Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wide Screen TV, QAM Channels, BestBuy...

Yep finally took the plunge after studying everything I could find regarding wide screen TVs online for over 3 months.

Our TV was a 35" CRT that was well over 12 years old, possibly 15 or more, and the front controls have been unusable for a number of years and lately it didn't always want to come on.

After much, and I do mean MUCH, studying online I had come to the conclusion that a Rear projection Wide Screen would be our best option, for the size we needed and cost, a $4,000.00 TV was not on this man's horizon.

The drawback to rear projection for us is the bulb replacement every two years or so, the depth and weight was not a consideration for us. I then found the Panasonic Rear projection LiFi series of TVs. 5 year warranty on the Bulb with some suggesting it may last the life of the set. Reviews online for these TVs was mostly positive, noting that it would not have as good a picture as a $4,000.00 set, most that reviewed were positive about it.

One notable less then stellar review was by CNet basically saying that the black reproduction was less then expected. However other reviewers who had bought this set debunked that review saying that adjustments available from the main menu could be used to overcome any such short coming.

I also, from all that research, saw many mentions of BestBuy selling the Panasonic 56" 1080p LiFi on Black Friday for under $1000.00. However the price for this model was back to $1,699.00 and the least expensive I could find was $1,299.00 at Tiger Direct with almost $200.00 in shipping costs and tax to be added bringing the total to almost $1,700.00...

Anyway to make a long story a bit shorter 3 weeks ago I happened to look at the BestBuy web site and lo and behold there was the Panasonic 56" LiFi 1080p Rear-Projection LCD HDTV-PT-56LCZ70 set for $969.00, with shipping at only $60.00 and tax the total was $1,130.98 so I bit the bullet and pushed the buttons and well...

6 days after placing the order the BestBuy truck rolled up to our door and the two guys making the deliveries were great. The moved our existing 35" CRT, which weighs a ton, from the stand, brought in the New TV and placed it in it's final resting place, handed me the papers and remote and I signed the dotted line and that was it.

Now out of the box we were absolutely thrilled with the TV however making some adjustments as suggested in some reviews and forums posts did help make the picture better but unless you are comparing this (or any other TV for that matter) side by side with one of the aforementioned $4,000.00 no way you will tell that the picture isn't the best in the world...

Bottom line is if you are an average TV viewer, as I consider us to be, I really believe you can't go wrong with this set especially if you can get it in the price range we paid.

Picture of the TV in our, now expanded, home built entertainment center is here...

Oh as included in the title of this post, QAM tuner is included with the set, contrary to some of the reviews I read... Now that brings me to the other subject of this post, a Rant really. In searching I find all the regular Comcast channels on the QAM tuner even a few HD channels, which look amazing, However the only local station I can find currently in HD is CBS WTEV TV 47, while ABC, NBC and FOX only appear available in SD.

I was under the impression that cable was required to carry the local TV stations in unencrypted HD however I am unable to locate them and if anyone has any information on this please let me know. I will be posting a list of QAM channels I found in a separate post following this post.

Anyway a BIG Plus for this Panasonic 56" LiFi Rear Projection and BestBuy both for pricing and their outstanding service.



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