Thursday, January 28, 2010

The three most desirable HDTVs for your Super Bowl viewing pleasure

Super Bowl week is one of several "hot" weeks for HDTV sales. Everybody wants to host the Super Bowl party and impress their friends and relatives with the big view of the big game. I have enjoyed doing this since 2007. It is fun.

With that said, do I have any advice for those shopping for an HDTV right now? Yep, as a matter of fact I do. I will pick one projection, one plasma and one LCD HDTV just to be fair to all categories. Each one of these recommended models are the best of their particular breed. You would enjoy any of these models.

With that said, these models are not equals. You would enjoy some more than others. Some are a lot better for Football than others. Some are better for movies than others. I will give you the run down on this subject later.


Without questions, the most desirable projection HDTV on the market is the Mitsubishi LaserVue L65-A90. It is a Laser-based 65 inch projection television. It is 3d ready, so you are set to enjoy Avatar when it comes out on Blu-Ray. It also happens to be the most perfect unit for watching football. The 65 inch size is pretty close to ideal for most homes. It gives you a great canvas for the game. There is no such thing as jutter, motion blur or ghosting on a LaserVue. It does not matter how fast the action gets. The laser is more than fast enough to keep pace. This is the ultimate device for enjoying sports. It does not get better than this.

The problem is the price. The L65-A90 costs about $5,000 all in. If you can leverage it at all, I am telling you it is well worth it. You can step down to the Mitsubishi WD-65837 and get most of the performance and benefits of the LaserVue for just about $1800. You could also step up to a 73 inch version for about $2300.00.


At this moment in time, the most desirable Plasma HDTV is the Panasonic TC-P58V10. This is a 58 inch plasma screen. While not as fast as the speed of light, it refreshes the screen 600 times per second. That is pretty fast, and fast enough to avoid nearly all the motion blur, jutter and ghosting associated with LCD screens. Plasma vendors are correct when then they say they are capable of keeping up with the speed of sport. They lying or exaggerating when they say experts agree that there is nothing better than plasma for this purpose. Some uninformed Brunos might say that. Most experts would not.

One word of warning: HDTV critics have an extreme fetish with black levels. This fetish knows no logical boundaries, and is vastly disproportionate to the real importance of the color black. It is a type of mental illness, to be sure. This HDTV scored high marks in initial quality when it comes to black levels. There are reports circulating on Panasonic's customer support site, and other places, that the V10 series has a tendency to loose some of its deep black hues as time goes by. As a sports fan, this would not scare me out of a purchase. However, some HDTV critics will try to scare you out of a purchase for precisely this reason.

If you buy the TC-P58V10 for Super Bowl 44, the odds are you will be a very happy camper.


Full disclosure before we begin: I own the Samsung Luxia UN55B7000. With that said, we may begin a review of my least favorite category of HDTV.

After having looked at most of the offerings, I believe the Samsung Luxia UN55B8500 is currently the most desirable LCD screen in existence. It got some heavy competition from the Sony XBR8, but I believe it is better.

Readers of my blog will know that I have come to be totally dissatisfied with my purchase of the Luxia 7000. This is due to the motion blur, jutter, and ghosting which afflicts my football games. It drives me bat-shit crazy. I really hate that crap. Critics have noticed some uniformity issues, and off-angle axis problems in the Luxia series. I have no idea what they are talking about. I have not noticed any off-angle axis problems, and I sit all over the place in my living room, especially when guests arrive. No one has ever favored a particular spot in front of my Luxia.

With all that said, 1.5 generations have gone by since I purchased my HDTV. Samsung has made improvements. The 2ms, 240hz refresher rate (whilst not even close to the 600hz rate of plasma, or the speed of light) does help to reduce the blur, jutter and ghosting I see on my HDTV. I watched the better part of the 2009 USC vs. Oregon game on one of these units at Fry's Electronics in my Hood. I expected to see blur, jutter and ghosting in all the typical places I see it on mine. During the 1.5 hours I watched, I could not identify a clear-cut case where blur, jutter or ghosting occured. I am not prepared to say the 8500 is blur-free, but I will say that Samsung has made some strides.

The price is going to hurt. Be advised that the UN55B8500 is going to cost you something like $3,700.00.

It should be noted that LED LCDs are simple LCD screens which are back-lit by ultra-white LED lights. That is all. This is not really a new species or category of screen. It is just a new generation of the same old thing. They simply got rid of the florescent lights and went to LED lights. The units got skinnier and more power-efficient as a result. Color levels and accuracy also improved.

Most vendors are now making LED LCD screens. They seem to be the most popular choice among consumers. I will never understand the reason why. Remember: This is the least desirable choice for fast-action movies and sports.

In conclusion, if you get a Mitsubishi LaserVue L65-A90, a Panasonic TC-P58V10, or the Samsung Luxia UN55B8500, you will be able to watch Super Bowl 44 in some real style.