I'd hazard a guess that going new might make more sense in the long run.
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LCDs and Plasmas are generally not worth being repaired -- unless it was a premium Plasma like the Pioneer Kuro. Given it's a Philips Plasma at 50", you can pickup a Samsung Plasma at 51" for approximately $500 which will give you better blacks and a better picture than your legacy philips plasma. Repairing your Plasma will likely cost you at a minimum $350++ So not worth it.
Agree repairing a plasma is an iffy thing.
First, the person doingthe repair probably NEVER saw another one of your model.
It probably cannot be fixed anyway, and you would still be paying for the repair persons time.
Then even if they fix it, it is seven years old.
As another wrote.. just buy a new TV.
Sorry to hear about your problem. Been there myself.
If you know electronics and have a good multi-meter, you may be able to isolate what board is causing the problem. Once properly diagnosed, recycled replacement boards are relatively cheap from various sites on the internet. With a little luck and help from a friend, I was able to replace the power supply board on my 2005 Pioneer Plasma for under $80. It as good as new and I hope to get another 5-7 years or so out it. I had an estimate of $359!
Here lies the problem with modern AV electronics, especially flat panels. Unless you can fix yourself, its always better to buy with replacement new. In my case a 50" 720p plasma was $359 to repaiir or spend $500 on a new 50" 1080p plasma. No brainer.
If you do go new, check your local craigslist for scrappers that search out broken flat panels. They do this to pull the boards and resell them to DIY'ers. Often they will pick up and give you a few bucks too. Good luck.
If you have a splattering of dead pixels the only fix would be a replacement panel. If it is even available the cost would probably exceed that of 2 new Panasonic VT50's.
Time for a new TV, 1080p, 3d if you care, digital tuner, lower energy consumpsion, latest technology and all new parts. Fixing a 7 year old TV leaves you with a new part and a bunch of 7 year old parts doomed to fail.
Just my advice.
Thanks for the replies. I don't often need too much encouragement to get a new piece of electronics so the validation of that notion is exactly what I was hoping for.
In looking at new plasmas, I see 55" plasmas in panasonic at $1200 and $2500 which both seem to be 1080P and 600hz. Where is the extra $$ going for the more expensive plasma tv's? I don't mind spending extra if it will give me a better picture but it seems like there may be other differences.
Your local dealer should be able to explain the differences better than we can here online. But in short the more you spend the better the display a better screen, a better power supply, a better processor. All resulting in a better picture. Also look at the Panasonic website and do the side by side comparison on the format they offer
The companies have different lines which have different features. As a generalization, you get additional HDMI inputs, THX or ISF certificiation, apps, and Internet connectivity for Netflix, HULU, etc.
At a certain size you also get a significant price jump. So around 55"-60" is where you get a much larger price jump vs. 37"-47"
The best thing to do is read reviews at www.hometheater.com or www.soundandvision.com and use those as a guide.
As a general guide, the best values tend to be at the lowest end of a manufacturers best line of panels/series. Don't discount the value of extra size. While one very often hears buyers complaining that they wish they went bigger, one rarely hears complaints from those that wish they went smaller.