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O/T - HDTV advise

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by AveragEd, Dec 10, 2009.

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  1. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    The wife and I are about to take the plunge and buy an HDTV between now and Christmas but I'm a tad confused. I don't want to buy something that will be obsolete in a few years or pay several hundred extra for more TV than we need. I know a lot of you have HDTVs and am hoping for some good advise. After all, what else could I expect from trapshooters?

    For several reasons, we settled on a 50" set but would consider larger if we can justify the added expense. Our viewing distance is about 16' and we're currently happy with a 36" Sony flat-screen CRT set. At 63 (soon), we're not gamers and do not own a Blu Ray player (yet, anyway). We watch mostly network broadcasts and sports via Verizon FIOS and an occasional DVD.

    Some information sources tell me that at our viewing distance, we would not see any difference between 720p and 1080p. Two Internet sources state that no cable, satellite or broadcast provider has any plans to release any 1080p programming and that since a 1080p set cannot improve a 720p broadcast, the only way one can deliver a better picture is from a Blu Ray disc, as that is the only 1080p media currently offered. And then, according to some sources, we would have to have a 720p set right beside a 1080p set to be able to see a slight difference in even a Blu Ray disc at our viewing distance. With that knowledge(?), I went to a store last night with all intentions of buying an $850 Samsung 720p plasma set. But the salesperson, who is not commissioned, insisted that 1080p would be the industry programming standard in a few years and that it would be foolish to buy anything less.

    So, given our viewing characteristics, should I spend another $400 for 1080p?

    Ed
     
  2. esoxhunter

    esoxhunter Well-Known Member

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    Ed: I guess the best advice I can give is too visit a large showroom that has these TV's on display and try to decide that way. I have a 46" Toshiba with 1080 and am totally satisfied. A friend of mine has a 52" Samsung with 1080 and that too has an excellent picture. I visited the "Newegg" website and their 52" Samsungs seem to all have 1080. Prices range from $1100 on up. If I were purchasing a new set, I would opt for a Samsung 52" 1080 and sit back and enjoy!! It seems you could opt for a less expensive set; but the Samsung is really a top of the line TV. JMHO. Ed
     
  3. tp

    tp TS Member

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    Ed, I'm a little confused as I have 2 HDTVs and DirecTv. Some of the HD programming shows it is 720p, and some of it says it is 1080p.I also have a Blu Ray player. The picture is stunning. I would spend the extra money.
     
  4. mixer

    mixer Well-Known Member

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    You only live once. Get the biggest Samsung lcd/led 1080p that will fit in the room.


    Eric
     
  5. chiefjon

    chiefjon Active Member

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    Ed,

    One option is to buy your TV from Costco. If you don't like the size or the photo, they will take it back...no questions asked. I have a 42" LCD in the Bedroom and a 55" in the family room...love 'em.

    JON
     
  6. V10

    V10 Well-Known Member

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    Ed,

    Do what mixer said. Buy the biggest set that will fit in the space you have. I've never heard anybody say "I wish I'd bought a smaller TV."

    You do realize that you will need to get the "HD" package whether you use cable or satellite, right?Basic cable is not in HD. Just because you have an HD set doesn't mean everything appears in HD. There are separate channels that carry HD programming.
     
  7. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    I ordered an HD set top box from Verizon two days ago, so I should be ready for the new set before we get it.

    I'll look into Costco - the savings might be worth the cost of a year's membership. The nearest one to us is about 20 miles away but we do belong to a nearby BJ's Wholesale Club and I do intend to shop there. One thing I am sceptical of is buying from a wholesale club and not receiving any skilled setup assistance like Best Buy's Geek Squad. My son received a free Geek Squad calibration when he bought his 50" Samsung plasma and siad it made a noticeable improvement in the picture quality.

    I went to a Best Buy last night and the salesperson told me that he did not own a TV set...

    Ed
     
  8. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    Vern, I had DirecTV for a few weeks a couple of years ago. Even though the technicians who installed it said we had 92% signal strength (that's good, they told me), the picture was not as good as Comcast's digital cable - I showed them that before they left but they could do nothing to improve it. We also lost two channels that my wife likes and DirecTV didn't offer them with any package, so I exercised my 30-day satisfaction guarantee and returned the set top boxes to terminate my contract. They wouldn't take the dish back and the damned thing is still screwed into my roof! Want a spare?

    We went with Verizon FIOS as soon as it was available in our area and it's even better than Comcast's digital cable. Jason thought so, too, and he also switched to FIOS.

    Ed
     
  9. trim tab

    trim tab Active Member

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    The following is the recommended screen size for viewing distance. Also, go to crutchfield.com and click on learn at top of webpage and it will take you to Crutchfield Learning center. On the left is plasma vs LCD, placing your tv & screen size as well as answering everything you need to know about HDTV.



    Screen Viewing distance range
    26" 3.25-5.5 feet
    32" 4.0-6.66 feet
    37" 4.63-7.71 feet
    40" 5.0-8.33 feet
    46" 5.75-9.5 feet
    52" 6.5-10.8 feet
    58" 7.25-12 feet
    65" 8.13-13.5 feet
    70" 8.75-14.75 feet
     
  10. JerryP

    JerryP Active Member

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    Look ahead, don't buy less than 1080 and 120hz. I can't get into Sam's without walking past the tv's. The new LED's are 240hz, about $500 more, I have heard they won't have the life span of lcd but don't know if it is true.
    The tv you have now sounds nice enough. I have wasted so much $ on antiquated electronics I am burnt out and will wait a little longer. That salesman at Best Buy may have the right idea.
     
  11. andybull

    andybull Active Member

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    I've been considering the Samsung UN55B8500 55" LED TV. It is the BOMB (for about 6 months or so).

    Andy
     
  12. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    I know our viewing distance is long for any screen size but we're happy looking at a 36" screen now and do plan to move to a smaller home in the next few years, so spending thousands of dollars for the "right" size according to a formula might not be a good idea right now.

    I thought about waiting for LED to become perfected and less costly but by then, something else even better will likely be on the horizon. As someone else said, these TVs are lot like computers were 10 years ago.

    During my shopping and learning process, I've found that LCD has a brighter picture than plasma but it can be too bright in a dimly-lit room while plasma can be too dim in a brightly-lit room, but most of our "quality" viewing time is in the evening, so plasma won that round. And there's always heavier curtains...

    Next, unless you get a high-end LCD set, you can experience blurring during fast-moving action scenes in movies and, of course, sports. I watched part of a football game on a friend's Sony LCD HDTV and when the replay camera followed a thrown football, it about made me nauseous. Another point for plasma. A higher-end LCD set might not do that but now we're talking a lot more money. Remember, whatever we buy today will probably be outdated five years from now unless we go for a high-end LED set - and even then, it wouldn't surprise me.

    While shopping, I was able to look at the same programming on LCD and plasma sets side-by-side. Last night, I watched part of a hockey game and everything looked much brighter on the LCD set but then I thought about the times I have gone to a hockey game - the ice just isn't that "white" in real life. I give both sets equally high marks for picture quality, however.

    Gamers need only look at LCD - it's the best for that use and can't "burn in" but that's been alleviated to some degree on today's plasma sets.

    Our son has a 1080p Samsung plasma and between watching his set, the learning I've done and the advice of salespeople and other HDTV owners, our best choice seems to be plasma.

    I read numerous Internet plasma HDTV comparisons and every one comes down to Panasonic and Samsung with Samsung usually squeaking out a victory, so that's not even a tough decision. It's the 720/1080 thing ... the savings with 720p is very inviting. But is what we MIGHT see under OUR viewing conditions on a 1080p set worth the extra money?

    Ed
     
  13. RobertT

    RobertT Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to second what Ed and Vern said with the following comments. Stay away from Plasma, they don't hold up over time. Bargain prices now because LCD's have come so far and have a life expectancy of 20yrs. LED refers to the method of backlighting the screen and provides a more dynamic picture, also they consume about 40% less power and should last as long or longer than LCD's. If you mainly view sports by all means get the 240hz vs. 120hz providing the price tag fits. Nothing on the market can compare with a Samsung LED at 240hz in whatever screen size you choose. Screen sizes listed by Trim Tab are minimal viewing distances.

    One more thing to consider. I bought my Samsung from Amazon, no sales tax, free shipping and lower than price tag than any other retailer in my area including Costco and Fry's. Though they don't do setup, the delivery people unboxed it in front of me and hauled away the box and packing. Saved a little over $450.00.

    Finally, buy a SAMSUNG! By the way, my son just gave me a Samsung blu ray to compliment my tv. Best plug and play compatibility experience ever. Most importantly, live long and enjoy.

    Robert
     
  14. V10

    V10 Well-Known Member

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    Ed,

    720p may be perfectly adequate for you. A 720 set won't become "obsolete" in the sense that it won't receive a 1080 signal. It just won't be able to display the input to it's fullest potential. But it will still look very good.
     
  15. V10

    V10 Well-Known Member

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    The link above is to a discussion of 720 vs. 1080. Some of it gets a bit dense, but overall it may provide some useful info.
     
  16. fritzi93

    fritzi93 TS Member

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    To clear up some confusion: As far as I know, there is still *NO* broadcast 1080p content, none. Nowhere, not cable, not sat, not OTA. For HD, it's all either 1080i (interlaced) or 720p (progressive). It's mostly because of bandwidth, and content providers are not gonna be in a hurry to provide 1080p. 1080p is Blu-Ray only right now.

    Interlaced is not necessarily bad, all decent, current production sets will deinterlace anyway and display as progressive. Interlaced signal is in alternating fields, odd and even lines, an archaic holdover from analog; progressive is entire frame at once.

    LED is not a gimmick, but to be clear, all it means is LED *backlit* LCD, instead of LCD with cold cathode fluorescent backlighting. Edge backlit LEDs rival plasma for picture quality. They're pretty pricey right now. Expect prices on them to drop as production ramps up. But prices on regular LCDs have been dropping anyway, expect them to drop further as LEDs gain share.

    Blu-Ray players and discs have also been dropping in price, in an effort to gain momentum for the format.

    Go ahead and get the 1080p set. Unless you want to snap up a 720p set cheap. You can expect phase out on production of 720p sets for anything larger than ~32". At the viewing distance you specify, 720p is indeed enough; but if you ever sit closer than that you'll see a difference when displaying 1080i or Blu-Ray, 50" is getting pretty large.

    And go big, nobody ever regretted getting the biggest HDTV they could swing. OTOH, lots of folks regret that they went too small. You're gonna have it quite a while, if manufacturer estimates are correct about longevity.
     
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