Whats the use of getting HDTV?

Ruben Z

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Sep 21, 2004
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I screwed up. I went out and bought me a nice Plasma TV because I wanted to jump into HDTV and my old Toshiba 32" wasnt cutting it for widescreen movies


So I spend a crap load of money buying a plasma, HDMI cables, mounting hardwared, getting my DirecTV HD package, etc.


BUT!

HD DVD players are 400 bucks, movies are more expensive and then I read scary things that more HD DVD players wont be coming out till next year IF companies decided to make them.

Then theres Blue Ray which is the same as above, Expensive, not many players , etc.


So I get to thinking. Why the heck did I get HD right now and why would anyone want to get HDTV right now. I mean yes theres HD Cable and Satellite but thats very few channels and even then its not a true true HD picture, or at least some channels arent. So that leaves only DVD players to give your HDTV a true HD feed.
 

dpippel

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Regardless of whether or not you buy into one of the high-def DVD formats now, you'll be able to realize a huge improvement in the quality of your *SD DVD* viewing. Whether you output 480p to your plasma or use an upconverting DVD player to send 720p/1080i output to the display, it will be leaps and bounds above the quality of your old interlaced TV. You don't have to watch HD material on your new set to make it look good.
 

Bob_L

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Yeah, what Doug said.

In addition, take a look at a free, over-the-air HD broadcast. (The DirecTV HD feeds are reduced quality and, while better than SD, won't really maximize your HD experience.) You'll see that the level of detail and the color intensity is FAR beyond what you're used to seeing on a standard TV.

HD DVD and some of the newer Blu-ray releases will look even better than that.

Yes, in many ways, HD is not yet 'ready for prime time' and I sympathize with your frustration. When you spend that kind of money, you want consistent, dramatic improvement on every source, every program. But ya just ain't gonna get that, yet.

So, enjoy the noticeable improvement your new hardware will give you with existing program material, and revel in the improvements of HD broadcast and HD disc. And join the rest of us relatively early adopters in appreciating the next step in home entertainment.

PS -- For what it's worth, I do not think you "screwed up."
 

Ruben Z

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Good points to all. Yes regular DVD viewing is greatly improved. I did buy a HD-upconvert player so I'm still satisfied.

For the free over the air broadcast, is that had with those 70-90 dollar HD attenas that you can buy at best Buy and get your local channels on? The ones that are by NBC, CBS, etc?
 

Ronald Epstein

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Ruben,

You are amongst hundreds and hundreds of enthusiasts on this forum.

I highly doubt anyone will think you screwed up with your decision.
It is never too late to invest in a high definition display. I think you
are going to really enjoy it!
 

Marty M

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I am also going through this exact debate before I buy an HDTV. I have a 10-12 year old 32" CRT that is showing signs of going out. I have been seriously looking at a 55" Sony RXSD. Anyone else have one of these?
 

Brian Sheffield

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I bought a 60" SONY SXRD monitor, and I am overjoyed with the picture quality.

I currently use a standard rabbit ear antenna that only cost 25 bucks at Target, and I get 9 hd channels freely over the air in my area. The picture is absolutely amazing. (My XBOX 360 looks great as well!)

I will be waiting on the BD/HD-DVD competition to indicate a clear winner before purchasing a HD disc format. Though I do plan on buying a good upscaling SD-DVD player soon.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Ruben,

I didn't have time to write a complete reply above, so
allow me to talk a little more to you about your purchase.

First of all, you didn't screw up. If you were looking to buy
a new display in the first place, the only way to go was high
definition. Within a short time HD will become the broadcast
standard.

I have DirecTV, and even though their high definition is compressed
(as I imagine cable is), the picture quality is miles ahead of what
you will see on the standard definition channels. For the most part,
even the compressed HD picture looks remarkable.

Check to see if Verizon is installing Fios in your area. It is only
limited to a few states right now, but the fiber optics allow full,
uncompressed high definition into your home (along with blistering
speed Internet access). I'm here in NJ, and Fios is rolling out
their TV package in 2 months.

My advice to anyone purchasing a new display would be to make
certain that it displays 1080p. This would be a way of future-proofing
your purchase so it is compatable with all the new HD formats.

As far as HD-DVD and Blu-Ray....

That's the tough part. The industry is to blame for making this
situation impossible for consumers like yourself. There shouldn't
be two high definition DVD formats, but that's an argument that
we gave up on long ago. Fact of the matter is, we have two formats
and there isn't a clear winner as of yet.

You can either sit these formats out till next year, or for $400-$500
you can buy the Toshiba HD-A1 which is an exceptional HD-DVD player.
Even if that format doesn't survive this war (and my opinion is that's
unlikely), you have an excellent player that will upconvert your standard
DVDs to 1080i. In other words, even standard DVDs will take on new
life with this player.

For the extra $400-$500 I think the HD-DVD player will really be
the icing on your purchase. Picture quality is amazing!

Look, I know you spent a lot of money. It may seem like you made
a mistake. However, the moment you sit back on your couch and
watch some of the HD material being pumped into your home, I think
you will greatly appreciate your purchase.

Good luck and keep us up-to-date on your experiences.
 

Lew Crippen

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Welcome to the forum Ruben.

Just to add to some of the other posts, HD antennas are nothing but a marketing gimmick.

If you already have an external antenna that does a good job of picking up your local stations, it will also do the same job with HD telecasts. When I lived in Dallas, I just used rabbit ears and they worked fine.

A couple of points: some local stations transmit HD at reduced power—this might or might not be a problem in your area and digital signals are a bit different than analog ones—they either pick up the signal or not (unlike analog that tends to degrade as the signal weakens).

Personally, I liked my first HD set so well, I bought a second one for my bedroom—so I don’t believe that you have made a mistake.
 

dpippel

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As Lew mentions, any good antenna will work, but there's another piece to this puzzle - you'll need a HDTV tuner. If your display doesn't have one built-in (many don't) then you'll have to purchase one separately, an additional expense of several hundred dollars.
 

Phil Iturralde

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I have used the Zenith Silver Sensor HD Indoor Antenna ...

... w/Radio Shack HD Antenna AMP to capture ABC-HD, which is approx. 31.8* miles from my house!!! (*according to Antennaweb.org)

eBay has these Zenith Silver Sensor HD Antenna's anywhere from $10 (used) up to $30 (new). Some people are close enough to the HD Transmitter that they don't need Antenna AMP, but @ over 31 miles, I did to stabilize the ABC HD signal.

I only used that until my Comcast Basic Limited Cable service (no box just a Coax INPUT) finally started broadcasting ABC HD (CH 117-1) and ESPN HD (CH 116-2 Monday NITE Football
) last September, then I disconnected my Zenith Indoor HD Antenna.

When you get an HDTV w/HD Tuner, make sure that it also includes the QAM HD Tuner Circuitry along with the standard ASTC HD Tuners.

“ATSC” tuning allows a set to tune over-the-air HD signals - outdoor / indoor HD Antenna's.

“QAM” tuners lets the set deal with digital cable signals, but without a CableCard, "QAM" will only allow reception of “in the clear” digital cable channels - and the number of 'free' HD channels broadcast thru your Cable provider like Comcast will vary.

So, using my SF Bay Area location as an example, since Feb. 2006 (when I received my Toshiba 1080p 56HM195 DLP HDTV), the local Comcast Limited Basic Cable broadcast the following “in the clear” digital cable HD channels (after I scanned my channels of course / NEW HD Channels) ...

FOX/KNTV HD CH 2-1 (HD Football, etc.)
CBS HD CH 5-1 (NCIS, The UNIT, CSI, etc)
HDNET / KRON CH 111-2
NBC HD CH 116-1 (Law and Order, Sunday NITE Football, etc.)

ESPN HD CH 116-2 // since Sept. 2006 (NEW-Monday NITE Football, etc.)
ABC HD CH 117-1 // since Sept. 2006 (Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, etc.)
KQED DT CH 117-2 // since Sept. 2006

Once you get use to watching HD TV programming, then getting an HD DVD player was a no brainer!!!

Like Lew Crippen, I bought the Westinghouse 37" LTV-37w2 LCD 720p HDTV w/ASTC & QAM HD Tuners for my bedroom!!!


Have fun deciding,
Phil
 

Bob_L

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Brian:

The Toshiba HD A1 is a superb upscaling SD DVD player, so if you can absorb the extra $150 or so over something like an Oppo player, you'll get the best of both worlds. (Though, obviously, that won't resolve this silly-ass format war.
)
 

Marty M

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Thanks for your review Brian. I am getting close to making a decision, espacially if my local A-V store will match the price Best Buy has on the 55" this week.
 

Ruben Z

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Sep 21, 2004
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Alright, I decided to connect our very very old Antenna that's still mounted to the top of our house from the old days when we didnt have any cable way back in the 80's and WOW!! my Hitatchi has a built in HD tuner and at first nothing was coming out clear, just noise and little picture. I then decided to use the auto scan for channels and it picked up around 5 Digital channels and NOW i'm impressed. Got to see my Dallas Cowboys play in HD!!
 

Bob_L

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Ruben, I'm almost as pleased about this as if it was MY first look at broadcast HD.

Fellow HTF members, I think we did a good deed today.
 

wally

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Feb 12, 2001
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473
I’d agree with all the replies Ruben. One big bonus I wasn’t expecting is watching OTA HD (baseball, football, NASCAR etc) sports on the networks. Football is particularly suited for HD. I hope as HD viewers continue to increase, the networks start shooting games with the wide aspect in mind. You can really see the play develop downfield. And I’m not even that big a fan! I have a 55” Sony w/ Dish Network, a $40 antenna, regular DVD player and could not be happier. I plan on waiting a bit more prior to jumping into the Hi Def DVD pool. I’m leaning toward a Blu-Ray player, but just not sure yet.

Plus, as that Best Buy commercial says, ours is the house the kids want to visit. There is real value in that!
 

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