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My Journey To Consumer Hell - Part II

Monday I wrote about the dread and apprehension of entering the market to purchase a large high definition television. One of the major reasons I am weary of such a purchase is that such a large outlay of cash for a TV brings the inevitable buyers remorse, especially considering that a good TV will be with you for a decade or more. Statistically even marriages (present company excepted) don't have that kind of longevity.

Based on the feedback to that post, and some research on my part, I'm leaning toward the forthcoming Samsung HL-S5679W, a 1080p LED light sourced DLP RPTV that replaces a the normal bulb with a high-powered LED light source. Here's a bunch of write-ups on the new unit, as shown at CES 2006:

Engadget
CNet
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Wired
PC Magazine
AVS Forum

For the folks who chimed in previously (and those who didn't), assuming the street price comes down a bit does this look like my best option compared to plasma and LCD?


Comments (22)

Kevin, can you wait? <a hre... (Below threshold)

Kevin, can you wait? This new product from Toshiba is going to really upset the TV market. The specs on these things kill plasma and LCD. I'm sure it'll be expensive at first, but even if the price on the tech doesn't come down in the first year or two, it's going to drive down the prices of plasma and LCD.

A good old high quality dig... (Below threshold)
Paul:

A good old high quality digital CRT tube TV will still deliver the best picture.

Newest is not always bestes... (Below threshold)
taz:

Newest is not always bestest.

dreed and aprehens... (Below threshold)
register_allocation:
dreed and aprehension of entering the market to purchase a large high definition television
  1. Speaking as someone with a TV that will be 10 years old this year, I can only respond "cry me a freaking river"
  2. "dreed"?

[Typos are now fixed]

A good old high quality ... (Below threshold)

A good old high quality digital CRT tube TV will still deliver the best picture.

Did you read the specs on what Toshiba's consumer model is going to be -- 100,000:1 contrast ratio! CRT killer.

Newest is not always bestest.

Nor am I advocating buying newest. But newest drives down the price of the previous new product.

I have a 720 Samsung, and I... (Below threshold)
john duncan:

I have a 720 Samsung, and I would buy the one you are looking at in a heartbeat if I could talk my wife into another one. Don't get a plasma or lcd, they do regular cable lousy.

I think one major flaw in y... (Below threshold)

I think one major flaw in your thinking is the assumption that this will be a purchase that you will be living with for 10 years. Get over that.

Plan on buying a new TV every Presidential election year (or every election year if you are a videophile).

TV’s are like pcs now. Even if the thing lasts 10 years (and it most likely won’t), you surely won’t want to be using it 10 years from now.

I am not an early adopter by any means, but as an electrical engineer, I am probably ahead of the average user. But it took me a while to come to this conclusion.

I bought a Panasonic projection TV in 1995. Had it repaired 4 times, in house, at a cost of almost the TV itself. Gave up and bought a GE projection set in 1999. 4 years, 3 repairs, threw it out. Then a Samsung LCD. Bought three years ago (Jan 2003). Three in house repairs (one under warranty, two at $300 a pop), now its sitting dead in my bedroom until I can figure out how to fix it myself. Now I am on a Sony LCD, bought 6 months ago. I love it (knock on wood). That’s 10 years, 4 TV’s.

I don’t have any specific recommendations for you. Well, maybe one: If you watch primarily sports, go with an LCD. If movies are more your thing, go plasma.

I think you will be best served by spending $1.5-3K on a decent set, with the expectation that you will throw it out in 2-3-4 years and get another, much improved $1.5-3k set. IMO, that’s a much better option than spending $3-6k on a set that you hope will keep you happy for 5 years.

Not all the typos are fixed... (Below threshold)
Laura:

Not all the typos are fixed. Why are you so "vary " of such a purchase. Do you also "vant" to be alone with your new purchase?

DLP is a great technology..... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:

DLP is a great technology... for projectors. Projection TVs, on the other hand, should only be considered if you are putting a sports bar together and need lots of big screen TVs everywhere for real cheap. Projection TVs have the most God-awful viewing angles, meaning you will have to be blessed with a seat right in front of it in order to get an optimum picture. So forget having friends over to watch the Super Bowl, as only two or three of you will have good seats. Please, don't take my word for it. Just go down to your local Best Buy and browse their selection, and notice how much darker the image is when you aren't viewing it from straight on. Get either an LCD screen or a CRT. Yes, LCDs do not have the greatest viewing angles, but with today's models you have to be at some fairly extreme angle in order to lose clarity, so I don't see it bugging the normal user. I'm unsure about plasma screens, as I know they had fairly limited lifespans a while ago due to gradual dimming durring use. I don't know if that is still the case.

Just bought a 30" CRT Phill... (Below threshold)

Just bought a 30" CRT Phillips HDTV for under $700. Probably could have gotten a little cheaper, but picture is good and extra cash in my pocket compared to flat panels is good too.

I have a TV. It has a remo... (Below threshold)

I have a TV. It has a remote. I push the red button and pictures appear.

That's about the sum of my knowledge of TVs.

That is very good that you ... (Below threshold)
Anna:

That is very good that you have a remote.
Try using it more often:)
[email protected]

Don't do it!!!!!EV... (Below threshold)
EricR:

Don't do it!!!!!

EVERYTHING I have bought over the last 15 years with the SAMSUNG label on it has FAILED quite early on it its life (often just past warranty).

I think jmaster summed up t... (Below threshold)

I think jmaster summed up the "worst case scenario" planning. It's a good mind set to be in when that $1.5-$3k device fails. I guess these days we have to look at electronic devices as less of an investment in a product and more of a disposable item.

As to EricR's statement, I've owned a Samsung VCR for over 10 years and it works as well as the day I bought it. A 20" Samsung TV has survived my children for three years. I'm not brand loyal, but I'd say they make decent products.

Had the Samsung you mention... (Below threshold)
DJ:

Had the Samsung you mention been available when I was shopping for an HDTV, it would have been at the top of my list.

It corrects the flaws/drawbacks that I've always had with DLP, namely, too many moving parts. I can live with the DLP chip itself and the mirrors, but the thought of a plastic wheel spinning at high rpm was just another thing that could potentially fail.

Two more issues that I have w/ DLP (and LCD projection) that the Samsung corrects, are bulb life and startup time. Heck, my Sony takes about 30 seconds to get fully warmed up.

Two thumbs up in my opinion.

Kevin, you've got 2 grand t... (Below threshold)
Bill:

Kevin, you've got 2 grand to blow on a TV set?? Good on ya. This blog thing must really be workin' out.

My main TV (a 28" Phillips, purchased for around $400) has been with me for more than a decade and the picture is just fine, thank you. Yes, I've seen what the new sets and can and yes it's amazing, but I have to ask: WHY?

Don't get me wrong--I'm a big TV fan. Watch it all the time. But honestly, I have NEVER EVER seen ANYTHING, ANY IMAGE, on TV that requires resolution any finer than I am getting now. What are we watching that requires such fine detail? Are we surgeons or something?

I'm considering building a house some time in the future, and when I do I might roll up the cost of some new appliances--including digital TV--into the mortgage. But that's the only way I'm going to pay more than $500 for a television...EVER.

Paying large sums for the ability to see TV images with incredibly fine clarity is, and should be recognized as, a profligate extravagance. If you're rich enough to be able to throw around that kind of money and not even think about it, great. More power to ya. But I think the rest of us should resist the consumer electronics industry's attempt to convince us our regular TVs (assuming they are capable of showing us a cable or satellite signal) are obsolete. They ain't.

I recently went through the... (Below threshold)
Brian:

I recently went through the same process you're going through. I narrowed it down to two choices:
Samsung 47 inch(?) with DLP technology and Sony Wega 50" LCD Projection.
I'm pretty ignorant of these things, so forgive me if I'm telling you what you already know, but the Sony LCD Projection is not at all what I originally thought a projection TV was. It is a rear-projection LCD TV that produces a PHENOMENAL picture while keeping the cabinet depth at about 18 inches. So it's not an LCD like the ones you can hang on a wall, but it isn't a huge box taking up your room, either.
I thought the Samsung DLP looked good, but after comparing the two, the Sony won hands down. I couldn't be happier. High-definition programs look awesome on it, and several visitors have commented that it's the best they've seen. Check it out before you buy.
Oh, and the price on these two were similar: $2200-2400 depending on where you shop.

Check today's Woot www.woot... (Below threshold)

Check today's Woot www.woot.com - an InFocus 61 inch DLP thin projection TV with a blender (Woot folks just have so much fun!) for $2,500 plus $5 shipping.

Can't beat that shipping price.

Discaimer: I work at Texas ... (Below threshold)

Discaimer: I work at Texas Instruments, but not in the DLP division.

The trouble I've had with LCD TV's is the fact that they tend to require frequent convergence adjustment. I have both an LCD and a DLP television for more than a year (had the LCD and won the DLP in a company drawing) and the LCD has to be realigned every month. I haven't had to adjust the DLP once yet.

If I were shopping for a new big-screen, I'd go for the DLP.

First, that is a hell of a ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

First, that is a hell of a unit. ATSC, NTSC, 1080p (real) and 2 HDMI plugs.

I'm a confessed LED freak. I'm in process of converting everything I own to CF and LED. (general lighting) LED for a RP lightsource seems a perfect fit.

There is no fan in the unit and -it seems obvious- it is going to run cooler and burn less electricity than the old models.

Killing the color wheel is fantastic. I'm one of the people who sees rainbows in DLPs.

(personally) I'd buy it around fall of this year. I love the leading edge but I'm getting too old for the bleeding edge of technology. Let a few of them get in the field first.

Other than that reservation, I think you have yourself a winner.

(Just wait till you see Wizbang 4 feet wide!)

I have the first-generation... (Below threshold)

I have the first-generation (HLM-series, 720P native) Samsung DLP set, and it's been wonderful. Yes, the bulb has gone out once now (in 4 years), but it still performs great. I'm trying to justify "upgrading" to that new one now - it fixes every complaint I had about my current set and then some.

Kevin - You cannot... (Below threshold)

Kevin -

You cannot go wrong with this purchase. All of your assumptions are true. The plasmas and LCDs will not be with you for much longer than 5 years, if that. I've been a video engineer for 8 years - the only large screen HD (1920x1080) that I would consider for myself is a RP DLP. Replacing a bulb every four years is cheaper than replacing an entire monitor for image retention (that's what the LCD makers like to call burn-in, they swear it's a reversible condition - we have an NEC at work that proves them wrong) or burn-in. ASice from that, you get better contrast, better viewing angles, more color depth and truer black levels (which are critical to accurate color). The only thing better would be a CRT. But even if someone made one, who would put a 1200lb television in their home?




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