Buying a TV: Plasma vs. LCD?

<p>Many people on this forum (including us) have mentioned how they drive old cars and don't take exotic vacations so that they can fund college tuition for their kids (and retirement for themselves!)</p>

<p>On that note, we probably have some of the oldest TVs in America. Actually, they work well, but no large screens and no new technology.</p>

<p>A friend (who is moving) has offered us an opportunity to purchase a 2005 Toshiba 42 inch plasma TV in excellent condition for what seems to be a very good price - under $1000.</p>

<p>As we have not been in the TV market for a very long time, we don't know much of anything about plasma vs. LCD ... and we are pressed to make a decision quickly as to whether to purchase this plasma TV.</p>

<p>I've tried to look for reviews on this unit, but since technology changes so often, there aren't many out there.</p>

<p>Any thoughts as to whether this may be a worthwhile venture? Is it worth waiting until we can afford a LCD TV in a few years? We were thinking that this could be a fun stop gap measure until we can get something else someday, unless we end up perfectly satisfied with this.</p>

<p>Also, any thoughts on Toshiba TVs in general?</p>

<p>You can buy a BRAND NEW LCD/Plasma in the 42" size for at or under $1000. Personally, I like LCD better than plasma. I don't have time right now to tell you why. My main point in your response is that you can get a brand new one at that size for about the price you are wanting to pay for a 3 year old tv. DON'T DO IT!!!! Buy a new one. Technology has changed a lot in 3 years.</p>

<p>P.S. As far as brand goes, the big 5 are trustworthy. Sony, Pioneer, Hitachi, Panasonic, and Toshiba. </p>

<p>You could even possibly throw in JVC. I would stay away from Philips, Westinghouse, GE, Vizio, and the other ultra-cheap ones you can get at Walmart, Kmart, SAMS, Costco, and other places. The old truth stand; "You get what you pay for"/</p>

<p>I recently read that several of the big Japanese companies that have been heavily invested in plasma are now moving away from it and heading to LCD production. Pioneer, often considered the leader in that technology, is ceasing their own production and will now buy sets from other sources and begin producing LCDs instead.</p>

<p>Pioneer</a> to Cease Plasma TV Production - Home Video News - Digital Trends</p>

<p>Just something to consider.</p>

<p>You might also look at the new Consumer Reports issue that deals with flat screen tvs, it has some very good information in it.</p>

<p>twinmom, a quick google subtantiated in large part what Christcorp stated about price. It would have to be some super special 42" Toshiba plasma to be worth $1000 used when new 42" Toshiba LCD's are between $1000-1300 (Nextag).</p>

<p>I've noticed that many frugal people who did a lot of research before buying tend to inflate the value of their possessions, especially the high tech ones. "I paid $600 for this laptop two years ago, what do you mean it's not worth repairing?"</p>

<p>I would do a bit of research--perhaps check Craigslist or Ebay--to determine what the TV is actually worth in its 3-year-old condition. Then ask your neighbor if they want to sell it for that amount.</p>

<p>this is a clear buying guide
LCD</a> vs. Plasma</p>

<p>crutchfield prices are a tad high though & I would agree unless you are getting an amazingly good deal, stick with newest technology to get most for your dollar</p>

<p>Good points. I did try Craig's List but couldn't find the TV. My neighbor says it is 1 1/2 years old (though when I looked it up, it appeared to be a 2005 model?) and she paid $3500.</p>

<p>I guess we're off to Best Buy tomorrow to start to compare and price shop. Now my husband has the TV bug.</p>

<p>We bought the "CHEAP" Vizio at Sam's - and a year later bought another one - LARGER for another room! Compared side by side with the "name" brands that cost twice the price and could not justify the difference. Picture Quality is awesome with the newer shoes and more than okay with older (nonHD, nonBlueRay) shows.</p>

<p>You can go online to several forums and find set-up tweaks for the Vizios that really make the picture far better than the out-of-the box settings. When properly set-up, they are awfully good especially for the money.</p>

<p>If you have a Costco where you are, check there. Their prices are terrific and they automatically extend the mfr warranty to two full years! If not, check costco.com for great savings as well.</p>

<p>Is there an advantage to hanging a TV or using a stand ... or is that just an individual preference?</p>

<p>More preference as long as the stand is at optimal height. Some plasmas and LCDs as well have significant picture decay (diminished brightness and detail) if too far off angle, either to the sides or up and down.</p>

<p>Agree with all of the above. We are an LCD family, have purchased 2 in 2 years. Most recent (a month ago) was bigger, better and cheaper than the first one.</p>

<p>Pretty much an individual preference on placement. Consider the wires - do you want to see them snaking out the back? Do you want to deal with getting wires and cables placed behind the wall? Do you want to commit your television to that particular spot for a long long time?</p>

<p>But I confess, I kinda like the idea of the wall mount, though ours are on a stand and in a cabinet; we have quite a bit of other equipment integrated with each.</p>

<p>Don't buy a plasma--go for an LCD instead. Here's an excellent article from IEEE Spectrum explaining the technical tradeoffs (I receive this magazine and remember the article). They recommend LCD near term for sizes up to 50 inches.</p>

<p>IEEE</a> Spectrum: Goodbye, CRT</p>

<p>LCD TVs are much lighter than plasma. We were told that for a big plasma screen the wall had to be structurally solid to be able to mount the TV on it. Another thing to consider is that LCD technology has been around longer than plasma (think flat computer monitors). When our old tube died and we were buying our TV 2 yrs ago, we went with an LCD one. When we checked how much it would cost to get an extended in-home service warranty, the plasma TV rates were twice as high as the ones for LCDs (due to higher rate of problems with plasmas).</p>

<p>While LCD technology has been around longer; it's been cheaper to make a larger Plasma than LCD. That technology is changing. LCD above 50" is somewhat reasonably priced.</p>

<p>As far as placement, it depends on how you will watch it. If it's a normal television with the room lights on and such, then hang it on the wall. If you like to get into watching movies; turning off the lights in the room; and getting the "Theater Experience", then use a stand. The reason is because to make a good theater experience, you need the "eye strain" to be comfortable. The way you do that is with "Back Lighting". The best back lighting is a 6500K light behind the television that allows you to focus properly. Movie theaters and new projection televisions don't have that issue because the "LIGHT" of the movie is coming from BEHIND you. With a television, the light is coming TOWARDS you. An hour of watching a movie in the dark without back lighting with usually make your eyes very tired. Plus, it doesn't allow you to see colors the natural way they should be.</p>

<p>Then again; most people don't understand "Back lighting" and think it's OK for their eyes to get tired. If you're interested in this, do a little google search or ask about it. If you're not interested in this, or the lights are always on in the room, then mount in any way you want to. Whatever is convenient.</p>

<p>I recently purchased a 40 inch Samsung LCD HDTV(720p) TV from Sears for my daughter's room (which we use for guests while she is at college). It cost us $999.99 and is terrific. We have it attached to the basic cable in the wall (no box) and the picture quality is wonderful. It also gets tons of radio stations as well (it has an integrated ATSC tuner). They sell the same TV at Best Buy and that is where I purchased the flexible motion mount (which can extend out about 19 inches and turn the set any direction ) for the wall.</p>

<p>twinmom:</p>

<p>Generally, larger displays are plasma and smaller displays are LCD. As technology (and LCD yields) has been improving the LCDs are moving into the plasma space so it would now be very unusual to buy a 42" plasma since they've been displaced by LCDs.</p>

<p>Not all brands are equivalent. For example, some of the non-name brands use older technology displays from other companies (very few companies actually make the displays) that might have lower contrast, shorter life, etc. This is why they're usually cheaper than the big Japanese names you'd recognize. You'll find these off-names at most of the retail outfits including Costco. </p>

<p>I have about a year old Hitachi 55" Hitachi Plasma that I really like. I have it hanging on the wall on a bracket. I much prefer it to a stand since even though the TV is large in height and width, it barely sticks out from the wall and is much less intrusive than my old 32" Panasonic tube TV. It's a much cleaner look. The downside is that with the non-swivel bracket I'm using, the TV is fixed - can't be rotated on the axis. There are brackets that allow this though. Also, this wall bracket allows for the TV to be padlocked to the bracket which would make it more difficult to steal.</p>

<p>Note that IMO when it comes to flatscreen TVs, bigger is better. I thought it might take me a while to 'get used to' a 55" versus my old 32". It didn't - I was used to it in maybe 10 minutes. I wouldn't want anything smaller than 50-55". Shows broadcast in HD can be stunning.</p>

<p>If you're interested in factory refurbished TVs, do a google of 'UECWEB' where you can get Hitachi TVs at a discount. The one I have is the 55HDS69 at they're selling it for $1333. They also are selling 42" plasmas for under $1K.</p>

<p>Your friend's deal doesn't sound like a very good one for you. If I were you I'd pass on that deal and start researching the marketplace.</p>

<p>As usual, you all have been so helpful. Thank you. We are going to pass on the "deal."</p>

<p>We've made this purchase recently as well. A few things we discovered:</p>

<p>For plasma, Panasonic is top ranked by Consumer Reports; LCD....Sony Bravia is top ranked. </p>

<p>Under 50", there is no visible difference between 720p and 1080i, so this translates to great savings if you are not buying a huge TV. (We bought a 42" 720 Panasonic plasma for our bedroom for $800.)</p>

<p>Consider where you are putting this TV. My sis tried to put a 42" LCD in her bedroom and said it was so bright she couldn't stand it. </p>

<p>Plasmas have a shiny screen, so go with LCD if the room has windows or doors that may cause aggravating reflection.</p>

<p>Believe it or not, here in Texas, Home Theater Store is cheaper than Best Buy. And they offer custom installs and theater construction and furnishings. Check some of your local stores that specialize in just home theater.</p>

<p>(Personal observation...we find Toshiba televisions highly unreliable. Three sets dead in less than 5 years.)</p>

<p>I sell these things for a living...(among other things). The best online pricing I have found is at: [url=<a href="http://www.bestbuyplasma.com%5DBestBuyPlasma%5B/url"&gt;http://www.bestbuyplasma.com]BestBuyPlasma[/url&lt;/a&gt;]. They are not affiliated with Best Buy and I am not affiliated with either.<br>
No tax since they are shipping to another state...good price. Do NOT let them talk you into an extended warranty. The manufacturer will provide warranty. You don't need more than the manufacturer offers.
If you are going to hang it on a wall, you need to think about where the components will go: satelitte or cable box, etc.
If you don't want to "do it yourself" and go the online route, ldmom's advice is good. Look for a local home theater place...</p>