The Great Digital Television Debate
Go-Reviews revisits the Plasma TV and LCD television debate, in
searching out the best brand and off-brand options.
Comparing the display units on display on the showroom floor is
not reliable. You need to know where their feed (source of signal)
is coming from; cable, DVD player or a HDTV broadcast.
In this series we look at:
Brand Vs Off-Brand TV's
If you want a quick purchase and comfort of a well known brand,
then that’s the one for you. If you are willing to take the
time, and are interested in learning a bit more about the technology
you are investing in, then you can save hundreds and get a lesser
known brand TV that's just as good as the major brands.
Big-Brand-Name does not always equate to best picture quality.
Cheaper Off-Brand-Name does not always equate to inferior quality
or poor picture quality.
Sony, Toshiba, RCA and Sumsung have been known to fair poorly next
to an unknown brand.
The most well known flat-panel TV brands are: Sony, Toshiba, Samsung,
Panasonic, and Sharp. Amongst the big brands the preferred choices
appear to be:
Off-brands flat-panel TV manufactures include: Vizio, Maxent, Westinghouse,
Syntax Olevia, and Polaroid. These brands all offer flat-panel TV
at a much lower price compared to major brand names.
Only buy televisions you can get customer reviews on, so if you
like to be first off the block with anything new, pay for the known
brand, or expect more problems.
What puts people off buying off-brands is the big “unknown”.
- Reputation: There is no history or reliability
factor behind these brands.
- Picture Quality: Whilst some off-brands have
terrible in-store picture quality, many appear equal to, if not
better than some of the major brands.
- Design: From a design perspective, the aesthetic
design of some off-brands look well crafted and actually look
better than some big brand models.
The choice between brand and off-brand also depends upon the screen
size. If looking for a television in the 25"-35" range,
then Westinghouse LCD’s may meet the mark. But in large screen
sizes, quality becomes more of a factor.
Reputation is important in any consumer industry. Sony, Toshiba,
Mitsubishi, Samsung, Sharp, RCA, all have solid reputations and
people trust the brand. When you spend 2k on something, it’s
that important. But remember, Sony was once an unknown brand as
were Panasonic, Daewoo etc.
Reputation of the seller can be just as important as the manufacturer.
Most low-cost stores like Wal-Mart and Costco carry a range of
branded and off brand options, so they are a good starting place.
And don’t be too hasty in claiming brand name changes. Many
believe LG, was previously the low end Goldstart brand. In reality,
LG is a very large multi national company that produces many products,
including appliances, cell phones, LCD and Plasma televisions.
LG stands for Lucky-Goldstar. Back in the 80s, they had two product
brands: GoldStar for the US market, and Lucky for the domestic Korean
Goldstar was just a small part of their very large product line.
LG supposedly dropped the Goldstar line because it did not meet
with sales expectations. They realized making better quality products
over "cheaper" ones is better business. And they are right.
Reviews show LG televisons match the high of quality of better known
brands like Sony, Panasonic, Sharp.
In Korea, LG and Samsung are major rivals, and considered more
or less equivalent.
In the USA Samsung and LG were previously both low-cost options,
each focussing on different technologies. For example, Samsung is
bigger on DLP, while LG is bigger on LCD projection. Both make plasmas
and LCD panels.
Many of the big Japanese and European brands outsource their manufacturing
or components to other companies. Sony's Grand Wega LCD projection
sets were initially made by LG, and Sony's main line plasmas were
made by Samsung. (This does not apply to the XBR.)
More In This Series:
Home Entertainment Resources