Need help making TV decision

I'm looking to replace my ancient Proton 27" CRT with something new. I've poked around AVS forum and CNET but still feel confused and underinformed. Would welcome advice here and pointers to other sources of information.

Here's our situation:

-- Can accomodate up to 40"-42" wide display
-- Use Comcast digital cable box through TiVo box as main source; also DVD
-- TV (not DVD) probably 80% of viewing
-- Viewing distance is about 8 feet
-- Can accomodate the depth of a CRT or rear projection, but a flat panel would be just fine (will sit atop 40" AV cart)
-- Don't need built-in audio as I route audio signals through an AV receiver
-- Price not too much of an issue

So....LCD, Plasma, DLP or CRT? HD or ED? One of my main fears is that I will get a set that kills on DVD or HD but leaves me unhappy when I watch an old movie or a Seinfeld rerun or any non-HD TV program. There's also the issue of our addiction to TiVo and the absence of an HD TiVo box for digital cable (as far as I know).

Thanks for any guidance you can provide.
Ag insider logo xs@2xdrubin
If you were willing to move over to DirectTV satellite, the DirectTV HR 10-250 is an outstanding HDTV/TiVo receiver. SD at 480p looks fine on my Sony 36 XBR as does HD at 1080i. Although I don't think it's a great program, we are hooked on CSI: Miami just because the pan shots are so magnificant; the 5.1 sound is pretty effective as well.

I'm going through the same decision process myself. I want a larger screen that's more in keeping with the soundstage my audio system projects, and I want to eliminate mass between the speakers to enhance soundstage depth for stereo. Front projection is a partial answer, but not practical for general viewing, so I think a screen that pulls down in front of a wall-hanging plasma or LCD TV is the way I'll go. Pretty sure I want a 96" 16 X 9 Stewart Firehawk screen, but unsure about projector and plasma or LDC.


I will take plasma over CRT any day. CRT makes beautiful pictures, but I can't stand the size and weight.

It's true plasma will wear out. But life expectancy is defined at 50% brightness level, not 0%. Given many plasma are rating their panels at 80000 hours, you can do the math based on your viewing preference. You can further prolong its life by lowering its default brightness and improve pictures at the same time.

It's NOT true rear projection unit don't wear out. Sony tech is coming in tomorrow to replace my light engine since it has "grown" from 2 to 10 dead pixel in one year. I work in semiconductor and DLP are known to have "fatigue" and will eventually have dead pixels as well in addition to the bearing failure on the color wheel that Samsung is known to have.

No technology is perfect including the trust worthy CRT. But at $300 a year average for a plasma using 10 year life span I still think it's a good investment. For rear projection, if you factor in the cost of bulb at $200 every 2 years and 20 years of life span, I don't think you will come out that far ahead.
The best plasma I have ever seen is a B&O beovision, it looked phenomenal on DVD and HDTV. This will test your version of price not really mattering. I think it is like $10K for the 42" model.

As for pixelization, I think this is a function of the broadcast. My TV will not do it on most channels with fast action NFL football, etc, but others will be bad, especially NBC.
Get a 40"+ Plasma. The prices are right now and the pictures are great. You'll be happy. Nothing against the DLP (I have a 60" Sony SXRD) or LCD (3 around the house from 15"-35") but the right plasma will give you the best blacks outside of a CRT with the best veiwing angles and I've never had a plasma pixelate on moving images unlike a LCD. I have 2 plasma, a 50" Pioneer Elite Pro 1110HD 2 years old and a Marantz PD4280U which is 5-6 years old. TV's aren't like our Dad's none of them will last 15 years and the technology will change in 3 years anyway. You can wait on the sidelines and keep looking down the pipeline but I'm not sure what that gains you and at what cost/price difference.