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Going flat out

Flat screen TV shopping? There’s a lot to consider

November 22, 2010
By JOHN PEPIN Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE - With so many choices and options when flat screen television shopping, there are several good suggestions to consider provided by the experts at

It's best to first know a bit about the differences in television types and some of their advantages and disadvantages.

- For maximum known diagonal screen size, plasma TVs are the runaway winners with 103 inches. LCDs - liquid crystal displays -have 73 inches, SEDs - surface-conduction electron-emitter displays - have 65, and OLEDs - organic light-emitting diode sets - have 40.

- Most flat panel displays can be used both as television and computer monitor; this is true for LCDs, SEDs, and FEDs, or field-emission displays. The same cannot be said for plasma TVs; though they can be used as monitors, plasma screens are highly-susceptible to burn-in when used so.

- Plasma TVs have higher viewing angles than their staunchest rivals, the LCDs. In fact, LCDs fare poorly at high viewing angles. OLEDs perform better than LCDs in this criterion.

- LCDs are generally longer in life than plasma display panels, as they aren't vulnerable to burn-in. OLEDs' lifespans are pitiful when placed side by side with those of LCDs and plasma TVs - they only have approximately 1,000 hours, while the other two have around 30,000 to 60,000 hours.

- LCDs are everybody's darling because they consume little amounts of electricity. However, it is claimed that SEDs, FEDs, and OLEDs have lower power consumptions; for example, an OLED doesn't require a backlight unlike an LCD, thus drastically cutting on the power utilization.

- LCDs are brighter than plasma TVs, while the latter boast of more accurate color reproductions. Plasma display panels also produce deeper, darker blacks than LCDs. LCOS - liquid crystal on silicon - displays are claimed to produce higher resolution images than plasma TVs and LCDs.

When deciding where to shop, there are additional things to consider.

The experts say you can either go to an appliance store or go online. Which one is better? It always depends on your priorities.

- If you buy from a friendly neighborhood or downtown appliance shop, you can be assured you'll be able to actually see what you're buying; you can easily ask questions about all the things on your mind; it will be easier for you to detect fraud or any other illegal activity; you can avail yourself of more flexible paying options, as well as warranties, refunds and return policies.

- Disadvantages to store shopping include that it may not be convenient to shop around to find "the best deal possible; you are usually paying higher amounts than in shopping via the web.

- If you want to buy electronically, you can shop around for several deals to see which one you like best. And chances are, they're relatively cheaper than buying from the brick-and-mortar store; you can shop from the comfort of your own home; you can spend all day in front of the computer and save on gas. But disadvantages are also involved including you may have limited options for warranties, as well as refunds and payment options (you probably need a credit card to shop online); you might be faced with the conundrum of having too many choices that you lose focus and make a bad decision in the end. You may get cheaper deals online but you should also look at the shipping charges; this might also help you decide which company will be the easiest to ship to your doorstep.

For a good deal of additional information on flat screen televisions, visit

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His e-mail address is



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