Thursday, May 10, 2007

What does $6k of TV get you?

I recently reviewed 2 television models from Best Buy. One is a newer technology flat plasma, the other is a older tech rear-projection unit - the kind we've had around for 10+ years. Rear projections have improved quite a bit. They are brighter, clearer, and thinner (the unit here only measures 17 inches in depth, the plasma is 4 inches but once you put on the stand it still needs 13 inches of table space).

The big difference is the price. The plasma is six thousand dollars! The rear projection is $1,700. Quite a difference! I posted the comparison specs below, but here's the skinny: the plasma is thinner (can be wall mounted), 'slightly' better resolution (a difference you probably couldn't see with the naked eye) and pretty much the same in regards to features, inputs, etc. Where the plasma comes out ahead is in the contrast ratio, clearly the plasma is much crisper than the projection set.

But they're both High-Definition, so is better contrast and the ability to hang it like a painting worth $4,300? Call me cheap, but I don't think so.

Models: Samsung 61" DLP HDTV vs Philips 63" Plasma HDTV

Screen Size: Plasma 63, Projection 61
Built in HDTV Tuner: Both models
Resolution: Plasma 1366x768, Projection 1280x720
16:9 Widescreen Ratio: Both models
HDMI Inputs: 2 Both models
S-video: Plasma has 1 extra up front
Composite: 3 Both models
PC Input: Projection
USB Port: Both
V-Chip Parental Controls: Both models
Warranty: Same
Dimensions: Plasma 40x62x4 (wall hung) & 43x62x13 stand mounted, Projection 38x55x17
Built-in DVR: Neither
Native Mode: Plasma 768, Projection 720
Contrast Ratio: Plasma 10000:1, Projection 2500:1
Remote: Plasma standard, Projection universal
Price: Plasma $5,999, Projection $1,699

If anyone's wondering, I have a 70" front projection in my media room/office for watching movies. It's a 2004 model I purchased used in 2006. It displays crisp vibrant movies. It may not be up to speed with a 2007 plasma, but its larger and with the projector, screen, and surround sound theater DVD/VHS system it cost me about $550. That's quite a bit better than $6,000, if I do say so.

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