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eyepatrol

NEED QUICK HELP! (WHICH TV TO GET?)

20 posts in this topic

Which type of tv would be better to get, plasma or LCD? (or other?) Also, what brand would you recommend? We're looking at getting some sort of flat screen in the 50" - 60" range.

Thanks!

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50/50...

If you are going to be gaming or may have problems with glare, probably lean toward LCD.

If no (or minimal) gaming and glare is not much of an issue, probably lean towards plasma.

Overall, I think the plasmas have a more 3D-like image and better blacks/shadow detail, but I'm a bit biased since I have a plasma set.

LCD sets more commonly have 1080p resolution at reasonable cost although 1080p plasmas are around. In either case, IMO, 1080p is really only a big deal if you plan to get a HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player because there are no 1080p signals broadcast or on cable and regular DVDs are only 480p at best. But then you get into upconversion and all that stuff...

Also, the viewing distance to the set matters in the resolution you get. The closer you sit to the TV, the higher resolution you need to avoid the "screen door effect" - in other words seeing the coarseness of the pixels.

Here is a chart that gives seating distance versus beneficial resolution - it's really the opposite of how many people think about it.

resolution_chart_s.png

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Well Bass, I've done a lot of research on this subject and talked to a great many folks in the business. I will always reccomend SONY as a brand name. But I would also reccomend that you do a LOT of research before you drop your credit card down. There are a multitude of pros/cons about all of them and some interesting detail. I would counsel you to proceed with caution and you'll end up with what you want, can afford, and something that might last a while. cool.gif

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LCD over Plasma, and Sony as well. Find a 1080p because come 2009 you will see a lot more HD broadcasting available, and mandatory per FCC. LCD will have no glare, where as the plasma screen has a lot of glare if you have anything giving off light in front of the screen. The average life of the plasma is less than the LCD, and once the plasma goes you cannot fix it. I would argue that the LCD's have the best picture available.

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Like anything, depends how much $$ you want to spend. I just went through this process a month ago, and was ready to go all out, 1080p, Plasma, 60" and I just couldn't pull the trigger. Here's why:

1) There is no TV programming in 1080p right now, and from what I've read, nobody (dish or cable) is close to having it anytime soon. If you want to actually leverage your 1080p, you are going to have to buy a $700+ Blue-Ray or HD-DVD player, and then the movies are 30 bucks a piece. Unless you are watching tons of movies, in my opinion, it's not worth it.

2) Plasma's are nice, but then you have to buy the mounting bracket and pick a permanent location you want to put the thing. Go to Best Buy, Circuit City, or wherever and tell me that a Plasma's picture is worth 1,000 bucks more than a Rear-Project LCD or DLP. Personally, I didn't think so and couldn't rationalize the extra grand.

3) 1080p is amazing, can't deny that..check out the demo disk they have at Best Buy which shows the watchmaker..incredible, you can see every pore and hair on his hand. But honestly, how much detail do you really need? Remember, no current tv programming in 1080p. Watch HD on a 720p, compare it to your current set, and you'll be blown away.

Here's what I ended up doing after sleeping on it a night:

Ended up getting a 50" Samsung 720p DLP for $1,100 on sale. Absolutely love it! It's a lot lighter than my old 36" TV and I can move it to any room in my house. I am a sports nut, so I'm usually stuck on ESPN/ESPN2 HD. I've been watching all the college basketball conference tournaments this week and I'm in heaven, the picture is amazing!! Keep in mind, you'll need to order the HD programming package through your cable or satellite provider. It's totally worth it, you'll get roughly 10 channels in HD. I find myself watching programs on the Discovery Channel I'm not even interested in, but because the scenery is so incredible in HD, I can't bring myself to turn the channel. If you don't want to spend the extra for the package, all you need is an HD antenna (only 20 bucks) and you'll pick up all the local channels - WCCO, FOX, KSTP, KARE11 in HD (when HD programming is available). I used the extra money I saved to buy a TV stand and receiver for surround sound. I know it's tempting to go all out, so if you have the cash and it's not going to hurt you financially then go for it! For me, the 720p rear projection was the way to go, and I couldn't be happier. Good luck in your search, let us know what you end up getting, and make sure you have it ready to rock before March Madness starts next Thursday grin.gif

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Awesome info guys!!! Our TV broke down this evening and we nearly went out on a whim and bought a plasma, but then we reeled each other back in and decided to do more research, get comments from you good folks, etc. before making ANY decision.

I appreciate the feedback!

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No matter what you buy a plasma or LCD get a Samsung, they have been kicking butt in the tv technology lately. If you research more into this, you will see that Samsung has been in the rated in top.

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I can't say what you should buy but here is what I have

Sony 50" LCD (older style)

I love it and would recommend any of the SOny LCD to anyone.

How is that for a quick answer?

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Don't worry about the 1080p thing....a 1080p TV will upconvert the 1080i or 720p signal to 1080p. I'm aware that the signal isn't 1080p to begin with and it isn't true 1080p blah blah blah......there are pages upon pages of discussion about this single issue on other TV forums but don't sweat it. In fact, it'll probably be hard to find a 720p TV soon and if you don't care about the difference a deal could be had on last year's TV's as more of the new 1080p models are starting to roll out. 720's are becoming antiques.

Check out the Mitsubishi's too....I have a DLP and it's sweet. In a year or two the laser pictures will be out and we'll go through this all over again. BTW, I'd go LCD over plasma regardless of brand.

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Quote:

Find a 1080p because come 2009 you will see a lot more HD broadcasting available, and mandatory per FCC.


I wouldn't spend the extra on a 1080p. The major broadcasters infrastructure is set now and they are broadcasting in 720p and or 1080i. In fact I'm almost sure you cannot currently get any type of programming in 1080p.

If you watch a lot of DVD's and plan on getting an HD-DVD player or Blu Ray, then 1080p might be something to think about.

One thing to remember is that regular programming (SD) will have marginal (at best) quality with these large screens.

I would guess in the next few years, most programming will have made the transition to HD.

Also, the pricing in the 50-60" range will vary greatly between a true flatscreen LCD and an LCD projection. When you get over 40" on a flatscreen your looking at approx 2k and then up with size.

For the same size projection you'll save about 1k.

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Quote:

LCD over Plasma, and Sony as well. Find a 1080p because come 2009 you will see a lot more HD broadcasting available, and mandatory per FCC. LCD will have no glare, where as the plasma screen has a lot of glare if you have anything giving off light in front of the screen. The average life of the plasma is less than the LCD, and once the plasma goes you cannot fix it. I would argue that the LCD's have the best picture available.


1) Maybe more HD content, but still not 1080p.

2) LCD lasts longer than plasma? Not sure that's true. The current generation of plasma sets are claiming 30,000-50,000 hours. Dunno about you, but I'll want a TV with updated technology before 15 to 20 years goes by. A "normal" TV has an estimated life of 25,000 hours for comparison.

3) Plasma "glass" is not repairable. But neither is a LCD panel. They can't fix the picture tube of normal TV either. In all cases it's replacement if that part is bad.

LCD panels are more suceptable to motion artifacts/delay. If fast-action sports are your deal it can/will be distracting.

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Quote:

2) Plasma's are nice, but then you have to buy the mounting bracket and pick a permanent location you want to put the thing. Go to Best Buy, Circuit City, or wherever and tell me that a Plasma's picture is worth 1,000 bucks more than a Rear-Project LCD or DLP. Personally, I didn't think so and couldn't rationalize the extra grand.


My plasma came with a stand - they don't have to be wall mounted. Further, it weighs only 85lbs. Sure, heavier than a LCD, but not anywhere near the +200lbs of my old 36" TV. So, it's somewhat misleading to say you have to pick a permanent spot and that's it.

Also, don't buy (or prehaps don't NOT buy) based on what you see at Best Buy, et al. Some sets are fed better signals or are further down the signal line. Also, who knows what settings they have dialed in. So, unless you take the time to ensure they are receiving the same signal quality and are properly adjusted, you can't be sure it's an apples-to-apples comparison.

After all, do you think Best Buy et al has much incentive to make that $1999 Panasonic plasma look comparable to that $3600 Sony 1080p XBR LCD?

Also, the viewing distance is important. Where do you stand when you are looking at sets at Best Buy? Like 3-6 feet away. Then sure, 1080p is going to look like a smoother picture. Look at the chart I posted. If you get a 50" or 60" set and sit more than 10-12 feet from the TV, there is no visual benefit to 1080p. If you sit closer than 8 to 10ft to your 50" or 60" TV, then there is a better/real case for 1080p.

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Quote:

If you sit closer than 8 to 10ft to your 50" or 60" TV, then there is a better/real case for 1080p.


again, this is only if the signal coming in is 1080p, which right now is extremely limited.

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Yes. The full advantage of a 1080p set can't be utilized with out a true 1080p source such as HD-DVD or Blu-ray. But, since the pixel is smaller on a 1080 vs 720 set (of same screen size), you can sit closer with less screen door effect.

But again, if you sit further away from the set, the benefits of 1080 are not what one is often led to believe.

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Some additional info for your reading pleasure...

Be sure you get a set with the right tuners built in. Most have the right ones, but just be sure...

ATSC tuner = OTA (over-the-air) HD channels using an antenna. Many say OTA reception of (local) HD channels is still the best TV picture quality.

QAM tuner = digital tuner for receiving unscrambled/unencrypted digital (including HD) channels from cable. Typically, one will receive 3 to 5 HD channels at no additional cost if you have a QAM tuner. Just hook the cable to the tv (be sure to scan the digital channels) and there you have it.

Another benefit of QAM tuner is that you can also watch (for free) the Video On Demand movies that your neighbors are watching. Just be careful with the kiddies around because this often includes soft and hard porn. You might be surprised what your neighbors are watching... The only problem with is when you are getting into a movie and the neighbor decides to change channels or stop watching, you loose the feed too.

NTSC tuner = the "normal" tuner used to receive standard analog TV signals.

As I said earlier, many have all three, but not all. Just check to be sure.

If you want the premium digital/analog channels (typically encrypted) you will need a set with CableCard slot + CableCard or will need a STB (set top box = "cable box") from the cable company to do the decoding.

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I'll toss my vote in for the Sony LCD, I have two of them and love them. I got Sony's based on other sets I have owned and the zero problems I have had with them.

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Bought a 50 inch Samsung about 8 months ago. I too, researched for 6months before I pulled the pin on this TV. We originally wanted a Sony 50 inch LCD. Thought the color was a little better. Got a heck of a buy on this Samsung and we are still in Awe when we turn it on. The clarity is just fabulous. I don't watch regular tv anymore. Spoils a guy that is for sure. Good luck shopping.

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There is some good info that has been posted earlier but I'll through in my opinion. Panasonic LCD's are rated the highest in consumer reports and put out an awesome picture. I currently own a samsung 50" plasma that I really like. I don't have any glare problems mentioned earlier, and it was actually a selling point used by some sales people when I was looking. My parents recently bought a new sony 1080P LCD that is really great. They actually had the picture screen go out (a black line dead spot through the middle) that was replaced under warranty. Any TV can have problems and it usually comes down to overheating issues or how the TV was handled during transport. Plasma have the best picture depth, the most colors, and have less ghosting and blurring with a fast moving picture but the major downside is screen burn if you leave a still picture for a long time. Although this is becoming less of an issue with new technology. If you like to watch pictures in the actual format they are shot in then you might want to consider LCD. If you watch a dvd that is shot in standard format you should stretch out/or zoom the picture so it fits your screen with a plasma otherwise over time the colors will appear darker on the sides. If you want to play video games a LCD screen will be the better choice to avoid screen burn. I've found the best comparison between the TV's is in standard definition programming. If you watch a rear projection, LCD, and plasma side by side you won't notice a huge difference in HD but when you watch standard definition then it is night and day. I would spend the extra money on 1080p set because it won't get outdated as fast, offers better sound quality options, and finally the technology is there to use it already. Many people don't know it but the new sony playstation 3 has a built in Blue-ray player! You can have a gaming unit with the exact same picture quality and parts as a $1000 sony blue-ray player for $400. Blue ray/HD DVD have unreal sound options like THX2 and 7.1 surround sound that is better quality than most movie theaters.

If your in the market I wouldn't consider a new HD tv that didn't have at least 2 HDMI inputs (one for your tuner/or dish and one for HD DVD or Blue-ray player). I highly recommend you get a TV with a built in tuner if you plan on using your old DVD player or watching some standard definition programing so the picture will be upconverted and higher quality. I wouldn't buy a TV again unless it was 1080p compatable and has a very high resolution. If you plan on using cable, call your cable company and see if they use Cable card technology so you can avoid another box and you might want to find out different programming packages.

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We went with a plasma instead of the LCD because this tv is in the basement where the kids play. The plasma has a glass screen which will stand up to impacts better than the LCD screen. It's already taken a few hits. The brand is Panasonic.

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