Question

TV power consumption/longevity

So my dad's birthday is coming up and I figured it's about time my parents get a high def tv. They don't have a lot of money (hence still having an old standard def tv), so I don't want get them something that's going to have much/any impact on their power bill, especially since their tv is running almost non-stop (usually fall asleep with it still on).

Conventional knowledge is that an LCD or LED screen would be the best bet here, but when poking around I noticed several plasmas in my price range like the LG 42PA4500, Samsung PN43E450, and Panasonic TC-P42X5, all with energy guide stickers suggesting $14-$17 annual power usage - very competitive with similar-sized LCD/LEDs!

So my question is twofold. First, are those estimates realistic? Has there been some recent breakthrough in plasma technology that has drastically reduced its power consumption? Or are they using some parlor tricks like turning the default brightness way down and in reality it'll be substantially more? And second, given that the tv will probably be almost always on, are there concerns about longevity with plasma vs LCD/LED?

Thanks for your help!

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Answer
$14-17 per year?

I doubt that very much (too low). If you want to find out, take a look at their electric bill and do some calculating base on that. The panasonic uses about 0.350kwh of use/day if they watch 5 hours tv per day.

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Relative to LCD/LED sets, I mean

Oh, I know they're not getting away with $14-$17/year with how much tv they watch, regardless of which set they're using. Happy It was more just that it seemed to be too low *compared to LCD sets*. For example, the LG 42CS560 listed as $22/year, or the Sharp LC-42SV50U at $18/year, are both LCDs, yet their normalized energy guide cost is higher than the plasmas of the same size? Is that accurate? I thought plasma typically used twice as much power as LCD or more.

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It's *possible* for some models

I do see room for error though. YMMV.

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Answer
The recent plasmas *do* use less power

It's still higher than LED, but less than even models only 2-3 yrs older. So you can safely cut down a great portion of what CNET has in their charts here:

http://reviews.cnet.com/green-tech/tv-consumption-chart/

$30-50 per year would be more realistic for newer models. Broken down per month, that's certainly not going to break the bank of someone on a fixed income. For this reason you could certainly focus on getting them a plasma that would look more like what they have become accustomed to on a CRT for so many years.

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Mostly shenanigans, apparently

Right, so while plasmas are using *less* power these days, it does look like the very low figures quoted by the energy guide stickers are often misleading (and I have no reason to believe these are an exception). From CNET's own Panasonic TC-P50U50 review:

"As usual its Standard picture mode is vanishingly dim, which accounts for the relatively low default power usage. That low default power use is also the reason this TV qualifies for Energy Star 5.3..."

And indeed the 125W default power usage is pretty close to what its energy guide suggests, but once calibrated it jumps to over 200W.

That said, it doesn't look like the LCDs in the price range (~$400ish) are really that much better, and quality-brand LEDs of this size are at least $100 extra. So I'll probably just go with the Samsung plasma anyway. Thanks everyone for your input!

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Are you shopping by price, or picture quality?

Since you seemed to have ruled out the energy usage as a factor, which of the other two are you focused on? Just curious how you necessarily ended up with the Sammy over the Panny.

cheers

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Warranty

I can get them for the same price, and I doubt my 68 year old father on an old tube tv would even notice the difference in picture quality. Mainly I'm just going by the fact that if it breaks, Samsung will fix it on site, whereas according to the owner's manual Panasonic only does carry in service unless the TV is 46" or larger. I'm mildly paranoid since my own LG 42LV4400 has needed service twice so far in the 9 months I've owned it. Sad

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If service is an issue...

...then definitely go with the brand that would go the extra mile you might require.

OTOH, you might inquire whether or not the e-tailer or retailer offers a similar, in-home, repair option if needed. YMMV. Might be a nominal extra fee.

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A vote for Panasonic?

Are you of the opinion the Panasonic is worth the extra inquiry/cost? I haven't found any expert reviews on either, and as far as I can tell from specs and user reviews it seems like a wash in terms of features and picture quality.

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Probably not so much on the lower end models

But YMMV.

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