Tech I want a new TV but don't know where to start

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  1. I'm trying to save my handbag buying money to get a new TV for the den but I really don't know where to start. The only thing that I have figured out so far is that I want it mounted on the wall and at least 30". I also don't want to spend more than $500. Can anyone offer any basic TV advice?
  2. In my family room we have a vizio 32". It was $399 at costco and it has a really good picture, it is mountable to the wall too. IMO vizio is a pretty good brand and they are very reasonably priced. In the living room we have a 37" LG that was mounted on the wall for a while but recently came down. That one was $789 (ish) at bestbuy. The picture quality is just as good as the vizio but I dont really watch it all that often. Ill compare in the morning and come back for you.
  3. Be prepared to spend at least $50-$100 on the bracket to mount the tv, if you want to do it safely. The brackets for that size tv are less expensive than for the large tvs, but you want to get a good bracket so that it doesn't fall the heck off (I worked at Best Buy for 3 years - trust me, it happens).
  4. Vizio isn't too bad for that price range. Olevia isn't bad for that price range either. If you can, I would definitely recommend going to a Best Buy, Frys or Costco and looking at the TVs side-by-side to determine quality.

    Samsungs also make GREAT TVs as well but in all honesty, I'm not sure if they will fit in that price range.

    Obviously any TV you get should be 1080p. Nothing below that (not 1080i or 720p) is worth it IMO. These days though, I don't see that many HDTVs that aren't 1080p but since you're looking at the $500 price range, be sure to check.

    Also - have you decided if you want a plasma or LCD? That's another decision you should make before you buy. I'd personally recommend going with LCD. Plasmas will give you more of a true black, making the color contrast better which is the one thing I love about them over an LCD. However, they're known for having more glare, higher amounts of energy usage and shorter life span which is why I decided to go with LCDs. When you're looking at HDTVs, LCDs are more common than plasmas anyways. LCDs generally won't give you that rich color that plasmas do because of the true black factor but honestly, once you take it home, you probably won't notice it. Just the two factors of longer shelf life and lower energy consumption made LCD a big winner for me though.

    Gluck and happy TV shopping!
  5. Actually, in the size that she's looking for, the visual difference between a 720p and 1080p TV is going to be pretty inconsequential. Also, there aren't any cable or satellite providers that provide programming in 1080p, so unless she's going to hook up a Blu-Ray or PS3 to it, nothing she views on it will be in 1080p anyway. My mom was in the market for a 32-inch about a year ago, and I helped her find one, and I think the Sharp Aquos line was the only one that Best Buy carried that even had a 1080p at that size. And at 30 inches, plasmas aren't really even an option. I can't think of a manufacturer off the top of my head that makes one that small. LCDs are easier to find at smaller sizes and plasmas are easier to find at larger, as a general rule.

    To the OP - honestly, at that price range, you might find a decent TV but probably won't get a great one. Bump it up to around $700-$800 and you'll be in much better shape, if you think you can fit that in your personal budget. If not, totally understandable, but getting a quality TV AND getting it wall-mounted for $500 or less is going to be a challenge.
  6. ^^ Hmm that's true. I forget the limitations with 30" since I prefer/own 52".

    Well OP - regardless, hopefully some of my points were useful in case you do decide to go bigger. ;)
  7. #7 Jul 6, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2009
    Yeah, I'm with you - I'm currently basking in the glow of a 50" Samsung. I worked in an electronics store/sold TVs for several years, so I'm used to working with some of the limitations that customers don't usually think about. It was an interesting profession!

    But what you said about going into an electronics store and looking at the TVs for yourself is totally right - even when you look at all the specs of a TV and think you've picked the technically superior one, you might look at another next to it and like its picture better. It's not as much of an exact science as you would think.

    I have a 50" Samsung slimline DLP that's 720p - I went with a DLP because I wanted a fast video processor for football and because I knew I wouldn't be able to wall-mount. My unit sits on a table and is about 10 inches deep. Anyway, my parents bought a Sony LCD a year later that is technically far superior - 1080p, 120hz, huge contrast ratio, all that. It cost twice as much. Still, every time my mom visits, she comments on how much better she likes the picture on my TV than on hers.
  8. TBH if you dont watch that much TV or dnont care that much the vizio should be fine. Compared to the tube TV it replaced its much better but to the average person a TV like this is fine, no need to bump your budget.
  9. Amanda, we have a 46" Samsung slim DLP and I am really impressed the picture quality. We have a PS3 hooked up to it and I just love watching BluRay on it.
  10. I really love their lines of DLPs - some of the best money I've ever spent. I like that the frame around the picture is so thin - a little less than an inch. I feel like I look at it and all I see is picture instead of a giant shiny black plastic frame like on a flat panel.
  11. I think if you look around and wait for sales, you can get what you're looking for.

    Like Amanda said, 720p will be fine. So that's gonna save you some cash right there. Vizio's are great deals, but be careful. They do have some crap models. Still, you can get a great Vizio for cheap if you know what to look for. Samsung and Sony tend to be "can't go wrong" brands. I'd go over to and read reviews. If you find a good deal, put in the model number in their search feature and read what they have to say. Typically, they're pretty thorough with their reviews.
    As for places to shop, it depends. Some people like to see and feel the TV they're buying and like to know they have a brick and mortar store to go to if anything breaks. In that case, Best Buy and Sears often have sales...especially Sears. If you're fine with buying online, check out,, and Also look at for sales and deals at various retailers.
  12. I am getting a new T.v soon as well, Im glad someone else posted this :smile: And I'm glad I stumbled across it to read the comments.

    I do have 1 question tho. What brands do you think are the best from a quality perspective? (based on personal experiences or tech knowledge) :smile: Thanks!
  13. I recently bought a 46" sony LCD 1080p. At first i was going to go all out and go with the higher processor but the salemans at the store actually told me to save my money and to go with the lower processor.

    and word of advice! (because i wasn't told) an HDMI cable is SO worth it. and at least on the sony's (not sure about other brands) when you hook up your HDMI cable, you select your tv to use it by hitting the 'input' button on the remote and then selecting it.
    I wasn't told to buy an HDMI cable.... the manual didn't tell me how to get it to work.... it took me 30 minutes to figure out how to get my cable to work once i had the HDMI cable hooked up.

    and all HDMI cable are the same... no need to spend $50+ on one. Somewhere online you can find really REALLY cheap ones but i wasn't patient and went to walmart and got one for around $30 (even tho online they said they had one for $15)

    oh and just for perspective for people who are looking to buy - mine was on sale, i paid around $1160

    and amanda... i don't even want to know what you paid for yours because I know how ridiculous best buy's employee discount is! i'll just be jealous!!! ;)
  14. Heh, that's a more complicated question than you would imagine. Every TV person has their own favorites and pet peeves. And then, not every brand makes every type of TV. Sony, for example, doesn't make any plasmas, only LCDs. They're definitely one of the better LCDs manufacturers, and I'm personally a big fan of Samsung (I own both a DLP and an LCD from them, had them both for a few years, still adore them both) for either LCDs or plasmas.

    If you're in the market for a plasma, you absolutely can't do any better than Pioneer, as far as mass-market available units go. Their TVs are g-g-g-gorgeous. They don't make LCDs.

    My parents have a Sony and they like it just fine - I like my Samsung DLP better and it was less expensive and is 10" bigger, but not everyone wants a DLP because they only come in sizes larger than 46" and are not true flat panels. They're for a specific kind of customer that's looking for a specific type of performance and size. It was exactly what I needed for my situation, though, so I'm incredibly glad I bought it (and yes, the BBY employee discount is pretty sick, lol).
  15. Oh, and something that a lot of people think would be obvious but an alarmingly high number of people don't understand - you have to order HD service through your cable or satellite company and have a special box, otherwise your big expensive HDTV is going to look exactly like the crappy old one it's replacing. Also, you need an HDMI cable (or component will do in a pinch). An HD signal is so much more data than normal cables are able to carry, it requires a special cable, like a previous poster said.