Off brand hdtv sets.....

Are brands like Dynex, INsignia,etc high risk or do they compete with brand names like samsung,toshiba,etc? Im looking at spending 1k or less on a set...leaning towards panasonic...but there are some tempting deals on off brands...
You are likely to have more repair problems and performance will not be as good. The margin in TVs has shrunk so that you can get a good deal from the major companies. I got a 42" 1080 Panasonic Plasma for my wife for $900 this fall, you should do better now. I don't think it is worth the gamble.
Some of these brands have a couple of models that have garnered good reviews as value products. Vizio seems to have had the most success, with many models recieving good reviews as very good value products, though not neccessarily as top performers. I would consider them if I was working within your budget, especially if they might offer a more appropriate bigger screen.
the worse thing about my Visio 50" plasma is the worry that if it breaks I have to send it to CA to get it fixed (or replaced) performance wise it is amazing.

I know it is bettered by other sets out there but it is so good I do not care - more money for hi fi...
For 30 years I only bought Sony. Now, I will likely never buy another one. Nothing wrong with them, it's just that they are expensive and I am not a videophile so paying for the excellent Sony picture is not worth it to me (I want save that money for my audiophile obsession). In the last three years I purchased a Vizio 50" Plaza and a 52" Magnavox/Phillips LCD. Both working great with long hours of daily use (knock on wood) and were extremely good deals purchased around Thanksgiving.

Many people buy from off-brand sets from the big box warehouses due to their buyer protection plans. I think the plans are not as generous as they used to be (due to customer abuse), but still quite good. You can also buy an extended warranty, but then your back to the top-brand price (although w/o an extended warranty).

Do your homework and know what you want and what you are getting (ie not the best picture/sound/menu/etc), buy from a warehouse, buy and extended warranty if it helps you sleep at night or cross your fingers and take the risk. Yes, you can get a great deal buying off-brand.
there are only a handful of manufactures that make large LCD panels. many of those off brands have the same panels as the more expensive one, main differences are in scaler and processor which do make a difference in PQ. take Sony and Samsung for example, Sony buys panels from Samsung and Sony does look better under near identical setting.

reliability should not be a huge concern, IC rarely fails. discrete components have a much higher chance of failure though.

so comes down to how much do you care about PQ. you want nicer PQ, spend more for the name brands which tend to have better scaler and processor. something you use to watch news in bedroom, save the bucks and go for something that are priced right.
You get what you pay for.

In my buying experience, the cliche has proven to be true over, and over, and over again.
I'm with Tvad on this one. What it really comes down to for me is what do I want. For me in this case, after doing exhaustive research I bought a Sony. The primary reason being that I had the last one for twenty years, and the extra expense factored over that period was more than worth it.
It's true 4est, my Sony 32" XBR lasted 17 years and was still working well when I had them haul it away. It weighs to much for me to move, even with a friend! Truth be told, I wish it had died sooner so I could justify buying a new TV and enjoy a bigger and better picture. It all depends on what you want and where you're willing to make compromises.

Does Sony make better amps than Bryston, Musical Fidelity, Spectron, etc? They certainly have more experience. Hope no one is suggesting we only buy Sony amps cause they have the most experience and are the most reliable 'cause I'm thinking tubes are out for sure :)

I'm more with Semi. Decide what you want and pay for that. After 20 years of off brand TVs I may be back to only buying Sony. For now, it's not worth it to me.
I am a bit ashamed to admit I got rid of a 5 year old 36" Panasonic Tao TV for my 50" Vizio but could not resist the big picture experience even though the Tao had better color.
Exactly Philolet! In 5 years you'll wish you weren't stuck with that lowly 1024p 120 Hz deep color TV. In ten years, you'll really really want to buy that new 100" OLED 16K 1024 Hz extra super deep color TV/videocom/workstation that displays 12 channels simultaneously. In 15 years, you'll have it hauled away as trash or give it to the goodwill so you can go with the Nokia 24/7 aural/optical family implant plan.

And hey, no problem if you want to be buried with your Sony TV so you can watch it in heaven. God bless and enjoy what makes you happy.
You get what you pay for is right, also look at the specs on some of these off brand entry level models.........anything under 5000.1 contrast is a out and out joke if you ask me, look on Walmart's site and you see these $900 models with 1000.1. 1500.1 contrast, if the color black didnt exist these numbers would be fine but grey doesnt cut it.
Chad is right. Don't buy a crappy off-brand TV. Buy a good one. And remember that today's black is tomorrow's grey.