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Old 03-31-2008, 09:11 AM   #21
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A few things:

Best Buy will often have the best price of a bricks and mortar store, but woe unto the person who needs their help after sale - and as for their "extra warranty" that you will be given lots of chances to buy - a neighbor that bought it twice for computers was real unhappy.

You might see if one of your credit cards extends the factory warranty by a year or so if used for the purchase.

The gal's 93 YO Mom is pretty deaf - tv ears really help her and help keep it a bit sane if one is in the same house as her while she's watching Charley Gibson.
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:19 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchidflower View Post
I need this advice quickly, please:
Our big tv blew; and I did my homework with Consumer Reports...
The two best websites for (particularly) television set purchasing are the Consumer's Reports site that you mentioned (if you meant the paid-for subscription version) and C/Net (TV Reviews: LCD, HDTV, Flat Screen & Plasma Televisions & more - CNET).

Both of these sites have tons of information (in addition to Reviews) that make purchasing a new TV a breeze... or very, very confusing.
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Old 03-31-2008, 06:26 PM   #23
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Not sure about your nomenclature, but we bought a KDL-40V2500 40" BRAVIAŽ V series LCD Flat Panel HDTV in Nov 2006 and we love it. It is a 1080p unit with all the bells and whistles. Don't regret paying a premium for it as it had a better picture than anything else at the time. Liked it so much, we bought the same model in a 32" for the bedroom (although it's a 720p). My sister bought an Olevia (cheap) and she likes it. Looks awful by comparison in the store, but once you get any of them home and there's nothing to compare too, they probably all look perfect...
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:35 AM   #24
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I certainly appreciate all the help you folks offered, and I surely thank you!!!!!! I ended up doing lots of homework, and decided--despite taking a couple days to get over sticker shock--to get the Sony Bravia 40" KDL-40V2500 after all. At Best Buy with tax (7% here), tune up (putting it together, I guess) and delivery, the cost of this tv came to over $1,750?.
Checked Amazon, epinions.com and Consumer Reports and a few other sites before buying. Wish I had known about C/Net, but I will use that another time surely. My computer is beginning to die now, so.....
Anyway, I have the heart pills ready in case of palpitations due to the sticker shock...just joking...but tv's are surely expensive now...whew!!!
Again, thanks everyone for all the beneficial help!!!!!!!!!! I am really very appreciative!!!!!
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:10 AM   #25
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You're going to love it though, Orchidflower! I bought a 42" plasma TV a couple of years ago, and despite the price I am still glad that I did it. The picture quality of TV's has been improving drastically each year, and mine is just stunning (to me, anyway), even now.

Can't wait to watch American Idol on it tonight! I know that show is not everyone's cup of tea, but I am hooked. My plasma TV makes it seem to me like I am right there, sitting in the audience.
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Old 04-01-2008, 11:36 AM   #26
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Couple of tidbits that might be of interest, since we just took the HD plunge.

Most of the tvs in the store are set to the so-called "torch" mode. Brightness turned up, colors over saturated, and with a dvd of 1080i eye candy playing. When you get it home and set it to theater mode or whatever they call the setting with normal brightness, contrast and color, it'll look very different.

Some HD televisions are very poor at displaying SD from signal sources like analog cable tv. Even if you have digital cable, the first 99 channels are analog. Some of those might have digital or HD counterparts though.

As far as I know, absolutely zero stations are producing or broadcasting content in 1080p and due to the bandwidth constraints that might remain the case for many, many years. A great deal of current content is just 720p.

Cable and satellite providers are compressing the signal, reducing the quality, in their lockdown competitive battle to claim the most HD channels. They only have so much pipe, so in order to fit more channels into it, the quality has to be reduced. A recent analysis by a videophile on avsforum.com found that comcast was reducing their PQ by as much as 30-40% on some channels.

Directv is trying to mitigate this by launching more satellites, which makes the required dish larger and much harder to accurately point to pick up the current 5 satellites. Cable is trying to mitigate this by offering up some kind of a switched cable methodology which will render every device currently in use obsolete, including cable tuners, tivos and the current cablecards. While this will take a long time to implement, its possible that your current cablecard ready television will need an external box to decode cable tv in 3-5 years. The cable companies REALLY hate the cablecard thing.

Directv's new HD dish is frickin huge. I'm all but certain I could take it off, get on the roof and jump while holding it over my head and sail for at least 2 miles before touching the ground.

Directv's new HD receivers stink. I feel like I'm testing a beta product.

Contrast IS pretty important, but less of an issue these days. Early HD plasma/lcd sets often had 500:1 or 750:1 contrast ratios. The nutshell is that this is the range of difference allowed between the darkest and lightest shades. A set with a 500:1 contrast ratio might be unable to display a true black shade when the brightness is turned up or a true white shade when the brightness is turned down. My first plasma set from a million years ago had a 500:1 ratio and I hated it. If it was a dark movie, you had muddy gray or yellow whites and in a bright movie, gray or purple tones instead of black. Many vendors of cheap sets now use "dynamic contrast" which attempts to adjust the range up and down to match the video content being supplied. Others claim ridiculous 10,000:1 ratios that dont actually happen in real use but makes the stats look better than the 5000:1 on the set next to it in the store, even though it might be an inferior set.

Its hard to beat something like a vizio set for $1000-1100 at Costco for price/performance.

TV's these days dont last as long as TV's used to. I had some 12 year old sets still be going strong while I've had some sets bought in the last 5 years crap out after a couple of years.

HDMI can be a pain in the butt. Besides making for a nice one wire connection between your signal source and the tv, HDMI has copy protection circuitry built into it. At some point, some content may be produced that requires the use of HDMI (vs component) or it wont play on your set, although that day may be 5 years away. In the meanwhile, many sets have tamper proofing built into the set so that you cant break into the signal stream and steal the protected content. My JVC set has (i am not making this up) a sensor inside that detects if you've removed the back of the set which disables the HDMI card and requires that it be replaced by the technician servicing it. Which went off when I moved the set from the old house to the new one, disabling the HDMI port. If you wiggle the cable funny, or your 3 year old does, it also disables the port. Fortunately I found a service menu option that allows you to do a funny series of self-tests, powering the unit on and off, and then pulling the plug in mid power on to force a re-enable of the HDMI port.

As far as the PQ...it looks great especially on eye candy like Discovery HD theater. Other shows look markedly clearer. For ten minutes. Then except for specific scenes you sort of forget its there. But when you flip on an SD show after watching HD for an hour, the SD show looks muddy.
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:06 PM   #27
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Wow, thanks for all that info. I, personally, am reading it again to make sure I understand all.
Of course, since I am BFE Il/Ia border, there is no Costco here...grrrrr. I did check out Sam's, tho. It was kinda Sams or Best Buy here..and a place called American? Never heard of American before, but they are here. Other than that, just the normal applicance stores with higher prices. Kind of a forced choice as to where to buy here.
This area is around 400,000--and it is still too small to have anything worth while! All those that love small towns can definitely have my part!!!!
Consumers Report suggests buying your tv's at Costco, too. FYI.
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:36 PM   #28
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We got a Panasonic 50" Plasma around 18 months ago. At first we thought it was too big, but it doesn't look very big anymore. If you are sitting more than 8 feet from the screen get a larger screen, even if you have to give up on 1080p. From what I've read you'd have to sit extremely close to a 40" set to tell the difference between 1080p resolution and 720p. So even if there was 1080p content available, you'd still be better of with a larger screen at lower resolution.

Another tip is to avoid checking picture quality under bright fluorescent lights. Try to evaluate picture quality in conditions that match your home environment.

Other stuff I learned -
Get an LCD if you'll use it with a gaming console or pc monitor.
Get an LCD if your viewing conditions are very bright.

Otherwise:
Consider Plasma if you want a higher viewing angle.
Consider Plasma if you want a larger screen per dollar spent.
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Old 04-01-2008, 05:43 PM   #29
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From what I understand, you cannot fix a Plasma. And LCD is not only energy saving compared but fixable AND you see it better in a well lit room. All pluses...so I got the LCD on that info.
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Old 04-01-2008, 05:55 PM   #30
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With all due respect, some of what you're getting here is TMI for most people. I have the exact same TV you bought, and it is fabulous. Yes, I know about torch mode etc. but you wouldn't want to watch it that way at home anyway, it will give you a headache! If you are coming from an old analog set to a 40" Sony Bravia LCD flat panel, as long as you do subscribe to HD* you will be blown away at how much better the picture is. Yes it's only 720p for now (probably for a few years unless you buy a bluray), but that is so much better than the old analog 480i or whatever it was...

* You really do want to get an HD subscription if you haven't. When I channel surf, I put the guide on HD only because I really won't watch "normal" channels any more if I can avoid it. You will be disappointed if you use a crummy old 480i signal with your new TV IMHO.
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Old 04-01-2008, 06:26 PM   #31
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From what I understand, you cannot fix a Plasma. And LCD is not only energy saving compared but fixable AND you see it better in a well lit room. All pluses...so I got the LCD on that info.
That Sony should be very good (I almost got the 46"). I didn't know about the repair issue. The power consumption claim isn't true. These TVs are rated for their maximum power. LCDs use constant power (due to the backlight), while a Plasmas power consumption is variable and depends on the picture. From the tests that I've seen they are about the same.
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:01 PM   #32
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I forgot about the power issue. Check your prospective tv's stats on the manufacturers web site to see what the power draw is or get a kill-a-watt and take it to the store and test them yourself. I tested all our tv's and the power draw was verrry unintuitive. My plasma pulled the most. A 32" lcd pulled an awful lot too. Our lcos set wasnt bad. The lowest watt use tv's were the two big honking rear projection crt sets.

Old analog tv was generally 240i by the way. Regular DVD's and some cable/sat digital stations were 480i or 480p.
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