Wandering around our local Dick Smith’s at lunchtime today, the posse spotted a dark new disturbance in the LCD TV market.
The new vendor was Trio, the model the TTH-32L.
Dickie’s doing a bunch of Trio products: the 82CM/32L is $1800 (ish), their 42″ Plasma is $1900, and the smaller LCD TV (26 or 27 inches? can’t remember) is about $1300, if memory serves.
I’ve been waiting for LCD TVs to become affordable, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening fast enough. Today was the first time I’ve seen a 32″ wide LCD TV for under $2000.
I nearly bought it to replace my aging-but-once-beautiful 68″ 4:3 CRT.
What stopped me? Presentation.
There was one of the TTH-32Ls showing the same Digital TV broadcast as another group of LCDs on one wall, and it had a greenish tinge, and was oversaturated. I fiddled the controls back to “normal”, but the contrast was high enough that subtle detail was lost. And slightly greenish. The other display model 32L was hooked up to a Hilary Duff movie, and either it or the movie had a fisheye thing going on, and either it or the movie had terrible skin tone “washing” issues – subtle shifts in colour just wouldn’t happen; skintones in people’s cheeks would appear to very subtly ghost if they moved.
Either might have been caused by long/overutilized/crappy cabling, a low-bitrate DVD, a one-off manufacturing defect and so on, but surely the idea when selling something is to make it look as good as possible? Not here.
I walked around staring at each LCD and Plasma TV on display in turn. Each TV looked sucky in a different way:
- physical picture-breaking defects (big lines missing across the screen)
- interference meandering its diagonal way across the screen
- chunky compression/rendering artifacts (bad DTV set top box? Low number of available colours?)
- poor motion and colour fidelity
There was one really (apparently) impressive TV there – a 106cm (too huge for my current living room) Plasma High Def TV, and they’d actually hooked it up to a laptop and were playing WMV-HD samples through it. That is a Good Way to Sell A Product. It looked great. Not perfect, but the best I’d seen.
Next to it, all the others looked… well, sucky.
I might go back on the weekend and see if we can’t hook that WMV-HD laptop up to some other TVs, like the TTH-32L and see whether it really is a good price for a good product. I hope it is. I want it to be good, so I can buy it and feel good about it, not constantly be picking out artifacts, thinking a cheap plasma might have been better…
(LCD is meant to be where it’s at, right? If so, resolution aside, why do Plasmas still seem to look “richer”?)