questionslooking for a new tv. which is best, lcd, led or…

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There is no one answer. LCD is the most economical. Plasma has the best refresh rate and contrast. LED is the most energy efficient and technologically advanced. If you want 3d you need either Plasma or LED as the LCD can't keep up.

I happen to own a 42inch Plamsa and I love it. Plasma does have the downside of requiring a glass front, which means you'll get glare that you wouldn't have with an LED or LCD screen (with a plastic front). Hence if the TV is facing a window that sun comes through you should probably not get a Plasma - else get really good shades/curtains to pull down for watching the TV during daylight hours.

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I recently went from Plasma to LED, and I couldn't be happier with my purchase. The set I bought has just as good contrast as my older plasma did and the overall picture quality and color accuracy are far better. I know people will say that Plasmas have basically solved the issue of "burn-in" and I can say that at least in the case of the 2011 S30 line that's not entirely true. The 50" S30 I owned had a terrible time with image retention, even with very conservative brightness and contrast settings. We had a station logo "burn in" for weeks before it went away. After we dialed back the picture settings it got better, but it never lived up to the quality standards we had come to expect from Panasonic's 1080p sets.

This year we bought a Samsung 6000 series LED without all the bells and whistles, and so far it's been amazing. It has better control over picture settings and it doesn't have any issues with image retention.

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Also, I'd stay away from Black Friday deals. The TVs and such are usually one-off models made specifically for the sales and generally lack in quality over regular models.

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LED is the way to go.

I have a LG 55LW6500, it is fantastic and has been from day one. It has a matte finish screen, which means no glare or reflections on the screen at all. Very energy efficient.

MY opinion is to stay away from off-brand names, stay with the popular ones.
Most of all, "do your homework" look on the various sites for customer reviews, both the good ones and the bad ones. You can go to this site and look up almost any TV and find the owners praises and complaints : http://www.avsforum.com/

Check the warranties, be sure you can read a copy of it "Before" you make a purchase.
If you want to buy a extended warranty, again look around, you "do not" have to buy it when you buy the TV. " Read it before you buy it "

Be aware of the "return policy" just in case you do not like it when it is in your house.

I agree, stay away from "Black Friday" sales !

If you can wait, the weeks before "Super Bowl Sunday" has the best sales.

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Probably too late to get the best deal if you don't know which set you want at this time. Start with the size you want. Then decide what features you need. Then compare the sets available in that size on display in the showrooms. Unfortunately, you can't really try out putting in a blue ray, a DVD and checking out your cable/dish/internet connection on each set. Once you have it narrowed down to a couple that satisfy your requirements, then you check for price.
I personally have an LED "smart TV". I liked the features of the smart TV, and the LED was the only one I could carry by myself. Next set will be 3-D and even larger in size. It will be delivered.

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Thanks guys. I'll take it all into consideration and let you know what I end up getting.

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Only way to know is put your face in front of the TV. It's what's best for YOU.

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@mtm2 has my perspective: go someplace and personally watch for yourself. That being said, I prefer LED.

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I agree with the advice of staying away from black friday specials.

When I purchased my last TV (September 2011) I went with a LCD from a combo of price/features. Personally, I would recommend looking at LED though, especially for sizes larger than 42".

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@lparsons42: You're not making sense.

LED is an LCD screen. The ONLY difference between the two is the backlight. LED LCD's have LED backlights, while standard LCD's have CCFL flourescent backlights. First-gen and cheaper LED TV's suffer from a blue color cast that ruins skin tones, but overall LED is more energy efficient.

The only reason why the best 3D TV's tend to be LED's is because the LED TV's are more likely to be newer, and so the 3D tech in them is also newer by association. There is nothing inherent about standard LCD vs. LED that would affect the refresh rate at all.

But getting a 3D TV even if you don't want 3D is advisable for the same reason - it's likely to be newer and better than whatever else the stores are trying to get rid of right now.

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Another LED vote.
Looks like it's been explained thoroughly too, so I'll just leave it at "LED!"

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tl;dr

Plasma - Great refresh rate, bright, bigger sizes for same price, heavy, thick, uses a lot of power, gets very hot
LCD - Middle of the road quality/price, backlit, average power usage, sometimes get hot
LED (really LCD with LED lighting) - Edge lit makes for amazingly deep blacks (think Samsung AMOLED), very thin, low power usage, very light, sometimes has light leaks in corners/edges

I've had all three types and I currently have a 60" Samsung LED and probably won't ever go back to Plasma/LCD.

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Plasma pros: Cheaper than LCD screens at sizes around 42" and up, better image quality (especially color quality)
Plasma cons: Bulkier, uses slightly more power (if you can even call it a con, it's something on the order of $50 per year extra if it's on eight hours per day every day), glass front means glare if there's a light source in front of it
CCFL LCD pros: tend to be the cheapest at smaller sizes, especially if you just get a 720p model
CCFL LCD cons: usually lack the latest technology, color quality is not the greatest
LED LCD pros: least power consumption, better color quality than CCFL LCDs now that the blue cast issue has been corrected, can be amazingly thin, usually the sets with the latest tech are LED LCD sets
LED LCD cons: can have light leak issues, local-dimming sets are still pricey, edge-lighting is generally inferior to plasma, extremely thin sets means extremely crappy speakers (true of all flat-panel TVs though), can be pricey at larger sizes, relatively

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3D panel pros: higher quality panels, regardless of whether or not you intend to use 3D
3D panel cons: uh... none? Unless you count the 3D potentially causing headaches in some people if you choose to use it, but you can always turn it off and still have a higher-quality panel than a non-3D one

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@computiac: +1 for "just before the Super Bowl" deals, it really is the best time to buy a decent display

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Let me break it down for you simply:

If picture quaility is your overriding concern, then go plasma. The Pansonic VT50 series have a picture that is without question the best on the market. The lower line Pannys are not as good, but still impressive.

If you aren't that fussy, then go with any LED lit LCD that strikes your fancy.

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@abramokids: Thanks for asking this question. I didn't even know that I would want to know this stuff, and I now have a ton of data that I'll be using, next year, just before the Super Bowl. Thanks, @opello, for pointing out that it's a good time to buy a new TV. I've heard this from others, and I'm glad you said it.

This is my favorite kind of Black Friday inspired question. Now all I have to do is wait for someone smart to ask about the other stuff that should go with this (so I can take more notes). Why don't I ask about that myself? I don't know enough about these things to even know what to ask.

Great question, and really great answers! :-D

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Interesting... Wilfbrim seems to be alone in saying that the quality in a plasma is better than an LED. Or did I read that wrong?

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I forgot to mention it, but the worst thing going for Plasma is how hot they get... The LED TV I bought hardly gets warm at all, where the Plasma feels like standing in front of a heat lamp after a few hours. I suppose that's a great thing in the winter when it's cold, but it sucks in the summer.

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I was tempted by a few Plasma TVs but remembered what everyone said and stayed away. Ended up with a Spectre LCD from Walmart
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sceptre-40-Class-LCD-1080p-60Hz-HDTV-X409BV-FHD/19793651
Thanks for all the help guys!