|Originally posted by John-Miles
i will point out most people seem to ahve a low regard for RCA products, i myself ahve enver owned one. but i can tell you that from the prices i have seen the RCA is about 2/3 the price of the sony.
I believe I can speak to the RCA vs. Sony reliability issue. I had the RCA MM52100 (actually I had two of them) which was a POS. It actually had a great pix (no anamorphic squeeze, though) on HD and fair on DVD, but major QC issues sent two back before trading it in (thanks Best Buy) on a Sony 53HS10, RPTV. I bought a 38310 last September for use in the study here.
First, I'd say ALL HD sets have some kind of reliability/quality control/design deficiencies. With the Sony RPTV, you get the occasional blinking failure to power up and the banding. It also has some red push and failure to hold black. With the RCA Direct view, you get the geometrical distortion on some material, and some people have had power supply problems, as well.
All in all, though, I've found the 38310 to be fantastically reliable over the 10 months it's been in service here. No failures, knock on wood, and none of those annoying intermittent problems that plague some sets. Just solid reliable performance. The Sony 53HS10 has also been a champ. I still want to find time to remove the glare-inducing front screen protector, but aside from that, the design is pretty good. The DRC in the Sony works wonders on quality material put into it in 480i, but fails to satisfy with the garbage on DSS (GIGO). The RCA has a slightly more pleasing picture on nearly all material, due to the greatly enhanced contrast ability of a direct view set, although the Sony will reproduce more line pairs or resolution.
All in all, I think the reliability question is moot with the two direct-view sets. Both Sony and RCA, as companies, have their warts, as well as their reliability histories of less than perfect performance, but I think the 38310 still gets bad press from the problems it had when first released. RCA had had to solve those problems (by and large) and the set now represents a great bargain, as well as a pretty reliable piece of equipment. I would recommend an extended warranty, if one is available for a fair price, both on the RCA and on the Sony. But I think the RCA is a better choice overall, just for the value received.