LCD TV - Are they reliable ?

Should I get the extend warranty ?

I heard that most of the major brands will have problem within 3 years ! Is it true ?

I'm want to buy the latest Sharp(top model) or Samsung(series 7) LCD TV(52in.). Which one is better in picture quality ? Which one is more reliable ?
I bought the warranty for my 60" LCD rear projection and it has paid off. The light engine and a bulb have been replaced under the warranty. Those two repairs would have cost more than $1000 without the warranty.

I also bought it for my 42" Plasma. So far, no problems requiring a service call.

My 32" LCD flat panel only cost $600 so I wasn't worried about an extended warranty. Again, no problems, so far.

I have no experience with the Sharp or Samsung.
Honestly I think it is wasted money for warranties on LCDs or Plasmas. Different story for a DLP though. The bulbs in most are only rated for 4000 or less.. just like a projector.

Never had any problems with my Samsung plasma and so far none with a Sharp LCD. You get a 12 month factory warranty with the Sharps(plus an extra 3 months when you register online. Or at least they were when I registered a few weeks ago.

You'll probably be happy either way you go. Once you get up in the lines you've mentioned. You start to split hairs on what's best. Too many variables to really know.

Not sure if the Samsung model 7 series has the reflective screen or not. I know some of their LCDs do and some don't. If you go Samsung, I would get one without the reflective screen if you can.

All of the Sharps are non reflective.

Good luck
I researched for 18 months before purchasing an LCD. The Samsung and Sharp are both great. However, did the Sony XBR 52" when all was said and done. Don't even like Sony that much as they are oft overpriced, but they do know their LCD work. Did not purchase extended warranty.
Check Consumer Reports. They usually have a major issue on electronics at least once a year. I would trust them on issues related to service and reliability for mass market consumer products.

The last time I checked, LCD projectors and treadmills were the only products they recommended buying extended warranties for. However, I take it you're looking at direct view LCDs, not projectors.
I have a Panasonic 50" LCD Projection TV. My bulb was replaced last October and the Light is on again. Panasonic will not replace until it blows. But I still have the warranty until October. Panasonic has had a class action suit filed against them for the early and constant failure of the lamps. I say stay away from projection TV's. The lamps cost $300 each time and they blow about once a year or so. On the other hand I have friends that have Plasma Televsions up to 73" and two of them have failed a little over a year after purchase. All were purchased brand new. All had purchased extended warranties but one friend was without his Plasma set for nearly 6 months while they tried to repair it so they simply replaced it.

I will replace my LCD Projection TV with a Plasma simply because the prices have gone down so much and the quality seems to have gone up. And I don't have to worry about replacing those bulbs. I have another LCD and plasma televisions but they are both new. No problems yet.

I say semi reliable.
The studies I have read to date have indicated that LCD and Plasma flat panels have proven to be just as reliable as tubed tv's. That having been said, I did buy a extended warranty with my Samsung LCD just because the technology was still relatively new and I didn't know how much to trust the Samsung brand. Also, I got a good deal on it ($150 for three years). Extended warranties are pure profit for the retail chains so try to negoitiate them down from the quoted price. FYI, I have had my LCD for just over a year and have not had any issues at all. I've never regretted the purchase, it's a GREAT tv. As others have said, stay away from projection/DLP.
five problem free years here with an Hitachi 42". Odd story: I bought the demo from Sears and when the employee unplugged it she got a shock and was thrown to the floor. She was OK.

oh and since they have a cool down cycle connecting it to a UPS is a good idea.

Consumer Reports did a review of lcd and plasmas back in Feb or Mar. The conclusion was that none of the flat panels had much of an issue with repairs. Sharp, Samsung, and Sony all did very well in the report. If I remember correctly, these three competed for top honors with Samsung slightly edging out the others for motion display. The nice thing about Consumer Reports is their reports actually have value, unlike the audiophile rags which are basically useless dribble akin to the mags at the grocery store checkout counter - entertaining though rather perusing hi end speaker cable or two headed babies.
I have to defend DLP. I have Samsung 42" DLP since 2001/2002 and had to replace bulb ($200) only once (rated 8k hours) running TV practically 6-7 hrs everyday. Bulbs are cheaper now. It has matte screen (while plasma is very shiny) that does not burn-in (plasma does). It does not loose contrast/brightness over time (plasma does) and practically runs forever (color wheel is replaceable). Plasma is rated about 50k hours - it means brightness will drop to 50%. This rating assumes constant operation - it gets worse when turned on and off every day. Plasma damage with age shows as bursting plasma cells - black spots/stains. My TV consumes a little more than the bulb itself (150W) while plasma gets closer to 300W. I don't want to be too critical but just to show that no technology is perfect.
Can anyone please confirm that there should be no major worries purchasing the latest generation, direct view LCD TVs? Or comment please whether plasmas enjoy any edge in reliability to the latest generation, direct view LCD TVs?

I recently bought a 40" Sony 1080p LCD screen and for general use, it works great -- particularly in our room which can be very bright and sunny.

I therefore recommneded one to my parents when they asked me if they should replace their gigantic old CRT TV with no HD.

It seems they then deferred to their local "custom" install guy where they live, as they explained:

* He recommended a plasma TV, not an LCD, because "LCD TVs burn out quickly, requiring a new "bulb" which costs $400.00"

* He also explained that it is no longer true that plasmas are best suited to a controlled light room, because for the "last few years" plasmas have had "anti glare" screens.

I tried to explain to my parents that I had nothing to gain from their buying a Sony LCD TV at Costco, and that no offense, but maybe their trusty local guy might try to make as much money as possible?

No good deed goes unpunished.
I, too, have to defend the DLP technology. I also have a 37" LCD (Samsung. My DLP is a Mits. (57"). After getting Mits to rebate/refund $900 for my 5 yr pld RP that could not be fixed because part is not longer available, the net to me for the 57" DLP was $1012 and this was with a 5 yr extended warranty.
Of all the brands and technologies we sell, we've have had less issues with plasmas over the years. I have nothing against LCD's personally, I'm just trying to give you a real life report from someone who is in the industry selling them.

A good source of information can be found over at on the various technologies.

As good as the Samsungs are, I'll be honest with you. I would say the failure rate in the first year is 3 out of 10. Compare that to the Panasonic and Pioneers, which have had 0 issues the last year.
I've got a 1080p 50" Panasonic plasma that looks incredible (and I've got it in a very bright room), has black levels that LCD probably can't touch, and cost me less than $1500. To back up what Ttowntony said I've had the set for 6 months under heavy use and haven't had problem one despite power outages, brownouts, etc., and this with the TV plugged directly into the wall. Plus I don't have to worry about burnt out bulbs. With all this, I can't imagine why I'd choose LCD at this point.

Best of luck.
Trust me Soix if you used your display for other than watching television. As a PC monitor or game'd quickly realize why some use LCD. You'd have image retention all over the screen. Don't get me wrong ..I still love my plasma, but the LCDs do have their advantages as well.

If I stuck a good LCD in that bright'd also realize how dim a plasma can be in certain areas.

The other advantage is noise. I've never heard one LCD buzz...I've heard many plasmas do it.
Good points Gmood -- wasn't thinking about PC/gaming. As with most things audio/video there are always trade-offs.

A related point, it's amazing that almost every non-videophile's house I go to has their HDTV's contrast/brightness/color levels cranked up to eye-piercing levels. And they think their pictures look "great" because they're so bright. When I make a few adjustments to make the picture look somewhat natural and give it some depth they think it looks horrible. Given that, it's probably good that many people are opting for LCD rather than cutting the useful life of a plasma in half. Much cheaper to change a bulb in the long run I would guess.
I believe in 'infant mortality'....that electronics are far more likely to break during 'break in' than later.
Most stuff has a very hi MTBF and is reliable. I therefore NEVER buy an extended warranty, knowing that it is likely to break during warranty and be good for a good while if it survives.
I had a hi-end CD player purchased new...DOA and no extended warranty.
Need an Example? Bryston uses premium parts and build, have a 20 year (gasp!) warranty and do an extensive factory burn-in....weeding out all the defects B4 shipping
I normally don't buy them either. I did for my Hitachi 60" LCD rear projection and it has paid for itself with a new light engine and a bulb replacement. I plan to get another bulb replaced before the warranty expires.
Plasmas run hotter(stick your hand behind some models and it seems they can melt the paint off the wall it is “Plasma” in that TV remember being heated)

Weight is about double(for example my 52” without stand is about 53 lbs vs. 110 for a comparable plasma)

Seems most plasmas Pull about double the power and actually are about equal to a 1990 36 inch 300 lb CRT!

And yes they can and still do”burn in”(some models better than others), and they do break just as easy as anything else...

Plasmas are glass by the way and can crack as well pretty easily if a corner is dropped during installing on the wall etc...

For the simple fact people seem to inflate any one issue by 10 to make one seem superior to the other, generally a plasma is rated between about 18,000 and 20,000 hours from a chart I saw on a tech site, and a single LCD bulb is rated for about 25,000 to 30,000 either one should last with normal use from 20 to 27 years at somewhere in the 4 hour per day range..

Most will use it for 6 hours on a Saturday and 1 or 2 hours a day during the week so you do the math... I mean people with 1979 color TVS still have them working today.

Also a 300 dollar LCD bulb if it does pre-maturely go in 5 years is still far cheaper than replacing a whole plasma grid for 1000 plus.. Most people don't hear about the plasma problems because they don't end up fixing them and just throwing away and replacing them, but they do instead hear of the extra LCD bulb replaced once in a while!

Which by the way probably has more to do with something just like getting a Light bulb at your hardware store and 4 in the box 3 will last the full rated life, and that one single might burn out pre-maturely do to manufacturing or quality issues.

Simply stated with the technology today decide what you want, they all end up about the same, if one brand has an issue its probably more or less due to something they are doing in the manufacturing so stay away if that brand has a history of course, but not this is not necessarily inherent to the actual design of being a plasma or LCD///

As for picture quality and features, no doubt 5 years ago Plasma had an edge, that gap has been closed to nearly non-existent today, I have seen new LCD’s with like 30,000 to 1 contrast with incredibly deep darks, and yes will work in lighted rooms where the plasma counterpart will not.. Final note LCD with any video games is still obviously a safer bet.

I believe even Pioneer(not 100% sure) earlier this year sees the issue with plasma technology vs. the competition now and did stop along with Sony making Plasmas and went to 100% LCD future models..

And by the way I work in a company with about 1000 computers, we replaced all the screens with LCD panels, this was 6 years ago.. None have failed or turned funny colors and they are on generally for 24 hours a day... We just put in ORDER boards that are 50 " plasmas 3 years ago, every single one of them GHOST and have color burn issues, and a few have already been replaced.

One other thing, I believe LCD has been around for about 30 years or more.. Many aircraft displays for instruments, calculators, Rugged military useage, and several other devices have been in consumer use for years without failure, plasma hit the scene about 1997 with the 30,000 dollar 50"… I don't think you see to many portable plasma screens running around do you? Battery power alone would not even run them, nor do we need them too, and a couple small shocks to the plasma screen and its done.. LCD seems much more durable, look at a laptop, I have one 10 years old same LCD screen, and one that’s 1 month old, same LCD screen.. They have been trusted for many many years.
Undertow - where did you see 25,000 or 30,000 hours rated bulbs? Ultra High Vacum 150W bulb in my 42" DLP Samsung is rated 8000 hrs. and bulb in 50" Samsungs is rated 6000 hrs. Maybe yo're talking about LCD backlit panel and not the bulb.

Plasma is rated closer to 50,000 hrs - so I heard.
Your right they have gone up, I was talking about some models from 2 or 3 years ago.. Now LCD And Plasma ratings are in the 60,000 here is new quotes..But it is the reverse plasmas needed to catch up to LCD #'s in lifespan not the reverse, here is the statement

"For consumer use these numbers should be comforting. Plasma Displays are now about equivalent in longevity to LCDs, which typically state 60,000 hours. Consider that these figures are a great amount more than old CRTs, which regularly post life span to half brightness at 25,000 hours. Let's put these hours in perspective. The average U.S. household watches 4 to 6 hours of television per day. Staggering. Taking a mean time manufacturer stated longevity of 50,000 hours of usage, times our average 5 hours per day, calculates to over 27 years of usage. Now, there are varying degrees of phosphor ignition along the way (the same way a CRT fades). Dissipation begins the moment you turn the set on. After 1000 hours of usage a plasma monitor should measure around 96% of its original brightness, which is barely noticeable to the naked eye. At 15,000 to 20,000 hours the monitor should measure around 80% brightness, or to state is technically, 80% of the original phosphors (gases) are being ignited."

"Samsung: Lists 60,000 hours for plasma lineup.

Pioneer: States 60,000 hours of use in their 2008 models.

Sharp LCD panels: States 60,000 hour life.

For consumer use these numbers should be comforting"
From Samsungs site:

LCD TV 1. What is the lifespan of a SAMSUNG's LCD TV?
SAMSUNG's LCD TVs have an expected life span of 60,000 operational hours.
2. Are LCD TVs subject to screen burn in?
LCD technology allows for a reduced risk of burn-in and screen aging, which is useful for special applications with static screen images or sources that don't fill the entire screen.

Plasma TV 1. What is Plasma TV technology?
A Plasma TV display panel consists of a layer of gas beneath another layer of colour elements. Plasma is a term that is used to describe the temporary conductive state of the low-pressure gas used in these panels. Electrical changes cause the gas to emit light. This light is then passed through a matrix of colour phosphors, resulting in a bright, accurate, detailed image.
2. What is the life span for SAMSUNG's Plasma TVs?
SAMSUNG's Plasma TVs life span extend by 1.7 times compared to other conventional TVs.
With 6 hours per day of TV viewing, your TV will last you approximately 23 years.
Undertow - I found it on internet:

"In fact, many plasma manufacturers boast a life span of 60,000 hours to half life! This is a longer life than a tube based television. The specification is somewhat suspect since the process of determining longevity of the product is based on deductive mathematical calculation of phosphor dissipation, and does not take into account the electronic components and the myriad of problems that can occur. Panasonic was the first to claim the 60,000 hour life span, up from a previous 30,000 just a year prior.

Within months after Panasonic announced this new life span, other manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon announcing that their plasma television is now rated to 60,000."

This remainds me a joke about old chinese man who got sack of gold to teach King's dog to speak in 10 years or his head will be cut off. Old man said to terrified family and friends "Who knows what going to happen in ten years, maybe I will die, maybe king will die and most likely dog will die"

Same is true here - they can promise anything but how people can verify it? Are we going to remember what was promised 20 years ago (30k hours / 4 hours a day)?
I agree.. all we can go on is what is so far stated by these companies... However I do have some very extensive experience with both Plasma and LCD... Used in business applications, and under streess and heavy hours, the cost to run(via power cost) and maintain so far has been a clear winner of LCD on top.. Laptops used for the last 15 years even would rarely have some kinda screen failure, too bad the other hardware on them is obsolete 2 weeks after they are manufactured!
Undertow - I'm happy so far with my 42" DLP TV (since 2001)but I consider larger size in future. My daughter's TV (plasma-Panasonic 42") has very shiny surface and worse HDTV picture than my DLP. It has something to do with noise reduction software that makes false contouring and a little "plasticky" faces. Perhaps not set optimally. In the store I liked Panasonic and Pioneer plasmas. LCD is promising but I have to look at these black levels again.