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Help a confused HDTV buyer make a decision! Please! (1 Viewer)

Doug R

Supporting Actor
Oct 26, 2000
Okay, my old faithful RCA 60" big screen that I've had for awhile (plus it survived a couple moves, including one cross country) has apparently died (I may get an estimate on it but I think it's dead). So it's time to make the leap to HDTV. I've read up on DLP, LCD, etc etc and tried to pull the trigger today but kept getting scared off. So, I'm asking you experts to help me in my quest.

First, let me say what the TV will be used for.

Probably 20% DVD watching, 50% HDTV watching, 30% DirecTV watching. That's a rough estimate. I also have a DirecTivo and probably will watch it a good bit when I'm not able to see shows live.

I'm open to either CRT, DLP, LCD, or even Plasma if it's the right choice. But then again I'm more comfortable spending something around the $4,000 range. The way my room is set up, a projector is not an option so please don't suggest it (I know someone will!)

So I went shopping today and saw a few sets:

Samsung HLN567W1 - 56" DLP. I've read lots of good stuff about the set but the one at Sound Advice may not have been set up correctly. It was showing The Phantom Menace DVD and it looked pretty poor (and it was using the Samsung DVI DVD player too!). Very grainy around edges, lacked sharpness around objects, just not that great at all. The employeee showed me a DirecTV feed and explained it wasn't coming from S-Video, which would look better supposedly, and it looked fairly poor. Once again just kinda blurry/grainy. Plus about the DVD the employee said DLP doesn't play "dark" DVDs good. Huh? The employee basically insinuated this included anything but cartoons. WTF? And what about this audio sync problem I keep reading about? Aigh!

Sony KF50WE610 - 50" LCD. This one looks great from what I've seen of it but unfortunately no one seems to have the thing in stock. But I've heard about the blowing up lamp and stuff online (though probably not indicative of most people's experience). I've also seen people say the LCD isn't good for "fast motion" and that concerns me given my love for NFL Sunday Ticket. Still if someone would have had it in stock today I may have pulled the trigger because the display TVs just looked good.

Philips 55PL9775 - 55" LCOS. Don't know much about this television and not sure Philips has the best reputation. The picture looked pretty good and I liked the overall look of the television. Just not sure on the overall quality given the brand.

Panasonic PT50LC13 - 50" LCD. Picture on this one (well it was the 60" on the floor) was pretty damn good. The Phantom Menace was bright and colorful and Sinbad looked incredible. But once again, concerned about the brand (just always figured Sony and Samsung were quality leaders) and I also don't like the speakers on the side of the TV. Total waste of space for me since I have a home theater setup. Plus because of them I couldn't get a 60" cause of my space limitations.

Sony KDP-65WS550 - 65" CRT - I was leaning away from CRT because of the bulkness and how I'd have no rooms for my components (right now I use a stand that rests IN FRONT of the TV, it's pretty ugly). So that's why I leaned to a thinner set so I could use a stand underneath. But with my disappointments today, and picture quality my main important factor, I may give in and just get a CRT because I don't want to be unhappy regarding how the image looks. I can probably figure out a way to get the components in a better position with some professional rewiring as well as cutting down on their number. So is CRT the way to go for overall PQ?

So those were the main contenders.

Here are my requirements:

Looking good in HDTV obviously but I'm sure all of these do.

Also, want it to be awesome for any kind of DVD. Some sets I saw today showing Matrix Revolutions just looked horrible. It reminded me of how Gateway's budget Plasma looks. Just very grainy with very low definition on characters. I mean DVDs look fantastic on my RCA 4:3 old school 60", I would hope they look good on an HDTV!

I would really like a set where DirecTV via whatever input is the best (S-video?) looks good. It may not look as good as it did on my 4:3 but it's got to be at least more than bearable.

So any advice you guys can share? Should I not even go into DLP, LCD yet? Should I just stick with the old faithful and get a widescreen CRT (or whatever they're called) since I assume it delivers the best overall picture for all these different inputs? Or does it? For instance, how would the Sony KDP-65WS550 be in these environments?

And what about Plasma? I really can't afford a great one, those around the $7,000 range. Plus references to "4 year lifespan" scare me to death.

So guys, please help a frustrated buyer who has now been forced into getting a new television. I just don't want to make the wrong decision. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

Thanks for your time!

Steve Schaffer

Senior HTF Member
Apr 15, 1999
Real Name
Steve Schaffer

Despite the huge amount of enthusiasm for Plasma, LCD, DLP, and LCOS, the fact remains that crt based sets still are capable of better picture quality at much lower prices at much larger screen sizes. If you can live with the bulk, as you've already been doing with that 60" RCA, they offer by far the best value for the money.

I have a Sony KP57HW40, about 2 1/2 years old and basically the same as that KP65WS550, and it still looks better to my eyes than any of the new tech sets I see in the stores.

Of the new tech sets I think the best 2 currently available are the Samsung DLPs and the Sony LCDs. The Sonys did have a bulb problem, apparently the Phillips bulbs originally used were not up to spec. They switched to OSRAM bulbs and the problems went away, and they have since reportedly gotten the Phillips people to improve their bulbs and are now using them again.

The Samsung DLP sets have an enthusiastic following but are known for having the best pq only via thier DVI inputs, so you may need to consider the purchase of a dvd player with DVI outs. Some people see a "rainbow" effect on these sets, but not all.

Doug R

Supporting Actor
Oct 26, 2000
Thanks very much for your input Steve. I'm actually going to see if my current RCA is fixable for cheap; it could be just the power supply as the symptoms seem to indicate that.

Any other opinions appreciated. Many thanks!

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