Plasma TVs may be your best Super Bowl bet

Plasma TVs may be your best Super Bowl bet
With the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics right around the corner, you may be in the market for a new TV.

When it comes to flat screens, LCDs outsell plasma sets by a wide margin.

But Jim Willcox, Senior Electronics Editor at Consumer Reports, says plasma TVs have a lot going for them.

"Plasmas are great sets particularly for sports because they don't have an issue with blurring during fast motion scenes," he says. "That's one thing that some LCDs have a little bit of trouble with."

Here's something else to consider:

"Some LCDs are still plagued by relatively narrow viewing angles, which means only the people seated directly in front of the set get the best picture."

Another big decision -- what size will you get?

"If you're looking at a 40 to 42-inch set, generally they should be viewed 5 to 7 feet away. If you're going to be sitting further back, 8 to 10 feet, something like that, you probably want to look at a 46 or 50-inch set. And if you're going to be further than 10 feet away from the TV certainly above 50 inches, maybe a 55-inch TV would be more appropriate.''

You'll also have a bunch of other technical decisions to make.

For a set 40 inches or smaller, you may get to choose 720p or 1080p. The higher number (1080p) means better resolution and a slightly higher price, but...

In the smaller sizes, say 42-inches and below, the difference between those resolutions are not all that noticeable."

Wilcoxx says you will notice the difference with a bigger screen.

"If you're looking at a 50 inch TV, you'll start to see the difference in detail you're seeing on the TV and especially if you're going to be up closer to the TV."

For a set 26-inches or smaller, a set that will double as a computer monitor, Wilcox says get a1080p.

Now, with an LCD TV, you'll need to decide the refresh rate - the basic 60 hertz or the newer 120 or 240 hertz -- designed to reduce blurring during fast motion scenes.

"We have seen some 120 hertz and 240 hertz sets do well in improving motion blur."

Wilcox says, have the sales person play some action scenes and watch for blurring.

If you buy a new TV and your old set still works, give it to a thrift store.

If it's ready for the scrap yard, drop it off for recycling. There are dozens of free recycling locations in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Go to ecyclewashington.org to find a collection center near you.

TV's are loaded with toxic metals, so no matter what; they don't go in the trash.

If you plan to move the old set to another room in the house, you need to be careful where you put it.

John Drengenberg with Underwriters Labs has this advice:

"You want to make sure you put them on a very sturdy shelf, push them as far back as possible on the shelf away from the front of the edge and make sure you don't store the remote control or anything else on top of the TV because this could be a temptation to children to climb up on the shelves and reach for that remote control and possibly dumping the TV and the shelves over on them."

It happens all too often. And the injuries are often serious enough to require a trip to the emergency room.

For more information

Consumer Reports Super Bowl Guide to Buying a TV

Keep Kids Safe from Furniture Tip-Overs

Falling Television Hazards