lcd large screen tv

fandlilMarch 21, 2008

We are considering getting a very large screen LCD TV, 50 inches or larger. We would go all the way and get the highest grade HD so that we can enjoy all the latest broadcasts and DVDs in HD when they become available and the technology issues have been settled. We're not sure we need surround sound yet, but would like the option of adding it later.

Anyone with experience they would like to share?

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After many years of waiting, we finally went completely digital this weekend. We purchased a Sony 50 inch LCD HDTV and it is wonderful. Note that I have been reciveing digital signals for many years through my satellite receiver but playing them on a standard definition TV (and I will tell you - that was not so bad!). But now I have a HDTV and playing HD content on this thing looks fantastic.

I am not sure what technology issues you are referring to - I think the digital TV technology is pretty stable now. There is still the looming issue of High Def content - but if you get satellite or cable, the number of HD channels is growing by the month. Right now I can get all the major networks who broadcast most of their programs in High Def, ESPN, Discover, etc - quite a few. Expect to pay more for these channels - I pay an additional 20 bucks per month to get the HD channels with Dishnet.

Here are some tips from my experience:

1) The time is good to buy a digital High Def TV right now. I recommend doing searches for the various HDTV products on and reading all the reviews. I learned a lot and decided on a Sony after reading the many posts. Sony is in the process of eliminating it's rear projection lines (The Bravia SXRD and the Bravia LCD lines) so the prices at Circuit City and Best Buy are quite good. I think this is not because the technology is bad but because the prices have come down so far, the margins aren't good.

I wanted a Bravia 50" SXRD but wound up buying the Bravia LCD and got it for 1399 at best Buy - that is pretty darn good for a 50 inch TV. The pitcture is fanstastic. \

1a) Do your homework before you buy so you can get the best deal. Also - you probably should buy the extended warranty for the TV. I think ours cost $249 at Best Buy and it is a 4 year plan. Research this - most people recommend the extended warranty for a HDTV.

2) You need to think about the HD content source - either cable or satellite. If you buy a HDTV - then you will want to see your favorite programs broadcast in the HD format. Watching standard def broadcasts on a HDTV is not that great - a lot of people are dissapointred when they buy the suped up TV and the picture looks grainy.

I vouch for the experience that a plain old analog TV hooked up to a satellite or cable receiver looks a lot better (crisper picture) than a stadard definition broadcast played on a HDTV. The HDTV is designed for digital HD broadcasts - feed it HD content and you will be happy.

The standard broadcasts look OK on my Sony - but once you get the taste of a HD picture, standard def is hard to look at.

3) It may be possible to get over air digital broadcast of the major networks (CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX). Check out this site If you enter in your address - it will tell you where the digital broadcasts sites are, how far away they are from your house, and what type of antenna you will need to receive them. Currently there are a relatively small number of stations broadcasting digital content - expect more this year and next since the conversion from analog to digital broadcasts will occur early in 2009.

You can see from my post above yours that I am having trouble receiving the major networks through the over air antenna. This isn't an issue since I get the local channels in High Def through my satellite receiver - but it means that when the satellite goes out - I cannot see the local stations broadcast in digital format. I hope to resolve this issue someday.

4) As far as sound - the internal speakers that came with my Sony are fantastic. So you can buy the TV first and then add the sound system later. I already had a old surround system hooked up and am using it with the Sony - but it isn't too much better than what came inside the TV!

Good luck with your purchase. I wanted mine before the Masters tournament which I love to watch every year - can't wait to see it on high def.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 8:09AM
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Your choice of LCD has no bearing on later putting in a surround system, but I will say this, the highest quality & largest size HDTV you can fit and afford is the best way to go. Save money for a good surround system, as watching movies on either SD or HD is greatly enhanced with a wonderful audio experience.

I would say the 3 best LCD's come from Sony, Samsung, and Sharp. If you watch in a bright area LCD is definitely the way to go. If you can watch in a room with controlled light, the best plasma panels by Pioneer and Panasonic still outperform any LCD's, they just don't work as well in bright light. Plasma's also can be viewed off center with no degradation, while most LCD's rapidly lose their clarity when over 25 degrees (often less) from the center viewing area.

Samsung's new 81 series of LED lit LCD's in 46" are the closest to high quality plasma. They also carry this in a 52", although I haven't seen it.

Sony's 52" XBR4 and XBR5 are essentially the same except for design. They are excellent all around LCD's.

But when you're in this price level I would personally buy a 50" to 60" plasma from Pionewer to Panasonic unless you are in a brightly lit room with a lot of sunlight.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 1:35PM
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I am the proud owner of a 50" plasma and a 65" projection the SAME room.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 3:26PM
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I have been shopping for a new (my first) HD set. Looks as if the local stores have bumped up prices a bit recently, about 10%. I assume that the tax rebate checks will push up sales, even at higher prices, for 3 or 4 months. Then I would expect sales volume to decline and prices to drop. Do you think I have analyzed it wrong?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 8:47AM
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I'm not so sure on your analysis. Stores have just received the newest models of flat panels that tradionally are more expensive out of the gate. With a sluggish economy ,many stores offered some great deals on remaining old inventory thus making the newest batch of panels not as attractive.
Sales pressure has often lowered prices dramatically but with increased prices in petrolium(read plastic manufacturing and gas transportation )costs may not drop as radically as before .Good luck in your search and remember to research for the best product you can afford,it will pay off in the long run!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 7:56PM
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50" plasma & 65" projection TV in the same room. Incredible. I have a 36" plasma, suddenly it seems to be very small. I installed a 5.1 surround later on. The package is perfect for watching movies on DVDs but when I wanted to watch regular TV, it was a problem. So I switched to DirecTV and since them I am enjoying the output. Most of the time I am watching news on NDTV 24x7.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 9:24AM
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Another thought if you are still in the research phase is to check out the reviews and very informative articles on Cnet. I subscribe to Consumer Reports online, and while their info is good, you can't always get the models they list by the time their report is published. Cnet, being only on the web, tests and publishes updated reviews all the time. You can read reviews of new models as well as older ones which might be on sale. They have an excellent HDTV 101 primer to boot.

If you do go for a Sony and are interested in an extended warante, check out the website to see what their prices are. You can buy a warante directly from Sony, it might be a bit less $$

Good luck!


Here is a link that might be useful: Cnet

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 4:44PM
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I'll toss in my recommendation to add a Sony PlayStation 3 to your setup. I don't even own any games for mine...Use it for the MP3 playing function, slideshows of our pictures, surfing the web wirelessly, and the built in blueray player. Once you get a HDTV you'll find that standard def viewing isn't much fun anymore. I find myself watching stuff I'd normally avoid just 'cause it's hi def....

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 5:21AM
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