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Author Topic: Televisions  (Read 3545 times)
bamf16
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« on: Nov 01, 2007 at 17:52 »

So I'm a moron when it comes to this stuff, so hoping someone out there can make the lightbulb go off in my head so I know what to buy!

I want a bigger screen than my 27", that is an HD tv so when the HD stations become worth the extra $30/month I'd have to pay, I can seamlessly switch over.  Right now a lot of them are not simulcasted from the regular station.  I don't want to watch the same four hours of HD programming on a loop, so I haven't paid for the HD service through DishNetwork.

I don't want a tv that looks like shit when I'm not watching HD channels.  I don't want to trade 27" of good picture for 42" of shitty picture.  And what is "Over the air HD?"

What do rear projection sets look like on non HD channels?

The more I read, the more confused I get.  I've always found the best thing to do was to talk to people who have gone down the path I'm looking to go down!

Thanks.
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otismalibu
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« Reply #1 on: Nov 01, 2007 at 18:25 »

I just spent the last month shopping for a TV. I'm certainly no expert and I did just like you - asked questions. Big Virgil sent me a number of helpful emails and I picked the brain of a friend who's an electronics guy.

The bigger the screen and the closer you are, the worse it seems non-HD will look. I just moved a 32" TV to the bedroom and replaced our 27". It looks a little worse than it did in the living room, because I'm not viewing from the same distance.

If you're close to the station transmitting the signal, you can get HD channels via a simply antenna (OTA - over the air). I'm about 20 miles from STL and can watch all the major networks in HD with nothing more than a $35 Walmart antenna sitting on the floor behind my TV. If you have an antenna connection on back of your set now, give it a shot with some cheap rabbit ears. You'll just need to do a channel scan.

We bought a 57" rear projection Mitsubishi. The HD channels look swell and the standard channels...well, not the greatest. I read somewhere that you take the screen size and double it for minimum viewing distance for HD, but you have to triple it for minimum viewing distance for SD. No sense getting too big of a screen unless you want to watch from the backyard for you standard channels.

I think the main 3 for big screens are plasma, LCD and projection. Technically, I think only LCD and plasma are considered flat screen and they cost more than the projection sets. But our set is only about 14" and weighs 75-80, so although it's not something you'd mount on a wall, it's not too bulky. Consumer Reports just ranked their top LCDs and plasma TV. They didn't include DLP/projection.

Hopefully everything I just spewed out is relatively accurate. If it's not, I'm sure someone will enlighten us both
 :D

***edit***

Couple more things. I went to a more upscale joint to get info from the sales guy. The zit faced dildos at Best Buy & Circuit City would certainly fall into Penso's cup stacking category. Get the info from someone with some knowledge and then shop around.

And you can haggle just like you're buying a car. It's your money, never feel uncomfortable about looking for a better deal. I got the guy at the nice place to match another price and throw in a free stand.  
« Last Edit: Nov 01, 2007 at 18:30 by otismalibu » Logged
Big Virgil
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 02, 2007 at 08:13 »

Quote
I think the main 3 for big screens are plasma, LCD and projection. Technically, I think only LCD and plasma are considered flat screen and they cost more than the projection sets

Let me clarify.  The three most prominent HD technologies are Plasma, LCD, and DLP.  Plasma and LCD come in flat panel displays (one you can hang on a wall).  LCD and DLP are the two main projection technologies.  They are all "flat screens", but wall mountable are "flat panel".  DLP, as far as I know, does not come in a flat panel variety.  The wall mounted flat panel sounds cool, but for it to look decent you have to run wires behind the wall for DVD player, Sat box, etc.  They do have stands, but if it isn't going to be mounted on the wall, why not go bigger with projection?  If it is monted on the wall, you need about a $300 bracket that lets you angle the TV downward for viewing while sitting.  Depends on the mounted height, but if it is on the wall, they are generally higher and need to be angled downward.

What Otis said about SD vs HD and viewing distance is accurate, IMO.

SD on a microdispay TV (the TV's mentioned above) isn't really bad, but if you are watching a football game in HD and switch over to one that is SD it looks absolutely terrible.  SD programming on a picture tube TV, doesn't look as good as HD.  So the real comparison is SD on an HD tv vs SD on a tube.  The tube is probably a little better, but not that much.  The mental block here is that people think that buying one of these TV's wil make all of their programming look like HD.  Well, HD is HD and SD is SD.  It is a limitation of the broadcast technology, not the TV.

Bam - not sure wht you are talking about HD costing $30 more per month.  The price for HD programming with DirecTV is $10 or $12 per month.  Don't know what DISH has going on, but DirecTV has had about 8 channels in HD for quite a while, but now have tons more, including 2 HD HBO's, A&E, TLC, History channel, Big Ten Network, NFL Network (although there doesn't seem to be any HD programming broadcast) and even a cartoon channel is HD.  There are others, but these are the one I can recall at the moment.

Also, as far as playing DVD's, you need an upconverting DVD player for the picture to look decent on the TV.  I think Otis got one for < $100.  You need an HD DVD player if you want movies in HD.  That is a whole separate subject.  I will be happy to expound what I think I know if you are interested.

If upgrading, you will need an HD sat box from DISH Network.  The satellite companies try to soak you for the equipment, but if you have been a subscriber for a while, or become a new DirecTV subscriber, you can get the equipment very cheap.
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bamf16
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 02, 2007 at 08:43 »

Quote


Bam - not sure wht you are talking about HD costing $30 more per month.  The price for HD programming with DirecTV is $10 or $12 per month.  Don't know what DISH has going on, but DirecTV has had about 8 channels in HD for quite a while, but now have tons more, including 2 HD HBO's, A&E, TLC, History channel, Big Ten Network, NFL Network (although there doesn't seem to be any HD programming broadcast) and even a cartoon channel is HD.  There are others, but these are the one I can recall at the moment.

 
Thanks for the insight.  I mistakenly wrote an additional $30/month, but it's $20/month for the HD package from DishNetwork.  I'm not sure how much more I'll pay each month to rent the box, but an additional $20-$30 month for HD packaging sounds about right.  I'm just not sure I want to pay it.

But in case I do want it in the future, I'd prefer to get an HDTV.  Are non HD channels better quality on a rear projection TV than an LCD flat panel?
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otismalibu
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 02, 2007 at 08:53 »

I think the plasma & LCDs can be viewed from a number of angles and the picture still looks the same. With the DLPs, you'll want to be pretty much straight on. Not a biggy IMO, because who watches TV from the side or far above or below?

My cable company charges about $11/month for the HD box, but it's also a DVR. Not sure if they offer an HD box w/o the DVR. With that box, they offer 5 or 6 HD channels at no extra cost. If I pay out another $11/month I can get their limited HD lineup which has ESPN, TNT, A&E and stuff like HDNet.

I bought a Samsung up-conversion DVD player for $100. Then you'll need the HDMI cable as well. I found one at Sam's for $21, but you can spend quite a bit more.

Keep in mind, it's not like everything is in HD. I looked thru the CBS lineup one day and the only shows in HD for the day was a soap, 2 primetime shows and Letterman.

I actually find myself watching less TV now that we have the new set. Before, I'd turn it on a surf. But my TV takes about 15-20 to come to life and then I factor in how some of the channels look. IMO, taped programs look pretty decent in SD as opposed to say an NFL game. I recorded CSI last night and watched it and it still looks pretty good in SD. The NFL games in SD on the big screen don't look nearly as good as how they did on my old tube TV. But with the home theatre and big screen, the movie experience is so much better.
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Big Virgil
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« Reply #5 on: Nov 02, 2007 at 09:33 »

Quote
I think the plasma & LCDs can be viewed from a number of angles and the picture still looks the same. With the DLPs, you'll want to be pretty much straight on

I really disagree with this.  I think they all have a really good wide viewing angle.  My wife and daughter (don't ask me why) sit on a love seat that is at about a 45 degree angle to the TV and there is no loss of brightness or clarity.  I do have a 1080p DLP.

Quote
But in case I do want it in the future, I'd prefer to get an HDTV. Are non HD channels better quality on a rear projection TV than an LCD flat panel

As far as SD goes, I think they are comparable.  For HD, if you do any gaming, or watch a lot of sports, a DLP would be the better choice.  If you watch more movies, and non fast moving pictures, LCD would be the better choice.

This is a fact, not an opinion, LCD has some lag (not immediate resposne) for playing games, and when watching football or other sports, guys running, and a footall moving through the air do not have a distinct/defined outline so the object has some blur.  The downside to DLP is that in low light movie scenes, or with something that is black and white (which is mostly low light scenes) you can see some rainbows in the picture.

1080i vs 1080p

Bam - if yopu buy something, I strongly suggest a TV with 1080p resolution.  Quick explanation, i=interlaced and p=progressive.  1080 means there are 1080 lines of horizontal resolution.  If a movie, or whatever is filmed at 60 frames per second, an interlaced picture refreshes all of the odd numbered lines 30 times per second, and the even numbered lines 30 times per second.  The picture is therefore interlaced.  Progressive is that all lines are refreshed 60 times per second.  1080p, IMO, has a more clear picture with a little better color.

DLP's were first out with 1080p sets.  The LCD's now have 1080p's out there, and that may reduce the blur and undefined outlines of faster moving parts of the picture.  I haven't been is the stores recently so I don't have an opinion on LCD 1080p sets.

A friend of mine, just bought a Sony Aquos, a highly popular LCD flat panel, and I want to say it is 42 inches.  He said the first thing he noticed watching a baseball game, the little blur factor.  He is pretty particular, so he said he was thinking about returning it.  I'm not sure if his is 1080i or 1080p.  He bought 2 other Aquos TV's (these are in his newly finished basement) and are about 26 inches, and he doesn't notice it.  

Having said all of that, nothing is broadcast in 1080p, but the TV has a scaler in it that upconverts the signal to 1080p.  I think the newest version of XBOX is 1080p, and maybe the PS3 but that is about it.  It is coming soon though.  
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otismalibu
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« Reply #6 on: Nov 02, 2007 at 09:49 »

Quote
I really disagree with this. I think they all have a really good wide viewing angle. My wife and daughter (don't ask me why) sit on a love seat that is at about a 45 degree angle to the TV and there is no loss of brightness or clarity. I do have a 1080p DLP.


I guess I shouldn't have said 'pretty much straight on'. We view from an angle too and nothing is lost. But when you start getting to a fairly extreme angle, the picture looks darker. If I'm walking down the stairs and the kids are watching TV it looks darker until I get down to the same level. Not really an issue...just mentioned it. If you stuck a DLP on a high shelf at a sports bar, the pic wouldn't look as good looking up at the screen.

You can check out this site to see what you can get OTA.

http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx

Worth a try seeing you may be able to watch some HD for free with what you already have, depending on where you're located.
« Last Edit: Nov 02, 2007 at 09:52 by otismalibu » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: Jun 06, 2008 at 07:53 »

Bumping this.  We did a little debt consolidation, due to upcming 10th year anniversary and new car purchase for me, and I factored in enough for a new computer and new TVs for LR and BR.  

Just wanted to see if anyone had anything to add since the previous.  Currently do not have high def but might as well do it now.  Have a 27" in the bedroom, and probably will stay that size or slightly larger.  In the living room, we have a 32" set that will go bigger, although the only real spot for a set limits size.  Thinking maybe a 46"?

So, looking to:

Replace 32" set in LR with ~46-47" HD LCD 1080p.
Replace 27" set in BR with ~27-30" LCD 1080p, probably HD.
Upgrade to HD DVD.
Upgrade DVR to HD from DirecTV.

Will need wall mount for LR TV only.

Haven't even started to research, except for drooling at the big screens on the way in at Costco before settling for the 80 packs of toilet paper and the biggie boxes of Kashi.
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vinman3
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« Reply #8 on: Jun 06, 2008 at 08:12 »

I highly recommend the Sony Bravia. Our 52-inch LCD with 120 Hz Refresh rate is just a beast, and has a beautiful picture. Hockey looks GREAT in HD.

In my months of research for a 52 inch TV I came up with my final two which were

Samsung LNT5271F 52-inch 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV
and
Sony Bravia XBR KDL-52XBR4 52-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV

I ended up with the Sony, because it is in a room with a lot of light and that Samsung had a glass screen a la a plasma TV.

If you have the money to blow, Samsungs and Sonys are both rated very high, both of whom have newer versions of what I listed which are available now...Isn't that always the case :bang:

For HD DVD, go Blu-Ray. And you might as well buy the Playstation 3. It costs the same as most Blu-Ray players, and you get a high quality gaming system too.
« Last Edit: Jun 06, 2008 at 08:13 by vinman3 » Logged

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otismalibu
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« Reply #9 on: Jun 06, 2008 at 08:23 »

I don't think it would be an issue for you, because it doesn't look like you're going to opt  for some crazy huge living room TV, but keep in mind viewing distance. I know a guy that was looking for a 72" for his apartment. I asked him if he planned on watching it thru the window from his parking area.

If you're LR is set up where you are pretty close to the TV, bigger is not always better. Not every channel is available in HD and the SD channels often look shittier...especially the closer you get.

And see if you can't view some sports action on the set before you buy. I watched some football on a buddy's set and the action was constantly going in and out of sharp focus, ever so slightly. I think some sets have a ghosting issue too...I think that's what it's called. BV would know better than I.

When you're watching Steelers football, you want it sharp at all time...not just during the  huddles.

We too need to replace the old tube TV in the bedroom.  
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