Recently, while shopping for a new TV, I found myself waffling between LCD and plasma. I've always chosen the former because they tend to pair better with PCs (and I'm a media-center guy), but because the TV in question was going to marry a TiVo, that wasn't a concern.
I'd also steered clear of plasmas because of longstanding issues with burn-in, but a little research revealed that thanks to improvements in plasma technology, it's not really a problem anymore.
Most of all, plasmas used to fetch a premium price -- but these days they're actually cheaper than many comparably sized LCD or LED TVs. Case in point: while supplies last, Best Buy has the RCA 42PA30RQ 42-inch plasma HDTV for $299.99 shipped (plus sales tax in most states). That's one of the lowest prices I've seen on any 42-inch TV ever.
The 42PA30RQ is a pretty no-frills TV, not that there's anything wrong with that. (Plug in a $50 Roku box and you've got frills aplenty.) Its highlight specs include 720p resolution (which most viewers agree is sufficient at this size), three HDMI inputs, a digital audio output (which is key if you're pairing it with, say, a sound bar), and durable outer casing to prevent fallapart. (Okay, I borrowed that last spec from "The Simpsons.")
A 42-inch TV is ideal for a den, bedroom, playroom, or the like -- anyplace where you can sit roughly 8 feet away from the screen.
CNET hasn't reviewed this particular model, but 46 Best Buy shoppers rated it 4.5 stars on average. And over at Wal-Mart, where the RCA is out of stock but showing a price tag of $399.98, a whopping 858 customers rated it 4 stars on average.
Shop around a bit and you'll see any number of 42-inch plasma HDTVs selling for $500, $550, and even $600. Needless to say, a $300 model is hard to pass up. This will probably sell out fast!
Bonus deal: If you're planning a trip to an actual Wal-Mart store, you can get the Kindle with Special Offers for $79 -- and a $30 Wal-Mart gift card. Definitely a tempting option for Mother's Day or a similar gift-giving occasion. Thanks to reader Mike for sharing this deal.
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