HDTV cost

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Todd Henry, Aug 27, 2002.

  1. Todd Henry

    Todd Henry Second Unit

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    I am waivering about whether to get an HDTV now or wait. I can only fit a 32" wide TV in my entertainment center and very few fit. Also the combined cost will be about 1600 in setup costs between the TV and STB, where I can get a 32" non HDTV for about 500-500, either Toshiba, JVC or Samsung. My question is what do most of you think a 32" HDTV might cost in 3 years or so when the technology is more widespread.

    Thanks
    Todd
     
  2. Jimmy vb

    Jimmy vb Stunt Coordinator

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    It seems the technology is growing more slowly than certainly the FCC had hoped and I would be surprised if we saw the big time price drops until there is more programming/sales of hdtv sets. That said, the prices keep coming down slightly--especially at closeout time, and I would not be shocked to see a $1000 hdtv ready set that size.

    What I want is for the hdtv converters to plummet. It seems they are artificially high and I bet they drop more quickly into the $299 range--maybe about the same time recordable dvds drop.
     
  3. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    i got a 32xbr450 from the sony outlet for $1k which is HD ready.
    I still see it for 'sale' @ $2k
     
  4. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    My opinion. The non-tuner costs will drop over that time period, but not dramatically. Tuner costs should drop significantly, however, as these chips are a major component of these tuners.

    Consequently, one approach is to buy a set that can be upgraded to HD by simply adding a HD tuner at your convenience (you decide the price-point).

    Samsung makes a 27, 4:3 HD-ready set, as well as a 32”, 4:3 model and a 30” 16:9 model (these latter two each have three different models, depending on features.). Panasonic also makes a 30”, 16:9 model, though it’s a few hundred more than the Samsungs.

    The 27” Samsung sells pretty much everywhere for about $800. I saw one superceded model at $550. The 30”, 16:9 is $1,100 to $1,500 depending on which model you get. I expect that careful shopping would lower these prices somewhat.

    IMO, buying HD today is a consistently good decision, unless budget constraints make this prohibitive or you plan on a different set in two years or less. And even then, the SD picture quality is just so good. For example, I have just upgraded my bedroom set to a HD ready set at the insistence of my wife, after she became used to the picture quality of our main set (HD ready). As you might expect from that comment, she tolerated, not welcomed the first purchase.
     
  5. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    I don't expect a huge drop. It still cost's a lot to build the sets, especially the newer HD direct view sets. RPTV's have dropped a ton since several years ago though. I think most if not all MFR's droped their prices this year compared to last. Direct view sets are just more expensive to build bottom line. Don't expect the same kind of drop we saw with RP HDTV's.
     
  6. Brad_V

    Brad_V Second Unit

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    If you get an analog, at the worst when tuner prices drop, you can then watch everything in 480i dvd quality. It's not HD, but it's up to you how much you want to spend and for what quality. There's no guarantee that anything but the major networks will be broadcasting HD anyway, but everyone will be broadcasting digital (dvd quality). DVD quality on a 32" and for cheap is good enough for me.

    And now I will add: if your entertainment center only fits a 32" TV, it's time for a bigger entertainment center. A 50"+ screen makes even watching the nightly news a treat.
     
  7. Todd Henry

    Todd Henry Second Unit

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    Thanks for the feeback.

    Lew - you mentioned an improvement when upgrading to an HDTV without a HDTV signal. Therefore, I would have better picture quality using DirecTV if I got a HDTV instead of an analog TV even without the HD Tuner?

    Brad - the configuration of my room makes a larger entertainment center or TV very difficult, but I agree bigger is better. Are you saying that if I get an analog TV, but then buy a HD STB I would see an improved picture but not as good as if I had a HDTV.

    Todd
     
  8. Brad_V

    Brad_V Second Unit

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    You can hook a digital tuner up to an analog set right now and get DVD-quality 480i. People have done it for years using digital TV cards in their computers. Tuners are the same deal, just you don't need a computer anymore. So instead of getting a max of 330 lines of resolution through OTA analog signals, you get 480 lines because it's digitally transmitted. It's interlaced, but who cares.

    The majority of people in the country watch DVDs at 480 interlaced, and it looks great. When digital tuners come down in price/are required, slap one on an analog set and pull in the digital signals and watch regular TV just like a DVD now is watched.

    What's funny to me is when people (including dummy salespeople) will scare people with, "If you buy that analog TV, to get a picture on it after 2006 you will need to buy a separate tuner for it." Well, so what, an HD-ready TV will need a digital tuner, too. And there's no guarantee there will be much more HD programming than there already is anyway. At least, not without an extra pricetag. The majority of stuff will probably just be 480p.

    Line-doublers are improving, but sometimes they still make non-digital TV look worse than it looks on an analog set. If the signal isn't clear, not only do you get extra garbage, but now you get extra doubled garbage. There was a review in Consumer Reports or somewhere a year ago, I could look it up I s'pose, comparing HD sets on how they show analog signals. The Pioneer and one other was rated good, and the rest were just ok. Meanwhile, an analog set makes analog signals look good because that is the only thing it is designed for.

    Everything is a compromise right now. But, as always, you have to decide how much of your money you care to compromise, too. Without planning on using a digital set for HD, a digital set seems like a waste, IMO. Another year or so, and prices might dictate otherwise. They're still about $500 more than their analog counterparts at the moment, though, and on something like a 32", that is about double the price of the set. $500 for a good analog 32" starts to look like a real bargain compared to that.
     
  9. Lee Petty

    Lee Petty Stunt Coordinator

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    the hd tvs have a higher standard resolution, so even analog signals, or direcTV will look better on them than regular tvs.
    they will do this without the tuner. the tuner is just used to receive and decode the signals for the tv.
     
  10. Brad_V

    Brad_V Second Unit

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    All of my analog TVs have 700+ lines of resolution -- which doesn't mean anything because they can only display a 480-line signal.

    All HDTVs have 700+ lines of resolution -- which doesn't mean anything because without a tuner they can only display a 480-line signal.

    Tuner prices will have to come down by the new tuner regulation for 2007(?). But if a person has no plans on getting a tuner until they come down in price, then they will be paying a $500+ upcharge to be able to get whatever HD is available 4-5 years from now.

    If there is actually a good amount of HD available by then to get an HDTV for, I expect TV prices to have dropped a good bit by then, and either way, that $500+ saved can go towards a brand-new, five-years-newer, super-duper TV that has all the HD bugs worked out, and the person still has their older set to use for whatever that will then get DVD-quality 480i. When $500 right now can buy an entire extra 32" TV, that's no small upcharge.

    If someone intends on watching HD anytime soon and paying the extra pricetag, that's a different conversation, and for those people I would recommend a digital TV without hesitating. But for most people, HD just isn't any big deal, particularly when the cost is what it is.

    Look at how many self-proclaimed home-theater junkies paid extra bucks for a digital TV but don't have a tuner because it costs too much. When someone like that can't even come up with the extra cash for a tuner, I don't know why they would expect a typical person to.

    Most people are just buying sets to be "future-proof," which at some price points has its merits, but the future they predict may not come as hoped, and by that time, that set will be four or five years old and worth half of what it was when they bought it. People were paying some good bucks for the Toshiba HD RPTVs, now you can get that model for $500+ less. And that's only from one year ago. Ouch. Big digital RPTVs have dropped a good $300 just from one year ago.

    No one can say for sure how much further they'll drop, but anyone who bought a big one last year just to be future-proof basically paid a $300 charge to be future proof for that one year. Home Theater junkies can get miffed at me all they want, but I have no problem telling people who aren't all excited about HD that maybe they shouldn't waste their money at this time on an uncertain future and on a set that will be 4+ years old before they get any real extra use out of it.

    And if that more-expensive set would happen to break in the coming years and be out of warranty, then they get to buy a brand-new set anyway. When in doubt, I'll take the cheaper route. Maybe five years from now even plasma TVs will be affordable to the masses.

    I now return you to our regularly scheduled program of "Digital TVs are great no matter what the cost."
     

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