Off brand, flat panel TV's? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-31-2006, 07:22 AM
Hey guys, what's up with all these off brand flat panels? I've been peeping around for a flat panel for the bedroom and noticed a heck of a lot off brands. Has anyone else noticed this? And what do you think about it?

Some of the brands I've come across(32"LCD):

Sceptre (
Maxent (
Polaroid ( (I thought they only made cameras)
Westinghouse (
Protron (

There are alot more, but you get my point.

01-31-2006, 09:48 AM

The proliferation of these sets testifies to how long LCD has been around as a computer-monitor format and how relatively easy it is to manufacture. I think that you'll find that most of these companies have computer-technology roots. The once-proud Poloroid, which is located near me, has been reduced to renting its name to whoever want to associate with its former glory. I know of people who buy these things. If you don't expect too much, they can fit the bill, but you can be sure that they will emphasize the worst facets of this particular technology, as well as many of those of consumer video in general. That is not to suggest that you can't find one that would be perfectly acceptable for you as a second TV. If it breaks down, just hope that it does so quickly.

01-31-2006, 05:39 PM
I have had a Protron 26" LCD in my bedroom for about 6 weeks. I paid $600 at Sears (32" version was $900). So far I have and no problems and for a second TV it has worked great. The picture is good and shap but it does lose alot of detail in dark parts of the picture. I have not had the chance to play with the settings to see if I can fix it.

So to answer you question a Shap or Sony is a nicer, better looking, better picture TV but at $1600-$1800 for these sets my Protron at $600 for a bedroom set made more sense. Now I just hope it wont break.

01-31-2006, 06:47 PM
Even familiar names nowadays adorn TVs that are basically the same knockoff bottomfeeders underneath. I've seen a lot of TVs that recycle trademarks that had been left on the scrap heap of history (i.e. Sansui, Akai, Curtis Mathes, Dual, and Advent). Chinese (or Korean in the case of Dual) companies will buy or license the trademark, and just slap that brand name onto a TV that's basically the same as the offbrand product underneath.

A big issue with offbrands is with their aftersales support. Most of these companies provide short warranties (I remember Apex Digital only provided a 90-day warranty), and minimal service. One big issue with these offbrands is that they move from one outsource manufacturer to another. Even though the name brand might be the same, the actual manufacturer of the TV might be entirely different for every model. And these outsource manufacturers come and go with almost frightening regularity (I read that 90% of the DVD player manufacturers that operated in China two years ago are now out of business) If you actually want to repair one of those TVs after it's out of warranty, you might be out of luck if the original shop that built that TV went under and parts are no longer available.

The business model that these companies use entail creating a "virtual" company with minimal R&D, no manufacturing facilities, and outsourced customer service. They will then go around to these outsource manufacturers with a list of specs, and look for the lowest cost bid that will match those specs. Several thousand units get built and shipped to the U.S., but after that initial production run, the company does not make another order. They simply start the process all over again. New models might have nothing in common with the previous model -- different manufacturer, different design, etc. It's not like a name brand like Panasonic or Pioneer where you have a customer support infrastructure, and some degree of continuity within the model lineups, and with new model updates.