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Did We Ever Screw Up .. Have YOU?

by plcard / February 9, 2007 10:28 PM PST

In December of 2005, my partner and I purchased a Sony LCD Flat Screen HD TV. We were so excited, because of the wonderful picture and sound quality it offered.

This excitement ended when we came to the realization that Cox Communications only offered about 13 HD channels of which we would watch maybe 5. Although our local ABC affiliate broadcasts in HD, we cannot receive it, because the station is a odds with Cox over the cost Cox would have to pay for that privilege.

I thought the government had mandated all broadcasting to be in HD by 2006. Just two weeks after our purchase, the government changed the rules and extended the deadline until, I believe 2009.

Our question is two fold. First, we were told that the life of the LCD screen was up to 5 years (Plasma 4). This is well short of the mandate if indeed the mandate was for HD programing and not just digital. What happens at the end of 5 years? Does the screen just go blank or does it just slowly fade into the sunset?

Secondly, Direct TV is advertising they will be adding "hundreds" of HD channels in the future. Do you know when the future will be? I have contacted them, but can't get an answer.

In short, anyone who buys a HD TV now, is getting screwed royally. We do all the research to determine what is best for our use, just to find out the HD availability is very ... very limited.

Be aware of this and I look forward to your responses.


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by stewart norrie / February 10, 2007 12:48 AM PST

Iam in hi-def heaven with dish net The hi-def and Voom package is only $15.00 per month and the network channels are $5.00 extra But I chouse to install a cheap outside antenna for my local hi-def channels FREE because dish has a second over thwe air hi-def tuner So I have 18 local digital channels 8 are in hi def YA CANT DO THAT WITH CRAPPY CABLE SERVICE MORE your local digital channels will also look so sweet because your are receiving them in a pure digital format unlike cable which is anolog, FEE much cheaper and if you want to go nuts you can order more hi-def channels Just make sure you add the VOOM package awsome hi-def programming stewee

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Screw Up?
by grc24 / February 10, 2007 1:07 AM PST

Yes, all broadcasting is supposed to be digital in 2006 BUT...the stations have until 2009 to do so. I believe that's how the story goes. Yea, this sucks but there is some progress being made...I guess?

The life of you new TV is based on the average hours the set is on. I assume you watch a lot of TV since you are so bummed about the programming. Yea, this is no good as well, but everything has to burn out at sometime. Almost seems like a waste of hard earned cash to throw at something that's only going to be around about 5 years.

I'm not a big fan of DirecTV. They don't like to tell potential customers much of anything about their service. They just want you to sign up and be miserable. At first, they were saying that they would add a hundred channels in the future. Now that has changed to they have the ABILITY to add a 100 channels. Well...who dosen't???
I have Dish Network and I beleive there are 16 or 17 channels in HD now. Not including our locals that we pull in from an antenna. W/in the past week they have added A&E to the HD list. So far I am very happy with Dish. There'll be more HD channels to come. There has to be. It's the future of television.

Go purchase an upconverting or HD DVD player and get the absolute most out of your set while you can. Watch as many movies in HD as the day allows. Run your set into the ground while it's new. That way you won't feel as bad when it's time to buy a new one.

Good Luck,


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Will Last Us Forever
by plcard / February 10, 2007 11:11 PM PST
In reply to: Screw Up?

No, we don't watch that much TV. I am disabled and made myself a promise, I would not become a TV addict. I have held to that and we only watch about 5 hours, max, a day. Co, the TV will last our life time.

Thanks for your input, but I hope that the cable and satellite companies as well as the networks will work together to make their programing available and just as importantly, affordable to the subscribers.

I just got off the phone with Cox cable support. I asked them about the availability of HD. He said there were many HD channels, it is just a matter of $$$$$. I guess $$$$ runs our lives in every faction.

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5 years?
by sirroundsound / February 10, 2007 1:49 AM PST

How much TV could you possibly be watching?
Your LCD set (along with plasmas) should last a lot longer than 5 years.
If you bought it just becasue you thought HDTV was coming and your old set would no longer work, then you were mis informed.
As you have seen HDTV is here, BUT, not every channel. In fact most areas only have a small number of HD channels available at this time. Slowly more and more are coming, eventually they all will be some form of HD or another.
You didn't screw up, you have a nice new TV that is flat and will take you through the transistion to HD. By the time this set fails HD should be all channels, and the new TV's available will have even more features or choices.

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picard sez --
by Newtsche / February 10, 2007 2:17 AM PST

"Although our local ABC affiliate broadcasts in HD, we cannot receive it, because the station is a odds with Cox over the cost."

Same here with Charter and the local CBS affiliate. I don't get it, broadcast signals are floating around out there, they're supposed to be free. I don't care that the stations had to spend money to offer an HD product, that's their choice. When they broadcast it, it's part of the public domain.

Charter customers had to buy an outboard antenna to get CBS's HD Super Bowl coverage (surely they were bitter when we had our first rainy, ugly SB). Sounds like a class action suit.

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"Hundreds of HD Channels", Charter, 5-yr span?
by Dan Filice / February 10, 2007 5:13 AM PST
In reply to: picard sez --

It's weird what you mention about Charter, because I have them and I watched the Super Bowl in HD on CBS. Maybe because I live in Los Angeles area and maybe the contract is different here.

Cable service at odds with the stations? Don't think it can't happen with satellite, because it has. And speaking of satellite, usually if you want' HD, you need to add their HD dish on your roof, adding to the SD dish, which means two dishes. Personally, I don't like my roof looking like a NASA satellite facility, so I'll stick with one cable that comes into my house. At least with cable, I can use a splitter and have two TVs on HD (including local HD channels) and 5 others on regular cable, and I don't have to pay the cable company anything extra for my 5 non-HD TVs to get basic cable. But that's my personal choice. A lot of people love satellite.

5 years life span? Maybe if you leave your LCD set to "Vivid" and your brightness set to "100", which is how they come from the factory. Reset your picture mode and your brightness and I'll bet that you'll get way more than 5 years.

Keep in mind that when "all channels go digital", and people throw out the fact that "hundreds of channels will be High Def", well most of those channels will just simply be required to broadcast in a standard digital signal format, which means taking their crummy standard-def programming and upresing to "HD" or some compatible signal. It will still be a crummy signal because the source won't be HD. Basically it will do what my HD cable box does now, which is to change everything to 1080i. SD programs still look crummy.

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by Newtsche / February 10, 2007 5:22 AM PST

Our St. Louis CBS affiliate is owned by Belo Broadcasting out of Houston, not sure what other stations they own. Belo are the ones not allowing Charter to offer the HD product.

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by Newtsche / February 10, 2007 5:23 AM PST
In reply to: Belo

Belo is HQ'd in Dallas, not Houston.

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Small Market
by plcard / February 10, 2007 11:20 PM PST

Unfortunately, Pensacola is not a booming metropolis ... a beautiful place to live and visit, but we don't have the population such as LA, to demand more service. Nor do we have the competition. We have Cox for cable, and BellSouth and Cox for phone service. I see the Internet charges coming down a little with Bell, but Cox just keeps going up and up on both services.

So goes life!!

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by HTHMAN / February 10, 2007 4:31 AM PST

First of all, plasma and LCD flat panels are rated at about 60,000 hours to half brightness. There are only 8760 hours in a year. That is almost 7 years if you never turn the set off, and that is not a dead screen, that is a less bright screen. Normal uses should expect 20+ years. Look what TV was 20 years ago. Will you still want your set then?

Most stations are now broadcasting at least the network shows in HD free over the air. If you are within 30 or so miles of the broadcast tower, you can get them with an antenna.

Cable and Sat. now have HD packages. I have Dish and get 26 HD stations plus my locals in HD thru Dish. If Direct adds more HD channels, cable and Dish will add more to keep up. The word is COMPETITION.

As far as how many stations you watch, how many stations do you get total now, and how many do you watch? Programming is varied because different people like different things. Would be nice if we could just buy what we want to watch, but that is just not how it goes. You buy the package that suits you best.

I just bought my third HD TV. If I am getting screwed, I am really enjoying it.

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Enjoying HDTV
by Dan Filice / February 10, 2007 7:30 AM PST
In reply to: Misinformation


Me too, I totally enjoy my two HDTVs. Even though we don't have 100 HD channels, we have a lot between the locals, HDNET, Discovery, ESPN, HBO, etc. I think we have 20 + HD channels. Both my kids love the HD, and they always tune into HD channels first. Sports, their favorite, is unreal on HD. We are in a transition period. We need to put up with the old (SD TV) and embrace the new (HD). Everything won't be great overnight. In terms of getting screwed, those people who don't by HD because their SD channels don't look great or because they only might get 20 HD channels right now, are screwing themselves out of REAL TV enjoyment.

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You got it right
by HTHMAN / February 10, 2007 7:50 AM PST
In reply to: Enjoying HDTV


I went out and bought that new 47" Vizio LCD I posted about. Can not say a thing about it yet as I am in the middle a a basement remodel and it is still in the box. Just could not pass up the price. There is a review on it on CNET now. Funny, if you read the review and the review of the 40" Sony they did, there are some stark comparisons. They say both are a little blue in the grayscale and it sounds like the Sony has more false contouring than the Vizio, but they give the Sony a lot higher score. Could it have to do with advertising?? Funny part is the consumer ratings, the Vizio ranks way above the Sony by actual users. This is going to replace an old CRT RP TV, so it will look a lot better. If it were not for the bright reflection issue in this room, I would have another Panasonic plasma, but LCDs antiglare is the only option. Everything I read says there is not enough difference in this and the Sony and Sharp sets to justify the extra 1000-1500 extra dollars.

I will post my comparisons to the Panasonic plasma when I get it hooked up in the not too distant future. Within a month, I hope.

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i think one way to really get screwed...
by bklynrickel / February 10, 2007 9:24 AM PST

is to buy an expensive "brand name" tv. there are many cheaper "off brand" tvs that just don't have the advertising clout of sony, or samsung or panasonic. these lessor known brands often have great PQ without the high price tag and they are striving to crack into a market dominated by a few big names. the ipod has been notorious for having hard drive problems. what's in a name? what's in a package? is image really everything? other mp 3 players perform as well if not better without all the glitz.

that's where folks are getting screwed. BIG names, and unnecessarily BIG price tags.

these big companies find all kinds of ways to take our paper money. but, all that glitters is not gold.

cheaper is not always better, but with some care, attentiveness and research the cheaper sets might be the way to go for now.

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by masterying01 / February 10, 2007 2:01 PM PST

you're telling me that the 10 defective westinghouse and 6 defective insignia lcd's sitting in my warehouse right now (compared to ZERO brand name tv's) are better? normally we can send stuff to service as we choose at the store, but it got so out of hand we had to wait a little bit between tv's.

there is a reason these tv's are cheaper. and its not just because of the brand.

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well, you see i wouldn't touch an insignia and ....
by bklynrickel / February 10, 2007 9:27 PM PST
In reply to: so

i have heard some bad things about westinghouse too. im saying that if one is careful in doing research, there are good less expensive sets out there.

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Just curious
by HTHMAN / February 11, 2007 12:44 AM PST
In reply to: so

Do you sell a lot more of those brands than the name brands? What I mean, are those 10 defective sets say 10% of your sales or 0.1% of your sales? Every product has a defect rate, was just wondering if the rate was extremely high on those brands.

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Why difference in price?
by Dan Filice / February 11, 2007 2:39 AM PST
In reply to: so

There are only a few companies that make LCD displays, and these serve all of the dozens of LCD TV makers. It's what goes into the rest of the components, such as video processor, video scaler. ability to make minute adjustments to grey scale, color, contrast, etc. that drive up the cost of a TV. Look at the dozens of DVD players. For 80% of the consumers, an $80 DVD player is fine, and most of the people in this group would die if they had to fork over $150 for a DVD player. For the rest of the people who may be obsessed with small details in picture quality (chroma bug, aliasing on edges, etc....and I think I'm part of this small percentage), we look at very technical reviews at sites (for exammple:, we look for DVD playes that have things like the Faroudja interlacing chip. This drives the price up, but when one does a critical A-B comparison between two devices where one can actually see the errors of a lesser machine, then these errors drive us nuts. So, we look to a better quality device. Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer and some others use the ustmost quality of components to deliver the expectations that the small 10% are looking for. Are they worth the extra $1000? Probably not if you compare the acutal cost of the electronics. For me, paying exta for a TV in my main TV viewing room is worth it, because now that I know how to spot errors in a TV picture or a DVD image, and it would bother me to stare at a TV picture that blooms (smears) around intense red colors or that don't do too well in intense white or black areas or do poorly on subtle color gradients. No, I won't spend $1000 on a DVD player, but I will spend $150 on one that proves to pass the critical tests. There are sites other than CNET (don't get me wrong, I love CNET) that do tests geared for the tech-heads, and these tests go way above what the average consumer understands. I certainly don't understand them, but I read them and learn from them (including the reviews here), then I try to make and educated purchase. But, if I had to make a choice between making a decision based on a review here or one of the tech-head websites, I'd most likely make a decision based on the latter.

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I Try to Compare
by plcard / February 11, 2007 4:13 AM PST

I understand what you mean. Before we bought the TV, I looked through 5 sites and averaged out what I needed and not wanted. With people on a fixed income, it is necessary to do this. Consequently, C-Net actually was the final straw in which one to buy. It came up Sony and it just so happened that Best Buy had them on sale.

Something no one has mentioned and wasn't discussed in the comparisons I did, were the extras needed to make it work. We ended up with the cost of the TV and about $300 + of extras in wiring, new DVD, etc. Don't forget about them.

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tpv technologies ltd. of hong kong,, for instance, is...
by bklynrickel / February 11, 2007 7:36 AM PST

the second largest monitor maker in the world. they make the monitors and tvs for aoc and envision, but also for big guys like sony and philips-thomson. tpv makes good stuff, but another name goes on their products. kind of scary and interesting at the same time to know who really makes the set. envision is less expensive, and sony is not. same manufacturer.

then there are the monster cables that cost a small fortune, only to find out that sells necessary cables that do the job for el cheapo prices.

these are some examples of where the screws tighten for folks in the hdtv world.

as long as people enjoy their purchase, thats what always what is most important.

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Just some FYI!!!!!!
by jcrobso / February 12, 2007 12:09 AM PST

1. Almost all stations are now broadcasting OTA ATSC digital and have been doing for several years.
2. The Feb 2009 is the date when analog OTA broadcasting will stop.
3. If you can put up an antenna you can get the OTA HD broadcasts.
4. No one is going to have hundreds of of HD channels for a long time to come. Dish has about 30, is adding more, DirectTV has about 13 and is adding more, the rumor is about 30 more channels..
LCD should last 10~15 years, plasma 15~20. LCDs have cold cathode florescent lamps that last about 30~40 thousand hours.
DVDs will look better on a HDTV than an SD analog. john

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Good info.
by instantxkarma / February 13, 2007 3:56 PM PST
In reply to: Just some FYI!!!!!!

Just a correction... both LCDs and plasmas will last 10-20 years if treated right. They seem to have about the same life span.

And just a clarification for the other people reading, digital does NOT mean HD. It's a different type of signal, which makes a difference interference wise (an analog station will snow out. A digital station is either crystal clear or not there ate all) but not necessarily quality wise. The government is NOT mandating that all stations go HD. Common misperception.

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You Are Right
by plcard / February 13, 2007 10:38 PM PST
In reply to: Good info.

You are so right. We were led to think that the opposite was the case when we were shopping. I credited it to ignorance on the part of the salesman and stupidity on the part of ME!

The mandate is to be digital. What really ticks me off is we have a great TV sitting in a bedroom that had high quality digital reception along with the $10.95 a month digitizer from Cox.

What was stupid on our parts, was #1 we could not afford to purchase the blessed TV at that time or probably any time in the near future; #2 I should have made sure about what was available for HD before even making the purchase. I worked like crazy checking on the best we could buy for the money;#3 and most importantly, no more than we watch TV ... average of maybe 4 hours a day, we didn't need a new TV when the one we had was really good.

I guess the advertising about Cox HD, made it sound like everything was available in HD instead of the 17 channels, 4 of which we watch. The picture quality was amazing, I guess. There is an old saying that goes, "You don't' know you've missed something if you have never had it."

I just wish I had it all to do over again. After reading these 20 sum emails, I feel really .. well more stupid than I did before.

Anybody want to buy a really nice Sony wide/flat screen, seldom used HD ready TV! ... Sad

Thanks to you all for your input. I just wish to hell I had been here a year ago.


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