Thinking about buying a widescreen TV; need some help...

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Scott Stephens, Aug 31, 2004.

  1. Scott Stephens

    Scott Stephens Stunt Coordinator

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    hello all...

    i generally don't frequent this forum (i'm usually in speakers) but the time for me to upgrade televisions is growing near and i need to get some basic info.

    first of all: widescreen or 4:3? this seems to be the big questions...i am a widescreen fanatic, but i just wonder if there's enough widescreen programming to warrant buying a widescreen TV. i have alot of DVDs and do a lot of DVD watching, but i'll also be watching alot of satellite (probably 4:3) programming.

    recommended brands? my father in law just bought a 50" Sony and i was quite impressed with the picture. but what are some brands to look at, and what are some brands to stay away from?

    picture quality?...will a non-HD source (DirecTV satellite) look OK on a widescreen monitor? i've seen some HDTVs that handle non-HD programming pretty poorly, but others that it looks acceptable, even pretty good on.

    what type of TV? i'm mainly looking at DLP or RPTV (budget is around $3500-$4000). anybody have any suggestions?

    i know these questions are pretty basic (that about covers my knowledge of HDTVs, though). if anyone could provide some info (or a link to another thread) i'd appreciated it. thanks...
     
  2. Jean D

    Jean D Screenwriter

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    for $3000-$4000 you will get an amazing tv. for $1500 you can get a really great tv too. it all depends on size and type of tv you want. I have a 55" Mitsubishi widescreen HD rear projection tv (RPTV) and I also have DirecTv with HD programing. I love it. I paid $3000 for my tv 2 years ago, and it can be had for around $1500 now. HD looks amazing, normal programing looks better than most tv's IMO. even if there is 4:3 programing, you can choose whether or not to have the picture stretched. I think everyone on this forum will agree to go widescreen if you have the room. not to mention that more programing will be in widescreen as time goes on.
     
  3. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Personally, I wouldn't consider a non-widescreen display. Especially if you anticipate getting HD satellite or cable in the near future. I have a 57" Sony CRT RPTV and couldn't be happier. I watch virtually all 4:3 programming using their Wide Zoom stretch mode and never miss out on anything. You'll be surprised how quickly you can adjust to stretch modes. They are an excellent compromise. I also found the Sony sets did the best job displaying Standard Def material. Once you disable all the SVM and other "enhancements" you end up with an outstanding picture at a very reasonable price.

    With your budget however, DLP is certainly within your grasp. The newer models with the HD2+ chip are out or just about to hit store shelves. CRT is considered the best bang-for-the-buck out there and with the money you'd save going CRT, you could probably get a nice receiver, or upgrade some speakers, too.

    Since I'm a CRT-guy, I can't vouch for any DLP sets, but I can give a hearty recommendation for the Sony CRT sets.

    -Jason
     
  4. John S

    John S Producer

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    As long as the 4:3 set has a native widescreen mode for HD, you will be ok either way. I still prefer this myself, because if you come from a fairly large 4:3 set, you have to get a mammoth 16:9 set, if you don't want smaller 4:3, than you have now.

    Never the less, if you get DLP, I don't think you have a choice in the matter. I'm not aware of any DLP RPTV's that are 4:3 format. Maybe some of the DLP FP's???
     
  5. Greg J

    Greg J Auditioning

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    I have widescreen and I feel its the only way to go. I recently switched from Samsung HDTV to Sony HDTV. PQ on Sony is hands above the Sammy's in my opinion.
    Just pick what you feel looks best to you.

    One word of advice-
    A VERY important consideration for a widescreen purchaser is the different stretch modes available on the model or brand you are looking at. A great TV can have a horrible stretch mode for 4:3 content and can make an otherwise stunning picture nearly unwatchable. Be sure to experiment using 4:3 material and the different stretch modes in the store to see which you like the best.
     
  6. Scott Stephens

    Scott Stephens Stunt Coordinator

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    what exactly is a "native widescreen" mode?
     
  7. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    All HD TVs, whether 16:9 or 4:3, WILL display HD material in 16:9 mode - that's a part of what HD is. HD is not 4:3.

    Once you decide to get HD programming, I think the choice to go with 16:9 is even more apparant.

    Here's the thing - with a 4:3 display, you are extremely limited in how you watch material. Yes, 4:3 stuff will fill the whole screen - but no matter how you slice it, HD content, widescreen DVDs, and even many of your local broadcast shows (West Wing, CSI, etc.) will have black bars (HD or not) - the only exception is to get a DVD player which zooms in on widescreen material - a less than ideal solution, IMO. For me, all of that widescreen material results in just too much wasted space on the set. The amount of 16:9 material is only going to increase in the coming years, and before we know it, 4:3 will be a stark minority of the programming that's available to us.

    If you are absolutely dead set against watching anything "stretched" (which isn't nearly as bad a prospect as it was a few years ago), or you have a monstrous DVD collection of older material that is 4:3, then perhaps 4:3 is right for you.

    -Jason
     

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