questionsdoes anyone have experience with "lower cost…

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They all have the potential to be good. None of them manufacture their own screens, so you know they are being made by a major screen maker. However, they might be willing to accept something a little closer to the reject bin as far as dead or stuck pixels.

The other thing these TVs are missing is the firmware of better TV's. And if they use cheap LED backlights, you're going to have trouble getting rid of the bluish color cast in the picture. Color accuracy may not matter to you.

Reliability is the other thing. I wouldn't buy something that just came to market. I would be looking for a model at least a year old to see how the reviews look - covering the failures under warranty. Does the company replace faulty products or just string you along until the warranty expires.

Seiki made headlines earlier this year by bringing a 4K TV to market at under $1000.

A lot of computer monitors accept HDMI from a Blu-Ray player, so you could look at them if you don't need a TV tuner.

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I went through hell with a Hannspree 40" from Costco. The main board blew out twice, and Costco credited me with almost the full price (after over a year of use). We spent an additional $40 or so and upgraded to a Sony (which I have had excellent results with in years past) and couldn't be happier. Funny thing, though - when I was @ the service shop I asked the tech what the differences were between vendors. He thought they were all pretty much the same, and it depended on when the set was built. I learned that some vendors have lower standards for many of the internal parts, and sometimes the vendor will start sourcing out lower cost parts in order to make up for financial problems in other areas of the business. The tech noticed that the internal parts on Samsung sets became lower quality after Samsung lost their initial suit against Apple. (cont.)

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Since you are talking about your kid, I'd recommend separate units, since DVD's will be history soon, and Blu-Ray soon after that. Technology will soon offer XHD streaming and everything will change again. Tablets will overtake laptops & desktops are almost history for many people. Clouds are killing hard drives and thumb drives.This stuff happens fast (Moore's law is the driver). I would also recommend buying used over new @ her age. There are some great deals on Craigslist and other local sources, esp. when people move, and most esp. in college towns.

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vizio and westinghouse are both decent lower cost brands for televisions.

re: choice of format - do you actually have a bluray collection? if not - skip it. I gave up on spinning optical media several years ago. I'm able to stream any movie i want via the myriad services such as netflix, anywhere on-demand (via your cable provider) amazon video, and etc etc.