Author Topic: New flatscreen TV recommendations?  (Read 10215 times)

jkn

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2686
  • cake or death? cake please.
    • View Profile
    • Relaxed Machinery
New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« on: January 07, 2008, 12:33:52 PM »
We're thinking about switching to a new tv.   We currently have a 27" Sony trinitron... and are thinking of splurging with something a bit bigger (and a lot lighter!).

It has to be under 50" in physical width - so we're looking in the more or less 42" to 48" screen size.

Any recommendations on brand, type, etc...?    We kind of like the Sharp Aquos at the moment - though haven't looked in depth yet.

I'm assuming there will be some nice Super Bowl sales so it might be a good time to get it.
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

  • Hypnos Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6914
  • Life is a memory, and then it is nothing.
    • View Profile
    • www.hypnos.com
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2008, 01:23:35 PM »
I bought a 42" Panasonic plasma about a year ago, and at the time that was one of the best for the money.  Toshiba TVs are also often a good value for good quality.  I've heard some people say they were happy with Vizio TVs they obtained at Costco, which are very inexpensive.

You shouldn't need to spend more than $1200 for a 42" plasma.  Most brands make a 42" and a 50" but some (I think Hitachi for one) might make a 46" size.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

jkn

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2686
  • cake or death? cake please.
    • View Profile
    • Relaxed Machinery
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2008, 01:47:13 PM »
The 46 - 48" 1080p ones that we've looked at are at or above $2,000.    We don't actually need 1080p at the moment - (we have a large collection of standard def dvd's - and love tv shows - ha) - but we're kind of figuring it makes sense to get the 'better' one now instead of buying something and then replacing it in a couple years.  Drives me mildly nuts to spend that much on a tv - but in a weird way - that's one of our big things to do at home is watch tv - so it makes somewhat sense to get something a little ridiculous... (ha.)

We've seen the Vizio's at Walmart.   I think we had a nifty whiteboard product from that company about 6 years ago at work... you put a couple of sensors on the whiteboard and everything you drew showed up perfectly in a doc on the pc... nifty thing, but no one really used it much.   
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

  • Hypnos Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6914
  • Life is a memory, and then it is nothing.
    • View Profile
    • www.hypnos.com
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2008, 02:01:38 PM »
If you're set on 1080p and want to save a few bucks, the Vizio and Westinghouse ones are pretty good deals.  I've seen the Westinghouse models on Home Depot's web site and almost bought one last year when I was shopping for a mid-sized plasma HDTV.

Our main TV is a projector (so, a picture equivalent to 120" diagonal or something) and it's 1080p and it looks absolutely fantastic, especially with a true HD 1080p image like a well-mastered BluRay disc.  From what I've seen, the benefits of 1080p are less pronounced as the screen size decreases, so while 1080p looks much better on a huge screen, and looks somewhat better on a big screen, as you get to 42" and below the difference is smaller.

I'm not trying to talk you out of 1080p at all but would I spend, say, $2000 for a 42" 1080p versions $1100 for a 1080i version?  Nope, I'd save 45% and be happy with 1080i, as we did with our secondary, upstairs TV.

[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

Bill Binkelman

  • Guest
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2008, 02:06:47 PM »
I bought a 42" Panasonic plasma about a year ago, and at the time that was one of the best for the money.  Toshiba TVs are also often a good value for good quality.  I've heard some people say they were happy with Vizio TVs they obtained at Costco, which are very inexpensive.

You shouldn't need to spend more than $1200 for a 42" plasma.  Most brands make a 42" and a 50" but some (I think Hitachi for one) might make a 46" size.

Mike,

When Kathryn and I get around to replacing our CRT-based 27" Panasonic, we're going either LCD or plasma. Have they finally fixed the plasma burn-in issue? I know that LCD sets are MUCH better than earlier versions when it comes to wider viewing angles (I guess first gen LCDs were only decent in a 10 degree arc), but I am concerned about plasma's burn-in as well as reliability has not been as good as LCD (not to mention LCD is cheaper, right?). So, how has your plasma been?

We're still at least a year from buying one but when the national move to digital broadcast standard goes into effect, it looks like we'll have to make the switch.

I can't believe our bedroom 20" color Panasonic, which is about 15 years old, is STILL doing just fine. As a 53 year old, I remember, as a kid, the TV repairman coming to our house LOTS of times and replacing tube after tube after tube in our console black and white set. Good times!  ::) Those tubes did make a nice orange tinted "glow" through the wooden pegboard back of the set though.

You young'uns...the things you missed if you're in your twenties...no ATM's, gas stations were full-service, all phones had cords, no computers that didn't fill a room...sigh, I miss those days - NOT! (well, I do miss gas for 25 cents a gallon)

mgriffin

  • Hypnos Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6914
  • Life is a memory, and then it is nothing.
    • View Profile
    • www.hypnos.com
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2008, 02:18:49 PM »
Bill -
Plasma burn-in and gas-related longevity issues have been solved.  Current plasma models will last as long or longer than CRT standard-def TV sets.

I'm not aware of any viewing-angle superiority of LCD versus plasma.  The biggest issue when choosing between the two formats is the size of the TV you're looking for.  Plasma sets are usually 37" and up, and LCD sets are usually 42" and down.  So the only time it's a big issue to choose one or the other is if you're buying 37 or 42 inches, in which case you could choose either.  If you're buying a bigger set, you can't buy an LCD, and if you're buying a smaller set, you can't buy a plasma.

Our plasma TV has been great.  It doesn't get constant use (actually, I guess we watch it nearly as much as we watch the projector downstairs, but we don't spend a lot of hours in front of the TV) but the quality is excellent.

Actually, back to the burn-in issue... I've found that most TV sets on display in stores have the contrast cranked to the maximum, I guess to make a better looking picture under harsh fluorescent lights.  If you leave the contrast too high you'll really shorten the life of  the tube, not to mention that you'll have poor picture quality for anything but football or basketball games, or cartoons.  The first thing you do when you get a new TV is to calibrate it, and that generally means turning the sharpness all the way down (sharpness is an artificial edge enhancement that degrades picture, despite what it sounds like), and turning the contrast down below the halfway mark (for best results use a calibration DVD or at least color bars), and turning brightness down to look appropriate based on your room lighting.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

hdibrell

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 635
    • View Profile
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2008, 02:24:13 PM »
Hi Bill,  My wife and I just bought a 26" Westinghouse LCD at Best Buy about 3 months ago for a little over $500 with tax. Our 25" Toshiba that was a demo at the company I worked for gave out on us. I bought it for $150 in 1986 and it just gave up the ghost after only 21 years. Piece of junk!  ;) I'm real happy with the Westinghouse set. I also was limited as to how big the set could be in width. One thing you need to remember is that when you are in a showroom, anything under 42" looks small. In your home, however, a really large set can swallow your room unless the room is very large. I have installed sets in the past that were way to big for the room they were to be used in. BTW, as one of the elders here I also remember some of those things you mentioned. Does any one else remember sign off of the tv stations at about 11 p.m. ?    Harry D
Never regret money spent on old books, old dogs or old friends.

jkn

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2686
  • cake or death? cake please.
    • View Profile
    • Relaxed Machinery
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2008, 02:56:33 PM »
I found this little "confused about HDTV?" primer from Best Buy / CNET helpful... the burn in rate has been greatly reduced - and as Mike mentioned - calibrating the tv is a must. 

http://bestbuy-cnet.com.com/4350-12658_7-6544480.html?profileId=ATG4398816873&h=488

Actually - I'm not fully sold on the whole 1080p thing, we do like to buy "more than we need" when we make a major purchase like this (or go really really small if we know it's temporary - hate to be too wasteful).   Based on the HDTV primer - since we sit about 13 feet from our tv - they recommend the 46" (of course they're going to say bigger is better!) - I love our 27" - but once you flip it to widescreen - it's getting really small from 13 feet away... :)

I didn't check the CNET article on plasma vs. LCD today - but basically when I read it a few days ago... - one is better for side angle viewing than the other and the other can deal with glare a bit better.   The lifetime for both is about the same now.

We have a 20" LCD in our bedroom (Samsung) - and a Sharp 14" LCD in our kitchen.  Both are great.   The Sharp seems to be a bit better - but that might be due to a lot of factors...


John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

  • Hypnos Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6914
  • Life is a memory, and then it is nothing.
    • View Profile
    • www.hypnos.com
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2008, 03:00:59 PM »
This sub-page is most useful when comparing plasma vs. LCD:

http://bestbuy-cnet.com.com/4351-12658_7-6583301.html

That page says larger LCD models are available but I don't often see them in stores, whereas extremely large plasma screens are commonplace.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

Bill Binkelman

  • Guest
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2008, 03:19:40 PM »
Hi Bill,  My wife and I just bought a 26" Westinghouse LCD at Best Buy about 3 months ago for a little over $500 with tax. Our 25" Toshiba that was a demo at the company I worked for gave out on us. I bought it for $150 in 1986 and it just gave up the ghost after only 21 years. Piece of junk!  ;) I'm real happy with the Westinghouse set. I also was limited as to how big the set could be in width. One thing you need to remember is that when you are in a showroom, anything under 42" looks small. In your home, however, a really large set can swallow your room unless the room is very large. I have installed sets in the past that were way to big for the room they were to be used in. BTW, as one of the elders here I also remember some of those things you mentioned. Does any one else remember sign off of the tv stations at about 11 p.m. ?    Harry D

Harry,

Oh yes, I certainly do remember "test patterns" and, of course, playing the national anthem at midnight!
Keeping with the TV theme...
I remember "The following program is brought to you in LIVING COLOR on NBC"
I remember when every TV set had to be readjusted for vertical roll on a regular basis!
I remember "rabbit ears" as something GOOD!
I remember "prime time" half hour cartoon shows, e.g. The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest...
I remember cigarette ads on TV ("LSMFT...Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco" "I'd rather fight than switch" and who can forget the "Marlboro Man" riding off into the sunset with the theme from The Magnificent Seven playing in the background!)

Sorry for the threadjack, guys...you know us old-timers!

And thanks for the feedback on LCD/plasma. By the way, Mike, I was meaning that PLASMA is noted as having a wider viewing angle than LCD, not the other way around.

Since our viewing location is only about 8 or 9 feet from the set, I suppose a set larger than 37 inches would be stupid or can I go with a 42 incher?


I remember bus drivers having those little change making gizmos on their belt and making change for you if you needed it!

mgriffin

  • Hypnos Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6914
  • Life is a memory, and then it is nothing.
    • View Profile
    • www.hypnos.com
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2008, 03:30:49 PM »
Well, we sit 10' from a 120" screen so I suppose 42" wouldn't be too extravagant from 8-9' away.

I like a big screen that fills your field of view.  It's pretty common to get a new, bigger TV and at first say "Wow, it's so much bigger!" but I've never heard of anybody getting a bigger TV and a month later saying "This screen is too big, I wish we'd bought a smaller one."

Lena wants me to remove a light switch from our projection wall so I can move the projector back a little and make the screen even bigger still!
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

einstein36

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 214
    • View Profile
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2008, 05:02:11 PM »
Well for one that's about to take the plunge myself next month, I will say this and have noticed the trend in the last few years.....just like the blu-ray vs. HD dvd format wars...from what I can gather is that plasma is going way of the do do bird......it's not going to last much longer due to the higher wattage needed plus the expense of it...
so that's why more and more manufactures are turning to LCD even Sony just recently announced they are getting out of the rear projection part of the tv's and going strictly LCD....
in fact, with OLED coming down the pipes..I see LCD becoming even better...
Website: www.imagineerrecords.com
Twitter: ImagineerR
Facebook: www.facebook.com/einstein36

mgriffin

  • Hypnos Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6914
  • Life is a memory, and then it is nothing.
    • View Profile
    • www.hypnos.com
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2008, 05:21:20 PM »
Darren, you're right that plasma screens use more electricity than comparably-sized LCD screens.  You're also right that Sony is doing LCD sets and not Plasma sets, at least next year.  But as for Plasma "not going to last much longer," do you realize you're talking about a technology that is seeing massive growth, not a downturn? 

Also, OLED coming into play (which will not happen, for large-size TV screens, during 2008 or maybe even 2009) is not something that will lead to the increased acceptance of LCD over Plasma.  OLED will be a competing technology to both LCD and Plasma (you seem to imply that it's some sort of enhancement to LCD technology), so if you're proposing that OLED is a technology to wait for (just try to find an OLED television in stores, any size screen, at any price) then a person should buy neither Plasma nor LCD.   
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

einstein36

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 214
    • View Profile
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2008, 05:38:41 PM »
actually Mike, OLED is an enhancement to LCD....typical LCD as of today so far use just basic flourscent lighting for the backlight and the screen pixels, but by switching over to OLED as a backlight, it will improve the contrast, colors, etc of an LCD screen...in fact, Samsung already has a model out that uses OLED techology...in fact, they are also incorparating it into DLP's too...:
http://www.samsung.com/us/consumer/detail/detail.do?group=televisions&type=televisions&subtype=dlptv&model_cd=HLT6189SX/XAA


Darren, you're right that plasma screens use more electricity than comparably-sized LCD screens.  You're also right that Sony is doing LCD sets and not Plasma sets, at least next year.  But as for Plasma "not going to last much longer," do you realize you're talking about a technology that is seeing massive growth, not a downturn? 

Also, OLED coming into play (which will not happen, for large-size TV screens, during 2008 or maybe even 2009) is not something that will lead to the increased acceptance of LCD over Plasma.  OLED will be a competing technology to both LCD and Plasma (you seem to imply that it's some sort of enhancement to LCD technology), so if you're proposing that OLED is a technology to wait for (just try to find an OLED television in stores, any size screen, at any price) then a person should buy neither Plasma nor LCD.   
Website: www.imagineerrecords.com
Twitter: ImagineerR
Facebook: www.facebook.com/einstein36

mgriffin

  • Hypnos Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6914
  • Life is a memory, and then it is nothing.
    • View Profile
    • www.hypnos.com
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2008, 08:21:54 PM »
Oh, OK, so you mean OLED as a backlight source for an LED display.  I'll have to investigate, just curious... not buying any more TVs!
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

einstein36

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 214
    • View Profile
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2008, 08:50:05 PM »
yes...sorry about that smidget confusion there:)......what can I say..I am having more and more senior moments:)...hehehe
Website: www.imagineerrecords.com
Twitter: ImagineerR
Facebook: www.facebook.com/einstein36

jkn

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2686
  • cake or death? cake please.
    • View Profile
    • Relaxed Machinery
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2008, 07:48:08 AM »

Note - I'm moving this post from jdh from the 'best of 2007' thread - I think it was meant to be here... :)


jdh

    Re: Best of 2007
Reply #21 on: Yesterday at 09:50:10 PM Quote Modify Remove Split Topic 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I just bought a Samsung  40 inch LCD LNT4053XX at 1200,I also looked at a Sony 40 inch but it was a bit more.I had a Toshiba LCD  before and gave it  to charity.Before Prima LCD,big mistake.All I can say is go for the largest you can afford,if you are thinking 32,go for 42.Also,stay away from all the cheapo brands,like Prima,Visionquest,etc,all the in house Best Buy bands.There are only 3  LCD panel makers as far as I know,Samsung,Sharp and Panasonic,the rest like Sony are made for them.Only consider 1080 P if you are getting HD content,otherwise the image will be worse,not better.The price dif between P and I is not that great.
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

  • Hypnos Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6914
  • Life is a memory, and then it is nothing.
    • View Profile
    • www.hypnos.com
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2008, 09:51:54 AM »
JDH-
Have you compared a same-sized, similar-spec 1080p and 1080i sets, at relatively small sizes (like 32-42")?  I disagree with your assertion that the visible difference is extremely clear. 

I do agree that if you can find a 1080p set for not too much more than a 1080i set, then you should go with 1080p just to be "future-proof" and because there may be some benefit.  But if you're talking a bigger difference in price, like more than 30% price increase to get progressive-scan, then the difference is really minor for such a price jump.  It's not like the difference between 480i DVD and 1080p upscaled DVD, or between 1080p upscaled DVD and 1080p BluRay -- those differences are really big and it doesn't take a trained eye to notice them.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

einstein36

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 214
    • View Profile
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2008, 11:14:02 AM »
hey Mike,

just saw an article this morning on one of my computer news that Plasma is definitely NOT dead after all, in fact, the article goes on saying how it's making a great comeback:)...
Website: www.imagineerrecords.com
Twitter: ImagineerR
Facebook: www.facebook.com/einstein36

mgriffin

  • Hypnos Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6914
  • Life is a memory, and then it is nothing.
    • View Profile
    • www.hypnos.com
Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2008, 11:35:35 AM »
Every time I go to Costco I see several people wheeling out $1000+ plasma sets, one after another.  Not to say there won't be new technologies that will replace plasma, or that LCD doesn't compete already.... and I'll be the first to say, our HD projector is just miles and miles better than any plasma set out there (though it's not viewable in a bright room)
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions