HDTV Checklist / Recommendations

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ~Shard~, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #1
    I know there are similar threads on this topic, and I have read through most of the ones I could find, but I thought it would be useful to start a definite "checklist" and get some input from the knowledgeable MacRumors members on their recommendations and opinions on what I am looking at for my HDTV purchase.

    First of all, no Plasma for me. From what I've read, it doesn't last as long, there seems to be burn-in issues, etc. They also don't seem to have as many benefits as LCD or DLP. Agree, disagree?

    (I also am not interested in the whole front projection setup, btw, just personal preference.)

    LCD versus DLP - thoughts? I have heard many great things about DLP, however I know some of the drawbacks of LCDs were that they didn't come in large sizes and were expensive - two traits which seem to have been resolved as of late.

    How about HDCP. HDMI. Essential?

    Contrast ratio - what's good? How about response rate - is 8 ms good?

    I'd like to wait for 1080p - is this silly of me?

    How about for HDTV signals - do some/none/all sets have built in tuners yet, or would I eventually need to get a set top box receiver/decoder type of unit for a few extra hundred $$$ to make my TV truly HD? Just thinking about future-proofing.

    What else should I be looking for, or put a priority on?

    Lastly, FWIW, I won't be buying for a few more months, so I have the luxury of waiting for price drops, new technology advances, etc.

    Please share any thoughts you might have on this - I'd really appreciate it! :cool:
     
  2. mustard macrumors 6502a

    mustard

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    #2
    TV Purchase

    For Christmas I was graced with the option of purchasing a new TV so I can watch my football in HD. I ended up getting a Samsung 40" LCD TV Model: LNR408D. I have went to many stores trying to see their selection of HDTVs and have seen nothing that looked as good as the Samsungs. To be honest my new TV did replace an old 42" Plasma Samsung Model: SPN4235, I know it was larger but the EDTV doesn't hold a candle to HDTV - my old TV was good for the price though. As far as HDMI vs DVI, I haven't really found a benifiet - you can always get a $19 adapter or your cabel coumpany will give oyu one.

    They are all pretty much the same just pick what you think is the clearest and if possible try to get one that is cable card ready, where I live you have to have a cable box unless you have a tv that is cable card ready.
     
  3. h0e0h macrumors 6502a

    h0e0h

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    #3
    Finally something i really know about in these forums

    first of all, i sell TVs for a living... so i like to think that i know what i'm talking about.

    As far as your first comment about no plasma... let me tell you this. the older plasmas, yes, they did have some problems. now, though, mitsubishi and samsung are using a new hybrid gas rated to last 60 thousand hours (27 years at 6 hours a day). Older plasmas used a gas that was very high in red content that caused them to have an un-natural picture. the bad part of that was that the high red content caused the gas to burn very hot and when something burns hotter, it burns faster. Mitsubishi has solved this problem with their PD-4265 model, yes a little pricey, but very worth it for a plasma. as far as burn in, it takes a static image set on the screen for up to 6 hours to burn in, so if you're using it as a computer monitor, then yes, you may encounter this problem, but if you don't plan on leaving DVDs paused or not turning video games off then you won't have this problem.

    as far as LCDs go, Sony's KDL-V40XBR1 is currently the hottest selling flat panel TV on the market, just go to Circuit City, Best Buy, or Sears and ask for one. Currently the larges flat panel LCD available is 42" made by mitsubishi and it retails for 7999. The Sony has a MAPP of 3499, more than half cheaper for a 2" sacrafice. Toshiba also makes a 37" flat panel with built-in DVD that i sell for 2899 model number 37HLX95 I believe.

    Rear-Projection (RP) LCDs are great if you aren't concerned about mounting one on the wall. Generally they are 14" to 18" deep and range from 42" to 62''. Sony's KDF-E42A10 and 50A10 have PC inputs (15-pin Blue VGA) with speakers on the bottom with a respective width of 39.5" and 46.5". Their 55A20 and 60A20 have the same features the speakers are on the sides, cosmetically different. Mitsubishi makes their WD-52527 in silver and WD-52528 in black with a few more features than the silver that both measure 49" wide with a 52" screen. Both of those models are available in 1080i resolutions in 52" and 62" screens... no 1080p RP LCDs yet.

    As far as DLPs go, if i were buying one i'd go with the Mitsubishi WD-52627 or 52628 with the same dimensions as the 52527. They, along with the 56" Toshiba, are currently the best 1080p DLPs available. My suggestion, since DLP is such a new product and so sophisticated that Texas Instruments is the only company that manufactures the light engine, is to purchase some sort of extended protection plan since they are very hard to work on.

    LCD vs. DLP specifically, viewing angles are about the same, roughly 165-170 degrees. DLP does give you a better quality and generally a brighter picture.

    LCoS - Liquid Crystal on Silicon is the new set being manufactured by Sony (model numbers can be found at sonystyle.com) is their rival for the DLP. Since Texas Instruments is the only one who manufactures the DLP engine, and Sony is so proprietary, I'm assuming that is the reason that Sony went LCoS over DLP. The LCoS has 3 color panels with 2 million pixels a piece, giving it, technically, the best resolution on a rear projection set being manufactured today. That TV is available in a 50", 60", and 70" set.

    Most HDtvs are equiped with HDMI terminals, which is better than DVI because HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) carries both audio and video where DVI carries only video. Most cable/sat. boxes have HDMI terminals, as well as up-scalling DVD players and the new game systems like XBox 360 and PS3. HDMI is definitely a plus.

    As far as the signal itself goes, your TV can only be as good as your signal. Nothing is being broadcast in 1080p yet, and from what i understand the BCS Bowl games are the first things being filmed in 1080p. If you're waiting on price then the 1080p will be a while, but if you need something now, jump on 1080p because a TV of that calliber is an investment, not just a purchase.

    As of August '05 every TV manufactured over 32" is required to have an ATSC (high definition) tuner built in to it (HD Ready). Having a tuner, though, only allows you to receive over-the-air (antenna) signals, unless the TV is DCR (digital cable ready) with a CableCARD, which allows you to receive digital and high definition signals without the set-top box. CableCARD has its pros and cons, though, which i can explain later if you're still interested.

    Basically, it boils down to how much space you have and if you're on cable or satalite.

    PM me, or email me at basic12@gmail.com, if you have any questions or comments that you would like me to follow up on. You can also reply to this post, because i will be subscribing to the thread.

    I hope this helps... enjoy...
     
  4. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #4
    Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to type all that h0e0h - I really appreciate it. I don't even know where to begin, but you have provided me with a lot of great information there, which will take me a little while to digest and ponder as I review my current situation and needs.

    Let me give things some thought, come up with questions, and I'll either respond here or PM/e-mail ya for further discussion.

    Thanks again! :)
     
  5. h0e0h macrumors 6502a

    h0e0h

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    #5
    no problem man, that's my work and i love it, so it takes no inconvenience for me to talk about it. My company offers internet sales, but i don't want to mass list my website/phone number because i'm not the only salesman and i work on commission... hope you guys understand. I'd be more than happy to communicate with you one-on-one. Please email me, anyone reading this, if you're interested. Basic12@gmail.com
     
  6. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #6
    Thanks again for the offer h0e0h - e-mail sent... :cool:
     
  7. Platform macrumors 68030

    Platform

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    #7
    I would look for HDMI/DVI and more than one of HDMI

    1080p I would wait, but there are some already...just cost you :eek:

    LCD, as high contrast ration and as low respons time as possible ;)
     
  8. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #8
    Thanks man, I'll add that to my list of notes and recommendations! :cool:
     
  9. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

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    #9
    How about some suggestions for inexpensive HDTVs, for those of us (college students, cheapskates, etc.) on budgets?
     
  10. Chaszmyr macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

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    #10
    Look at Phillips, Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung TVs in that order to see if they have what you want in your price range. Don't buy an off-brand flat panel TV or you will probably regret it.
     
  11. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #11
    This is what I have found as well from some of my preliminary research - for such a major, important purchase as an HDTV, don't cheap out. You get what you pay for, and if you're investing a lot of money into such a major appliance which you will no doubt be using a great deal, you don't want to be cutting any corners. Brand names may cost more, but they're worth it in most cases. The trick is finding out which the best brand names are and what their strengths and weaknesses are in relation to their counterparts.
     
  12. revenuee macrumors 68020

    revenuee

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    #12
    Sharps Aquas line ... i have the 37 inch

    LOVE IT -- i looked at a lot of TV's before this one and this is the one that i fell in love with.
     
  13. 2A Batterie macrumors 6502a

    2A Batterie

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    #13
    After reading through this thread, I'm getting the impression that an LCD may be a better investment than a plasma... am I right or is it just a matter of opinion?

    Edit: I just read through this post again and there is so much info! Kudos to hOeOh for providing so much material. I'm looking for a new tv too and this helps! I'm still confused a bit though, so I'd love to hear anyone's opinions on larger tvs or any experiences anyone has had
     
  14. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #14
    Just wanted to get my 2 cents in ...

    1. There are 2 main camps for HDTVs, flat panels and rear projection. Basically, your room size/configuration will determine which route you go. If you have a large room with a long viewing distance, you'd be better served with a micro-display RPTV (e.g. DLP, LCos, LCD-RP). If you have a smaller room and a closer viewing distance, a flat panel will be a better choice. Of course, there are other factors involved, but for the most part, the room will determine the format.

    2. With regards to plasma vs. LCD, personally, I prefer plasma. To me, the picture looks better. And in the end, isn't it all about picture quality ...

    3. With RPTVs, you have to think about issues such as viewing angles, screen door effect (actually, you'd have to deal with this with just about all TVs), and rainbow. If you go RPTV, do yourself a favor and view them in person. With DLPs, some people can spot rainbows. I do see them and they do distract me, but I don't think I get headaches from them. If you have the money, the Sony SXRD (LCos technology) TVs are amazing. By far the best RPTV picture around.

    4. HDCP. No one has mentioned this. By all means, get a TV with HDCP support. It'll mean that you'll be OK with the copy protection scheme they're gonna use in the future. Without HDCP, you won't be able to view a digital source that has been copy-protected. I think most newer TVs have HDCP on all of their digital inputs.

    5. Price. In general, RPTVs cost less than flat panels. In general, LCD-RP cost less than DLP which cost less than LCos. In general, plasmas cost less than LCDs.

    6. Size. Get the biggest that you can afford and can fit in your room. You rarely hear anyone say "boy I wish I went for the smaller TV".

    ft
     
  15. h0e0h macrumors 6502a

    h0e0h

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    #15
    Not to take away from what you're saying... good point, but...

    1 in maybe 2500 people can see the "rainbow" on a DLP. It's not that bad, and generally, people can't see it. LCoS and Mitsubishi 1080p DLPs tend to, at least in my store, run about the same price.

    As far as HDCP, all of the new sets have it incorporated, so don't worry about that.

    Room size, and viewing angle, should be a problem like you said... but most new RP LCDs offer 165-170 degree viewing angles, so it's only a problem in small, small rooms.
     
  16. h0e0h macrumors 6502a

    h0e0h

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    #16
    LCDs aren't necessarily better than plasmas, it is really a matter of the size you're seeking and additional options (tuners, built-in DVD players, etc). BTW, YGPM.
     
  17. TechZone macrumors member

    TechZone

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    #17
    I wanna buy this Samsung LN-R238W 23" LCD TV for PC and Xbox 360. What do you guys think? Help me. :)
     
  18. Chaszmyr macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

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    #18
    I know that there is a common desire to use the same screen for a computer monitor and a TV, but I think it's just a bad idea. Get a TV for a TV and a computer monitor for a computer monitor. They use slightly different technologies. TVs have faster refresh rates, and computer monitors have better image quality.
     
  19. thirdkind macrumors member

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    #19
    Shard, the best thing you can do for yourself if you're looking to purchase an HDTV is visit AVS Forum. You'll find more expert opinions from crazed enthusiasts than you'll know what to do with.

    Since you're not interested in front projection, which is a real shame by the way, I'd recommend you give plasma serious attention. The phosphor lifespan is now equivalent to traditional CRTs, contrast is excellent, and overall picture quality is superb when properly set up. If you check out AVS, you'll find that Panasonic is overwhelmingly the preferred plasma brand among the enthusiasts there. They've been in the plasma business the longest and have had the most time to develop and improve the technology.

    You're not foolish if you wait for 1080p. There are a few 1080p displays available now, such as the Sharp 45" LCD flat panels. Avoid the Mitsubishi "1080p" DLPs. These sets aren't 1080p, even though TI and the manufacturers like to market them that way. The actual resolution of the DMD is 960x1080 and they use a technique called "wobulation" to fool the eye into thinking it's really seeing 1920x1080 solid pixels, just like the DLP color wheel fools the eye into thinking it's seeing all three primary colors at once. They're a halfass solution and you shouldn't reward TI for ripping off consumers, in my opinion.

    2006 will be the year of 1080p displays. 720p will be relegated to second-tier HDTVs where it belongs.


    Sharp has made 45" LCDs for a while now, they're full 1080p, and they're regarded by many as the best LCDs currently available. The 40" XBR Bravia you mention is a beautiful set and should certainly be considered if you find LCD acceptable. I personally can't get past the poor black level.

    Mitsubishi used to be hot stuff, but they stood by for too long at the beginning of the digital TV generation and now they're outsourcing most of their core components from other manufacturers.

    Their native resolution is 720p, but they support 1080i.

    I wouldn't touch any of the current LCD RPTVs. Pixel structure is blatantly obvious from reasonable viewing distances and the contrast just isn't there.


    Very subjective opinion. DLP has just as many artifacts as LCD; it's only a question of when/if you'll pick up on them. I was in awe the first time I fired up my Sharp Z10000 projector, but after a few weeks, I wasn't as happy with the image. Rainbows (don't know where you get that 1 in 2500 number, probably TI), low-level dithering, motion dithering (clayface)...no worse than LCD's smearing or low contrast if you ask me.

    Sony's implementation of LCOS is called SXRD, and it's different enough for them to get their own patent. JVC, who initially developed LCOS (bought it from Hughes actually, I think), sat on the technology for years and offered very little advancement. Sony comes along and blows them out of the water with greatly increased contrast (the biggest weakness of LCOS) and much higher manufacturing yields, lowering costs.

    SXRD sets are full 1080p, have excellent color gamut, good contrast, no visible pixel structure from normal viewing distances, and use no color wheel gimickry. Sony's latest projector utilizing SXRD, the VW100, also known as the Ruby, is selling like mad and getting rave reviews from pretty much anyone who can get their hands on it. If I were buying a rear projection TV, I'd choose one of Sony's SXRDs in a heartbeat.
     
  20. h0e0h macrumors 6502a

    h0e0h

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    #20
    Sony trained HDTV professionals, the ones that come to various stores and shows and put on HD shows (tents, kiosks, etc) actually say that the new SXRD isn't a full 1080p. Agree or disagree with that, the picture is still way ahead of its time like that of Sharp's Aquos, or Mitsubishi's DLP. I still believe it's 1080p though, with its 2 million pixel/panel resolution.
     
  21. thirdkind macrumors member

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    #21
    The SXRD sets are 1080p. Their reps are clueless.
     
  22. h0e0h macrumors 6502a

    h0e0h

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    #22
    unfortunately... i already knew this...
     
  23. h0e0h macrumors 6502a

    h0e0h

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    #23
    I just bought myself an HD set for my bedroom. No I didn't go flat panel, no I didn't go 1080p (around my area I barely get HD, much less 1080p on cable... I can barely squeeze a CableCARD out of my cable provider), I just bought a Rear-Projection by Sony, model number KDF-E42A10, for my 12' x 12' bedroom. It is the perfect set for HD football and Xbox360. I will be posting pics at the link in my sig as soon as i kick this flu that I can't seem to shake... hopefully I will feel good enough to get out of the bed tonite to take these pics. BTW, the Xbox 360 universal remote, not the logitech one, was a pain to program to this TV...
     
  24. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #24
    Thanks for the update h0e0h, I look forward to seeing the pics. :)
     
  25. h0e0h macrumors 6502a

    h0e0h

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    #25
    you thought any more about your new addition???
     

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