I am buying a new TV do you get Plasma, LCD, or DLP??

I have no clue where to begin…help me out and let me know what you folks think.

stay away from plasma. according to one of my former boyfriends, they’re great for a while - and then they start to decline. the intial outlay of greenbacks is not worth the hassle, he says.

stick with LCD.

Also plasma uses hugely more power than LCD, they are completely wasteful devices.

It depends. What size television do you want to get? How much do you want to spend? Do you want to hang it on the wall?

I’ve heard that if you’re not going to hang it on the wall, you might consider a DLP set, as they’re relatively shallow but allow you to get a bigger set for the same money as an LCD or plasma set.

When you’re looking for opinions, whether informed or otherwise, start it in IMHO.

samclem GQ moderator

Each have pros and cons. There is no clear cut winner.

DLP is not a flat TV, although it is pretty skinny. You can’t hang it on a wall. Another disadvantage is that most use a halogen bulb system that like a regular light bulb, dies after a while (usually around 2-3 years). Replacement bulbs can often cost several hundred dollars (although some expensive sets are using LED light engines that promise to last a lot longer). DLP sets, though, are cheap, big, and for the most part have a great picture. If you are buying a 60" TV, a DLP is several thousand dollars cheaper than a plasma or an LCD.

Plasmas are the next cheapest, and are a great option if you are looking in the 50" range. Plasmas and LCDs are flat TVs that can be hung on walls. The old downside to plasma is that they used to suffer from burn-in. New sets do not, to the best of my knowledge, and other bugs for instance the decline in quality over time have also been much improved. They are heavy, though, and as mentioned above they are energy hogs. For the most part, the majority of plasmas are the old 720p standard – the new 1080p sets are just hitting the market. The price is definitely coming down on those but they are a step up more expensive than the older 720p sets.

LCD TVs are more expensive, although their price is falling. Price begins to get prohibitive over around 46" (at least for me it was, although I just got a great deal on a Samsung 46" that is in the mail somwhere for me).

This doesn’t even touch on CRT-based TVs, of which there are quite a few still available out there (and on the cheap).

There are some well-known downfalls and strengths to each type in terms of image quality (rainbow artifacts, visible scan lines, brightness differences), color quality, contrast ratios, etc. There’s also resolution – 720 or 1080 horizontal lines. Each brand (and model in each brand) has its own foibles and own strengths and weaknesses in image processing and the like. Also other features have variable amounts of importance to difference folks – inputs, CableCard slot, on-screen menus, built-in HD tuner, picture-in-picture, speakers, design, screen glare, yada yada yada.

I personally think that if you are looking at 40-50" sets, LCD sets have the most pros and the fewest cons, especially as LCD technology has greatly improved (and become less expensive) over the last few years.

How much difference does the 720 or 1080 mean to the average shmoe like me whos primary uses will be to watch DVDs and Sports? I’m also in the market, I like the picture quality I see on the LCDs better, it seems brighter. But the sets I’ve been looking at were both 720. How much should I be looking to spend? Are the LCDs at Walmart crap?

Go to the video store and watch them side by side display a football game (or something with action).

I purchased an LCD a few months back, if I remember right the DLP appeared to have a tough time keeping up with the movement of the picture. In other words I could see lots of pixels that appeared to be “wrong” or not changed quick enough from the previous image. On still images it seemed to be ok.

Something else to be aware of is the “rainbow” or “screen door” effect that some people will see on DLP displays, and occasionally, with plasma panels.

Depending on the person, it can range in severity from almost subconsciously seeing a yellow fringe on high-contrast images like old B&W movies or text, such as movie credits, on up to utterly nauseating.

So, if you’re thinking of a DLP set, it may be a very good idea to bring the whole family to see it in the store, rather than bringing home a $2000 thing that someone can’t bear to watch.

What about VCR’s? If you hook up your VCR and play all your old tapes on a LCD TV what does the picture look like?

After extensive research on DLP, LCD, and Plasma, I purchased this Panasonic 42" Plasma TV in September. I got it at Boscov and with their price protection and sale, I ended up paying $1150 for it.

My parents have the Sony 40" LCD and my friend has the Sony 60" DLP, and both say my picture is clearer and better. In fact, even in this day and age when many people have HD TVs, nearly everyone stops dead and stares at the picture and says something conveying astonishment when it is on one of the HD channels.

Non-HD and VCR tapes look fine, although not as good as DVD or HD. Sports and all HD shows look amazing, and the problems with burn-in are way over-blown on newer sets. I think the model is rated at 29000 hours, which is YEARS of viewing. Do your research and pick what you like best. I needed the unlimited viewing angle, so Plasma was the choice for me. Oh, and my electric bill is not noticeably higher.

I have a DLP set, and as far as the “rainbow efftct”, I noticed it for the first few days and I haven’t noticed since (3 years).

The bulb has been fine on my set although I anticipate it going away in a year or two.

From what I understand plasmas still have the warning that the color on an new screen will take a few dozen hours of use until it reaches the optimal point for viewing… If that’s true then what happens after that? Isn’t it still slowly burning and fading further? I don’t go for plasmas, I think they’re all hype.

I’d recommend going for a good Samsung DLP (60 inch min). You get the benefit of a huge screen, with low energy consumption. I’m totally happy with mine.

And, get an extended warranty with a purchase this big. In two years if something happens you don’t want to be out thousands of dollars.

All the technology is so good you don’t really have to overthink. Consider what you are getting compared to 10 years ago.

Decide if you must have a flat panel. Newer DLP rear projections are less than 18" front to back. I keep my 50" DLP RP up on a shelf because it is fairly light. A flat panel might be closer to 10" front to back in the 50-60" size range.

LCDs and DLP varieties are usually not as bright as plasmas, especially in the larger sizes. This is what makes the plasma picture look so good more than any other factor. However many plasma displays have the disadvantage of a very reflective screen so that even though you can see them, you will see everything in a bright room reflected in them. Walk into a Best Buy and see how everything in the store behind you is reflected in the TV. I find this annoyingly distracting. In a less brightly lit environment the reflections won’t be as bad but neither will you need the additional brightness. I would carefully evaluate the side-by-side brightness of TVs in the store because you will care about this unless you buy plasma. Viewing angle is a potential consideration depending on where you are going to put the TV.

Many TVs I’ve seen have a shiny polished silver or black border. This is very reflective and I find it annoying. No idea why this hi-tech look is used…it is a really stupid idea to have a great TV screen surrounded by a black mirror.

I think a good TV should last 10 years. I tend to buy one notch below the latest and greatest because that’s the price sweetspot. I chose a Samsung DLP 18 months ago and it is still spectacular. I plan to have to change the bulb once or twice and I’m betting bulbs 3 years from now will be even brighter and cooler and cheaper.

LCD and DLP technologies are better values than plasma overall, in my opinion. DLP is cheaper. Buy the biggest TV you can fit. Most TV is still 4:3 aspect ratio so the size of what you are looking at for many ordinary broadcasts is going to be smaller than the TV screen you buy unless you are willing to crop the picture and enlarge it (“zoom function”) or distort the aspect ratio to fill the screen and watch a world full of short fat people (even fatter than we are in real life). Response rates for all but gamers is no longer an issue. Screen door effect and rainbow effect are non-issues for DLP technologies like Samsung’s DNIe. Resolution is not very important if it’s at least 780p. Pay attention to inputs and outputs if you are a sound-oriented person or hook up computers or have lots of other connections.

HDTV is so frigging superior to regular TV that if you are like me you will watch a cruddy HD program over a good regular one. I should not admit that.

Most weekend sports is HD. It is well worth it to subscribe to digital cable once you get a good TV. The cable digital feed around here is far superior to the cable analog feed. Both stink next to HD feeds, which are usually also broadcast in the correct aspect ratio for most HD TVs (the wider screen).

You can find unbelievably good HDTVs up to 60" or so for under 2000 bucks. Start with Sam’s or Costco for some side by sides. I’d stick with brands like Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, etc. I bought Samsung.

One more thing: remember warranties have negotiable prices.

That’s a strange coincidence. Are we married? Because we just ordered a 46" Samsung that is in the mail somewhere too.

My husband went with the 46" Samsung after doing a great deal of research. Be careful with the projection TVs. We had a 52" Panasonic but are fed up with the bulbs going out once a year. Those bulbs cost $200! So we’re getting rid of it and getting the Samsung.

Don’t mean to hijack, but I’m thinking of sinking a chunk of change into a big LCD. I’ve found some online merchants (am I allowed to name them?) with pretty good reviews (on sites like epinions). The prices at these places are MUCH lower than brick and mortar places, or even places like Amazon. I want to go ahead and do it this way, but there’s a little voice in my head calling me a sucker. Any experience?

I buy everything, including my cars, online.
I bought my TV online.
I like Abes of Maine (they are in NY) but there are lots more.
Be ready that you will get a followup call during which they will try to sell you extended warranties and peripherals. Do a little due diligence to find out what you want to pay for those, inc warranty on the bulb for a DLP. I bought all of this at a discount (bulb, extended warranty) and was still less than a brick and mortar. You might have to pay around 250 or so for truck shipping. You shouldn’t have to pay state sales tax. Don’t get me started on that one.

Well, if we’re naming names, Onecall is giving really low prices and free shipping. I would be saving almost 1000 bucks on the particular model that I want! My little, “it seems too good to be true” beeper is going off.

I mean, I buy online all the time too, but with Amazon or Barnes and Noble, I don’t worry much about getting totally ripped off! Nice to hear that people have had good experiences.

Well, let’s get the terms right.
There are currently 7 types of HD sets out there that fall into 4 categories:

Tube- These are like the sets you’ve been used to for years. Very heavy glass tubes. Bulky. Usually the biggest you’ll find may be 37" or so.

Front Projection- These are like movie projectors. You place them in the middle or back of the room and then project the picture onto a wall or screen. You can get a large picture but typically need a dark room to see them.

Rear Projection- These cover DLP, LCD projection, and LCOS. Sets are very lightweight and only 12-24" deep depending on screen size. You can get a huge screen for a good price. Certain brands only make one type. Samsung only makes DLP. Sony only makes LCD projection. Sony does not make a DLP set.
Sizes are 37" up to ~65".

Flat Panel- These include LCD and Plasma. LCDs are lighter and use less electricity. Sizes are 13" up to ~65". These are like the description says ‘flat panel’ and are usually only inches thick. They are hung on the wall or come mounted on a type of pedestal.

The highest resolution sets out there are the 1080P. However, unless you feed them a 1080P signal (from a HD-DVD or Blu-Ray disc player) you will never see a true 1080P picture. Regular DVDs and HD broadcast-satellite-cable picture are not 1080P either. 1080P may be overkill right now but you never know when HD-DVDs or Blu-Ray become the norm or they somehow start broadcasting in 1080P.

IMHO the rear projection sets get you the most bang for your buck right now.

My question: do you get true HD cable broadcast with Verizon FIOS? In my area, only a handful of local stations broadcast in HD, and only at selected times.
of course, commericials look the SAME in HD-who really cares? One caution:there are a TON of seconf brands og flat screen sets out there (POLAROID, WESTINGHOUSE, SCOTT, etc.) these are just names-they sets are virtually all made in China or Korea. The warranty might be better on a name brand.

Consider the source of the extended warranty when/if you get one too. I bought my 60" Samsung DLP through Fry’s with 5-year warranty, and having owned the tv for 7 months, we’ve had to use it once already when the internal thermometer died, causing the tv to turn itself off so that it wouldn’t overheat. With Fry’s, it took a week for someone to come out, but at least they did come out and I wasn’t expected to haul my unit to the store.

If you are buying from some online place in NY, can you be assured the same deal? I’m not saying no, and I’m not trying to sell Fry’s, but I generally feel better about a B&M store in this case.