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36" Television- Best Deal? Best Quality? Part 2


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#1 of 21 Tim Beebe

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Posted January 24 2005 - 05:01 AM

I asked this already, but I've thought it over and will repost with my new options and feelings (shown in "EDITs").

My current television is a Philips 27PT543S 27" TV that's at least 4 years old.

I have decided that it's time to upgrade. The picture quality is pretty good, but it should be simple to beat.

I have an O'Sullivan Entertainment Center, model 20366. The measurements are 37" (940mm) wide, 35 3/8" (900mm) tall, with basically as much space as I need front to back, as long as I'm not keeping it propped up with sticks. Sorry, I'm not sure of the weight limit.

EDIT: I do understand that I may have to dump the center and get a stand + A/V shelf. Keep in mind this must be added to the price, and therefore will take me a longer amount of time to purchase this new television.

My DVD player is a Sony DVP-NS775V.

I'd like to go with a 36" 4:3. I'm not sire I'm ready to make the jump to widescreen yet (yeah, yeah, I know Posted Image ). I would like something that supports 480p (is that possible in 4:3?). I also want a flat screen (duh).

EDIT: I suppose I could go widescreen, but again, to get a fair size for SDTV, I'd have to ditch the center.

Please help me out. And of course, I'm looking for best bang for the buck. Posted Image

My price range isn't really limited, but the higher the price, the longer I'm waiting (we're talking months-year, here). It doesn't need to be HDTV. It's going to be used for a lot of standard cable and video games.

EDIT: Everyone has told me to go with HDTV anyway, but I've heard SDTV looks horrible on an HDTV. Either way, I CANNOT afford any sort of HDTV programming (except maybe an OTA HDTV antenna, of course, but no more monthly bills).

I do need at least one component cable connection (2 if possible, but not required), one s-video cable, and at least 2 regular old red/yellow/white cable. Everything is hooked up through my receiver, so that's all it needs, really.

EDIT: Another important piece of information is that I do live in an apartment. From wall to wall in the living room there's probably only 10 FT (if even). Then there's the couch and then there's the television, so it ends up being about five feet away from the television.

One last thing (sorry for the length of this post)- My friend has a Panasonic 47" HDTV Monitor (PT47X54) (or one that has an identical look) and I think it looks pretty crappy. It makes my eyes water a little and when four people are sitting side by side on the floor playing a video game, the two on the ends get a pretty crappy picture (because of the low viewing angle).

#2 of 21 ScottHH

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Posted January 24 2005 - 05:18 AM

If the majority of your viewing is 4:3 material, then you should buy a 4:3 TV. However, once I saw HDTV, there was no going back. The bigger you blow up SD, the crappier it's going to look. And when you compare it to DVD or HDTV it'll look even crappier. I got "hooked" on HDTV watching a friend's Sony 55WF655. The SD feed didn't look bad to me unless you compared it to the HDTV feed.

Yes there are 36" 4:3 HDTV televisions available. For example, the Sony KV-36HS420. This TV is expensive (well over $1000), and heavy 230 lbs. Aside from that I don't know much about it, because I decided to go with a widescreen.

A 36" non-HD flat screen tube is going to cost you at least $500 unless you find an unbelievable deal. I wouldn't rush out and buy a non-HDTV TV at this point, I'd save for the HDTV. And the longer you wait, the more HDTV programming will be available, and the more I'd think you'll lean towards wide-screen.

Also, go to www.antennaweb.org to input your zip code to see how much free HDTV you can pick up OTA for free right now.

#3 of 21 Charlie Campisi

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Posted January 24 2005 - 05:35 AM

Save your money and just wait. Buying a tv today is all about tradeoffs - viewing angles, screen size, level of brightness or light emission, susceptibility of the screen to reflections, widescreen v. 4:3, etc. We all have to pick a tv based on our own viewing habits and which tradeoffs will suit us best.

For instance, at least 80% of my viewing is widescreen dvds, hdtv sports and hdtv primetime shows. I also play some ps2 in widescreen. I also have a basement "man-room" where I was not constrained by distance to the tv or entertainment center size. A widescreen was the obvious choice for me. If your main concerns are the size of your entertainment center, good screen size for viewing 4:3 and viewing angles. You should stay with a 4:3 tv. It seems the only benefit you would derive from having an HD set would be a better progressive scan picture on your dvds, but even there, you'll have the big letterbox bars to deal with. You are right, widescreen is not for you.

That said, I also don't think it's worthwhile for you to buy another tv at the moment. 27" isn't the greatest, but to me, it's not worth spending $1k for a bigger 4:3 set. As dissatisfied as you are now with your 4 year old set, in 4 more years or less you will be looking to dump the set you are contemplating purchasing. More and more HD programming is available every day. The technology is getting better and cheaper. Wait until there is enough progress that you are convinced a widescreen set is what you want for your viewing habits and that the tradeoffs suit you.

PS - Don't take offense at everyone trying to steer you towards a widescreen HD set. If you watch widescreen movies or HD material, the benefits are astounding.

#4 of 21 Andre D

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Posted January 24 2005 - 05:35 AM

Tim, you said that you don't think you want HD, but you just specified that you were looking for something that displays 480p. Why don't you just go for an HD monitor? With that in mind, you can try out the Sony 32HS420. It's currently $899 at Circuit City. You also get free delivery. The only downfall is that it does not have PIP, but do you really use that feature?

Edit: I was writing this while Scott submitted his post, so you actually have two votes for the Sony HS420. You will have to pick the size (32 or 36 inch).

#5 of 21 Tim Beebe

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Posted January 24 2005 - 05:39 AM

Nope! I've never used PIP. I think it's a cool idea that never works. Yay! I can have 2 different "snow" channels!

#6 of 21 Andre D

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Posted January 24 2005 - 05:51 AM

Don't worry Tim, I am still in the same boat as you. I currently have a 36xbr250 and my friend just called me yesterday to buy it from me. I definitely want to upgrade to HDTV and the larger screen size. However, I love the picture that CRT's deliver and I am not a fan of the viewing angles of projections. My last problem is the viewing distance. Like yourself, I only have an 8 to 10 foot viewing distance. Right now, I am leaning towards the Sony 34xbr960.

#7 of 21 Tim Beebe

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Posted January 24 2005 - 06:03 AM

Andre- That's my "dream TV." I've been following many threads and it seems like exactly what I want-- except for the price. Ouch! I wanted to start a thread without showing my interest in that television, just to see what people recommend towards my current situation.

#8 of 21 Andre D

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Posted January 24 2005 - 06:33 AM

Quote:
Andre- That's my "dream TV." I've been following many threads and it seems like exactly what I want-- except for the price. Ouch! I wanted to start a thread without showing my interest in that television, just to see what people recommend towards my current situation.


It's $1799 at Circuit City. Like I said, I will be selling my old TV so that will contribute towards the price of the new one. Who knows, I may end up getting the Sony HS series myself.

I made a mistake. It's $2199 at Circuit City. Maybe I'll just keep what I have. I hate going for second best.

#9 of 21 Tim Beebe

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Posted January 24 2005 - 07:35 AM

The only thing is, I've heard SDTV looks absolutely HORRIBLE on that television, so what's the point? (for me, at least)

#10 of 21 Andre D

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Posted January 24 2005 - 11:43 AM

Quote:
The only thing is, I've heard SDTV looks absolutely HORRIBLE on that television, so what's the point? (for me, at least)


You shouldn't go by what you've heard. Go to the store and check it out yourself. I personally wouldn't waste my money on a new TV that is not HD. SD can't possibly look that bad on it. I'm going to CC within a few days. I'll take a look at it and give you a report.

#11 of 21 Dave Farley

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Posted January 24 2005 - 12:47 PM

With the entertainment center, you're limited to a 32" TV. I'd try the Sony KV-32HS420. It's HD-ready if and when you want to upgrade. You would need an STB as it doesn't have a built-in ATSC tuner. If you're willing to put a TV on a stand and get rid of the EC, I would look at the following:


Sony KV-36HS420

Sony KV-36XS955-$1699 with free stand. Built-in ATSC tuner and CableCARD, HDMI, etc. 8" bigger on 4:3 material versus a 34' widescreen and within an inch of the 34" on widescreen material. This is the one I would buy in your situation.

http://www.sonystyle...TE...4"to36"TVs

My local cable company only charged an extra $5 for all HD channels. You might want to check with your cable company before dismissing the cost increase, Tim. It might be negligible like mine was.

#12 of 21 Andre D

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Posted January 24 2005 - 02:23 PM

Hey Dave, that TV is nice. I just might look into that. They even throw in the stand for free. There is also free in-house delivery.

#13 of 21 Yusuf

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Posted January 24 2005 - 02:29 PM

Tim,

I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking of 36" CRTs. As soon as I can find someone who'll let me borrow their minivan or pickup truck (not so easy as I live in NYC) I'm going to Costco and picking up the Toshiba 36HF73 for $999. This monster 4:3 HDTV monitor's picture quality is supposed to be at least on par with the Sony HS420 series but its a heck of a lot cheaper plus has Costco's absolute guarantee behind it. Only possible downside is that it has a DVI rather than HDMI input so not as future proof as possible (altho you can get an adaptor for it.)

In fact, part of the reason I havent bought it yet is because I have some hesitation about not getting a widescreen set. At this time I want to spend less than $1500, I watch alot of old move that arent widescreen, and am not watching much hi def broadcast. Even in lettermode, the 36" has nearly the same picture size as a 34" widescreen (according to cnet.com's calculator.)

Good luck.

#14 of 21 Tim Beebe

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Posted January 25 2005 - 04:56 AM

Quote:
...I personally wouldn't waste my money on a new TV that is not HD. SD can't possibly look that bad on it...

Well, I've been following a thread on a different site. I won't give the link because I'm not sure HTF would appreciate that. Anyway, it's over 30 or so pages long now, and everyone has rated it from fair - very poor. And let me know if you go to CC.

Quote:
Sony KV-36XS955-$1699 with free stand. Built-in ATSC tuner and CableCARD, HDMI, etc. 8" bigger on 4:3 material versus a 34' widescreen and within an inch of the 34" on widescreen material. This is the one I would buy in your situation.

Wow. That does seem to be what I want. 36" (33" Wide Screen). The free stand would help, I know someone that might buy my entertainment center... (maybe they'll take the center and my old TV for $250... that would help!). I'd need to find a couple of A/V shelves, but I think it would end up giving the living room a little MORE room in the long run.

Quote:
My local cable company only charged an extra $5 for all HD channels...

$5? Wow! Yeah, that wouldn't put a dent in me at all.

Great post Dave! You helped a bunch!

Quote:
...I'm going to Costco and picking up the Toshiba 36HF73 for $999. This monster 4:3 HDTV monitor's picture quality is supposed to be at least on par with the Sony HS420 series but its a heck of a lot cheaper plus has Costco's absolute guarantee behind it...

Thanks for the alternative! Everyone should note, though, just in case you didn't know, that you tag on another $50 for the Costco membership if you aren't already a member (which I am, but I thought I'd throw that out there Posted Image ).

EDIT: Yusuf- When's the last time you checked Costco? I don't see that TV listed on their website.

#15 of 21 Andre D

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Posted January 25 2005 - 05:06 AM

Quote:
Wow. That does seem to be what I want. 36" (33" Wide Screen). The free stand would help, I know someone that might buy my entertainment center... (maybe they'll take the center and my old TV for $250... that would help!). I'd need to find a couple of A/V shelves, but I think it would end up giving the living room a little MORE room in the long run.


Tim, it also includes free in-house delivery. I'm thinking about getting that one.

#16 of 21 Yusuf

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Posted January 25 2005 - 06:16 AM

Tim,

The Tosh 36HF73 isn't on their website; in fact I dont think they have any CRT HDTVs online. It is in their store inventory, which often complements but doesnt duplicate the online offerings.

#17 of 21 Tim Beebe

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Posted January 25 2005 - 06:23 AM

Andre-

Yeah. I think I'm going to see if I can get it from Best Buy, though. If anything happens and you buy it direct from Sony, you have to ship it back. Ick. And an extended warranty makes me feel a lot safer, too.

Yusuf-

Ah, I see. I guess I'll have to take a look at it next time I'm buying 80 lbs. of chicken. ^_^ Gotta love shopping day.

#18 of 21 Dave Farley

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Posted January 25 2005 - 12:08 PM

Quote:
Hey Dave, that TV is nice. I just might look into that. They even throw in the stand for free. There is also free in-house delivery.


It does look like a nice one, Andre. It seems like a great deal and a nice transition to HDTV, considering all the SD content still out there.


Quote:
Great post Dave! You helped a bunch!


No problem, Tim. Glad I could help.Posted Image


Here's a thread for both of you to look at over at AVS. It's about this TV. There are some other threads on it too. Just do a search. This one has the most information in it.


36XS955

#19 of 21 DaveF

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Posted January 26 2005 - 02:08 AM

Quote:
but I've heard SDTV looks horrible on an HDTV.
Not in my experience. I've got a 36" Sony Wega (HDTV) and I have just analog cable. It looks as good as the feed. If anything, it looks better on an HD set since the picture is smooth -- no visible scan lines.

The HD is also good for DVDs and for video games (Nintendo Game Cube with the component cable connection).

I love the PiP features -- I use it a lot. Lately, I've been playing with a video game in one picture while watching a TV show in another. It's also nice for scanning channels during commercials of the main show I'm watching.

#20 of 21 Tim Beebe

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Posted January 26 2005 - 06:37 AM

Dave- Don't misquote me, now. Posted Image

I specifically meant the XBR960. There's a rather informative thread on that television as well on the same website.


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