Consumer Reports: Flat Panels are Reliable

Last week, Consumer Reports released the results of a study about the repair rates on various HDTV technologies. Overall, LCD and plasma models have about a 3% repair rate. The company cited the Panasonic TH-50PZ700U plasma HDTV as having the lowest repair rate. Pioneer and Samsung plasma products also rated well, as did Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, and JVC for LCD models.

Rear projection models did not fare as well in the Consumer Reports study as the flat panels did. On average, they had an 18% repair rate. About a quarter of these repairs were for the projection lamp during the original warranty period. The company recommends getting an extended warranty for a new rear projection HDTV, but only if the lamp is covered, and only if the cost is no greater than the cost of a new lamp.

Overall, this is good news for the flat panel makers, as it demonstrates that the new flat panel technologies are as reliable as the old picture tube CRT sets were. The news is not so good for the rear projection models, but does indicate that the extra cost of one with a solid state light source such as the Samsung LED or the Panasonic LIFI models may be worth it as they eliminate the expensive and fragile lamp.

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