HDTV LCD’s and “waiting for the price drop”

May 25, 2004

jvc-lcdTrust me I’ll tie it all together, or try. LCD televisions are inundating the market in all shapes, sizes, and resolutions. Remember the resolution breakdown, 480i = standard definition, 480p = extended definition (EDTV), and 720p or higher = HDTV. I don’t want to get into the EDTV vs. HDTV discussion just yet. But suffice to say if you’re about to spend more than 1.5k on anything not 480p capable, do a little more research into EDTV and its capabilities.

I wanted to illustrate the extremes in price points of LCD monitors while drawing an example to a bigger issue. The Westinghouse Digital W33001 is $2,899 retail but can be found for under $1900. At 1280×768 native resolution and 720p capable, the W33001 is one of the lowest priced 30″ LCDs on the market and by all accounts, is a decent looking LCD. At the other end of the spectrum, the JVC LT-26WX84 is a 26″ LCD that retails for $3,000, and 4 inches smaller, and at least a hundred dollars more. However if the size doesn’t put you off, the picture quality of the JVC is outstanding and a Perfect Vision favorite. So, in the end does $100 more for a smaller screen make sense?

That’s what many consumers experience walking into mass market retailers, albeit on a larger scale. The walls are filled with plasmas and LCDs, and you head straight for the HDTV models. Although your wallet wants to see the EDTVs, salesmen might even try to suggest EDTVs by reinforcing, “there’s not a lot of HDTV content right now anyway” and “from 10’ away HDTV and EDTV are indistinguishable”.

What it really boils down to is what you want this monitor doing, 2 years from now. If you plan on buying a HDTV satellite receiver, such as Voom and a HD-DVD player when they become available, then by all means buy a HDTV monitor, if your budget can swing it. If not, there will be another price drop. It’s like clockwork every 4-6 months. On the other hand if you’re looking for something to watch DVDs on and the occasional high definition football game, an EDTV display would make a great purchase. But keep in mind many salesmen do just that, sell. You are ultimately responsible for how happy you are with the purchase.

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Commentary