Help me spend $2500 on a new TV......

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff Bamberger, Mar 14, 2002.

  1. Jeff Bamberger

    Jeff Bamberger Second Unit

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    ....For my father-in-law.
    My FIL has a budget of app. $2500 to upgrade his Sony 27 inch Trinitron TV.
    He wants the biggest and best TV he can get for the money.
    Until recently, I would have pegged him for a 4x3 TV since he does not have surround sound and has no DVD player and (until recently) didn't seem like he would want a DVD player. However, I think he may now get a DVD player with the TV, and even showed an inlking of Surround Sound desires, but that would likely not happen for a while (read: maybe a year at least).
    Factors such as letterboxing in general should not be an issue as he is very accepting of stuff like this in general. And with DVDs I can easily get him to understand the benefits of OAR and letterboxing. However, if we go Widescreen, then I will have to explain to him that he either will have bars on the side for regular TV or will have to zoom to fill the screen, which I personnally abhor.
    So it could go either way. I guess my only $.02 on this is that if we go 4x3, I would want something that has a 16x9 mode for Anamorphic DVDs. And I want to be as future proof as possible (given the current state of indefiniteness) regarding HDTV capability. Barring a problematic set, this will likely be the last TV he gest before we may see all-HDTV programming from the networks.
    So, I apologize for being so long-winded, but please chime in in general with what you like/don't like about your TVs and offer any suggestions regarding the two options:
    Option 1 - 4x3
    Option 2 - 16x9
     
  2. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

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    Jeff- I probably hold a minority opinion here, but I'd recommend a 4x3 set with a 16x9 mode. I have a new 32" Sony Wega, and the 16x9 mode is excellent! And for 4x3 programming (and just about all TV programming is 4x3), I'm not distorting the picture or risking burn-in. I'm sure there are valid reasons for choosing the 16x9, but I think you're getting the best of both worlds with a 4x3 capable of 16x9.

    I don't have any recommendations in the price point you're considering, as I purchased a less expensive set. $2500 or so should give you a good variety of quality sets to choose from. Just make sure it has enough inputs to accomodate his needs and he should be quite pleased.

    Good luck!

    Steve K.
     
  3. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm giving one vote for SteveK's opinion. Watching normal 4:3 programming with two HUGE black box's on either side is a pain.
     
  4. Andrew s wells

    Andrew s wells Second Unit

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    Help you spend it? Ok.... you spend half and i'll spend the other half. Hows that? [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Seriously though, I myself went with the widescreen set (toshiba 50h81..Have to wait till the 26th to get it..oh the agony) but,like a few others have said, if he mostly watches TV shows, i would go with a 4X3 set with the squeeze mode. Toshiba has some very nice ones and are a little less expensive than the sony ones. Good luck.[​IMG]
     
  5. Mike_L

    Mike_L Auditioning

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    Jeff - I'm currently going through the same purchase decision - ~$2500 for an RPTV. I'm leaning towards the Sony KP61HS30. It's a 4:3 set with a true 16:9 mode. List price on it is $2899, but Costco is selling them for $2499 plus tax and onecall.com is selling them for $2600 shipped. I have heard that others have been able to get even slightly better deals by negotiating at Sears.

    If your father-in-law does not have room for a 61" set, then the KP53HS30 is a slightly smaller, and less expensive option that may work.

    I have decided to go 4:3 because that represents the majority of the material I will be watching, and with the 16:9 mode, I can still take full advantage of DVD and OTA HD material with a screen size equivalent to a 56" widescreen set. I have also decided to limit my price at $2500. It's rather unclear as to what will happen over the next 3-5 years with the advent of DVI, so if I do need to buy again down the road, a $2500 sunk cost is a lot easier to swallow than $5000 on, say, a Pioneer Elite.
     
  6. Jeff Bamberger

    Jeff Bamberger Second Unit

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    Thanks all for repsonding so far.
    I think 4x3, as many of you say,is still the way to go. Even if he does get the DVD player, he will not be a biog collector and will intially be almost entirely a renter of DVDs.
    So a 4x3 with 16x9 mode seems to make the most sense. And as Mike_L noted, the letterboxed image on a 61 inch is still far bigger than what he has now........
    One last question related to this......Should I bother trying to convince my FIL to have the set ISF calibrated? I know the value of that, but I'm not sure he'll want to spend the money to do it......I planned on gettting a calibration disc (Avia, VE, S&V) for this occasion if he gets the DVD player too (if not, I'll manuallu adjust some of the controls).
    Again, thanks for the quick responses......
     
  7. Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo Supporting Actor

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    A 4:3 with squeeze mode is also my vote in this circumstance. He'll get the best of both worlds and not have a chance to complain about what normal TV looks like.
     
  8. Andrew s wells

    Andrew s wells Second Unit

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    As far as the calibration goes...if he is going to spend that much on a set, why not have it look its best? I would try and convince him its worthwhile to have it done.[​IMG]
     
  9. Brad_V

    Brad_V Second Unit

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    I'd definitely advise him to go 4:3 as you have mentioned.

    Calibration... sometimes you get lucky out of the box. You should be able to tell pretty quickly. And if you can't do an easy calibration yourself, then calling in a professional to get a great picture is in order. A DVD on a poorly-calibrated HD set may as well be a DVD on a poorly-calibrated RCA analog set.
     
  10. Vlad D

    Vlad D Screenwriter

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    I'm going to put in a plug for 16:9 and suggest either the Toshiba 50HX81 or the 57HX81, both can be found for less than $2500. I have the 57HX81 and trust me, it does a great job with 4:3 material. The set has 3 different strecth modes (TW1, TW2, TW3), each stretches the image differently. IMO, the best is TW1 which leaves the center of the image as is, and stretches the edges. You can barely notice any difference. Check it out, I think you'll be pleased.
     
  11. Stephen Houdek

    Stephen Houdek Second Unit

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    Seems like everyone on this board ignores one of the better bargains in the RPTV industry. You can get a Hitachi 53UWX10B for $2500. and you'll have one of the most under-rated sets on the market.

    I did extensive comparisons and found the Hitachi picture to exceed all brands except the Pioneer elite models which are quite a bit more money.

    I don't think you can beat Hitachi's bang for the buck in the RPTV market at this point in time. Indeed, they have become so popular of late they are difficult to find in some area's of the country.
     

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