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Questions re Samsung TV selection (plasma, LCD, LED)

by CanuckChuck / November 13, 2011 6:38 AM PST

Hello:

My search for a general TV make-and-model discussion forum has, thus far, not proved successful (I use such a forum for camera and computer notebook research). Therefore I will post my inquiry here since I am hoping to make a purchase decision over the next 36 hours and my primary interest is in Samsung products. If anybody knows of a TV hardware discussion forum that would also be suitable for my inquiry, please feel free to bring it to my attention.

I am in the process of purchasing a new TV and, after research and discussions with local television sales people, have some questions.

Primary type of use:
- not a heavy television watcher (news, nature, maybe a couple shows in the evening)
- some, but not a lot, of sports (a couple tennis events a year and a lot of hockey during the Stanley Cup playoffs only)
- somewhat occasional movie watching
- no gaming
- some camera home-made video (nature, especially birds) for playback. Presumably will do any editing on a computer monitor.

At this point I appear to have things (tentatively) narrowed down to three choices (these are models I've seen in local showrooms):

1. Samsung PN43D450 (43", Plasma, 720p, 600Hz, $470)

2. Samsung LN40D630 (40", LCD, 1080p, 120Hz, $650)

3. Panasonic TCL42E30 (42", LED, 1080p, 120Hz, $630) This particular TV has been a demo at Futureshop (Canadian version of Best Buy if I understand correctly) and has been running 12 hours a day, 6.5 days a week, for perhaps 9 months or so (since first arriving at the store). Consequently, this model would probably involve taking out a 4-year store warranty at an additional cost of $170, making it effectively an $800 purchase (a little higher than I was hoping to pay).

A few others are close to the mix, including:

4a. Samsung LN40D551 (40", LCD, 1080p, 60Hz, $524)
4b. Samsung PN43D440 (43", Plasma, 720p, 600Hz, $460) I do not know the difference between this D440 and the D450 above. Only $10 difference in cost but this (D440) has a 2 year onsite warranty whereas the D450 above only has 1 year onsite warranty.
4c. Panasonic TC42PX34 (42", Plasma, 720p, $540)

5. Open to suggestions if I am missing something rather obvious.

Comments re above:

1. The difference in costs for above listed models is not a big issue if there is reasonable value to offset the differences (exception being that total cost of Panasonic #3 is higher than I hoped which might factor into final decision).

2. The Panasonic (#3) offers 1080p and 120Hz BUT I do not know how to factor in the fact it has been a long-term demo model.

3. I tend not to change televisions very often - probably will use what I purchase for several years (the only TV in the house).

4. For space reasons, 40 - 43" is as large as I can get (a little smaller might be even better but it appears there is not a big selection option between 32" and 40").

Some questions:

1. LCD vs LED - For somewhat normal use, how much better is the LED over LCD? Can an average user appreciate the differences?

2. 1080p vs 720p - I would probably be content to purchase the Samsung Plasma model above (strikes me as perhaps providing more realistic colour representation) except that it is 720p. (It also has less connectivity options - 2 HDMI and 1 USB, but I suspect that will not pose a problem for my type of use). What are the issues for average users with 720p in comparison with 1080p? Is the difference significant to an average user? Apparently TV channels are starting to transmit using 1080 - will this signal readily convert down to 720 without extensive degradation of image quality?

3. Which feature is generally recognized as more desirable: 1080p (over 720p) or 120Hz (over 60Hz)?

4. I currently use a Satellite input signal with a receiver that is approximately 10 years old. Will the receiver need to be updated for any form of HD reception (something I should have asked a local sales person but did not think to do so)?

5. Extended Warranty: In general, are extended warranties for televisions a good investment (I suspect there may not be a clear answer to this question)?

Comments welcome with respect to the primary choices listed above. For example, how much of a drawback is the Plasma with only 720p, what am I giving up with the Samsung having only LCD, and is the extra cost of $150 worth it for the Panasonic LED (with extended warranty to offset the long-term demo use of this particular machine)?

Thanks to any informed folks who went through everything above (I realize it is lengthy, but figured the additional details might assist in the appropriateness of advice I receive).

Regards,

Charles

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