Newbie from Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Displays' started by MatthewJN, Jan 28, 2006.

  1. MatthewJN

    MatthewJN Auditioning

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    Can you help an Army soldier currently in Afghanistan? I am having a really hard time browsing Google results because my net connection is so slow.

    I am trying to look for a 42" LCD TV (I heard plasma was not the way to go) for my wife while I am here.

    I know some of the numbers, like at least if not over 1:1000, less than or equal to 8ms, etc.

    However, where is the cheapest place to buy? What brands should i steer clear of?

    I definately want it HDTV. (not ready and you have to buy all kinds of crap. just ready out of the box)

    Thanks for the help. It was hard enough (1 hour) just between registering here, checking the email and activating the account.
     
  2. Bill Cowmeadow

    Bill Cowmeadow Second Unit

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    Mathew,

    You can always shop www.AAFES.com

    Everything is Tax Free, and most items over $100 ship free.
    While overseas, there are no restrictions on what you can purchase. Just make sure what ever you get, it has US Voltage or is switchable. Your wife can log in and shop too.

    Come home safe.

    Bill
     
  3. MatthewJN

    MatthewJN Auditioning

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    Yes I know...but generally AAFES isnt that cheap.
     
  4. MatthewJN

    MatthewJN Auditioning

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    I just looked at AAFES. They pretty much only have hitachi. The 50" is 2199 plus 100 extra for shipping. It has no specs whatsoever listed. It says LCD projection, the others dont say that. I tried to see on hitachis website but the net is so slow here it says page not found.
     
  5. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Matthew:

    First of all, my heartfelt thanks for everything you're doing for our country and for the people of Afghanistan.

    Now - a few questions:

    1. How important is it that the TV be a flat-panel? Could a micro-display (DLP, LCoS, or LCD-rear projection - about 1.5 to 2 ft deep) work? These micro-displays don't have the bulky cabinets of the old RPTVs, from the front they're about the same size as flat-screen of the same size.

    2. If you're avoiding plasma because of burn-in - well, they've gotten a heck of a lot better with that than they used to be, and if you don't stay on a static image or watch nothing but either letterbox or 4:3 material for many hours on end, it probably won't be a problem. At the 42" size you're starting to get into the area with LCD where yeilds are so low that they can cost even more than plasmas. Under 40" LCD still rules, but over 40" production costs make them uncompetitive with plasma. (In six months to a year this won't be the case as more fabs come on line and other technological improvements take hold.)

    3. Does the set have to be 42"? Are you restricted by the dimensions of a piece of furniture? The best price/performance point might be a little bigger (say 46") if that works for you.

    My nephew was in the market for a new TV, wanted HD and wanted it delivered in time for the Super Bowl. He has a very nice entertaiment center he doesn't want to replace, so that set the size parameters. He considered plasma, LCD panel, LCD RP, LCoS, CRT RPTV and DLP. He also considered the quality of 1080p vs. the reduced cost of 720p.

    After a lot of looking and some help from me he settled on a 42" Samsung 720p DLP for $1700 at Best Buy. Its 46" big brother was about $1850, but wouldn't fit in his cabinet. [​IMG] They're delivering it Monday and I'm going over to his place to help him set it up. [​IMG]

    If you can help us refine the parameters we're working within, I'm sure the folks around here will be able to come up with some worthwhile suggestions.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  6. MatthewJN

    MatthewJN Auditioning

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    It has to be flat screen. I cant deal with heavy TVs (I move all the time being military) with my knee surgery I just had.

    I'm not really too restricted by size, it just seemed like a good size when i was in stores.

    I might not get it for 6+ months, depending how much money i start saving.

    I want the TV to last a very long time and have one of the flat, clear protective screens on the front that dont allow you to actually touch the screen. i dont want to worry about burn-in etc, and im not sure what you mean by 4:3.

    so i guess i prefer LCD. and i want it HDTV (not HDTV-ready), and not sure about projection (or what that means for quality), or digital cable ready?

    thanks for the help!
     
  7. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Weight: A 42" Philips LCD flat panel is 77.2 lbs. My nephew's 42" DLP weighs 61.7 lbs. Flat does not always mean light.

    4:3 is the aspect ratio (width to height) of a standard TV. Most flat-panel HD sets have an aspect ratio of 16:9 (16 units wide, 9 high), more rectangular than square. When displaying 4:3 material such screens usually show black columns on either side of the 4:3 image. My first widescreen TV, a Toshiba CRT rear-projection set, suffered "burn in" because I watched a lot of 4:3 material and the active rectangle in the middle of the screen got more wear than the edges. But, as I said, today's plasma screens are much less prone to this sort of thing than older sets - and my set burned in before I discovered the HTF and how to properly calibrate a TV. If my set had been properly adjusted and not left on the factory settings I might never have had to deal with burn-in.

    Protective screens can be a good thing provided you're not in a room where glare and reflection are a problem. My living room has skylights and my TV would be unwatchable during the daytime if I had a reflective shield over the screen, so I bought a model that doesn't have one.

    The difference between HD and "HD-Ready" may not be as great as you think. I now have three HD sets - a 56" LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon - a variation on LCD) in the living room, a 27" LCD flat panel in the bedroom and a 32" LCD flat panel the doubles as a computer monitor in the 2nd bedroom, which is my home offic.e The 56" is a full HDTV, the other two are HD-ready and require an external tuner.

    But because I live in a condo, and in a bad area for over-the-air reception, the fact that one set is HDTV does me no good at all. Its built-in OTA tuner picks up only a couple of station, none of them HD. In order to receive decent TV I need a digital cable box anyway, so the "HD Ready" sets are just as good as the HDTV and I have an HD Digital Cable box for each. No big deal, and it costs me only a little extra each month for the HD service and the equipment. Two of the boxes are HD DVRs, and they replace two TiVos which I did have to buy, and which were costing me the same in subscription fees every month as the two HD-DVRs. Since the only difference between "HD" and "HD Ready" is that built-in over the air antenna, you'll have to decide how much that means to you. If you're going to be getting cable or satellite TV, there's no particular advantage to HD over HD Ready.

    Rear projection micro-displays are generally a bit brighter than LCD and comparable to Plasma. LCD rear projection obviously have the same limitations with regard to producing a true black that LCD flat panels do. But, since they use smaller LCDs inside the set and project light through them (or reflect light off them, I forget the details) they can be cheaper at a give screen size. DLPs can produce black levels very close to those of CRTs, and LCoS (which JVC calls D-ILA and HD-ILA and Sony markets as SXRD) is also better in this respect than either type of LCD. (I opted for a JVC D-ILA in part for this reason, having previously narrowed my choices down to LCoS or DLP.) The picture quality with an HD feed on all these sets is superb.

    Digital cable ready generally means that the set has a "cable card" slot. A cable card is a device you get from your cable company. It goes into a slot in the back of the set, and the coax cable from the wall connects to the card. The card is a decoder for HD and other digital cable signals and basically serves the function of a set-top cable box. My cable company offered a cable box for about 2 dollars less a month than a set-top box. But the current cable cards can't handle interactive functions, they work in only one direction. You cannot order pay-per-view sports or other events from your remote if you use a cable card, for instance. I opted for the set-top box/DVR alternative.

    Manufacturers and cable companies are currently working on a CableCard II specification that will support interactive services, but no one knows when the spec will be finalized, much less when it will be available to consumers.

    A set with no cable card slot is still "digital cable ready" in the sense that you can get a set-top HD cable box and use the oomponent video cables, HDMI connector or DVI connector (depending on what the TV and cable box have) to connect it to the TV.

    Hope this helps,

    Joe
     
  8. MatthewJN

    MatthewJN Auditioning

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    It does help actually.

    1) About HDTV...I thought that cable was going completely in the direction of HDTV, so not having HDTV could be detrimental in the long run? Also, assuming I get "HD Ready" how hard/expensive is it to get it to recieve HDTV? Currently, I have no need for HD, except maybe to watch some hockey games. Also, I thought HDTV came through the cable line as well, your TV just had to have the capability of playing it. is this not true?

    2) I would probably end up watching a lot of 4:3 stuff because most TV programs are 4:3, right? And movies not offered in widescreen? I'd rather just have an LCD knowing that my wife could screw something up (meaning, I could get advice here on how to set up the TV but then she could screw it up while im deployed) and that it doesnt have the chance that plasma does to mess up.

    3) I had her measure the TV stand. I can easily fit a 46" on there, i think (its 48" long but has open sides. its not a box.)

    4) As far as heavy, i also dont want it so big. trust me. i have lived in 7 apartments in two years. that sucks. especially carrying our relatively small 27" flat crt tv around. and when we move, i NEVER NEVER NEVER let the army move my personal effects, electronics, or documents. meaning, a huge width tv takes up a lot of space in the back.

    5) as far as digital cable is concerened, i dont give a crap about the box. there is a perfectly good small spot under the tv in the tv stand for that, that would otherwise just be empty anyhow. and i have a universal remote so an extra remote doesnt matter either.

    6) as far as the picture quality...do LCDs have that problem where if you view them off to the side they fade, like the old true projection systems? also, is the black quality that you mention really that noticable? truthfully i rarely watch tv at all. and have always had the cheapest tvs anyhow with little complaints. i only want it to watch movies. my wife and i arent the trumps, we are pretty easy to please. so a good straight up answer as far as coming from this perspective would be great. im starting to think that i should just buy in a store, or maybe locally at the PX (to avoid tax and shipping) when i get back, paying a bit more but having the comfort of seeing the tv first.

    7) a bit off track, but you seem REALLY knowledgable and helpful...does a movie, tv program etc have to be made with surround sound to have it work on a surround sound system? meaning, some movies at my house come in on my surround sound speakers, some dont. CDs played in the player always come through all 5 speakers. most movies and tv shows seem mainly to come through either the front two only, or on occasion even the middle front speaker only. the system is brand new. basically it is pretty inexpensive. i needed a newer dvd player (my old one wasnt playing dvds all that well anymore even after cleaning) and they had an after-christmas sale making the speakers basically come with it.

    8) thanks a million. i obviously dont know much about this stuff. i am more of a computer guy. i will also be buying a 24" lcd when i get back so i can watch hockey games at my computer and work in photoshop (hopefully) while having a full page internet window open.

    anyhow, i cant thank you enough for taking the time to help me out.
     
  9. MatthewJN

    MatthewJN Auditioning

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    bump for help
     
  10. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Sorry Matthew, I've been tied up with family stuff the past couple of days (my new grand-niece has just learned to crawl, to that takes precedence over all else [​IMG] - and I'm going to help my nephew set-up and help calibrate his new DLP tonight.)

    Some of the questions you've asked require a little research just to make sure things haven't changed too much since the last time I considered some of these topics, and some just require a little time so I can compose clear, concise answers and not either lose you in jargon or oversimplify things and therefore give you bad advice. Look for something from me in the next 48 hours. In them meantime some other helpful soul may jump in.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  11. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Supporting Actor

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    Matthew, I haven't moved to HD yet, but I can give you some info:
    1) There's confusion about the digital switchover. Don't confuse digital broadcast w/ HD. When the law kicks in (end of 2007 now? - keeps changing), all video transmission must be digital. If you have cable or satellite, you're good to go, because they do digital already. Only people getting signal OTA will need to worry. Now, HD will eventually become the standard. If you expect a new TV to last 10 years or so, you should go HD because by then HD will certainly be the norm. If you have cable, you won't automatically get HD. You have to pay extra for the service and have an HD receiver. Same deal w/ satellite.

    7) If your audio receiver does Dolby Pro-Logic II, it does a pretty good job of creating faux surround from a regular stereo TV signal or CD. I like to use it for TV, but prefer the original stereo for CDs - personal preference. I think most receivers made in the last couple of years do DPL II. The older Dolby Pro-Logic didn't do as good of a job, but it works.

    Cheers and keep safe,
    Doug
     
  12. MatthewJN

    MatthewJN Auditioning

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    Thanks for the help. I'm a bit confused about the surround sound question. Are you saying that my sound setup just isnt quality enough if it isnt simulating the sound?

    As for the HDTV...I know you have to pay extra for the HD channels...but by what means is the HD delivered? by the same cable? so what would the ramifications be of having a HD-ready tv instead of HDTV?
     
  13. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    I think Doug is referring back to when you said:
    You would need a device that would decode the HD signal and deliver it to the TV. Cable box, satellite box or OTA HD box.

    -Robert
     
  14. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Supporting Actor

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    Bingo. Far be it from me to comment on the quality of someone else's rig, even if I knew what you have. I'm mid-fi at best.

    Doug
     
  15. MatthewJN

    MatthewJN Auditioning

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    Thanks a lot. So it could be perfectly normal that a movie only plays out the front speakers? My dad must have his on simulate then. As for me simulating the CDs, I didnt touch anything so it must come out the box that way. When I get back I'll have to check it out.

    So basically if I don't have HDTV TV then probably just another box to add and it solves the whole problem? Why does everyone knock the HD-ready TVs so bad then? its just a small box?
     
  16. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Dolby Prologic II has three modes (although some receivers don't implement all of them). Movie mode is intended for watching films and TV programs encoded with Dolby Surround. If you play un-encoded material using this mode, it tends to make it sound less three dimensional. In audiophile lingo-- it collapses the sound-stage. (In a good stereo setup, the instruments, singers, etc, should seem to float in space, between the left and right speakers. Movie mode shifts them back to that speaker above your TV...)

    Music Mode is intended for "expanding" two-channel stuff like CDs. It tends not to "collapse the sound-stage" so much. Matter of taste, really, though if you enjoy the effect, DVD-Audio/SACD may be better bets.

    Game Mode is intended for use with a game console. With most other content, it sounds (IMHO) positively awful.

    On many receivers, there's also a DSP setting called "5 channel stereo", or "all channel stereo", which is basically only good for background music.

    Many DVD players are setup incorrectly, so that even if the player is connected to the receiver with a digital cable, the player sends out ordinary stereo ("PCM") instead of Dolby Digital or DTS ("bitstream" or "raw"). This can usually be corrected in the player's setup menus.

    Don't knock over the air HDTV. It's a lot cheaper than digital cable, if you can receive a signal. You could check antennaweb.org for details. If your TV doesn't come with a tuner already, it's a minor pain to acquire one-- as most brick and mortar electronic stores tend not to stock them.
     
  17. MatthewJN

    MatthewJN Auditioning

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    i read the instructions but dont seem to recall those "modes". i guess ill have to check when i get back from afghanistan.
     

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