Rookie HDTV assorted questions?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Sam_R, Jan 14, 2003.

  1. Sam_R

    Sam_R Auditioning

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    First off, this is my first post to a very impressive forum. I will be purchasing a HDTV very soon, and will be taking advantage of the 24 months, no interest financing at Best Buy. My questions are below:

    1.) Is the $199 Monster Power Bar, a necessary purchase? Yes, I understand I need some sort of surge protection, but what about the "noise filtering" that the salesman is pushing? I have an avionics background so I understand the need for shielded cable, etc. but does this product accomplish what it claims?

    2.) Do I need the service plan they preach about? The BB guys make it sound like nuclear winter will eventually take place inside any Widescreen HDTV at some point. Are these things really that prone to failure, or is proper maintenance and calibration good enough?

    3.) Lastly, in the pages I have read, others are refering to Avia and other interchangeable names. It appears to me to be some sort of calibration setup for video and audio? Could somebody give a basic description, or article to read about this? I am very interested in properly setting the TV up correctly after the purchase. From what I've read they have even greater potential than what is shown at the store.

    We have narrowed it down to 2-3 models based on the helpful information we have read here over the past few weeks, but had no clue on the above questions. In case the information is needed to answer the above questions we are going for a 50-57", 16:9, RPTV. Thanks in advance for any advice, and please be gentle on the rookie.

    Sam_R
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Welcome Sam. I’m not familiar with the Monster Power Bar, so I can’t comment, other than to observe that Monster makes very expensive products across the board. As I own none, you can tell how I feel about their cost effectiveness. You might check for similar equipment at other places such as Radio Shack.

    Service plans are very much like any insurance policy. Only you can decide if you want to take the risk of one big bill in the future vs. the insurance policy up front. A part of your decision might be the type of HDTV you plan to purchase. Some feel that RPTVs are more prone to problems than direct view sets. If you plan on purchasing the warranty, be sure that you read exactly what is being covered. Salesmen at places like ‘Best Buy’ and ‘Circuit City’ are notorious for not knowing exactly what is covered and for overselling the benefits (a big surprise!). For example, all of these warranties exclude things like ‘burn-in’. So that you are aware, most problems with equipment of this type occur within the first few months of ownership. During which time the set would have been under warranty in any case. The eagerness of the salesmen to sell this service probably tells you that it is a cash cow for the stores. Still, the extended warranty does provide peace of mind.

    You are exactly correct in your last observation. The settings in the store will not suit you at home. It is well worth the time and effort to do a few basic tweaks yourself. Another option is to pay an ISF-certified technician to calibrate the set (apologies to Gregg and co, if I did not get your title right). If you are not already aware, these guys are a different breed altogether than service technicians and will bring your set to its maximum potential.

    Good luck on your purchase. Hope to read soon how it went.
     
  3. Randolph Damore

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    The BestBuy warranty is a very tempermental beast.

    BestBuy stores tend to want to push the warranty very hard. In addition to being a cash cow for them, it's part of their incentive program for employees. BestBuyGuys don't make commission - but they get bonuses for selling so many warranties. It's a real big deal to them. I've personally known stores to lie and say they don't have equipment in stock the moment you decline the warranty.

    From the perspective of a customer, they are not a bad deal though you may not really need it. Basically, if you break your equipment somehow, they will replace it with the same unit, or an equivilent new unit. This isn't bad if you feel you run the risk of busting stuff, have kids, or are paranoid.

    The drawback of the warranty is exclusively price. They're expensive. Also, any valuable equipment you purchase will already have a manufacturers warranty which covers common failures. Most likely, you'll never have to use their warranty.

    I do seem to remember a truly evil loophole though. Let's say you had a four year warranty on a receiver. Once you get near that four year deadline your receiver will proll'y be pretty close to obsolete. Were you to "accidentally" destroy it the store would then replace your obsolete receiver with a NEW and likely far superior product. It's dishonest - and not something I'd recommend doing - but if you're willing to take the karmic gamble it's worth knowing.

    Whatever you do, be sure to read it very carefully. Know what you want covered, see if the warranty covers it, and make you're decision then.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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  5. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  6. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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    Welcome to the Forum.

    P.T. Barnum would have loved power conditioners, which are the equivalent of running crystal clear bottled spring water through a high-quality water filter.

    Your receiver, pre-pro, amplifier, whatever you will use for your HT will already have a well-designed power conditioner: its power supply.

    The job of the power supply is to take alternating current, which changes polarity 60 times per second, and turn it into direct current, which remains at a steady voltage with no change in polarity.

    The power supply has a series of inductors and capacitors which eliminate any variation in the power level until, on a graph, it becomes a straight line.

    Thus, even if a power conditioner somehow made the AC power into power with a perfect sine-wave form, rather than power with a bumpy sine-wave form, it wouldn't matter, because it would be turned into steady DC power by the power supply in your HT gear.

    Power conditioners do provide one useful function: surge protection. However, if you really need surge protection, which not everybody does, but if you have a power system prone to sudden spikes, then by all means get a surge protector. You can find decent resettable surge protector strips at the hardware store for around $10.

    I don't know where PT Barnum is now, or whether he's happy or sad, but I'll bet power conditioners make him smile.
     
  7. Sam_R

    Sam_R Auditioning

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    Thank you so much everybody for your replys. As of last night I am the proud owner of a Sony KP-51WS500. After much deliberation between that and the 50" Toshiba, I decided to get the Sony based on some extremely helpful threads on this forum. I am aware of the "flicker" potential but I am willing to chance it and endure the repair if it happens. Plus, the significant other thought that one looked better than the Tosh. We all know how important that is.....[​IMG]
    I held off on the power bar, and will just purchase a decent surge protector. I did go ahead and get the 4-year service plan. The manufacturer warranty was only a year and the only thing not covered by Best Buy was cosmetic or water damage. I liked the long term of four years. I have started building the rest of the HT system on paper. Anybody have a special place to get the Avia disc? thanks agian for all the advice and help.
     
  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    AVIA or Video Essentials (VE) can be picked up at most DVD retail outlets. I got my AVIA disk through Amazon.
     
  9. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    While I agree with the position that "power-line conditioners" are of questionable use, they certainly can't hurt. And I believe a surge protector is always a good idea. In my bedroom setup, based on a 27-inch direct-view Toshiba, it's amazing how much better the picture is when all the equipment is plugged into a good-quality surge protector. (My apartment building is very old, built in 1918.)
     
  10. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Sam,
    First, welcome to the Forum, and happy returns on your new RPTV.
    As an avionics guy, I’m sure you don’t have to be sold on the value of surge suppression ( peace of mind insurance for our expensive new electronics) . Today there are a host of models to serve every need, once you assess exactly what your need IS. As you’ll find, they can range for acceptable units from $70 to $300 for sit-on-the-floor to modular rackmount styles.
    1.Getting an AV system with receiver or amp and prepro, DVDplayer and other playback components, including a powered subwoofer? You’ll want a surge protector with enough plugs (6 to 10) that serves as a convenient power center. Going to use cabletv or satellite – look for a surge protector that has F-terminal pass thrus to also protect this coax, perhaps even a telfone in/out for any satellite box that uses it.
    2.The BestBuy clerk in my opinion was just doing a service in steering you toward the $199 Monster, which looks like the Model 1100 Powerbar. It’s quite serviceable, but just average, something first-time buyers can swallow. Be advised that Monster (and the salesmen) tout the “power or noise filter” aspect as part of the pitch. In fact, ALL surge protectors in this range contain AC line noise filters for RF/EMI, typically spec’d at 50dB or 60dB at some rated frequency. Generally, these units eliminate 90-99 percent of this line noise. Anything beyond this, you get into the realm of “power line conditioners,” closer to $1,000 and are specialty units one needs to study up on.
    As your AV needs and experience grow, take a look at the forum tutorials accessed from the top of the Basics Area: BEGINNERS PRIMER & FAQs. Here is a link inside to a surge suppression piece HERE. There is another link there to some “Under $100” units if you think such will meet your needs. I recommend the TrippLite ISOBAR6 DBS or the Panamax MAX8 DBS+5. As an aside, the Monster Powerbar 1100 can be had for $170 as well as the Panamax line, online at www.powersystemsdirect.com
    The AVIA test disk we talk about serves two purposes: To calibrate the standard color/brightness/tint/sharpness/contrast thru the tv remote; and if you use a DolbyDigital 5.1 audio system, to balance/calibrate the speaker output, including the Sub. This will require the $35 Radio Shack Sound Pressure Level meter. The video calibrations put you in a standard range until after burning 100 hours or so on the tv when you can think about the $300-plus home calibration by an ISF qualified specialist.
    This disk is usually found online for around $37, but there’s nothing wrong with the same company’s less complex (for video) unit, the $16 Sound&Vision Home Theater Tune-Up. Look at amazon.com and barnes&noble.com for starters.
    Hope this gets you started…
    bill
     
  11. Sam_R

    Sam_R Auditioning

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    Bill,
    Thank you very much for your detailed reply. The surge protection was a "no-brainer" I just wasn't sure about the value of the noise filter. The type of electronics I am used to dealing with have plenty of power filtration installed as part of individual "box", and aircraft circuit breakers do a pretty good job with overcurrent protection, but I was unsure of the HT industries measures. You answered those questions, though. I have read the beginner's link twice now and it is full of valuable information. I had read it before, but I was focused on the T.V. at that point. I just ordered the Panamax MAX8 DBS-5. I greatly appreciate you recommending particular models, that was my current reasearch project.[​IMG]
     
  12. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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  13. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Just in case this might confuse anyone, the tv doesn't "change" it's settings, but as it is "broken in" its video will change a little, so you'll want to recalibrate after a while. Avia, along with a radio-shack SPL meter for audio, are the best investment tweak you'll ever make. Oh, and in terms of surge protection, the monster ones function the same way as the cheap ones from the hardware store. There are some more expensive units, that function differently, and better(surgex, brickwall, and others that i've forgotten).
     

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