Consumer Alert: Big TV bargains

(National-Consumer Reports) November 20, 2006 - LCD and plasma TVs are hot sellers, but if you want a really big screen, Consumer Reports says the rear-projection TVs it's been testing give you the best bang for the buck.

One Toshiba costs $2,800 and has a 62-inch screen. Yes, rear-projection sets aren't flat panels, but at 15 to 20 inches, they're much thinner than they used to be. And Consumer Reports says the picture quality can be terrific.

"Colors are very vibrant and the black levels are deep black," explains Consumer Reports' Claudio Ciacci.

Consumer Reports evaluates the picture quality a TV can deliver with high-definition programs, as well as DVD movies and regular broadcasts.

The rear-projection Toshiba did what no LCD or plasma has done - earned an excellent rating no matter what kind of program you're watching.

Rear-projection TVs do have a couple of drawbacks.  If you move off-center, the picture fades away and you don't get the bright picture you see head-on, plus you have to replace the lamp every couple of years.  And the bulbs are expensive, $200 or more.

Still, testers says at $2,800, the Toshiba is an impressive, big-screen TV for a good price. It's the 62-inch DLP Toshiba model number 62-HM-196.

Consumer Reports' research shows rear-projection TVs are more likely to need repairs than other types of televisions.  In the first two years, Consumer Reports has found around 10 percent need to be fixed.  So Consumer Reports says you may want to consider an extended warranty.

You can get more advice on buying a big screen TV, in a free video available online at

Posted 2:04pm by Bryce Mursch

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