Deciding Which Type of HD Set

snash22

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I am not sure whether I want LCD, Plasma, RPTV, Lcos, etc.

My budget is under 2K with tax. I prefer a set about 50". I'll have 1 person viewing at about a 45 degree angle from the screen. I understand that 1080p is out there, but I'm suspecting 720p will be acceptable.

My current set is a 36" Sony Wega (no progressive scan) (I do the anamorphic squeeze via the service menu)

I'm sure this question is asked a lot, and I'm sure the answer changes frequently as well. If there is a link detailing the pluses and minuses of each technology I'll accept that in lieue of an answer


Steve
 

Alex/d

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I'll try to answer that from a engineer's standpoint on durability and quality...
DLP, LCOS, and CRT projectors fall into what I call Rear Projectors (because they project light and images from the back of the TV to the front). Rear Projectors are typically the most serviceable of any other televison, as they use bulbs that do burn out over a period of 2-5 years. The downside is that you buy bulbs at about $250 a pop, but with technologies like DLP and LCOS, your screen will never burn in, the brightness of the TV is directly proportional to bulb life and follows a linear decay pattern (basically, when the bulb is good, your picture will remain as it did new until the bulb pops). Choose this TV if you plan on keeping it for a while, as it is servicable in almost every aspect.

Plasma, LCD flat panels, are thin, mountable anywhere, and popular due to flexibility of mounting options and relatively good service life. Plasma's tend to closely resemble CRT's the most because the technology is similar to how a CRT makes it's phosphor pixels glow. Plasmas can be affected by burn in. LCD's tend to be a bit softer and energy efficient (I personally don't like them so I'm going to stop in order to avoid negative bias). With flat panels, the downside is servicability. If the panel goes bad, you are probably much better off buying a new TV as opposed to replacing the panel (the panel is usually 50% or more of the TV's price). Average Plasma life is anywhere from 6-15 years. (your mileage may vary).

CRTs- Cheap, kidproof, reliable, proven technology for over 70 years. But, flatscreen HDTV sets are usually very heavy. Not many mounting options. Can be affected by burn in.
 

captaincrash

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I'm surprised there were not more replies on this. A couple of years ago I went with DLP because of the longivity potential and relatively easy servicability... and because the multi-media features appealed to me as an enthusiastic digital photographer. I went with the Epson Livingstation as it had the dye-sublimation printer and CDRW intergrated into it. It was sort of cool to me AND... I got a great price... and have since stocked up on spare bulbs (I have two but am still running the original bulb)... plus I loaded up on printing packs having found about 20 packs on ebay for $7 each as opposed to the $25-30 street price per pack.



So - does anyone have something to add to this query???
 

Hanson

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My only comment is this -- get the biggest set you can afford. A 61" 720p DLP can be had for well under 2K (the 70+" models are still well over 3K). You may think this sounds big, but it's only as tall as a 50" 4:3 set. If you get a 50" widescreen set, it's really only as tall as a 41" 4:3 set.

The important question is, how far will the front of the set be from the couch? Don't use the wall itself since you'll need 20"-24" to account for the depth of the set and room for ventilation. For a 61" DLP at 720p, you'll need 12'. For a 50" DLP at 720p, you'll need 10'. But if you upgrade to the 1080p, a 61" only need 8'. The Samsung 1080p DLP sets are $2100 online and the Toshibas are a bit less, so you're not going to bust your budget by much if you go that route. Aside from your budget, your viewing distance is the most important factor in this equation because it dictates how big your screen should be. Those old equations about screen height and comfortable viewing distance are meaningless with HD sets and especially 1080p sets.
 

Alex/d

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Probably a good way to get the size you want is do a cardboard mockup of the size TV you are looking at.... that way when you get it home you wont say "I wish it was bigger/smaller."
 

captaincrash

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The biggest set I can afford would be a front projector. But then again I don't think it is appropriate to throw an image against the entire far wall of the viewing site. I am looking at what others are saying about the appropriate size of screen given the TYPE of device presenting the image AND the resolution intensity.

As I consider myself an enthusiastic novice - I find it quite interesting to read of everyones' opinions.
 

snash22

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Thanks for the info everyone.

I was hoping to get more info regarding the PQ of each type/technology. I guess based on alex/d's engineering perspective, it is just an issue of trade-offs regarding bulb life, viewing angle, burn-in.

Is it safe to say that the PQ of each tech is identical (brands and models may vary, of course)?
 

Steve Schaffer

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"picture quality" takes in a lot of variables and every user has their own priorities.

For smooth, film like reproduction of dvds along with outstanding contrast ratios crt rear projection is a good choice. Picture detail on HD sources is not as good as with other technologies, off angle viewing suffers the most of all, overall brightness for viewing in a brightly lit room is somewhat lacking. Prices of the few remaining models are rock bottom. These sets do require a bit more tweaking out of the box than most others.

Plasma and LCD rear projection sets have a pronounced gridlike pixel structure that some find annoying even at normal viewing distances. Plasmas have good contrast ratios and some of the lcd sets with variable iris controls are also decent in all but very dark rooms.

DLP rear projection sets have no visible picture structure, generally good contrast ratios, no convergence or color impurity issues. Some people see the rainbow effect and others (myself included) are sensitive to a tiny sort of dithery effect perhaps due to the wobulated chips used to eliminate visible pixel structure.

LCOS (SXRD Sony and DILA JVC) rear projection sets have no visible picture structure, no rainbows, very good contrast ratios, are capable of very sharp detailed HD. In my opinion they are about as good as crt based rear projection for recreating a film like image and aren't as fussy to adjust. Both JVC and Sony have had problems with color impurities in the past, JVC seems to have their's pretty much cured. Sony has improved greatly in this regard and should be a safe buy.

I am a great proponent of buying the biggest screen size one can afford and have no desire to hang a tv on a wall like a picture or mirror, while still being able to watch in the daytime so am somewhat biased toward rear projection.
Manufacturers have pretty much quit building high quality crt rear projection sets. For my particular priorities LCOS is a better choice than DLP or LCD rear projection, YMMV.
 

Todd H

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For me it came down to LCOS or DLP. Both are great technologies. But after viewing both it turns out I see the DLP rainbow effect. So I went with the Sony 50" A2000. Your best bet is to view examples of each and decide which one looks best to you.
 

snash22

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Wobulation? I'm imagining that that is like wobbling each pixel slightly and randomly to that it blurs (to the eye) each pixel together?

I live about an hour away from BB & CC, I need to plan out an afternoon to just go look at the displays to see if I can see the "rainbow".

I have read a lot of positive about the Sony A2000 so I hope BB has it on display.

Thanks for the information everyone!
 

Steve Schaffer

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The rainbow effect on dlp sets affects a small percentage of people, that's the good news. The bad news is that most of those who do report seeing it say they did not see it in the stores, but only once they got the set home. For that reason it's important to buy from a store with a good return policy.

I replaced my trusty 5 year old Sony crt based set with a Sony 60A2000, took delivery a week ago Thursday and could not be happier. My first choice was going to be the JVC 1080p LCOS set primarily due to lower prices than the Sony but I got a killer deal on the Sony on Black Friday.
 

snash22

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Steve & Todd - Since you both have an A2000, can you give me your opinion on how it displays SD material?

Besides the fact that a bigger image will just not look as good with only 480i input, do you see any conversion or interlacing artifacts or anything?
 

Todd H

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I'm viewing HD and SD material from a Dish Network VIP 622 receiver connected via HDMI. HD looks fantastic. SD material is a mixed bag. Sometimes SD looks very good, sometimes not so much. It really just depends on your source. Just make sure to calibrate with DVD Essentials or similar program to get the best out of it.
 

Marty M

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I also have a Sony A2000, 55". I am very happy with the HD broadcasts on Insight cable, but not as happy with SD. It is probably as good as it will be, but once you start watching stuff in HD, it is difficult to watch SD, no matter how good the source material is.
 

snash22

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I went to the big box stores today out the displays. The Sony A2000 (LCoS) is sweet. Actually, they all looked very nice with Blue Ray, I don't know if you can actually go wrong with any of the 1080p displays out there.

I preferred the A2000 line because the picture looked more natural. Some of the other displays exaggerated tones, some made faces look a little pasty. They may have been just set up incorrectly, a quick tweak could make them look better.

I wasn't able to get the guys at BB or CC show me some SD content so I went to a boutique Home Theater shop in town. The guy was very knowledgeable about the displays. He set up a SD DVD and it looked great.

I think as some have said, the reason people are disappointed with SD on HD displays is because the screen is bigger and expectations of quality are raised, by the HD experience. This is based only on my 20 minutes of viewing one set, YMMV.

The price at the boutique was slightly lower than BB & CC. When I do make the purchase, it will be there. Right now, I'm waiting for the prices to drop a bit, and my bank account to raise a bit. The 60" looks VERY tempting!
 

Steve Schaffer

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My A2000 is my second largish HD rptv, the old one having been a 57" crt model of 2001 vintage. Prior to that I used a 53" analog rptv.

Typical analog cable or overcompressed satellite SD will not look as good on any large screen set as it does on a typical 27" tv set. DVD will definitely look better, as will the better cable and sat. channels.

SD will never look as good as HD or DVD. Some digital SD can look quite acceptable--Discovery channel, History channel, A&E, TCM and many more on DirecTV look quite acceptable. Comedy Central, Sci Fi channel, BBC America, are watchable. Many of the more obscure D channels are painful to watch.

I have an HD PVR (HD DirecTivo) and about 90% of my broadcast tv viewing is HD channels, with my SD viewing pretty much restricted to classic movies on TCM and a few History channel shows. There really is a lot of excellent stuff in HD on the major broadcast networks that is well worth watching when one can zip thru the commercials. If the SD stuff disappeared completely tomorrow I would not miss it for long.

I bought my HD sets primarily for dvd and HD, and they are excellent at that.
SD stuff is watchable in most cases, just is no longer a priority for me.
 

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