Home » TV, Video Games

Buying an HDTV-Black Friday 2009

Just about every store including Drug Stores are selling some sort of HDTV this Black Friday and it’s impossible to judge for you what size or price you are willing to pay … or of course, whether you want to pay extra for a brand name …

The BIG CHOICE is of course, plasma or LCD.

Plasma sort of lost out to LCD because LCD was able to hit the mythical resolution spec of 1,920 x 1,080 (pixels per inch) at a bigger, faster & cheaper pace. (Most high end plasmas tended to “top out” at 1,366 x 768. Two things to note about this – while mathematically, you are talking about 30% difference, the reality is that hardly anyone actually broadcasts in 1,920 x 1,080 – all cable & satellite signals are COMPRESSED and while there might be one or two over the air (local) stations broadcasting in 1,920 x 1,080 – that is ONLY if the programming was recorded at that rate … in other words, it’s like the gas mileage they promised you on the sticker. It’s a theoretical possibility just as in the movies, there’s always parking in front of the building.

LCD does offer two advantages over plasmas, it uses less electricity and it can be hooked up your computer as it’s essentially a ginormous monitor. These two “features” in addition to the spec “race” was enough for LCD to win out.

Plasmas generally offer a “richer” color and do not problems with the “refresh” rate or the “response rate” – covered below.

The number of plasma TV manufacturers is dwindling so that’s why a lot of the Black Friday deals offer plasmas as this will probably be the last big year of plasmas – though they are clearly not going to disappear, most plasma makers will probably switch to OLED (the next format coming).

There are two more obscure specs to ‘note’ but not necessarily place an enormous weight on them but they are considerations …

They are fairly straightforward. “Response rate” is how fast your screen can “respond,” to changes in the image. Plasma does a better job with this and its spec is not a consideration. Plasmas won early favor over LCD with gamers for this combined with its refresh rate … there was “no lag.” The 2009 high end LCD TV’s have negated any advantages that plasmas had – again, why LCD is now 80%+ of the TV market.

However, I noticed that some of the Black Friday HD’s definitely have 2007-2008 specs in terms of its response rate and refresh rate.

If you’re not a gamer nor an avid sports watcher, it’s not going to make a huge difference but if you are – it’s worth noting …

Look for a response rate lower than 6 ms (milliseconds).

Look for a refresh rate of 120 MHz (the 2009 models tend to be 240 MHz) but a lot of the Black Friday offerings have gone back to 2007’s 60 MHz … again, it’s not the most important criteria but worth noting – if the savings are huge over what a 2009 model pricing – that might be an acceptable compromise for you but if the savings are $50, then you might be compromising too much.

The bottom line is that you have to decide how much TV you’ll be watching out of this thing and under what conditions. If you are just looking for an HD as the third set, the price might carry 99% of the weight – or if you’re mostly playing games like Wii bowling, the refresh rate is not going to make much of a difference but if you’re looking for a main TV and you’ll be watching a lot of it, then you might want to give less weight to the price but also to other specs … just as if you’re going to be going camo to play Modern Warfare 2, you don’t want price to be the overwhelming factor.

The other specs like Dynamic Contrast Ratio is pretty much a number they came up in their own labs so you can safely ignore those.

If it comes down to similarly priced choices, the more connectors the better – once you decide on a size & Black Friday price, then look around to see what others like it are seling for – spec to spec … but keep in mind, how much time will you be spending in front of this set and your needs. If you only watch TV infrequently and don’t need to play fast twitch video games, then price can be 99% of your criteria but if your needs are greater, spend more time checking out the main specs …

You should also read this CNN article about how many of the Black Friday deals (electronics) are built to what the retailer wants to sell it for – and the features/components that are “taken out” unlike the rest of the year when they make something for general sale.

Mag Ad2

«  »
25 November 2009 TV, Video Games 19 Comments


  • Shelby says:

    I posted this on Sunday but thought I would post it again in case you missed it:

    If anyone is looking for an UNBELIEVABLE price on a Panasonic Viera Series 1 54 inch 1080 Plasma 600HZ HD TV – Sears just dropped their price from normally 1799.00 to 1499.00 to now a 700 dollar savings of 1099.00!!! If you use your Sears card, they take 10% off so you can get this HUGE plasma tv for 990.00!!! It’s crazy – even the people at Sears can’t believe this – it’s the price of a 50 inch!

    Not sure how long this will last!


    • 5oclockshadow says:

      nice find.

      looks like you can add 10% cashback through bing.com also…
      so $891.00

      If I didn’t have enought TV’s already, I would jump on this.

      (MET: I like to keep a TV behind another TV- in case it goes out, I can just slide the backup right over – doesn’t everyone do that? 🙂 ).

  • iamspeed says:

    Okay, jumping WAY off-topic here:

    Did anyone else notice a couple of things about the “ready-set-go” girls(that signal the start of the race) in Tokyo Mater?

    The girls paint colors, in order, are red, yellow, and green.

    As each girl says “ready”, “set”, or “go”(in Japanese), and slides to the side, her undercar lighting turns on in her color!

    As always, Disney/Pixar sweating those little details! 🙂

  • iamspeed says:

    Regardless of WHAT type of television you’re interested in, DON’T buy it under the pressure of Black Friday and mobs of people staring at the same set that you’re eyeballing.

    Price is not the benchmark to use if you risk owning a tv set that you’re not happy with a month later. Stores are full of “open box” deals as a result of buyer remorse.

    Good luck in your search, in whatever form you choose, LCD, Plasma, or LED, just don’t get pressured into a purchase on such a hectic day.

  • iamspeed says:

    LED is the way to go if can wait for prices to drop a little more.

    • 5oclockshadow says:

      I second that… long lasting and energy efficient…

      and I can’t wait till LASER HDTV’s start hitting the shelves… although thats a few years down the road.

      Plasma’s are a good cheap option for movie watchers, but wouldn’t recommend for hard core gamers. Although the burn-in problem is not as severe as it was when they first came out.
      Panasonic and Samsung are good brands. Panasonic has some 600Hz refresh rate plasmas that are super nice and affordable…

      LCD’s are just good all-purpose sets. Sony and Samsung are your best bets for picture quality. Although I am not crazy about Samsung’s speaker audio. Would use a home theatre for them.

      And the cheap $4-$5 HDMI cables you buy online from meritline and such places, will work just as good as the $20-$50 ones you buy in the store. Look for a HDMI 1.3b version with 22 AWG or 24 AWG (slightly thicker wires for better wear and tear with less signal resistence).

  • DLMcQueen says:

    Plasma TVs have superior picture quality compared to LCD. If picture quality is your primary concern, at least do a side-by-side comparison of similar LCD and plasma models. Contrast ratio is important with respect to picture quality and most plasmas have a big advantage there.

    LCDs are clearly better if you plan to hook your PC up to your TV. Plasmas are susceptible to screen burn-in, while LCDs aren’t. Screen burn-in makes plasmas a particularly poor choice for use as omputer monitors.

    Plasma TVs aren’t going away anytime soon. I think LCDs have 80% of the market simply because they tend to cost less due to plasmas’ higher manufacturing costs. Plasmas typically have better picture quiality and can be made in larger screen sizes than LCDs, so they tend to cater to the high-end market, but with corresponding higher prices. LCDs provide completely acceptable picture quality for most people, and at a lower price point. Each has certain advantages. It all depends on what’s most important to a particular buyer. Google “plasma vs lcd” or “lcd vs plasma” for more comparisons.

  • Aaron says:

    Another option is the newer LED TV’s, which are an upgrade from LCD TV’s. Of course they are more expensive. We almost got one, but were able to get a much bigger LCD, 55″, for less and a blue ray player to boot. This is our second LCD TV and they are amazing. Each time we go bigger and we are already looking at going bigger. Definitely go with 1080p and at least 120hz. I know it’s more, but there is a huge difference in the picture and if you can afford it even go up the 240hz. We have had all Samsungs and have been very happy with them

  • TarheelBill says:

    On the way now to BestBuy to get a 32″ Samsung. $150.00 off is not bad.

  • jmularczyk says:

    I just picked up a 50 inch Samsung Plasma 3 weeks ago at Best Buy absolutely love the TV. Best Buy is offering a similar model for Black Friday but I looked at the specs and it is a stripped down version of the TV for a $160 less than what I paid. I’m not so impressed with the junk that is pushed of the stores on Black Friday. Great you can get a dvd player for $15 and that’s great for some people but when you can’t recognize the name of who built it what good is it.

    • jmularczyk says:

      oh yea and I hooked up my computer to the pc input and the computer looks awesome and totally usable. I went to abc,nbc,hulu and streamed shows in hd viewed them full screen and it’s beautiful.

  • Micky says:

    Very informative post Met. I’ll keep it for reference to refer to (along with your post on Blu-ray players) when I’m in the market to upgrade. Thanks.

  • Nascarfan says:

    I have a HD tv, really like it, and with a home stereo hooked up on the auxliary channel to the Satelitte tv box with surround sound…

    Gives “Gentleman, ….Start your Engines” and fly overs a whole new experience…

  • camlgt says:

    First and foremost I would not buy a Toshiba HDTV!! Worst TV I ever owned!!!!!!

    • BrianD says:

      I have two Toshiba Regza’s and love them – 47″ and 42″.

      The first Regza I purchased from Amazon and it was dead out of the box. I called Toshiba Warranty and they sent me a brand new one and picked up the old one. The Customer Service was good – not great – due to the fact it took about 2 weeks to make all of this happen.

      There is a nice feature on Toshiba’s – the come equipped with an IR Repeater (Infa-Red). If you have Surround Sound / DVD / Blu-Ray / DirecTv / Etc.. in a closed door cabinet, the IR repeater built in to the TV can control those devices. This might require a professional Home Theater guru to set this up for you.

      I think with any brand you have some duds. I just bought a 40″ Sony for our bedroom and had to return it because the picture was at have brightness and the picture was too dark.

      • camlgt says:

        Lets see, I spent $3k on a 62″ rear projection DLP about 4 years or so ago now, 4 days before XMAS, 14 months after I bought the thing,or better known as 2 months out of warranty, the faulty lamp blew thousands of hours short of its expected life, $200 bucks later I had a lamp on the way, about 3 days after I got my new lamp I found out they extended the warranty on the lamp to 2 years which was burried on their website so deep that I needed a back hoe to find it, they knowingly put these faulty lamps in the TV’s. They were then sued in a class action suit and under the settlement I should have been reimbursed the purchase amount of the lamp I did buy. They refused even though I had all the documentation they requested. At least I have a lamp for free from them sitting in my closet for the next time. Then about 2 years into owning this money pit, the color wheel went. Another known fault of their DLP’s of the time. I lived with it for a while as it made this horrible screeching sound until the color finally started to suffer. It took me almost a week to track down a new one as they conviently don’t make the part. Oh and btw the color wheel is about a $100 part, BUT on Toshiba’s it is part of the light engine module so you have to replace the whole light engine. I finally found a place that had 1 light engine that the color wheel was shot in it as well and the place rebuilt it. That whole ordeal set me back $400, the only thing positive about that ordeal was it was pretty easy to swap it out. The good thing is I have a busted light engine in my basement so when I suspect this one goes I can get it rebuilt now for a lot less. I need to call the lawyers that sued them the first time because the light engine deal is 10x worse then the lamp problem and it is 100% toshiba selling a defective product from the get go. To make it worse when I searched for that light engine there were about 4 in the whole country all broken so once those were rebuilt and gone and your color wheel goes, you are left with a $3000 plastic box. I am surprised they haven’t started cranking those engines out so the can profit more off of faulty products, but maybe someone at toshiba had some morals and didn’t want to rip me off again. I should have known better, I had a lap top back in the 90’s from them, it was the first and last time I bought an extended warranty, and it actually paid for it self since the mother board got replaced in the thing 7 times. I thought 10 years later maybe things at toshiba had improved, guess not.

        I know what you are saying a dud here a dud there, but this is litterly the whole model line for them, the 3 different size DLP’s of this model, virtually every last one of them has these faults. So thousands of TV’s are going to eventually enter the trash heap years before they should have because of this light engine issue.

        • camlgt says:

          OH Yeah I was just reminded that the HDMI inputs have to ‘warm’ up. When you try to use the HDMI inputs, like I have a Blu Ray into one, you turn it on and the screen comes on for a second then goes black, for about the next 5-15 mins it stays black with brief flickers of picture and then finally comes on and stays on. If you have say a DVR that is on 24/7 it is fine but if it is an on/off device you get to wait upto 15 mins before proper operation. It is not a huge deal for me as I am not a huge fan of HDMI, and my reciever doesn’t even have HDMI so it is almost all component for me anyway with fiber for the audio. I kind of prefer it that way. But yet another thing wrong with a $3000 TV. I suspect it was this way out of the box but it was well over a year before I had anything with HDMI hooked up to it.

          • BrianD says:

            Sounds like the problem is in the DLP which is a rear projection model – not a true Flat Screen by today’s terms.

            I know Samsung had a lot of problems with their DLP’s as well which is why most of the manufacturers have moved away from DLP’s or de-emphasized them from their product line.

    • Whoseline says:

      I also have a Toshiba Regza. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, Best TV I’ve had so far.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.