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Help me buy a new TV, and a gaming system to go with it

ChopperDaveChopperDave Registered User regular
edited August 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I just moved to Boston for grad school and am living, for the first time, in an apartment that isn't full of furniture belonging to my roommates. Progress!

Anyway, I have some savings accrued and there's a sales tax holiday this weekend in Massachusetts so I figured what the hell, it's high time I get a legit TV.

I've read the tech forum topic on this and have browsed online a bit, so I'm not totally illiterate on the subject. But I do have some questions:

1) What are some good models/brands to look out for in general? I'm looking for something nice, big (50"+?), and HD, probably plasma. I'm willing to drop some dough to get a good mid-range model, though I would of course appreciate good deals and lower prices. Don't really care about 3D.

2) What are some good stores to shop in? I'm looking for some brick and mortar in Massachusetts to take advantage of the tax holiday preferably, but I'll happily order online too if it saves more money.

Another related question: I already have a Wii, but my girlfriend and I are thinking we should get an xbox360 or PS3 for its entertainment capabilities. Basically, we're looking for a good device for playing HD Netflix, hulu+, YouTube, DVDs, downloaded videos, etc. (I'm also interested in the games of course, but amusingly enough that's actually a secondary concern here.)

What are the pros and cons of an xbox360 vs a PS3, at least as far as non-gaming entertainment is concerned? Is one clearly better than the other in this regard? Or is neither superior, meaning I should get the system whose games interest me the most?

3DS code: 3007-8077-4055
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    For the console, go with the one that has the games you want. The 360 has a much nicer online interface, but the PS3 has Blu-Ray. So there's that.

    There've been quite a few TV threads lately in H/A. I'd poke around in them. Here's one that we just had.

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/146362/new-tv-search#Item_9

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    IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I personally think that the PS3 is a better media hub than an 360, the main reason being it plays so much nicer with external hard drives. The 360 also sounds like a jet engine compared to the PS3, which can take you right out of a movie if your tv cant over power it.

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Iruka wrote:
    I personally think that the PS3 is a better media hub than an 360, the main reason being it plays so much nicer with external hard drives. The 360 also sounds like a jet engine compared to the PS3, which can take you right out of a movie if your tv cant over power it.

    I can attest that the PS3 is whisper quiet when playing movies.

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    Cannon GooseCannon Goose I need some GAGS! If only I had my gag book!Registered User regular
    If you're looking for a plasma TV then you should stick to either Panasonic or Samsung, they make the best ones currently. As for which console it really depends on what you want as far as games go, but as a streaming media player the PS3 is very nice when used in conjunction with programs like PS3 Media Server. Unfortunately I don't know much about Netflix or Hulu as I can't use them in my country, but I'm sure someone else will know which has the nicer interface, etc.

    Since the 360's latest hardware revision you can't really go wrong with either as far as fan noise goes. Both the 360 Slim and the PS3 Slim are very quiet.

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    EclecticGrooveEclecticGroove Registered User regular
    Like the above poster said, the ps3 and the new slim 360's will both be quiet.
    So just go with the games you like unless there's some feature you're just dying to have on one. You can use programs like tversity to stream just about anything to either, so it really doesn't matter quite as much. Both do netflix, and some TV's will have netflix built in as well.

    Aside from that you're looking at panasonic and samsung sets. I personally went for a panny plasma. The power use on it isn't a big deal for me, but it may be something you are concerned with.
    As for stores, all depends on area.
    You can either do some research on a few models you are interested in and then go to look at them in person, or go find any close to you that have them on display to give you a good idea, then shop around for prices for those models that you picked out.
    One of your local stores may or may not offer comparable prices, but at least they will have given you something to look at.

    I wound up getting mine from a place called the big screen store, and it was $50 cheaper than the cheapest prices I found online from reputable dealers for a new one. The place was def no frills, and offered a lot of BS "sell it" answers, but I went in knowing what I was looking for so all I cared about was the fact that they had them powered on and would change to different types of movies so I could see color, contract, black levels, etc.

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    AdusAdus Registered User regular
    For considering non-gaming entertainment, I'd say the PS3 is a clear winner because it has Blu-ray and Netflix requires no extra cost (360 requires you to have a gold Live account to use Netflix). Other than that the differences are pretty negligible.

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    Gilbert0Gilbert0 North of SeattleRegistered User regular
    I also agree with the PS3 as the "media" console. Blu-ray is a major plus and netflix is dead easy to use (though you have a wii so netflix works through that as well). I also watch other content either A) streaming from my computer B) directly off a flash drive or removable hard drive or C) through netflix.

    As for gaming, more and more companies are releasing games on all the consoles. Depending on what you like to play, I'd choose a console that way but since you are looking for a more media console, I'd stick to the PS3.

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    ChopperDaveChopperDave Registered User regular
    Cool, thanks for the advice thusfar everyone. It's been helpful.

    Out of curiosity, what are some of the better models of LCD currently on the market? After giving this some thought I'm starting to consider those, as well.

    3DS code: 3007-8077-4055
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Cool, thanks for the advice thusfar everyone. It's been helpful.

    Out of curiosity, what are some of the better models of LCD currently on the market? After giving this some thought I'm starting to consider those, as well.

    I have a Sony Bravia and it's pretty great.

    Plasma is going to be cheaper at the get go, but in the long run you pay more due to the power bills.

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    ChopperDaveChopperDave Registered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    Cool, thanks for the advice thusfar everyone. It's been helpful.

    Out of curiosity, what are some of the better models of LCD currently on the market? After giving this some thought I'm starting to consider those, as well.

    I have a Sony Bravia and it's pretty great.

    Plasma is going to be cheaper at the get go, but in the long run you pay more due to the power bills.

    Yeah, that's the main concern I have. Dollar for dollar the plasma seems to be a better purchase as far as picture quality, deeper blacks, viewing angle, etc goes, and I don't want to mount the TV so I'm not terribly concerned about that. But the power drain is a real con for me, and I'm also not going to have very good light-control in our common space, so reflections are an issue too. I'm starting to think an LCD might be the better purchase as far as long-term cost-benefit goes.

    3DS code: 3007-8077-4055
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    EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    Samsung's excellent on both plasma (so I've heard) and LCD units (I put a good bit of research into these before buying one). They've really been one of the best brands for several years now, whichever TV you're looking at. The Samsung LNA/Bs that I posted about in the "New TV Search" thread that somebody already linked are LCDs, and look wonderful (including having deep blacks, etc.). Regarding viewing angle... the LCDs I'm talking about, at least, don't seem to lose much picture quality until you can't see the thing properly to begin with, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. I don't really have personal experience with plasmas, so I don't know how much further off-center you could be with those than an LCD, but it doesn't seem like viewing angles are unreasonable nowadays. Anyway, everything we've ever played or watched on those two TVs looks incredible, especially with Auto MotionPlus if you like the feel of it (it can interpolate an extra frame in between frames since it's a 120Hz TV, so that motion looks much smoother)-- although not everyone does because it makes things look more "dramatic", and I do sometimes turn it off for a few things myself. It can make games and movies look that much more impressive, though (you can check the effect out in-store for an idea of how it changes the look of movies/TV, at least). PS3/360 games with that turned on are just drool-worthy, and even PS2/Wii games look like they have better graphics with it enabled.

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    KetarKetar Come on upstairs we're having a partyRegistered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    Cool, thanks for the advice thusfar everyone. It's been helpful.

    Out of curiosity, what are some of the better models of LCD currently on the market? After giving this some thought I'm starting to consider those, as well.

    I have a Sony Bravia and it's pretty great.

    Plasma is going to be cheaper at the get go, but in the long run you pay more due to the power bills.

    I have a 51" Samsung plasma that I just got about a month ago. The energy use sticker on it when it arrived had an estimated power cost of $23/year based on 5 hours of use per day.

    Electricity costs are pretty negligible when you're talking newer, energy-efficient models of plasma tvs.

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Ketar wrote:
    Esh wrote:
    Cool, thanks for the advice thusfar everyone. It's been helpful.

    Out of curiosity, what are some of the better models of LCD currently on the market? After giving this some thought I'm starting to consider those, as well.

    I have a Sony Bravia and it's pretty great.

    Plasma is going to be cheaper at the get go, but in the long run you pay more due to the power bills.

    I have a 51" Samsung plasma that I just got about a month ago. The energy use sticker on it when it arrived had an estimated power cost of $23/year based on 5 hours of use per day.

    Electricity costs are pretty negligible when you're talking newer, energy-efficient models of plasma tvs.

    Unless things have changed in less than 2 years (I had a 50" Panasonic that was "green"), that's a really misleading sticker. My power bill literally tripled from $30 a month to $90. My math may be off, but that's saying that it only costs you 6 cents a day to run for that period of time. That can't be right. Have you actually had a chance to compare power bills yet?

    Esh on
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    ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Tripled? I really doubt that. We have a plasma that's almost four years old now, and it's power hungry, but not that much, and it's still more efficient than our CRT was.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
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    QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    I'll put in for the PS3 as the overall better media console. I still mostly use my 360 since I'm paying for Live anyway and I prefer their interface, but PS3 does that and more for free.

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    Rear Admiral ChocoRear Admiral Choco I wanna be an owl, Jerry! Owl York CityRegistered User regular
    Go with the PS3. My girlfriend and I love our Xbox, but if you want a media centre PS3 wins on the basis of Blu-Ray alone.

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    Nova_CNova_C I have the need The need for speedRegistered User regular
    I'm going to go a bit out on a limb here and just bring up a possibility you may not have considered: HTPC. I recognize you mentioned console, but you also wanted an "HD Device" for entertainment possibility. If you have a halfway decent machine, it doesn't really take anything for it to do the job since video cards come pretty standard with HDMI outputs. You get all the internet media on your big screen, as well as the bonus of being able to play your PC games on the couch if that interests you (You just need to figure out a comfortable way to configure a wireless keyboard and mouse while on the couch, something that took me a bit to come up with a solution). You get the added benefit of cheap space (1TB drives are like $60) and any upgrade you do affects the capabilities of virtually everything. For example, Blu-ray takes some muscle for a processor and when I was using a blu-ray player, the loading screen took bloody forever. I don't even notice them on the PC because loading is virtually instantaneous and as I upgrade my machine (Going from two to six cores with my next upgrade to stay current on the gamin rig front) that will only be better. There is also choice in software for playback and future proofing. If another media comes along, you just need to change out the drive, not the whole machine.

    However, if a HTPC is not what you're looking for, then my expertise is at a close. I do have an XBox 360, but it is only for games as I would never use anything else for media playback other than my HTPC now that I've got one.

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    HewnHewn Registered User regular
    The only decisive reason to get a 360 is if you play online games with friends. This is the sole reason I love my 360, because they all have one, and it makes hooking up with them online stupid easy. Voice chat parties, for example, are not on PS3.

    If media and streaming are your primary concerns, the PS3 will win out. It's got Blu-Ray and no subscription, and that alone will save you money in the long run.

    Steam: hewn
    Warframe: TheBaconDwarf
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Hewn wrote:
    The only decisive reason to get a 360 is if you play online games with friends. This is the sole reason I love my 360, because they all have one, and it makes hooking up with them online stupid easy. Voice chat parties, for example, are not on PS3.

    If media and streaming are your primary concerns, the PS3 will win out. It's got Blu-Ray and no subscription, and that alone will save you money in the long run.

    Actually, you can have voice chat parties on PS3. It's just not as easy as the 360.

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    HewnHewn Registered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    Actually, you can have voice chat parties on PS3. It's just not as easy as the 360.

    Yes, I understand if you're all in the same game. But you can't join up across multiple titles to coordinate your gaming time. It's just the ease of use I'm talking about and that makes the 360 a joy to use with my friends of all tech levels.

    But hairs are being split, as I've already recommended the PS3 like everybody else.

    Steam: hewn
    Warframe: TheBaconDwarf
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    schussschuss Registered User regular
    Also realize you can go to NH and buy the same tv any day with no sales tax.

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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Shadowfire wrote:
    Tripled? I really doubt that. We have a plasma that's almost four years old now, and it's power hungry, but not that much, and it's still more efficient than our CRT was.

    It's highly unlikely he tripled the number of kilowatts (or kilowatthours?) consumed, however his bill could've gone up significantly due to electricity rates. For example where I live the 1st 500 kilowatts are charged at a rate that's less than a 3rd of the rate on killowatts over the first 500 (gotta love deregulation). If he's really concerned about power usage then he really should invest in a Kill A Watt, monitor usage, find out what his current tv power consumption is rated at (along with the tvs he's interested in), and using that data plus his electricity rates he ought to be able to find out how much it's going to cost him to operate whatever tv.

    Djeet on
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    SmokeStacksSmokeStacks Registered User regular
    Shadowfire wrote:
    Tripled? I really doubt that. We have a plasma that's almost four years old now, and it's power hungry, but not that much, and it's still more efficient than our CRT was.

    Your best bet is to find out the power consumption on the TV model you're looking at, decide how many hours a day you estimate it will be running, then cross reference that with your average cost per kWh in your state. Inflate the number you get by around 125% and that should be a rough idea of your yearly operating cost.

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    ChopperDaveChopperDave Registered User regular
    Shadowfire wrote:
    Tripled? I really doubt that. We have a plasma that's almost four years old now, and it's power hungry, but not that much, and it's still more efficient than our CRT was.

    Your best bet is to find out the power consumption on the TV model you're looking at, decide how many hours a day you estimate it will be running, then cross reference that with your average cost per kWh in your state. Inflate the number you get by around 125% and that should be a rough idea of your yearly operating cost.

    I'm no expert on this obviously, but I think part of the problem of a plasma TV is that they are still "on" even when you turn them off -- all plasmas have a "phantom" or "standby" mode so that they can turn on at a click of a button rather than having to warm up, which makes them super power-hungry even when you're not using them. LCDs do this too (all appliances do, really), but it isn't NEARLY as bad.

    The point about NH is a pretty good one; we decided against getting a TV this weekend due to indecisiveness (got our console, though) so we may check out some stores elsewhere. I figured that our neighborhood TV stores might have put TVs on sale in order to move units during the tax holiday, but that doesn't seem to be the case. NH is pretty dang close!

    3DS code: 3007-8077-4055
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    ChopperDaveChopperDave Registered User regular
    Cross-posted with the tech forum TV thread -

    I'm looking at a pretty sick deal on Amazon right now: buy a a LED 3DTV from Samsung's UND6400 or UND6500 series and get a free Blu-ray player and 2 3D glasses. If I go with the 46" 6400 model I can get the whole kit and keboodle for $1200. Yoink!

    So, does anyone have any experience with TVs from these series? I was actually looking at TVs from the cheaper UND6000 series (BestBuy has a 46'' on sale at $1000), but a few of those reviews mentioned "flashlighting" at the edge (i.e. really bright and noticeable edgelighting when in the dark). Is that still a problem with the higher-end versions of the TV model?

    Also, does anyone know the difference between the 6400 and 6500 models? As far as I can tell, it's just that one has built-in WiFi and the other doesn't.

    3DS code: 3007-8077-4055
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    MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    The 6400 and 6500 series are both very nice tvs. The 6500 series has built in wifi and apparently supports skype. Any other differences are probably negligible. If you want the tv to have wifi, it might be worth it to not have to buy a separate adapter.

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    CreamstoutCreamstout What you think I program for, to push a fuckin' quad-core? Registered User regular
    I don't know how large you want to go on a TV, but I just purchased a 65" DLP TV that has an awesome picture. I chose DLP over Plasma and LCD because they are way cheaper for the money and I didn't need to wall-mount my TV. The DLPs are lighter as well. The only downside is you have to replace the bulb (1-3 years depending on use, costs around $100), you can obtain a 60" plus DLP TV for under 1k. The only manufacturer that makes new DLP units is Mitsubishi.

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    ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited August 2011
    The point about NH is a pretty good one; we decided against getting a TV this weekend due to indecisiveness (got our console, though) so we may check out some stores elsewhere. I figured that our neighborhood TV stores might have put TVs on sale in order to move units during the tax holiday, but that doesn't seem to be the case. NH is pretty dang close!

    Doesn't Mass have a tax free weekend coming up soon? Edit: No, nevermind, that was this past weekend. Ah well.

    Also, we live in Vermont, right on the border with NH, so we've bought more than a few things in NH. If you buy a TV, just make sure you're handling the delivery yourself. If you have the shop you buy it from deliver, you will have to pay Mass taxes on it.

    Shadowfire on
    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
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    JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    360 has a better controller in my opinion. Fits comfortably and all that.

    and I wonder about my neighbors even though I don't have them
    but they're listening to every word I say
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    JebusUD wrote:
    360 has a better controller in my opinion. Fits comfortably and all that.

    Sounds like that's what he went with since he's eyeballing that combo deal with the Blu-Ray player.

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    ChopperDaveChopperDave Registered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    JebusUD wrote:
    360 has a better controller in my opinion. Fits comfortably and all that.

    Sounds like that's what he went with since he's eyeballing that combo deal with the Blu-Ray player.

    Yeah, we ended up getting a 360. I was leaning toward a PS3 thanks to this thread, but my girlfriend suddenly got strongly opinionated on the subject and told me that she really preferred the 360's controller, online interface, and games. We decided that the Blu-ray wasn't that important to us as we would probably never buy any discs (but hey, I'll take a separate player for free -- might turn around and sell it!). I also realized that most of the new TVs these days come with fancy, built-in wifi apps that do all the things we wanted in an entertainment center (streaming Netflix, hulu, Youtube, Pandora, etc...), so the decision boiled down to "Which console has the games we want and more of our friends in its online network?" Which, I suppose, is what it SHOULD have been about in the first place.
    Creamstout wrote:
    I don't know how large you want to go on a TV, but I just purchased a 65" DLP TV that has an awesome picture. I chose DLP over Plasma and LCD because they are way cheaper for the money and I didn't need to wall-mount my TV. The DLPs are lighter as well. The only downside is you have to replace the bulb (1-3 years depending on use, costs around $100), you can obtain a 60" plus DLP TV for under 1k. The only manufacturer that makes new DLP units is Mitsubishi.

    My old roommate had a DLP and it was pretty great. My new apartment, however, doesn't really have the space or the lighting for it, so the thinness of a LCD or a plasma is a definite plus.

    3DS code: 3007-8077-4055
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    JebusUD wrote:
    360 has a better controller in my opinion. Fits comfortably and all that.

    Sounds like that's what he went with since he's eyeballing that combo deal with the Blu-Ray player.

    Yeah, we ended up getting a 360. I was leaning toward a PS3 thanks to this thread, but my girlfriend suddenly got strongly opinionated on the subject and told me that she really preferred the 360's controller, online interface, and games. We decided that the Blu-ray wasn't that important to us as we would probably never buy any discs (but hey, I'll take a separate player for free -- might turn around and sell it!). I also realized that most of the new TVs these days come with fancy, built-in wifi apps that do all the things we wanted in an entertainment center (streaming Netflix, hulu, Youtube, Pandora, etc...), so the decision boiled down to "Which console has the games we want and more of our friends in its online network?" Which, I suppose, is what it SHOULD have been about in the first place.
    Creamstout wrote:
    I don't know how large you want to go on a TV, but I just purchased a 65" DLP TV that has an awesome picture. I chose DLP over Plasma and LCD because they are way cheaper for the money and I didn't need to wall-mount my TV. The DLPs are lighter as well. The only downside is you have to replace the bulb (1-3 years depending on use, costs around $100), you can obtain a 60" plus DLP TV for under 1k. The only manufacturer that makes new DLP units is Mitsubishi.

    My old roommate had a DLP and it was pretty great. My new apartment, however, doesn't really have the space or the lighting for it, so the thinness of a LCD or a plasma is a definite plus.

    Yeah, if you're never going to buy the discs it doesn't matter. Right now they look incredible though. We've got a few years it seems like before we're going to be streaming at that quality. And honestly, the 360 online experience blows Sony out of the water. I'm not sure why Sony's iteration of it is so terrible.

    46" is a good size. Depending on the room, 50"+ can be overwhelming and not necessary.

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    KetarKetar Come on upstairs we're having a partyRegistered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    Ketar wrote:
    Esh wrote:
    Cool, thanks for the advice thusfar everyone. It's been helpful.

    Out of curiosity, what are some of the better models of LCD currently on the market? After giving this some thought I'm starting to consider those, as well.

    I have a Sony Bravia and it's pretty great.

    Plasma is going to be cheaper at the get go, but in the long run you pay more due to the power bills.

    I have a 51" Samsung plasma that I just got about a month ago. The energy use sticker on it when it arrived had an estimated power cost of $23/year based on 5 hours of use per day.

    Electricity costs are pretty negligible when you're talking newer, energy-efficient models of plasma tvs.

    Unless things have changed in less than 2 years (I had a 50" Panasonic that was "green"), that's a really misleading sticker. My power bill literally tripled from $30 a month to $90. My math may be off, but that's saying that it only costs you 6 cents a day to run for that period of time. That can't be right. Have you actually had a chance to compare power bills yet?

    I already owned an older, less efficient Panasonic plasma for the past 3 or 4 years and I never saw a power bill increase like yours. I think ours went up like $10/month with the older model.

    The newer ones really are supposed to be that efficient now though. I can't make a fair judgment based on current electric bills, as we had a huge heat wave in Chicago and used the AC much more than previous months.

    Here's an interesting chart from cnet though. Even the absolute least efficient television on there without calibrated settings has an estimated cost per year of $126.17. I don't even understand how you could possibly manage $60/month for a tv unless you were using it 20 hours a day in torch mode with a super rape power provider.

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Ketar wrote:
    Esh wrote:
    Ketar wrote:
    Esh wrote:
    Cool, thanks for the advice thusfar everyone. It's been helpful.

    Out of curiosity, what are some of the better models of LCD currently on the market? After giving this some thought I'm starting to consider those, as well.

    I have a Sony Bravia and it's pretty great.

    Plasma is going to be cheaper at the get go, but in the long run you pay more due to the power bills.

    I have a 51" Samsung plasma that I just got about a month ago. The energy use sticker on it when it arrived had an estimated power cost of $23/year based on 5 hours of use per day.

    Electricity costs are pretty negligible when you're talking newer, energy-efficient models of plasma tvs.

    Unless things have changed in less than 2 years (I had a 50" Panasonic that was "green"), that's a really misleading sticker. My power bill literally tripled from $30 a month to $90. My math may be off, but that's saying that it only costs you 6 cents a day to run for that period of time. That can't be right. Have you actually had a chance to compare power bills yet?

    I already owned an older, less efficient Panasonic plasma for the past 3 or 4 years and I never saw a power bill increase like yours. I think ours went up like $10/month with the older model.

    The newer ones really are supposed to be that efficient now though. I can't make a fair judgment based on current electric bills, as we had a huge heat wave in Chicago and used the AC much more than previous months.

    Here's an interesting chart from cnet though. Even the absolute least efficient television on there without calibrated settings has an estimated cost per year of $126.17. I don't even understand how you could possibly manage $60/month for a tv unless you were using it 20 hours a day in torch mode with a super rape power provider.

    Read up a few posts to see what was probably happening. I have zero reason to come in here and lie and I'm pretty sure I'm not a shill for the LCD industry. :D

    EDIT: Or am I?

    Esh on
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