Help me understand the difference between these Sony TVs please.

Discussion in 'Displays' started by David Brass, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. David Brass

    David Brass Agent

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    I've used the search function extensively and have read what information there seems to be on the subject. I apologize if this question has been asked previously and I missed it. If so please point me in the right direction. If not, here is my situation.

    I want a widescreen TV.
    I'm pretty sure that I want a conventional CRT direct view TV for the picture quality.
    I watch DVDs.
    I rarely watch broadcast or cable TV although I do have cable.
    I liked the picture on the Sony models that I saw at Best Buy more than any of the other conventional CRT widescreen TVs.

    What then is the difference between the

    34" Hi-Scan® FD Trinitron® WEGA® TV
    KV-34HS420

    and the

    36" Hi-Scan® FD Trinitron® WEGA® TV
    KV-36HS420

    other than size?

    The 34" is $1600 and the 36" is $1500. The 34" is an HDTV monitor but does not come with an HD tuner. Do I need HD given my viewing preferences?

    I guess I would be inclined to go with the 36" if I don't need HD but I'm unsure of what all the technology means.

    How much is an HD tuner to make the 34" model a true HDTV? Is there a better option?

    There is a Philips 34" widescreen TV, for example, that is "HD-ready" (34PW8502) that is $400 less but the picture didn't seem nearly as sharp to me as the Sony.

    I will appreciate any input from those of you who are more informed than I.

    Thanks,

    David
     
  2. Charlie Campisi

    Charlie Campisi Screenwriter

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    The main difference between the two sets is that the 34" is a widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio) set and the 36" is a standard (4:3) set. If you exclusively watch dvds, the choice is easy, imo. Go for the 34" widescreen (assuming you watch widescreen dvds). Set top boxes to watch hdtv are usually in the $200 range, although they are pretty cheap to rent from your cable company if you upgrade to digital service. I don't have either of these tvs. I just looked up the specs on circuit city's site.
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Remember, however, that the 36-inch Sony has a 16:9 mode, which is what one uses for widescreen DVD and HDTV. (It's an HD-capable device.)
     
  4. John S

    John S Producer

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    I'll just say, if you have a very large high quality library full of 4:3 material, you may want to consider the native 4:3 with the HD Widescreen Mode. That was my reasoning anyways, I went with such a display myself.
     
  5. David Brass

    David Brass Agent

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    Aha! I must have missed that the 36" Sony was a 4:3. I hadn't noticed anything larger than a 34" in widescreen and that's what I really want. I had even seen the 36" before and it's a massive unit with a great picture.

    Nobody has commented on the Philips. Is the Sony truly $400 better? It seemed worth the extra scratch based on what I saw at the BestBuy, but I know nothing about TV calibration and so on the way you all obviously do. Could it be that there is not that much difference and that the Sony was just set up better for whatever reason? Any comment on features?

    I truly don't know anything about the different designations such as HD and the whole thing about the tuner etc. etc. Your comments, input, insight will carry a great deal of weight I assure you.

    Is the Sony 34" widescreen the TV for me? If so why and if not why not?

    Thanks again,

    David
     
  6. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    I seem to recall a site on the web that stated a 36" 4x3 is about the equivalent of a 33"? widescreen display. Just food for thought.
     
  7. John S

    John S Producer

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    The Philips would be the one to get on like a $600 to $700 deal and they do turn up from time to time.

    Of course you know the Sony is best of the best on this sort of display hands down.
     
  8. David Brass

    David Brass Agent

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    "Of course you know the Sony is best of the best on this sort of display hands down."

    That's more or less what I was looking for. I was pretty sure of this based on the sets I had seen at the store, but it's nice to get it from those who know.

    Once again and sorry to be redundant, but given my viewing preferences (DVDs and the occasional golf tournament on cable) will an HD tuner improve my quality of life? Will I get all the benefits of DVD without the HD thingy on this Sony set?

    Thanks again,

    David
     
  9. Charlie Campisi

    Charlie Campisi Screenwriter

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    David-

    The HD tuner just allows you to watch HD broadcasts in HD. It will not affect your use of the tv with your dvd player at all. Now, HD broadcast tv is pretty spectacular, especially for sports. But if you don't watch it, it would be a waste. Once you see it, you may find you have more of an appetite for HD tv than you thought. Not to mention that some shows like 24, are broadcast in 5.1 dolby digital, so having the tuner and running the audio through your receiver greatly enhances the tv viewing experience.
     
  10. David Brass

    David Brass Agent

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    Charlie;

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to explain that clearly. I had thought this was the case but wasn't sure.

    The Sony set I'm looking at doesn't have an HD tuner and it's $1600. The newer version is about $2k and it looks like it does come with an HD tuner. Do I understand correctly that HD cable includes a cable box that functions as an HD tuner? If not what is it and how much does it cost? The last thing I want is a cable box with an extra remote.

    I seriously don't watch that much TV and am not sure it's worth an extra $500 although I know the picture is outstanding.

    Unless someone can make a case for HD with me I will probably hold off and will think about that for my next TV upgrade at which time I will hope that the formats and such will have settled down somewhat.

    Thanks,

    David
     
  11. John S

    John S Producer

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    Hmm, depending on your area. You may have a lot of free great HD available to you.

    Certainly worth a couple of hundred for an external tuner if you so choose. I would never choose a display based on if it had or didn't have a tuner though.
     
  12. David Brass

    David Brass Agent

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    Does the availability of "free HD" depend on your market and cable provider? It must.

    Why would you not choose a display based on whether or not it had an HD tuner? Is that because you can get one later or because the ones that are built in are not particularly good?
     
  13. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    David, just a question here: Have you ever watched HDTV? Ever seen an image rendered in full, glorious 1080i? You may not watch "much TV" now, but that might well change once you get a gander at HD broadcasts. Add to that the fact that HD DVD is arriving in the fourth quarter of this year (and you will need an HD DVD player), then the argument is over.
     
  14. ScottHH

    ScottHH Stunt Coordinator

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    >Does the availability of "free HD" depend on your market >and cable provider? It must.

    Yes it does. If you are near broadcast stations you can pick up HD with a cheap indoor antenna. If you are further, you would need a larger amplified antenna. You can research this further at antenna web.

    Your cable provider can tell you if they provide HD, and if they charge extra for it. I have Cablevision, and although they charged me for a service call, there is no additional charge for HD.

    One more complication: The KD-34XS955 and KD-34XBR960 have a slot for "CableCard". When you get a cable card from your cable company, your TV can decode scrambled cable without an external cable box (or additional remote). The KV-34HS420 does not have this. If you're planning on getting HD from your cable company, this might have value to you.

    >Why would you not choose a display based on whether or not >it had an HD tuner?

    What John S is saying (I think) is that he would choose a display based on the picture quality, not if it did or did not have a tuner. I agree with this idea. A tuner is about $200, the displays you are talking about are 8x that price. So if you prefer the PQ of a monitor over the integrated set, buy the monitor and get an external tuner. I have never read anything suggesting that built-in tuners are inferior.

    >I seem to recall a site on the web that stated a 36" 4x3 is about the equivalent of a 33"?

    This is correct. The 16x9 letter boxed image on a 36" 4x3 set will have a 33" diagonal.

    You have said that you watch DVDs and rarely watch broadcast or cable TV (so an HD tuner isn't important). You have expressed a preference for the PQ of the Sony. I think the KV-34HS420 fits the bill. It will give you a bigger picture for your DVD's versus the 36" 4:3. If you think you'll watch more HDTV (the Masters will be in HDTV), the KD-34XS955 might be a good idea.
     
  15. John S

    John S Producer

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    Yep. ScottHH summed it up nicely for me.

    External tuners just do not cost that much anymore. I mean I have seen them open box / on sale for $125 a couple of times.

    Cable will provide you a box, Satalite is going to require an external box. I still just do not see the need.


    I can also say, that when I do work for people, I hook everything up as the Display is just a monitor, never a source. But others may feel differently.
     
  16. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    David, is size an issue here or the desire to have a FD as oppose to a RPTV? If not, I have the 51 inch Sony RPTV and I simply love it for satellite broadcast and especially for DVD using an upscale player. Before I purchased the t.v. I saw HD on it and it really rivals FD to an extent especially HD material. Looking at the money you are about to spend, you can easily purchase the Sony RPTV with or without a HD tuner built in. Just another option thrown in to the loop. [​IMG]
     
  17. John S

    John S Producer

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    I side with Jerome here.. I could never go back to that small. I'm at 60" and thinking front projo as my next display for sure.
     
  18. David Brass

    David Brass Agent

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    Wait. HD-DVD? My brain is starting to hurt. Will this then require an HDTV? Emphasis on the word 'require'? And how well will this format do compared to current DVD standards (can of worms anyone?)? I have yet to take the plunge on the music side for DVD-A or SACD because of the format wars that are essentially a tempest in a teapot (the vast unwashed seem to want neither). Can anyone say with assurance that HD-DVD will replace the current DVD standard?

    The Masters in HD is a pretty compelling argument. Throw in the US Open and you might have a deal there.

    You mentioned, Scott, the KD-34XS955 and KD-34XBR960 models as well and I've seen them. They are sort of why I ask the question 'what do I need'.

    Let me reiterate, I don't watch a lot of TV. I really don't have time for much and I find most of it insipid and a vast wasteland. I sure do appreciate the high quality of an HDTV broadcast though. I was not planning on getting HD cable and it hadn't even crossed my mind to do so. I'm primarily interested in this for DVD movies.

    Jerome and John;

    I just got a really nice TV stand last year that holds all my audio gear and puts a limit on how much more stuff I can fit in (this is important to Mrs. Brass as you might imagine). Said stand is 42" wide. Hence the larger RPTVs you mention are probably a non-starter. Add to that the Gamecube. I'm not terribly well-informed about burn-in and I'm not suggesting we go there as I am aware of the "MASTER burn-in thread". My preference would be to not have to worry about it or think about it and I understand it's an issue with games. If I thought I could get away with it I might put the current 4:3 in the kids' playroom and put an RPTV in the living room if it fit on the rack, gave me a bigger picture, was HDTV, and less than or equal to what I'm considering spending now. However, there's somthing I like about running the Gamecube through the home theater system.

    What 42" wide, widescreen RPTV is HDTV with a picture as good as the Sony we are discussing for $1.6k? I'm all ears.
     
  19. John S

    John S Producer

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    You could probably go a little bigger than 42", it would just hang over the stand a little.

    Worried of burn in. Look at LCD RPTV's. Once again Sony's seem best to me. But I did look at a 60" Panasonic much lower cost alternative not to long ago with a friend, and he took it on the spot. That set doesn't take an enormous stand at all, the display is larger than it's base by a long way. It had a touch of sceen door effect up close, where as the Sony sure looks clean.

    I would take measurments. [​IMG]

    The LCD RP's while seemingly large, his set didn't weigh over 100lbs, no way, seemed light as a feather when taking it to his basement.
     
  20. David Brass

    David Brass Agent

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    Now look what you've done!

    What about the Toshiba 46H84 46" Projection HD-Ready TV? Is there something just a wee bit smaller but larger than the Sony 34" widescreen unit that started this all. I would like it to fit, but that bad boy would hang over just a bit and I can get it delivered for about $1200 from Amazon.

    What do people think about the Toshibas here if we're talking about RPTV?

    Can of worms anyone?

    See, here's the thing... I could go $1200 now or wait another month or so for something that's $1600, and frankly, I'm not a patient man. On the other hand, I want the best picture quality I can get and I don't want to have to worry about burn in and and and (starts to drool out of both sides of his mouth...).
     

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