HDTV Newbie - Best Direct View Sets

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris Rock, Aug 17, 2001.

  1. Chris Rock

    Chris Rock Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2001
    Messages:
    710
    Likes Received:
    0
    Starting this Holiday Season™, the wife and I will be looking at direct view HDTV-ready televisions. RPTV's are out of the question...both because she doesn't like them, and because our room can't really be darkened well enough to get the full benefit of the RPTV.
    So, what can you recommend as the best models out there? I'd like to get a set that's at LEAST 32" - I am leaning toward a 36" (or larger - is there a 38" or 40" model on the market?)
    I am not really up on all the techical terms, so forgive me - but I want a set that's either 16:9 or a 4:3 set that has the ability to display anamorphic widescreen movies. I am going to be getting a progressive-scan DVD player also. I'd like one with a flat screen.
    Can someone describe watching standard programming (4:3) on a widescreen TV? I assume there's "Black Bars" on the sides, right?
    I can't even guess as to when we'd subscribe to HD programming, so I don't need a set with a built-in tuner.
    I've looked at Panasonic, Sony, and Philips. Anything else I should be looking at, and should I avoid any of the above brands? Finally, how much should I look to spend? I've seen some Sony and Panny models for $2500 or less. Can all this be had for 2 Grand?
    Thanks in advance for the information. Please, nobody try to talk me into an RPTV. The wife'll never have it. I wish it would work, though...some of those RPTV sets are awesome!
    ------------------
    "You advance yourself only by my good graces."
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    The 34-inch 16:9 Philips direct-view is winning positive reviews in the home-theater press. However, I've only seen uncalibrated units in showroom floors, and I cannot judge its picture quality for myself.
    Sony also has just introduced a 34-inch 16:9 direct-view, which I haven't seen yet, nor are there any reviews available. The Philips MSRPs for $3,500, while the Sony goes out the door for $3,999.
    You asked about 38- and 40-inch models: RCA has a hulking 38-inch 16:9 direct-view, about which there have been some reliability questions. I've seen an uncalibrated unit that looked pretty good. Our own Seth Paxton should be able to tell you quite a bit about the set--maybe you should message or e-mail him. As for a 40-incher, the all-new Sony KV-40XBR700 4:3 direct-view set is about to be released any moment. Quite frankly, I think that by the time you reach the 40-inch, you really need to start thinking in terms of an RPTV, but given your wife. ... (For one thing, Chris, think of the weight of a 40-inch direct-view--at least 300 pounds.
    The 4:3 KV-36XBR450 might fit your bill, and you can easily find it for under $2,500. Like all WEGAs, it features a raster-collapse function, enabling you to get full resolution in a 16:9 window.
    You asked what 4:3 programming looks like on a 16:9 set. In most cases, it's windowboxed, meaning there are light, grey bars to the left and right of the 4:3 image. If the contrast level is set reasonably, this should not pose a problem. But the more paranoid among us--which includes yours truly--believe it's permissible to set the unit to "stretch" mode during non-critical programming such as newscasts (which means the images closer to the left and right edges of the screen are distorted).
    If it were me, I'd go for a native 16:9 set, given that's where the entire industry is headed. Might as well prepare for the future now, budget permitting. If that's an issue, however, the KV-32XBR450 or KV-36XBR450 are where I'd plunk my dollars--each would make an excellent transitional set.
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Chris Rock

    Chris Rock Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2001
    Messages:
    710
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the reply, Jack. I guess the key word is transitional...because when we move, I'm probably gonna get my "own room" to put our HT stuff in. Somewhere where I can get a huge RPTV or even a HD Projector and screen, but until then, I just can't live with the 27" Trinitron for much longer. (The SOUND is SOOOO much better than the picture.) For right now, though, I can "manage" with a direct-view set.
    I figure a 36" set would be about right...maybe 34" if we get a 16:9 set. MAYYYBE 38", but then the dollar amount seems to multiply. I figure I'll have between 2 and 3 grand to get a good TV and a progressive scan DVD player.
    Who knows? Maybe she'll see an RPTV she can live with, and this forum is full of the praises of certain models. But for right now, I've gotten an "absolutely not" from her when I bring it up. It's not worth a stay in the doghouse.
    Anyone else have anything to add?
    ------------------
    "You advance yourself only by my good graces."
     
  4. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2001
    Messages:
    963
    Likes Received:
    0
    Chris, I recently did a quick personal survey of 4x3 flat tube HDTV-ready 32 inch direct view sets for a possible upgrade around Christmas time. I came up with the following:
    Panasonic CT-32HX41
    RCA MM32110
    Samsung TSL3295HF
    Sony KV-32HS20
    Sony KV-XBR450
    Toshiba 32HFX71
    I'm pretty sure that each of these has a 36 inch counterpart.
    For me, I would like a set that could handle a 480p signal from a progressive scan dvd player plus do the 16x9 squeeze for such material (I have other items on the wish list as well [​IMG] ). I know the Sony sets do this and so does the Samsung and the Panasonic I believe. I didn't find out any information on the RCA and the Toshiba is still soon to be released and the documentation on it that I have is unclear if it'll do the squeeze for the 480i/480p component input signal. I recently saw the Samsung in Sears and I liked it's look/style and the uncalibrated picture was fairly decent. It was going for $1500.
    Toshiba also makes a 16x9 34 inch set and should be releasing a new version of it - 34HF81. In addition Samsung has some 16x9 sets (I'm not sure if they have anything bigger than 30 inches though).
    As for getting a 16x9 set. I think if this is to be your interim set and if you still watch a lot of regular cable 4x3 programming, you may want to look at the 4x3 sets that will do the squeeze for 16x9 material. In addition, the 16x9 sets are still a good bit more money than their 4x3 counterparts.
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  5. David Sorenson

    David Sorenson Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2001
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm also shopping for a 32" HDTV set. So far I've only seen the Sony HS and a 36" panasionic Tau side by side. Both were not calibrated and were receiving a composite signal. The panasonic seemed to do a better job upconverting the signal than the Sony did, but it's hard to tell without calibrating both sets properly.
    Thomas, your list is pretty much was I've been compiling myself. If you get a chance to see any of the sets in action please post a comparison here. My wife is very concerned about how our standard cable will looking on the sets.
    ------------------
     
  6. BradZ

    BradZ Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0
    a couple of months ago HomeTheater Magazine did a showdown of 32" HDTV ready sets. Included in the survey was the Sony 32XBR400 and Panasonic 32HX40 (both last years models). These two were the top choices of the reviewers. You might be able to find the review on-line somewhere, if not e-mail me and maybe I can send you a scan if you're interested.
    ------------------
    zaphod
    end of transmission...
     
  7. Christopher Bosley

    Christopher Bosley Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 1999
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'll put in a plug for the Philips 30" and 34" widescreens (30PW9815 and 34PW9815 respectively). With a progressive scan DVD, picture is as flawless as the source material allows it to be.
    Cable, to be frank, is going to look like a step down if you're used to a good 4:3 standard def set. The Philips sets have several widescreen modes, including one that does a servicable stretch of 4:3 material to 16:9 (although the blow up does result in some clear loss of picture resolution). Picture looks a bit better if 4:3 windowboxed, but after watching things "wide" I've found it hard to go back to square tv, even if the picture is not as good.
    The main concern, in terms of viewing both DVD and HDTV material, is the sets' single input for progressive scan components. If you want to view both, will probably need to invest in a component video switcher (there is a second set of component video ins, but they only feed the set's internal line doubler, which does not compare to the hi-def in).
    Also, don't know if you've noticed, but even the 30" is going to give you more picture information than you ever had with letterboxed material on a 27" 4:3 set. The whole picture is used for 1.85:1 and only small black bars are present on 2.35:1 films. You might be surprised how big the sets look and I think a 34" is plenty of tube if you were used to a 27" set before.
     

Share This Page