Time to upgrade..34" 16x9 or 36" 4x3...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Sorenson, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. David Sorenson

    David Sorenson Stunt Coordinator

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    My old 27" is needing to be replaced. My entertainment center will hold a 36" (except the nice sony XBR's) or a 34" widescreen. I watch about 40% widescreen and 60% normal. My wife is more like 80% normal and 20% widescreen. I'd like people's opinions of these two options. In the past I would have just gone with the 36" but widescreen is the future so I'm left with that quandry.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Aaron Cohen

    Aaron Cohen Second Unit

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    I own a 34 inch Sony Trinitron XBR Widescreen HDTV and I love it. It doesn't take up too much space as it is located in my college dorm room now. I would definitely recommend it over the 36 inch 4:3 tv. Watching standard tv on it is bearable, if you watch it in normal mode with bars on the left and right the screen size is 27 inches. However, you can stretch it, or zoom it in two different ways (at least with my tv, I know other widescreen televisions may have more or less viewing options). Watching widescreen movies are much more of an experience with a widescreen television than with a standard 4:3 tv. The decision lies with whether you and your wife will be happy watching standard television programming in 27 inches (though honestly, the wide zoom option looks great to me! you sacrifice a little bit off the top and bottom for less distortion of the picture) but I personally think widescreen is definitely the best way to watch HD programming. The 6 channels that come in in HD where I live all look amazing and fill the screen perfectly where as on a 36 inch there would be black bars on the top and bottom obviously. I hope that some of this helps!
     
  3. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    If undistorted/uncropped 4x3 material is important to you (more important than DVD viewing), then a 4x3 TV is for you. IF you don't care about zooming the 4x3, or stretching it, a 16x9 would be best. All depends on the importance of what you watch. If you don't mind the larger black bars, a 4x3 would give you the same quality picture in 16x9 (w/squeeze) as the 16x9 set but the viewing area would be a tiny bit smaller, but 4x3 material would be much larger.

    What is the exact width of the tv space?
    You can look at the panasonic and toshiba 16x9's or the toshiba 36" HDTV since you say sony doesn't fit.
     
  4. David Sorenson

    David Sorenson Stunt Coordinator

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    The space I have is 39.5" wide and 34" high. Depth is adjustable as you can just cut more of the back out for the back of the TV.

    Stupid XBR800 is just over 40" wide....grrrr...

    I've never really looked into the 16x9 sets so I don't know how 4x3 material looks on them and what the options are. Sounds like the Sony 34" has many options and I might have to check it out.
     
  5. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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  6. David Head

    David Head Second Unit

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    The Toshiba 34HDX82 is 33-3/4" x 24-1/4" x 23-1/2" (W x H x D) and has modes to stretch or zoom 4:3 material.
    The Panasonic CT-34WX52 is 36.5" x 25.6" x 23" (W x H x D). I'm not sure about the stretch modes available.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Sony 36" HDTV : $2000
    Panasonic 34" WS : $2300
    Comparing screen sizes: http://www.cavecreations.com/tv2.cgi
    • The 34" is about 15% more expensive.
    • The 36" has 68% larger picture than the 34" WS set for normal 4:3 broadcasts.
    • For widescreen pictures, the 34" bests the 36" by a paltry 5.5%.
    • You watch more "normal" shows than widescreen, so getting a 4:3 set means fewer and smaller grey/black bars. (You do watch your TV and older movies OAR, don't you?)
    • Here in Rochester, DTV is not broadcast. The precious few HDTV shows are only available via digital cable or satellite, meaning almost no use for WS TVs. What's it like in your place?
    I've ignored size and stylistic issues. Those aside, I wouldn't get a 34" WS set over a 36" normal set, but it what matters most is what you'd prefer.
     
  8. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    David, do you want a bigger picture for regular 4:3 cable tv? a 34" inch widescreen set will give you about a 90 percent bigger image for 16:9 material while 4:3 material will be about the equivalent of a 28" 4:3 tv - ignoring the stretch/scaling options of the set. While a 36" 4:3 set will give you a 16:9 image that is about 6 percent less than the 34" widescreen, it's 4:3 will be about 67 percent bigger. But the question is, is that what you want? I know in my area that I'm not sure I'd want a bigger picture for 4:3 material. Our cable is not pristine and from about 8 feet away it looks fairly decent on a 27" set. I'm concerned about what it would look like on a 32" HDTV set. I'm afraid of the combination of better resolution and the internal line doubler will make things look worse than better. Because of this, I've decided that I'd rather get the most bang for the buck for dvd viewing and am holding out for a 34" widescreen set that will fit in my space. Finally, does your measurements include space for your center speaker on top of your tv? For me, I'm limited (assuming I take the doors off our entertainment center [​IMG] ) to something no more than 39" wide but only about 26-27" tall. I'm really limited to either a 32" 4:3 set or a 32" or 34" widescreen set (yes, I know that they don't currently make any 32" widescreens [​IMG] ).
    good luck,
    --tom
     
  9. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    David,
    Don't look only at what you watch the most. Think about what you watch most critically. When do you want to have the absolute best, largest picture? Is it more important to have Martha Stewart filling the screen, or a movie on DVD?
    I'm a widescreen advocate. Supposedly this will be the standard by 2006. (How long do you plan to own your set?)
    Some people have special needs, such as the poster who mainly watches old Star Trek episodes and one whose passion is old pre-widescreen movies. For them, the best choice is a 4:3 set.
    For most people, especially those looking toward the future, I think that widescreen is the way to go if they can afford it.
    Jan
     
  10. Brent Hutto

    Brent Hutto Supporting Actor

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    ThomasL refers to "bang for the buck". I just want to point out that most 34" widescreen TV's cost more than the similar 36" model. The difference in picture size for a widescreen DVD image is miniscule (the 34" 16:9 image is about 0.833" wider) so one could argue that a 36" 4:3 offers about 3% less picture for typically about 15% less cost.

    I think this sort of analysis is putting rather too fine a point on the matter. Assuming that both options are something you can afford without skipping meals then you should just pick the one you like the best. But a strict "picture vs. cost" comparison does not necessarily favor the widescreen.

    The reason to buy a 16:9 TV is because you want to have it one day when there's 16:9 broadcast content available rather than predominantly 4:3, not because it offers "more picture". Or just because it's a cool thing to have, let's never underestimate the value of cool. These are luxury goods after all, not necessities.
     
  11. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    I agree that widescreen sets are still too much money which is why I haven't bought one yet [​IMG]
    I think David, assuming you're still looking at HDTV sets (the other option would be to simply get a cheap analog set and use it for 3-4 years and wait till HDTV sets are much more mass marketed and cheaper), I think you'll need to go look at the two different model types. For example, some people hate stretch modes and also vertical black/grey bars for their 4:3 programming. If you find, you're like this, then you'll have pretty much eliminated the widescreen from the running. If you find you just really like the look of dvds on the 16:9 set, and you want the best possible viewing experience for dvds, then the widescreen may be for you. Only you (and your wife [​IMG] ) will be able to answer these questions.
    good luck,
    --tom
     
  12. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Jan summed up my view nicely. My wife and I liked our new 34” Sony wide screen so much that I purchased a 30”, 16:9 for the bedroom.

    BTW, don’t lose any sleep over the XBR not fitting. I spent hours and hours comparing Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic and, though I bought the Sony in the end, freely admit that if I made the choice today, it might be different—the picture quality (IMO) was that close. You will be pleased with either the Panasonic or Toshiba.
     
  13. David Sorenson

    David Sorenson Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks everyone for all the information. I've got a lot of contemplation to do it seems.

    For myself, I watch 3 programs on TV: Enterprise, Survivor, and Farscape. Farscape is dead so that's only 2. I don't watch movies all the time but that's when I want the bigger picture. I do have older VHS tapes but do not really watch them and will replace them with DVD's as time goes by. I can handle watching my Doctor Who tapes on any size TV.

    Cable quality in our area is poor to ok. It's AT&T. I do have digital cable currently, which is better but I might be tossing it as I never watch it and my wife only watches the HGTV channel. I have no idea if there are any HDTV broadcasts in our area and do not know how our cable would look on an HD TV. I had a friend who bought a 32" XBR and from the 2 times I saw it I thought it looked fine, but that was a while ago.

    Price will be an issue. The HD 36" will be slightly cheaper than the 34" 16x9. A standard 36" WEGA would be a lot less. I'm very much for not buying something that is already outdated and will require replacement in a few years, but I also don't want to pay a premium for something that isn't here...and when it does arrive might be incompatible with the set. That argument puts HDTV as something I don't absolutely need.

    Currently my Center speaker is inside the cabinet, above the TV. A 36" TV would fill the cabinet space and thus the center speaker would get moved on top of the entertainment center. That puts it a little high for the listener but what else are you going to do with such a large TV? With the 34", the center could stay inside the cabinet. My wife actually said it would be ok to put the speaker on the cabinet. The top of the cabinet is about 38" above the bottom of the TV area so it would not be that much higher than the top of the TV, but would need to be tilted down a bit for the listening area.

    The one feature I cannot live without is the ability to watch widescreen material without the loss of scan lines. My sister has a 27" WEGA and I drool over movies on that set. Watching moving diagonal lines on my current set makes me want to puke.

    I guess I should mention that I don't have a progressvie scan DVD player. It also doesn't have component video out. It does have S-Video and I'd love to actually use it, rather than the composite I'm forced to use with my current TV set.
     
  14. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    David, wow, another watcher of Doctor Who [​IMG]
    I empathize with your choice at the moment. If you see some of my recent posts, I went through a similar choice. We had a el cheapo Sharp tv in the basement for working out and general basement duty. It was about 20 months old and my 2-3 year plan was to replace it with the current Toshiba 27" analog set we use for tv and dvds in the "home theater" room. Well, the 20" Sharp decided to die a little sooner than expected. So, I had to decide. Do I move the 27" inch downstairs and upgrade to something bigger and better upstairs or do I just get a replacement for the basement. I felt that from 8 feet away I really had no need to watch tv shows any bigger and was concerned that the interference lines and other garbage in some of my cable channels would be more noticeable on a 32" 4:3 display. But still, I wanted a bigger picture for DVDs. I also didn't want to just buy a bigger flat tube analog set knowing that in 2-3 years, the HDTV equivalent sets will be the same price. And for $800-900, it seemed that a flat tube HDTV-ready set was not that much more. So, I decided to look at 32" HDTV-ready 4:3 sets and 34" 16:9 HDTV-ready sets - specifically the Toshiba models for $1300 and $2000 respectively (I also looked at the Samsung models and Sony). I liked the Toshibas but in the end, along with my wife, I just felt that getting the 32 inch 4:3 set would be a purchase I'd regret in 3-4 years. We also concluded that the best tv for our space (I'm limited to about 26 1/2" height without major restructuring so 32" sets are a tight fit vertically) and viewing habits is still too much money - namely the widescreen Toshiba. So, in the end I purchased a 27" Toshiba set for $270 for the basement. It's got component inputs (we have a vcr + dvd player down there), Svideo and is a perfect fit for the entertainment/tv cart that we have down there. The logic my wife used was that in 3 years, the widescreen sets will be $270 less in price than they are now and probably the disparity will be even greater, so, if we can be patient and hold out for another few years, we can save money and get a better more mature product. The sacrifice is of course that dvd viewing remains on the 27" inch set. But that's fine, I'll just go back and rewatch my favorite movies when we finally get the big widescreen set [​IMG]
    I know my story probably doesn't help you but at least you'll know that you're not alone. [​IMG]
    btw, any set that has Svideo in will be a marked improvement over composite for your dvd viewing.
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  15. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    ThomasL,
    I think you made a very wise and mature decision.
    Personally, I'd have moved the 27" set to the basement, knocked out a wall upstairs to make room for a widescreen set, taken out a second mortgage to pay for it, and probably ended up in divorce court arguing over who gets the new TV. But I am neither wise nor mature. [​IMG]
    Cheers,
    Jan
     
  16. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    The sony 36HS500 won't fit as it's 40" wide. The only 36" I would recommend that would fit is the toshiba 36hf72. As the Panasonic doesn't do the squeeze for 480i/p that I know of. So, keep this in mind. The toshiba is a very nice set though and is cheaper.
     
  17. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    Frankly, I think the 36" 4:3 set offers more flexibility than a 34" 16:9 especially one that enhance the image of anamorphic DVDs. I say that because you lose much more 4:3 image when viewing it correctly (Without resorting to distorting the image by stretching) on a 34" WS. You lose less of a widescreen image when viewed on a 36" 4:3 TV.

    I'd go with a 36" HDTV
     
  18. David Sorenson

    David Sorenson Stunt Coordinator

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    I tend to agree now that the 36" would offer the most flexibility for TV viewing. I've not looked at the Toshiba's yet.

    The only issue with the 36" is the moving of hte center speaker to the top of the entertainment center. It won't be any higher above the TV than it is currently but it will be higher relative to the listener. When is it too high? Currently it's maybe 4 inches above the listener. With the 36" I believe it will raise it a foot or so.
     
  19. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    The only thing about having the 36" is the fact that you won't get the WOW! factor as much as a 34" 16x9 when watching movies because the image size still decreases when watching a WS DVD compared to a 4x3 image.
    I can't help but think I may be dissapointed when I pop in a dvd and the image size get's smaller than what I was just watching a few minutes ago on TV.

    Overall I think the 34" would give you that extra WOW factor when you pop in a movie for the first time and notice how big it is compared to regular 4x3 TV.

    I feel Movies should be bigger than TV in general but we all have to make our own decissions that will be most practical to our viewing habbits.

    In fact, after all that...I'll probably still end up with a 4x3 TV as it's much cheaper than the 16x9.
     
  20. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    What's with this "WOW" factor just because the TV screen is rectangle instead of square?
    Over the years many here have used the refrain "Watch the movie, not the TV". Should we now start watching the TV and the movie? [​IMG]
     

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