LG Announcing Exit From Plasma (PDP) TV Business

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After Panasonic and Samsung recently called it quits on the plasma flat screen television, it is now apparent that LG, the last big brand left standing in this segment, is following suit after they hinted that they are making the announcement very soon. This revelation was made after indicating further venture into the OLED business with the release of a 65-inch 4k OLED TV display. This really comes as no surprise as new technology becomes cheaper and better with every new model that comes out. The difference in performance has also been made somewhat irrelevant with picture quality of LCD and OLED now very comparable to quality churned out by plasma displays. For the plasma enthusiasts, it might be a good idea to grab one right now as prices drop even further as companies try to clear their final inventories. This isn’t the final death knell for this technology though as there are still some manufacturers, like the Chinese Changhong Electric Co., who will keep making plasma boxes indefinitely.

Read announcements:
Panasonic – http://panasonic.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/data.dir/2013/10/en131031-8/en131031-8.pdf
Samsung – http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/01/us-samsung-sdi-plasma-idUSKBN0F62W620140701

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Add-on Warranty for your Flat Screen TV Purchase: A Good Idea?

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fst-0000001I have never been a fan of buying extended or add-on warranties. We see them being offered almost everywhere you buy stuff— most especially electronic stuff— but I believe they aren’t a practical addition to any of your purchases. At least not most of the time. If you’re buying a flat screen LCD/LED/OLED TV from one of the top brands, I believe you are mostly covered from rare occurrences of any defect as they do offer some form of manufacturer’s warranty. In a 2012 report by CNET, it was indicated that the repair rate among the big brands stands at an estimate of only 4.3% to 4.6% for LCD and plasma units (data was based on Consumer Reports surveys from 2008 to 2012). An aggregate of all the brands (not just the top ones) brings it up to only around 6%.

What this tells us is that these devices are fairly robust and isn’t as fragile as some people think. And consequently, spending additional cash for extended or add-on warranty may be something you won’t need approximately 95% of the time.

The Exception

However, I do admit that, after getting an input from one of this site’s readers, my views have changed somewhat. There may be a good justification for spending a little extra to protect you from the unfortunate hassle getting a lemon entails.

In a previous article I talked about the emergence of inexpensive Ultra-HD 4K flat screen displays along with some newer brands most people have never heard about. One such brand is Seiki which offers large-screened 4K TVs that severely undercut big and popular brands like Sony, LG, Samsung, etc. If you are wondering how reliable these units are in the long run then I must welcome you to the club. Without any track record to base that judgment from, we’ll have to learn as we go with these new kids on the block. And if you’re too worried, one good way to mitigate any risks is to, well, get add-on or extended warranty for your TV purchase!

What is a 4k TV?

Justification: A 50-inch 4K model from Seiki costs just a little over $400 as of last check. Adding a 5-year extended warranty plan for an additional $50 seems pretty fair in this context and you still get to significantly undercut the cheapest of similar models offered by the top manufacturers. A 55-inch Sony 4k model is currently being sold for nearly $4,000!!! For the most practical folks out there, this simply is a no-brainer.

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Repair Video: Olevia 42-inch Flat Screen LCD TV “Bad Caps” Repair

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Here’s a quick video post tackling a very common issue in many aging LCD TV’s power supply board: the bad capacitor problem. This repair was performed on an 42-inch Olevia LCD flat screen TV (model 242-T11) that its owner picked it up as it was being discarded. Upon checking, it turns out that 7-8 capacitors may have been blown as they were showing bulges. One thing to note is that the repair guy (bunnspecial of Youtube) is an amateur electronics enthusiast with not much experience doing such repair. He said he has done one other successful similar fix before this video. Hence, this should be a relatively easy fix even for a beginner. If you are a beginner, don’t forget safety first.

You’ll need some soldering skills to get the bad capacitors out and then install the new ones. You could use a solder sucker to get those solders squeaky clean before installing the new components but that isn’t absolutely necessary.

Related: Where to buy replacement TV parts?

Cost of components is about $19 for getting all the capacitors needed for the TV unit model (Olevia 242-T11). You can order them online which is pretty convenient or just go to an electronics shop and look for TV repair kits available for the TV. You’ll notice though that bunnspecial only replaced the bad capacitors. One other option is to replace all the capacitors so all of them will be brand new.

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Can a TV Wall Mount Fail and Get Your Flat Screen Smashed to Bits?

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This article’s title was actually a question put forth by a member of a forum on electronics that I often hang out in. It’s also something that I’ve wondered about myself as I also use one for one of my LCD flat screens. Of course we know that a TV wall mount is bolted onto the wall and most should be designed to stay bolted forever but when I did some research bout it, I suddenly realized how serious the topic really is and it should be something TV owners need to think about carefully. It’s certainly not something that happens a lot. But when it happens, it will surely be a pain. The following are what I’ve learned in my online research on the matter:

  1. The worst case scenario would be when a TV wall mount breaks or get unhinged by the unit’s weight and falls on something living. This includes the danger of the unit falling on a pet or a human being. Sometime in 2009, something like this happened with tragic results. The TV came loose from the wall and fell on a 2-year old boy whose injuries proved to be fatal. Another case I’ve found involved a 120 lb. plasma unit falling on its owner’s head but fortunately, the victim wasn’t seriously hurt.
  2. It will surely be a stressful and possibly costly accident because there’s always a big question mark whether warranty or insurance will cover the damaged unit in such an incident. It’s mostly certain the TV manufacturer’s warranty will not cover wall mount failure because that’s obviously not their fault. Going after the wall mount’s manufacturer will probably your best bet but there will be the question on whether the wall mount was at fault or was it a problem with the installation. If the installation was done incorrectly, then manufacturer might be free of liability.
  3. The best way to go about installing a TV wall mount is to have it installed professionally, either by the retailer or the manufacturer. That way you can eliminate negligence on your part when it comes to installation and liability in case of mount failure will stay with manufacturer/retailer.
  4. Try not add to the mount’s load by hanging stuff on it but most of all, tell the kids not to play it hang out under it. Considering the immediate area under the TV as a no play area.
  5. Get the best kind of wall mount you can buy and see number 3.
  6. If you have to do the installation, follow the instructions to the letter! Do not compromise with the tools and materials that you use. When in doubt, consult a professional.
  7. You could do away with wall mounts and go for possible alternatives like TV lift cabinets that don’t require you to precariously hang anything on the wall.
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A Wireless and an Almost Wireless LED Monitor from Samsung and AOC

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Do you know that you can now do away with the clutter of cords and wire that usually comes with using flat screen displays with your computer or laptop? Well, if you’re like me who’s tired of all the ugly tangle of cord then you might appreciate what AOC and Samsung have come up for us. Yes, these two companies are currently selling a couple of neat LED backlit flat screen LCD displays that have eliminated this problem. Well, at least the Samsung has totally solved the problem with wireless technology while the AOC nearly got there. I will explain that one in a bit but let’s start off with the Samsung.

The Wireless Samsung C27A750X

This LED-backlit LCD flat screen monitor is basically a docking display and computer monitor rolled into one. It uses wireless technology to hook up with your laptop, notebook (or even desktop) so you can use it as a docking station and a display extension. This means you don’t have need to get a docking station so you could extend your displays. You just need this one Samsung! Definitely a boon if you use a small-ish notebook/laptop for your mobile needs but would want something bigger when you get home! It is 27-inch with a full HD (1080p) resolution so you’d get ample pixel space if you need it. Wireless connection for this unit is achieved using a USB adapter that you will need insert into one of your notebook’s USB ports. You could also hook it up via wired USB cable if any situation warrants so. And since it’s also a docking station, it comes with a sufficient number of the standard connectivity features like USB3, USB2, HDMI, etc. See following unboxing video for the Samsung C27A750X:

Related: Using a 4K TV as your computer monitor

The Almost Wireless AOC E1649FWU

If you’re not really looking a monitor with docking capabilities like the Samsung then the AOC E1649FWU might be good enough if you could get over the fact that it isn’t really wireless in the same sense as the Samsung. But it does have one very neat capability; that is, it does not require a power cord. It gets all its power from the wired USB connection to your laptop/notebook. It’s value is in its portability and it works well as a presentation device. Just prop it up on a table and you can run your presentation. It has an auto-pivot feature to re-orient image depending on whether it’s in portrait or landscape position. Resolution is 1366 x 768 so it should be nice for casual viewing or showing of images but feedback from users indicate it’s really not for high-quality image or video editing work so be advised. Well it’s also way cheaper than the Samsung so features should be limited.

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Learn How to Solder Electronic Components & Circuits

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One of the key skills that you need to master if you wish to learn how to to repair flat screen TVs or any electronic devices for that matter is the skill of soldering. This video series courtesy of Pace Worldwide provides the basics on the really fine art of soldering. It is a 9-part Youtube video actually that covers a lot of aspects of soldering for electronic circuit boards and should be watched by beginners. Although the video seems to have been shot some decades ago, the techniques shown are as relevant today and there should be no problems applying them today.

You can watch all 9 parts of the video below or you could go watch them piecemeal, 1 lesson at a time (look further below for the links to each lesson):

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