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Looking for advice - just bought an RPTV, should I go for the extended warranty?


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#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Pat_DiLella

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Posted May 19 2003 - 08:35 AM

This is my first time posting here. Yesterday I purchased a RPTV from Circuit City. I bought a 56" JVC - AV-WP30. It's an open box item I bought for $ 1350 and it retails for $1700 -$ 1800. I am not sure whether or not to get the extended warranty. The warranty breaks down to about $100 per year. The extended warranty goes up to 4 years. I normally do not get any extended warranties but not know much about these Tv's is it a good idea or not? The salesman was trying to talk me into it and his reasoning was the guns can go out of alligment and it is costly to have them lined up again plus I think you get a discount on cleanings. He was not pressuring me or anything but I know they get high commissions on the extended warrarnties. I am leaning towards getting it because of it is an open box model and because of the high cost of the tv if something was to go wrong in a couple of years I would get a replacement at no charge. All input appreciated. Thanks Pat

#2 of 23 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 19 2003 - 09:54 AM

Welcome, Pat. The guns "going out of alignment" is his justification for the extended warranty? You can do a manual convergence of the CRTs yourself. A much more compelling reason for getting the extended warranty is the fact that you bought an open-box RPTV. No telling the extent of abuse it took on the showroom floor, so, yes, get the warranty if you insist on getting that unit. I would suggest never purchasing open-box, demo, or used RPTVs. For the money you're planning to spend, there are plenty of nice options out there still in their factory-sealed cartons.

#3 of 23 OFFLINE   sean_pecor

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Posted May 19 2003 - 01:35 PM

Jack speaks the truth. If it were my money, it would be spent on an unopened box and I would not get the extended warranty. Extended warranties are a profit tool. They merely provide a warranty for the period when the TV is least likely to fail (> 12 months and < 36 months). Sean.
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#4 of 23 OFFLINE   Pat_DiLella

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Posted May 20 2003 - 12:39 AM

Thanks for the advice guys. I am going to get the extended warranty just to protect myself in case something happens to the tv. My reasoning for buying an open box was because you can save a good deal off the retail price. A friend of mine bought an open box Sony 57" and has had it for over 3 years with no problems. Accordiing to the sales rep I was dealing with at Circuit City the unit I bought was returned because the previous owner could not afford the payments. I checked the outside throughly and there were no scratches or dents that would indicate the unit was mishandled. Now that I am getting the warranty I am basically paying retail price but I get the extended warranty also.

#5 of 23 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 20 2003 - 04:59 AM

The problem, though, is how was the set used when in the previous owner's hands? If he or she had run it in torch mode all that time the CRTs could be damaged. That diminishes any "savings" realized from purchasing the open-box unit.

#6 of 23 OFFLINE   Pat_DiLella

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Posted May 20 2003 - 07:04 AM

jack what do you mean by "torch mode"?

#7 of 23 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 20 2003 - 07:54 AM

Ever notice how bright and blue TVs appear in the typical showroom? That's because they are running in what we (HT nuts) call "torch mode." The contrast (white level) is cranked to the maximum setting, and the color (chroma) levels are adjusted unrealistically high. And the color temperatures are set at the hottest (erroneously called "Cool") level, which gives the sets a bright, blue-tinted appearance. When the contrast/white level is running at maximum, the CRTs are being overdriven, putting out more light than is safe for them and thus reducing their lifespan considerably. Add to that the danger of image burn-in on the CRTs, and the open-box proposition loses any appeal (and, truthfully, any value). Seriously, you should think this through a little more. There are good prices to be found on unused RPTVs for the money you're planning to spend.

#8 of 23 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted May 20 2003 - 07:54 AM

He means the default mode where the contrast setting is pumped up to max so that the CRT guns "burn" their brightest (and also wear out fastest). This is typically done to make the TV look bright and vibrant on the brightly lit showroom floor, but will drastically shorten the useful life of the TV and also drastically increase the risk/visibility of uneven CRT wear much sooner/faster. Many of us also suspect that it's done also so that the TV will look bright and vibrant to the new owner during the initial period when the owner might still want to return it since the manuals (and typical non-specialty dealers) never seem to advise people to turn it down from "torch mode". People usually like their TVs burning as bright as possible, so they certainly will rarely correct this on their own w/out good advice from people in the know. RE: the extended warranty, you should read the fine print because they generally do NOT cover image burn, which is what uneven CRT wear looks like. Basically, you will not be covered against the abuse (ie. in torch mode) that the TV suffered. Again, this is the biggest reason why one should NOT buy a used/demo CRT-based RPTV. My only exception would be if you can verify w/ great certainty that it was not used in torch mode, does not have any signs of uneven wear, AND is very cheap. Basically, you're only gonna get this kind of a deal from a good friend who takes good care of his/her RPTV. _Man_

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#9 of 23 OFFLINE   Pat_DiLella

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Posted May 20 2003 - 08:44 AM

geez guys now you are scaring me about buying the demo model. I wish I would have found this board sooner and asked this question before I decided to buy a demo model. All of this stuff is new to me. The TV got delivered this afternoon and I did go back and get the extended warranty. I guess at this point I hope nothing goes wrong with it. Do the CRT's typically burn out after a certain period of time? Also is there a way I can tell now if the TV was run in torch mode for an extended period of time? Again thanks for the info. This is a great site, alot of good information on this board.

#10 of 23 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 20 2003 - 09:09 AM

All CRTs wear out eventually. If you run this RPTV within limits and it has not been abused by the previous owner it could last for years. But you never know. But make sure now to reduce the contrast to fifty percent or below. Get a calibration disc ASAP. On clear, bright scenes, look for any traces of burned-in imagery. If you've ever seen burn-in on a computer monitor, it will look similar on your RPTV. If you run an RPTV conservatively and wisely, the CRTs lose a certain amount of light-output capability in the first few months, then stabilize and run at the lowered output for the remainder of their useful lifetimes. When an RPTV is going into its terminal phase, you'll know it: One malfunction after another, CRTs quitting, etc.

#11 of 23 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted May 20 2003 - 10:11 AM

Pat, Since you got it from CC, you should be able to return it easily enough. That's what I would do unless I feel very sure about the condition of the TV. RE: more on extended warranty, while I agree that they are generally big $$$-makers for the providers, that does NOT mean all EWs will work out that way. Basically, EWs work like casinos, except not all variables are well controlled or quite so finely tuned by the house. There will be some rare instances where it makes sense to gamble against the house because of this. And to me, a CRT-based HD RPTV is one of those rare cases, which is why I did it myself. Obviously, it matters what the cost of the EW is in relations the cost of the TV as well as the exact terms of the EW, etc. etc. Also, you can usually haggle more on the TV price when you buy the EW. Anyway, again, if I were you, I'd return the TV and either go w/ a Panny 53", if you want one now w/out paying much more or for much smaller size, OR wait a little longer for some closeout deals as the new models roll out this summer. The main caveat w/ the current Panny 53" is no DVI/HDCP. _Man_ PS: Heck, if the OneCall deal for the Pioneer 533 is still good, THAT might actually be the best way to go. :-)

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#12 of 23 OFFLINE   Pat_DiLella

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Posted May 21 2003 - 12:14 AM

Man, I am beggining to wonder myself if I should consider returning the TV back to CC and getting another one. It would be a hassle but it might be worth it since I am concerned about the life of the TV. I am not sure if they would take it back though since it was an open box, I don't know if they consider it a final sale or not. But I may call them today to find out if I can return it since I would probably buy another there anyway. THe TV was delivered yesterday and I checked it out carefully when I got home to check for any burn in or anything that did not look right. It seemed to be ok, I did notice the detail was cranked way up to it's highest setting which I reduced to 50 %. I must admit I was surpised that the picture quality was not as sharp as I expected it to be. I have the digital cable hooked up via S-cable right now.

#13 of 23 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 21 2003 - 04:57 AM

If you tell the CC people you'd return it and apply the funds as credit toward another RPTV from the same store, they'll be willing to work with you. You're investing in a longterm display for your home theater, and you deserve satisfaction. Just knowing the set's contrast was cranked to the maximum level tells me it has been used that way for as long as the previous owner used the thing. That's more than enough time for damage to have occurred. As for RPTVs in general, you'll have to ween yourself off of direct-view sets and their enormous light output. You'll see more detail in a well-designed RPTV. The apparent sharpness of direct-view sets is just that: apparent (but not real). We'll talk about all that when you're ready. In the meantime, call the CC people up and tell them you "want something better."

#14 of 23 OFFLINE   Pat_DiLella

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Posted May 21 2003 - 05:10 AM

Thanks for the advice Jack, I did call them this morning after reading what Man said and told them I wanted to return it and they said they would take it back no problem. They said to come out and pick out one I liked and they would deliver it and pick up the other one. Do you have any recommendations as far as mfg's go? I am going to scale down a bit on the screen size as I think 56" is too big for the room. I see Panasonic makes a 47" and 53" widescreen that's in the same price range as the JVC I bought. Do certain companies make better products than others? Pat

#15 of 23 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 21 2003 - 06:30 AM

Each make has strengths and weaknesses, and after professional grayscale calibration they all look remarkably similar. As a rule, I like Toshiba, Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi, Mistubishi, Pioneer, etc., etc. Toshibas have remarkably accurate grayscales out of the box. That 47-inch Panasonic you mentioned is quite popular among HTF members (and has been reviewed highly in the A/V press). If I were to avoid any single manufacturer, it would tend to be Thomson Multimedia (makers of RCA- and GE-branded sets). You will be glad you made this decision. Keep us posted.

#16 of 23 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted May 21 2003 - 08:09 AM

Do realize though that the Panny's don't offer DVI/HDCP input like the JVC does, AFAIK, and the TV zoom mode is not great compared to most others that cost more. I have the Panny 53" myself and sit close enough (8ft eyes-to-screen) that I see scan line gaps w/ the TV zoom mode, which forced me to buy a DVD player w/ aspect ratio scaling instead of using TV zoom. If you must stick w/ CC and don't mind spending more and going smaller, you might want to go w/ the Sony 46" instead for a better all-around RPTV than the current Panny's. The Sony doesn't force 540p upconversion, seems to have good linedoubling and stretch/zoom modes and comes w/ DVI/HDCP, which is fast becoming a priority feature now. The Panny's are excellent bang-for-the-buck and offer good PQ for 16x9 DVDs and HiDef, but not quite as good for regular/NTSC TV stuff or non-16x9 DVDs and LDs. _Man_

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#17 of 23 OFFLINE   Pat_DiLella

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Posted May 22 2003 - 06:38 AM

Well I went to Circuit City today and took Man's advice and got the Sony 46" widescreen. I was split on whether to get the 46" or 51" but ended up going with the 46" as it looked like it had a better picture than the 51". Did not go with the extended warranty which did not make the sales rep too happy but I told him since I was buying a new model I would take my chances with out the warranty. He recommended I keep it because of all of the things that can go wrong with an RPTV. He said it's the only extended warranty he has even gotten. I understand his point but from what I have read on this board the last couple of days I think I will be ok without it.

#18 of 23 OFFLINE   sean_pecor

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Posted May 22 2003 - 06:51 AM

Congratulations on the purchase of the 46" Sony. I own this set, and in my completely unbiased Posted Image view I think you made the right decision. If you are in the tweaking mood be sure to visit http://groups.yahoo....roup/Sony_HDTV/ you'll find many useful documents.once the moderators re-publish the sonyhs10 files.

You can also download a 20 megabyte PDF document of the original service manual for $4.95 from http://www.hdtv-pro....icem/mlist.html which is what I did yesterday. It contains complete instructions for converging the TV (though the electrical convergence is best left to the pros, the instructions for converging via the service menu are extremely useful for the enthusiast). I wish I found this document months ago, it would have saved me dozens of hours of rifling through Google Posted Image

Jack, looks like you successfully spearheaded a campaign to save someone from the probable pitfalls of an open box tv Posted Image

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#19 of 23 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 22 2003 - 07:48 AM

Home Theater Forum saves the day! Posted Image

Great move, Pat.

#20 of 23 OFFLINE   Pat_DiLella

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Posted May 29 2003 - 05:18 AM

Jack and Man, just wanted to let you know that I got the sony 46" and it is great, I like it much better than the jvc I orignally purchased. The picture quality is much better on the sony than the JVC. I also have a question on calibration. I have been looking through the forum and notice alot of threads on calibration. Is this something I should do now or do I have to let the tv "break in" for a period of time before this is done? And once I do it will the picture quality get even better than it is now? Again,thanks for your help. Pat




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