I am far from a tech expert and read with interest your review of the Sony Bravia KDL-40W2000. I'm seriously considering purchasing this model, but how long can I expect this television to last?
Although £1,500 isn't a fantastically expensive amount to spend, I am certain it will be a fair while before I am able to afford this much to spend on a single item again.
Early flat-screen TVs, especially plasmas, were notorious for their limited lifespan. This has improved dramatically with the latest technology, however. You can rest assured that any new TV you buy now should last you until you decide to change it.
A screen's lifespan is measured as 'half life', which is the time it takes for the internal lamp to fade to half its original brightness. Your old CRT set has an average half life of around 25,000 hours, but the latest flat screens claim to last up to twice as long.
LCDs are said to have a slightly longer lifespan to plasmas, but the difference is not particularly significant. Plasma's half life ranges between 30,000 to 50,000 hours, while LCD offers around 60,000 hours.
In real terms, if you watch the TV for an average of 4-6 hours a day, then a screen with a half life of 30,000 hours will last you over 16 years -- by which time we'll probably all be watching holograms!
It's possible to change the lamp for both plasmas and LCDs, but not all manufacturers offer this service and the cost is usually greater than the expense of simply buying a new TV.
There are several technical problems that can afflict flat screens during their lifespan, including dead pixels, backlights and, in plasmas, screen burn -- where a lasting image leaves an imprint on the screen. But manufacturers don't usually offer repairs and it's best to find a screen with a good guarantee.
Equally important to extending the lifespan of a flat-screen TV is finding a model with a future-proof specification. This includes features such as integrated Freeview, high-definition compatibility and multiple HDMI connections.
Sony claims the model you mentioned, the KDL-40W2000, has a half life of around 60,000 hours -- more than enough in this day and age. The screen also features a future-proof specification and comes with a free three-year warranty from good suppliers.