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new tv or center speaker??


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15 replies to this topic

#1 of 16 OFFLINE   Korey R

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Posted November 21 2006 - 10:12 PM

I was hoping you guys could give me your opinion on something...

I'm thinking about upgrading my home theater and adding either a new tv or a center speaker. I currently have an old console style tv with only a vhf/uhf round plug on the back. My home theater also consists of a Pioneer receiver, a Sony DVD/VCR combo and a Yamaha subwoofer along with 2 big floor speakers for the front and 2 smaller surround speakers on the sides. I can get you the actual models of my receiver, combo and sub if needed.

My setup consists of running a cable from my video out on the vcr side of the combo to the vhf/uhf plug on the tv and my audio cables from my audio outs on the combo (vcr side) to my receiver audio ins. I also have a cable from the dvd outs on the combo to the receiver ins. My setup runs through my combo for tv audio this way.

Do you think it would be more beneficial to get a newer style tv (looking at about a 27 inch crt) that has the audio outs instead of having to run it through my vcr/dvd combo or will it make no difference sound wise? The combo, receiver and sub are only about 5 years old.

Or do you think it would be better to get a center speaker for my setup? How important is the center speaker and would it make a noticeable difference in sound quality?

I'm only looking to spend about $200-$300. I'm looking to maybe buy something on the day after Thanksgiving sales coming up. I appreciate any help. Thanks.

#2 of 16 OFFLINE   Ed Moxley

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Posted November 21 2006 - 11:06 PM

Although a center speaker is pretty important, it sounds like you need a tv more than anything, right now. Having the right inputs will make life a little easier for you, when interacting with your HT.

Some people never get a center speaker. In your receiver's setup menus, you can turn off the center speaker (or say no - whichever terminology it uses), and use a "phantom center", created by your left and right front speakers. It works pretty well.

I'd get a new tv, and tell family that they can all chip in, and get you a center speaker for Christmas. If they won't, start saving for one. Buying one speaker is a lot cheaper than buying a whole set, so maybe it won't take long to save up for it. You might could even find a deal on a speaker from a pawn shop. Ideally, the center should timbre match your main front speakers (same brand), But if you find a deal on a good brand, you might like it better than not having one at all. See how you like the sound of the "phantom speaker", and then make your decision.
Good luck!
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#3 of 16 OFFLINE   Korey R

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Posted November 22 2006 - 09:00 AM

Thanks Ed for the quick reply. I went through my receiver settings and noticed that I do have it set as "*" which means none for the center speaker. I think my setup sounds good, I just wasn't sure if it would sound even better with a center speaker or not.

Here's what my settings look like (for a basement room)...

My speaker setup: FS-C*-SS, subwoofer: on, crossover frequency: 200, lfe attenuator: 0, fch distance: 10ft., cch distance: non, sch distance: 6ft., dynamic range control: off, dual mono: ch1, coaxial digital input: off, optical digital input: dvd

I'm not sure why I have it set for small front speakers since I have 15.5x25 speakers for the fronts, I think when I got my sub someone told me to set the fronts to small for some reason, is this ok?). My surround speakers are 10x17.5.

With a new tv I can then run a cable from the audio outs of the tv itself directly into the receiver and bypass the combo? Will this improve my audio any or is it just that I can then use the tv's audio directly without having to have the combo on at the same time? Right now I have to have the combo on in order to get any audio from the speakers so for a new tv I won't have to do that, am I understanding right?

Is there anything on newer tv's that I need to watch for like for available audio outs on the tv or do all newer sets have pretty much the same things? I'm looking at getting around a 27 inch crt. Thanks.

#4 of 16 OFFLINE   JeremyErwin

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Posted November 22 2006 - 10:14 AM

The one thing that you should look for is component video. That's an absolute minimum-- the video quality is so much better. 480p is useful, and so is a 16x9 mode.

You probably won't be able to afford an HDTV set, unless you get a really good deal. But many of the more inexpensive sets support digital television. One of of the benefits of digital television is digital surround sound-- if the television has an spdif/optical out.

#5 of 16 OFFLINE   Korey R

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Posted November 22 2006 - 12:41 PM

Thanks Jeremy for the help. Do I need digital cable or satellite for an HDTV to work right? I have regular analog cable. I would guess that DVD's would work better and it wouldn't matter which kind of cable I have but for tv viewing with analog cable would hdtv be beneficial?

I'm looking at an Insignia 27" Flat-Tube HDTV (Model: NS-27HTV) and it has 1 component video input along with a digital audio output (I don't see anything that says spdif/optical outs though) and regular audio outs. It's only $269.99 on Friday morning. Can you tell me what 480p and 16x9 mode means? I don't see that on the specs for that tv. Thanks.

#6 of 16 OFFLINE   JeremyErwin

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Posted November 22 2006 - 01:54 PM

Interesting.

It has hdmi (important for hd-dvd/bluray/upscaling dvd players)
It has a built in hd tuner (so if you can receive hdtv broadcasts, assuming that your antenna is sufficient to receive them). It has an digital audio out (either a coaxial or optical interface, so that if you were able to receive those programs, surround sound would be available.

DVDs are encoded in an interlaced format. Some players can deinterlace them to provide a more film-like image. see thiis page for some details. Apparently, the TV you've selected is capable of receiving a 480p signal.

The other detail I mentioned is 16:9 support. Most movies released today are either Academy flat (1:1.85 aspect ratio), or 'scope (1:2.40 aspect ratio). When those movies are shown on a conventional televison screen, black bars are added to the top and bottom to keep the proportions correct.

Each frame of a DVD is about 720 pixels wide, and 480 pixels high. A DVD could be encoded so that the top 60 and bottom 60 pixels are black, leaving 720*360 pixels to record the actual film image.

Or, the DVD could use the full 720*480 pixels for film content. When played back with no processing, the image looks squeezed. When played back on a TV with appropriate support for anamorphic video, the image can be restored to it's original proportions with no loss of detail. If the TV does not support this, the DVD player can be set to discard every fourth scan line, and add the appropriate letterboxing at the top and bottom. Apparently this Insignia is capable of digitally unsqueezing the image. So, no worries there.

Looks like a good deal to me. I doubt you would be able to find a widescreen set at that price.

#7 of 16 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles

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Posted November 24 2006 - 10:22 AM

Also, pick up a calibration disc.

You might be surprised how excellent an old POS TV can look when just setup with the basic settings correctly.

#8 of 16 OFFLINE   Korey R

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Posted November 25 2006 - 07:44 AM

Thanks for the help guys. Thanks Jeremy for the detailed explanation of the details. I picked up the Insignia 27" Flat-Tube HDTV yesterday morning at Best Buy. I'm really excited to get it, they only had 2 left when I got there. Unfortunately it's going to be a Christmas present for me so I have to wait until then to set it up but I look forward to seeing what it can do compared to the old console.

Are there any cables I need to pick up before Christmas so I'm ready to go when I start to set it up? I assume it's packaged with cables but I wasn't sure if I needed better ones for my setup. I'm not exactly sure how to set it up but I think I just plug the cables directly into the receiver now instead of having to run them through the vcr/dvd combo. Thanks.

#9 of 16 OFFLINE   highnthemnts

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Posted November 25 2006 - 09:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Korey R
Thanks for the help guys. Thanks Jeremy for the detailed explanation of the details. I picked up the Insignia 27" Flat-Tube HDTV yesterday morning at Best Buy.

I did to. The reason I got the Insigna NS-27HTV (best buy's 27 CRT HDTV) was 1) price -- $270, 2) perfect size for my cabinet, 3) to replace a 19" SDTV 4) enter into the HDTV realm 5) tuner built in (don't have cable)

I have mixed fealings about this set.

1) The remote control is weak and slow. Takes 3 to 5 seconds to change a channel. The range seems limited too. I guess you get used to this.

2) 640 or 720x480 look fine. The screen is 27 inches, but on certain channels (1920x1080?) this set produces a picture that is only 19 inches with a black border on all sides, a "bounded box" format that I'm not used to. I don't understand why this happens, i'd be happier if it attempted to fill out the screen horizontally or vertically or both, well there is - a ratio function, sort of, it has 2 problems

3) the "ratio" function *attempts* to fill out the screen by applying a 4:3, 16:9, auto, or zoom transform to the picture. These do help in producing a slightly larger picture (other than the 19" one on the 27" screen). On a (1920x1080) broadcast, the 4:3 clips the top and bottom, with black bars on left and right. he zoom will clip the screen on all 4 sides, but the entire 27" screen is used. auto produces a 19" picture, and 16:9 produces a 20" picture bounded by black on all sides.

4) when choosing a ratio function, say zoom in this case, all the channels are set to zoom. The ones that looked just fine, even the SD ones, are now zoomed and badly clipped, I wish the ratio function could be applied to (and remembered by) each individual channel. So channel 8 is "auto", 11 is "zoom" and 13 is "16:9", but you can't, they are all set the same. Actually i have no idea what "auto" does. bummer.

5) the manual is very poor. The explanation on SVM "SVM - turns the SVM on or off". nowhere is it explained. There is more information on setting the font size/color/style/opacity/bg color/blah blah for closed captioning than on any other topic in the manual. Is it big in the HD circles here to trick out your closed captioning?

I'm new here, and I confess to not being knowledgable on this subject. To me, it seems like the tuner is gutless and not flexible. Can a better tuner be bought, connected to the tv via HDMI, that can upconvert or *downconvert* to a smaller image (640x480?) that this set seems to handle the best.

#10 of 16 OFFLINE   highnthemnts

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Posted November 25 2006 - 09:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Korey R
Are there any cables I need to pick up before Christmas so I'm ready to go when I start to set it up?

Korey, there wasn't a single cable in the package. In fact, the remote needed batteries too, make sure you have 2 AAA's handy.

#11 of 16 OFFLINE   JeremyErwin

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Posted November 25 2006 - 10:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by highnthemnts
I did to. The reason I got the Insigna NS-27HTV (best buy's 27 CRT HDTV) was 1) price -- $270, 2) perfect size for my cabinet, 3) to replace a 19" SDTV 4) enter into the HDTV realm 5) tuner built in (don't have cable)

I have mixed fealings about this set.

Oops-- well not having seen the set, and going simply by the specs, it looked decent. (actually seeing the set in person is best left up to the buyer)

svm sounds like it might be related to "velocity scan modulation"-- the consensus on that is that it's best turned off, as it reduces picture detail. I believe that it is intended to increase brightness on CRTs

#12 of 16 OFFLINE   JeremyErwin

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Posted November 25 2006 - 12:41 PM

Quote:
2) 640 or 720x480 look fine. The screen is 27 inches, but on certain channels (1920x1080?) this set produces a picture that is only 19 inches with a black border on all sides, a "bounded box" format that I'm not used to. I don't understand why this happens, i'd be happier if it attempted to fill out the screen horizontally or vertically or both, well there is - a ratio function, sort of, it has 2 problems

ABC and Fox use 720p, nbc, cbs, wb, and upn use 1080i. The minor channels (univision, impoverished pbs stations) use 480i. Most supplementary streams are 480i as well. The richer pbs stations haven't standardized on a format, though the ones in my area use 1080i.

#13 of 16 OFFLINE   Korey R

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Posted November 25 2006 - 04:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by highnthemnts
I did to.

Thanks for your review. I'm now feeling less excited about this purchase. I'm going to have to find out what Best Buy's return policy is in regards to tvs before I do anything with it.

I watch tv shows more than I watch dvds so it sounds like since the picture size has to be adjusted for each channel and it doesn't "remember" what channel is what size this could get very frustrating. Does the picture ever cover the entire 27" that it's supposed to even with the different options to adjust it? It sounds like there will always be black bars no matter what adjustments are used.

Have you tried a DVD with this tv? I was curious about how it worked with that. The remote control delay sounds like something else that will be frustrating after a while. I hope this tv has codes for my universal remote since I also would like to control the receiver with the same remote.

#14 of 16 OFFLINE   highnthemnts

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Posted November 26 2006 - 03:27 PM

I'm with ya Korey. I think we're even on another board. Because I wanted a CRT to fill out a cabinet, and not a LCD, my choices were limited, and aside it's negatives, and because it was _sooo_little_money_ compared to other sets, i've to adjust my thinking on this set.

It isn't a top-o-the-line set. It's pretty much on the bottom. Price reflects this.

Consider it more of a 27" SD set that, as a bonus, can display some channels in HD very well. Not all channels, just some. Now some football games, in the letter box format - which stretch from side to side, are very nice to watch. However some of my channels / shows come in a higher 1920 format, then the you have the 19" bounded box screen - which is stupid, and a big negative on this set. On those channels, the tv is dependent on having a SD signal to view. Now i'm using over-the-air broadcasts only, you might have a different view when you use a STB or cable or whatever.

I think once SD disapears, this set will not be very useful, it's life might be over - because it dependent on those SD channels when it's HD tuner can't handle the 1920 HD signal very well.

What I have seen done is that you set up a channel to be "skipped", so if you know fox SD is fine, but the Fox HD channel is not, you can set it to skip the FOX HD channel, and only view the FOX SD channels when surfing - you'd never know about the HD channel. (However, the HD channels switch between HD formats, and while fox HD football is acceptable, the fox HD nightly news and all other programming may not). So the idea is that while channel surfing, you only surf the channels /formats that can fill the whole 27" screen, and set it up so that the HD channels that it can't display well are skipped. Thus you only see the channels that use the full screen. (note 1: this probably means the set won't last well into the future as channels will gravitate to higher resolution HD which it can't handle well) (note 2: not like your going to be channel surfing on this anyway, because it takes so long to switch channels)

If I had to spend a few grand on a set, i wouldn't be dealing with this. But i have $300. The 19" sony tv that this replaced was built in 1990 and was going strong, i respect the longevity that it had. I bet this insignia set won't last nearly as long. I'm going to set this up with a myth tv box so I expect more enjoyment out of it then.

Cheers,
See if you can open it up, i'm interested in hearing aboutyour views.

#15 of 16 OFFLINE   JeremyErwin

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Posted November 26 2006 - 10:08 PM

Quote:

Consider it more of a 27" SD set that, as a bonus, can display some channels in HD very well. Not all channels, just some. Now some football games, in the letter box format - which stretch from side to side, are very nice to watch. However some of my channels / shows come in a higher 1920 format, then the you have the 19" bounded box screen - which is stupid, and a big negative on this set. On those channels, the tv is dependent on having a SD signal to view. Now i'm using over-the-air broadcasts only, you might have a different view when you use a STB or cable or whatever.

I think once SD disapears, this set will not be very useful, it's life might be over - because it dependent on those SD channels when it's HD tuner can't handle the 1920 HD signal very well.

What I have seen done is that you set up a channel to be "skipped", so if you know fox SD is fine, but the Fox HD channel is not, you can set it to skip the FOX HD channel, and only view the FOX SD channels when surfing - you'd never know about the HD channel. (However, the HD channels switch between HD formats, and while fox HD football is acceptable, the fox HD nightly news and all other programming may not).

hmm.

Only a fraction of Fox's lineup is available in HD. Much of it is either standard definition, or in a few instances, widescreen 480i. But Fox broadcasts a 720p signal, which is 16:9 The standard material is upsampled (badly), and black bars are added on the side.

Now, your set is 4:3. To achieve the proper aspect ratio, back bars must be added to the top and bottom. The combination results in a black border around a really small picture. I would have thought that a zoom mode that removes all the matting would be a standard feature, but, perhaps not.

#16 of 16 OFFLINE   Korey R

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Posted December 08 2006 - 09:44 AM

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for your help. "highnthemnts", your reviews were very helpful. I decided to take back the tv (didn't even open it, wanted to make sure I got a full refund and not store credit). I think my best bet is to wait to get a widescreen HD 16:9 tv in the future.

So I decided to go the speaker route instead. I got a Sony center channel and a couple Sony floor speakers for my setup.


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