HDTV Upgrade worth it right now?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Quentin, Jan 16, 2003.

  1. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    It's no secret that right now you can get a 3LNB dish and an HDTV receiver for less than half you could last year.

    But, my worry is that the reason everyone is slashing prices is that the new technologies will make this "generation" of HDTV equipment obsolete.

    Should I worry or just go out and upgrade? I'd really like to have HDTV, but I don't want to spend $600 now and have to buy something new next year. I only have component inputs on my TV anyhow, so maybe I shouldn't be worried...
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    DVI might be problematic for those with HDTV monitors without the DVI input. So, if you are truly concerned about future-proofing your HDTV purchase (I was not), then you'd want a model that offers DVI (in case HD-DVD ever shows up, and it would most likely be used in a DVI-CP format for copy protection encryption on HD-DVDs.
     
  3. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    One way to look at this type of purchase, is that it is pretty much like buying a computer.

    Current equipment drops in price and becomes outdated. New equipment (with improvements and additional ‘bells and whistles’) gets introduced all the time—and at an increased price point.

    That new equipment falls in price.

    Repeat.

    So there is always something better around the corner and you can always get a better deal if you wait.

    Right now, for example, some HD receivers (or Set-Top Boxes (STB)), such as the Hughes E86 are no longer being manufactured (discontinued). They still work fine and these receives are widely available on the retail markert. They were introduced at about $600, dropped to $500 and are sold everywhere at $450 and below now.

    Or you can buy one of the new STBs (e.g. Sumsung TS-160), which supposedly allows weaker signals to be routinely watched, and has features such as DVI output and selectable digital output (1080i/720p/420p/420i) and allows the simultaneous output of digital and analog, none of which were possible with earlier models. The new models hit the market at $700-$900 and I think are still at about $700-$800.

    Or you can wait for the announced next generation which will include HD recording capabilities (like HD Tivo) and are due later this year.

    No matter what you do, there will be a better deal tomorrow. Or a better device. Or both.

    I decided that I wanted to watch HD football now.

    You pays your money and takes your choice.
     
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Not only did I want to watch football in HDTV now, but also any of the usual network TV shows in HDTV as well! Oh, and in a few months, March Madness will be here too!
     
  5. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I'm still not clear on this about sat receivers. If I buy the Samsung SIR-T160 now and install Directv, does the cost of buying a new receiver w/ HD Tivo built-in go up just because I'm already a Directv customer by then? I was thinking about doing this, but then I'm not sure how the upgrade would work.

    Quentin, there's always the option of getting some/most of what's available on HD from your cable provider, assuming your local provider in LA already did the HD upgrade. Usually, cable doesn't require a long commitment, so you can always just cancel when say the HD DirecTivo units come out later this year. Of course, cable usually costs more monthly-wise.

    I was thinking that if upgrading a Directv receiver doesn't cost any more than buying one as a first-time customer, then I'd just get the Sammy now and sell it when I upgrade. But I'm not sure. Anybody know?

    _Man_
     
  6. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I upgraded from regular to HD DirecTV receiver a little over a year ago and paid the same as a new customer would have for the reciever.

    I believe there's been a recent policy change and upgrading now requires you to commit to a minimum of 1 year of DirecTV service. Meaning you have to commit to keeping your current service for a year.

    My box is a Tosh dst-3000, a Hughes clone. It works great for satellite, and my one local HD station and 3 local SD digital stations come in quite well most of the time.

    I seriously considered getting one of the new generation boxes but now that an HD-capable direcTivo is coming hopefully by the end of the year I'll wait.
     
  7. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Thanks for the feedback, Steve.

    Does anybody know how it might work if one hasn't fulfilled the 1-year commitment yet before wanting to upgrade the receiver? That would be an additional issue for me since I might not have completed 1 year yet by the time the new HD DirecTivo units come out. I don't mind if they just tack on an extra year commitment for the upgrade, but I would like to upgrade sooner than later.

    Thanks.

    _Man_
     
  8. Ken_F

    Ken_F Stunt Coordinator

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  9. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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    Quentin,

    The gamble you're taking by getting a SAT HD box with analog output only is that the industry might end up adopting some kind of digital connection standard to use with HD sources (HD-DVD players, OTA tuners, SAT HD tuners, etc.) and HD displays.

    The reason for this kind of digital connection is so that they can send out HD programming with copy protection which will prevent people from taking advantage of the digital format to easily, quickly and cheaply disseminate copies of copyrighted material (especially Hollywood movies).

    The worst-case scenario for current owners of HD displays with analog input only is that the industry will force everybody to down-rez HD programming that leaves a source device in analog form.

    This is going to more or less pit the studios against the 3 million-plus people who already own analog-input HD displays.

    There's already an excellent thread on the Forum about the whole situation with the proposed digital HD connection standards.

    So, if you buy an HD-capable SAT receiver now you will, of course, immediately enjoy the much higher resolution of your SAT provider's HD programming. But if your satellite provider ends up adopting a digital connection standard and moves to down-rezzed output from the analog outputs on SAT box, you will be out of luck (unless they send a free replacement or something like that).

    In fact, there was talk about DirecTV already building some kind of remote-control downrezzing control into their boxes. There are other people on the forum who could tell you more about that.

    If you want a more sure bet, you could go with an OTA broadcast HD tuner. It seems pretty unlikely that the FCC would allow the electronics industry to prevent the three-million current owners of HD-ready TV's from enjoying OTA HD broadcasts. Plus, there are all the integrated HDTV's out there where there would be no way to stop them from receiving, decoding, and displaying the OTA ATSC signals.
     
  10. Tom_Price

    Tom_Price Stunt Coordinator

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    are these HD receivers all backwards compatible with regular satellite TV viewing? I want to get satellite too, but will i have to buy more than just the dish and the HD receiver? I already have an HDTV front projector.
     
  11. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Tom,

    All of the DirecTV HD capable receivers will also tune regular DirecTV as well as Digital and NTSC over-the-air signals. All can upconvert ntsc to 1080i or HD signals can be downconverted. Available scanrates for up/downconversion and which video outputs handle which scanrates vary from model to model.

    The Dish models require a separate module for OTA reception as well as another module for their newer HD compression method.
     
  12. Ken_F

    Ken_F Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Thanks for the correction, Ken. Depending on how many HD channels arrive on each system in the next few months, I may consider switching from DirecTV to Dish.
     
  14. Ken_F

    Ken_F Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve,

    I just wanted to post a correction. I looked around, and I see there are still a few dealers selling the 6000 without the OTA module (but with the 8PSK module). So perhaps the OTA module is still not standard as I had been led to believe...
     

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