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Need help here...

I went out last night and started looking for a big screen TV. Have decided that a 50" is about the right size for the room. That was the easy part.

I liked the Sony 50" rear projection for around $3,000. The 50" Plasmas are from $5,000 to $6,000. I won't be hanging it on the wall so the higher prices (almost double) of the plasma TVs don't seem worth it. The picture on the plasma is much better than the newer rear projection models - it's almost like 3D. I just have a hard time with the price tags.

I really don't know enough to make an informed decision here. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks in advance,
 
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I went through the same thing last spring.
Also realize that the plasmas perfection has to do with the store always showing HD on them. The projections will look great too with HD, which requires additional equipment.

I was all set to purchase the Sony 50+" when I saw it side by side with a Mitsubishi. I bought the Mits that was less money and in black casing versus Sonly's silver which seemed to show scratches and marks more easily.
The Mits picture semmed better, but thats subjective so basically flip a coin and enjoy big screen TV.

Of course the push is on in my household to get HD but I'll wait a while until more braodcasts are in HD.
 

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I'm holding out to this fall and will probably hang a 50" Panasonic plasma on the wall. I'd just as soon not spend that much, but our family room is a little shallow - about 14 feet across - and we really need the room. The stone age monolith we have now eats too much space, and every 6 inches I can gain in floor and elbow space is worth a $K. Arrgh, though.

The alternative I've been considering, and you might too, are the new generation of DLP TVs. A little more than projection sets (mostly), but about half as deep (18 inches for a 50 inch) and with a much better picture - and a wider, cleaner viewing angle range. Look 'em over closely before you settle on the projection. I'm trying to decide if that last foot of space is worth ~$2k... ::
 

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Go with the Sony and you'll be happy :)

I purchased the 60" Sony LCD Grand WEGA (KF-60WE610) last Christmas and it was a great decision.

The LCD models have a replaceable bulb, unlike the "hang on the wall" plasma sets.

Those ultra cool plasma sets are gas filled and have a "shelf life" Once they die they can't be ""refilled." So you have a clear picture that will continually fade over time.

My set with standard cable is OK...with DirecTV it is great, and with High Defenition its AWESOME ::

Football in HD is heaven ;)

Paul
 

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Just went through this about 3 months ago. I ended up buying the Sony 57", because it was replacing the built in big screen in my family room. Because it's built into the wall, it needed to fit the hole that was already in the wall (my home was one of the model homes in the neighborhood).

The one major drawback to virtually every big screen out there right now is that they are wide screen. This is great when viewing DVD's in wide screen format, but I've yet to see a broadcast in wide screen format. This means that you either get to see 2 WIDE bars across your big screen TV, or have to use the methods of the TV to overcome this. The Sony has 3 different modes to "fill the screen". 2 of them just stretch the picture, one across the entire screen (makes everyone look shorter and fatter) and one just does it at the edges (makes people look shorter and fatter as they walk to the edge of the screen). The 3rd mode fills the screen but cuts off the top and bottom of the picture to do it, which is the mode that I use, as you usually don't notice that the top and bottom is cut off (except in some sports broadcasts, where the score is at the bottom of the screen).

I decided on the Sony for several reasons. It had more "cool" features than most (picture in picture, channel preview, freeze frame, zoom, etc.), the picture was as good or better than most, the front controls and jacks are hidden behind a panel, and the no. 1 reason: It fit the hole in my wall perfectly, at least in width (I had to make a built in shelf above it, as the wide screens are not as tall as their "conventional" counter parts).
 

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I have a 65 mitsubishi and and my parents have a 55 inch sony and i wouldnt trade it for it for nothing my picture is so much better. Go mits if you want the best big screne available. Just ask the salesman there opions and i bet most say mitsubishi.and rember there no such thing as a tv to big for a room
 

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I face many of the same elements as discussed. Long narrow living room. Hence not wide enough. I want a plasma but don't want to part with the dollars. So I am waiting here at work when we get a surplus projector, then I will hang it from the cieling and use the wall for the screen. I already have a screen I got from work, but have to modify it so it will work on the wall. I will be way ahead in this department as I have already run most of the wires I will need for this. Now is all I have to do wait. But I would go with a sony 50 in. plasma if I had a choice. My opinions only here.
 

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my gf and i just bought a philips 55 hd. its one of those wide screens. it actually took some getting used to when compared to a regular TV but i really like it now.

and side by side with sonys,mitsu's etc. the philips was just as good if not better, and we got it for cheaper than the other brands. it also has tons of options, most of which i havent even tried out yet , and all of the jacks are hidden well so the front isnt cluttered in appearance.

out of all our friends, with us being in the 18-22 age group people ALWAYS want to come over to our apartment to watch the big screen sports events or play PS2 haha
 

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Well if you can wait till the end of the year they should drop a lot in price. That is what all the reports are saying at least on all big screen, plasma, dlp's, ect.
A rear projection with the HD tuner will still look and performan great.
A plasma will perform better but I think most people would still be happy with a rear projection unit.
Don;t belive all the hype abot having to throw away a plasma screen tv after it burns out.
Yes it's true that once it burns out it can't be refilled but the average usage hours on a plasma unit is about 30,000 hours which would last the average user about 10 years.
I'm sure in 10 years there will be a bigger and better tv you'll want by then also.
The DLP's are nice as they a coming closer to the clarity and performance of a plasma but at a little less cost. Still more than a rear projection though.
I'm waiting to see what the prices are by the end of the year and then go from there.
I'm only looking for a 42" unit so hopfuly the price on the plasma's will come down enough to be able to pick one up.
BE sure to look at the resolution on plasmas also. That's what makes one unit so much more than another at the same screen size.
 

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Another point to consider, if you look at rear project, is the type of image generation. DLP light engines use a chip that has a micro-mirror for each and every pixel that projects up to the screen. It uses a color wheel to produce the colors that are reflected off of the little mirrors (a Texas Instruments (made in the USA) product). The other technology is called LCOS (Liqued Crystal on Silocon). This is the next big thing in rear projection as it has better clarity and resolution that the DLP chip. It uses two or three small (16:9 ratio) color panels that have their respective colors (RBG) projected up to the screen. The reason that LCOS has better resolution is that each pixel is generated in the actual color. In DLP, the color is reflected off of the little mirrors. Still good quality. You will see new high end rear projection TVs in Sears by Christmas under their own name.
 

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I sell them.

Here's a basic rundown (and if you REALLY want to do some serious research, check out the AVSForum):
PLASMA: Get a lot of attention now because they're so thin. They seem very bright when compared side-by-side with a rear-projection (of any kind) but actually they're about the same brightness as the CRT/tube tv currently in your living room. PROS: Can be hung on a wall, although not reccomended to be hung above fireplaces, where is where you often, incorectly, see them. Brightness is second to none as far as big tv's go. CONS: Price. Price. Price. They could give you a good 10 years, yes. HOWEVER, what they don't tell you is the 20-30,000 hours veries greatly on what you watch and the settings of the tv. In order to make it last 30,000 hours (and most don't make it that far), you have to turn the brightness down. In other words, you will lose one of the Plasmas advantages if you want it to last a good long lifespan. The brighter the settings, the faster the gases will be used up. Also, they use a lot of power, and tend to run hot (think of a small space heater). They can have serious burn-in issues. This means you should rarely or never watch it without the picture zoomed out all the way to fill the screen. Don't pause a DVD for more then 1 minute at a time. Never hook it up to a PS2 or XBox. Don't watch the home shopping network or music channels. Most models have built in means to reverse burn-in should it occur, however every time this method is used it uses up a little more of the plasma's lifespan. Plasmas are in about their 6th generation of development, and none of these problems have been adequately fixed. Of course, if you have the $$, you don't care about the above factors. Even if one lasts only 6 or 7 years, as mentioned above there'll be something else better by then. They are very heavy, and can't be mounted on the wall without expensive brackets (and if you need a contractor to do it for you, possibly several hundred $ more).
ANother con for Plasmas: either STUCK or BLOWN pixels. Most manufacturers say up to **9** clusters of stuck (meaning the pixel is forever stuck on red, green or blue) or blown (no color at all- grey or black) pixels is normal. THis means you could, over time, have dots on the screen that won't go away. While they are small, they can be quite annoying if you know where they are, especially if you know you paid $6000 for that useless pixel. The cheaper Plasmas ARE NOT High Definition (Dell, Gateway, Sylvania, Funai, etc). They are basically DVD quality EDTV. Not worth your $2500 unless you just want to show off a thin tv to friends who are ignorant. (Sorry for the rant! lol)

CRT Projections (typically your big ones, although Samsung makes a couple somewhat thinner models): Use the same technology as a "tube" tv, except there are three CR "guns" inside (red, blue, green). For this reason they have the same limitations as plasmas (see burn-in issues). PROS: Relatively cheap. If you go this route, go with a quality manufacturer like Hitachi or Sony. Mitsubishis are decent as well, as they make their own stuff, however their picture quality has been disappointing lately. Stay clear of JVC, Phillips, RCA... These are not manufactured by the name on the tv, and usually have poorer reliability and picture ratings. They have less options, but on the other hand (as mentioned above) they are usually cheaper. CONS: Brightness can diminish over time (same as a tube tv). Usually for the best view you have to sit more or less in front of the tv and at eye level. Burn-in is a real issue - just like with plasma. This cannot be fixed without replacing the CRT's (@ roughly $4-600 apiece times 3). They are big.

Now come the fun ones... the new generations of projection: DLP, LCD, I-ADI, etc. I'll deal with these as one group just to save time, although each is different. These new projections use high intensity light bulbs as their basis for the picture/colors. PROS: Wider viewing angle and brighter than standard projection. Usually 1/2 the cost of comparable plasma. Not as slim as plasma but not a huge as CRT projections. Light bulb can be replaced by you when it burns out. Great lifespan. NO BUIRN-IN issues. CONS: The bulbs last roughly 5-7000 hours, but cost about $280-400 to replace. (However, when replaced, you have essentially a new tv). Some of them (DLP) have moving parts (spinning color wheels and prisms) and all have fans to keep the bulbs cool (which you might hear in a very quiet room after you tuen the tv off). Could be costly to fix. Older models suffered from slower video rates, but newer models no longer have this issue.

Then there's LCD.. which offer the thin-ness of Plasma without it's issues. PROS: no burn-in. Relatively light. Decent brightness, especially the newer models. CONS: Very fragile viewing screen (vulnerable to scratches). Priced similar to Plasma. Contrast isn't as good as Plasma.

My advice: For around 50-inches, your best bet and value for your money is one of the new generation projections. Watch for discontinued models for good deals (especially May-July). Don;tnecessarily listen to the people who tell you to wait until before Christmas because "the prices will fall". They usually don't. The best thing you can do it look out for coupons and sales, and utilize the special 0% deals and 10% off deals (as well as price-matching!!!) --: you can save a bundle this way. i sold a 51" Sony HD with built in tuner (last year's model: was $2500 last fall) for about $1400 a couple days ago.

most 50-inch LCD/DLP projections (and comparable) are only about 14-19 inches deep. They're also pretty light.
You can find great deals right now on leftover Sony Grand Vega and Hitachi Ultravision LCD-Projections. Those (in my opinion) are the two best from last year. Panasonic gets great reviews and the techie crowd loves them, but we weren't impressed with their overall picture or reliability. The new Panasonic and Mitsu LCD and DLP-Projections look impressive, but the jury is still out. Same with JVC's I-DIA and Phillips LCOS PRojections.

Hope this helps. Don't worry about getting one with a built-in HDTV tuner. Email me ([email protected]) with any more questions!
 

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My parents bought a 60 inch screen about two years ago. We almost bought a mitsubishi but we saw regular tv on it and the picture was horrible. So we went to a hi-fi store and found A MARANTZ 60 inch screen(projection) that had an awesome picture it was almost as good as a tube. I think it cost 6000. Weve had it for two years and it picture is still awesome. You might want to check these out.
 

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Paul,
I have the Sony 53in rear projection and love it. Works great with the SAT dish. Worked a great deal with Grants TV and Appliance you can wheel & deal with them. Got it much cheaper then at the reg stores.
 

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I've had a 55" Mitsubishi (CRT type) for 3+ years and after many hours of watching both, I still like it better than my brother-in-law’s 50" plasma that cost him 5X. I wouldn’t go less than 55”, and might buy the same TV today. First though, I’d absolutely do home trials with a front projector. It requires a bit darker room, but you simply can't beat a 120” home theatre, and the prices of these are very comparable. $2000 buys an amazingly good unit.
 
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