Best HDTV for $800? I think I have a start....

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Bowlerguy10, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. Bowlerguy10 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I'm preferably looking at Plasma but if the shoe fits LCD works fine too. I was looking at the Panasonic TC-P50X1 as far as 50" goes, it's just the larger version of a TV that was HIGHLY HIGHLY regarded by the fine folks at highdefforum.com!

    The issues is that it's only 720p...I'm thinking into the future, I don't need a rundown of if I will notice it or not or this or that, I know the differences. For example, gaming is what I will be doing a LOT on this TV, when the next generation of consoles comes out and supports full 1080p and sort of pushes 720p to the back of the line what's going to happen?

    The next console generation is likely 5-7 years from now so I guess the TV will likely be up for replacement by then anyway but.....what if? Will I be smacking myself in 4 years when everything suddenly goes 1080p and 720p is laughed at? WILL this happen?

    And finally any other TV suggestions are welcome, like I said LCD or Plasma, preferably 1080p for my price range.

    Thanks!
     
  2. NP3 macrumors regular

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    Jul 12, 2003
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    Los Angeles
    #2
    Gizmodo has several really good articles on picking an hdtv. Their site is down today otherwise i'd link to them for you.

    I do know of this one link
     
  3. mom4791 macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Just ordered the 32 inch bravia xbr9 on amazon for like 740 with free shipping... check it out, unless you are looking for something bigger
     
  4. Bowlerguy10 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    I'm finding 50" Plasma TV's for that same price....
     
  5. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

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    #5
    I have a Sony W series 46" which is awesome!!

    Some info is needed for a good rec...

    What gaming console do you have? PS3 is already 1080P for many games...and headed more that way.

    Do you watch movies much?

    Will your TV go (or be watched) in a dark room?

    Do you watch sports much?

    How much does the built in speakers matter to you? Are you doing an external sound system...sound bar...

    How picky are you with TV picture....if blacks are sort of grey does that bother you? do you even notice that stuff?

    And remember...you can always find something for a price...but will it last...is the quality of picture there...what about sound...there are some really crappy TV's out there!!!!!!! Beware of judging a TV just by price. Consumer reports has many thoughts on this topic.
     
  6. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

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    Chicago
    #6
    You can get a 1080p plasma or LCD for not too much more, especially if you buy a generic brand (usually made in the same factories as the big brands).

    If you are mostly going to be using it for AppleTV or other downloadable HD content, you might actually be better off with 720p as it will look slightly better because there is less scaling involved. 480p and i signals will also look better on 720p then they will on 1080p (personal experience in that area), which means your old DVD collection and your non-HD cable/satellite will be more watchable on 720p, where as on 1080p even with up-conversion it will be annoying to watch such a crappy signal.

    With a 720p TV, HD channels that broadcast in 720p will look super sharp, where as on a 1080p TV native 1080i broadcast HD will look great but 720p channels, while still looking good, will be visibly duller (all relatively speaking of course, they are still going to be way better than DVD or regular TV!).

    On the other hand, while Blu-ray and other high def sources will still look amazingly sharp on 720p, they will look their best on 1080p.

    Personally, I went for a 1080p (Insignia 37" LCD), and I am glad I did because Blu-Ray looks great on it and it is sort of "future proof", however, there are days where I think if I went with 720p I would get more mileage out of old school DVDs and my AppleTV.

    If I were you, see if you can get a good clearance price on 720p. Maybe you can get a 50" 720p TV for the price of a 42" 1080p. If that's the case, maybe going for the larger size could be worth it more.

    But if price isn't that big an issue, go with 1080p. While now I think its a mixed bag and has its up and downs, in the next year or two we'll be seeing a lot more 1080 content (perhaps iTunes HD will be upgraded to 1080p as bandwidth improves, certainly Bluray is getting better adoption, someone mentioned PS3 games and future consoles being natively 1080, etc.) so you will get more out of your TV.

    A TV isn't like a computer which you'll wanna replace often and certainly there is less to go wrong with a TV given that it has no hard drive or other movable or fragile parts or software.

    You can probably get a solid 5 years out of it, and perhaps even 10. We have 2 old school TVs in the house, a 53" rear-projection (last of the non-widescreen generation) and a 32" Sony CRT and they have both been used daily for at least 10 years and still going strong. I bet they will get at least another 5 years of usage before they need to be replaced.

    If you get a nice large HDTV now, especially if you go 1080p which will be the highest picture standard for at least another decade or two, you can definitely grow with it and keep it around, and actually be happy with it.
     
  7. mgridgaway macrumors 6502

    mgridgaway

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    #7
    I would say definitely stick with Panasonic Plasmas, but try to save up a bit more for 1080p. We had one at the place I used to work at, and even unadjusted to the surroundings it looked great.

    That being said, I have a Olevia 37" HDTV, that has that weird 1366 or whatever resolution (they advertise it as 1080i). Still, it actually does look pretty darn good, if I say so myself. And I got on sale at Target for $500 on Black Friday, so that was a plus.

    At any rate, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the THX video optimizer. You can find the dvd files online and you can buy the blue glasses from their store. Proper adjustment is just as important as quality parts, and it's just about the easiest thing to do.
     
  8. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

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    #8
    HDTV's supposedly have a longer life than even picture tube TV's did...so you may have this purchase with you for quite some time. I am not sure what resale values are for HDTV's but I woudl imagine not terrific since they can be had for so cheap.

    About the "being made in the same factories" comment- While this is still true and in the past you could follow that train of thought and make out pretty well, it isn't as good of practice as it used to be. With Walmart, Target and Home Depot type companies having so much clout, they can go into a "good" factory and request something be made to their specifications- which are usually cutting corners on materials, workmanship, etc. So I would buy a brand name and be sure to buy a model number which you can find at multiple retailers. If a retailer has a specific model number just for them it almost always means they have changed the specifications to make it cheaper.

    (For instance...Weber grills bought at Home Depot are not the same as ones you can buy at hardware stores- even though they say a similar name, etc. The model numbers are diff. and the cooking box sizes are changed, etc. that is why you see things such as "exclusively at Home Depot" on them- They do this with Skil tools as well- plastic gears instead of metal, etc. Not all electronics work this way at Walmart or other discount places, but some definitely do so beware.)

    1080P is showing up all over the place- Direct TV has On Demand stuff in 1080P now and I am sure Apple won't be far behind.
     
  9. Bowlerguy10 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Is it possible to get a brand name 50" 1080p Plasma for under a thousand dollars? I really like the TV I linked you to and it's the perfect price, I just wish it was 1080p instead of 720p!
     
  10. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

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    #10
    Don't cut corners when buying a TV. All the cheaper TV's are POS and you will regret the purchase later.
     
  11. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

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    #11
    Not all cheaper TV's are POS...I got mine cheap....night before Thanksgiving at about 2am I checked Circuit City for my Sony W-series 46" 120 Hz and I got it for $1299!!!! It still hasn't been advertised close to that almost a year later. It is probably what put CC out of business!:D

    That being said, most inexpensive TV's are cheaply made...especially since CC is out of business. ;)
     
  12. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

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    #12
    So Consumer Reports has never steered me wrong.

    CR shows Samsung, Sony as the best LCD's which has been the case for three+ years in my checking reviews.

    For Plasma they now say Samsung and Panasonic have the best tested. It used to be only Panasonic at the top I think- Samsung has charged to the top of plasma- but they are more expensive.

    They give this $1000 plasma 50" great ratings
    Panasonic Viera TC-P50X1
    Price: $1000
    Summary: A 50-inch Plasma HDTV from Panasonic with 1366x768 resolution, 2 component-video inputs, and 3 HDMI inputs.

    And this one Panasonic Viera TC-P50C1 for $900ish.

    hope this helps.
     
  13. Bowlerguy10 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    The Panasonic Viera TC-P50X1 is the one that I had mentioned in my original post. I just wish it were 1080p.
     
  14. GeekGirl* macrumors 65816

    GeekGirl*

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    #14
    I have a 50" Samsung Plasma bought it for 950.00 new and love it:)
     
  15. txhockey9404 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    If you have a Costco membership, they have great prices. Here is a Sharp LCD (only 40" but under your price range with 1080PCostco.com. I have bought 8 TVs at Costco, all but one Sharps. These are AMAZING TVs that are usually sold for much more.

    For gaming, I'd definitely get an LCD to avoid any ghosting or stuck images when paused or at menus.

    This is a 46" Sharp LCD1080P 4xHDMI for $1000 Costco.com
     
  16. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

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    #16
    Yeah, Costco is the only place I'd buy a TV at. The brands they sell appear to be the non-POS types.
     
  17. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #17

    $1300 "aint cheap"

    :D
     
  18. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

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    #18
    my bad on the 720P TV's listed...I forgot to check.

    They have this for $1399ish Samsung PN50B650

    they have others listed for a little less but viewing angle is not great on one of them and there are other deficiencies on the others.

    I agree that LCD for gaming is best really and the new LCD's are not that much different to most eyes than the Plasma-= and are tons better than plasma in a bright day-lit room!!
     
  19. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

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    #19
    For a good quality TV, yes it is.

    Here's my view on quality/price ranges:
    Cheap: $0 - $1000
    Average: $800 - $1500
    Good: $1200 - $2500
    Awesome: $2000+
     
  20. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #20
  21. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

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    #21
    The 120 mhz refresh is mostly good for sports or very fast action- I don't believe it makes much of a difference for gaming.


    Game Mode on 120hz sets I have seen revert the display to 60hz, therefore making 120hz useless.

    Depending on how detailed/hardcore AV you want to get- this is the best source on the internet for high quality info on HD, etc.

    http://www.avsforum.com
     

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