Is HDTV equipment worth it yet?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff Richardson, Oct 12, 2002.

  1. Jeff Richardson

    Jeff Richardson Auditioning

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    I'm just getting set up with my first Home Theater system -- big screen TV, 5.1 speakers, DVD player, etc. -- and I was planning to hook it up to digital cable, which I've been using for some time now. I've been thinking of making the switch to DirecTV because I understand that the picture and sound quality is a little better. But one option is to get High Definition DirecTV. The upside is that I get a few HDTV channels (HBO, Showtime, HDNet, etc.) and I can use the receiver to also get local over the air HDTV channels (CBS is available here today, NBC next month, and presumably the others next year). But to get this HD receiver for DirecTV, it will end up costing me an extra $800 to $1000.

    I presume that if I wait another year, the price of HDTV receivers will go down and the HD content will go up, and there is no question that HDTV will some day be a must have for a home theater.

    But what about today? Is it really worth almost $1000 just to get a few channels in HDTV, with not even all content on those channels in high definition? Obviously a subjective question, but I'd love to hear from those who have grappled with this same question.

    -Jeff

    P.S. My system: Toshiba 57" widescreen (57HDX82), Energy Take 5.2 speakers, Toshiba SD4800 DVD player, Yamaha receiver.
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  3. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    Jeff,
    I'm in the same boat. I've had a DTV reciever for 3 years and just went into shock at the setup costs for HD. Guess my Pioneer533 will have to wait a bit longer.
    When I first set it up, that HD on the label had me thinking-Oh BOY......1080!
    I considered what I'll REALLY watch and it boils down to some football(when it's availble) and maby a few movies on HBOHD. I almost never watch network TV, so if I decide to catch Jay Leno, I don't think I'll feel good about 1000+ to see his mug in 1080 maby 3-4 times a year.
    DirectTV gets around 60 bucks a month from me, and until the recievers get to 200 or so or FREE, I think it's just TOO EXOTIC for me right now.
    I think we all suffer from the fact that for all the hype, it's still in transition with DTV and whoever.
    For me, there's just NOT ENOUGH CONTENT.

    1000 Bucks will get you around 50-60 DVDs. How's that for a guage.

    Just My Opinion Guys
    Eric
     
  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Don't do it! Once you see HD in your home you won't be able to watch regular tv any more.

    I went with the DirecTV HD capable setup a year ago, get only HBO, HDNet, Showtime, and my local ABC affilliate. The UPN affilliate and one independent have started digital broadcast in the last couple of months but no HD. NBC and CBS should be up by the end of the year. I was an existing DirecTV customer so got no breaks whatever. Total cost was $800 then, would be about $500 now for the same gear (Hughes clone receiver and oval dish).

    All scripted programs on ABC are in HD (sitcoms and dramas as well as most movies, but not reality shows or newsmagazines). CBS, which you can already get has almost everything in prime time in HD. NBC is still pretty spotty.

    HD does look better than dvd, but not by a huge amount on most movies on HBO and Showtime. The real stunner is HDNet which is mostly HD-video based material.
    PBS, if you can get it, is also quite heavy on video based HD. 3 more HDNet channels are coming soon.

    I wouldn't look for DirecTV capable receivers to drop much below 500 for at least a couple of years, but OTA-only boxes are already approaching $300. It should be remembered that at it's inception back in 95-96, DirecTV boxes cost $750. One can now get HD boxes for 250 less than that.

    My experience, as indicated in my first line is that after watching HD it's hard to watch regular tv. I now pretty much only watch the HD channels I can get and dvds.
     
  5. Bill Slack

    Bill Slack Supporting Actor

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    I paid under $500 for me Hughes E86 (Toshiba DST3000) with the Dish and 3 LNBs. I had to commit to a year of programming, including Showtime (that's how the 3rd LNB was so cheap.)

    But that wasn't a big deal to me. I bought mine @ minidishes.tv which is an eBay store. I was a little leary at first, but they had good customer service, were easy to get a hold of, and I got the whole setup in less than a week.

    I get all the DTV HD channels plus six OTA channels. It's well worth it to me. CBS and NBC are by far the best OTA channels to be getting, right now, I would say.
     
  6. KeithW

    KeithW Auditioning

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    Sony has a new digital receiver that will accept OTA HD transmissions and DirecTV. I was greatly impressed by the new SAT HD200 from Sony for it's high definition ability but the surprise came from how good SD material looked when the receiver upconverted everything to 1080i. While this will be an investment of almost $800 it improves ALL picture quality not just high definition. Worth checking out now.
     
  7. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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    To gauge the benefit, just find any store with a display of actual HDTV (in the NYC area, The Wiz now has this in their store in Union Square, meaning the chain is not TOTALLY useless).
    Then look up the available programming and decide if you feel it justifies the price.
    The one thing which puzzles me about your post is the figure of an additional $1,000 you posted for getting the HD-capable system.
    The Dish Network Model 6000 sells at some outlets for about $500. For another $100 you get a board which lets the 6000 work as an OTA tuner (local broadcast HD). You would still need the dishes and would possibly have the cost of installation, but that would not get your total costs anywhere near an additional $1,000 over the cost of a basic, standard satellite TV installation.
    If you want to just get network and local OTA HD, the Samsung SIR-T150 HD receiver is now selling for about $300. Unless you live quite a distance from the transmitting antenna, you would not need to spend much more on an antenna to go with the SIR-T150 and you would be getting all the HD you feel like watching, for a little over $300.
    My subjective opinion is that HDTV is well worth spending an extra few hundred dollars. However, as I explored in the Polls Area, not everybody is ready to pony up the rather large amount of cash needed to get the HD-ready or HDTV.
    Since you already have the HD-ready RPTV, I would say GO FOR IT[​IMG]
    By the way, the number of stations in the U.S. broadcasting in HD just exploded through the 500 mark. Check it out HERE.
     
  8. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Kieth,

    I've seriously considered replacing my Tosh DST-3000 with that new Sony box.

    It's my understanding that it's 480i to 1080i upconversion is much better than on the Hughes clone boxes, and that it can be set to output 480p or 480i via component output, unlike my Tosh.

    I'm gonna wait a few months to see if a better price can be had on it or the Zenith 520 version, but if I had no box now it would be the one I'd go for.
     
  9. KeithW

    KeithW Auditioning

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    Steve,

    Your understanding is correct. I keep it on 1080i all the time. The output is via component to a 42" Panasonic plasma. We are still stunned by the improvement to standard channels on DirecTV. Of course HD Net would spoil anyone but it does need more programming.
    The speed of the Sat HD200 is as fast as any I've ever seen and no fan. It is much cooler running compared to my other STB.
     
  10. Tim Sly

    Tim Sly Stunt Coordinator

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    When I got HD I dropped DirecTV service and got the DISH model 6000 HD receiver for about $398 including the dish and free second receiver and just had to commit to one year of programming with no special movie channels. It came from Dishdepot.com
    Dish network has Showtime HD, HBO HD, CBS HD (by waiver if you are out of area), HD Demo channel, Discovery HD Theater, and PPV HD movies at $5.99 each. I think $400 is cheap to get into high def! and the receiver is decent. Only thing I don't like about DISH is the slow menu seaches! DirecTv's was much faster and I like the Freeview concerts on DirecTv.
     

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