Does RCA make a decent TV?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by aaron.r, Oct 1, 2002.

  1. aaron.r

    aaron.r Extra

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    The RCA 38310 38" 16:9 HDTV caught my attention because of the size and price ($1899 at Circuit City). It's actuually a bit cheaper than the other models I've been casing - the Panasonic 34WX52 and the Sony KV34XBR800. Surprisingly, in the store, the picture looked quite good as well - a little better even than the Sony/Panasonic (although it was also 4" bigger)...

    Anyone have any words of advise on RCA -vs- Sony or Panasonic?
     
  2. Jim FC

    Jim FC Stunt Coordinator

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    Aaron,
    My advice on the RCA 38" is to keep a fire extinguisher handy. This TV was recalled about a year ago because of a fire hazard which, I believe, was caused by an undersized power supply. I'm sure CC sent all the old ones back in the recall, and the one they are selling now has been checked out/refurbished, but it's still not a very good track record on this TV.

    It actually has a really nice picture, but it's a curved tube while the Panny and the Sony are flat tubes. It also has a DirecTV receiver built right into it, which is a double-edged sword. It's nice for as long as DirecTV continues to broadcast in its current format, but if Dish and DirecTV merge you may end up with a useless built-in tuner. As I recall, it does not have a 1080i component input... which means if you go with another HD source other than DirecTV you must buy a component-to-VGA adapter taht RCA makes.

    Personally I'd go with the Sony, then the Panasonic, before the RCA, because I love the look of the flat tubes and those brands, particularly Sony, have been far more reliable lately. Hope this helps!
     
  3. aaron.r

    aaron.r Extra

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    Yes, very helpful advise, Jim - thanks!
    Glad I didn't get carried-away and pull the trigger last night in the store...

    The Sony and Panasonic have been at the top of my list for a while - are there any others in the 34-38" range for about 2k that I should be considering?
     
  4. Manuel Parrado

    Manuel Parrado Stunt Coordinator

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    Aaron:

    One thing you should consider is the built-in line doubler on both those models. In case you don't know, it is the device that allows interlaced signals (like regular TV) to be displayed in the set.
    Just go to furniture and other stores where they don't typically have a progessive or otherwise pre-recorded loop and see for yourself which one does a better job on regular TV. You probably don't want the TV exclusively for watching DVD's.

    Regards
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Another advisory against the Thomson model: A nearby dealer told me that every 38-inch set he sold had to be brought back in for warranty work. Power-supply failures are near universal on that set. Avoid.
     
  6. Sean Patrick

    Sean Patrick Supporting Actor

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    i have one and love it -

    the directv/dish merger seems to be a non issue now that it looks like it's not happening.

    the curved screen is also a non issue, because this tv has better geometry than most flatscreens I've seen.

    this tv DOES have some geometry issues on the sides, mostly due to the enormous size of the tube. most people think tubes shouldn't be built this big. But slight addition of overscan fixes most of this problem (this TV comes with little to no overscan to start with so adding it isn't a sin)
     
  7. BruceSpielbauer

    BruceSpielbauer Second Unit

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    This is not a comment on RCA or Panasonic or Sony or any particular brand at all.

    Keep in mind that the image quality you see in the stores and on showroom floors is often MILES from what you might see when you get any of these sets home.

    And, that some things can make comparisons very difficult, if not even impossible.

    For example, if one set is coming off a signal which has been split, and has in-line amps and "distribution boxes" that feed three sets in a row, while another is coming off a feed that has one distribution box, no in-line amps, and feeds eight sets, and you are looking at a split of a split, you can blame image quality on the set, when the fault is elsewhere. And, anyone who works in showrooms will tell you that their cabling is often very haphazard, jury-rigged, and changes from month to month. Most have grown illogically, with quick solutions substituting for quality. I found a Pioneer Elite with a terible picture in a Tweeter, and finally learned it was running from the "loop out" of the set next to it, and that the set next to it had a poor feed to begin with. The same model elsewhere looked incredible (which it should, for that money).

    There are many other factors which can "distort" a visual comparison, as well. One of the trickiest is the settings. Since the mid-point on one brand's sharpness can be equal to 75% on the next, and equal to 30% on a third, and one brand will have automatic "iris" control or light sensing control which adjust the brightness and contrast according to the the room lighting, while the next does not, you cannot honestly compare even if you have the remote in your hand and try to set them all "the same."

    You should try to balance your buying decision between what you see on the floor and good, solid research, by reading reviews in the home theater magazines, visiting sites such as these (there are at least six good ones, that I know of), talking to anyone you know who has experience with the sets in recent years, etc.

    Just my thoughts,

    -Bruce
     
  8. Jim Lenneman

    Jim Lenneman Stunt Coordinator

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    Just a comment on RCA in general. Based on my experience, I would avoid at all costs. I bought 2 RCA's from Sears on the same day, a 20" and 35" direct view. Both failed within 2 months of each other, both had bad solder joints in the tuner (assembled in Mexico). Three different authorized RCA repair shops told me "happens to nearly all of them". Of course RCA customer service told me they have "no reported problems on any of these sets". Quality control is not in RCA's vocabulary. After pissing a hissy with Sears, the local store reimbursed me for the out of warranty repairs. Cudos to Sears.

    Jim L
     
  9. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    I have no complaints about my 32" RCA F32649, given its price. It's been a solid performer for the 15+ months I've had it. Granted, had I done a bit more research here before purchasing, I would have likely gone with something else, but the RCA has done nothing to make me "need" to upgrade...yet. [​IMG]
     
  10. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    I owned an RCA television which also had solder joint problems. I ended up spending more for repairs than I paid as an original purchase price. It was unfortunate because when it worked it was a good TV. It's quality/reliability problems that make it a very poor value. I would not buy another RCA television. My most recent TV purchase was a 32" JVC D-series. That so far is an excellent TV and at $480 was an outstanding value.
     
  11. Don Beverly

    Don Beverly Extra

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    RCA 27" in bedroom has worked flawlessly in the bedroom for 9 years, its a higher end with everything needed for this use.

    The Rca 38" has had a multitude of pro's and con's on the newsgroups, if they weren't a lot of bang for the buck so many wouldn't be selling.

    If you can buy at this kind of savings for a widescreen direct view, there's a good reason to add a decent priced extended warranty to cover problems.

    HDTV is still new and like any finely tuned product, there will be occasional problems and you won't likely hear much from the satisfied users of which there are many.

    I don't think brand should be the consideration it once was, these sets are built from parts coming from everywhere with rare exception and the companies are so huge nothing is handled or checked like the old days.

    Buy what suits your personal needs the best and what looks good to you.

    Personally I have 5 different brands in various sizes in my house and they all have performed with a minimum of problems.

    Most of the problems of the 38310 I believe is due to heat generated by both the larger tube and the built in receiver. The capacitors and diodes on the early models just couldn't handle this heat and the refurbs were given more heat resistant key parts on the boards.

    If they put in all high end circuitry the sets will be like the Loew's and cost at least twice as much.
     
  12. Guy Usher

    Guy Usher Supporting Actor

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    Avoid RCA at all cost. I bought one of the 36MM100 when it came out, what a trip!! Started acting up almost imediatly, heard the word "cold solder joints" more than once. The "thing" had an intermitant problem that happened only when I watched it. I know the RCA service (if you can call it that) dept thought I was crazy. Long story short , they came and picked it up saying that if they couldn't fix it in 2 weeks they would replace it with a "new in the box" one. About ten weeks later and at least one hundred phone calls they brought me a "new in the box" (refurb) that was worse than the first one. Of course a year has gone by and no more warrenty. I finally sold it for $300 with the stand and bought a Sony XBR36400 and forgot about TVs for awhile. Lots more to this story but I think you know I wont allow anything related to RCA in my house. What ever happened to the good old "Color Trac" and "XL100 "
     

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