5 On Your Side

Flat Screen TVs More Reliable, Cheaper Than Ever

Posted November 19, 2007

College bowl games and basketball season can cause dreams of flat screen televisions. For such dreamers, Consumer Reports has good news: Flat screen TVs are getting cheaper and more reliable.

Prices for plasma TVs have dropped considerably since they once topped $10,000. And the cost of a flat screen is 30 percent lower this holiday season than it was just last year.

Consumer Reports surveyed more than 75,000 people who bought flat screen in the past three years.

"Overall, only about 3 percent of the sets needed repair," Meredith Bachman, with Consumer Reports, said.

Of the brands covered in the survey, the most reliable flat screen TVs were produced by Panasonic, Sony, Sharp, Samsung, Toshiba and JVC.

Consumer Reports found more disappointment with rear-projection sets: "With these TVs, people are experiencing many more problems," Bachman said.

Michael Williams, who has been fixing TVs for more than 30 years, said he gets a lot of rear-projection sets in his shop these days.

But even with the higher repair rate for rear-projection TVs, Consumer Reports cautions that buying an extended warranty is rarely a good deal.

"Chances are you're going to pay more for that warranty than you would for any cost of repair you might incur," Bachman said.

Be prepared, though, to replace the bulb in a rear-projection set. Many bulb failures occurred early in the set's life and were often covered by the manufacturer's warranty. Replacing the bulb generally costs around $300 – likely about the same or less than the cost of an extended warranty.

Consumer Reports does not recommend buying an extended warranty for most products, be it a TV, washing machine, refrigerator or digital camera.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • syracuseinwonderland Nov 21, 2007


    When the analog is cutoff you can either buy OTA converters for your bedroom TV's or purchase local channels from TWC.

  • syracuseinwonderland Nov 21, 2007


    You might need a better antenna.


    I'm about 60 miles away (as a crow flies) from WRAL's xmitter, I use a roof mounted directional with an antenna amplifier and a distribution amplifier. Rock solid digital reception for the last 4 years.

  • denverbob26 Nov 21, 2007

    doctorcaligar, you must think you have ESP or something to tell me what kind of TV I bought. It is the exact same TV. EXACTLY THE SAME. please keep your comments to yourself unless you have seen th eset I am speaking about. You are being presumptuous to say the least.

  • Myword Nov 20, 2007

    hated-I only talked to him about how durable these new TVs are...not anything else.
    Again, I am already doing a conversion through a dvd recorder, with an antenna, and there are problems with it now. You see the blue screen flash and the digital breakup blocks, etc at times. They will get worse in 09. IMHO of course!

  • hated Nov 20, 2007

    there is a big diference in friendly and friend. if the tv guy is a friend he's not a good one if he didn't tell you with a hdtv you could get hd rabit ears (about 30$)and still recieve local stations.

  • Myword Nov 20, 2007

    Ok, at the risk of responding to a cyber-bully like cal317 --I said these TVs wll last 5-7 years before major problems because I talked to a very savvy TV salesman who knows I will buy from him as a friend, and that is exactly what he said.
    As for converters--I have a de facto one through my dvd recorder. And...I see lots of freeze frame type problems, particularly when my home wireless hub is working. So...I don't think the future is bright with converters.
    Yes, I also say the feds stole the public air--because they did! Our cable-free, rabbit ear TV days are over. So are our pocket TVs and battery TVs when the power is out from hurricanes, etc come 2009 when the change comes. It shouldn't have been allowed.
    Other than that, I don't know what I was pretending...but whatever.

  • half-brit Nov 20, 2007


  • half-brit Nov 20, 2007

    tv was suppose to be free, I can still use my antenna with a booster and get cites as far away as W/s and GSO. My old tv works just fine. I did opt for cable. The main tv has the cable converter box, but the ones in the bedrooms are straight lined from the cable with the box. Will I need these new digital boxes for the straight lined tv's or does TWC's cable capable of coming in with this new digital boxes? CONFUSED

  • blablah Nov 20, 2007

    TMI: just think I'll pass this along to hubby who has been following the trend. For me, just give me my HGTV channel on a 19 inch and I'm satisfied.

  • doctorcaligari Nov 20, 2007

    "...it is 50% more expensive this year, for the same exact TV. Also, prices jumped up by $200..."

    It's not the same exact TV. The price difference is between older 720p TVs and newer 1080p TVs. They often look about the same and are made by the same companies, but 720p TVs cost $500-$1000 less than the better 1080p ones. Only recently have 1080p sets dropped below $1500, while the same size set in 720p is under $900.