Sunday, September 28, 2008

February Is Just Around The Corner

The world keeps reminding me that in a few short months, my current television is going to be useless. That's actually fine because the thing is on its last legs anyway. Hey, it was a great tv when I bought it and it's served well, but it's showing signs of age.

So, soon, I'll be shopping for a big new honkin' TV. Advice would be welcome. What's the diff between LCD, Plasma and DLP? Anybody got any particular brand loyalty? Why?

You should all feel free to chime in.


Random Michelle K said...

Sony has a commitment to the environment that I haven't seen met by other companies.

I have a Sony stereo receiver that is eighteen years old and still pretty awesome.

When Michael bought our TV (the only qualification I have him was that it MUST fit into the entertainment center (he had to finagle it to get it in) and he chose a Sony.

I like Sony.

Shawn Powers said...

How much do you want to spend? (Well, none duh, but you know what I mean)

Also, how important is size? For televisions. :D

Nathan said...

I'd feel like an ass spending more than $1,500 on a TV. I want the biggest, bestest I can get for less than that.

BTW, what I've got now is a 36" Sony that's lasted more than 15 years.

Random Michelle K said...

If Michael had spent $1500 for a TV, we would have had words.

Shawn Powers said...

Maybe I'm not the one to ask... I spent a sum that is multiples of that on our current TV.

For $1500ish, the largest screen you're going to get will be plasma. I would suggest against Walmart, but if you do go there, opt for a brand that you've heard of before.

If you are looking for 42" or less, you might be able to get an LCD for a better price. Be aware, however, that at least by my eye, a 42" widescreen doesn't look any bigger (and in fact possibly smaller) than my 31" tube TV.

If you don't want widescreen and/or really thin -- you might be able to get an oldschool tube TV for significantly less money. The digital converter boxes will make even old TVs work fine in February.

I could go on and on, but I really don't know how much you want me to. Do you want me to look for actual models, etc. and give suggestions?

Nathan said...

Could you tell me the difference between LCD, Plasma and DPL? I'm guessing from your last response that LCD is better than plasma?

And I was seeing quite a few choices between $900 and $1500. (Also a lot of stuff much more expensive.)

Shawn Powers said...

LCD vs Plasma is much like Coke vs Pepsi. Lots of people will tell you lots of things about their favorite. Here's the deal: They're both amazing. Seriously.

DLP is a projector based technology, and while the sets are getting thinner, their bulbs burn out more often. I don't like recurring multi-hundred-dollar bulb costs, so for me that would rule out a DLP.

If you want 42" or below, LCD will be the cheapest, best looking, thinnest, most awesome TV you can get. They're pretty cheap (considering, all things relative), and even from Walmart, they're not too bad.

If you want between 42" and 52", LCD is going to be more expensive, but most likely have higher resolution than Plasma. Unless you're a videophile, you will probably not notice the resolution issue. And honestly, with current televisions, the nonsense of screen burn with Plasma is really mostly a moot point. Also the high cost of Plasma TVs really starts to look cheap compared to LCD as the size grows.

Above 52", you really have to get Plasma. An LCD larger than 52" is nonsensically expensive.

So basically, for smaller televisions (under 42"), LCD is the answer. For anything larger, Plasma is the answer. That might lead to the question of why in the world I spent $2,800 on a 52" LCD television. Well, I won't lie. I still battle over whether I should have gone with a bigger TV and gotten plasma.

You can get a better warranty with LCD, because they are known to last longer. That was a big deal for me, so I opted for a television that I could get a 5 year warranty on. My particular warranty is a "buy back" type warranty, where the company buys back the warranty if it goes unused for 5 years.

Plasma also uses more electricity. If that's significant for you, it's something to keep in mind.

Really, if I had to do it over again, I really might opt for a 65" Plasma TV instead of my current 52" LCD.

At the end of the day, you might want to just buy a $40 digital converter box and keep your current TV. It would definitely be the cheapest solution. :)

Random Michelle K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathan said...


The present TV really is on its last legs. It has a fine picture...once it's warmed up, but every time I turn it on, the screen takes turns going from picture to black for the first couple of minutes. It is pleading for retirement.

And I've been lusting after big flat-screen for a while.

OTOH, I really don't intend to spend $2800 (or anywhere near that).

Shawn Powers said...

OTOH, I really don't intend to spend $2800 (or anywhere near that).

Yeah, to qualify that a bit, my brother in law started a job at a furniture/home appliance store, and it was intent to go in and spend a lot of money getting him a good start at his new job. We bought a front load washer dryer, a big TV, and almost a new sectional couch for our living room. We didn't do the last one, because the heartburn started before we left the store...

On a normal day, I wouldn't spend that much either. If it were me without any in-law accommodating spending involved, I'd probably spend about $1500 on a 52" Plasma TV. After lusting for about 5 years. :)

Anonymous said...

I bought a 32-inch Samsung LCD today at Best Buy for $600. We hadn't been planning on buying one for a few months (our TV was also dying), but I wandered in and found an open-box deal. They claimed it was an $800 TV, though I found the display and they were selling it for $700. Either way, it was a good deal.
That's my favorite way to buy electronics, open box. I've never had a problem, and they still have the 30-day return policy and the manufacturer's warranty. And we got a much nicer TV for $600 than we would have buying one with a box.
I once got a $350 Onkyo surround-sound setup for $100 open box after I talked down the clearance price an extra $45. It's a great feeling.

Eric said...

Nathan, for plasma-vs.-LCD you might check out:,239035250,240036500,00.htm

If you're not much of a videophile, the only difference between sets may be price. On the other hand, if you're going to put in a DVD and notice details in shadows or motion blur in action scenes, it's probably worth sifting through the pros-and-cons of the techs. I have friends on both sides of that kind of thing, and probably would have to say I'm in the middle--but the point is I do know some people who can get very upset/overjoyed about the way a monitor "crushes blacks" or how good the viewing angle is.

Hope that helps.

Jeri said...

We bought a 50" Panasonic plasma tv last year - posted about it here - and have really liked it a lot. I believe it was just under $1,500 because that was our price limit, too. It just barely fits in our tv nook, an actual recessed wall area next to the fireplace, with 1/4" to spare on the sides.

I liked the LCD picture at a 90 degree angle a little better, they're more luminous, but from the side the picture was poorer. And in our living room, most of the viewing is at an angle, only one seat views it straight-on.

We like Costco for purchases like these (or Sam's Club, for those that don't have Costco.)

Good luck!

Steve Buchheit said...

Grab a bad of pretzels, pull out a comfy chair, and sit right there in the store in front of the rack of TV munching away. Buy the largest TV your dollar can get that doesn't give you a headache while watching it and eating. Just my advice.

Unknown said...

Why stop at a big screen tv? Go for a home theater. Sub woofers and all!