Is it worth repairing an older HD TV?

Recently I inherited a Sony KDS-55A2020 rear-projection television. I believe these were also referred to as the SXRD or Grand WEGA models. Unfortunately, as is often the case with these TVs I've learned, it seems the light engine/optical block is starting to go on it.

I've looked into getting it repaired, and found a highly reviewed repair service in my area that could do the job for $525 plus tax. But I also know that I could just buy a new flat screen of the same size, or even a little bigger, for only a couple hundred more than that. Of course, the repair guy is talking down flat screen models that sell for that rate, but I'm obviously taking that with a grain of salt since he wants the work. Still though, he's suggesting the models I could get for that price aren't going to last, and he's also criticized the sound compared to the model I have. He's basically suggesting that if I replace it, I should go closer to top-of-the-line, which I'm thinking is going to cost me somewhere around another grand over the repair cost.

I guess what I'm wondering is, what are people's opinions on this? Is the picture, sound, and longevity of flat screen models that cost <$800/$900 really that poor, compared to what I have that could be repaired? Also, some other factors I have to consider: I know the optical block on this set has been replaced once already in it's life; The repair guy can't replace it as Sony doesn't make the part, but instead he'd be sending my light engine out to be rebuilt/fixed; and finally, one argument he did make is that the screen on a rear projection model is a lot more forgiving to occasionally being banged/knocked into. This is a consideration for me as I have a toddler who likes to throw things.

I'm not much of an expert when it comes to this sort of stuff, so any advice is appreciated!

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Clarification Request
Skip the TCL

It may be inexpensive but it doesn't have very good PQ.

If you have any ability to hover around a higher price point for a 55", the KS8000 seems to be a good all around HDTV. Their 50" version is an even better value for those not needing the larger size. Look at Amazon.

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I wouldn't.
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You clearly don't have kids

It's a pretty normal thing with a household that has small children. (See OP's reference in last sentence.)

I finally bit the bullet and moved the older TV to a space where my kids could do such damage away from the newer gear(!) Wink


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Sorry but we had two.

And never any trouble as to damage to TVs, etc. The biggest damage was to cars. Milkshakes, pop, etc.

Finally invested in a rug and upholstery cleaning unit.

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Was that before large HDTVs were the norm?

It's quite common now to see a large HDTV in a common area be affected in some way by rugrats nearby. I can't count on fingers and toes the numbers of 'upgrades' <ahem> I have performed for clients as such <vbg>.

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There were about 10 when the big LCD showed up.
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Everything's a play area.....

Unfortunately to a 2 year old, nothing isn't a "play" area. Granted most of his toys and things are in our basement, but the family room where the main TV resides is pretty much the only "common" space on the ground floor of the house, so I know he's going to throw one of his plush balls or toys now and again when I'm not looking. Not that I think he'd aim for the TV or anything, but still, he has the aim of a 2-year-old, and if that's all it takes to damage a newer flat screen, I may be in for issues. Not to mention, the way the room is, there's really no way to wall mount it (unless I want to get rid of my wall unit, which I'd rather not), so the TV is going to be sitting on top of a shelf that he could reach. I don't think he'd ever damage it on purpose (he likes Curious George way too much to ever intentionally damage a television), but 2-year-olds trip and fall and have accidents, etc. If I do go the replacement route, I may seriously consider one of those screen protectors.....

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I have to nod to the screen protection.

While the only broken screens I've run into personally were from TIPPING OVER!!! That could have been avoided with the usual anti tip strap.

PLEASE READ THIS POST. There is more danger from tip over than from that impacts to the screens. I don't want to cause an argument here but it's a big safety issue that a lot of folk don't think about.

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Yes, that was a thought too

Thanks, yeah, we had thought about that too, that the flat screen could be tipped over. It will be sitting on top of a wall unit, so if we go that route, we were thinking of figuring out a way to bolt it in to the unit so it would be safe.

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Thanks for writing that.

Nice to read where folk think. I think you'll make your own good luck in either case.

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My advice

Secure the HDTV ASAP. And if any kids are over using toy guns, make certain the bullets are the nerf-type and somewhat soft for impact Wink


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Repair cost judgement

In most cases if the cost is 50% of the cost, forget about repair. Alas, as this is already a gift to you, you know why it was given. While a decent TV is worth saving it up to your wallet to do that and consider the continuing service on an old TV as well. Typically, most people walk away from such costs.

That chuck of money certainly will be better spend on new TV even if you need to spend more. You get a new TV, all the latest do-dads and warranty to boot. You could even allow them to take the old TV to be recycled to be rid of it.

As a further note, I have found many older TV or all types being offered on Craigslist as "free" just come and get them. Many even suggest they're in good working order. However, most may need repair too. In other words users are getting rid of them for that new fancy "flat screen TV". The choice is yours.

tada -----Willy Happy

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almost never. The technolgy improvements since the older model was produced are almost always overwhelming, everything from HD to Wireless built in to smart TV at less than half the cost. Oh yes, the color is even better.

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No. Don't throw good money after bad

For $500 you can buy a new 55" 4K set. And not an off brand, an LG. (If you don't like that brand, you should be able to get one you like better for another $100 or $200 more.) Admittedly it's last year's model; if you want the new one with HDR it will cost a bit more. That will give you a better picture than your old projection HDTV and it will have a warranty.

Those self-contained projection TVs are a technological dead end. Flat panels have won. The flat panel gives you a brighter and sharper picture and no optical distortion, unlike the projector where the corners of the image are dimmer and not completely straight.

Or add a bit of money and go bigger. For $800 you could step up to the 65" version.

Separate front projectors that are not integrated with a screen still have a place in a home theater setup where you want a really large display. Flat panels larger than 65" are very expensive and sets larger than 85" are pretty much obtainable, though some have been made primarily for use as trade show technology demonstrations.

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Do it yourself.

I have the 60" version KDS60-2020. Bought it new black fri 2006...for$2000! LCD's were cartoon like a nd a joke, Plasma's were $6000, DLP was close but the color wheel artifacts ruined it. The SXRD PQ was the best at that price. Very cinema like, film like, Plasma like. It still is a beautiful picture by any standards. The real downside was the size 20" deep no wall mount. Tapered to fit nicely in a corner it's perfect in a big rec room or family room.
Now the optical block issue- i went thru 3. 2 warranty, ast one I did myself. Not so bad If you can change a mother board or r/r a water pump you can do the optical block. Service manual and videos on line. Send to John in CT. He sends it back in a few weeks rebuilt and aligned for $300. That is worth it. Mine is still perfect 4 yrs later.
OBTW SONY made a strap that secured it to the stand.
Good luck!

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Sadly, I thnk not.

As some here know, I hate throwing away anyting that cam be repaired economically but in this case, I think it's time to call it a day and move on.

I know a fellow member has given you a guide price when new but the estimated repair cost is still within the bounds I would call uneconomic. You'll still have an older TV, can you be sure that it will have the same quality as when it was new? And even if it is, how does that compare with a modern UHD 4K model or even a full HD? That, of course is a personal choice.

I'd be inclined to take a trip to a local TV store and spend some time really looking at the new models, the picture and sound quality, the features that they have that you don't (would you use/want them?) and not least, the warranty on the new model. Make a short list, then check up any reviews you can find on the web. Essentially do your research and then debate the merits of all the alternatives with your partner.

Your choice; I'd go new, y.m.m.v.

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Simple answer

Buy the flat screen. Projector TVs just don't make it anymore. Recycle the old one.

As long as you stay away from "refurbished" sets, even the cheapest flatscreen will be superior, both in terms of quality of picture and reliability (and durability under assault from child commandos).

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Repairing of flat and smart TV's, Today

A little back round. I started TV and Electronics repair in 1960 at age 12, I work for Ober-lee TV and Holton TV, before going in 1976, to start working for for Suburban Electronics in Hilliard, Ohio, suburb of Columbus. I bought the company out in 1993 and closed it in 2012, flat TVs had become to costly to repair.
I have tried to repair smart and regular flat TVs, out of my house since 2012, but most would cost as much or more then you can buy today, because in many cases you have to replace whole boards.
When you buy a new Flat screen TV you get full warranty. I usually wouldn't recommended a extended warranty, but if you get one for 5 years that replaces the TV, instead of repairing it for under a $100.00 or so it may be worth it.
I now repair computers and update and do complete re installs, I started in computers in 1983, along with TV and electronic repair....
The Computer Hobbyist

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Go for the new

Buy the new TV, get rid of the kid!!

OK, just kidding about the kid part. I love my kids, would not trade them for anything.
I have been an electronics repair tech since 1974 so it might be said I have a little experience on the subject and even currently do warranty repairs for many of the major manufacturers of today's electronic devices.
As far as the TV, go with the newer TV and get the longest warranty you can when you purchase it with a reasonable cost. One service call during the warranty period usually gets you most if not more than your money back. The new vs old TV is going to last longer than the old one which may have another thing go out and you have no warranty on the other parts that may fail after you fix the old one. That is someplace where you have no control. In addition the old one very likely has fewer or different inputs that may limit future add-ons. Another thing about picture quality, read all the reviews you want but when it comes to the final decision don't rely on anything but your own eyes. Everybody sees things a little differently and what looks good to you may not look so good to someone else or vice versa. So at least view something similar from the same manufacturer if not the exact item. You and your household members are the only ones who have to watch it for the long term. When it comes to sound, you can always add on sound options of your choice that can be transferred to a newer TV as you upgrade or not. I have been down both those roads you mention and the newer choice is usually the best unless the repair is pretty minor. Remember I don't have to pay labor costs when I do my own repairs so that is not even a consideration on my part. More often the cost of even a minor part on a current device can exceed the value of the device. Not necessarily fair or reasonable but that's the way it is. Not to mention the part availability. I don't condone the idea of our throwaway society but if economics is the point then it's smarter to replace. As for me probably 95% of all that I use gets recycled. I disassemble old items and separate them into different categories of recyclable uses and do my part for preserving the environment so please do recycle that old TV in one way or another. Good luck in whatever decision you make and do update this site as to your decision and possibly why you chose that path.

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