The Lobby: Off-topic discussion

Hello and welcome to The Lobby! Your place to discuss subjects that just don’t fit in our other conversations. Make yourself at home!

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Do you want to discuss an issue but can’t find the right place to post it? Or maybe you’re looking for somewhere to chat with your community pals? Well, you’ve come to the right place…

As with any community or conversation it can – and does – wander off-topic. This is perfectly natural, but it hasn’t always been possible to do so on some of our posts because of the precisely defined nature of each subject.

So, at the behest of some of our community members, we created this off-topic discussion area – The Lobby.

Any ideas spawned here in The Lobby could generate new posts for debate and discussion on Which? Conversation, so you – our community members – are able to help shape the direction of our community.

What happened to the original Lobby?

Why do we have two Lobbies? Well, like all good franchises, we wanted to experiment with a sequel. But seriously, the original Lobby was so popular (with almost 13,000 comments), it was becoming hard to load the page.

So we’re starting fresh with what we’re affectionately calling “The Lobby 2”.

No comments from first Lobby have been deleted, and you can still link to comments, but you won’t be able to add new comments.


To ensure The Lobby remains a healthy and friendly place for you all to share your thoughts, musings all of our Community Guidelines apply, with the exception of one:

You may go off-topic… that is the purpose of The Lobby.  🙂

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So without further ado… welcome! What are you waiting for!?


I recently discovered that research causes cancer in rats.

I’ve just received a letter inviting me to do jury service. That should be interesting.

I did get an invitation back in the 90s but was excused because I had been invited to lecture in an overseas university and had obtained a visa.

Anyone else done jury service in a Crown Court?

I did. The trial was abandoned after a first session due to the judge being ill – so it was rescheduled at a later date with a new jury.

I then sat around in the waiting room much like a soap opera actor does in among the dingy props waiting to be called to the stage. After, I think, a week, I was discharged.

The process is arcane and extremely inefficient.

That’s no fun, Roger. At least you can reply to the Jury Summons online these days. It’s not comforting to learn that ‘very few trials will last 200 days’.

Edit: Jon – I was watching this video earlier and spotted the Which? magazine – about two minutes from the start.

Yes, twice, but my caring duties took precedent on the third request. I think they spray the court room with “Eau- De- Gloom” in preparation as the place was devoid, even, of lavender wax on the woodwork. I took notes in the jury box. The Judge noticed, looked, and said nothing. I found them useful when we debated afterwards. My only worry was getting involved in something really unpleasant. I was fortunate that my villain wasn’t the homicidal type. There are fifteen jurors to choose from for each trial so you may escape. Good luck.

Thanks Vynor. I will be glad when it’s over. Thankfully I live a fair distance from the court.

Utterly off topic, in the centenary anniversary of Asimov’s birth I thought this quote by the great man is both current and very apt:

“The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.”

Kevin says:
6 January 2020

Perhaps we have reached an era when the three laws of robotics are not only being applied in the opposite sense to decision making, but the decision makers are celebrated for it.
Ignorance has become an aspiration for some.

We do rely on a background of knowledge, an awareness of circumstance and an ability to articulate within our parliamentary chambers. Generally speaking they are there. MPs are usually informed and have read the paperwork. There is a difference between someone who uses obtuse and incomprehensible language within a debate in order to intimidate and subdue, and someone who uses their intelligence to make a valid case. Part of that intellect will be used to make every point count. I always support those who speak directly and clearly. In specialist areas, among specialists, intellectual argument is progressed by short cuts that the average listener would fail to understand. There is nothing wrong with that, provided the following press report translates these deliberations.
I am struggling to agree with the notion that if you are an intellectual then you are out of touch. I can think of many who infuriate and who work on a higher plain than most of us, expecting us to follow, and we don’t. In general, we know when someone is blinding us with science or writing incomprehensible prose and verse. It might make us cross, but that is probably because of our own shortcomings rather than theirs. Asimov seems to be suggesting a kind of intellectual jealousy. Just because “they” can spout, then they are to be hated. We know better because we have our feet on the ground. The gut instinct takes over from the reasoned logic. I can’t actually think of many examples where this works. Those who see democracy in terms of the way it affects them personally and impinges on their perceived values are probably not going to be interested in “your knowledge.” They are not going to make a comparison of these things when a pint at the local will sort everything out. Asimov wants us to believe that there is conflict here. I would suggest that there is no conflict, just a simple disconnect between the two states.
It does seem difficult to divide society in this way. There will be many who are able to take a broad view of the world, enjoy the arts and culture and form opinions from the media, reading, conversation and personal life experience. They will appreciate talent and intellect when they encounter it. Some will believe that the street culture is what matters, some will correspond with universities and write papers. We all live in the same place and by the law of happy mediums, Asimov, in my view, is wrong!

I’m not sure that Asimov was saying that an intellectual (is) out of touch. I suspect it’s more likely that he was commenting on the tendency in some Western societies to belittle the educated.

It seems to start in the UK at a very early age. In schools, and primarily among boys, those who achieve well and are perceived as trying hard to succeed can quickly become the targets of the less able. It might be part of the herd mentality but I also have little doubt that those who use English well are often publicly disparaged. And that could be considered a form of conflict.

I think Asimov was equating the fate of the educated with populism; the current US president being a prime example.

Does anyone know what’s happened to dieseltaylor and Guy Chapman?

Is Duncan on holiday? Is he okay? He hasn’t posted in over 2 weeks

I know a little about dieseltaylor. He has posted under this username and as Patrick Taylor. He now lives abroad and no longer posts frequently. He generally does not log in, which means that you cannot search for posts.

Welcome to Old Rock Day, the day in 1610 when Galileo Galilei discovered Io, Europa & Ganymede, the day in 1714 when the typewriter was patented by Englishman Henry Mill and the day in 1999 on which Clinton’s impeachment trial began in the US Senate.

Very good!

Tom spent years trying to find a cure for his halitosis, only to find people didn’t like him, anyway.

Never go to a Doctor whose office plants have died

And never trust an optometrist who won’t look you in the eye.

What good is a mouthwash that kills germs? Who wants a mouthful of dead germs?

Which? has done a First Look Review on the Samsung QE98Q950R TV, which has a screen size of 98 inches and will set you back around £70,000. As it says in the review, it: “costs the same as a small house in some areas of the UK”.

I wonder how many Which? subscribers would be willing to consider such a purchase?

You could put it in your garden and open your own drive in cinema 🙂

I would not know whether to go for a repayment or endowment mortgage on it.

I echo Derek’s query. Is this the best use of Which?’s resources?

Did Which? actually buy one of those things, and if not, how did they get access to it? It does seem a total waste of energy and resources for anything other than commercial use, where revenue is expected. I wonder what possessed Samsung to make it?

Samsung have a history making huge TV displays. I remember some years ago they boasted a 70″ model, that cost around the same price as this one but they soon plummet in price. Our latest acquisition is a 65″ OLED, which cost under £2k.

I’m not defending W? in this instance, since I have some sympathy with the comments made, but I have for a very long time been exasperated by Which?’s attitude towards screen size, patiently lecturing us about the ‘right’ size screen for the size of room.

They utterly missed the point that cinematic features are made for very large screens (I could never fathom out why my parents would take me to the cinema and insist on sitting as far back from the screen as possible; what was the point of that?) and, as a keen viewer of the visual arts I want to enjoy them with as much of my field of vision as possible being filled by the art – not an inky blackness. Surely I can’t be the only person?

It’s akin to someone who goes to the Ballet and chooses the farthest seat from the stage; unless you have binoculars you might as well stay home and watch it on TV.

The argument against buying and testing a huge TV screen can, I think, be put down to the use of scarce resources and the possible relevance to subscribers. But we don’t really know how many subscribers have that amount of disposable income and a huge TV display as a priority. I guess the counter argument is should W? only review things affordable by the majority? That would certainly take a lot of the current offerings in the Which? Car magazine out of play.

I don’t think this is clear cut.

When I was a young lad in the 1950s my parents bought a 17 inch Ekco television receiver to enable us to watch BBC TV. Eventually we could receive ITV too. TVs have grown and the replacement of cathode ray tubes with flat screens means that there is effectively no limit in size of TV screens. If I wanted one larger than my 40 inch TV I would go for a projector.

Hi all. I’d agree that £70,000 is a crazy amount for any product, let alone a TV. To clarify:

Which? didn’t buy this TV, nor would we as you rightly point out there’s no value in a full review. This model was seen by our TVs expert at a Samsung event in which it showcases all its latest TVs to us – from its lower range more affordable sets right the way up to this one.

The write-up, I believe, is mainly intended to discuss the impressive tech behind such a large screen (8k content, for instance) and what exactly a panel like that can achieve. Something this big is more of a novelty, and people do tend to read/search for items like that just to see what they’re all about.

We’re not going to test it, and I’m as happy about that as you are! I wonder how you’d get it through the door. I struggled enough with my sofa.

The 8K content is what drives the cost up. Our 65″ is 4K and really that’s superb. Not sure the extra 5″ screen size would make that much difference.

I find the gradual evolution in our lives interesting. When I was a child my grandmother managed to cook meals in a tiny kitchen. I had one like that when I was living in a one bedroom flat. Many kitchens are huge these days.

I assumed from the comments in First Look at the large TV that Which? would not be taking a second look, but there are plenty of reviews of 65 inch TVs because people buy them.

An alternative is to buy a digital projector and a large screen. My sons use this very effectively, mainly for films. Cost them around £500; they are handy so did the simple installation themselves.

Since we’re on the subject of tv’s, Martin, could you and your expert give an opinion of whether plasma tv’s are better than oled ones?

I don’t have either myself, but if any Which readers do, they’d want to know whether going from a plasma fo an oled was an improvement in picture quality

Plasma TVs are obsolescent and I have not seen any in recent Which? reviews, Wev. Oled uses significantly less power.

I’m not the TVs expert (that team is quite busy at the moment with the latest from CES) but, as far as I was aware, plasma TVs are no longer being made. There’s some interesting info on why that happened here:

All the top scoring models Which? has tested are either OLED or QLED – you have to go down quite far before you come across a standard LCD Best Buy.

Given the leaps in technology in TVs over the last few years and the fact that plasma screens are no longer being made, you’d expect an OLED or QLED set to give a better picture than a plasma.

Plasma tv’s have always had a reputation for having the deepest blacks in any picture. Black actually looks black on a plasma, as it should. LCD and OLED have problems that grey or white the blacks a bit, like backlight bleed and IPS Glow, and other problems like picture clouding and uneven brightness across the display screen. I’ve heard nothing to suggest that oleds have solved any of the problems and surpassed plasmas on picture quality, especially colour reproduction and vividness

Display technology has come a long way since plasma, and both LCD/LED and OLED technologies are far more mature than even a couple of years ago.

OLEDs now hold the crown for the blackest blacks. Unlike other kinds of screen they are ’emissive’, meaning the LED pixels themselves generate the screen’s light and their brightness is addressable at a per-pixel level (there is no backlight – and hence thankfully no backlight bleed is possible). This means that when pixels are black on an OLED screen, they are absolutely black – the LEDs themselves are completely off with no light coming from them or from a backlight behind. This gives them the highest contrast ratio and blackest blacks of any screen. As an example of what this can achieve, ASUS just launched a monitor with 1400 nits peak brightness that can have adjacent pixels that are completely black and scorchingly bright respectively. The individual pixel control also means you can get a much more sharply defined image than any other screen technology. Another feature that makes OLED screens probably the top technology for TV/film watching now is that they have extremely wide viewing angles compared to other types of screen.

Probably the biggest con with OLEDs is that some cheaper/older panels can suffer ‘burn-in’, where a static image left on the screen for too long can result in a ghost of that image remaining on the screen – a problem that was similarly the case in plasma screens but which doesn’t affect CRTs and is less likely on LED displays. However, this is now unlikely to occur and in the few circumstances that could result in it (i.e. using it as a PC monitor and leaving it turned on with just the desktop displaying for many days in a row) this is already becoming much less likely thanks to various improvements.

Conventional LED screens have also improved hugely in the last few years, with most decent ones now having lots of individual dimming zones (some with thousands on a single screen) to reduce glow in dark areas. Well-designed LED screens will have little to no backlight bleed nowadays, and gaming-oriented LED screens can now achieve real refresh rates as high as 360Hz, far surpassing any other screen technology to date.

The one thing plasma still has going for it is the fast response time – often way below 1ms. That said, LEDs can achieve 1ms as well, and nothing faster than this is really perceptable to humans, so it’s not much of a feature. Add in plasma’s exceptionally high energy consumption, enormous weight, low resolution and lack of modern I/O and features since they stopped being produced about 6/7 years ago and unfortunately they are now well behind the pack when it comes to top displays.

Of course, ultimately a lot of it comes down to the type of image you enjoy seeing – but personally I’d choose to customise that in software and firmware on a top OLED and retain the option of the very best high contrast image available.

You can find a pretty good comparison of the different technologies here:,_LCD,_Plasma,_and_OLED_displays

You would not be impressed by my old LCD or LED TV, Adam.

What interests me more is sound quality. My old Sony is abysmal, but using an external amplifier and speakers works fine. I’ve met some truly diabolical TVs in hotel rooms and the brand ‘Cello’ comes to mind.

Do any of the modern TVs produce decent sound quality without using an external amp or soundbar?

Fantastic Adam, thanks for your reply

Oled may be better now, but I have to wonder. If plasma hadn’t been discontinued and kept improving every year, would the best plasma today beat the best oled? Plasma was ahead of lcd and oled picture quality when it was stopped. Where would it be today if it had continued?

Anyway, since we’re talking about tech and tech reviews. Do Which headphone reviewers take glasses wearing into account for sound quality and long hours comfort? A lot of headphones need a perfect airtight seal around ears to sound good, and wearing glasses prevents that since the headphone cups rest on the glasses frame handles. A lot of headphones also have strong clamping, which can be quite uncomfortable over time since they’re pressing the handles into your head

You may also find this video about the latest smartphones worth watching

Projector systems have hopeless blacks and hence not a lot of contrast unless you are watching at night or with black-out curtains on all walls (and even then contrast is far poorer than even a half decent LCD/LED – or even CRT display..

Plasma had two inherent problems. Despite what wev says about “best blacks”, they actually were not. These devices had to have a small amount of beam emission to work. Put the lights out and a plasma screen glows when switched on (and warmed up).

The second problem – as Adam says quite rightly – is the weight. These are vacuum devices so need thick glass to withstand atmospheric pressure.

The reason plasma has a fast response time is that the beam is always on to some extenet – no beam inertia. OLEDs could easily be that fast if a small amount of emission on black were acceptable! Cue QLED!

@wavechange the long answer is ‘kinda, a few’ and the short answer is no. It’s simply a question of size and space – TVs are now unbelievably thin and there is no conventional way yet to get brilliant sound out of something that small.

The ‘kinda’ comes from the fact that some recent OLEDs have experimented with putting actuators on the back of the screen, with an acoustic membrane on the surface of the screen itself, which vibrates (at a visually imperceptible level) to create the sound. However, these models are extremely expensive and – to my ear – not close to the sound that a good conventional speaker system will put out. For now the best bet is still to place conventional speakers (or a sound bar) as needed and connect them either with wires or wirelessly.

Thanks Adam. I had read about the possibility of using the screen itself, which is rather innovative even if it’s not the best solution. I will carry on using an amplifier and speakers, wired for the time being. Thanks for dropping in.

Roger, the best plasma tvs didn’t seem to have the glow problem

“The LX5090’s black level advances are down in no small part to the introduction of a new, even more refined version of Pioneer’s already class-leading Direct Colour Filter technology, via which Pioneer has managed to pretty much completely stop plasma cells from bleeding light”

“The KURO disappears when in a dark room, with its phosphor cells unnoticeable. Combined with inky black levels even in high-contrast scenes, no brightness bleeding and huge dynamic range, the Pioneer KURO PDP-LX509A is still our benchmark for television picture quality”

I had not appreciated this development, Wev – thanks for enlightenment. Once priorities on my time ease a little I will research this technology – just for enlightenment. I agree that it may have been price-competitive but for the still-more recent disrupting technologies which have the advantages of not having to withstand a vacuum, lower weight per unit of surface area and larger inherent maximum size limit.

Welcome to Earth Rotation Day, the day in 1989 when a Boeing 737-400 crashed at Kegworth, and the day in 1978 when All Creatures Great and Small started.

Medicine has now advanced to the point where it’s impossible for a Doctor to examine a patient and not find something wrong

What d’you give a man who has everything? Antibiotics.

I’m sure that joke predates penicillin.


Kevin says:
8 January 2020

Sadly in many cases it’s been the same answer for the person who has nothing wrong with them.

Pity we can’t repurpose the irrational vaccine memes and turn them against routine antibiotic use.

I would say at the moment the NHS is being particularly strict on the prescription of antibiotics – well, at my surgery anyway. They will only be prescribed for one week at a time and there will be a further review before any repeat prescription. The doctors and nurses seem to be under strict instructions to abide by this.

I feel this approach is long overdue. They are also refusing to prescribe any medicines that are commonly available over the counter [except in particularly necessitous cases]. They are pushing patients with simple ailments towards the pharmacies which I think is another good move.

I sincerely hope so. Here are some figures for antibiotic use in medicine and in farming:

I agree on the value of visiting pharmacies but am concerned about antibiotics and other prescription drugs being available to the public online.

An apple a day keeps the Doctor away but an onion does the job for a week.

. . . and sometimes the doctor says they will need a second onion from a consultant.

Welcome to Static Electricity Day, the day in 1839 when the Daguerreotype photo process was announced and the day in 1909 Shackleton reached a record farthest South latitude (88°23′ south).

You know there’s something wrong with you when the Doctor puts a suggestion box at the end of your bed.

A pal of mine was thrown out of a hospital. After two days he took a turn for the nurse.

Hypochondria is the only disease I haven’t got

I prescribe a double dose of placebo.

Welcome to Cut Your Energy Costs Day, the day in 1839 when tea from India first arrives in Britain and the day in 1947 on which British stopped the Independence & In-Gathering from landing in Israel.

The colder the X-Ray table, the more of your body that is required on it.

The new pills I got from my GP were fantastic, but they made me walk like a crab. He told me that was a side effect.