Some Flat Panel advice... do NOT believe the hype!!

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Old 08-21-07, 11:19 AM
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Some Flat Panel advice... do NOT believe the hype!!

There always seems to be some confusion and mis-information regarding flat panels and how to purchase. I thought I will try to clear up a few misconceptions. Some of what I am going to say will be met with naysayers but it is all fact and can be proven.

When shopping for a flat panel, you need to ask youself several questions.

First and foremost is "How far am I going to be sitting from the display?".

This question should be the single most important thing you think about when purchasing a flat panel. Why? Because the human eye cannot decipher the difference of 480p to 720p from 8' or more. Don't believe me? Go to any store that is properly set up and displaying any HD signal. The ED set will look IDENTICAL to the HD set after 8'. I have proven this time and time again. I have commercially sold, installed and owned flat panels ( both LCD and Plasma) for over 8 years. If the colors and contrast are setup properly, the picture will look the same. Now, if you sit closer than 6' or want to go up close to look, you will see the difference.

Do not even get me started on all of this 1080P crap! The only time a "Videophile" will tell you they see a difference with 1080P is if it is on a 110' screen via projection and even then it is minimal and not worth the extra money. Most people need to quantify their purchase and will brag about the superior picture but if they are honest, there is no difference after a certain distance.This is all marketing hype to charge you more money! 1080P on a 42" LCD screen is a complete waste of money.

Also, while LCDs definately look better than they have in the past,they cannot compare to the picture quality of todays Plasma sets. The colors as well as the contrast are MUCH more accurate on Plasma. This is inherent to the technologies. Although some of todays LCD sets are absolutely stunning, overall, a high quality plasma will outperform a high quality LCD every time. The only time LCD makes significantly more sense is if there is room with TONS of natural sunlight. The plasma glass is too reflective and you will see a mirror effect.

Those cheaper Plasma's and LCD's are, as others have said, the same glass as the more expensive brands and some are complete rebadges. It was known for a while the Fujitsu made the most real to life 50" plasma on the market. Nobody would say otherwise. What many people did not know was that they used Panasonic Glass on their 50" panel. The same glass used on the cheaper Panasonic. What they did was use their scaler to bring the picture a step above. Do not be so quick to blow off the no names. Spend some time with them, you may like what you see.

Just some food for though regarding todays technology. Before you purchase spend time with each and DO NOT listen to the salesman. Let you eyes be the judge. Try to recreate your personal environment, lighting and ESPECIALLY seating distance. Usually the improvement in picture of a more expensive set is minimal compared to the cost it will incur ( unless money is no object, then knock yourself out!!)

One other thing, warranties should be a minimum of one year and will go up to five depending on the manufacturer. If it is less than that, I would be cautious. You also would want in-home unless the manufacturer has a service center near you. Who wants to have to pack up and ship their beautiful LCD?!
 
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Old 08-21-07, 01:35 PM
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Okay then, what about altitude? I understand certain types of flat screen TVs have issues up high, like at our 8500 ft.
 
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Old 08-21-07, 02:40 PM
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"Before you purchase spend time with each and DO NOT listen to the salesman."

This can be unwise! The salesman should be knowledgable with each unit and can help you pick out what options you need and prevent overspending. Most electronic retailers do not go by commission anymore, so there is not really a need to try and upsell a customer.

I bet you couldn't tell if I had a LCD or Plasma by looking at the picture. I had my LCD right next to a few Plasmas that were more expensive and you could not even tell the difference.

Plasmas are nice, but if you don't get the extended warranty, you are going to have to get a second mortgage to pay for the repair bills because they will be dead within 4-5 years.
 
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Old 08-21-07, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by HotinOKC View Post
"Before you purchase spend time with each and DO NOT listen to the salesman."

This can be unwise! The salesman should be knowledgable with each unit and can help you pick out what options you need and prevent overspending. Most electronic retailers do not go by commission anymore, so there is not really a need to try and upsell a customer.

I bet you couldn't tell if I had a LCD or Plasma by looking at the picture. I had my LCD right next to a few Plasmas that were more expensive and you could not even tell the difference.

Plasmas are nice, but if you don't get the extended warranty, you are going to have to get a second mortgage to pay for the repair bills because they will be dead within 4-5 years.
Mark,

Any retailer will sell you what is more profitable. Their margins are what matters whether they make commision or not (most are still commisioned as margins have been cut to nothing which is why they push overpriced extended warranties and cables) Do you really think those people at Best Buy are knowledgable? They will sell you the newest and sell it as the best. (Which is ALWAYS the most expensive).

Reliabilty has been one of the biggest misconceptions about this technology. Plasmas DO NOT go bad after a few years and they do not need to be refilled after a length of time. They in fact have a half life of 60,000 hrs. Thats 60,000 hrs !!! This 4 to 5 year stuff is just flat out wrong.

I will not debate what your eyes see. If you feel that way, thats great but don't bet me. I take thos bets and 10 out of 10 times Plasma has been chosen. As I said LCD's has come a long way and the Sony is a beautiful set but they really do not visually compare. The picture is just not as vibrant as the new Pioneers or Panasonics. They simply cannot do blacks as well as Plasma. This is inherent of the Liquid Crystal design. It is backlit therefore "bright". Lately manufacturers have been trying to coat the screens to get better blacks and it works but the tradeoff is ALOT less detail in the picture. Get a good DVD player and compare. You will see the difference.

Also, a 42" Plasma is cheaper than a 42" LCD...FYI.

I own both technologies. My PLasma is a 6th Generation Panasonic ( they are up to 10th gen) and it is over 5 years old. Still looks like it did out of the box! I personally know people at several manufacturers ( LG, Sharp and Panasonic) as I place their wares in several Hotels throughout NYC. I have compared several technologies side by side and I can honestly say Plasma is second to none (currently) There are some exciting technologies coming out in a few years though.
 
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Old 08-21-07, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by logcabincook View Post
Okay then, what about altitude? I understand certain types of flat screen TVs have issues up high, like at our 8500 ft.
Older Plasmas had serious issues with high altitudes. To the point where manufacturers were making High Altitude models. They are now slowly correcting this but check with each individual manufacturer. The Panasonic is now the highest rated at 9100 ft.

LCD's are not affected by altitude. and at your altitude, I would probably recommend LCD although they are very overpriced 40" and above.

Hope that helps.

Mark
 
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Old 08-21-07, 07:43 PM
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[QUOTE=HotinOKC;1220256 The salesman should be knowledgable with each unit and can help you pick out what options you need and prevent overspending. Most electronic retailers do not go by commission anymore, so there is not really a need to try and upsell a customer.

Plasmas are nice, but if you don't get the extended warranty, you are going to have to get a second mortgage to pay for the repair bills because they will be dead within 4-5 years.[/QUOTE]

Though the salesman SHOULD be knowledgeable, most are not. Most are college kids or part timers, and spout incorrect information, such as your quote on the lifespan.

Original models had a 14 year half life, based on 8 hours a day, 365 days a year of use. Now it's like 20+ years. How many people use their TV that many hours? How many people have 15 year old tv's. And the half life is meaning it loses 1/2 its brightness, which is when it is noticable.
 
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Old 08-22-07, 03:23 PM
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I've spoken with numerous TV repair technicians and they all say most plasma's/lcd's will only last around 4-5 yrs before needing major repairs.

I would believe a repair tech over any manufacturer spec anyday since these are the people who repair them.

Where did you get this 14 year half life since plasma's and flat panel LCD TV's have only been out around 9-10 yrs?
 
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Old 08-22-07, 04:34 PM
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I wonder what they're repairing, because they're not from my customers.

A lot of research on my part, into research by a lot of engineers and scientists and manufacturers. Plasmas have been out for 12 years or so. 24/7 for 4.6 years is equal to my 14 mentioned, So I think the tests could be done.

I'm not saying plasma is better nor that lcd is better. I'm just trying to line out the facts as best I know them. It's interesting though, if your read this article. http://www.lcdtvbuyingguide.com/lcdtv-plasmavslcd.shtml . IT pretty much shows that they are about equal, but each has their strengths, some depending on your viewing environment.

If I were going out to buy one today, I would probably pick a Panasonic or Pioneer Plasma. But I'd sure consider a Sharp LCD. That's my $.02
 
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Old 08-22-07, 04:49 PM
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Original models had a 14 year half life, based on 8 hours a day, 365 days a year of use. Now it's like 20+ years. How many people use their TV that many hours? How many people have 15 year old tv's. And the half life is meaning it loses 1/2 its brightness, which is when it is noticable.
=============================

Me!!!!

One of my TV's is on approx. 7 hours weekdays and at least twice that on weekends. My kids TV is on at least 16 hours daily and probably more on the weekends (it does double duty as a dog sitter). The other one is on nearly 24/7 (also a dog sitter for the "other" group of dogs in our home)

I would have a 15 year old TV if they would last that long. Actually I have at least one that is getting fairly close to that age.

I would like to get a large tv but good plasmas are still more money than I would like to spend and the LCDs still have that odd effect when there is fast movement. I keep looking and waiting though.
 
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Old 08-23-07, 10:22 AM
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You're gonna end up with couch potato dogs. make 'em go out and play, ha-ha. That is a lot of hours. I wouldn't want to buy a high dollar tv for that use.

I think the lcd's are getting faster, so it is "less" of a problem with movement, but I always tell my customers that a plasma responds better for fast movie action or sports.

I also have some older tv's, had to finally get rid of the one with the klunk-klunk knob channel changer (and no remote), cause it would turn on and stay green for a while (it was getting to be 10 or 15 minutes) , and the light sensor was bad, so the brightness would change back and forth if you watched in the dark, which was really annoying. But I digress.

My point is people who are spending 2 - 5k on a tv, probably won't be using that as their main tv in 10 or 15 years. But some will I'm sure.
 
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Old 08-23-07, 03:27 PM
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The 60,000hrs half life is the manufacturer rating. I have seen plasmas and LCDs running 24 hours a day for over 5 years and still going. ( Yes the plasma 's were earlier generation and did get some burn from static images (which is actually uneven wear of the Plasma Phosphers but that is for another discussion).

I am sure if you contact a factory trained tech who knows both technologies, they will concur.

Oddly enough, the Sharp LCD's are one of the manufacturers whom I feel to be too soft a picture. The newer Sony Bravia was stunning and the most realistic LCD I have yet to see.

MArk




Originally Posted by HotinOKC View Post
I've spoken with numerous TV repair technicians and they all say most plasma's/lcd's will only last around 4-5 yrs before needing major repairs.

I would believe a repair tech over any manufacturer spec anyday since these are the people who repair them.

Where did you get this 14 year half life since plasma's and flat panel LCD TV's have only been out around 9-10 yrs?
 
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