Hi-Def TVs Cost Drops 40%, Quality Up

Looking to upgrade to a hi-def TV? Now is the time, says Consumer Reports. Price are down as much as 40% and quality is up. They tested a whole bunch of TVs and rated as Best Buys the Sony Bravia KDL-46S3000 $1900 46-inch and Toshiba Regza 42HL67 $1,150 42 inch LCD TVs. Based on their surveys, repair rates have been very low, and so they still recommend skipping the extended warranty.

TV Stars [Consumer Reports]


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  1. Antediluvian says:

    Still liking our big screen Philips from Costco. Made the Pats’ Superbowl loss absolutely stunning in HD. Nothing like a devastating but beautiful picture to cause you to weep and smile at the same time.

  2. pionar says:


    Looks like you’re pretty lucky. At my store (a regional A/V store), Philips/Magnavox is our most repaired brand, especially Philips plasmas. In fact, it got so bad our TV buyer decided to replace them with LG in 2008, though from what I’ve read, that’s not much better.

  3. Jesse in Japan says:

    Some day kids will grow up never understanding what 640×480 is like.

  4. m4nea says:

    correction…720×480 :)

  5. ShadowFalls says:

    @Jesse in Japan:

    Heh, sure they will, it will be their portable game system/phone/gps/walkie talkie/parental monitor/media player/new sony format player/allowance dispenser.

  6. krunk4ever says:

    $1,1500!?!?! ;p

  7. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @krunk4ever: That would be slightly more than a buck three-eighty.

  8. nweaver says:

    krunk4ever: Yeah, thats pricey. :(

    Costco has one 42″ (Vizio 1080P) with coupon for $950 next week.

  9. forgottenpassword says:

    still too expensive for a large-screen tv that can be easily carried off by a burglar while I am at work.

  10. buzzair says:

    That Sony is the 720p, not 1080 and it’s 1500 on Amazon

  11. Antediluvian says:

    @pionar: It’s an LCD, and the repair issue was one of the reasons we opted to buy at Costco and with the AMEX card.

    @forgottenpassword: We wall-mounted it (on our own — ridiculously easy, and it’s actually level!) and there’s a place for a padlock in a locking bar so you can’t just slide the set off the wall. I didn’t know the wall mounts did that until we installed this one — I was actually concerned about this.

    A set that just sits there on a table or stand is clearly no problem for burglars to carry off, especially the smaller ones.

    We learned that flat TV’s are just not that heavy in spite of being able to render Justin Timberlake unconscious — the dad character was carrying a 42″+ screen while drinking a can of Pepsi.

    I wonder if the “render JT unconscious” feature costs extra?

  12. daskrabs says:

    Smart people will wait until the Feb 2009 analog switch-off, at which point HDTV’s will be ubiquitous and cheaper still. I’m sorry, but $1150 is too damn much for a 42″ LCD. No wonder our econmy is in the shitter. Call me when they reach $500.

  13. Pop Socket says:

    The problem with Consumer Reports is that the models change faster than the magazine can be printed. I just bought my Bravia KDL-46V3000 (the V is for 1080p rather than 720) for under two grand with tax after my BigBoxLoyalMemberBirthdayCoupon.

  14. arch05 says:

    @forgottenpassword: So I’m guessing you don’t own an ipod, wallet, or jewelry because OMG ITS EZ TO B BURGLED!

  15. dirk1965 says:

    Vizio stinks!

  16. cerbie says:

    @Jesse in Japan: of course they will. Kids today don’t know what it was like to try to find good patches of sod to make a house with. Those kids that helped make a sod roof didn’t know what it was like to wear fur, and delouse their caves. Technology marches on.

    @Antediluvian: after what he did to the open side of the restaurant, and that poor car (I’m biased, as I just got a green sedan one), it should come free!

  17. ninjatales says:

    @forgottenpassword: They could take your laptop. Or even your credit card which in my opinion is worse than having a tv stolen.

  18. Terri Ann says:

    And to think my roomie now has to pay approx $3g for the 47″ that was supposed to be free when the pats won the super bowl. Eh I own the couches we watch the TV from, that is my contribution.

  19. nweaver says:

    Dirk1965: But costco’s return policy and warantee rocks, so you get the set, if you like it fine, if not, you return it in a month or two.

  20. Jaysyn was banned for: https://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    Somehow I don’t think my 2 hours of TV a week are worth that upgrade.

  21. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Last week a salesman at Abt told me not to expect either a plasma or LCD set to last more than 5-10 years because the sets get so hot & destroy the components.

  22. forever_knight says:

    now is not the time. the time is in 6-12 months when the prices have fallen even more due to the tanking economy.

  23. Antediluvian says:

    @forever_knight: You’re close, but not quite.

    The correct formula for determining when to purchase technology is

    (today’s_date) + (6-9months) – (30_days_before_Xmas) + (30_days_after_Xmas) + (30_days_after_Macworld) – (30_days_after_Apple_releases)

    Got that?

    You’ll notice there’s a catch: it’s always based on today’s date,
    so you CAN NEVER BUY at the right time. :-)

    But seriously, here is the actual way to determine the “right time:”

    Can I afford this?
    Do I want it?
    Can I afford this?
    Do I need it?
    Can I afford this?

    This is what matters more than trying to time a technology purchase.
    Other types of purchases, like cars, may have more predictable market schedules.

    Buy something because you can afford it, and you want it.
    Don’t try to anticipate price drops, technology improvements,
    or product line refreshes too closely because it’s not that easy
    or useful for most people (industry analysts aside).

    I look at it this way:
    if the price of my (item) drops ($x) in the next (time_period),
    will I have gotten ($x) worth of enjoyment out of it?
    If yes, then I’ll buy it, assuming the answers to the key questions above are yes.

  24. Ann-Marie says:

    Just got the Sony Bravia — best deal was at ABC Warehouse (over Best Buy) — and it’s frickin’ sweet! We did our homework on the best HD TVs out there, and over and over the Bravia kept coming up. The picture is so good that I may never go to a sports game again because live and in person may not be able to beat my TV picture! Couple that with a Blu-Ray and you’re seeing things more clearly than you’ve ever seen them before.

  25. Vizio VU42LFHDTV and enjoying it. $850. New.

  26. quagmire0 says:

    HD is still definitely a luxury, and don’t forget the money you’ll have to drop to upgrade your cable or dish to the HD

  27. mthrndr says:

    @dirk1965: Uh, negatory. Vizio is a great value set. I’ve had a Vizio for 2 years and while it doesn’t match today’s models, it has stunning 720p/1080i output, works great as a 2nd monitor (for viewing Netflix online) and was a frickin steal at $950 in January 2006.

  28. forgottenpassword says:


    I live in an apartment where mounting/locking a big appliance on a wall is a no-no.


    No, I own those, they just dont sit on display while I am out. They are either on my person when I go out, or well hidden (talking about actual secret compartments here) or securely locked up.

    I still own a heavy 5 year old “takes 2 people to carry” 35 inch TV. WIth razor blades affixed to the bottom edges. ;)

  29. G-Dog says:

    I just got a 42″ Insignia Plama at Bestbuy on Saturday. It was on sale for $799. Nice TV so far, and the stock speakers sound almost as good as the 2.5 PC speakers I had jimmy rigged to the TV it replaced!

  30. arch05 says:

    @quagmire0: You mean the free HD Digital Cable Box I got from Time Warner? Oh, you mean you still have basic cable! A dying breed in these parts.

  31. elislider says:

    i agree, those two tv’s noted are very nice ones. personally i have a sony kds50a2000, which is pretty much an amazing tv, i got it last summer for $1400 at circuit city after much coupon haggling. its discontinued but the continual models (kdsXXa2020 or kdsXXa3000 etc) are even better, i just wish i could have afforded the 60 incher

  32. n/a says:

    Shame that you have to register to see the items they reviewed.

  33. RhymePhile says:

    I’m in the process of shopping for an HDTV right now, and lemme tell you, trying to get the same price two days in a row at Amazon is quite difficult. At one point the LCD I was looking at fluctuated as much as $71 from one day to the other.

    I’m thinking of waiting until March Madness gets closer, and then perhaps sales will lean more to my favor.

  34. gmanj says:

    Snatched up a 37″ Olevia from KMart, $617 last week. Same TV is on sale at Target this week for $748. Looks great and was a CR Best Buy.

    Happy so far.

  35. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    For $650, Samsung just offered me a 3-year extended warranty on my one-year old $1400 LCD TV…which I can purchase brand new now for about $800.

    Timing is everything.

    I don’t have it.

  36. ninjatales says:

    @forgottenpassword: Geez. Where do you live? Iraq???

  37. wellfleet says:

    @mthrndr: Vizio are a piece of s***. If you’re electrically-inclined, open one up some day. It’s basically a stripped-down,bare-bones, all-plastic parts, tiny-processor Sony. It’s like taking a BMW and turning it into a Chevelle. Don’t expect longevity.

  38. rikkus256 says:

    Olevia and Vizio are the best bang for your buck brands. I will only buy those two brands.

  39. outsdr says:

    “Looking to upgrade to a hi-def TV? Now is the time”

    I think I’ve heard that every month, at least once a month, for the past three years. It seems like it’s *always* the time to upgrade!

    Except, HD TVs still look like crap to me. Over-saturated blown out colors, compression artifacts, so grainy they look like there’s a screen door over the picture…

    For now, the 28″ tube TV I’ve had for seven years (It was given to me used and I’ve never had any trouble with it) is just fine, and comparable quality to what I’ve seen, no matter the brand, store, area of the country, or time of day I’ve looked at “HD” tvs.

    I want high quality image- I’ll watch video on my computer monitor.

  40. I am such an idiot! The Bravia XBR4 is the worst rated TV. Fully 1080P ready too but I can’t get it to work. I got the best deal at Circuit City. Every place else can’t give these pieces of crap away but I only paid $6,000.00 for mine. I know everyplace else is dumping these pieces of junk for $1,500.00 but I always try to do my part to help the economy.