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Coach1310

Flat Screen TV Advice...

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We are looking at purchasing a Flat Screen TV. Looking anywhere from 32-42". Any info regarding the pros/cons of plasma/LCD would be great. Brand names to look for/stay away from. What kind of picture quality can I expect without HD service? Thanks for any info.

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Coach, anytime you are looking at a HDTV and using standard definition service, your picture is going to look a little distorted. The bigger you get, the more distortion. This is caused by screen size and resolution of standard definition (480i). The 480 is the number of pixels per square inch and the "i" is interlaced, or how the picture is processed on the monitor. The difference between "i" and "p", progressive, is that the interlaced picture is developed by one line followed by an equal blank line and so on, then it comes back to the top and fills in the blanks. The progressive picture fills everything in at once from top to bottom.

I would look for something with a faster refresh rate. This will prevent "drag effect" on faster moving objects. The size would depend on the distance from which you will be viewing the TV. 42'' is typically 10-12' for optimal viewing. The type of TV, LCD or plasma, would depend on the lighting in the room. If there are a few windows where glare may be an issue, stay away from plasma as it will reflect the glare and light.

With all of this in consideration, I would go for something middle of the road, 42'' LCD 1080P, either Toshiba, Sony, Samsung, or Sharp.

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we just bought a Phillips flat screen, has 720P, but there is a different number to look for, if I remember right it is the color contrast ratio. if you look at the tv info it would be something like 24000:1. the higher the number the better picture you will get. the first one we had was only 1000:1 poor picture, the Phillips has 27000:1 great picture.

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There's a ton of plasma vs LCD information floating around.

For me, it's still plasma all the way.

About the standard defintion, on a smaller set it'll look better than on a bigger one. Generally speaking, paying more for a set is where stuff like this (better scaler, better upconversion, etc.) comes into play.

Even with standard/basic cable, you'll probably be able to receive at least 3 or 4 channels in HD at no extra cost.

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I just purchased my first flat screen TV a couple months ago, 42" Sony Bravia LCD 1080p. Absolutely no complaints here. Seams like the trend in TVs is bigger, bigger, bigger - 46", 50" or larger but I gotta admit, 42" is a pretty large screen. In the store I thought I was going to be disappointed in the size but thats all my budget was going to allow me to do, at home, I still think it is big.

There is definitely a difference between digital channels and HD channels but the normal digital channels are definitely watchable. Some of the Outdoor Channel & FSN's outdoor shows are definitely pixelly but I'll take any outdoor programming I can get.

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Bought a 46" sony bravia with 120hz refresh rate. I think the trend is to a faster refresh rate. I did a lot of comparison shopping and asked lots of questions. Don't just look at the pix from the front, but also look at it from side angles. You'll see the difference in pix quality and color quality; especially the whites in the picture. The best brands with the best quality pix are (my opinion) 1. sony, 2. samsung, 3. toshiba. Go with the 1080P with 120 hz if you want the best pix especially if you do gaming, and are thinking of getting blue ray. Check CC for any going out of business clearance deals. I was there over the weekend and their clearance prices are not that good yet. Once you get it all set up and receive HD signal you'll never believe what you were watching before. When you get the tv home they look bigger than what you see at the store because you won't have all the other tv's to distort your perception. An average sized room with a 40-46" is plenty big. If you know anyone that has one go check out what size they have so you can see what it looks like in a living room.

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I picked up the Vizio 47" LCD 1080p 120hz and i am really happy with it. Alot less than the Sony or LG and has IMO as good or better a picture than a buddy's LG, and his cost twice as much.

HD programming is night and day difference, but regular programming is definitly watchable.

Everyone has their own opinions, and most people i would think, like me, after buying had second thoughts (did i buy the right one, should i have gotten lcd, or plasma, or sony or phillips, did i get the best deal) Do research & ask people that have them and go to people's houses and check them out, ask to see a dvd, cable tv, blue ray if they have it. They look different at home compared to at the store!!! the store will have a high def. signal on all their tvs making them look their best, when you bring it home and plug it in to a normal signal its not gonna look as good as in the store!

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I would opt for an LCD. I personally am a big fan of The Samsung models. We have 3 Samsung LCD's in the house. the models we have are LN52A650, LN40A550, LN26A450 and we also have a 19" Sharp lcd. We take the 26" and the 19" with us in the fish house, when we are not fishing they are bedroom/spare bedroom tv's.

If you are looking for an affordable 40" tv I would go with the Samsung 40" LN40A550 (60hz 1080p) or LN40A630 (120hz 1080p) Both should be available at most Best Buy stores.

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From what I've read, if you're planning on putting your TV into a room with a lot of sunlight coming in, you'll want an LCD because it'll be easier to see (brighter picture and less glare). Otherwise both provide a really good picture when you're watch HD programming. I really enjoy my samsung plasma. You'll see a difference between HD and Non-HD channels.

Check out cnet dot com for reviews of the new TV's.

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First off.... thanks for all the advice. From what research I have done and what info I have gotten here...

Sunlight in the room will be an issue, so we will being going with an LCD....

My main questions are:

We will NOT be using it as an HD TV(as of now).....meaning we won't be purchasing an HD sat box or subscribing to HD programming.... how much will that affect the picture? Will it look worse than the plain old 8 year old TV I have right now?

Being we will be using this for just Standard Definition programming does the 720 or 1080 make a difference? How about contrast ratio and screen refresh speed? Thanks again for any help.

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Yeah it will probably look worse then your 8 year old TV.

You should be able to pick up some of the Digital/HD channels from a roof-top antenna. Those will look great in Digital and HD!

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Coach, 720 or 1080 will not make a difference in standard definition. Your standard definition is 480i resolution. However, if you plan on upgrading in the future, I would go with 1080p. This will give you the best picture currently possible from HD service. Television service right now is only broadcasted in 1080i, but it won't be long before 1080p becomes the standard. 1080p is also what is being sent via Bluray or the outdated HD DVD system. Some upconverting DVD players also unconvert to 1080p resolution.

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Coach, most LCD tv's have a HD tuner built-in which means you'll be watching HD programming (with your antenna) in a 720p format unless you buy an "enhanced definition" TV; which you want to stay away from as well as 1080i. 1080i is just an enhanced version of 720p.

There's no reason to spend the extra money on 1080p right now unless you plan on buying a bluray player. The bluray player is the only source that provides a "full HD" resolution of 1080p. According to comcast, HD television is broadcasted in 720p (not 1080i or 1080p) but you could always speculate that HD television will eventually be broadcasted in 1080p.

http://tv.about.com/od/hdtv/a/whatisHDTV.htm

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Coach, most LCD tv's have a HD tuner built-in which means you'll be watching HD programming (with your antenna) in a 720p format unless you buy an "enhanced definition" TV; which you want to stay away from as well as 1080i. 1080i is just an enhanced version of 720p.

There's no reason to spend the extra money on 1080p right now unless you plan on buying a bluray player. The bluray player is the only source that provides a "full HD" resolution of 1080p. According to comcast, HD television is broadcasted in 720p (not 1080i or 1080p) but you could always speculate that HD television will eventually be broadcasted in 1080p.

http://tv.about.com/od/hdtv/a/whatisHDTV.htm

That is like saying that HD is just an enhanced version of standard definition. Your advice makes absolutely no sense. All manufacturers of LCDs and plasmas are mandated to have a built in digital tuner. Bluray is not the only method of 1080P broadcast. There are others services that either offer 1080P transfer or upconversion. 1080i is a better resolution than 720p. If you know anything about resolution, you would realize that the higher resolution increases picture quality. HD service is broadcasted in 1080i and our television is able to downconvert the resolution format that your television is capable of producing. Having seen thousands of televisions and dealing with them on an everyday basis, I would definitely purchase a 1080p. You won't be disappointed and it is just one less thing you have to worry about upgrading in the future.

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We're both right, HD television is offered in 720p and 1080i resolutions. If you read #3 in the article below, it'll explain why I'm not a fan of TV's with 1080i...there's more to "picture quality" than just resolution.

My advice is if you're into movies, go with a 1080p resolution; otherwise, 720p will do just fine. Pay attention to #4, #9, and #10 in the article, I think it'll anwser everyone's question.

http://reviews.cnet.com/720p-vs-1080p-hdtv/?tag=rb_content;rb_mtx

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collegepaul, you still have no idea what you are talking about. Read away all you want. Anyone or any source can put a review on a HSOforum. 1080i is backward compatable with 720p so what would be the downfall of 1080i? I am fully aware that there are more factors to consider than resolution. If you read my first post in this topic, you will realize that point was brought up. Until then, keep reading and hopefully you will make sense!

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If you want the best right now at the moment get 120 mhz 1080p plasma or LCD. LCD tv's tend to have a bit more of a smear in motion views like sports, Plasma does not have that problem, but plasmas do not last as long and some have burn in image problems. If you want a good brand look at Samsung, they pretty much pioneered the LCD and plasma market. Most of the tvs on the market use Samsung screens.

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I work in the T.V. business (no I do not sell them)

I will make it easy for you; it looks like you decided to get a LCD so:

Sony 42" Bravia LCD 1080p 120hz refresh rate – it goes on sale all the time.

Otherwise, the Sharp and Samsung are a little lower price and are decent.

The other cheap TV’s look great at the store but if you put them side by side with the above mentioned there will be no comparison.

As long as your spending money get a blue-ray too – they are now less than $200 and do not spend any more. A blue-ray is must for HD 1080 televisions.

Do not get an extended warranty. The chances of you using it within the warranty period are very low.

Do not get any special surge protector they try to sell you. The $7.00 ones at any big box store does the same thing.

If you end up buying a HDMI cable get it online – you will save at least half the money or more.

If you subscribe to cable without HD service very few channels are in HD. I have Comcast in the twin cities without the HD service and channels 2,4,5 and 11 have 1080

Let me know if you have any more questions.

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