Advice on Buying a new TV

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gobabushka's picture
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Ok, our family tv blew up, it was about 6.5 years old. To replace it, we are looking at HD (YAY!!!!!!!) One of the types we are looking at is plasma. I've heard that they have to be recharged occasionally, and i was wondering if that was true. Also, im looking for any brand or model suggestions. Thanks!

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protocol6v's picture
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Plasmas are aparently a bad idea.

I've heard so many bad storied about plasmas, most being that they burn out after about a year of use. Alot of people I know have told me if I were to buy a TV to stay away from the plasmas.

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coius's picture
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Just go with a Large LCD

I have a (Very) well off friend, and they have gone thru 2 of them in the last 3 years. Not worth the risk. I would say stick with the largest LCD you can get, till they make them last longer, and are cheaper. I would rather not have to buy one almost 1-2 years after i got one, and would even give up the option for HD, rather than have a display that is totally useless after so many hours of being on. Another reason i stick with my 32" Sony trinitron (although, the thing IS as heavy as all-get-out...)

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PLASMA

OK, In this matter... I am a CEDIA certified installer (Custom Electronics Deisgner and Installers Association) and have spent several years as a professional system designer and installer for very well off clients. Although i no longer work there, you can check out my former employers website at:

http://www.robertsav.com

Now, for the short form....
Plasmas do not need "RECHARGING" EVER, its not POSSIBLE, and there is nothing to "recharge" in a plasma set. that is a very foolish approach that in plasmas early days eager sales people used to sell extended service contracts because thats where all the profit margin was for them.

As far as "ghosting" or "image Burn", did all of you know that those CRT sets you have been using for years are succeptible to the EXACT SAME BURN IN PROBLEM, and that it happens in almost the same amount of time. i.e., "Burn In" on a plasma is no more of a problem than it is on the CRT sets that most of us have been using for years.

Regarding the previous posters friend who has gone through several... i tend to believe that this may be an extremeist reaction, and that it has been exaggerated... however, it could be true if they bought one of those "cheapo" $1500-$2000 plasmas from best buy, or some wholesale club... however, in that case it would not be the fault of Plasma, just the fault of poor manufacturing, and inferior Plasma panel, and/or possible abuse/misuse from the customer.

Now as far as buying advice, it really does depend on your budget, if your budget is like $3000 or less, i might reccomend you go with an LCD for a flat panel direct view set, or a DLP rear projection set if you dont mind a little bit of extra depth (stil FAR thinner than regular CRT TV's... plus they have an advantage of usually being less expensive for good quality). DO NOT BUY a CHEAP PLASMA PANEL, this means no SDTV (regular definition with a fancy name) or EDTV (just a little bit better than SDTV, but no where near HDTV plus no video format is produced natively in these resolutions so anything that you watch will be scaled in an unnatural way and look very distorted) Also, cheap Plasma panels usually have very poor color accuracy.

My brand name reccomendations for a high quality plasma in a reasonable price range would be Sony, Pioneer, or Pioneer Elite. In fact, those were pretty much the only panels we sold unless the customer demanded something different. Every year I would go to the CEDIA show and check out all of the other manufacturers, but only Sony and Pioneer seemed to have great product at reasonable prices. (I have seen better plasmas, but i assume that you DO NOT want to spend 20,000 on a TV, LOL)

As far as LCD, i again recomend Sony. My only other LCD advice is to avouid Sharp LCD TV Panels... when they are new, they look almost identical to a sony side by side, but after a few months the Sharp LCD's image quality seems to deteriorate. (We did sell both of those brands though)

And another bit of Plasma advice, make sure you a buying a Consumer panel, not an Industrial panel. Sometimes a person will find a site which advertises very low prices on sony/pioneer/etc panels, but then after more research it is revealed that they are industrial panels, you do not want that as Industrial panels do not have the same shielding requirements that consumer panels have and they can actually introduce noise and other problems in to your system. Industial panels also have a much higher acceptance rate for dead pixels (example: if you need a 42" panel for an airport to show arrival and departure times then it really doesnt matter if it has 25-30 dead pixels as its going to be up so high no one will notice, but if you put that same panel in your living room and try to watch a movie, then DAMN, it'll look REAL bad.)

well, thats my $0.02 for right now, seriously if you have any AV questions, including automation and so forth, feel free to ask me, either here or through PM

/Bill

Dr. Webster's picture
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The brands I've had the most

The brands I've had the most luck with are Sony, Panasonic, ViewSonic and Dell. An LCD TV from one of thouse four should work well for you.

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DELL

...unless you can see it in person before purchasing, DONT buy a Dell... they are spec'd with good components, and you may get a good one, but it is hit or miss with their Panels, ESPECIALLY their TV's.. thier LCD computer monitors are usually much more consistent. The others Dr. Webster reccomended are usually OK Smile

FunnymanSE30's picture
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i'd just stick with old relia

i'd just stick with old reliable crt technology TVs a good one will last for at least 10 years in my experience, heck i've even still got my 87 vintage panasonic working clear as ever

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Eudimorphodon's picture
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Price range?

The best technology for you depends on your budget. If you have $1500-$2000 to spend by all means *don't* get a Plasma. All of the ones in that price range will be either EDTVs (800x480-ish resolution, no where close to true HDTV), or be, well, cheap. If you've got $4000 burning a hole in your pocket then go for it. Personally I settled for a Sony rear-projection LCD big-screen, as it cost about half the price of a plasma with a similar-quality picture engine. Don't underestimate the importance of getting a good engine/scaler. Many of the cheaper off-brand plasma/LCD panel displays basically use computer monitor-quality scaling engines for displaying content at resolutions other then the native pixel field size. They usually look wonderful when displaying computer output or when attached to a scan-converting DVD player, but are just plain awful at dealing with, say, legacy NTSC feeds.

As for "recharging" them, well... you have to love some of the myths about plasma technology. I've known people that think they're filled with some sort of molten lava. ;^) No, you don't recharge them. They work on the same principle as a neon sign and are composed of millions of little hermetically sealed glass chambers with a trace amount of neon inside. Most Plasma screens are rated for between three and seven years (24 hours a day) on-time, after which it's likely the electrodes inside the plasma cells will start burning out. That's actually not much different from the manufacturer's ratings of the electron guns in TV tubes. If you buy an LCD or DLP projection TV there's a good chance you'll have to change the bulb several times during the same lifetime. And... as for burn-in, well, I've seen a burned-in Plasma screen before, but it was at a Colo facility where they made the mistake of keeping a corporate logo on the corner of the screen for about a year straight. (Which did leave an awesome freckled blotch, I will admit.) I wouldn't use one as a computer monitor for long periods, but you're probably not going to harm it playing the ocassional video game.

Good luck shopping. Personally I'd probably still pick a projection TV, but only because they've gotten so relatively cheap. (A nice 42" DLP Samsung or LCD Sony with built-in ATSC/CableCard tuner is yours for less then $1500. A *real* HD Plasma with similar specs is still over two grand for a Dell or other suspicious brand, and closer to $3000 for something trustworthy.)

--Peace

protocol6v's picture
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I forgot to mention, A friend

I forgot to mention, A friend of mine just bought a 50" and two 63" Samsung Plasma TVs for the place he works, and the 63s came close to $7000 each, and the 50 was about $4000. Those are Mid-High grade HDTVs too.

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Dr. Webster's picture
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Re: Price range?

Eudimorphodon wrote:

And... as for burn-in, well, I've seen a burned-in Plasma screen before, but it was at a Colo facility where they made the mistake of keeping a corporate logo on the corner of the screen for about a year straight. (Which did leave an awesome freckled blotch, I will admit.) I wouldn't use one as a computer monitor for long periods, but you're probably not going to harm it playing the ocassional video game.

I've also noticed that some plasmas also exhibit a kind of short-term burn-in. For example, if you display light-colored text on a black background, and then remove the text, you can see a bit of a ghost from the text. The ghost will disappear when those pixels are refreshed. I first noticed this after installing a plasma at my old work and used a TNG DVD to test it out...during the title seqeuence, after the logo disappears, you can see a ghost of the logo until the Enterprise flies by, refreshing those pixels.

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moosemanmoo's picture
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If you were looking for a sma

If you were looking for a small television, then I'd recommend an LCD TV. I bought a 23" LCD TV from LG last year and it's been great, but I don't think I'd want a large screen LCD TV. For the big screen, I would have to pick rear projection DLP. The bulb will have to be changed about every 18 months, but there's no ghosting/burn-in and the picture is terrific.

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iantm's picture
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Sony

My brother in law (well, soon to be anyways) works at the Sony plant in New Stanton, PA. From what he's told me, the Sony's are pretty well built, and the QA is extensive (he's one of the QA guys). As hard as it is to believe, Sony is the only company who manufactures TVs in the United States. There's the plant here in PA (where VW used to build Rabbits and Golfs until 1988) and one in San Diego. I'm not sure if "where it was built" is a consideration, but if you want something that was built here in the U.S., Sony will be your vendor of choice, even if a fair number of the components are from overseas.

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TheUltimateMacUser's picture
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Re: Price range?

Dr. Webster wrote:

I've also noticed that some plasmas also exhibit a kind of short-term burn-in. For example, if you display light-colored text on a black background, and then remove the text, you can see a bit of a ghost from the text. The ghost will disappear when those pixels are refreshed. I first noticed this after installing a plasma at my old work and used a TNG DVD to test it out...during the title seqeuence, after the logo disappears, you can see a ghost of the logo until the Enterprise flies by, refreshing those pixels.

Some LCDs do that too.

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FunnymanSE30's picture
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my nice hd ready 32" sharp tv

my nice hd ready 32" sharp tv only cost like $350, compared to $1999 for a similarly sized LCD tv

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When shopping for TV's, go to

When shopping for TV's, go to the store and look at them in person. Set each TV to it's default settings and then play a B&W source. The one that displays the closest to true neatral grey will generally give you the best quality colors. You can pick up a neutral grey reference card from your local camera shop.

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