Analog or digital Direct View TV?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Ed_Swan, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. Ed_Swan

    Ed_Swan Auditioning

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    I have a small dilemma. Last year I sold my 32" Sony TV to buy a Toshiba 50" RPTV. Well, after a year, I still don't like the Toshiba. It's a good set, but I can't accept picture quality. I did have it ISF calibrated. DVD's look great as expected, but the picture from my DirecTV satellite leaves alot to be desired. I'm using S video for the satellite as there is no component out.
    So now I'm going to dump the RPTV and go back to direct view. But I'm not savvy enough to do this right. I was looking at the 36" analog unit (36FV310). I know my 32" handled the satellite well, and no DVD viewing complaints there either. But, strolling Circuit City confused me more. And I guess I was there the day the knowledgeable salesperson was off. Anyway, some sets had black bars on the side, some had black bars top and bottom, some filled the whole screen as either 4:3 or widescreen. The Sony HDTV (32HS510) looked simply stunning. But, what am I watching? I was told it was a digital feed of a demo loop CC runs. Even for another $600, I would consider that set if my DirecTV would give me that kind of picture. The consistant complaint I see with user feedback is the less than great signal on the HDTV models when viewing cable. I can't afford another mistake. Signal quality on regular TV (DirecTV) is most important. I watch 50 hours of TV for every DVD I play. And if I bought the HDTV widescreen, would I have the side bars? Or does Sony have a stretch mode?
    I would be using a Non progressive scan DVD that is part of my home theater in a box.
    I can do the analog until HDTV becomes more of a reality at my house ('06?). Maybe I can get a plasma at that time too.

    So, what is recommended for 85% Satellite TV and 15% DVD viewing??

    Also, can I get some opinions on these monster cables? Worth the $$? I was considering using their S cables to replace the cheap ones that came with the devices. But I was going to leave the audio ones alone, as I haven't been disappointed on the audio side of things.
    Thanks!
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Ed,

    A little suggestion that might save you some money.

    Instead of dumping the tv because analog DirecTV via S-video looks bad, dump your current DirecTV receiver and upgrade to an HD capable model.

    Most of the HD boxes can be set to convert non-HD stuff to a scanrate more freindly to your set, 480p or all the way to 1080i, resulting in an SD picture much better than what you're getting now. In addition you will be able to tune 7 HD channels off the dish plus whatever local HD channels you can pick up with an antenna. DirecTV is also planning on doubling or tripling their HD channels in the next year.

    If you think dvd looks good on your current set, wait until you see some true HD stuff, especially from Discovery HD or HDNet originated on HD video. You'll quickly give up any thoughts of going back to analog tv.

    The upgrade may be available for a lot less than the cost of a really high quality 36" analog tv, and the new box will come with a decent set of component cables.
     
  3. John S

    John S Producer

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    SVIDEO and lower should be considered an absolute last resort for connecting anything to an HDTV. Just reality there, a smaller screen may help to mask the poorer qulaity, but it will still be there.

    You really should try and upgrade your service, before you dump the product.

    Good luck on satisfaction with it all.....
     
  4. Stephen_Ri

    Stephen_Ri Stunt Coordinator

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    How're you gonna "dump" it? I can't see any possibilities that don't leave you with a big loss. If you can afford an ISF calibration for 15% of your watching, then you should be able to do as they suggested and get HD service or get a good line doubler for your regular viewing. Don't mean to meddle in your finances, but I can't see any logic in your plans. If I'm wrong, please enlighten me because it baffles me how you can come close to breaking even on this. If you can manage it without getting burned too badly, go ahead and "dump" your TV, buy the 36" which I'm sure you'll be happy with, and wait a few years until more programming is on HD, then buy a plasma or whatever. To answer your other question, if you bought the Sony widescreen, I'm sure there'd be a stretch or zoom mode that would fill your screen, but the pic would either be cropped on top and bottom or stretched(distorted). If you still want to get an HD, I'd recommend a direct view Zenith which has a faroudja chip in it to make standard signals look better. Plus they're reasonably priced.
     
  5. Ed_Swan

    Ed_Swan Auditioning

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    I guess "dump" is a bit strong.
    I am not a video expert, just a TV viewer. The problem is the quality of what I'm watching is poor. Folks here said to let the set "burn in". I did that, still awful. Then folks here said I needed an ISF calibration. I figured I'd try that as I really wanted it to work well. Got a $400 calibaration that helped very little. So now what? A $400-600 signal doubler? I'm sure that will be just as obsolete in a few years as an analog tv purchase now.
    HDTV is the way to go, but I wanted to wait for the HD-Tivo/DirecTV receiver. That's supposed to be another $800. So, I would have invested a ton to get a picture that closer to the 32" Sony tube I had?
    How long will the wait before my satellite channels are all HDTV? My understanding is DirecTV doesn't have enough bandwidth to have many HDTV channels (I don't know, it's what I've read). And I can't get cable, digital or not.

    I can't say this makes sense to those enjoying their HDTV right now, and I really appreciate the comments, but I'm frustrated. My wife hates how dark and fuzzy the picture is compared to watching our lowly 20" Sony. I've spent alot and have only had a negative experience.

    I can wait and try the HDTV receiver if it will improve the regular stuff I'm watching. But when I look at the picture on that set, I can't help but think nothing will help except total HDTV, and I don't think thats anytime soon.

    I'm trying to balance all this and all I get is a migraine [​IMG]
     
  6. Stephen_Ri

    Stephen_Ri Stunt Coordinator

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    You still have some options. First, go to a directv outlet or home theater store and see what a regular signal looks like through the HD receiver. You should do this because it will be a while before most channels are HD. I did hear something about the History channel and some other new ones coming out but I think that was Dish Network. If you don't like even the upgraded signal(if they've got it set up that way), that's a good indication that you're not going to be happy for many years. Another option is to sit further away from the TV; all tv's of this size, analog or digital, are fuzzy at close range when fed an analog signal. And if it's too dark, turn the lights out, as this is how the ISF tech calibrated the set to be viewed. Yet another option is to keep the set for DVD's and buy a cheap set for TV. I know this sounds nuts but I can see you losing close to a grand on the set if you sell it(half of that due to the ISF calibration, which means nothing to most buyers). Or, as I mentioned previously, sell it and get a direct view HD set in the 30-40" range that upgrades the signal well, or as you're inclined, to get an analog, on which dvd's will be lacking but TV'll look great.
     
  7. Ernest Yee

    Ernest Yee Supporting Actor

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    Yeah - you'd probably take a serious hit on that investment by selling it. Cant you just purchase another set and use the Digital for dvd viewing until more HD channels come in? Just get a used Sony 32" Wega or something to hold you over. Then when the time comes to switch to HD, you can just take the minor hit on the Sony vs your RPTV.

    I mean, I think the ISF calibration will have been for not if you move it.
     
  8. Ernest Yee

    Ernest Yee Supporting Actor

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    Actually - is there anyone in the Bay Area with a Digital TV w/ an analog sat connection? I'd just like to see for myself how bad the degradation is.
     
  9. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    I find this pretty baffling. My Tosh is only 42" but it's two years older than yours, I have DirecTV, and the picture is quite watchable. Not up to DVD standards, and I don't have a high-def receiver, but I wouldn't call it fuzzy or dark. Some channels are better than others.

    It makes me think something isn't right with your DirecTV box. Before dumping the set, I'd give the $99 Hughes TiVo box a try. I got one for Christmas and it's great! You can try it for 30 days and, if it doesn't help your picture, send it back.

    Another cheap enhancement is putting a light behind your TV. I bought a GE fluorescent fixture from Home Depot, designed for mounting under a kitchen cabinet, for $8 including the "daylight" bulb. I set it behind the TV and turn it on when watching at night. It helps everything I watch. I don't think this would address your particular problem, though.

    I wouldn't spend money on Monster cables, which are grossly overpriced IMHO. However, you might try a good quality Radio Shack or AR S-video cable in the $25 price range. I don't really think this is your problem, but you never know. In my experience, upgrading cables gives the least amount of bang for the buck...you need to be really tweaking a top setup to notice the difference, and it doesn't sound as if you're there yet; I think you need a better signal from the DirecTV box before upgrading a cable would make a difference, but I could be wrong.

    Good luck!

    Jan
     

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