine print. Here’s Sony’s warranty and here’s Samsung’s.
When you use them in commercial applications, all of a sudden, the warranty drops to 90 days.
But, guess what? Somehow, Almo Pro A/V sells the Samsung Smart TVs (6200 and 6300 series) with a 1-year warranty. No one else seems to offer the one-year option but them.
Finally, control: So when I call Almo to find out how and why they have a one-year warranty with the Samsung Smart TVs when Samsung only promotes a 90-day warranty, they tell me something else that, boom, put them on top — RS232 control. Almo ships a cable, free, with the Samsung 6200 and 6300 series that converts the EX LINK port on the back of a Samsung Smart TV into RS232. And, you get control over every function via RS232 — not exclusively IR.
So, there you go. In my opinion, today, the best consumer TV line for ProAV applications is the Samsung Smart TV.
Want to see all this on video? Well, here you go:
Part 1 — An Introduction to the Samsung Smart TV and Why It’s Best for ProAV Applications:
Part 2 — RS232 of Samsung Smart TVs:
Part 3 — What about Apps on the Samsung Smart TVs:
Part 4 — Screen Mirroring on a Samsung Smart TV: