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Help with selecting a TV for under $3000

Discussion in 'Displays' started by DavidScales, Jul 4, 2003.

  1. DavidScales

    DavidScales Auditioning

    Jul 3, 2003
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    I am new to this forum and putting together a home theater system.

    I don't know much about the different types of TVs and the different technology.

    I want to be able to watch HDTV. I tried reading about HDTV, but all this stuff about HDTV ready, external HDTV receiver, etc just went right over my head.

    Could the experts out there recommend a big screen tv, wide screen format, 50-65" for $3000 and under. Also explain to me how to go about how to integrate HDTV into the TV.

    I am interested in a TV that shows an excellent picture, reliable, and will be upgardeable in the future if the HDTV technology changes.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Don Petsche

    Don Petsche Agent

    Apr 19, 2003
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    I started out with the $3000 and under TV budget as well, but I ended up stretching a few hundred more and got the 50" Sammy DLP once I saw it and read a bit about the benefits of the technology. If you can find the money, I suggest considering it. If you shop around, you can get them hundreds less than advertised price. Just be sure it is an HLN, not an HLM.

    OK, Here is what I know (or rather, think I know) about HDTV, albeit not as much as many. If I make a mistake here, somebody please correct!

    The majority of HDTVs out there are HDTV ready, meaning they
    will accept input from a HDTV tuner. That tuner is most often paid for seperately, but a few have it integrated. If you are like most, your HDTV will be supplied through your satellite or cable box anyway, so this isn't a big deal. If you want it OTA (over the air with your own antenna), it merits consideration.

    Popular HDTV broadcast formats right now are 720p and 1080i. These numbers refer to lines of display resolution and the letter designates method of updating the picture from one frame to the next. Each has benifits over the other, and I believe all HDTV monitors will display one or the other natively, converting the other. Here is where the confusion started for me. Broadcasts come set for differing pixel displays and refresh methods. What one wants is a T.V. that doesn't have to convert signal = better picture. Line doublers are a fancy name given to conversion techniques on standard definition (SD) pictures to make them display on a HDTV screen. EDTV (extended definition), is not HD. Less, much less, resolution near as I can tell, but more than SD (standard definition). DVD, which produces stunning output, is only 480i, or 480p in the case of a progressive player. I was surprised to realize DVD is not HD! Here again, the signal will be converted to your native display. If there is a reason at all for EDTV, perhaps DVD without any plans for HDTV is it. Well, or if you want cheaper plasma models to hang on the wall which often won't do more than ED, converting HD signals down?

    Inputs on the back of the T.V. are important. On my DLP I get good old Coax, Composite, and Svid jacks, multiples of each kind. These are typically not considered of HD quality. For HD, there is component, VGA, and DVI. Component is different than composite, all though it may be easy to confuse the plugs which look alike. Component is the analog method for transferring an HD signal. VGA and DVI are digital. VGA is what computers typically use, although new video cards are coming with DVI outs. Some satellite and HD cable boxes use VGA. The Sammy has 3 sets of component, 1 VGA, and 1 DVI.

    DVI is the way of the future. Not only is it digital (meaning a better picture), I understand it is a standard that includes copyright protection features soon to be utilized by media companies. I believe this means eventually a HD signal, if not carried via DVI, will not display properly, or will be downgraded to SD. I'm not clear on the exacts here, but know DVI = future. There are new DVD players coming out DVI, as well as new satellite and HD cable boxes.

    Digital, for me, is the way to go. Case in point, Samsung has come out with a firmware/board upgrade to their first generation HLM televisions to upgrade them to HLN (second generation) features. This was a very impressive move on the part of the manufacturer from my point of view.

    On the reliable front, newer digital sets don't require maintenance (a.k.a. convergence), and have a bulb that is replaceable. My Sammy's bulb is rated at 8000 hours, at which time I pay $250 to replace it myself with a screwdriver, and I'm back to good as new. Digital sets don't have the issues of bulk, maintenance, etc. of rear projection CRTs either. CRTs age without the bulb refresh option. DLP has the added benefit of great horizontal viewing range (no sweet spot issues), and is bright enough to watch in direct sunlight. DLP brightness is second only to smaller direct view (boob-tube)CRTs.

    In the $3000 range, actually just above, I believe the only HD digital viewing options are DLP or LCD. I prefer DLP, others LCD. Each set will have different features, inputs, etc. CRTs are cheaper, but burnin, convergence, dim picture with sweet spot limitations, and bulk (ugly black box syndrome) are reasons they will eventually go the way of the dinosaur.

    LCOS is up and coming, but very expensive in comparison. Plasma, forgive me, just isn't worth the short life & burn in, leave alone the obscene price tag, when you can have a quality DLP for less than half the $$.

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