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What do you guys recommend?

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by WillC, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. WillC

    WillC
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    I’ve had an offer accepted on an apartment and I’ll be moving in by the end of the month. Now, I didn’t know the first thing about TVs until a few weeks ago, but since then I’ve been doing a lot of research. Still, I probably only know about 1% as much as you guys, so that’s why I’m here; to ask for some advice.

    - I’ll be sitting about 2.5 to 3.0 metres away from my TV.
    - My budget can stretch as far as £1,000 however I’d really prefer to keep it down as much as possible.
    - As far as I’m concerned, the bigger the screen size the better.
    - I don’t use the TV that much – perhaps a couple of hours per day. I need it for terrestrial TV, perhaps a couple of DVDs per month, possibly Sky/Cable/Freeview in the future, and possibly a games console (although unlikely).
    - Regarding HDTV, obviously it’d be nice to have that option, but I’m not sure if there’s any point in me having it? I mean, there’s a 50/50 chance I’ll have Sky within the next couple of years, and I don’t exactly watch tonnes of DVDs.

    I’ve been looking at a whole range of different TVs:
    - Part of me wants to splash out on a 42” plasma TV – I’ve seen a 42” Grundig at Argos for £999 and a 42” Neovia at Currys for the same price. Are these models a total waste of money? Obviously they're hardly "big names". But for my purposes, would that matter?
    - I’ve also taken a fancy to some 32” LCD TVs such as the LG RZ32LZ50 (is this HDTV ready?!) for around £840 at Dixons and the Toshiba 32WL56 for the same price. I also quite like the 27” Toshiba 27WL56 (HDTV ready) for £630, although I’m worried I’d regret not getting a bigger screen size.
    - Alternatively, I’ve seen a 42” rear projection Toshiba model in Dixons for £599. I realise that the picture isn’t great, but do I really need a top quality model? Would this suffice for my purposes? Would I be able to get it up two flights of stairs?!
    - Taking it one step further, would I be wise to just go for a standard 32” widescreen TV for around £400 while waiting for HDTV LVD/Plasmas to fall in price over the next couple of years?

    A couple of other general questions:
    - Would you recommend buying off the internet (where the prices seem cheaper) or from a larger retail store (like Currys)? I'd like peace of mind if my TV became faulty.
    - How easy would it be for me to mount a plasma/LCV television to the wall? Bear in mind I'm a complete beginner.

    As you can see, I’m very much open to all the different options. What would you do in my situation? And why? I’d really appreciate your response.
     
  2. Degas

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    The Toshiba 32WL56 got a great review in the latest What Hi-Fi mag, it doesnt have any type of digital tuner but if you are getting Sky or even a standard Digibox that doesnt matter, it is quoted as £1200 in the mag, but as you have found is much cheaper in reality.

    Internet shopping is fine as long as you go for a decent store, best to ask around on here to see if they are any good, and if something looks crazily to good to be true, it probably is.

    Have a quick look arouns the Toshiba can be found for £848 inc free delivery from the site below:-

    http://www.prcdirect.co.uk/PRC/PRC.storefront/EN/product/32WL56
     
  3. dickst3

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    It might stretch your finances, but i believe you could go for something like the PWD7 from Richer Sounds (£999) or AV. And you can get a freeview box for your TV channels (£60ish). :)
     
  4. UrbanT

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    The following comments are all 'IMO'.

    It appears that you are not a gadget freak, like the majority of members here. You sound like you are looking for something simple, easy to setup, but has some 'wow' factor.

    Based on your criteria, you could just opt for a 32" CRT. There is nothing in your list of requirements that suggest you need anything bigger. However, you would 'like' something to hang on the wall, and have a bigger screen, so that you get some 'wow' factor from your purchase.

    The PWD7 mentioned above is a panel, and has no sound or inputs as standard. You don't seem to have seperate surround sound kit so this may not be practical. You sound like you would be better suited with a 'TV', a plasma with the inputs, sound and tuner built in, just like any other TV.

    I've just bought the Panasonic 37PE50. So far, its proved excellent. It has a built in freeview tuner, 3 scarts inputs, component input, and built in sound. You just need to plug in your DVD player, and thats it. You can buy the set, with a wall bracket and free DVD recorder for £1100. The DVD recorder can be sold for C£125, making the net cost £975ish.

    Screw it to the wall, plug it in, and you're done. :)
     
  5. UrbanT

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    I forgot to mention, I buy my gear off the net, and feel comfortable doing so. When I bought my plasma 2 weeks ago, I made a short list of retailers I might buy from, and rung them. The price was no more than £10 between them, so it was down to how they treated me on the phone. The company I eventually bought from gave excellent service, and went out of their way to deliver when I wanted it as I was taking time off work. This is more than Comet or Currys would ever do.

    They also made a mistake with the DVD Recorder, but collected the unit the next day and delivered back within a week. As I was selling it, it was no inconvenience anyway :)

    As for hanging a plasma on a wall. You get the wall bracket with it, so as long as you are confident to drill some holes in the wall, you would be fine :)
     
  6. WillC

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    I really appreciate your replies.

    UrbanT, I agree that a display alone would not be practical for me, as I wouldn't have a clue how to set up the sound system and the like. Presumably it would cost a lot to buy it all seperately. I'm better off getting something "user-friendly" that has that "WOW" factor that you talked about. You actually hit the nail on the head in terms of what I'm looking for here. I'm not a gadget/tech geek, so I just want something that looks good and my mates will be impressed with while also serving the purpose (note: I may not be a tech geek, but I still want something good quality).

    The Toshiba 32WL56 looks like good value for money. However, I do prefer the look of Samsung and LG models - there is something about their black backgrounds that makes the picture stand out more.

    UrbanT, I'll do some research on the Panasonic 37PE50 that you mentioned. It sounds like a good value deal what with the DVD recorder and wall mount being included in the price. 37" would be a good size too (a nice comprimise between a 32" LCD and 42" plasma!).

    Any more help/suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks guys.
     
  7. UrbanT

    UrbanT
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  8. Degas

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    The Panasonic 37PE50 is a damn good buy, I just didn't think you could get one for under a grand. Cheapest I have seen it is about £1150 sadly, if you can stretch to it you won't be sorry.
     
  9. WillC

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    I’ll be honest, £1,000 really was my maximum budget for a TV. But if I get a DVD recorder I could always sell it I guess (or keep it and save the money I would have spent on buying a bog-standard DVD player), and that way the cost of the TV is under £1,000 in the case of the 37” Panasonic. Also, getting a wall mount thrown in is a nice little bonus (presumably saving me about £100?). A quick question: if I mounted the plasma on the wall, is it easy to tidy up all the cables and make it look smart? I don’t want it looking a mess!

    Also, UrbanT, where did you buy yours from? I’ve done a bit of research and I’ve seen it for around £1,150 on the net. I liked the glowing reference you gave your retailer though. Things like that are important to me. I don’t want to buy anything from a cowboy.

    Oh, one final question (for now!): would you guys choose the 37” Panasonic over a 32” HD-Ready LCD (which would cost around £200 less)? Consider what I'm using it for.

    Cheers :)
     
  10. UrbanT

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    I bought mine from www.letsgodigital.co.uk. Just checked the price, with wall bracket and DVD recorder, is £1109. That includes next day delivery if you want it. The guy I dealt with was Peter, although I think he is on holiday this week.

    As for your question, if you haven't even got Sky yet after all these years, why would you want a HD TV? What are you going to play on it? :)
     
  11. WillC

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    I’m 23 years old and this is my first step onto the property ladder. I’ve had Sky in the past when I lived with my folks. I’m not certain if I can afford it now though. Mind you, one friend made a great point; he said he’d rather pay £500 for a standard widescreen TV and get Sky for the next few years than pay £1000 for an LCD/plasma TV and just have terrestrial to watch. He said “the quality of the programming wouldn’t justify the expense.” He has a point of course.

    But who knows, maybe I’ll get a lodger and he can pay for Sky and then we’ll have a 37” plasma to watch it on!

    But I digress.

    If I was to go ahead with this 37” Panasonic then I’d definitely give your recommended retailer a call. Next day delivery sounds pretty top-notch to me. Also, the review that you provided was a surprisingly good one (I find that often they find a thousand and one things wrong with every TV they review unless it is a top-of-the-range £7,000 60” plasma or something).
     
  12. dickst3

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    fair points and i respect your far more experienced opinion :) , however the pwd7 does have vga (the only input i use) and you only need use a std stereo system for sound which i assumed willc had. i have to admit it will be difficult to do it for £1,000 - worth it tho' imho :D

    good luck.

    good point on buying a CRT and having sky as well. you could buy a very reasonable CRT for that money. and have lots of entertaining :eek: channels to choose from.
     
  13. WillC

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    Hey I have the internet for that kind of entertainment! ;)

    Seriously though, this whole TV buying business is doing my head in. My current thoughts:

    - If it was simple for me to do, I’d pay the £1,100 and get the 37” Panasonic plasma TV and mount it on the wall for everyone to marvel at. Unfortunately, I worry it won’t be as simple as that. I have visions of it falling off the wall or looking a mess or not working for some strange reason.
    - Part of me thinks maybe it makes more sense to get something like the Samsung LE26R41BDX (26” LCD, HDTV-ready, Freeview built in) for just £650 and save myself about £400 which I could then use to subscribe to Sky for a year or so. But it wouldn’t look nearly as impressive in my living room!

    Decisions decisions!
     
  14. darron027

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    Hi WillC;
    If you want to consider buying my current plasma you are welcome to as I will be selling it this month as Im going for a large screen size. As moving house and the living room will be much larger :)

    My current plasma is a Sony kde-p37xs1 (37'' screen) with built in free view. It was bought from Comet about 9 months ago. Its in immaculate conditon.

    Theres also going to be some other items going if any others out there are interested:
    Kef 2005.2 (immaculate / have wall brakets and very nice alvaston stands also).
    Alvaston plasma TV stand (again immaculate condition)

    As you will guess, im going upgrade mad.

    Have a think about it. All the above items receive great reviews in all the mags.
     
  15. UrbanT

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    One of the other reasons, besides it being the best plasma I could find for the cash, that I chose the Panasonic, was for its excellent cabinet stand. It suits the plasma perfectly, and does away with the need to wall mount etc. The plasma with stand is £1325ish, sell the DVD recorder = £1200 net. A touch above budget, but good value when you consider you get a very solid stand thrown. As for 26", are you sure? :D

    Here is an (I admit badly taken!) picture of mine to give you an idea:

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=247053
     
  16. UrbanT

    UrbanT
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    Darron, can I please remind you that any items for sale must be advertised in the classified forum, and must not be advertised here. Thanks :)
     
  17. darron027

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    Ups - Done that twice today. My mind has gone. Sorry will sort it
     
  18. Slainte

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    Like UrbanT, I just acquired a 37PE50 from Letsgodigital, together with the free DVD recorder and a pedestal stand for £1114, which included next day delivery. The service was first class, and the plasma is excellent, especially when fed via a component feed from the DVD recorder. If you can stretch that extra £100, it really is an unbelievably good package.
     
  19. WillC

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    UrbanT, I like the look of it :) Your living room looks rather nice. I hope mine will look similar to that in a few weeks when I move into my apartment. The stand does look rather awesome.

    Slainte mentioned the pedestal stand - is this picture what you're talking about?

    [​IMG]

    If so, then presumably that would suffice to just sit the Panasonic on any old TV cabinet? If so, much as I like the one UrbanT owns, it might be more cost effective for me to just a TV cabinet elsewhere (or just using the wall mount, if my DIY skills are up to the challenge!).

    darron027, how much are you looking to get for your plasma TV? What else would I need to get it up and running (i.e. does it have sound capabilities or whatever)? And where are you located? Cheers.

    UrbanT, do you recommend a second-hand Sony kde-p37xs1 in my circumstances over the Panasonic?

    So many questions, so much confusion and excitement :D
     
  20. mrash

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    ive just got the panny from Selfridges, with a 2 year warranty, for £1245 inc free dvd recorder. Went to John Lewis and they refused to price match, so stuff em, got a good deal and i will be able to pick it up thurs...cant wait!! by far the best value TV at the moment, inc any CRT's and LCD/Plasma's,.....
     
  21. WillC

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    I got home from work ten minutes ago and I'm discussing all of the points raised in this thread with my older brother. He came out with the following point: "What's the point in spending over a grand on a new TV if it isn't even High Definition Ready?"

    So I ask you, 37" Panasonic owners, what is your response to that?
     
  22. UrbanT

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    I think we need to put things into perspective here. The best quality HD plasma's cost £2000-£3000. We are talking about a £1000 here, so firstly, the price gap is significant between the best SD sets, and the best HD sets.

    Secondly, can your brother please tell us what HD you are going to play? How much is it going to cost? What format are you going to buy? What material will be available? What will the quality of the material be like? When is it going to arrive?

    Thirdly, you don't appear to be the sort of person that jumps on the bandwagon with gadgets, as we've already said. So what do you want to pay £800 - £1000 more for a HD set for?

    And finally, if you spend £1k now, and pocket the extra £800 a HD set would cost you. You could sell your SD plasma in a years time, say for £500-£600, and use the cash you saved now to buy a next gen HD plasma with the money, when some material is actually available.

    Have I covered everything? :)
     
  23. WillC

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    If I was going to get a HD-ready set I wouldn't be looking to get a plasma version because I realise that would cost me around £2,000 (which I can't afford). Basically, in this instance, I'm comparing the 37" Panasonic plasma that you've recommended for £1,100 (albeit around £950 for the TV itself) against, say, a 32" LG or Toshiba HD-Ready LCD TV for £840.

    Mr brother's arguement is that it makes more sense to go for a HD-Ready LCD set at the expense of the extra 5 inches that the plasma would offer... especially as the HD-Ready LCD set would also cost me less money.

    An interesting dilema! What are your thoughts on this, UrbanT? I can definitely see my brother's point, much as I like the idea of a 37" screen.

    As for what I plan to watch in High Definition, well, granted, in the near future the answer is "not alot"! But if I'm spending around £1,000 on a new TV then I'd like it to last at least five years, and I wouldn't want to find myself in a situation in around two years time (when lots of programming is in HD) where I regret not having a HD TV.

    Thoughts?
     
  24. Slainte

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    Personally, I discounted LCDs because (at this time) they look too 'forced' to my eye. Therefore, I can't offer you a balanced argument as to why you should forego a 32" HD ready LCD for a 37" SD plasma. If you find that the smaller size doesn't matter, that you like the way an LCD looks and performs and you get a warm, comforting glow from the sight of an HD Ready sticker, you probably have your answer as to which way you jump.

    From the plasma-only perspective, I had the 'SD v HD' argument knocking around inside my head for months, along with the 'TV v Panel' and the '37" v 42" v larger' options. My eyes twirled at the endless discussions concerning whether a panel could take component over VGA or not, and whether it offered PinP, and whether a PE50 could accept and downscale a HD signal over component, and whether I needed one HDMI socket or two, and whether my life would end if my purchase couldn't cope with the rigours of HDCP and...

    And...

    And...

    ARGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    In the end, all the reading I did resulted in one thing: total paralysis. The way I was going, I would have handed my driving licence back to the DVLA before I ever bought a plasma.

    Finally, I came to a few conclusions.

    (1) I don't want to be an early adopter of HD on Sky. It will be expensive, limited in the programmes that it initially offers, and it will likely be rife with bugs. To my way of thinking, that's too high a premium to pay in order to keep up with the AV Jones.

    (2) I don't want to be an early adopter of HD on DVD either. It will be expensive, limited in the media it offers initially, and while it should be considerably less bug-ridden than Sky, it will doubtless have problems of its own. The prospect of choosing the wrong side in a repeat of the VHS v Betamax war doesn't do much to encourage me to part with my cash either. I'm happy to wait and see which side has the highest casualty rate before I leap in.

    (3) I don't want to pay a premium to future proof, especially given that "future proof" is one of the greatest oxymorons on the planet. Nor do I want to pay a premium for a (relatively) new technology that - despite lots of owners cries to the contrary - seems to be having more than a few problems at this early stage. I want something a touch more concrete than a "might be buzzy/liney/burny" PV500.

    In the end, I went for the 37PE50. I went for the 37" because the 42" would have overpowered the living room. I have a solid display, one that has had few reported problems and is built by (reputedly) the leading SD screen manufacturer.

    I have the convenience of being able to use it as a tv when that's all the programme demands, or to use it in conjunction with the 5.1 amp and speakers when I'm after a more cinematic effect. I have a free DVD recorder which, whilst representing the budget end of the Panasonic range, is still an improvement over my old DMR-E50. I've kept around £1000 in the building society account for use against a more developed HD screen in eighteen months to two years time, once all the virginal clamour has subsided. At that point, the PE50 can either be sold on to fund the next purchase, or moved to the bedroom. And if I ever convert our cellar into a dedicated home cinema, the A/V gear can be moved downstairs, and the TV will still be a TV, not a mute display.

    Most importantly of all, having upgraded from a Toshiba 32MW8DG, I now have a display which - to my humble eyes, anyway - looks the dog's nads. Freeview is very good, Sky through a scart looks pretty good too (I suspect my Latvian construct scart lead is keeping the display from attaining a higher rating - a QED version is now en-route), but the DVD via componant is excellent. I have a whole library of films waiting to be rediscovered in jaw-dropping fashion. If in a year's time I can watch the downscaled output of an early Sky HD box or a BluRay/HD DVD via component, so much the better. If I can't, I'll live. HD looks good, but would it make my ******** tingle any more than my PE50? Not enough to justify an extra grand, it won't.

    Will your tv last you five years? That depends on you. My 32MW8DG was pensioned off after six years loyal service, and we got on fine, beginning to end.

    Buy whatever suits your needs and your wallet. I just hope you'll be as chuffed to feckin' buggery with your purchase as I am with mine.


    (BTW, the photograph you posted does indeed show the pedestal that came with my purchase)
     
  25. UrbanT

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    I don't think this is the place for an LCD vs plasma discussion, but I would add that I'm not a big fan of LCD technology in its current state.

    And finally, I would buy a unit for what you need, not what other people tell you that you need. Your first post defined clearly what you were looking for. Its to easy to be caught in the hype, and lose focus of what you actually want.

    I'll be honest here. My criteria wasn't to far from yours, but you wouldn't believe how close I got to ordering a 42" HD Panasonic for over £2k. Fortunately, I had a last minute serious think about my purchase, and realised what a numpty I was being.

    I bought the set that suits my needs, and so far it has been an absolute pleasure to own.

    Don't lose sight of what you need, thats all thats important
     
  26. WillC

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    Thanks Slainte - an interesting post.

    I'm going through similar thought-processes to you. I think one of the most important things for me to consider is this: Whatever TV I buy, I'd like to be happy with my purchase for at least 5 years. I realise that no matter what TV I buy there will always be something new and better on the market for the same price within a few months. But, I remember about six years ago I bought a PC for £1,200 and it has lasted me well all those years. And that is the important thing; that I get my money's worth out of it, that I enjoy it, and don't regret buying it!

    Now, would I be happy with a 37" Panasonic Plasma TV? Yes, I think so. At least until HDTV becomes mainstream (which I'm guessing won't be for a fair few years yet).

    Would I be happy with a 32" LG/Toshiba HD-Ready LCD TV? Yes, but it's smaller size may be a drawback and I may regret not getting a bitter TV.

    Would I be happy with a rear-projection TV or a CRT Widescreen? No. I'd always know that I could have got something much better for just a few hundred pounds more. Therefore, I've pretty much discounted this option.

    Another thing for me to consider is getting a second hand model. Darron (from a few posts above) has sent me a message about his TV. I might look into that. I'm wary of getting a second hand model, but if I can get a mint condition TV worth £3,000 within my measly budget then I can't complain!
     
  27. UrbanT

    UrbanT
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    You use an interesting analogy, so how about this.

    That computer you bought 6 years ago, would it run Half Life 2 now? Would it run Call of Duty 2, or Battlefield 2? Not a chance. But you still enjoyed it for those 6 years knowing that it will be outdated very quickly.

    Personally, I don't think the TV will date anywhere near as quickly as that, as take up of HD material will be slow as the vast majority don't have the cash to buy HD ready TV sets.

    Would you be happy with a 32" LCD? Possibly. But do you know what contrast ratio is? That when you look at the picture of your LCD, that the blacks will actually look grey, rather than black. As an example, I think the Tosh's CR is 800:1, compared to the Panasonic's 4000:1. So you are giving up picture quality for a smaller TV, with a feature you may not use for several years.

    HD technology is moving so quickly, that its a strong possibility that by the time someone like yourself moves into actually buying HD, cheaper,and much better specified sets will be available.

    As for Darron, he is fast approaching a ban from the forums. I have already warned him to put an advert in the classifieds, as trading must not be done outside of that forum. Yet he still PM's you. I'm considering that ban right now.

    As for Sony, you should know that they are struggling in the plasma market, and look like pulling out altogether. Hardly a sound buy.

    Remember, don't lose focus on what you need. :)
     
  28. WillC

    WillC
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    Well said. You make a very good point. I must admit, 4000:1 is better than any other TV set I've looked at so far. Although I should add that these terms such as "contrast ratio" don't mean a hell of a lot to me. Generally, though, I've been impressed with the picture quality of plasma TVs in Currys/Dixons, so I'm guessing that is due to their superior contrast ratio in comparison to LCDs.

    A ban seems a bit harsh. You can't blame the man for trying to get a sale! Just give him one more warning or something.

    Thanks for the tip regarding Sony! I must admit, despite it appearing to be a good buy, I'd probably be too suspicious to go ahead with a second hand purchase. Afterall, if Darron bought it for £3,000 just 9 months ago then why would he accept a little over £1,000 for it now? I would have thought it should be worth more than that. Sometimes a deal like that is too good to be true.
     
  29. UrbanT

    UrbanT
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    I don't want to dwell on Darron in your thread, but he has already had a warning earlier in this thread, as well as having an advert closed in the classified section already. Anyone who persistently trys to evade the rules would have the alarm bells ringing. The reason we ask people to use the classified section, is that everyone can see whats happening, and the mods can help make sure any sale goes smoothly, especially for such high value items.
     
  30. WillC

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    Yeah you're right, lets not dwell on Darron. Back to me :D

    I was just reading the thread with pictures of people sticking Ikea lights to the back of their Plasma TVs. Have you done that, UrbanT, or is it too chav-like for you? ;) Must admit, I think it looks pretty cool! I would definitely have to invistigate that idea further once I buy a TC.

    (I picked up a Philips catalogue a few weeks ago and I was impressed by their top-range models which shone light onto the wall behind the TV. So to get the same affect from £20 Ikea lights is pretty nice!)

    These forums are addictive. I've gone from being interested in getting a new TV to being flat-out obsessed with the idea! :smashin:
     

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