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Flat Screen TV Help!

MMcG

Ride till you puke!
Dec 10, 2002
15,457
4
Burlington, Connecticut
We've got a budget of around $600.00 - would prefer to be at around Five Bills though.

What's good?

I need help. LCD vs. Plasma? which is better? Has to be about a 42" Diagonal Screen to fill the slot in the custom woodwork that came with Laura's house and that currently houses the dying Mitsubishi Projection Screen behemoth.

Thanks in advance!
 

rigidhack

Turbo Monkey
Aug 16, 2004
1,210
1
In a Van(couver) down by the river
If you watch lots of sports, then plasma is the way to go. Also, most HD stations still broadcast in 720, not 1080. I would say a 1080 is a good call if you are getting a TV over 55" AND you are putting in a place where you are no more than 8' from the screen and using it with a Blue Ray player. Other than that you most likely will not notice a difference between a 1080 and 720.

I ended up with a 50" LG 720p, although I don't recall the exact model. I love it - which says a lot as I hate TV - and it was cheap.
 

maddog17

Turbo Monkey
Jan 20, 2008
2,782
91
Methuen, Mass. U.S.A.
i was at a Best Buy and they had a Westinghouse LED for $600 but i think the size was around a 32 in. you should be able to find a good set for that price and size in an LCD
 

IH8Rice

I'm Mr. Negative! I Fail!
Aug 2, 2008
24,550
490
Im over here now
stick with 1080p. dont waste your money on a set that is 720p. you WILL notice a difference b/w both resolutions on a 42", especially when watching a BluRay movie. a lot of tv and satellite broadcast are being aired in 1080i but regardless of the video source input, the tv will scale the video quality up to 1080p.

plasmas are the best overall picture quality, then LED LCD's followed by the "standard" LCD's (fluorescent bulbs instead of LED)



stay clear away from "house" brands like Westinghouse, Dynex and whatever Walmart sells in-house.
Samsung, LG, Pana are the brands you should primarily be looking at

i can give you a better list of sets in your price range tomorrow morning. youll find better options around the $500-600 range
 
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MMcG

Ride till you puke!
Dec 10, 2002
15,457
4
Burlington, Connecticut
stick with 1080p. dont waste your money on a set that is 720p. you WILL notice a difference b/w both resolutions on a 42", especially when watching a BluRay movie. a lot of tv and satellite broadcast are being aired in 1080i but regardless of the video source input, the tv will scale the video quality up to 1080p.

plasmas are the best overall picture quality, then LED LCD's followed by the "standard" LCD's (fluorescent bulbs instead of LED)



stay clear away from "house" brands like Westinghouse, Dynex and whatever Walmart sells in-house.
Samsung, LG, Pana are the brands you should primarily be looking at

i can give you a better list of sets in your price range tomorrow morning. youll find better options around the $500-600 range
That'd rock if you could send a few ideas my way.
 

blackohio

Generous jaywalker
Mar 12, 2009
2,796
120
Hellafornia. Formerly stumptown.
I have a panasonic Viera Plasma I bought last summer and as the first plasma Ive owned I've been extremely happy with it. Always hated the scaling in black hues on the LCD's i've had and this thing has a really seamless black.
 

MMcG

Ride till you puke!
Dec 10, 2002
15,457
4
Burlington, Connecticut
So we have Comcast Digital Cable right now. Digital Cable doesn't automatically = HD right? That would be extra? And if we don't pay the extra - then a 720p TV would be fine and dandy?
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
58,234
6,279
media blackout
So we have Comcast Digital Cable right now. Digital Cable doesn't automatically = HD right? That would be extra? And if we don't pay the extra - then a 720p TV would be fine and dandy?
comcast is a butt raper and charges extra for HD.
 

IH8Rice

I'm Mr. Negative! I Fail!
Aug 2, 2008
24,550
490
Im over here now
So we have Comcast Digital Cable right now. Digital Cable doesn't automatically = HD right? That would be extra? And if we don't pay the extra - then a 720p TV would be fine and dandy?
no, it doesnt mean you automatically have HD. you need to get a HD box from Comcast.
you dont pay any extra for the HD channels, just for the HD boxes ($9.25/box).
all cable companies do this and it is nothing unusual.
a HD DVR would be something im sure youd be interested in and they charge $15.95 a month

if you dont pay the extra fee for the HD boxes, then dont even both getting a HD tv.
i still only recommend buying a 1080p tv unless price is the biggest deciding factor for you. 720p tv's are a huge difference in price, but theres still a small difference.
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
58,234
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no, it doesnt mean you automatically have HD. you need to get a HD box from Comcast.
you dont pay any extra for the HD channels, just for the HD boxes ($9.25/box).
all cable companies do this and it is nothing unusual.
a HD DVR would be something im sure youd be interested in and they charge $15.95 a month

if you dont pay the extra fee for the HD boxes, then dont even both getting a HD tv.
i still only recommend buying a 1080p tv unless price is the biggest deciding factor for you. 720p tv's are a huge difference in price, but theres still a small difference.

oh yea that's right. still sucks though. i wish i had the option of getting optimum at my current place.
 

IH8Rice

I'm Mr. Negative! I Fail!
Aug 2, 2008
24,550
490
Im over here now
oh yea that's right. still sucks though. i wish i had the option of getting optimum at my current place.
be happy you have Comcast.
channel selection/searching is fast (cablevision is painfully slow), picture quality is better and there are more HD channel choices than Cablevision.
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
58,234
6,279
media blackout
be happy you have Comcast.
channel selection/searching is fast (cablevision is painfully slow), picture quality is better and there are more HD channel choices than Cablevision.
i agree that comcast has them on search and guide speed. it's been so long since I switched that I can't remember in terms of picture quality, but we definitely had more HD channels with optimum (we don't have any premium channels. Granted this may have changed, we switched when we moved back in Oct 2009.
 

IH8Rice

I'm Mr. Negative! I Fail!
Aug 2, 2008
24,550
490
Im over here now
so hit me with some recommendos sir!
coffee finally kicking in. bear with me


i agree that comcast has them on search and guide speed. it's been so long since I switched that I can't remember in terms of picture quality, but we definitely had more HD channels with optimum (we don't have any premium channels. Granted this may have changed, we switched when we moved back in Oct 2009.
with the premium channels, comcast takes the win. but with the smaller packages cablevision takes the cake for HD channels.

like i mentioned in the comcast thread, ive installed the same tv on Fios, Comcast and Cablevision and Cablevision is by far the best picture quality.
the guide speed is one of the best things about Comcast IMO
 

IH8Rice

I'm Mr. Negative! I Fail!
Aug 2, 2008
24,550
490
Im over here now
soo.....


IMO this is one of the best lcd panels at this price range. aesthetically it looks nice and has plenty of inputs for whatever youd want to connect. best overall picture quality
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/674836-REG/Samsung_LN40C530F1FXZA_LN40C530_40_1080p_LCD.html
$599

This Pana model is full featured with plenty of HDMI inputs as well plus media card slots and a PC input.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/679035-REG/Panasonic_TC_L42U22_TC_L42U22_42_Viera_1080p.html
$549

this LG model is similar in picture quality to the Pana but with one less hdmi input
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/709813-REG/LG_Electronics_42LD450_42LD450_42_Class_Full.html
$549


to get into a 1080p plasma panel, youll jump up in price a few more bucks, but the price increase is WELL worth it IMO. if you have a super bright room and cant control the light in there, then a plasma might not be the best option for you
this Pana model is nice. full featured, nice panel
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/674069-REG/Panasonic_TC_P42S2_TC_P42S2_42_1080p_Plasma.html

prices can be had for cheaper with a little bit of searching..try pricegrabber.com or any other similar site.
there are of course much cheaper sets out there. some 40" 720p LCD's go as low as $399 and up. the picture quality will be much better than what you have now obviously, but when compared to the price range you are looking at, they stink.
 
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dante

Unabomber
Feb 13, 2004
8,814
8
looking for classic NE singletrack
no, it doesnt mean you automatically have HD. you need to get a HD box from Comcast.
you dont pay any extra for the HD channels, just for the HD boxes ($9.25/box).
all cable companies do this and it is nothing unusual.
a HD DVR would be something im sure youd be interested in and they charge $15.95 a month

if you dont pay the extra fee for the HD boxes, then dont even both getting a HD tv.
i still only recommend buying a 1080p tv unless price is the biggest deciding factor for you. 720p tv's are a huge difference in price, but theres still a small difference.
Holy crap, this is why I haven't stepped up yet. We oped to save the $85/month that we were spending on cable tv, and I can't imagine paying an extra $20-25/month on top of that just for HD channels (figuring 2 boxes). JHMFC...

Anyone experiment with HD over the air signals? We have an older (~6 years old) CRT standard def tv, and with a simple small antenna we can get all of the broadcast channels perfectly clear. Is this enough to gauge that HD signals would be clear as well?

Sorry for the thread-jacking...
 

rigidhack

Turbo Monkey
Aug 16, 2004
1,210
1
In a Van(couver) down by the river
HD channels are broadcast digitally, so clarity is not really an issue. You get them or you don't (digital is all binary, remember, so it is not really the same as the old analog signals that you can receive in varying degrees). If you get them, they are great.

I have to admit that I looked for a long time for a flat panel TV before I got the one I have now. Yes there is a difference between 720 and 1080, but it was nowhere near enough to warrant the extra $ (which was around $200 at the time). I came to this conclusion after many many iterations of side by side or A/B testing. If the prices were more or less the same, then 1080 would be worth it.
 

jacksonpt

Turbo Monkey
Jul 22, 2002
6,763
0
Vestal, NY
What do you use it for? Just standard def TV? Any HD/Blu-Ray/game systems in your future?

I strongly suggest 1080p over 720 just for the flexibility with the above devices. You may not have/use them now... but if the tv lasts 5-7 years, you'll probably will at some point before the TV is replaced.

I've got a samsung 42" and a panasonic 32", both LCDs. The samsung BLOWS AWAY the panasonic in terms of picture quality. It's not even close.
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
30,144
2,975
Portland, OR
This Pana model is full featured with plenty of HDMI inputs as well plus media card slots and a PC input.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/679035-REG/Panasonic_TC_L42U22_TC_L42U22_42_Viera_1080p.html
$549
Here is a stupid question:

How many HDMI inputs does a TV need? Mine has 2, I use one from my receiver and that's it. My receiver has 5 (I think) and I am currently only using 3 since the Wii doesn't have HDMI.

I have everything running through the receiver since it up converts. Is there any reason why I would want to plug something into the TV directly (other than the receiver)?
 

IH8Rice

I'm Mr. Negative! I Fail!
Aug 2, 2008
24,550
490
Im over here now
Here is a stupid question:

How many HDMI inputs does a TV need? Mine has 2, I use one from my receiver and that's it. My receiver has 5 (I think) and I am currently only using 3 since the Wii doesn't have HDMI.

I have everything running through the receiver since it up converts. Is there any reason why I would want to plug something into the TV directly (other than the receiver)?
the more the merrier IMO.
not everyone has receivers with HDMI inputs (like me), so i run all my main video inputs directly into the tv (PS3 and cable box. my DVD-DVR and DVD-VCR run into the receiver for audio/video switching). i dont use HDMI for my cable box since the picture quality isnt as good as the component

having a receiver w/ hdmi inputs does save the wire mess that runs directly to the tv but can sometimes limit you on the audio input signal the receiver can use.

if someone doesnt have a A/V receiver with switching, a tv with 3-4 is ideal....1.game system, 2.cable/satellite box, 3.BD player.....
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
30,144
2,975
Portland, OR
I'll see if the picture quality is any better from the STB to the TV direct rather than using the receiver. I know my receiver isn't the best video up-conversion (Onkyo TX-SR606) but for non-HD it looks a lot better. I will see if the HD programs look better/worse when run direct and go from there.

I bought the receiver when I got the TV because both were on sale for less than the TV's price alone originally. What's funny is I've had zero issues with my setup while Joe (who spent more for the Onkyo TX-SR707) has had nothing but problems.
 

zdubyadubya

Turbo Monkey
Apr 13, 2008
1,246
52
Ellicott City, MD
I have a question... side by side in the store, why does this TV

Vizio LCD

look so much better than this one?

Panasonic Plasma

when according to the reviews at several internet web sites, the first one sucks. I would very much like to get the plasma based on reputation but side by side it just doesnt look very good.

keep in mind that i am thinking of getting this is for my parent's. they don't have cable/satellite and just watch DVDs and over-the-air TV so I dont think I need to bump to 1080 for them?
 

buildyourown

Turbo Monkey
Feb 9, 2004
4,837
0
South Seattle
Just got a 42" Vizio LED about 3 mo ago. Looks good but it does blur the sports a little. The 1080 vs 720 is noticeable unless you only have really crappy cable. And we have some of the worst cable in the country.
Paid close to $800 at Costco but I think it has come down into the 6s by now.
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
30,144
2,975
Portland, OR
I have a question... side by side in the store, why does this TV

Vizio LCD

look so much better than this one?

Panasonic Plasma

when according to the reviews at several internet web sites, the first one sucks. I would very much like to get the plasma based on reputation but side by side it just doesnt look very good.

keep in mind that i am thinking of getting this is for my parent's. they don't have cable/satellite and just watch DVDs and over-the-air TV so I dont think I need to bump to 1080 for them?
Do your folks think it looks the same?
 

IH8Rice

I'm Mr. Negative! I Fail!
Aug 2, 2008
24,550
490
Im over here now
I have a question... side by side in the store, why does this TV

Vizio LCD

look so much better than this one?

Panasonic Plasma

when according to the reviews at several internet web sites, the first one sucks. I would very much like to get the plasma based on reputation but side by side it just doesnt look very good.

keep in mind that i am thinking of getting this is for my parent's. they don't have cable/satellite and just watch DVDs and over-the-air TV so I dont think I need to bump to 1080 for them?
the biggest difference i see is the obvious. ones 1080p and one is 720p.
i also think that Pana model is a older one, but not 100% on that ( i cant find that model listed on price checker sites)

if its for your parents and you want to keep it cheap then both models are okay. your parents might like the fact that the Vizio is a LCD and wont show too much glare compared to the glass Pana panel.
if they are watching basic cable and such, id go back to the store and try and watch both on those basic channels. i dont know how either of scale standard since they are at the bottom of the product food chain.
 

zdubyadubya

Turbo Monkey
Apr 13, 2008
1,246
52
Ellicott City, MD
Do your folks think it looks the same?
dont know. but probably will notice a difference. the pana is really dark and kinda pixely (sp?). plus, if I asked, my surprise X-mas intentions would go out the window

the biggest difference i see is the obvious. ones 1080p and one is 720p.
i also think that Pana model is a older one, but not 100% on that ( i cant find that model listed on price checker sites)

if its for your parents and you want to keep it cheap then both models are okay. your parents might like the fact that the Vizio is a LCD and wont show too much glare compared to the glass Pana panel.
if they are watching basic cable and such, id go back to the store and try and watch both on those basic channels. i dont know how either of scale standard since they are at the bottom of the product food chain.
thanks man! good to know. i had forgotten about the plasma glare thing.
 

IH8Rice

I'm Mr. Negative! I Fail!
Aug 2, 2008
24,550
490
Im over here now
I think we are going to go with this Panasonic:

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_05771510000P?prdNo=5&blockNo=5&blockType=L5
at 10% discount off that price, its a okay set, but id still rather pay the $70 more for the Samsung

Good choice?
well the discount at sears is only 10 percent.

How about this 42" Plasma from Panasonic. I do think 720 will be fine for us.
http://www.pcrichard.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=76603&parentCategoryId=2&categoryId=40000&subCategoryId=40010
if its a price point you are looking to hit, then yes, this tv will be fine for you
 

JRogers

talks too much
Mar 19, 2002
3,789
1
Claremont, CA
I have a question... side by side in the store, why does this TV

Vizio LCD

look so much better than this one?

Panasonic Plasma

when according to the reviews at several internet web sites, the first one sucks. I would very much like to get the plasma based on reputation but side by side it just doesnt look very good.

keep in mind that i am thinking of getting this is for my parent's. they don't have cable/satellite and just watch DVDs and over-the-air TV so I dont think I need to bump to 1080 for them?
1080 probably not necessary, but it depends if they're into that sort of thing. I know my parents don't care.

Also, I think I have that model Vizio and a friend of mine does as well. I haven't used it for anything HD yet (just need to get an HDMI cable now that I have a BluRay player....no TV for us), so I can't say much about the image quality on that front. Standard seems, well, pretty standard. The only real complaint I have is that the set has some glitches. It has turned off for no reason (friend had the same experience). It also has this "feature" that is supposed to quiet down commercials or something, but if you don't shut it off it basically just changes the volume randomly. A few other strange things happened, but I can't remember them. Not a deal breaker for me, as I'm pretty happy with it (well, it was also a gift and I don't complain) and usually it's no problem. But I figured it was worth mentioning.