One more HDTV thread

Here are my conditions:

42" max unless a sale
32" minimum
1350$ w/ tax just about the most i’m willing to spend, and i’ll hate myself for 6 months for spending this much since i never watch stupid television anyway

-probably won’t get cable, but will run it off of an antenna
-will get the cheapest HD player (of whatever variety) and use it to watch movies.


It seems like the Panasonic 42" 1080p plasma is the TV to have at this price range. The problem is that i feel like i’m buying something i don’t really need OR want (for that matter) simply because i’m getting a good product.

Now both Panasonic and Samsung have some 720p 42" for a good 300+ less than their 1080p versions. I really do want that 1900x1200 resolution on the high end plasma though…

I’m not seeing many “good brand” LCD for much cheaper, though. Why spend 999$ for a 37" 720p LCD when i can get a 999$ 42" 720p Plasma? I feel like, from what i’m seeing on the market, there really aren’t many good options between the good low end 42" and the stuff beneath them. I might as well get some 600$ 32" for the price/performance.

Any thoughts?

Well, the best advice I got when I was looking for a TV was to stop over-thinking it. No matter what you get, you’re going to be paying “too much” and will probably see a better and cheaper one within a week after you get yours.

Just go into a store and look at them, and pick the one that looks best to you and you can afford.

From what I’ve seen, the LCDs at this point are about as good as the kind of plasma most of us would be able to afford. I chose a 42" Sony plasma a couple of years ago, only because the blacks looked deeper than any of the other plasmas or LCDs available. (And yes, within a month after I got it, Sony announced the Bravia line, which are better; now you can buy a TV better than mine for less than half what I paid).

I’d recommend against dropping the resolution just for the sake of cost; you’re going to be paying a lot no matter what, and you’re probably going to have it for several years. So why not just bite the bullet now and know that you got the best you could get?

Panasonic, Samsung, LG, and Sony are the best I’ve seen. I think you’d be doing really well with a Panasonic 42" 1080p.

And if it helps at all: even knowing I paid too much and I don’t use it all that much, I still don’t regret getting the TV for one second.

1080p is worthless forsets under 50" unless you’ll be using the TV as a PC monitor and want the extra resolution. I’d say a solid 40-42" 720p LCD from Samsung will serve you well. Should fit in price range too.

I agree but it’s actually the pixel density that attracts me to the higher end Panasonic more than the 1080p. It’s also a factor in disliking their 720p options (which are only 1024x768); i think some of the LCD 720p’s are 1300~something X 700+.

I guess what i’m asking is :), right now there are good deals on 42" Samsung and Pioneer 720p plasma TVs. Are there any deals substantially cheaper or better than getting one of the above for about 1000$ shipped? Is there a 42" LCD 1080p somewhere for 1000$ Or a 37" for 500$ or so? I don’t see any point in only saving 100$ or so and getting 25% less television.

And if i do decide on that, should i just go whole hog for the 1080p version? I just bought a house, and now everyone is bugging me to buy a used Jaguar (my 15 year old car works just fine, bah!) , so i’m really not in the mood to blow too much liquidity, but, i guess, now is the time.

I think a reasonable cutoff is closer to 42". I notice more detail in my father-in-law’s Sony 1080p (40" or 41") vs. my Aquos 720p (37", viewed from a closer vantage point). I’m mildly jealous when I visit. I don’t want a 1080p 37", but I think a 42" would do nicely, and I personally would not consider a 720p at that size.

When I was in Best Buy on the 26th, they had a Westinghouse 42" 1080p LCD for $999. They also had a Pioneer 42" 720p plasma for, I believe $869. The sale is supposed to end on Sunday.

Hmm, nice info, i’ll check it out. Thanks.

I bought the 42" Panasonic plasma 1080p last month from Best Buy for les than your desired price point, though I have no idea what it’s selling for now. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between the 720 and 1080 at that size in the store. The only reason I bought the 1080 version was because the sale price on the 1080 version brought it down to only $45 more than the 720 version, I figured 1080 may be useful eventually.

We chose the Panasonic after looking at it in the store and reading Consumer Reports telling us it was the best television they’d ever seen (or something like that). After a month we’ve had zero problems, and it absolutely gorgeous. After watching Bourne Supremacy in HD-DVD with us, my LCD-owning friend vowes his next television will be a Panasonic plasma.

Maybe you have better vision than me. :)

From C|Net

While this isn’t the most scientific test, both Katzmaier and I agreed that, after scanning through Mission: Impossible III for an hour, it would be very difficult–practically impossible–for the average consumer to tell the difference between a high-definition image displayed on a 1080p-capable TV and one with lower native resolution at the screen sizes mentioned above. At larger screen sizes, the differences might become somewhat more apparent, especially if you sit close to the screen.

They used: Philips 42" 1024x768, Panasonic 50" 1366x768, as well as 1080p sets from Westinghouse, Sharp and JVC

At 42" and under, if price was a big concern, I’d save some cash and go with the 720p option, especially if you’re mostly playing games with a native resolution of 720p.

There are a bunch of other differences between the setups that could be making me feel that way, anyway. But we can blame your eyes :) works for me! Realistically, I’m probably just one of those guys mentioned in point 10 of the follow-on to the article you linked.

Heh, I hadn’t seen the follow-up article but good to see his mind hasn’t changed much.

One thing to keep in mind is that perceived image quality comes from a variety of factors, and at TV viewing distances resolution isn’t even at the top of the list. For overall image quality, plasma consistently wins, though LCD has been catching up.

But LCDs are much lighter and run cooler. They also use less power, but I don’t consider that a huge benefit given that a plasma running 8 hours a day every day for a year costs about $100-$120 in electricity, and most people will not use theirs even half as much.

I’ve been studying flat panels for months now. Going crazy. First I decided that a Samsung LCD was the way to go, then the Sharp LCD. BTW, looking at a 42" set. Then the Sony, etc. Reading AVS, which makes you doubt anything due to their anal retentive nature.

But I have finally settled on the 42" Panasonic Plasma, the TH-42PZ700U. I find nothing but great reviews, and even on AVS they love it. Now I just need the cash (still trying to sell our previous house, two kids in college!)

Actually Plasma power efficiency has improved a lot over the last five years. Quick googling:

Here’s all the 42" listed. Four column is wattage use.

Sharp LC-42D64U LCD 42 203.25 0.18 $3.72
LG 42LB5D LCD 42 208.27 0.24 $3.81
Toshiba 42HL67 LCD 42 208.23 0.54 $3.83
LG 42PC5D Plasma 42 225.65 0.57 $4.15
Toshiba 42HL167 LCD 42 229.47 0.56 $4.22
Toshiba 42LX177 LCD 42 245.25 0.52 $4.50
Westinghouse TX-42F430S LCD 250.28 0.38 $4.59
Panasonic TH-42PX75U Plasma 264.95 0.27 $4.85
Panasonic TH-42PZ700U Plasma 443.11 0.11 $8.09

That last plasma is a pig but the others seem pretty efficient now. You won’t be unhappy with Panasonic.

Must be a local sale. The Westinghouse and Pioneer were both about 300$ more at the local Best Buy.

FWIW, I’ve had that set for about 2 months, my first HDTV, and I love it. It’s a bit at the upper range of the OP’s price range though. I expect to hook a PC up to it in the coming months, so I definitely wanted 1080p but most media weighs in at 720p and looks teriffic.

You can’t go wrong with either Pioneer or Panasonic plasmas. The general impression I get from places like AVSForum and somesuch is that the Pioneer has simply the best image quality but at a high cost, while the Panasonic is nearly as good (just “awesome” as opposed to “fucking awesome” that the Pioneer elicits) but is much more wallet-friendly.

I’m probably going to snag a Panny, as I just don’t have the scratch for the Pioneer that I want.

I ended up getting a Panasonic 42" 720p from Fry’s and a HD DVD player combo deal with 10 free movies from Amazon. There is a coupon for 200$ off “installation” of a Panasonic TV, so that knocked it down to 800$ (although, i’m not certain what the qualifications are about it being installed, although it did say “on a stand”). I’d rather get a blue ray, but honestly i don’t care either way, as i’m only going to rent movies for it.

If i could have found the 1080p version for around 250$ more i would have gone with that, but the only reputable businesses were selling it for about 1400$, and then i would have had to get a 1080p ready player, which would have bumped the cost another 100-150$, and the low end Blue Ray players don’t seem to have any movie combo deals. So the bump up to 1080p would have cost a good 500+ more. Bleh.

Anyway thanks for the advice!

I think it’s pretty clear that LCDs are going to kill Plasmas, largely due to price, but also because they’re closing the quality gap. I remember the last time I went shopping with a friend, I could barely see the difference on the better sets, even side by side.

Personally, I’m waiting for LED backlit LCDs to trickle down a little more, and I’ll upgrade my 42" Panasonic EDTV (850x480) plasma. Probably around xmas 2008.