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I am a newbie to HDTV (still watching a 32" tube) and am totally confused by all the information and models available and am hoping you can help me out.


I'm looking to get a television for my living room that's somewhere between 46 inches and 52 inches. I've got a 52" wide space that the tv must fit in so I'm limited to a max width of that. Also I'm limited with my budget...$1500 is about my max.

Some information concerning my needs: distance from seat to tv will typically range from about 9' to around 13'. The room is not what I would consider bright. Medium light during the day and low light (one small 60w lamp) at night. When the blinds are open the sun will be coming in from the back of the set but we seldom have the blinds all the way up.


I will be mainly using it to watch TV (very seldom do I watch movies...concerts on DVD sometimes) and Elmo videos (got a 15 month old boy). Along with watching those items I will be playing a lot of video games (Wii, PS2, Dreamcast). It will be hooked up to cable tv service.



I found a Panasonic 50" plasma (TH50PX80U) as well as a 50" Samsung plasma (PN50A450) locally that seem to be good sets for the money (both under $1300).


My concerns are:


1) A fear of burn in with either of the two sets mentioned above because of all the video games I play.


2) Is there a way to prevent burn-in and is burn-in permanent or can the effects be reversed?


3) The fact that they are only 720p. I don't have anything that would utilize the 1080p right now but I'm not sure about the future.


4) Since my 32" tube is still kicking should I wait a while for either the 1080p plasmas or the 46"/52" 1080p/120Hz LCDs come down into my price range ($1500 or below).


5) Do I need the $200 professional calibration that the man in the store recommended? (remember I'm HDTV illiterate)


6) Is an extended warranty ($260) a good idea or not? Warranty on most models is 1 year and my credit card doubles that to two years. Extendted warranty is 4 years I think.


7) Does the standard warranty cover burn-in?


Thanks for any help you can give me. Sorry to be so "un-smart" about this but I've just been sticking with my 32" tube for so long (9 years I think) that I haven't really looked at what all the new technology means...plus I'm not looking forward to find a new entertainment center...everything is just so convenient with the one I have.


Anyway, thanks for your help.


HMArndtGolf
 

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Let's see if I can help you with your concerns.


1&2) If you're so concerned about burn-in, you're better off getting an LCD. However, I don't think plasmas are as sensitive to burn-in anymore. From what I heard. I believe they're getting better everyday.


3) 1080p is only good if you watch a lot of Blu-ray movies or play PS3/Xbox 360 games. As far as HD cable is concerned, the bandwidth is just too high, so I don't think they'll be broadcasting 1080p anytime soon.


4) If you're happy and satisified with your tube and you have a tight budget, then you should wait. However, if you really want the added experience of a sharper, clearer picture and you can afford it, then right now isn't such a bad time as HDTVs have really dropped significantly in price over the years. But just like any other technology, they more you wait, the lower the prices will get.


5) For calibration, all you need is the Avia DVD. It gets the job done and is a lot cheaper than hiring a professional.


6) Extended warranties I never recommend. It's mainly because they are useless. If you're TV is working fine within the first year of use, chances are, it'll be just fine in the years to come. Each HDTV model is only available for so long. Eventually, they'll be obsolete and new models will come out. So, labor and parts for that specific model can no longer be found and your extended warranty will be pretty much useless. Some people, however, think they're worth it, but I personally don't.
 
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