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Buying Advice <$1500 (US) Please?


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7 replies to this topic

#1 of 8 OFFLINE   Brian PB

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Posted September 02 2003 - 08:30 AM

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 of 8 OFFLINE   Josh~H

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Posted September 02 2003 - 09:55 AM

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 of 8 OFFLINE   Brian PB

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Posted September 03 2003 - 04:20 AM

Quote:
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.


Josh: Thanks for your great suggestions. In my ignorance, I hadn't even considered FP because I thought my apartment was too small or that they'd be out of my price range. I spent several hours yesterday reading up on the InFocus X1, & it sounds like it might be exactly what I'm looking for.

Before I make an impulsive purchase, any other suggestions or rebuttal?

Thanks.


#4 of 8 OFFLINE   Brian PB

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Posted September 04 2003 - 09:44 AM

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 of 8 OFFLINE   Mike Likens

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Posted September 05 2003 - 03:48 AM

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 of 8 OFFLINE   Brian PB

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Posted September 05 2003 - 12:12 PM

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 of 8 OFFLINE   ChrisLazarko

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Posted September 05 2003 - 03:18 PM

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 of 8 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 05 2003 - 05:54 PM

This is the one I'm currently waiting to go on clearance Posted Image

http://ww3.onecall.com/PID_18399.htm