Buying Advice <$1500 (US) Please?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Brian PB, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    First a bit about me:

    I currently own a 9-year-old Sony 32" Trinitron set (with only composite video, S-video, and coaxial inputs). My main DVD player is a Malata DAV-3600 (with 5.1 speakers) which is about 2 months old. I have digital cable through Comcast, but I tend to watch it very little (a few sporting events, an occasional movie, a few TV series).

    My main passion is my DVD collection. I have close to 450 DVDs--mostly foreign, classic, and indie titles. The OAR breakdown of these DVDs: ~50% 1.33:1, ~25% 1.85:1, ~15% 2.35:1, and ~10% 1.66:1. About 40% of my DVDs feature anamorphic enhancement. I live in a 1-bedroom apartment (with quite a few windows) where there is a maximum of about 8 feet between the seating area and the TV.

    I am in the market for a new 16:9 display device under $1500 ($2000 tops). What I am mainly looking for is improved video quality for watching my DVDs. I would like to take advantage of the progressive scan feature of my DVD player, get the benefit of anamorphic enhancement, and use good quality component cables. I would of course calibrate it with the upcoming Digital Video Essentials.

    I would rather not move to a smaller screen size. Given my price range, it seems like I'm probably limited to an HD-ready CRT-based flatscreen TV (maybe a Sony, Panny, or Tosh), or maybe a RPTV (though I worry a bit about the size), though I'm open to suggestions. I also wonder if my viewing habits (a lot of fullscreen--NOT P&S--DVDs) will place me at greater risk of burn-in.

    Any thoughts from the collective wisdom of the board? Thanks for any help you can offer.
     
  2. Josh~H

    Josh~H Stunt Coordinator

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    Brian -

    You can get a nice smallish HD set for under $1,500. If you didn't have so many 1.33:1 DVD's I'd recommend something like the Toshiba 42" HDTV I have -- a fantastic picture in a screen size that won't overwhelm an 8' room. But I'm paranoid and I don't like the idea of the pillarbox bars causing burn-in. You should be able to get a direct view 4:3 HD set for around $1,000 or so. Maybe something around the same size as your current set, or slightly larger.

    Another option is to go for a FP unit. At 8' or less, you're not going to want a screen bigger than about 40" wide, and the budget projectors (X1, Z1) will produce a very impressive image on a small screen. I recently replaced my Tosh with an X1 -- moved the Tosh upstairs for "casual" TV watching, and I don't really miss the Tosh except for sometimes when watching HD broadcasts (although the X1 looks suprisingly good with HD). You could put a $1,000 projector on a coffee table in front of your sofa and produce a nice 40"-60" diagonal 4:3 image. Assuming you can tame the light from your many windows, this could be an excellent way to enjoy your DVD collection.

    A friend of mine bought a non HD set last year, but it has an 'anamorphic squeeze' feature or something like that. It focuses the resolution towards the center of the screen in a 16:9 format to allow for high-resolution displays of anamorphic DVD's. I think he paid sub $1,000 for his 36" set, and the image is very nice. You could check something like that out if you're really not interested in HD.
     
  3. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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  4. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    I realize there are a lot of these sorts of threads, but any other advice, suggestions, caveats, or comments before I pull the trigger on the X1?

    (I do tend to be impulsive about these kinds of things . . .)
     
  5. Mike Likens

    Mike Likens Stunt Coordinator

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    I also own an X1. It is a native 4:3 display with a 16:9 mode. It would be perfect for your viewing habits. Buy the X1 for $999 and take the extra cash for a STB and never look back.
     
  6. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    Mike: Thanks, I appreciate your comments.

    I ordered my X1 online last night (from PC Connection). Can't wait. This weekend I'm headed to Home Depot for a $14 Do-Able 4' x 8' white vinyl panel as my make-shift screen, and to the fabric store for some black-out fabric for my windows, and some black felt to mask the perimeter of my screen. (it's like preparing the nursery for a new baby's arrival!)

    Can't wait!
     
  7. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    Just one suggestion is go to a place like Bestbuy, Circuit City, PC Richard and just browse around. I think that Mitsubishi's have the best picture quality and the best life as well. So far every Mitsubishi TV I have owned has operated fine (oldest one being about 10 years) and it still has a perfect picture so I am very suprised.
     
  8. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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