Well, the new 80" Sharp HDTV was delivered and set up today. After watching both cable TV and a DVD for several hours, I realize that I've made a MISTAKE.
First, while I know that 80" is 30" bigger (diagonally) than the previous 50" set, I did not realize HOW much bigger that would be in the room. The TVs were all gradually bigger in the showroom, so there wasn't THAT much difference from one to the next. Surrounded by other slightly smaller TVs, it just didn't look so huge. Sitting on a TV table in the room (and being only about 8' from the back of my easy chair), I actually can't see the entire screen at once, which is really rather disturbing.
Second, I shouldn't have chosen an LCD TV. My Panasonic Viera Plasma set had black screen technology (as did my older CRT Zenith before that). Even after fiddling with the color adjustments for a half hour, I just couldn't get the colors looking rich enough without them looking oversaturated. I don't know enough about it to explain why, but putting colors over a black background instead of a white background seems to make a difference. I'll hazard a guess and say that somehow you detect the background color between the color pixels on plasma. But everything just looks a bit "thin" on LCD.
Third, there is noticable "motion blur" on the new set. As I walked the 100' from the Plasma sets and back to the LCD sets several times, I couldn't tell the difference. But I sure could tell at home. I knew from reading Consumer Reports magazine that "motion blur" was an issue with LCD sets, I just couldn't see it well enough in the store. Maybe they are clever about choosing what cable broadcast to show on all the sets. Whatever, its a problem.
Fourth, the viewing angle DOES make a difference with LCD TVs. I walk around the house a lot and at 45 degrees, the LCD really DOES look washed out.
Fifth, the sound quality is thin. I could get an enhancement system, or attach my stereo system (I assume), but the old set had better sound with fewer speakers built-in. And that's a brand problem, not a Plasma/LCD issue.
I also made another mistake. I started my TV selection with highly-rated choices from Consumer Reports magazine. Then when I looked at the store's website, I sidetracked myself by paying attention to the store's own '"customer ratings" because the sets I wanted weren't available. I should know better than to do that! But I now see that the list of 4 TVs (2 Plasma and 2 LCD) I walked into the store with had none of the highest rated ones from Consumer Reports. I had become seduced by size... Serious Mistake. Well, I did have a reason. One of the most common complaints people made were "wishing they had gotten a larger TV". That really got on my mind in the store. That might make sense if you are watching the TV from 15' away, but (as I now realize) not in my 10'x10' TV room.
So I made a poor choice. And I'm going to have to pay to exchange the TV. Probably another $200 return/delivery fee. The delivery guys left the box and packing material saying I need to keep it for 12 days in case of a return in order to avoid restocking fees (which I have read can be up to 20%). But which makes more sense? Pay a couple hundred dollars to correct a mistake, or be happier with a different TV for years to come?
I'll get a smaller one (50-60") for the right size for my room, Plasma (for trust in picture quality), and Panasonic (because of familiarity and the lowest repair rate among plasma TVs). I liked their 50" model, I think a slightly larger one would fit nicely and please me for years to come.
It will be a bit embarrassing to go into the HHGREGG store to arrange for a return. Especially since they don't carry the models I want to select from (they don't carry Panasonic). But I have to do it. Monday morning, I think. Sundays get busy around stores here.
But the Panasonic Viera TC-P60ST60 looks likes the right one for me.