Vizio 50" Plasma Price/Performance Stunner?

Tom Martin -- Thu, 10/16/2008 - 17:34

David Birch-Jones reports here that the new Vizio 50" Plasma is pretty amazing (and "only" $1600):

http://magazine.playbackmag.net/playback/200810/

Have you looked at it? Is it as good as he says?

sheepherder -- Thu, 10/16/2008 - 17:43

I believe all your reviews especially about sexond tier displays should include more info about the warranty adn the availibility of parts etc.

Many second and third tier displays do not have parts available if something goes wrong. During the warrnty period you get a new one but after the warranty expires getting the parts and the display to service center can be a real problem. With Vizio the cost of shipping and the cost of the repair can be as much as the display once the warranty has expired. Even during the warranty period you still have to pay shipping.

So the question becomes is it worth it to save a couple hundred bucks buying a second or third tier display over a Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Pioneer et al???

We dont know because of a lack of information provided in Playback.

Real world costs would be great article for one of your interns to research and write.

Sheepherder
Shenandoah Valley, VA

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torry -- Wed, 02/01/2012 - 07:53

the performance of plasma is stunning.as well as price also stunning.
mesothelioma

Tom Martin -- Thu, 10/16/2008 - 19:51

The review says "1 year parts and labor" warranty for Vizio. Vizio adds that there is a "free on-site repair" service during this period and lifetime technical support.

Sony says "1 year parts and labor, in-home".

Panasonic says "1 Year parts and labor, in-home service"

Pioneer does not clearly indicate a warranty.

Samsung says "1 year parts and labor".

You say that Vizio has an inferior offer, but based on these policies it is hard to see.

Beyond that we have to factor in their failure rate. What is the CE failure rate? 1%? Less than 1%? With those numbers, why is warranty such a big deal, especially when Vizio seems perfectly competitive?

CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC

phoenix (not verified) -- Sat, 01/09/2010 - 17:06

Don't all these companies use the exact same company to manufacture the exact same screen? I understand there may be some differences in the firmware because that may be written "in-house" but the actual hardware for the plasma screen is manufactured somewhere in Korea, and Sony, Pioneer, Panasonic and Vizio all use the same parts built to the same specifications, so why pay more!

sheepherder -- Fri, 10/17/2008 - 06:18

Mr Martin,

I am at my office and dont have the link available. Google for HD Guru and take a look back to sometime in June and July 07 for an article on disposable HDTV's.

If I remember correctly the article quoted a repair cost of over $1k including shipping etc for a Vizio LCD TV that cost about the same price.

Article also mentions how its difficult for your local TV repair place to get replacement parts from 2nd and 3rd tier companies. In some cases with some companies repair parts were not available at all to local or regional
service centers.

BTW did you read all the warranty paperwork and the fine print.

As I said nice project for an intern. have intern call Vizio and say they have a TV they purchased in August 07 and it died and how much would it cost to get it fixed? Are parts available locally etc. Same with Sony, Panasonic etc.

I think this would be a great service to your readers. Are there other issues I am not aware of?

Sheepherder
Shenandoah Valley, VA

Tom Martin -- Sun, 10/19/2008 - 11:36

Your suggestion is a nice one, though I think almost impossible to actually execute. The issues include failure rates, sample sizes, systematic design flaws, timing of inventory, etc. Sample sizes are particularly difficult to deal with.

However, we can approximate all this by looking at the cost of extended warranties. The service companies who provide these warranties are in the business of accurately estimating all of the above parameters. Thus, the cost of a warranty should reflect the size of the failure rate issue, the availability of parts, and the cost of shipping or servicing the product in-home.

Here is a quick bit of research:

Vizio 50" $1699 Plasma 4 year warranty extension (total 5 years): $409

Samsung 50" $1699 Plasma 4 year warranty extension (total 5 years): $429

Sony 40" $1799 LCD 4 Year warranty extension (total 5 years): $419

This suggests to me that there is minimal difference in the failure rates, parts availability and replacement costs. If there is a material difference it seems more likely to be in the pricing and profit targets of the different companies involved. And, anyway, your cost of insuring against these problems is roughly the same.

Also note that, at least in the case of Samsung and Panasonic (and maybe others), the absolute price differences vis a vis Vizio are not very big. Features and performance may not be comparable of course.

CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC

Tom Martin -- Mon, 10/20/2008 - 21:48

Here is a link to the article cited above by Sheepherder:

http://hdguru.com/your-new-disposable-flat-panel-hdtv/107/

And a follow up that goes with it:

http://hdguru.com/disposable-hdtvs-vizio-responds/108/

CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC

Tom Martin -- Mon, 10/20/2008 - 21:58

I think we can also ask about the definition of Tier 2 being used here. For the past 18 months, Samsung, Sony and Vizio have traded places as the top brands in flat-panel HDTVs. Does that make Panasonic Tier 2? LG (which is the second largest maker WW of the panels themselves)? Sharp?

Or is Tier 2 a brand definition? If so, given that Vizio does a lot of advertising and is big, when does Tier 2 become Tier 1?

What is the status we assign to JVC, Pioneer and Fujitsu -- well known brands without big volume?

CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC

Teody Semillano (not verified) -- Mon, 12/15/2008 - 21:40

I think this is good enough to all the buyer just go along with all philips brands it goes to market booming out of sales so get it now and all yours is the best and quality tv lcd

ACSCUSTOMAVGUY (not verified) -- Thu, 09/10/2009 - 13:58

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This is a little dated.... Do not confuse distribution with performance when "Tiering" product lines.  While Vizio has  the largest distribution, merely due to the fact of sitting in Wal-Mart and Sams, they are one of the worst performers on the market with piss-poor service.  Our primary service company will not even get setup to service Vizios due to lack of mfg support.  They also noted that they do not repair the units.  The units are sent back to the factory and you may or may not get your original set back.  Focus all research on true performance comparisons, not distribution.

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