If you are happy with the reception of your samsung, I can't understand why you would consider switching brands when in the market for a new one? My advice would be to go with what has worked well for you.
Features and specification change from model to model and year to year so sticking with a particular brand is not a good policy for making purchase decisions. Most "name brand" TV makers no longer manufacture smaller sets. They outsource them to other companies so components may be quite different from flagship models or previous years.
Having said that, Panasonic has a reputation for having the best OTA tuners so it may be a good bet. Just make sure the particular model lives up to that reputation. Samsung appears to have significantly cut the quality of their low end models to compete in the low price segment of the TV marketplace so those models are not a good bet. Toshiba is currently experiencing serious financial problems so that may be another reason to avoid the Toshiba set.
I always go with the TV that has the best picture for the price. An external tuner or, preferably, a DVR can be added later for OTA use. One exception may be for a TV that is being used for DXing.
Keep in mind that unless they have changed things, Samsung TV's are VERY difficult to enter OTA channels directly. Most often a channel scan is required and it usually doesn't pick up all the channels you are looking for. If you have co channel interference/overlap in your area, especially after days of major tropo activity, this can become a real pain. I currently have two Samsung TV's and they were bought because in my opinion they had the best picture. However I didn't investigate thoroughly enough the way they are set up in the tools/menu for OTA. I have found that the LG/Zenith TV's are setup well for OTA with relatively easy access to signal strength indicators and manual entry of the digital broadcast number. Also, since most TV's these days are so called "smart" TV's, the Samsung smarts are very poor in my opinion. All online content that it accesses is through the Samsung server...something that they don't tell you when you buy the set. In this way they control the apps and probably they get a kickback or cut of revenue from the app designer or advertising they present and they can control what you can watch. You are better off with a plain old TV and a chromecast which will allow you to view anything online on your TV. There is further discussion regarding best OTA tuners elsewhere on this site. It's informative reading. You might want to check it out...
The model year of TVs is also important. There have been significant advances in ATSC tuners over the past 10-15 years. Sets with high end tuners made in the past 5 years would have a much better tuner than a comparable set that is 10-15 years old. I would guess that a lot of set makers now use lower quality OTA chips to save costs since features like apps for OTT services have become more important as a selling point. My newest TV doesn't have a tuner but it does have Netflix.
I've tested several TV's in the last few years and have learned the following. 2010 Samsung has a fairly good tuner but not quite as sensitive as a 2010 Sony. A 2014 Insignia has a better tuner than the 2010 Samsung. A 2015 LG and 2016 Insignia have tuners that are equally sensitive. A 2015 Samsung is the worst of the bunch.
I will be shopping for a new 32 inch very soon since I want a TV that is lighter weight to mount on the wall. Don't dare try it with the 2010 Samsung which I still own since it weighs something like 20 lbs. without the mounting bracket. I will be doing more research on Tuners to see what is best. Didn't know that Panasonic still made TV's? Will have to look at them.
My 32" Toshiba set weighed about 50-60lb. It was a chore to lift, especially to a wall mount. It was a 2004 model.
Most 32" sets sold these days are rock bottom in price and quality. Be prepared to spend a little more for a decent tuner, or any tuner at all. As I already mentioned, another option would be to get a DLNA tuner or PVR and a smart TV that supports DLNA. That would open up a lot of options such as watching OTT services, recorded TV and other content on disk in addition to watching live TV.
As far as make of TV is concerned, the traditional big name brands aren't interested in the low end of the market. Better value will be found in some of the smaller, newer brands such as Vizio or TCL. They all probably roll off the same assembly lines anyway. The younger companies just have lower prices and offer more features and better quality components in order to get market share the big brands take for granted.
ExDilbert. Funny that you should mention TCL. Someone on the TV Fool forum swears his TCL TV has a better tuner for OTA than LG or any other new TV. Someone else said it stunk. Not sure who to believe.
I would rather not buy a TV larger than 32 inches. The larger TV's give off a lot more heat due to the power requirements. Even my 2010 Samsung seems to clock in at 175 watts in average use and that poses some issues in the warmer months in the room where it is located. Newer 32 inch TV's use a fraction of that power.
Are you sure a 40 inch TV would have a superior OTA tuner to a 32 inch? I would think they are all the same these days based upon what I've read. Do they have different tuners for lower end gear vs. higher end gear? I know there are differences with some when it comes to Smart TV features.
To be honest I only watch OTA TV. Not a junkie by any stretch. I don't need Smart TV features either. Just a good, stable and sensitive OTA tuner in a TV that does not use a lot of juice.
I only mentioned TCL because I just read a review mentioning how good the picture was on one of their 32" sets. Unfortunately, it didn't mention the OTA tuner. Like many makers, they have 4 series of sets with different panels and different features. They all have OTA tuners but the company lists no info on them like sensitivity, S/N ratio or adjacent channel rejection. There may be a difference in tuners between series or maybe not. Once the field has been narrowed, it may be possible to obtain tuner specifications or chip type from the makers.
The main difference in power draw is due to panel type, back lighting and size of set. Most TVs these days are LCD with LED backlighting. That's a significant power saving over florescent back lighting that was more common over 5 years ago. LED backlighting can be either edge lit or side lit. Back lit is generally better with more lights being better and dynamic brightness being better still. In addition to providing a better picture, dynamic brightness can save power as can simply turning down the level on the backlighting. Some sets may also offer power saving modes.
TVs with best reception OTA
"Best" is a very subjective term and can vary depending on perception and circumstances. What is best in a rural environment with distant channels could be worst in dense urban areas with many high powered signals. Maybe the "best" questions to ask are things like what tuner chip is in each TV model, what are the specs and how well will it work in my environment.
Ideally the best way to test the OTA tuners is to have the store hook up the sets to an OTA antenna and do a side by side comparision. I wonder how many stores would do it and what lame excuses for not doing so would they come up with?
Location: Primary: Bradford ON, 6th Line and West Park Ave Secondary: S Legion Dr Buffalo NY
IMO, the best OTA tuner will depend on what the characteristcs of the signals in your reception area.
If you are dealing with multi-path issues, you may find that a tuner that equalizes and resolves signals coming from two directions may not do as well with very weak signals and vice versa.
Unfortunately, real time comparisons may not be too helpful; even bringing rabbit ears that capture whatever signal is present in the showroom will not help you choose the tuner that will work the best with your home signal.
Fortunately, pre-amps can lower the noise figure of the tuner to help stabilize weak channels and antennas with narrower beams can reduce multi-path.
Chinadog. Good information. I've got a strange situation though. I am able to receive three relatively weak stations at my home when I point my UHF antenna at a neighbors home. LOL However, when I point the UHF at 15 degrees where the towers are located, one station will come in if I have the antenna at around 17 feet in height. Another at around 15 feet in height (when I lower it a couple of feet) and the other one comes in at either height. And when I move the mast 10 feet to the west these stations only seem to come in when I point the antenna back at the neighbors roof. That is where I will be leaving the antenna since I need the other spot for something else.
Thus in my case multiparty may actually be helping at least in the case of receiving the weaker out of town signals. NM on all three ranges from 4 to about 8 on the plus side. All are two edge.
One thing I've learned is that I have better success receiving these signals along with the local stations with a 4 bay or 8 bay. Get less break up in the signals on channels that break up with a Yagi. Yagi styles are not good at my location probably since I am in a urban area near a lot of towers and the area is multipath prone.
Just an idle thought out of curiosity...You know where you get certain channels well and you can see where TVFool shows the transmission points for those channels. By using TVFool and clicking on "Satellite" as well as "Show lines pointing to each transmitter" and then zooming right in on your house it may be possible for you to determine where you "think" the signals are bouncing in order to get to your various, known, good reception locations. Armed with that information you might then be able to guestimate where the optimal location for your antenna to get all your channels might be...and then give that location a try.