Do you like your LCD TV? Do you like your Plasma TV? and related questions...

So, we’re looking to re-do our family room and we want to go all out. I know we want a flat screen TV…very slim…to sit on top of a very classy low hutch. We do not want projection (not even DLP technology).

I knew LCD had come down in price, but there is an enourmous jump (50% increase in cost or more) to go from 32-37 inches. Q. Is 32" big enough for a family room? They look a little small in showrooms.

A 37" TV can be 50%-70% more expensive than a 32" tv. Q. Do you think it it worth it?

Plasma has come down in price (some 37"-ers are less than some 37" LCD). I’m leaning towards LCD because I keep hearing that Plasma loses brightness over time, and actually just gets to the point that after 7 years it’s kaput. Q*. Is this true?*

For once, I don’t have the patience to do research other than read Consumer Reports. I trust you guys, and referrals mean alot because I want real consumers who have real world experiences.

Add in any info you think could help.

How far will you be sitting from the TV? That will help you determine if a 32" screen will work for you. You can try to sit the same distance from a similar set in the store.

I’ve got the Sony HD LCD and I’m absolutely smitten with it. The drawbacks to LCD are few, all that I can see are that it takes about 30 seconds for the picture to come up to full brilliance and there a barely audible fan blowing softly in the background but it’s more than covered up by the broadcast, especially if you’re running it through a home entertainment system (which I heartily endorse). The color and clarity are surperb and there’s no “stuttering” (?) on even the fastest sporting events like Formula One, MLB fastballs, etc.

As for size, sit down at the store the same approximate distance from the set as what you’ll encounter at home. While I’d originally planned on buying a 44", after seeing the consistent definition quality carry through up to the larger models I ended up buying the 60". Admittedly, it’s pretty freakin’ big in the living room and I’ve had a comment or two from my wife and it took a little while to get used to but now anything smaller simply pales in comparrison.

Caveat - we did have some difficulty in finding a suitable piece of furniture it could fit in. Consider your chosen piece’s dimensions before deciding.

Just out of curiousity, why don’t you want a rear-projection TV?
Especially since you’re not hanging it on the wall or anything.

I love my projection TV.

Nice bright picture.
No ghosting.
No burn-in problems.
I can change the bulb out in a few years If I want and the picture will be just as bright as when it was new.
The viewing angles are great, especially with new tvs.

In my finished basement, I have a 60" proj tv. Truly great. This is the fun area, with pool table, bar, etc. I have a proj tv…but just wouldn’t want this in my family room, even the smaller profile DLP stuff.

No projection tv: In my family room, we want some ‘style’. We like the super flat look, and we love how LCDs and Plasmas look on short hutches and other tasteful pieces. I will probably build the hutch or furniture it will sit on. This room is off of our kitchen, and gets frequent use, but it won’t be a romper room.

Distance…well, the way my family room will be set up, the sofa will be about 12’ from the TV. I guess I am inclined to think that 37" is a min size, and that I should rule out 32". My 32" square tv looks okay in there, but the wide screen HDTV monitors look kind of smallish at 32".

Fair enough.

If you aren’t in too much of a hurry, is reporting an expected over-supply of lcd panels next year.

I have a 42" plasma and love it.

Regarding loss of picture quality over time, that is true…they estimate after about 20,000 hours the picture will start to decrease in quality.

So let’s see…8 hours per day divided into 20,000 hours…2500 days = 6.8 years.

I figure after about 7 years, if the tv tanks, I got my money’s worth - plus I don’t really watch tv 8 hours per day, so my guess is I even have a few more years worth.

Plasmas are great, and yes they are thin, but they weigh a ton - ours is over 100 pounds. Supposedly they eat a lot of electricity, but I haven’t noticed any real difference in our electric bill.

We love the picture quality, and every visitor to our house is equally impressed. Oh, and you get great picture quality from all vantage points.

I love LCD. I have a Samsung 13" Widescreen LCD on a swivel-mount wall bracket in my bedroom. I call it the “hospital TV” because I get into bed and then swing it out in front of me. Obviously, you’re looking at something much bigger, but I just wanted to chime in and say I love LCD. Great for DVDs and Playstation.

I’d suggest measuring the size you want carefully, perhaps with a big piece of cardboard to show the size of the TV. Just see how big a TV needs to be to fit nicely in the space you have. , and give you enough screen size. I have a 42" plasma, it looks really good from about 20’ away, a 37" would probably seem a bit smallish, a 32" way too small. 32 might have been good enough in standard format, but in widescreen it wouldn’t do the trick.

I like my plasma, I figure if I need to replace it in 7 years, that’s fine, though I expect it will last longer than that. I don’t know too many people who have 7 year old TVs that can’t be replaced pretty cheaply these days.

I absolutely love my plasma TV. This is coming from someone who doesn’t even watch that much TV. When my old, oversized, room dominating projection TV became unwatchable, I looked at all the technologies available, and settled on my Panasonic 42" plasma pretty much because of the picture quality. 4 months later, it is still a treat to come home from work an turn it on. Partly, this is because I hadn’t really noticed the slow degradation of my old TV’s picture.

One major problem, though, is that the cost does not stop at the TV. I remember thinking, wow - those speakers really should match the quality of the picture… wow, this old receiver sure doesn’t drive these new speakers very well… wow, what’s this input jack? HDMI? Don’t know what that is, but I’m pretty sure I need it. That means I need a new DVD player - and a 100$ HDMI cable…

$100 HDMI cable??? :eek:

I never understood the concept behind paying a premium for a cable to carry a digital signal. I mean… digital signals are supposed to be MORE immune to degredation, not less, right?

That’s why I go to monoprice for my cable needs.

CNet has a rough guide of what size TV is recommended for how far you’ll be sitting from it. I found it very useful in buying my 42" plasma. I think the “max range” is skewed towards sitting too close, but it’s good to get a feel for these things.

For example, I probably sit about 12 feet from my TV, and its just the right size for me. It’s big and clear, but any closer would be too big, and any further away I wouldn’t really get a good bigscreen TV feel… but CNet recommends the max distance for that size of screen is 10.5 feet. So, YMMV.

I just purchased the Sony 32" LCD and I love it. I got that size because it’s the biggest that would fit in my current TV hutch and I didn’t feel like buying new furniture. My biggest problem was getting the old CRT monster out. Carting the new TV in and setting it up was a breeze. It is so cool. Unlike the bad ol’ days of LCD’s, this bad boy is viewable from just about any angle, too.

Now, if size (and money) aren’t an option, for $800 more, get the 40" version.

I actually rejected the HDMI impulse - a new DVD player and expensive cables felt like I was going overboard - and how much better can the picture actually be?

But as soon as I detect the slightest problem with my current DVD player, I intend to find out!

We bought a 42" Panasonic Plasma tv a few months ago. It is in the “my first plasma” price range, it had really good reviews on tech websites, and we wanted a new swanky TV. :smiley:

As for what we put it on… this tv unit from IKEA

I really like the plasma tv. It has great picture and the unit itself has pretty good sound. For movies and our favorite shows, we use the surround sound system.

The slight distortion took a couple of weeks to get used to, but now I don’t even notice it.

Overall- very happy with purchase.

Toshiba 26" HDTV owner here. It’s an absolute pleasure, but my needs were different than yours. It serves as both my TV and computer monitor. Toshiba isn’t supposed to use as a computer monitor, though, so if you want crazy monitor resolutions, get a brand that can have drivers downloaded etc.

My setup is as such: my desk is sturdy, metal & solid wood, with one big shelf to serve as the monitor/keyboard/mouse rest at about 39" off the ground. I use a drafter’s chair that’s 29" off. My cable box, cable modem, wireless routers and all the bell & whistles are on the 2 smaller shelves beneath. My treadmill sits about 4" from the desk. My chair is somewhere in between.

In addition, there’s a docking station, and a DVI KVM so that I can switch between the work laptop and the home computer.

I look forward to running and telecommuting in the evenings just to use my pretty shiny new TV.

Huh? Is this a stretch or zoom issue and, if so, aren’t they selectable w/ plasma?

Yes… there are 4 aspect settings… Just picking the one that looked best for most viewing took some getting used to. For most things we use the “full” or “just” settings.
That is what I meant to say. I know what I meant, but I just come off being vague sometimes :slight_smile:

First of all, hello LVgeogeek, long time no see!

Regarding the “distortion”…are you setting the television ratio, or are you using the Cox (ripoff) Communications remote to set the screen? You can use both - we keep our television on FULL and use the cable remote to switch between stretch, zoom and normal (for the HDTV). We still have a problem sometimes with the ratio of certain broadcast films, but no distortion - other than the fact that the woman who does the weather on channel three, well - her head is now three times as wide as it normally is, but that is just her.

So that’s “only” $2,000. Not bad for a 42" plasma TV. I mean, it’s still four times what my last TV cost, but it’s a lot nicer. But the resolution is 480p. Do you mind that it’s not “true” HDTV (which is 1080p, I think). My problem is my impulse is to get both a bigger screen and a higher resolution one, and the combination is where they get expensive.