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Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by brandon_, Feb 3, 2006.
any idea on how reliable these guys are with their research and ratings?
Consumer Reports might not catch all the flaws that we videophiles pay attention to and they might emphasize features that we consider low prioirty.
BUt if Consumer Reports points out something bad, chances are they are telling the truth.
Often although not always, if Consumer Reports finds something bad that they expect should not be there, they buy another one of the items to better judge if all of that make and model have the problem.
Consumer Reports also does not go into extremely technical discussions. I would like them to point out which HDTV sets lose considerable resolution due to poor de-interlacing of 1080i but I doubt if they would go into those details.
Consumer Reports, as Allan states, does not go into as much technical detail as audio/videophiles would like. And they may also not review models that are of interest to that same group.
But their observations are at least unbiased—much more so than audio/video magazines that depend on advertising for revenue. The emphasis in Consumer Reports is usually not what those with special interests care about.
They do tend to get sidetracked by some things, and ignore things that'll bite people where it'll hurt.
For example, in this months issue, I didn't see anything about HDMI, and they were talking about big LCD screens, too.
I'd also like to know how they judge picture quality; and if they do a horrifying thing and just use the displays "out of the box." Most have pretty horrid DNR and sharpening things going on when they're first turned on..
You can assume they did the testing they claim and they did it with well designed test protocols. Those protocols might be argued with and their tests may not show you exactly what you'd want to know, but you can bank on the unbiased nature of the tests, the testers and the results.
Bottom line is that I read the reports carefully and use the input but not slavishly. Personally I've bought a lot of household goods and a few cars (including the one I'm driving now) largely because of what I learned in their reports. I'm not going to follow them blindly but I'm sure I end up making any better, certainly more informed, choices. With audio, electronics, cameras, etc I would never buy mainly based on their reports but I would never ignore them either.
Overall I'd rate that article as very good. Didn't cover some gear I wish they had but reading it will help the typical consumer and I can't see anyone making any serious mistakes using those test reports. And their conclusions are pretty much in line with other reports, like favoring the Panny plasmas and the maintenance issues that some of the rear projection TVs have had.