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Confused by Consumer Report reviews

Would like to purchase 37" to 42" HD TV.

Which type of TV is more likely to have a good picture using standard definition signals (also regular DVDs)---LCD OR PLASMA?

Consumer Reports rate most LCD's has having very good to good SD picture quality but the plasmas are not rated this high. They fall into the good to only fair range.

Is it fair to say then that across the board LCD's standard definition images and image quality of regular DVDs is better than that seen in plasmas.

Thanks for your help.

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more info

In reply to: Confused by Consumer Report reviews

I probably should have explained that my husband will watch all the HD programming but I have a lot of old movies and classic TV DVD's and was wondering what would be best for them.

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More importantly...

In reply to: more info

What's your budget? There are good and bad TVs in both categories, so if you had a budget, the good people here could tell you some of the better TVs for both. For smaller TVs like 42" (yes, by today's standards, 42" is on the smaller side), the Sony Grand Wega LCD TV, which utilizes 3 LCD displays to spread the color handling, is very good. It costs approximately $1500. It has received very good reviews here on CNET. Part of how an HDTV handles SD material is reliant upon the TVs video processor/scaler.

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Quality of SD images

In reply to: More importantly...

Thanks for the reply. Budget, as it is to be a bedroom set, will be in the $1100 to $1500 range. I would gladly go with the higher figure if the set was superior playing SD signals.

I guess my question would now be if you compared the top of the line LCD with the top of the line plasma which handles SD signals better?
Or are they both about equal?

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Price range

In reply to: Quality of SD images

In that price range, you should be able to get one on the better 42" plasmas. LCDs are still a little pricey in that size, so you will probably have to go smaller. DVDs in a progressive scan DVD player should look very good on either type. They are really about twice the resolution of "standard def". I have a 50" Panasonic plasma and the standard def picture through Dishnetwork is pretty good and so do a couple of the analog OTA stations. A lot depends on how good the source is. Wherever you buy, just make sure they have an exchange policy if it does not suit your needs when you get it home.

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Consumer Reports & opinion

In reply to: Quality of SD images

I've used Consumer Reports opinions as one expert opinion for many years. Their judgment is not always made absolutely clear as to exactly what they consider the key factors. Theirs is an expert opinion, but not always based on what it is that you would judge by. It is good info - to an extent. Read every word of their explanation carefully. Whether by limited space or whatever - they often don't fully explain how they judged & why. Every 2 door car gets one LESS point than 4 door models as CR judges for "family" cars.

Everyone can have & express opinions whether they know anything about something or not. Don't be a slave to any other opinion. It's just info to be considered.

CR is implying that LCDs are better with SD signals. LCDs may have the sharpest resolution, but that is the reason some prefer plasmas' "softer" picture. Some adamantly say LCD images are suitable only as computer monitors. They wouldn't have one as their TV. Guess what? Millions are being sold & I don't think they are only to be computer monitors.

Also don't be a slave to the numbers game of it should be 1080. Many get 720 sets especially for their opinion of the best overall; preferring it for fast motion such as sports.

All technologies are good; none are perfect. I like my DLP & LCD as well as my neighbor's plasma.

Don't go & get info overload & just confusion of chaos, but with some focus please do some serious showroom. It's for you, not anyone else. No need to rush. They're not going out of style. Price trends are getting better for buyers.

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Best SD viewing

In reply to: Consumer Reports & opinion

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Also thanks to HTHMAN.

I actually went to two stores today--Sears and Circuit City.

While I was in Circuit City I asked the salesman if he could show me how Standard Definition would look on the TV- he said not really but he could hook up an old fashioned rabbit ears antenna implying but not saying that that would be SD TV. I don't think he realized that I read myself silly on all these forums so I asked if they were picking up a high defintion signal and he sheepishly said yes. I said that would not help me then.

He did tell me that he could put in a DVD movie for me.

Since I can't see SD in the showroom and since most of the sets have good to excellent HD images I guess the thing to do is bite the bullet and ,as mentioned above, make sure you can return it. What a pain though to try and pack a TV back up again.

Unfortunately the TV I like the best so far is a 40" Sony for $2500 KDL40V2500 but I am stll looking. So much for my idea of finding a 'cheaper' set for the bedroom. This reminds me of car shopping--price just keeps creeping up by the time you add the extras in.

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Typical substandard showroom experience

In reply to: Best SD viewing

Sorry you didn't run into a decent salesperson. Unfortunately that is all too typical. Try an independent A/V dealer. Really! They aren't all just top end, though they usually don't try to go head to head with the big boxes at the budget end.

Decency will prevail with a bit of persistence. There are good people who will spend a little time to show you what you need to know. Sure, don't abuse their good impulses. Here in Albuquerque (3/4 million total population) there are independents who cover the entire price spread, not just top end.

Lack of reasonable service should not be a given.

The mentioned Sony is surely quite good. Sony does exact some price premium for their fine TVs. It strikes me that perhaps you don't need a 40 incher for a bedroom.

It may seem a tad disheartening, but please don't throw in the towel. You deserve some decent service. I do try to visit a store when they may typically not be so busy. Gee, if you were here I know I could easily take you to a couple of stores with proper service. All the hassle & biting the bullet shouldn't be necessary. Really. It shouldn't be an onerous burden, 100% on your shoulders.

Admitedly the 1st approach to HDTV is information overload & chaotic with jargon. The right price, brand & size will become apparent. Don't let it get you down.

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In reply to: Typical substandard showroom experience

There is more availability to compare among LCD SETS in the area under 42" if the smaller sizes make sense to you.

What is your bedroom size so as to our understanding appropriate size for the space? If the bigger the better, than that's your inclination & business. What's best for you is your business. I'm just inclined to feel 42" or so is a bit oversized for most bedrooms. You see I regard TVs as to reasonably fitting in rather than dominating. Yes, I'm the type who wouldn't abandon my living room as a normal room. I didn't need the home theater at all costs sort of thing.

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In reply to: PS:

SONY KDL-40V2500 for LCD


PANASONIC TH-42PX600U for plasma.


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In reply to: Confused by Consumer Report reviews

CORNCERNING HD-TV. Trying to digest and intrepret all this can be mindboggling to say the least!!!

Having read at least two thousand posts and articles about HD-TV; this is the overall jest I've gotten from all the info:

For LCDs, particularly SONY's BRAVIA line, is seemingly the choice. LCDs are still a bit pricey, but very much improved since their introduction. Quality sets available from many manufacturers in sizes from 37" to 70". My thoughts are LCDs are a good choice those seeking 40" - 46".Beyond that size, the cost becomes prohibitive for the masses. SONY has just introduced a new 70" BRAVIA XBR LCD for $32,999.99, coming in late February. I can't wait........

PLASMA, though not my favourite technology, has improved as well, to the point where "burn-in" is almost non-existent. The overall opinion seems to be that plasmas don't fully take advantage of their own technology unless the set is AT LEAST 50"; but I think the PANASONIC 42" TH-42PX600U is a fantastic mid-size model!!!

LCoS models are my choice (SXRD; SONY....D-ILA; JVC) unfortunately, there are few if any in the SIZE range you desire.

Good shoppping, river.

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