Hello - Big Screen Questions

Discussion in 'Displays' started by DustinTaj, May 2, 2004.

  1. DustinTaj

    DustinTaj Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello. This is my first time posting. I've been a long-time lurker and have gotten a lot of information from the site, but this is the first time I've posted. I finally decided to join. So, hello to all.

    I'm actually writing to get some information on Big Screen TV's. I wanted to ask you guys, because I consider you all to be more knowledgeable than the average consumer, and I'd feel much better getting advice from you all. I could spend days researching something before I feel like I know everything there is to know about it and feel comfortable making a decision, but I don't feel like taking all that time right now. So, I'm starting with the experts.

    I am going to buy a big screen HDTV. 16:9, and as future-ready as possible. I have a budget of under $3,000 (and less if possible). I'd prefer a 61" or bigger size. I was wanting to know if you could point me in the right direction as far as reviews, "the best for your buck," or similar information.

    This TV will finish my Home Theater system. For my audio system, which I created nearly 4 years ago, I presently have:
    Polk RS2000p Main speakers
    Polk CS400 center channel
    Polk F/X500 bipole/dipole rear channels
    SVS 20-39 PC+ subwoofer (just got this in Aug. '03).
    Onkyo TX-DS 676 receiver
    Toshiba SD4109x DVD player (which will be upgraded eventually to something with progressive scan)

    My "home theater" is in my living room, which has vaulted ceilings, a loft, and is very good at limiting the amount of reflected sound. To be honest, the stereo sounds awesome. My friends can't believe how well it sounds (it didn't sound 1/2 this good in the small apartment I used to live in). I'm wanting a big TV to finish off the project. I want the best I can get for the money I have to spend (which is how I came to purchase the SVS subwoofer after reading all of your recommendations on it).

    So, can someone point me in the right direction for helping me determine which TV's I should look at and which I should avoid like the plague? I'd appreciate any help you can offer.

    Thanks everyone.

    -DD
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Dustin,

    At under 3k and over 50" you are going to end up with a crt-based rptv unless you can make the room dark enough to be used with a front projector/screen combination.

    Brands to consider, in alphabetical order:
    Hitachi
    Mitsubishi
    Panasonic
    Sony
    Toshiba

    Each has strengths and weaknesses, depending on your priorities and normal viewing environment. Some have better stretch/zoom modes for 4/3 material--Toshiba and Sony are good in this respect. Some have better line-doubling than others-- Toshiba, Sony. Some can produce brighter images if you have to compete with lots of ambient light, but aren't as "film-like" when watching movies in lower ambient light--Hitachi. Some are noticeably less expensive than others and are capable of excellent pq after lots of tweaking--Panasonic. Some are noted for very good reliability--Mitsubishi.

    You might want to go over to Home Theater Spot and check out the brand-specific forums for the different strengths and weaknesses of various makes and models. Be sure to write down the model number of the set(s) you're considering to be sure any characteristics you find on the net apply to the model you're considering and not another model in the same mfgs line, or some older model that may have since been revised.

    My most important piece of advice would be to purchase from a local dealer with a no-questions asked 30 day return policy. Even before you get your new set, buy a copy of the AVIA calibration dvd and use it on the new set after it's been on for an hour or so. Give yourself at least a week to acclimate yourself to the new tv and become familiar with all it's adjustments and such.

    Don't rely entirely on the picture quality you see in the stores. Quality of signals being fed to the sets can vary trememdously even between different sets in the same store, and the sets in stores are never properly adjusted.

    All the research and advice in the world is not going to guarantee you'll be happy with your choice in your own home, thus the return priviledge becomes all-important.
     
  3. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
    Reviewer

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    I helped a friend set up his new Infocus X1 this weekend and the moment he saw the image he asked "So why get a big screen TV?" Given your budget and the screen size you're looking at you might want to at least consider going front projection, if you haven't already.
     
  4. DustinTaj

    DustinTaj Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks guys. I for sure will use a video setup DVD, as I did with my stereo (which helped me to get an excellent room curve, btw). I was actually considering front projection, but something about it doesn't sit well with me. I'm not sure why. Maybe those feelings are unsubstantiated. I HAVE seen front projections looking mighty fine at a local HT store. I should probably do some reading about them.

    Either way I go (front projection or crt rear), do people around here favor a particular model over others?

    Once again, thanks.

    -DD
     
  5. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    Thats only because you don't own one. Once you own a projector, you would never willingly go back to a tiny (60" is tiny), heavy, bulky ugly tv.

    Having said that, if you can't have good light control in your room, and you don't have a good way to mount your projector and run wiring (vaulted ceilings are a pain in that regard), a projector may not be the way to go.

    IMO, the two best projectors to look at right now are the Sanyo Z2 and Pany 500. Both are true HD (720P), native 16:9 and amazingly cheap.
     
  6. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    I'll throw in CRT FP, that would be a killer bargain in that pricerange, if you are thinking of going FP. It is a project though, but it will also throw some of the best PQ you're ever gonna see. http://www.curtpalme.com/6901.html
     
  7. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Dustin:

    I too agree with going front projection if you can and if you do go with either the Panasonic L500U or the Sanyo Z2. There is an excellent shootout between the two of them at Projector Central.

    I like what Mitsubishi is doing with their RPTV CRT units with built in Hi-Def tuners and their 65 inch unit runs under $2K.

    If you can wait a few months some of the new DLP HD2+ sets in rear projection units will be coming out. At about 3 inches thick they are going to be great in a HT environment. I am not sure of the pricing on these yet but they will be coming down as more of them come out.

    Parker
     
  8. DustinTaj

    DustinTaj Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I think I've basically decided against front projection. Controlling the light in my house is going to be a problem. Plus, right now I'm thinking of just getting a 60-65" "conventional" big screen. Does someone have a good link where I could read up on the best rear projection tv's?

    Thanks, all.

    -DD
     
  9. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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