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Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-18-2006, 07:05 PM   #1
 
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Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

Anyone here recently done any research on the Flat Panel TVs in the 40-42 inch range? What is the Best Picture quality in this Size?

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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-18-2006, 07:31 PM   #2
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

That's a fast-moving target.* *We just picked up a Vizio 37-inch LCD from Costco a few months ago, and it has great bang/buck, but I believe a slew of new models have already come out since then.

Generally, plasma will give you the best picture quality in that size range at the expense of slightly lower resolution than some LCDs.* *I chose LCD because I also use it for a computer display and I went for 37-inch because I wanted something that one person could easily move around.

Panasonic has a good rep for plasmas.* *Go visit a Costco and a Best Buy to compare sets, and then check fatwallet.com for deals on the one you like the best.
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-18-2006, 09:59 PM   #3
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

Dell has some good deals, great quality, and speakers that detach ... can be a handy feature.

Consider www.consumerreports.org ... we enjoy using it for such research.
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-19-2006, 03:53 AM   #4
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

I BOUGHT THE TOSHIBA 46" DLP....I COULDNT BE HAPPIER
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-19-2006, 07:30 AM   #5
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

It's been a couple of years for me. I got a 42 inch Vizio HD Plasma from Costco. At the time I read a boatload of forums and concluded that LCD was lighter and somewhat better but not enough to outweigh the cost advantages of plasma. I also learned that most plasma screens are manufactured by a few Asian companies and you often get the same quality in a no-name brand as in the high priced spread. I can't remember who built the Vizio -- something like "LG" but it was the same screen as the major player (Pioneer or somebody with a beautiful device) at the time. The TV has performed flawlessly. My brother and a good friend ran out and bought the same TV and have been happy.

<add alert>
The thing that really sold me was Costco's price and LIFETIME return policy. If high end electronics ever fail you can bring them back to Costco for replacement or a full refund. I checked that with two managers and got the same response. I guess they figure you will toss it in favor of new technology before it fails. Costco has a reputation forf being the Ben and Jerry's of retail (committed to its customers and employees) so maybe they will deliver on this promise. </add>
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-19-2006, 07:55 AM   #6
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

No specific brand/model name recommendation, but things I'd look for:
  • Don't get EDTV resolution plasma (lower cost) -- I hate its look; get true HDTV resolution.
  • Look at a bunch of such TVs in a store to see what you like and can stand -- some people can't stand DLP, others (like me) don't notice the slight image 'tearing' artifact
  • At some point,* you'll probably want to hook up a laptop to the thing to show slides from your next trip to Chiang Mai.* If you have a DVI video out port on the laptop, then you should know that the video part of HDMI is the same as DVI, so a simple DVI-to-HDMI cable will let* you do the hookup (and it will look mahvelous).* If you have a VGA video out port on the laptop, then you'll want the TV to have a VGA in port, or you'll have to buy a VGA-to-video converter.
We bought a Sony LCD projection TV 19 months ago, and are quite happy with it, but it isn't a true flat panel.* LCD flat panels have dropped a lot since then.
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-19-2006, 08:20 AM   #7
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

Also in process of finding a new TV, and have looked
@ the Vizio at Sams, almost pulled the trigger on it, but decided to spend a bit more time looking, as prices are
coming down almost monthly and new product from
Hitachi and other manfactures will be coming out soon.
The new Sonys (xbr) technology really appears to me to
have the best picture to my eyes, but there prices are still to high, but they will come down. Don't want to wait till I'm to damn old to see the TV but can wait thru
summer till football season, unless the Brewers continue to win games, (might force me to get one sooner). 37 to 42 inch is a great size and will use it for main family room TV till I see what the new SED technology looks like and its cost. Will move the TV from
family room to wall mount bedroom and get new 55 to 60 inch for fam. room. I will follow this link for a bit to catch input on everyone's thinking on this subject..
Rock on!!!!
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-19-2006, 09:18 AM   #8
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

we decided on te 40" Sony Bravia XBR model (LCD) because we compared 30-35 other similar models at a local store a nothing came close on picture quality. We were able to get a customer return (wasn't big enough for them) for $2750 as oposed to the normal price of $3400

I would add that to future proof your TV you should get one with an HDMI connection. Even though many thing that all the HDMI does is to combine video and audio into one connector (which it does) it's also important because it is required for future compatability with DRM requiremts for Blu-Ray and HD-DVD

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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-19-2006, 11:18 AM   #9
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

Plasmas going to have a good picture, but they're hot and pull a lot of juice. Warmed up the room I had mine in pretty good...I had to add a small window air conditioner in the summer, but then again its a bit warmer here.

My advice is to go to costco, look at all the screens, see which one makes you happy (some people LIKE attributes that videophiles do not). Check them in-store for any fans they use...the warehouses are loud and you might not hear it there but will hear it at home. Fans drive some people nutty. I dont care.

Dont be too brand centric. A lot of screens use the same glass with different electronics and remotes. Some of the electronics are important though. If you're going to watch non-hdtv content or 4:3 content...see what that looks like on the screen you like. Some do a weird or crappy job of upscaling hdtv and stretching 4:3 content. For example, my old plasma looked great with a dvd but lousy with satellite or cable non-hdtv. I bought a cheap scaler for it (viewsonic vb50) and that was a lot better. It also stretched the whole picture, making everyone look like fat headed chubs. The DLP set I have now stretches just the edges of the material on each side, so the center half of the picture isnt distorted. It looks weird when something/someone moves from one edge of the screen to the other, but in 90% of the cases where the action or subject is centered and static, it looks very good.

Seems like you can sometimes get a better deal outside of costco or sams club, but I'd recommend paying a little premium to them so you can return it anytime. A lot of people get buyers remorse when they get the set home and see it in their setting, with their lighting, and their content. A lot of these sets are still of indeterminate reliability and longevity. I'd hate to pay two or three grand for something and have it go belly up a month out of warranty.

Best deals I can get is on sams club returns. My club sells their returns as used goods from the floor, marking them down every week or so until someone buys them. The vast majority are buyers remorse returns or people who stuck the thing on the wrong video connection or screwed up the setup and couldnt get a picture. Something ridiculous percentage of televisions are returned because they're so complex people dont know how to set them up.

I bought a big DLP set for $500 off because whoever tried to assemble the stand screwed it up a little. Some glue and a screw and it was easily fixed. The box with the actual tv in it had never been opened.

I got a 32" LCD set for $499 (from $999) because whoever bought it said "the screen is black and no sound", repair ticket said "set to demo mode" or somesuch. Remote and batteries were still in the original sealed bag with the owners manual.
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-19-2006, 11:31 AM   #10
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Plasmas going to have a good picture, but they're hot and pull a lot of juice.
True, but large LCDs aren't much better. My LCD has a very bright backlight, and surprisingly, the wattage is about the same as a CRT.
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-19-2006, 12:02 PM   #11
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

Probably a lot has changed in the 18 months since I bought my 46" DLP. (Which is not flat, although I've seen some newer DLPs that are "flat" but still thicker than plasma/lcd.) One thing I'll toss out there is that in the store (18 months ago) the DLPs looked hopelessly dimmer than the plasmas and especially the LCDs. But the store is bright, and at home the only time the DLP wasn't quite bright enough was when I had the blinds full up, windows fully open and the sun was shining on the light carpet in front of the TV...in other words I sorta had full-blast sun between me and the TV.
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-19-2006, 12:14 PM   #12
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

50" Samsung DLP is 13" deep, weight about 80lbs. Great HD picture from HD channels or DVDs; I don't even attempt to watch 4:3 at 16:9. Some low-def channels look ok, some crappy... Bright enough for all but the sun shining directly on the screen. Cost one year ago was $2400.
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-19-2006, 07:12 PM   #13
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR
50" Samsung DLP is 13" deep, weight about 80lbs. Great HD picture from HD channels or DVDs; I don't even attempt to watch 4:3 at 16:9. Some low-def channels look ok, some crappy... Bright enough for all but the sun shining directly on the screen. Cost one year ago was $2400.
I have the same one and it's awesome. I bought mine over 3 years ago for $4200 not $2400
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-20-2006, 10:31 AM   #14
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

Did lots of research on this before I bought...Got the Panasonic TH-42PX50U last fall from PCconnection and am very happy with it.* Just break it in properly for first 100 hours.* Ran $2700 no tax or shipping.

Most informative forum you can find is:* http://www.avsforum.com/

Not sure if you can still find a 50U...the 60U is out and they are uglier.* Can probably find something better, but I can't recommend any new versions cuz I haven't done the research.

Good luck with your purchase!
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-20-2006, 11:06 AM   #15
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

Hey there - I was thinking about buying a plasma about a year ago. Never did, but I DO remember that either Best Buy or Circuit City (can't remember) explains the differences between LCD and Plasma models. You should check it out. I remember thinking that LCD was the way to go.
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-21-2006, 09:55 AM   #16
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

We were looking yesterday we always look we like the "DLP" digital light processer TV's, every every 3 years you replace the bulb around $300. Plasma will give about 40 to 50 thousand hours before it goes and you can't fix it that is about 12 to 13 years it will get burn out if you keep it on a certain station that has a rolling ticker especially it is red like Fox or one of them ....if your don't have your TV on a lot it might be a good way to to.* LCD is giving you a few more hours than Plasma and they claim that in the future they are being perfected more.they cost less than Pasma and DLP.

Personally we really like the DLP by Mitsubithsi you replace the bulb but you have the TV for ever or until your tired of it.. but I like having a TV on the wall so we are running into a problem on which to go..

BTW doesn't any one know why they call them "Plasma" it makes me think of blood....

We like to look at "Ulitmate" and "Tweeters" they are higher endstores and you get good information from them especially the "Ulitmate"

Good luck
Kathyet

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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-21-2006, 12:09 PM   #17
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathyet
BTW doesn't any one know why they call them "Plasma" it makes me think of blood....
(I was going to tell you a cool story a la The Matrix, but I deleted it.)

Plasma also refers to a state of matter. It's that cool glowing state that neon gas gets into when charged within a neon sign, for example. Think of plasma TVs as having about a million little neon signs to create the TV display.
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-21-2006, 12:16 PM   #18
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

DLP's dont necessarily need a bulb every 3 years...its usually an hour limit on the bulb of 3000-5000 hours. Sometimes they pop early. Often you can do better than the $300 price. The good news is that with a bulb replacement, you have practically the original picture quality.

NEW plasmas do have a 60,000 hour life (which is a calculated number, not necessarily tested). Ones from a few years ago may have only had 15-20k lifes. Last years models were 30k. They slowly lose brightness over that time so it will become dimmer as you go and reach its "half life" for the average user in about 5-7 years. At that point the screen will be dim enough that some users will want to replace it.

One other caveat...the bulb based units (dlp, lcos, etc) are going to have more sensitivity to bad power, spikes and brownouts/blackouts than a plasma. One of the worst things on earth you can do to a bulb unit is pull its plug or have the power go out. Most of them use a small fan to cool the bulb, which continues to run after you turn the tv off. Without power the fan doesnt run. Bulb gets hot. May subtract a lot of life from it.

So far we've had good luck with the oddball LCoS JVC set. After looking at plasmas, lcd's, dlp's and the lcos sets on even footing we both really liked the PQ on the lcos the best. If you havent heard of it, its sort of a hybrid LCD/DLP technology. Supposedly the best of both worlds with none of the downsides.

Very odd technology with poor yields on the lcos chips. We may regret the decision in 2-3 years if the set goes belly up.
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-21-2006, 12:21 PM   #19
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

I looked at an LCoS set.* *Man, was that thing bright.* *Don't they use some super-bright bulb that burns out in a fairly short time?
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............
Old 05-21-2006, 12:25 PM   #20
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Re: Shopping for a 40-42 inch Flat Panel TV..............

They're definitely bright, and its a big room with two big windows on either side of the set that get full sun late in the day. We used to pull the shades to watch tv. Dont need to do that anymore.

Bulb life on my set, as far as I can recall, is estimated at 5000 hours. Some of the original sets had a run of bad bulbs, but the manufacturer replaced those even if they were out of warranty.
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