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How Long Does A HDTV Function Before Requiring Repair?

by tvviewer46 / January 9, 2008 7:06 AM PST

I talked with my local repair shop today about which HDTV has a better record for service before requiring repair. The response was not encouraging.

Apparently plasma and LCD televisions possess the greatest potential for failure on many levels. Rear projection HDTVs don't have as much. Any way you look at it, there's danger in investing thousands of dollars in hi-definition television at this time. My source not only encouraged buying the extended warranty, but wouldn't repair the unit without it. At this time, my source said, the cost for the parts themselves can be as high as the original cost of the television.

CNET writes countless reviews about HDTVs coming on the market. I don't see any follow up articles about the television's track record in the field after one or two years pass. This is information consumers would really like to know.

So,how about it CNET? Can one of your reporters do some leg work and report back which HDTVs have a better record for service after many months in operation over others? All of us who are entertaining buying an HDTV would like to know.

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by givemeaname / January 9, 2008 7:41 AM PST

CR did a report & DPL is the worst of all, then I think 2nd was LCD (?).

Well, the is realy know way to tell what is better LCD, Plasma or RP. Why? for LCD & Plasma you have 'lots' of those cheaply made off brands out there with High failure rate vs Brand name LCD/Plasma tv's with good reliability (not saying 100%). So it is more 'What brand is more reliabe?' then LCD vs Plasma vs RP. For RPtv, NO off brand tv companys' make them, so we (I have a RPtv) have a better reliability.

I did get an extended Warranty, this is my 1st RPtv & it was just $150 for 5 more years.

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Absolutely correct!
by Dan Filice / January 9, 2008 8:09 AM PST
In reply to: .....

You're right on,'s more of "What Brand" rather than the mechanics. A lot of El Cheapo brands hurt the repair records for different types of TVs. And although many people do not support the idea of buying an extended warranty, I do. The technology is still somewhat new, and I for one don't want my big investment made in vain.

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Panasonic has the best 2007 repair record for Plasma and LCD
by LAS415 / January 9, 2008 9:18 AM PST

Consumer Reports just put out the results of it's survey of 75k respondents for TV's that are considered to be the most reliable with the fewest repairs. For Plasma's the most to least reliable are in this order, Panasonic being the most and Philips being the least.

For LCD's, again Panasonic is the most reliable and Dell is the least. Here's the order for LCD's

Hope that helps.

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Could you link to that study, givemeaname?
by lilsim89 / January 9, 2008 5:23 PM PST

HDTVs generally last as long CRT televisions, but that depends on the brand you buy, and the technology. Coming from the general consensus, of the three major HDTV technologies, DLP sets last the longest (aside from the lamp replacement), then LCDs, then plasmas at a far third.

Due to the inherent nature of LCDs, the organic materials inside of the the display begin to break down and finally make viewing the picture unbearable.

Plasmas have always been the most unreliable for many reasons. It's made of glass, it burns phosphors, etc.

DLP on the other hand uses a microchip developed by Texas Instruments with tiny mirrors that spin to create the picture. No glass, and no organic material.

DLPs last about 75,000 hours compared to LCD's 60,000 hours, and Plasma varies greatly between 20,000 - 60,000 hours (mostly 40,000).

Hope this helps,


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I think that your trust...
by stuntman_mike / January 10, 2008 3:51 AM PST

is misguided lilsim89.

I have seen you post before and I understand that you are a DLP owner. But I would be careful about thinking that DLP is as rock solid as you make it out to be.

I will be up front and say that I don't care for DLPs and will admit that I probably have a bias towards them no matter how impartial I try to be. But you can not tell me that a TV technology with moving parts in it is something that is conducive to low maintenance. The emergence of faster spinning color wheels is responsible for basically eliminating the rainbow effect. That is great. But forget about it breaking, what happens when the color wheel just slows down from a tad from wear and tear? My guess would be the rainbow effect would be in full force again.

LCDs do have organic materials that degrade over time. But we are talking 20yrs time. I know several people that have the same LCD monitors for their computers since 2000. They look the same now as they did then. Which is to say crappy by today's standards lol. But that can't be helped.

You are also right about plasmas being boasted to 60,000hr spans. But those are not life spans. They are supposed to go 60,000hrs until they dim to half brightness. I supposed to because who really knows. I don't know anyone that has had a plasma for over 20yrs, so we will just have to see.

Maybe you were referring to the life span of microdisplay's light engines when you said 75,000hrs which is probably true. But their are other things that can go wrong with the set besides the light engine. Even more so when you add moving parts to the mix.

Not trying to start a flame war, or TV war as it were. I am just disagreeing with the validity of your claim and giving my reasons for why I question you saying that the "general consensus" (why wasn't I consulted? lol) is that DLPs last the longest, then LCD, then plasma a distant third. Again, you might very well be right when it comes to just the light engine, but I believe that the author of this threads intention was to get an idea of which technology will give him the least problems from a lifespan as well as maintenance standpoint. Taking that into account, I think that your statement is very misleading.

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No flames here.
by lilsim89 / January 10, 2008 5:52 PM PST

A DLP owner I am, stuntman, but foolish I'm not. Your point about moving parts in a television is noted, but not understood.

The 'light engine' or better termed 'processor', in a DLP set is the microchip developed by TI, like I stated earlier. Not to sound like an advertisement, but the mirrors in the processor are engineered to the same degree any microchip is. I've truly never heard of the microchip in DLP being a problem (not to say that it doesn't exist). When's the last time you heard of the CPU in a computer going bad (other than overheating). I could continue, but I think we both agree that this isn't the point-in-question.

The color wheel in DLP set is actually a very simple concept that makes for an integral part of the TV (remember black and white). However simple, it moves, and therefore prone to breaking someday (like you stated), but that most likely isn't soon, nor is it expensive. A hundred dollars and a spare hour could fix this problem that most likely won't ever happen twice, if ever once.

I think we both agree plasma and reliability are two words that aren't so familiar with each other yet. Better? Yes. Best, heck no. Half-brightness doesn't cut it here.

Lastly, when I said consensus, I must of been mistaken. I meant consensus. From what I've read, DLP is the most reliable technology. I do not, and never intend to sell television sets, and would never inform a consumer of advice that I didn't wholeheartedly believe.

Here are some of the sources from which I derived my conclusion:

Note that in the last source, DLPs are said to be one of the most reliable sets on the market, opposite your opinion. "Zero hassle, minimal maintenance" is used to describe DLPs in the third source, also. The third source also states reliability to be about 100,000 hours, much higher than my modest value.

I'm not saying any source is perfect, nor does anyone agree. But the reliability of DLP set is something I've yet to see questioned- it's more like... praised.

Simon S.

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Not to belabor the point...
by stuntman_mike / January 11, 2008 4:29 AM PST
In reply to: No flames here.

I don't have anything against you lilsim and I don't want to give the impression that I'm arguing with you, but those links hardly prove anything to me about DLPs reliability. The last link that you referred to as saying that DLPs are one of the most reliable was to a site that was touting the benefits of LED DLPs, which we are not talking about here (LED DLPs have no color wheel) and another was obviously on another planet when saying things like DLP is vastly superior to LCDs in many ways and went on to talk about many aspects of PQ. Now I am not saying that LCD is the end all and be all of TV technologies, they all have their own strengths and weaknesses, but let's be real. I frequent many sites that review tech besides this one. If DLP is so vastly superior to LCD, where are all, forget all, any DLPs that have won Editor's choice awards (and I don't mean over a year ago) or scored higher than the top LCDs out there. Right there, that site has red flags.

And no I don't agree that plasmas and reliability are two words that don't go together yet, nor am I saying that they are. What I am saying is this, for what ever reason there is a lot of disinformation on plasma TVs. I have encountered this and I am sure that most people on this site have, where you go to a store looking at a plasma and the salesperson basically tells you that you can get typhoid from one and steers you to an LCD. Or, when you speak someone, a friend or a blogger or whoever, about buying a plasma and they tell you that plasmas are garbage. They last only a year and then you have to take them to the gas station to fill them up. If you use them above sea level they explode. Or what ever other crazy wives' tale they heard and ran with it and embellished it even more. My point is, how much of the problems that we hear about PDP's is actual? I don't know. The fact that every expert that I know has a Pioneer as the top rated TV period, and most people in the film industry stand behind it, makes me wonder though. Obviously reviewers are not concerned with the maintenance aspect (or at least I would guess not much so), so I know that that in and of itself means little, but I have to at least consider that as much as anything else.

Also, even though plasma is a very old tech, it is new in the sense of it being a mass consumer entity. Any commentary that I have on plasmas reliability extends only to the more recent iterations.

I don't have any links to go to that say that DLPs break down all the time. If I did, it would most likely be a small sampling, or have some kind of bias anyway. Going by customer reviews or issue postings is also not a good measure either. Most people that create threads have a problem with something. Very few people will create a thread to talk about how great their product is so I fully expect to see issues on a blog. Counting how many posts of issues of a given technology also proves little. Maybe there are more owners of a given tech than another.

To make an extremely long story somewhat shorter (or longer lol) I never said that DLPs are definitely more a hassle than LCD or plasma. All I am saying is that I am skeptical about a claim that a TV with moving parts would not require, on average, more maintenance than one that doesn't. All TV tech could have problems, but the moving parts is an added problem that only DLP has. Whether a color wheel breaking or slowing down could be easily fixed or replaced is not the point. It would still mean that it needs maintenance. And the whole point of the author's thread is what TV tech requires the least maintenance, not which one will slowly biodegrade over many years time while sitting idle.

If I sound condescending, I don't mean to be. As I said I have nothing against you and welcome discussions with you or anyone else. Talking tech is something I love to do. As I said I openly admit not being a big fan of DLP. Not that I don't think that some models have excellent PQ, and great black levels. I just don't think that in my opinion (and many experts opinions as evidenced by their scores) that they are on the very best that's out there. It also irks me for some reason that they refer to their sets as 1080p when they really are not (all DLPs are actually 960x1080 resolution, the horizontal lines are doubled through a process known as wobulation, sorry it's true, but hey if it works it works I guess) and the fact they have... ahem... moving parts in them, well let's just say that I am less than enthused.

But I do welcome your comments no matter how misguided they may be. That was a joke. It is Friday afterall Happy

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Stuntman, what are we without labor?
by lilsim89 / January 11, 2008 7:16 AM PST

You would have to say much more belittling things to spark a fire here, stuntman. The reassurances of your peace offerings are unnecessary, but I see where you are coming from. Some people have never learned to control their temper from behind a computer monitor.

It's funny that you say we aren't arguing; because that's exactly what we're doing. I think DLP is among the most reliable TV technologies, and you disagree. We are, peacefully I might add, offering our evidence as to why we feel that way... Arguing and nothing less.

I'm not too surprised that you chose to argue whether plasmas reliability is on par with the rest of the gang, but I think staying neutral makes no sense if you plan on arguing whether its competing technology is more reliable than it is.

Like I previously stated, I don't believe in one-source conclusions, nor do I believe any source to be completely accurate. But from my standpoint, from the quite-a-few sources I have read, DLPs last longer than their counterparts.

DLP sets are claimed to have no permanently degrading components over time. Change your lamp and Voila! just like new. If it take 20 years for a LCD to become completely unbearable, there must be some form of degradation visible at 15 years, or maybe 10 years. I think it's that argument that gives a DLP set the edge when it comes to its total cost of ownership.

I must admit that I didn't notice the article was speaking solely about LED DLPs, though it's unfair that you eliminated them from the argument, it is DLP still, isn't it? It's hardly an 'emerging' technology. They've been being sold for more than several months at not much higher of a premium over color-wheel based counterparts:

It's understandable that you wanted to eliminate the contender of your main argument, the LED engine as compared to the color wheel. The LED sets are not mainstream, yet, sure. But it's available, and it's DLP.

And by "slowing", no. If I correctly understand how the color wheel works, it's evident that the DLP chip has to know exactly when a color at the color wheel makes it bout at the lamp to correctly display the color on the screen. If the wheel slows, the chip slows. And I can see you arguing that if the color wheel can slow the whole set down.... Remember that if the WHOLE set slowed down by 300%, it would still be many times faster than an LCD at reproducing an image(by my estimate, of course).

I must be on my way now, but I'm sure we'll
continue our argument later, lol.



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repair problems ha ha ha
by stewart norrie / January 10, 2008 4:35 AM PST

For you youngens out there. First you are so spoiled. you want things to last forever . When I think about the old tube t.vs it was replace tubes every 3 months, there were tube testers in almost every store then you had to tare apart the t.v. every year to clean the contacts in the tuner hi-voltage problems meltdown time. + You had to almost be a t.v. technission just to own a t.v. set Yes I own an old d.l.p. 72" monster I could care less about replacing a lamp every 3 years or so Ya I know d.l.p[ is a dead item but this old set looks just as good as anything oput there today. spolied spoiled ha ha stewee

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you're right stew...
by woodygg / January 10, 2008 4:59 AM PST

some of these posts are getting a bit silly. the technology is fairly solid, and you generally won't have any issues for many years, and at that point, you're going to (I am anyway) want the newer, better and cheaper set anyway. Just buy the damn thing and don't worry over every little issue... generaly, if an electronic product is going to break, it's going to break very quickly, while it's under warranty. that is the nature of electronics. i never buy extended warranties because i know first hand about these issues as i worked for an electronic manufacturer and was responible for costing, pricing and managing the warranty reserves.

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by Riverledge / January 10, 2008 3:58 PM PST


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by batman823 / January 10, 2008 11:07 PM PST

Whoever you spoke to simply wanted to sell you the $300 extended warranty. They are actually required to repair the tv if you are not refused as a customer.

In reality, rear projection TVs are more reliable, but have bigger, more expensive problems. The bulbs are expensive and the screen face is more dilicate. They also have much bigger power supplies. When they burn out, they can catch on fire. My neighbor's and grandparents', for example.

LCDs and Plasmas are much more reliable and there is no $500 bulb to replace each year or two. If they do break, they are generally cheaper to fix. I still recommend buying at least a 2 year warranty. Most people will keep the tv at least that long and you don't want to blow $2k if something happens at the 367 day mark.

As far as the TVs themselves go, it depends on the brand. Some just plain suck and will break on you in less that 18months. Many don't even last that long. But some brands are being praised as not having a single problem.
But each person will give you a different opinion concerning which brand to buy. So just remember you get what you pay for.

Don't just trust people's word on experience with the only HDTV they've owned, and definitely don't trust the retailer, they're just trying to get more money from you.

Review some consumer reports and find out what brands get good reviews and budget at least an extra year's warantee in to the cost. Marshall's law, right? If you don't get the warantee, it'll blow the day after the manufacturer's standard warantee runs out.

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On The Front Lines
by tvviewer46 / January 11, 2008 12:54 AM PST
In reply to: retailers

The source I asked about the maintenance track record for hdtvs repairs them...period. From our conversation, he did inform me that fewer rear projection sets had been serviced in his shop than plasmas and lcds. They all have the potential for failure and the components can cost as much as the original set. He said he won't service a set that does not have an extended warranty. People have walked away from the television when confronted with the estimate to repair it. This is why I seek as much information as I can gather before making the investment.

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that's a good call
by batman823 / January 11, 2008 1:21 AM PST
In reply to: On The Front Lines

You are being smart in doing your homework. Just make sure you are comfortable with your desicion before you buy. After that, it's too late.

I've just shared my experience with you. My best guess is that more people buy LCD and plasma TVs and that would lead to a larger number of them being repaired. But they are also more delicate. Just in my experience, I've seen lots of bulbs replaced in projectors and nothing wrong with any of the LCD or Plasmas. I've read about some cheaper brands having problems and being returned, but never actually seen it. i.e. "my friend's cousin's sister's friend's tv broke, so don't buy (insert brand name)" and the like.

My advice would be to get a LCD, or plasma if you have some good reason. If you get the warranty, which is a smart move anyway, you won't ever have to pay for a repair. Bulbs can also be very, very expensive. And power supply failures can be just as expensive, not to mention fire is bad. I've never seen a power supply blow up in anything but a projector but two in projectors alone, one resulting in a fire that totaled the TV. The warranty won't cover burnt out bulbs in most cases. You would have to prove that the bulb was faulty, and even then many plans won't cover the bulb at all.

My reasoning seems clear and sound to me, but take it for what it's worth. Get other opinions and weigh them as you see fit. I don't like DLPs for quite a few reasons, but some other people love them.

Best of luck to you.

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Service records...
by rippest / January 11, 2008 6:27 AM PST

My brother has a Hitachi DLP model he has owned it for approximately two years and has gone through 3 bulbs at $350 a pop. His wife is doing battle with the Hitachi warranty people who don't want to admit there is a problem.

There is a good lesson there. Not that all DLPs are crap, but that not all manufacturers are equal. Pioneer has a great line of TVs that are rated very highly by this website. But I understand their customer service department sucks.

That being said not all extended warranty plans are equal either. My Sony 36" tube TV died recently and it went to the dump after the repair estimates were more than a new TV.

I'm hoping 2008 will bring new reliabilty to all types of TVs.

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by stewart norrie / January 11, 2008 7:54 AM PST
In reply to: Service records...

I like to go back in time and compare then and now sorry I guess my 70 years old is getting to you folks a little SORRY. As far as t.v.s , cars etc. we expect them to run forever and never need repair thats awsome But when I think back to lets say the roaring 50s Your wounderful cars and t.v. were always breaking every Saturday I would see all the neighbors working on there cars there was a t.v. repair on every corner. BUT there was something about knowing about and repairing stuff there was a CONNECTION TO ALL OUR STUFF we felt so proud that we were able to keep things working properly ewmember we actually had a name for our cars and often would talk to them please baby make it home for meIt seems to me that we own so many toys but we dont have the foggyest idea how they work we just throw them away I think that is so sad In closing hi-def is know mainstream what every you buy the picture will be beyond belief I would say dont worry about the t.v blow all your money on speakers you should spend more money on speakers than the darn t.v. ya all have a nice day sstewee

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DLP Owner Testimonial
by drzarkov / January 12, 2008 12:28 AM PST
In reply to: Service records...

I read through most of these postings under HDTVs and have to say something in defense of DLPs - at least Samsung's. I've owned one (manufactured in March of '04) for almost 4 years and have had zero problems. At 30 inches, my set is certainly no match to today's monsters, but my DynaFLAT 1080i model has been a trooper. The picture is still bright and has great contrast, although I have recently noticed a slight degrade in overall picture uniformity.

I've been exploring the purchase of a newer, larger set and am a firm believer in customer reviews. There's nothing like reports from product owners to get an accurate view of quality and repair issues. Of course, you take your chances with any new model of any product. I feel that warranty/repair contracts are usually a good idea on anything electronic that costs over $1,000. You know you'll get socked if anything goes wrong, and as some of the posts note, many repair sources won't touch them if you don't have a contract. And, if you're lucky enough to catch an item discounted, spending the savings on a contract is not a bad idea. It make a lot more sense than having to dump a $2,000 TV after two or three years.

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DLP Owner Testimonial
by drzarkov / January 12, 2008 11:15 PM PST
In reply to: Service records...

I read through most of these postings under HDTVs and have to say something in defense of DLPs - at least Samsung's. I've owned one (manufactured in March of '04) for almost 4 years and have had zero problems. At 30 inches, my set is certainly no match to today's monsters, but my DynaFLAT 1080i model has been a trooper. The picture is still bright and has great contrast, although I have recently noticed a slight degrade in overall picture uniformity.

I've been exploring the purchase of a newer, larger set and am a firm believer in customer reviews. There's nothing like reports from product owners to get an accurate view of quality and repair issues. Of course, you take your chances with any new model of any product. I feel that warranty/repair contracts are usually a good idea on anything electronic that costs over $1,000. You know you'll get socked if anything goes wrong, and as some of the posts note, many repair sources won't touch them if you don't have a contract. And, if you're lucky enough to catch an item discounted, spending the savings on a contract is not a bad idea. It make a lot more sense than having to dump a $2,000 TV after two or three years.

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To refer to practical standards instead of perhaps urban
by NM_Bill / January 13, 2008 12:39 AM PST
In reply to: Service records...

legend horror stories, my DLP lamp is 4 years & still in the running. Yes, I can tell the loss of brightness & may think about a replacment & mine is $180, not any $350 or so.

Then, as another point to reinforce, well, not intending to blamse anyhbody, but perhaps more research may have led to decision to get a brand other than Hitachi? You want good likelihood of satisfaction, then select from the most highly rated products & they sure aren't from off brand makers.

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5-year-old Panasonic Plasma Works Fine, but...
by phrelin / January 12, 2008 4:32 AM PST

We need a reality check here. Are there many of you surfing the web in a Windows98-based computer?

My 5-year-old Panasonic Plasma works fine and has never had a problem, but it didn't come with an HDMI plug. They didn't exist then. A 10-year-old HDTV isn't likely to be used in most homes because the technology changes. At some point, I'm going to want to replace that TV because its technology is outdated.

And that replacement will be a Panasonic.

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And I've had my Toshiba RPTV 4 years, no issue
by Dan Filice / January 13, 2008 12:51 AM PST

My old 50" Toshiba CRT RPTV has been rock solid for 4 years with no issues. It still has a bright, beautiful picture. I finally bought a new Sony to replace it, and I am moving the Toshiba to the bedroom. TVs are like cars: Once in awhile you get one that is a lemon. In general though, the low-priced, no-name TVs are problems. Someone here has posted a list of TVs comparing problems, and the big name TVs seem to have less trouble.

Now....what to do with my Toshiba. Ebay? Craig's List? Goodwill?

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