TV experts, I need your help!!!

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    TV experts, I need your help!!!


    I'm starting to shop around for a new living room TV for my wife and I. We currently have a huge 32in CRT looking thing. We're interested in a 42-47" flat screen, either LCD or plasma. Price range $650-800.

    Researching these is making my head spin. There are so many TV's around. This is going to be primarily used for digital cable TV. HD isn't a huge factor to me. Also sound quality is important.

    Anyone have a recommendations, feedback, advice? All appreciated.
    Thanks

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    In that price range given that you don't care as much about HD you will get the best picture out of a 720p plasma. Realistically, as far as sound quality goes, you are best off buying a small home theater setup and using that. No flat panel speakers are all that great. Not terrible, but not great. Walmart has a 50" plasma setup with home theater for $750 http://www.walmart.com/ip/SANYO-50-C...-HDMI/14957802
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    I almost bought one yesterday, Sams has a Visio 47" LED (which is clearer IMO) for $600.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluehealer View Post
    I almost bought one yesterday, Sams has a Visio 47" LED (which is clearer IMO) for $600.
    That had to be the plain LCD one, the LED one is just shy of $1000.

    LED
    http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/pr...555&navAction=

    LCD
    http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/pr...351&navAction=

    the 42 might have been $600 in the LED. I have the 47 LED in my bedroom, it is a quite nice picture.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyEJL View Post
    That had to be the plain LCD one, the LED one is just shy of $1000.

    LED
    http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/pr...555&navAction=

    LCD
    http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/pr...351&navAction=

    the 42 might have been $600 in the LED. I have the 47 LED in my bedroom, it is a quite nice picture.
    You're right, my bad. I was actually looking at the 55" LED for $1999 and just glanced at the 47's. If you apply for their CC you get interest free for 12 months.
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    SO many TV's, so many reviews. I'm starting to think plasma my be the best bet, for what I'm looking for.
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    Basically sams club or Costco have the best non-online prices and good return policy . It's often hard to neat them even online.
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    Here's my opinion and I am a bit of a TV/electronics junkie. PLASMA. Most LED's/LCD's operate at a refreshe rate of 120hz. Some out there now are 240hz. the "cheap black friday deals" are 60hz. This means, how fast the screen deals with motion essentially. If you like sports, get the highest refresh rate you can. Which, just happens to be PLASMA. Almost all plasmas work at 600hz....there are no LED/LCD's doing that now, and certainly if they were, they would not be in that price range you mentioned.

    Now - 720p, 1080i, 1080p -- unless you are going with a Blu Ray player, 720p is fine. 1080i is on all TV's most of the time anyway.

    Lastly - CONTRAST RATIO -- pay close attention to this. Cheap LCD's/LED's will have less than 100,000 to 1 ratios....I bought a "Deal" and it was 4,000:1 ratio and it SUCKED. Plasmas have generally, 1,000,000:1 ratio on the low end.

    Bottom Line - Go Plasma, get the biggest bang for your buck. Selling point of LCD is it's a lighter TV vs. Plasma which is quite heavy, proportionately speaking. And thus why LCD's took over - - much much cheaper to ship/produce in 3rd world countries.

    Off my soapbox.
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    I've got a 50" Hitachi plasma (720p / 1080i) that I've had for 2 years and it's been great. Bought it for $1,000 back then and you can find the same thing for virtually half the price now.

    As has been stated, unless you're gonna be rocking Blu-Ray, there's no need for 1080p, since most broadcasts are compressed, still. Sports look amazing in 720p, especially compared to standard definition.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johndyoung67 View Post
    Here's my opinion and I am a bit of a TV/electronics junkie. PLASMA. Most LED's/LCD's operate at a refreshe rate of 120hz. Some out there now are 240hz. the "cheap black friday deals" are 60hz. This means, how fast the screen deals with motion essentially. If you like sports, get the highest refresh rate you can. Which, just happens to be PLASMA. Almost all plasmas work at 600hz....there are no LED/LCD's doing that now, and certainly if they were, they would not be in that price range you mentioned.

    Now - 720p, 1080i, 1080p -- unless you are going with a Blu Ray player, 720p is fine. 1080i is on all TV's most of the time anyway.

    Lastly - CONTRAST RATIO -- pay close attention to this. Cheap LCD's/LED's will have less than 100,000 to 1 ratios....I bought a "Deal" and it was 4,000:1 ratio and it SUCKED. Plasmas have generally, 1,000,000:1 ratio on the low end.

    Bottom Line - Go Plasma, get the biggest bang for your buck. Selling point of LCD is it's a lighter TV vs. Plasma which is quite heavy, proportionately speaking. And thus why LCD's took over - - much much cheaper to ship/produce in 3rd world countries.

    Off my soapbox.
    Excellent info.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johndyoung67 View Post
    Lastly - CONTRAST RATIO -- pay close attention to this. Cheap LCD's/LED's will have less than 100,000 to 1 ratios....I bought a "Deal" and it was 4,000:1 ratio and it SUCKED. Plasmas have generally, 1,000,000:1 ratio on the low end.
    Just wanted to second that you had a great post.

    One question, though: did they standardize contrast ratios? From what I'd read (granted, it hasn't been for at least a year if not longer), the contrast ratio was determined by the company and therefore 1,000,000:1 for one company might actually be equal to 10,000:1 for another company. Any insight regarding that?
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    That's the first I have heard about contrast ratios being standardized. I can say this...I bought a 26" Vizio with 4,000:1 contrast ratio and it just sucks (LCD). I bought a vizio 32"
    (also LCD) with 100,000:1 contrast ratio and it's pretty decent...much better than the small one....so go figure, typically a smaller screen will look sharper if all things are equal....My plasma I have in my den is 1080p and it's great with Blu Ray. All tvs that are HD have 1080i. But that always brings up the point of the source programming if watching on TV. Was it recorded in 1080i? Is it being broadcast in 1080i? etc. etc. Like a new Blu Ray of gone with the wind is not going to be the same as watching Avatar on Blu Ray....get my drift!
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    Just to add, although I do recommend a plasma, both their refresh ratings as well as contrast ratings are a joke. Outside of potentially video game systems or 3d bluray systems NOTHING comes in at higher than 60hz. The reason why early LCD panels were blurry in fast action wasn't refresh rate, but cycle time for a pixel to go from fully off to fully on to fully off again. Early sets took as long as 10-12 ms for a pixel to flip fully, once they were below around 8ms the blurriness started going away, and below 4ms its nonexistant. Still, a plasma gives better blacks, better color saturation and accuracy and overall better performance than anything but the high end LED LCDs (which cost far more).
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonewolf0420 View Post
    SO many TV's, so many reviews. I'm starting to think plasma my be the best bet, for what I'm looking for.
    If you plan on having a light on in the room, don't do plasma. I have 4 flats, one being plasma, and the plasma is the worse to watch with the lights on where as the LCDs are great to watch with the lights, no reflection in the background.

    It really isn't that big of a deal because after you focus on the images for so long, the lights sort of blend into the background but as soon as a commercial comes on, you have to refocus on the images again..its one of those mind/mental situations.

    Strangely, where the room lights reflect off the plasma screen is to the left side, and for some reason my left eye waters when I watch the plasma but it doesn't when I watch any of the LCDs. < I know that statement is one of those wtf, LOL, but any info may help!
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyEJL View Post
    Just to add, although I do recommend a plasma, both their refresh ratings as well as contrast ratings are a joke. Outside of potentially video game systems or 3d bluray systems NOTHING comes in at higher than 60hz. The reason why early LCD panels were blurry in fast action wasn't refresh rate, but cycle time for a pixel to go from fully off to fully on to fully off again. Early sets took as long as 10-12 ms for a pixel to flip fully, once they were below around 8ms the blurriness started going away, and below 4ms its nonexistant. Still, a plasma gives better blacks, better color saturation and accuracy and overall better performance than anything but the high end LED LCDs (which cost far more).
    The refresh rate and the pixels situation go hand in hand actually. It's hard to talk about one without talking about the other, kind of like have a severe cold without a runny nose or sore throat or headache.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardknock View Post
    The refresh rate and the pixels situation go hand in hand actually. It's hard to talk about one without talking about the other, kind of like have a severe cold without a runny nose or sore throat or headache.
    sort of. the refresh rate is how often the signal can be sent from top to bottom of screen, not necessarily how fast each individual pixel responds.

    Temporal/Timing Performance: Contrary to spatial performance, temporal performance is a feature where smaller is better. Specifically, the range is the pixel response time of an LCD, or how quickly you can change a sub-pixel’s brightness from one level to another. For LCD monitors, this is measured in btb (black to black) or gtg (gray to gray). These different types of measurements make comparison difficult.[28] Further, this number is almost never published in sales advertising.

    Refresh rate or the temporal resolution of an LCD is the number of times per second in which the display draws the data it is being given. Since activated LCD pixels do not flash on/off between frames, LCD monitors exhibit no refresh-induced flicker, no matter how low the refresh. rate.[29] High-end LCD televisions now feature up to 240 Hz refresh rate, which requires advanced digital processing to insert additional interpolated frames between the real images to smooth the image motion. However, such high refresh rates may not be actually supported by pixel response times and the result can be visual artifacts that distort the image in unpleasant ways.
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    I have the Samsung LN46A530 - 46" 1080p and it is AWESOME! I love it! The SRS audio (surround sound from the tv) is really good (I was quite skeptical), and the video quality is spectacular. I've had mine since November 2008, and never once regretted it! And the difference between 720 and 1080p now-a-days really isn't that much anymore (for LCD anyways), so I would really go for 1080p. I used to have a 32" Samsung CRT 1080i, and I can see a big difference!
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    As an avid HDTV junkie, I have a few things to add. I will focus the majority of my points on LCDs, as that seems to be the current trajectory of the conversation.

    Motion blur/artifacts/lag or whatever nomenclature one chooses to employ is an inherent problem of LCD-based technologies, including LED. This 'lagging' is the confluence between two variables that Easy details above: the response and refresh rates of an LCD television set. Before I go on, it may be useful to translate Easy's helpful paragraph into layman's terms.

    On the one hand, response rate (RR) simply indicates the amount of time that an individual pixel takes to cycle to and from active and inactive states. RR has been measured in numerous different ways, with the two predominant units of measures being BTB (black-to-black) and GTG (gray-to-gray) - or in other words, the amount of time a pixel takes to go from black/gray to white and back again. While on the other hand, refresh rate simply indicates the amount of times per second the display draws the data from the source: the higher the refresh rate (measured in hertz [Hz]), the more times an identical frame can be displayed before the TV draws new data from the source.

    As Easy indicates, early LCD sets often had slow response rates - relatively speaking, of course - that averaged out to 12 milliseconds (ms) or thereabouts. The longer the response time, the poorer the TV performs in reproducing moving images. This is more or less an intuitive concept. As your TV attempts to imitate motion by reproducing a sequence of still images, pixels in different areas of the screen need to be activated or deactivated: if a set's response time is slow, a pixel will retain a portion of the image, and this will create a "blurring effect."

    The relationship between blurring and refresh rates occurs under a generally similar pretense. As your TV set draws new frames from the source at a rapid rate to create the illusion of a moving object, it abruptly shifts from one still image to another: if the set is refreshing at a slower rate, say, 60Hz, the moving image will appear to have a shadow or blur. (Which is, of course, simply the still image from the previous frame.) The higher the refresh rate, the more times per second data is drawn from the source, and the less obvious the reproduction of moving images becomes.

    Now, choosing an LCD TV based on these specifications, as we can infer from Easy's blurb, is becoming more and more difficult. First, manufacturers tend to manipulate the response rate specification by altering the manner in which it's measured, or refuse to disclose the information altogether. This is a particularly constant practice for lower-tier manufacturers, and to a lesser extent, from top-tier manufacturers releasing "entry-models."

    Second, the once-reliable refresh rate specification is becoming quite dubious itself. While manufacturers may list up to 120 or 240Hz, this may not necessarily reflect the true refresh rate of the set. While an actual 120 or 240Hz set has doubled or quadrupled the actual activation rate of the pixels, some manufacturers use techniques such as interpolation or LED-backlight manipulation to reproduce a "120/240Hz effect." Unfortunately, because the measurement techniques for these specifications are easy to manipulate, these 'imposters' are still legally able to list the refresh rate at 120 or 240Hz, though the data may still be drawn only every 30th of a second (60Hz).

    Third, and finally, a higher refresh rate on an LCD set may not necessarily translate into a higher performance. As almost any review or technology site will discuss, the higher refresh rate LCDs, while performing well with sports or other constant-movement programming, produce very nasty artifacts with still images. As the same still image is reproduced at quadruple the speed, objects in that scene which are not intended to move at all become unpleasantly sharp. This largely negates the purpose of 120/240Hz TV, as the majority of your content, I assume, will not be sports.

    As a result of all this, choosing a lower-tier or 'entry-level' LCD is, in my opinion, generally a very poor idea. Response rates and refresh rates are not often accurately represented at best, and they are manipulated to sell lower-performing TVs at worst. While lower-tier plasma sets come associated with their own host of problems, motion blur and artifact production - one of the most annoying experiences when watching your set, believe me - are not one of them.

    Lonewolf,

    Out of your available options, I would go with the Panasonic U series. For an entry-level model, it performs reasonably well, and you will not need to deal with blurring issues. If you can, however, I would comb the internet for refurbished G10's (Panasonic TC-PXXG10), as they are last year's model and could be found at a reasonable price.

    For reference, I have both LCDs and plasmas. I have two LCDs (an older rear-projection Wega, and 2009's Samsung LN40A650) and two plasmas (Panasonic TC-P46G10 and Panasonic TC-P54VT25 [3D]).
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    Quote Originally Posted by diablosho View Post
    And the difference between 720 and 1080p now-a-days really isn't that much anymore (for LCD anyways), so I would really go for 1080p. I used to have a 32" Samsung CRT 1080i, and I can see a big difference!
    I was going to critique this heavily, until I realized you were speaking about price!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    For reference, I have both LCDs and plasmas. I have two LCDs (an older rear-projection Wega, and 2009's Samsung LN40A650) and two plasmas (Panasonic TC-P46G10 and Panasonic TC-P54VT25 [3D]).
    Which do you like better. The LCD's or plasmas?
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    Don't forget the possible issue of refelctions when going with Plasma... darker rooms with less windows are ideal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    I was going to critique this heavily, until I realized you were speaking about price!
    'Tis true good Sir! 'Tis true!
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumper75 View Post
    Don't forget the possible issue of refelctions when going with Plasma... darker rooms with less windows are ideal.
    Really? From reviews I've heard the exact opposite. Hmmm must research more.
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    Ya, I do know from experience that many LCDs can get horrible glare as well. I think it's pretty much standard for any tv though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prld2gr8ns View Post
    Which do you like better. The LCD's or plasmas?
    It is a difficult comparison, as they all feature different technology, were purchased at different times, and a number of other variables.

    This being said, the easiest and most applicable comparison is between the LN40A650 and the TC-P50G10: both were (in the case of the Panasonic, near) the top of their respective manufacturer's lineup for that production year, and represented the upper echelon for their respective technologies for that time period.

    With this said, the G10 destroys the A650 with regard to colour depth and accuracy, clarity, deepness of blacks, and general performance. While 'performance' tends to boil down to personal preference, I consider the term in an absolutist sense - which is to say, the term means the most accurate and lifelike reproduction of colours. While the A650 is brighter than the G10 - and this tends to be the case with LCD-based technologies more generally - its colours are not as accurate, its blacks are not as deep, and the clarity is lacking as well.

    As for the glare, it is a complete non-issue. I have the G10 in a living room with 5 windows including a bay window, situated directly next to the kitchen with a glass sliding door. To date, I have not been bothered by glare in the slightest. Panasonic has made significant strides in their upper-end models with regard to panel material and glare reduction.

    And my VT25! It is erection-inducing, to put it mildly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    It is a difficult comparison, as they all feature different technology, were purchased at different times, and a number of other variables.

    This being said, the easiest and most applicable comparison is between the LN40A650 and the TC-P50G10: both were (in the case of the Panasonic, near) the top of their respective manufacturer's lineup for that production year, and represented the upper echelon for their respective technologies for that time period.

    With this said, the G10 destroys the A650 with regard to colour depth and accuracy, clarity, deepness of blacks, and general performance. While 'performance' tends to boil down to personal preference, I consider the term in an absolutist sense - which is to say, the term means the most accurate and lifelike reproduction of colours. While the A650 is brighter than the G10 - and this tends to be the case with LCD-based technologies more generally - its colours are not as accurate, its blacks are not as deep, and the clarity is lacking as well.

    As for the glare, it is a complete non-issue. I have the G10 in a living room with 5 windows including a bay window, situated directly next to the kitchen with a glass sliding door. To date, I have not been bothered by glare in the slightest. Panasonic has made significant strides in their upper-end models with regard to panel material and glare reduction.

    And my VT25! It is erection-inducing, to put it mildly.
    tis good. I just bought a 60 inch plasma and I'm loving it.
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    Go to cnet.com for your research. They give good detailed reviews and have guides to knowing what to llok for as well.

    Also, keep an eye on sites like slickdeals.net. They always have good deals posted. This last black friday had some of the best TV deals I've seen ever. I'm sure closer to Christamas will yield more of those good deals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prld2gr8ns View Post
    tis good. I just bought a 60 inch plasma and I'm loving it.
    Nice! Make/model?
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    Samsung PN58C500 58'. Thought about it or the 58 panasonic. Both were priced right, just heard slightly better feedback on the Samsung model and went with it. It's the more basic model without the frills of some of the higher priced plasma's. It meets all my needs. Also got a Yamaha - 600W 5.1-Ch. Home Theater System to go with it. So I'm happy.
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    I have a vizio plasma right now. the picture isn't bad,it's just the reflection. My living room is bright and you can see the reflection on certain objects,and light in the picture. Is this a problem for me..no,when i buy another will it LCD...yes. Look into Vizio,i have had mine for 4years now with no trouble at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prld2gr8ns View Post
    Samsung PN58C500 58'. Thought about it or the 58 panasonic. Both were priced right, just heard slightly better feedback on the Samsung model and went with it. It's the more basic model without the frills of some of the higher priced plasma's. It meets all my needs. Also got a Yamaha - 600W 5.1-Ch. Home Theater System to go with it. So I'm happy.
    Nice! Which Panasonic were you looking at?

    I just purchased an Onkyo 7.1 myself, and never leave home these days.
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    Another great resource is AVSforum.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    Nice! Which Panasonic were you looking at?

    I just purchased an Onkyo 7.1 myself, and never leave home these days.
    Was looking at the TC-P58S2 but opted for the Samsung instead.

    The Onkyo 7.1 sounds freaking awesome man. I wouldn't leave home either if I had that sucker lol.
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    I've got this sucker in my living room

    http://support.jvc.com/consumer/prod...1&archive=true

    with Klipsch speakers hooked up to it. the only thing its missing is hdmi inputs, as it was a model built before hdmi was popular at all. still quite a fantastic unit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prld2gr8ns View Post
    Was looking at the TC-P58S2 but opted for the Samsung instead.

    The Onkyo 7.1 sounds freaking awesome man. I wouldn't leave home either if I had that sucker lol.
    It is absolutely fantastic - I love it! I only purchased the unit because of my new set, though: it was 3D, and I needed a 3D capable receiver that could pass the A/V through without quality loss.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    It is absolutely fantastic - I love it! I only purchased the unit because of my new set, though: it was 3D, and I needed a 3D capable receiver that could pass the A/V through without quality loss.
    Are you finding the 3D qualities worth the extra investment? I really dug some of the demo's I tried out, just couldn't get over the idea of paying the extra price to sit in my living room wearing sunglasses all day.
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    Well, my purchase was actuated by the set's 2D qualities as distinct from its 3D ones, so I paid no 'extra' in that sense. But to answer your question, let me pose a hypothetical: would I, ceretis paribus, pay a small premium for a 3D set over its 2D counterpart? Yes, I more than likely would.

    The 3D capabilities simply add a unique experiential component to movies and games that is difficult to ignore. While playing COD in 3D, for example, one is as much 'in' the game as they are 'playing' it - an experience which is completely distinct and separate from the 2D form. This aspect, in my solitary opinion, would certainly be worth a small increase in price.

    That said, 3D capability is not, in itself, a sufficient reason for purchasing a sub-bar unit. I would forego a lesser-quality 3D set in favor of a higher quality 2D set in any instance, given the proportions in content. And as I said, that was the motivation for purchasing the VT25, as it is the highest-rated set since the Kuro. (Which I wish I could have owned!)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    Well, my purchase was actuated by the set's 2D qualities as distinct from its 3D ones, so I paid no 'extra' in that sense. But to answer your question, let me pose a hypothetical: would I, ceretis paribus, pay a small premium for a 3D set over its 2D counterpart? Yes, I more than likely would.

    The 3D capabilities simply add a unique experiential component to movies and games that is difficult to ignore. While playing COD in 3D, for example, one is as much 'in' the game as they are 'playing' it - an experience which is completely distinct and separate from the 2D form. This aspect, in my solitary opinion, would certainly be worth a small increase in price.

    That said, 3D capability is not, in itself, a sufficient reason for purchasing a sub-bar unit. I would forego a lesser-quality 3D set in favor of a higher quality 2D set in any instance, given the proportions in content. And as I said, that was the motivation for purchasing the VT25, as it is the highest-rated set since the Kuro. (Which I wish I could have owned!)
    That makes perfect sense to me. If the 2D components are stellar then the added premium(if reasonable) for 3D would be a worthy investment especially if you are a big gamer(which I'm not). I bet it takes COD off the chart in that department for sure. My tv is solely used for non-gaming purposes i.e movies, sports etc. Which for me, made 3D a non-needed asset. However I did not take into account the fact that people would want to use my new tv to play their video games. Oh well, they just have to make due with the big ass screen for now.
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    Haha, well, I am sure they can make due!

    My set is primarily a movie set, though: I already own about twelve 3D Blu Rays, and the experience there is phenomenal as well. My satellite provider, Bell Canada, is also adding several 3D-content channels in the coming months.
  

  
 

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