Need advice on new TV purchase

edited October 2009 in General Discussion
I've never really kept up to date on developments in LCD/Plasma technology, and it would make me feel dirty to take some Best Buy employee's advice. But our massive projection TV (hand-me-down) died recently and the loss is keenly felt in the room. I had heard that plasma technology dims greatly with time, then heard that they've fixed that problem almost completely...

Anyway, looking for general advice from those who like to keep in the loop or have made a recent purchase. Budget is tight right now so we're looking at the value end of things - a little (but not tiny) screen that fits above a fireplace and can be seen clearly from across a small room. Anything in the 300-600 dollar range that is a good bang for the buck would be ideal. At that size and price range should I be looking for LCD or plasma? Any standout brands or features that are worth insisting on?

Thanks in advance for the help :)


  • The thing about plasma is, in a lot of ways it's already a dead tech and it doesn't actually tend to be much cheaper than a comparable LCD. The modestly sized LCDs are based on extremely reliable tech too, they'll last a long time and have consistent performance throughout their lifespan.

    That being said, my research (done for my parents) is all from last Xmas season and so far out of date it'd probably be a waste of time for me to even start. My advice is to review what your friends own and research the one(s) you see in their house(s) and like. The ones in the shops have their settings badly abused and the exceptionally bright store lights distorting your ability to see what the image actually looks like. If you see a plasma at someone's house and like it, and they've had no problems with it, and it suits your budget, then look it up for any unusual problems (recalls, frequent maintainence issues, etc.) and if it clears, buy that bastard. You've gotta go with what your eyes enjoy.
  • Plasma is still probably better for 'big' TVs - 50+ or so, but for your price range, I would go LCD, you should be able to get a 32 or possibly even a 37. Go to best buy and look at what they have, most likely they will have the best selection, then see what the prices are elsewhere and online. I ordered our last Samsung at Amazon and it was 100% painless.
  • We got a 37" Vizio LCD from Costco that can do 1080p, for $725 tax included. (The 32" was around $100 cheaper.) About 6 months later, and we've been quite happy with it so far.
  • Costco is a good way to go if you have a membership. If the TV ends up dying on you within the warranty period you can just return it. Sure beats having to ship it back to the manufacturer.
  • also, Costco often extends the warranty as well.
  • I'm going to agree with Patro. I also own a Vizio. For about 3 years now, 37" which was about $1200 when I purchased (at the time it was cheap compared to other 37").
    The only complaint I have with it is my remote occasionally takes two button presses to registers... but I think I should maybe just change the batteries in it.

    I also own a 22" Dynex LCD, which I would not recommend. Vizio is great though.

    Personally I'm against buying the "brand name" type of TVs. Sony, Samsung etc... as they are overpriced for a name.

    If you do go with Vizio make sure you do research on their website before purchase, and make sure you get the correct model number. They have different versions of each of their TVs, which typically change some minor things, MS refresh, 1080p/i etc.
  • Plasma still has better Black. The fade and burnout on plasma was fixed a few years ago and i haven't had any problem w/mine (knock on wood). Motion blur was always the problem i ran into on LCDs but i hear they got that fixed too. so check your resolution (1080p) and higher refresh = better. other than that make sure you stand back a bit when looking at them cuz they tend to pixelate the closer you stand. try to get back as far as you will sit normally and go w/what looks good
  • Deac,

    I bought a 50" plasma two years ago for $1800. It's a Panasonic (Panasonic TH-50PX77U 50-Inch 720p) and I'm extremely happy with it. At the time I was shopping, summer 2007, the LCDs still had visible motion effects for me and that was a complete deal-killer. I think I'm abnormally sensitive to flicker though so other people may not have that issue. I haven't kept up with the technology since then but at the time plasma was a superior technology imo. Like others have said plasmas probably won't exist in a few years though, LCD is taking over.

    I used this site extensively, lots of good info here:

    I bought my TV online from a retailer that many of the AVSForums people use (or used then at least):

    Also a great place to buy all of your cables is . The prices there are truly amazing considering what you'd pay at Best Buy or the like. I've been very happy with every cable I've purchased from them.
  • Thanks all for the advice, guys. After looking at every store model we could, I found that any differences between them were easily overwhelmed (to my untrained eye) by simply having the picture properly calibrated. I'm not especially impressed with LG as a brand but saw a good deal on the LG 42LH30 42" 1080P LCD which was one that did actually look like a winner in store demos. Reviews online confirm that for an entry model its picture controls are top notch. Ended up paying $567 + tax with free shipping from fry's. If anyone else is looking for holiday or post-holiday specials I found plenty to drool over at .
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