In my experience, plasma is the best way to go and Panasonic is the best of the brands as far as picture quality and reliabilty. Pioneer is also known for great pictures, but they've had a long record of making electronics a little on the sub-par. I own one Pioneer component now (a CD recorder) and it's noticeably clunkier than other DVD/CD players. The bad thing about Panasonic is they make about 1500 different plasma models. The model designations make it very difficult to comparison shop, but you should get a consumer model, not a commercial model. If you subscribe to cable or satellite or have an over-the-air HD converter box, you can save some dinero by getting a model without a built-in tuner.
I'd stay away from Toshiba, just because of quality control concerns. Two years ago I bought a Toshiba laptop (model A135-S4447). Within 3 weeks (of not a whole lot of use), the backlight went out on the display. I took it back to Office Depot and they replaced it with a new one. As soon as I got that one home, I noticed the touchpad wasn't working. I took that one back and they gave me a new one. I should have checked it at the store - several keys on the keyboard didn't work! When I took it back, they had no more in stock of the same model. I paid $150 more and took a Sony home. I've had no problems with it. Perhap's Toshiba's TVs are problem-free, but I think if my laptop experience is any indicator, they've got some horrible QC problems.
I've also had problems with Mitsubishi TVs, although older CRT models. The problems were in the circuit board connections. The solder joints would periodically fail, requiring a $150 repair bill every 3 or 4 years.
Projection TVs (DLP and some LCD) are much cheaper than plasma and LCD flat-screens, but have their downsides. The lamps periodically burn out and aren't cheap to replace (the last I heard, about $250 a pop). Some people have complained about rainbow images from DLPs, too. Projection TVs are best viewed in dim lighting, so if you watch TV at daytime in a room with a lot of windows, the picture will look a bit washed out.
LCD flat screens are good for rooms with a lot of light. The reflective characteristics of the screen are good, so you won't see reflections of your furniture as much when you're watching them.
Plasma screens have a bit more reflection than LCD, but one of the best things about them is their wide viewing angle. If you've got a gang of people over, almost anyone who can see the screen will get a good picture. LCD flat screens have a much more narrow viewing angle. Plasmas are less energy-efficient than LCDs. My current 65" Panasonic runs about 800W, which is the equivalent of burning 8 100-watt incandescent bulbs. I don't watch a whole lot of TV, so it's no big deal to me. Plasmas also require a little more careful handling. If you get fingerprints on the glass, they recommend that you don't use water or liquid cleaners to get them off. It's tough cleaning them off without something liquid. Also, as the main cost of an LCD or plasma is in the actual display, damaging it during mounting or other mishandling means your investment is basically worthless. Damaging the screen of a projection TV should be a much, much cheaper repair!
I've never had any problem with a Toshiba TV (I have 3). But I just heard a horror story about Mitsubishi from a friend who has one.
It fried after only three weeks. They can't fix it here, so they have to ship the WHOLE thing to ATLANTA to repair. They told him it would be 6 - 8 weeks.
You also might want to time your purchase to get the most for your bucks. We already know that a socialist in the White House will be the absolutely worst thing for a free-market economy that just took a major hit because of socialist policies. When the stock market takes another plunge around January 20th and the job market gets even worse, I'm betting there will be some MAJOR price drops on large screen TVs. Then again, you may just want to invest in a much cheaper over-the-air HDTV tuner (if you don't have cable/satellite) and put the difference into guns and ammo to protect the rest of your goodies from those who now think that it's your duty to share the wealth.
Originally Posted by marinejcksn
That'll work out just perfect, I'm going home right after he becomes my new Commander in Chief. :(
Originally Posted by jeskibuff
You know what else sucks? Not only am I spending my birthday in this s***hole, the next day Obama swears in.
I'm not sure if you're finished with this yet...but I've been in the market too. The 42 inch Samsungs are getting good reviews in Consumer Reports as having the best picture for the money....around $800 with economy tanking.
Originally Posted by marinejcksn
Some things you need to know if you didn't already.
The displays at the store are set to optimal picture quality and run through filters. Basically these TV's are showing you what their capabilitiies ARE. Not what it will look like when you hook them up at home.
Also...if you don't have the HD packages that the satellite services offer then the HD capability doesn't matter. It's just a big expensive TV.
I've been leaning toward the Samsung models also. 42 inch is probably going to be the size I go with, definitely an LCD because I hear that shipping Plasmas is difficult for Military, and I might be up for orders in a year or so.
Originally Posted by Molon Labe
I'll probably dish out the extra bucks a month for an HD Cable box too, our network in Hawaii has a couple hundred HD Channels already.
I think I found a winner! Anyone who owns an HDTV, let me know what you think:
Samsung - 46" 1080p Flat-Panel LCD HDTV
For $3 less (with free shipping), I'd go with this at the moment: http://www.6ave.com/shop/Product.aspx?sku=PANTH46PZ80U
Originally Posted by marinejcksn
I've seen some 50" Panasonic plasmas recently for around $900. If you're patient and you time your purchase right, you can save quite a lot of dinero.
You ought to also consider whether you'll mount a flat panel on the wall or need a stand. Wall mounts can get pretty cheap if you find the right deal (I bought one for $9.99 after rebate). Stands can get pretty pricey.
Here's a 50" Panasonic Plasma 1080p going for $1199.99 now at CompUSA:
$100 over your Samsung, but 50" over 46" too!
Check New Egg.com on occasion. You can get some really good deals from them. I got my HDTV from them and paid less than my buddy for a bigger screen.