4x3 direct-view HDs, with anamorphic & tuner?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Alan Benson, Jul 29, 2002.

  1. Alan Benson

    Alan Benson Stunt Coordinator

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    Are there any big 4x3 sets with good 16x9 modes (for the anamophic stuff) AND integrated HDTV tuners? I don't think the TV I want exsits -- but here's the situation:

    1) I watch 65% TV (TiVo, or DVDs of TV shows) and remainder is OAR movies. 2) I've got a brightly lit living room (picture window) and plan to keep it that way during the day. Since RPTVs need the brightness/contrast down to avoid burn-in, these two factors would seem to indicate I need a direct-view set. I'm thinking of a 36" or 40" HDTV.

    I hate the idea of buying an HDTV-ready set without the tuner. In fact, I still subscribe to analog cable only, because I need so many cable inputs for TV/VCR/TiVo, and hate the idea of needing seperate external tuners for every damn thing. My main HD need today is just for progressive DVD, but I don't want to box myself out of HDTV a fews years down the line.

    I'm not married to the 4x3 idea, but with the quantity of 4x3 I watch, I'm also trying to get the biggest view-size for the buck... Any advice for the direct-view buyer interested in a large, HD-integrated set? There doesn't seem to be much to choose from. (I'm also open to any general advice if you think I'm limiting myself needlessly, either with direct-view or 4x3.)
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Lower white and black levels are important for direct-view sets as well, Alan.

    But does the native 4:3 integrated direct-view HDTV you want exist? Not sure. (Does anybody know if the Princeton Graphics monitors are incorporating high-def tuners? I don't think they do.)

    At any rate, I would prefer the flexibility of an outboard high-def tuner anyway--especially with the connectivity issue being up in the air presently. What's one more box? Especially when you have such attractive options as the 36- and 40-inch direct-view Sony XBRs from which to choose?

    I would, in fact, be disinclined to purchase an integrated HDTV presently/
     
  3. Alan Benson

    Alan Benson Stunt Coordinator

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  4. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Someone, Motorola, I think, makes an external HD tuner that accepts feeds from an antenna and a satellite dish. Can’t remember for sure, but I’m going to my local AV store today and will check. This works pretty well, as most HD today comes over the air, with some (such as HBO HD) from satellites.

    Now you only have one more box to consider. And as most HD sets today have two component inputs, you are set for both the HD tuner and DVD inputs.

    Another advantage to an external tuner purchase, is, the full cost of HD can be deferred until such time as you are ready for HD.

    Finally, you might want to consider a 16:9 instead of a 4:3. I only mention this it appears as though the windscreen format is gaining (albeit slowly) popularity and it can be expected that as more TV is in this format, your viewing will tend towards 16:9. Especailly as you mention that you want to watch anamorphic DVDs. I might misunderstand, an anamorphic DVD won’t make any difference in a 4:3 receiver. Anamorphic DVDs are “enhanced” for 16:9 sets and the extra quality has no effect on 4:3 sets.

    I agree with your choice of direct-view vs. projection given your light levels.

    As for models, I spent a great deal of time this weekend looking at and comparing direct view TVs. To me, the most impressive was the Pioneer Elite plasma screens. After drooling for some time I consider that my favorites in the more modest options were
    Panasonic CT 34WX52
    Sony KD-34XBR2
    Toshiba 34HF81

    All of the sets are 34”, tube, 16:9 format. The Panasonic and Toshiba do not have HD tuners, while the Sony’s HD tuner is integrated into the set. It was close, but I thought that the Toshiba did not quite have the clarity of the other two. I personally liked the Panasonic better than the Sony, but it may have been the day. I plan to return with a couple of DVDs that I know quite well to confirm. I won’t be too surprised if I revise my opinion as to which picture I like the best.

    But the Sony is priced about $1,000 more than either the Panasonic or Toshiba, even considering the cost of an external HD tuner.

    Of course 34” may not suit your needs
     
  5. John-Miles

    John-Miles Screenwriter

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    I agree with Jack, dont bother getting a built in tuner. I cant see you going with HD cable and sattilite and so in most cases it would be cheaper to get a set top box. most of the sets i have seen that have internal decoders and tehy add alot more to the cost then it would cost to get a set top box. plus you dont ahve as many future compatibility issues. but you do have one extra box.

    if you have money to burn then go for the 40" XBR you cant get much better than that... but if you want the most bang for your buck might i suggest the 36" toshiba, i just bought one and aside froma few calibration problems im getting my dealer to fix i love it.
     
  6. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    I'd agree with Jack that an outboard HD tuner could be the way to go, and there's no big hurry getting there. We have yet to see what the standards are going to be, and if DirecTV and Dish merge, we could see some changes in their STBs.
    I'd go widescreen. Place less importance on the sources you watch the most, and more on the sources you watch most critically. I certainly watch more broadcast TV than DVDs, but I bought the TV that gave me the most bang on DVDs. The broadcast picture would be smaller, but I find one of the stretch modes unobjectionable so I use that virtually all of the time with my 16:9.
    4:3 is so...20th century. [​IMG]
    Jan
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    What sort of calibration problems, John--gray scale? (Toshibas are very nice, btw.)
     
  8. John-Miles

    John-Miles Screenwriter

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    Well basically it seems that my picture is slightly off center. this becomes very noticable when using sources (like video games, and some older dvd's like bladerunner) it seems they dont send much extra signal to the tv so i end up with a black bar running up the left side of the tv. as well there is a geometry problem, at the bottom of the screen i get a slight curving to the left. It almost makes it look trapezoidal at the bottom. but this problem dosent occur at the top of the screen.
    I have tried virtually every fix possible outside of the service menu, but nothing changes it.
    Other than those two issues which my dealer says he can fix I havent had any problems with my TV, its absolutely glorious... (but everyone thinks im going to go blind from it [​IMG] everyone else i know considers 25 and 27 inch tv's to be big, so my 36 is freaking huge to most of my family and friends.
     
  9. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    John,

    Yeah, that sounds like service menu stuff. Should just be a matter of adjustment.

    Jan
     

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