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Advice for buying an HDTV

 
 
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 03:56 pm
So, I'm in the market for a new TV in the next 3-9 months, and I could use some help.

Things I think I know I want:
50+ inches @ 16:9 ratio
1080p (I have a blue-ray player and would like to take advantage of it)
120Hz or > refresh rate (this just looks cool)
At least 2 HDMI inputs.
At least 1 PC input.

I don't know what else would be important to me. Although, I do play video games, so I've been told to stay away from Plasma, but I don't know if that's true anymore or if technology has fixed the problems with burn-in.

My budget is under $1200. The cheaper the better.


This will be the last TV I buy for at least 5 years; can someone help me decide what features I would want to make sure I consider, what brands are good quality, what brands are overpriced, any other suggestions?
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Type: Question • Score: 6 • Views: 1,969 • Replies: 13
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 04:01 pm
@maporsche,
Pay particular attention to the sound system. I bought a brand new HD TV early this year and found that I could not hear the dialog when watching movies made to be shown in theaters.
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 04:29 pm
Lightwizard wrote:

1. Is energy an issue? (it will be as the government puts more caps on how much energy is used up by all appliances).

2. Do you have a Blu-Ray player or plan to purchase one with the set?

3. Do you have a surround receiver and 5 speakers?


1. Yeah, it's an 'issue'. I don't want to ruin the environment any more than necessary. Cost isn't an issue though.
2. Yes, attached to a PS3 birthday gift.
3. I do not, but plan to buy one. Actually though, most of my listening will be done through 900HZ wireless HiFi headphones. I like to listen loud and have neighbors and a wife to worry about.


Lightwizard wrote:

Oh, and what format (LCD, Plasma, rear-projection) and brand is your present big screen?


Current set up is a 1080i rear-projection Hitachi. The model is below.
http://www.epinions.com/reviews/pr-Hitachi_57F510_Rear_Projection_Television





THANK YOU for your help.
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 04:30 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

Pay particular attention to the sound system. I bought a brand new HD TV early this year and found that I could not hear the dialog when watching movies made to be shown in theaters.


Yeah, I hate that too. I plan on listening through a receiver and headphones most of the time, so hopefully that won't be too much of a problem.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 04:34 pm
@maporsche,
In an average home, most people sit too far from the TV to see any difference between 720p and 1080p.
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 04:37 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:

In an average home, most people sit too far from the TV to see any difference between 720p and 1080p.


Agreed, and I'm not sure if I'd be able to tell the difference with movies. But I'd like to plug my PC in to this TV occasionally as well. I've read that the 1080p makes a huge difference with PC inputs.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 04:51 pm
@maporsche,
Size: If you read the guides, it says the optimum distance to sit from a TV is 5-7x its diagonal. I've found that you can do a lot closer for an HDTV due to better resolution, but than means that a 48in TV will ask you to sit 12ft away at 3x. Just a thought. These really are big TV's

Technology: LCD has gotten so good it is unreal, so I think plasma is out for both power usage and cost. If you want to spend more, you could go for the new LED tv's with astounding deep blacks, but I find the LCD's are fine and they fit your price range. Definitely get 120hz refresh rate, even if it costs more.

Sound: If you are counting on TV speakers, you are going to miss out on spectacular sound regardless of what TV you buy. You will eventually need a decent five speaker setup for great sound.

Green: Sharp and Samsung use arsenic free glass that can go into landfills. You aren't hearing about this a lot, but in ten years when people start trashing these TV's you will hear more. Other manufacturers may use arsenic free also.

TV reception: Analog looks terrible on TV's this size. Most TV's that you are looking at have QAM receivers that can pick up the free digital signals that cable broadcasters are required to carry for TV stations that use them. You can also get great over the air signals in digital with a set of rabbit ears or a better aerial if you have one.

Movies: Your PS3 will upconvert your DVD's for you, so no worries. You will need an HDMI cable for your PS3 in order to get full 1080p.
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 05:20 pm
If I was to move this set to another room and purchase a new one, it would seriously consider 240hz. The Panasonic plasma does have price going for it -- SONY, Sharp and Samsung's pictures are only as good in the most expensive models. This has to be objective, so, to tell you the truth -- the mid-priced SONY's would still be my choice. Amazon still has a stock of W series, so it looks like SONY had a change of heart (I haven't kept up with this lately) and is still manufacturing W Series (it's also on SONY's site) but perhaps not the 42". They produced some 42" to compete with Panasonic leading the market by double in sales of 42" plasma against any other TV. As they seem to be dropping that size and the 50" in lieu of the 52" -- this would be my choice:

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-BRAVIA-KDL-52W4100-52-Inch-1080p/dp/B0017Q8B70

It's 120hz, but unless you get into above 52" sizes, I would opt to save the money.

All of these have energy saver settings which controls the brightness and gamma for a picture that would be more than adequate unless you have an extremely bright daytime room. Then, if you don't have the day/night auto picture adjustment on, you could take a few seconds with the remote and change by-pass the energy saving setting. Bear in mind, if you have this set professionally calibrate, they will most likely end up with the custom or expert settings with the energy saving setting turned off.
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 05:31 pm
Incidentally, where you will notice a difference in plasma is the detail in the dark areas. SONY let's you adjust this with Advanced C.E. and the bias settings, but I really would advise a professional calibrate those settings. Calibrated, I doubt that anyone could tell the difference, but this is true of all displays. There are DVD's to do-it-yourself but the $ 200.00 to $ 300.00 to hire a tech to come to your home and do it is preferable. Creative Concepts does this on a bench before the displays are even delivered and/or installed into a designed audio/video room.

All the displays when I was working the audio/video design showroom were calibrated and you would have trouble telling one brand from another and one level of model to another (although we mostly were showing the top-of-the-line models).
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 05:56 pm
I moved this over also:

@maporsche,
Sorry I lost track of that thread. Honestly, my meter wasn't running so this is totally free advice.

You probably already know your Hitachi is out dated and there are no manufacturers making a rear-projection CRT, although I had a Mitsubishi that was still as good as the best plasma (Panasonic would be my choice) except that despite being very careful and having the CRT guns replaced after 2-1/2 years because of side-bar burn-in (which should plainly have not happened in that short a time). CRT's start deteriorating after 10,000 hours and begin to turn an amber brown slowly, so that one doesn't really notice it as they are turning up the contrast and brightness to compensate. That overdrives the guns and increases the fading picture quality. My Mitsubishi finally had a major main board failure (no picture, no sound) and was too expensive to even consider repairing. So I shopped around and replaced it with the Sony W series LCD, which, for $ 999.00 from Amazon (they even beat out my own firm I was consulting for in audio/video design). The W series was being replaced (it was one level up from the V series marketed at Target, Walmart, etc.) It's a great LCD and uses a lot less energy than my old CRT.

The top-of-the-line Sony Bravia is 52" (it looks like Sony has dropped 50" screen size):

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-BRAVIA-KDL-52XBR9-52-Inch-1080p/dp/B001VFMA5Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1261522087&sr=1-1

Keep in mind that these XBR Sony TV's use almost as much energy as plasma, so I would go Panasonic plasma before I would go Sony as it's still the best picture on the market.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001UAEWUS/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000F4CTUK&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1JK91VC4RWW737G71QAC

The new Panasonic plasma would use less energy than your CRT, but not as much as an intermediate SONY LCD (not XBR).

I vacillated myself between the Panasonic and the SONY I purchased and it was the energy savings that tipped me over the line, including a lot less heat generated into the room. They've pretty much solved any burn-in from side bars or fixed images on plasma although I would still zoom or stretch any 4:3 images.
Almost every channel is now offering an HD transmission even to the last hold-outs like USA, AMC and others (I'm waiting with baited breathe for TCM).
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 06:15 pm
Total Control Mechanisms is it?
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 09:23 pm
@maporsche,
It depends on how good your own vision is in order to see the extra detail of 1080p, that is, if the video image was actually digitally shot in 1080p or hi-def film cameras like the original IMAX (which has gone from analog to almost entirely digital). There are some subtle improvements in the contrast and other qualities of the picture, from 1080i (most broadcast is now about half 720p and 1080i and I can tell the difference even there, again depending on the original video source). It's when one gets into below 40" screens where you're unlikely to see the difference unless you were inordinately close to the display. Hi Def was designed to look good on a 60" screen in a medium size room with seating that's actually closer than the general rule. That old formula doesn't hold up on a full 1080p image. I have the new digital video of the Royal Ballet "Swan Lake," and not only is the full PCM sound amazing, but the picture is full of fine detail. You can almost see very thread in the costumes.
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 09:27 pm
TCM Turner Classic Movies
0 Replies
 
thecleedus01
 
  0  
Reply Mon 30 Jun, 2014 04:35 am
@maporsche,
Why dont you look at the 3D Aspct of the television.
0 Replies
 
 

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