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Protection for plasma TV: UPS or surge protector?
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Mac Elite
Join Date: Oct 1999
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Jul 8, 2013, 01:44 AM
 
Hi! I'm buying a new 50" panasonic plasma TV and I want to protect it against power surge. I was wondering if I should just buy a good surge protector or a UPS. I noticed the joules rating for UPS were generally very low, which didn't please me. However, APC states that they divert most of the power to the ground so their joules rating are lower for this reason. Are other brands doing this too? What are good brand? I always used APC but I read good things about CyberPower and tripp-lite. I read the waveform is important too (simulated vs real sine wave). APC says that they are doing simulated sine wave but is this only for battery mode or even for AC mode? Cheaper UPS use MOV-only but better ones use other methods also. What should I buy? I don't want to invest a lot of money, unless it's really worth it. I'd prefer a UPS but I want good surge protection, and I don't want to ruin anything with poor sine wave simulation.

thank you!
     
Mac Elite
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Jul 8, 2013, 01:51 AM
 
The big threat to TV's is from the cable line itself. Today that's not much of an issue because the cable co. grounds it outside your house (or in your building) and a surge would have to go through a cable box more often then not to make it to your TV.

Just a surge protector should be just fine. I've never had an issue with any of my TVs using plain jane surge protectors. Don't buy Monster or any other "high-end" consumer TV surge protector. You're wasting your money with those - there's no difference from a protection standpoint between them and the cheap ones, and reducing "static" on a digital TV seems quite silly and pointless.

I'm sure someone a little more knowledgeable then me will be along shortly to give you better advice.
     
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Jul 8, 2013, 01:52 AM
 
I'll be using Bell Fibe service, with FTTN (fiber to the neighborhood)

I favor UPS because it also protects against "under voltage" situations
     
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Jul 8, 2013, 04:38 AM
 
I thought plasma was a dying technology these days. Won't it burn out (or in) long before voltage irregularities have any effect anyway? Or do the newer ones last longer?

I thought LCD with LED was the way to go nowadays.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jul 8, 2013, 08:50 AM
 
Plasma probably is a dying technology, but only in the sense that it isn't being developed further. There are still good plasmas out there, and if you're looking in the segment where they are strongest (50" and up, high quality but not top of the line) you can often get equivalent quality to LED-backlit LCD at a slightly lower price (or inversely, better quality at the same price if you're comparing to lower quality LCDs).

The differences between LCDs and plasmas have disappeared more and more for each generation. Plasmas used to have massive problems with burn-in and wear, but the lifetimes are much better these days, and if you plan to replace the TV in 5 years anyway, not something to bother with for regular viewing. LCDs on the other hand used to fail on viewing angles and blacklevels, but have made large progress. You can still trip them up by standing 85 degrees off to one side and watch an image that is all black with white text, but personally I sit in front of the TV and watch moving pictures that are not all black. YMMV.

In my opinion, there are two differences left:

* Plasmas have glass in the front, which gives reflections from lights and windows unless you darken the room or position the TV carefully. LCDs usually have nothing there, which means that they can be used in bright daylight without issue. Note that there was a trend a few years back where LCD TVs had glass in front as well, but that has mostly died out now.
* Plasmas can be kept quite dark and still show detail in dark scenes, while LCDs grow muddy. This is easily fixed by keeping the brightness more normal, but movies like The Dark Knight arguably look better with the brightness down low.

For me, it comes down to what I want to use the TV for. As a regular TV, standing in a regular room with light coming in from the windows, I pick an LCD. For a home theater setup in a dedicated room that you can set up for the purpose and control the lightning, a plasma is probably the better choice. The difference is small these days, though.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
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Jul 8, 2013, 08:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by FireWire View Post
Hi! I'm buying a new 50" panasonic plasma TV and I want to protect it against power surge. I was wondering if I should just buy a good surge protector or a UPS. I noticed the joules rating for UPS were generally very low, which didn't please me. However, APC states that they divert most of the power to the ground so their joules rating are lower for this reason.
APC forgets to mention which ground. The important ground - earth ground - must be within feet from the incoming cable to earth. The engineering term is called 'low impedance'. APC forgets to mention their ground connection has excessive impedance. And does not claim to protect from another and typically destructive surge.

Your cable already has the best protection possible (if the linemen properly installed what is required by code to already exist). Inspect it. Does a wire connect the cable within feet to your single point earth ground? If yes, then your cable already has superior protection. Only you are responsible for maintaining that ground.

If any wire enters the building without a connection to that same 'single point earth ground', then all protection has been compromised. Telephone cannot connect directly with a wire. So a telco installs, for free, the next best thing. A 'whole house' protector that also must make that 'low impedance' connection to earth.

The most common source of destructive surges is AC electric. A lightning strike far down the street is a direct strike incoming to every appliance. If your TV needs protection, then so does the dryer, bathroom and kitchen GFCIs, clocks, dimmer switches, dishwasher, refrigerator and smoke detectors. Are all damaged by a surge? Of course not. Because that surge is electricity. If permitted inside, then it hunts for the appliance that makes a best connection to earth. TV is one. Why? Because the best protection is that earthed cable.

A typical surge is incoming on AC mains. Outgoing to earth via the cable. Damage is often on the outgoing path. Then the naive, who only use observation, assume the incoming surge was on cable. Most do not even know of best protection required to be on every cable.

APC, et al claim only to protect from a type of surge that typically causes no damage. Effective protection is from other companies known by every 'guy' for their integrity. An AC mains 'whole house' protector can be obtained from Siemens, Square D, Intermatic, Syscom, General Electric, Leviton, Ditek, Polyphaser, or ABB - to name but a few. A Cutler-Hammer solution sold in both Lowes and Home Depot for less than $50. These are completely different from what APC sells. Unfortunately, another and superior device has a same name - surge protector.

An effective protector is made obvious by the always required ground wire. A separate and dedicated wire so that the protector can make the low impedance (ie 'less than 10 foot', no sharp wires bends, not inside metallic conduit, etc) connection.

APC will not discuss this. And will not discuss what numbers are relevant to surge protection. APC is near zero joules. Effective protectors must earth direct lightning strikes. And remain functional. A typical lightning strike is 20,000 amps. So a minimal 'whole house' protector starts at 50,000 amps. Because protectors must earth even direct lightning strikes and remain functional. And because all appliances in a house (not just a TV) need that protection.

Either a surge is earthed before it enters the house. Or it goes hunting destructively for earth via appliances. Nothing inside claims to protect from a typically destructive surge. That transient must be earthed BEFORE it enters. Cable, telephone, and satellite dish are required by code to have that protection. But you must install it for AC mains - the most common source of destructive surges. And a surge that easily blows through that APC or UPS solution.
     
   
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