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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

With Hi-Def TVs, Does Brand Matter?

By Des Smalls

Panasonic has high-def TVs that are consistently ranked high, and they have a commanding lead in making exceptional plasma TVs. In particular, the Panasonic Viera line has produced exceptional plasma TVs that, while on the expensive side, are affordable for most home users. The Viera doesn't have the very best plasma qualities - the blacks aren't quite as velvety as on some brands, and the contrast is just a little off - but Panasonic has some qualities that make up for it. For instance, they have a THX mode that creates the closest 3-D illusion you'll find on the market today. Overall, these televisions are among the very best on the market today.

Pioneer is a good brand to go with, though they are not quite up to the standards of the top-line high-def TVs because, surprisingly, of some programming issues. The Pioneer Kuro PDP-5020FD plasma TV has consistently ranked at the top of the heap for its exceptional black color and its great resolution and contrast. However, there are some issues; its color programming is a little off, which means not that you'll have bad color but that you'll have trouble tweaking things to suit yourself. Pioneer also prices its sets high in comparison to the rest of the market - not surprising when you consider its overall quality. If you don't mind a little fiddling, however, you will probably find the Pioneer sets to be superior even to the excellent Panasonic.

Samsung is emerging as a top player in both rear-projection DLP TVs and in LCD TVs. Their LN52A65 model has surprisingly deep black colors for an LCD TV, though the tradeoff may be the shiny screen that picks up a lot of glare in lit rooms. In their DLP department, the HL61A750 rear-projection model has, like the LCD model, surprisingly good blacks for a DLP TV, and everything else about the set performs at or above expected level for a good DLP. Of the two, the LCD TV gives superior performance, but the DLP set is an incredibly good value for what you get.

Sony does not do as well with plasma TVs as Panasonic, but it does very well with more digital technology like LCD and DLP. Their Bravia line of LCD TVs, like the Samsung models, have excellent black reproduction, and overall the sets are truly excellent for both television viewing and use as a monitor or gaming system. Oddly, the main problem with Bravias may be that they are TOO good; complaints are mostly about the picture being unnaturally smooth rather than the more usual problem with jittery images. Almost exactly the same goods and bads were reported about Sony's rear-projection DLPs (not surprising as the programming is similar), though the projection models were significantly cheaper.

You'll find that once you exit the top brand names that quality does begin to suffer, though prices come down a bit. For a television you want to have for years, though, is the couple of hundred dollars in savings really make it worth getting an inferior TV?

SNS Designs, Inc. owns a number of websites. They carry wide selection of High Def TV, Samgung LCD TV, Plasma TV. They offer the most popular in home theatre and a number of televisions that range from Sony, Pioneer to LG that everyone can afford.


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