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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.

Diane : Find the model number and check on the internet - the spec will say if its analogue only, but a 12 year old Toshiba TV should have freeview as standard. To get a signal, you need to hook it up to an aerial - the scarts will give a signal as well, but only from a DVD or PVR.

If you can get a signal from an aerial, then thats a good start.

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Roy: I hadnt heard about that particular problem, although I will ask in tech support tomorrow and the Panaonic rep when I am working. Its not unknown for EPG software to just get too old to be compatable - thats sort of what happened to our ony PVR about 6 years ago when there was a slight change to the EPG and every machine in the country threw a wobbly. Its not just Panasonic, but you might have just been unlucky. In any case, think of your set as just a panel, and then plug in stuff to upgrade where needed. With my TV salesman hat on, I would say after eight eyars, your due an upgrade anyway, and so one size up from your current set, and stick to the big four brands!

Your slight problem will be to get a cheap set top box - Freeview HD ones are difficult to get hold of (and dont bother with the Manhattens - I have one and its now barely useable), but Freesat ones like the one that Humax does will do fine.

If you are looking for a box, then look to kill two birds with one stone and get a PVR. They will be smart (and the latest versions will have wifi), have two or more HD tuners, and so will be able to stream, record and watch live. ?129 for the BT Youview PVR (Humax under the bonnet) but no wifi is the cheapest, but its worth waiting until Dec 26th - the sales might get you something even better for the same money or clearance models might be available at good prices - always worth looking at returns.

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Rod: Tablets and phones often have small speakers at the front or side of the tablet, and are obviously pretty close to the user. TV speakers are actually a lot more powerful (2 x 10W on a 40in plus), but are generally tucked underneath, for design purposes.

We want slim flat TV's these days, and that means somethings got to give - and thats the sound. To be fair, even the average CRT was not designed to have great sound, it was an afterthought even then, but the weight and bulk of such a set gave a better resonance and simply more space. TV manufacturers are not trying to make TV's sound bad to sell extra soundbars - its just the nature of the beast.

Spend about ?185 or more on a decent mid range soundbar and you will be fine - 300w or more, digital optical and HDMI input (better sound and the ability to control the volume with the TV remote) wireles sub (much easier to hide away). You can spend a lot more (Sonos is very popular), but even a ?80 soundbar from a decent make will greatly improve the sound, if only because it might be 4 times the output of the TV itself.

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Roy: I had a word with the Panasonic rep, who aid that he had a 10 year old TV from another brand which had a similar problem, and one of the people I work with said that some customers had reported a similar problem.

The reality is that the EPG is software, and like all software, it gets to the point that its less likely to be supported. Modern smart TV's have an advantage in that being automatically connected to the net, they get automatic updates. Older sets needed to be updated via a flash drive, with the update software loaded via the companies website, and then put into a usb slot on the side (hence the reason TV's have them).

On an eight year old set, you have to wonder when the last update for the software was available, but google the model and see if there is firmware support you can download. A search in the TV's setup menu should tell you what version it is, and then you can check if a later one is available.

Its worth giving it a go, because it costs you nothing . If it works, great. If not, you havnt lost anything and you still have other options. It didnt work for my Sony PVR, despite my best efforts, but thats the way it goes.

MikeP - I would disagree - the reason for increasing the size of the set is simple - its usually going to be a better picture (in terms of resolution), we are watching HD more (which improves the picture anyway), and you will have got used to that size - just as I cant get into a suit from 15 years ago (sadly), so it will look odd to stay with the same sized screen, plu that TV will actually be smaller.

A 40in TV from ten years ago (with an SD tuner) was 39.5in wide. Now, its 36in wide (actually, they are all 43in now, but anyway). The frame around the edge had hugely shrunk.

That means if you go up one size (to a 49in), the loss of bulk in the frame around the screen means the TV is only 43in wide. And since its going to have an HD tuner , the picture will look better anyway, plus a 4K set (and they are all 4K these days) will upscale very well from HD. So you can sit closer to the set, or go up a size or more - and so going up is fine.

And with a 4K set, that screen resolution is potentially the same as your local multiplex, and the size of the screen to distance ratio is way closer in a cinema than at home. But we will mostly be watching upscaled HD (4k is via streaming, discs or Sky Q/Virgin at present), so you dont need to sit too close - 2 to 2.5 times the size of screen away is my recommendation (which is much more conservative than the figures quoted above). The ratio used to be 2.5-3 times the size, hence the larger screen at the same distance.

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