Originally Posted by Jasen Palmer
I am going to get a new TV. Should I invest an HD or HD ready? Is there a major difference between LCD and Plasma? My friend just got a Sharp Aquos that has an impressive picture quality. Also is there any advantage to "Ambilight" or similar features? The max screen size I need is about 42".
If you have the money go for HD.
The best way to evaluate a TV is to actually look at the picture. Most electronic store showrooms aren't really the best places to evaluate a TV but often there's no other choice.
Descriptions of Ambilight kind of remind me of Sylvania's Halolight from the 1950's. I doubt it's really necessary but I haven't actually seen it.
LCD is supposed to be brighter than plasma but plasma is supposed to present a more detailed picture. When I look at them in TV showrooms I can't instantly tell one from the other. Generally speaking LCD is more expensive for a given screen size. 42" 16 x 9 (aspect ratio) hi-def TV's are available using either technology. LCD direct view sets employ a built-in backlight which is supposed to last for 60,000 viewing hours.
If an LCD display begins to fail such failure becomes apparent by individual screen pixels dropping out of the picture. Depending on how many and where they are on the display this could be a minor issue or a major annoyance. Apparently different manufacturers have different policies when covering LCD displays under warranty.
Plasma sets gradually lose brightness as they age, much as CRT displays do. They also are subject to screen "burn-in" (from static displays) as CRT's are, although burn-in has supposedly been minimized as a problem. (LCD sets aren't subject to burn-in.) Practically speaking plasma displays are reputedly good for around 60,000 hours.
Prices have been falling for all HD sets lately. Here's
a review for a relatively new LCD set which is a monitor only (no tuners) which features 1080p resolution (the highest possible) for as low as $2300. It's also avaliable
for under $1600. in the 37" size.
Have fun checking them out!