Sunday, December 03, 2006

HDTV research Consumer Reports Summary

Doing some research to round out my home theater. Led to a few interesting findings I thought I'd capture in an entry. Consumer Reports did an evaluation for December 2006 that would be required reading and well worth the time if you're going to lay out $3,000 for a new display. They review LCDs, Plasma, Projectors, etc. and provide some great advice. I'll jot down some of the most suprising stuff here:

First, if you're a gamer and/or lazy, plasma is just about ruled out. Despite lower cost per square inch, there are issues related to burn in that still exist in these sets. I tend to leave things on while websurfing, taking phone calls, etc. and just pause the game or whatever, very bad for plasmas. Also the issues related to glare rule out plasma for me since I often game, etc. with the window open behind me in the mornings on weekends.

On reviews, the brands that came out in top 5 were JVC and Sony, Samsung got a number 5. This is on 40inch and larger sizes. JVC as number 1!! While I already have JVC DVD, VCR, and TV I was buying based on price/performance ratio at time of purchase and didn't really perceive them as a leader in quality. Dumb luck and have been very happy with their products (and remotes) to date. Very reliable, solid products.

JVC LT-40FN97 and Sony Bravia KDL-40XBR1 and XBR2 were top 3 in over 40inch category.

On Plasmas the highest ranked set would have been ranked 3rd overall including LCD and plasma, but its rankings were (in order for 50 inch and larger): Panasonic, Fujitsu, LG, Pioneer, HP. Fujitsu was $5500 bucks though, not in the same price category of the rest.

On warranties, my logic would be if you're buying a $3k product and can get a $200 warranty (the one at video only) its almost a no brainer to protect the investment due to its high cost of replacement of the LCD, etc. after the first year. Consumer Reports says keep the money in your pocket as the failure rates for LCD and plasma sets requiring repair (one to two year old sets because that is all they have data for) is 3% for LCDs and plasma. The failure rate is 10% for Microdisplays which to me is outrageous and enough to say I wouldn't buy one of these anyway. Not sure I'm going to take their advice on this but was suprised to see it, maybe i'd have more confidence with more data on a 4 year life span for example.

Also did some checking around the portland area for pricing, and while i tire of the radio ad it really is true that the prices at video only are SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper for these products than best buy. Sometimes as much as $600 or more at the $3k price point. Get clarification on their return policy though because I am not sure its the best in town (30 days swap out, no refund or some such, but once you have money with them you really have to keep your money with them). Sales rep seemed well read and was the one who referred me to the consumer report article in the first place. Walked over, pulled out his laptop, and pulled up the article right there in the store for me to read! That's the kind of service that makes me return.


kim said...

What'd they recommend for projectors?

adam lake said...

for projectors, they recommended optoma hd72, mitsubishi hc3000, vidikron vision model12, epson powerlite cinema 550, sharp sharvision xv-z3000. top 3 projectors scored higher than top LCDs as well so in a way they recommend projectors first, lcd,then plasma, but of course depending on use, etc.

quick picks best overall were the optoma and mitsubishi, for lcd projectors epson and sanyo plv-z4(ranked 13) at $1600.

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