Your Home Theater

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Your Home Theater

Postby Angelspit » Jan 14 2007, 15:42

I finally got to try a HD television during the holidays (until then, I didn't pay much attention to them in the stores) and was really impressed with the results. I'm considering buying one later this year for my new living room downstairs and read a bit about the new DVD formats and the various display technologies.

What path have you chosen? Plasma, LCD, Blu-ray or HD-DVD? Which brand and model of TV?

(my apologies to those of you who can't afford those, please just ignore this thread)

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Postby ScarlettP » Jan 14 2007, 16:15

I'm in the "Can't Afford One" catagory. But my old TV gave up the ghost in November... well, it was still coughing a little, but we put it out of our misery and bought a new one. Called it a "Family Christmas Present". We got a 32" reg TV and a Surround Sound system and a DVD recorder that will transfer VHS to DVD... all for WAY less than the smallest HDTV. I have to admit, I'm grooving on the Surround Sound. When HDTV's come down in price in a few years, I'll get one. 'Till then, I'm happy.

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Postby Jolly Joker » Jan 14 2007, 16:38

I bought three LCDs in 2005 for our home. My daughter got one for her room, and we afforded one each for the office and the sleeping room. We had a fairly new old-tech monster of a Panasonic tv in the living room which no one ever uses, since we don't watch tv in the living room.
We went for 20 inch screens because they are big wnough for those rooms and offer enough resolution, contrast and so on and still were reasonably priced.
Anyways, there's no way back to anything that's square and massive and can't be moved easily.

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Postby Corribus » Jan 14 2007, 17:29

Heh, since I just went through this myself....

A few pieces of advice, and then I will say what I ultimately did.

1. The TV you want get depends on three considerations: Your target price, your available space, and the nature of your available spacse. Also, to some extent, what you want to do with it.

2. Price: Before doing ANYTHING, decide how much are you are going to going to spend, MAX. This will make it much easier for you. Also realize that, depending on the age of your television, you may want/need to buy a new DVD player, cables, surge protector, TV stand, and warranty, so you'll need to factor that in. In my case, when I added all that crap up, I spent about 700-800 dollars more than the cost of the TV alone.

3. Space size: You need to decide what size you want to get. Naturally, since you are male, you will want to get the most absurdly large TV possible. Trust me, it's hard-coded in your genes. You can find information about optimal sizes at places like cnet.com. Just to benchmark you, for a 50 inch television, which is a nice size for a home theater, you need to sit AT A MINIMUM 6 feet from the screen.

4. Nature of space: basically, do you want to hang the TV on the wall, or not? If you are renting, I suggest against it, because unless you want unsightly wires, you need to drill lots of holes in the wall and drop wires. If you aren't hanging it one the wall, plasma and LCD are not worth the price for large TV.

5. Don't get caught up in reading too many reviews at places like CNET. You'll drive yourself nuts. The truth is, unless you are a videophile you takes note of every little imperfection, you're going to be happy with anything. You just need to decide what TYPE of tv you want.

Ok, so to sum up TV types. Here's a flow chart:

LCD: great for smaller TVs. Say, less than 32 inches. Definitely the way to go. Very bright, nice picture, though expensive.

Plasma: If you want to get a big TV and want to hang it on the wall, this is the way to go. However, compared to rear projection, which are slightly more bulky, they are quite expensive. Also the picture is generally inferior to rear projection, but it's all relative. They're still great. (Also note that plasmas have burn-in issues. It's a problem that is a little overblown, but if you are going to be playing video games, I'd reconsider the plasma.) Also, there are no 1080p support yet in plasmas, if that's what you want.

Rear Project: bulkier than plasmas and lcds (though not nearly like the old tube tvs), but for larger TVs you get a huge cost payoff. For identical sizes, rear projection TVS are probably 30% cheaper. Downside, aside from bulkiness, is they have bulbs and stuff that burn out and need to be periodically replaced. But, they also have superior picture and you can access 1080p regime. There are lots of different types of rear projection TVs with different technologies all with slightly different purported advantages and disadvantages. But when you boil it all down, they are all very similar IMO. Samsung really dominates this market though with the their DLP sets, although Sony has some market share with their longish acronym that escapes my at the moment.

Whatever you get, make sure the TV has a built-in HD tuner if you're going to watch HD cable.. Most do, but you don't want a nasty surprise when you try to watch HD programming.

That said, what I finally went with after months of playing the review reading game, I went with a Samsung 50" 720p DLP TV. The reason is that I liked the way it looked, it fit my space, it was the right size (a little bit on the large side for my room, but they discontinued the 46" set), and Samsung has an impeccable reputation for their DLP TVs. I bought the set for about $1600 US. The 1080p version was about 600 dollars more. 1080p is the rage right now, since it's new, but there is no programming out for it yet and HD-DVD players are in the middle of a format war AND absurdly expensive, so I didn't feel 1080p was worth the extra price. 720p is still quite amazing and such an upgrade over my old TV that it's like night and day. This TV also has lots of great connections and options that I haven't begun to really figure out. Some people complain about the built in sound and also some visual distortions that have to do with DLP technology, but for me the sound is find and I never have been able to see the rainbow distortions the videophiles point out. You have to like stare at the TV for 10 second and then turn your head real fast to see the rainbow, but: so what?

Anyway, I've been very happy with the product. Just FYI the Sony rear projects are also supposed to be good but they're more expensive. Samsung is very affordable. Of course, I had to get a bunch of other stuff which drove up the cost as I said. Including a new DVD player. You want a DVD player that has at least progressive scan (which you can get for very cheap) or preferable one that has HDMI output and HD upconversion. This way your DVDs almost look like they are HD. The difference is actually quite noticeable and the DVD players are very cheap (mine was like 100 dollars). Spending 50 dollars on a surge protector hurts but it is worth it. Also don't fall into the hype of buying monster cables that are very overpriced. An HDMI cable should cost you 30 dollars at most. Component cables no more than 15-20.

Since the SB is coming up, here in the states now is a great time to buy. I bought mine online at circuit city and got several rebates, they delivered it to my door, and I had no problems. I do suggest going and looking at the product at the store before you buy, but they give you great incentives to buy online.

Anyway, that's a lot of rambling. If you have more questions, don't hesitate to ask. Also, I should mention, I also recently bought a little LCD for my bedroom (15") and helped my parents-in-law buy a ~27" LCD TV for their family room. It was a Sony, and quite nice. But, as I said, very expensive for the size.

EDIT: let me add, after rereading your original post AS. I would recommend against buying one of the HD DVD formats yet. For several reasons. First, price. They are wickedly expensive, and will come down in price. Second, unless you are going to also pay the extra money for a 1080p TV, it's pretty worthless. Regular DVD is 480p, but with upconversion almost as good as 720p DVD IMO. But more importantly, since what you have is basically a format war going on, it's very possible that one of the two technologies is going to lose out to the other. Those with the loser are going to be out a lot of money (remember betamax?). HD DVD won't be the standard yet for several years I feel and it's just an unnecessary risk at this point unless you have money to blow. If you're going from a regular old TV, the improvement with a 720p television is going to be so much anyway that it just don't really make sense to pay so much extra money for a little more improvement that you might not even be able to capitalize on anyway. THat was the basis for my decision, anyway.
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Postby Caradoc » Jan 14 2007, 17:59

A year ago, I bought SONY's 50" hi-res LCD HDTV and am very satisfied. I did note a loss of clarity from viewing angles over 45 degrees or when direct light is hitting the screen. But otherwise the picture is clear and sharp.

I have always bought SONY televisions and have never had a complaint. They are the undisputed technology leaders in the industry. TI is another technology driver and their DLP screens are very sharp, so if I were in the market today, I'd be looking at one of the SONY DLP models.
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Postby Angelspit » Jan 14 2007, 18:03

Thanks a lot Corribus, I learned a couple of things there.

No matter what I do, the DVD upgrade will probably happen later. As much as I'd love to watch The Matrix and LOTR in HD, I want to make sure I don't waste money on a technology that's going to be obsolete before long.

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Postby Corribus » Jan 14 2007, 18:20

Caradoc wrote:I have always bought SONY televisions and have never had a complaint. They are the undisputed technology leaders in the industry. TI is another technology driver and their DLP screens are very sharp, so if I were in the market today, I'd be looking at one of the SONY DLP models.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I do not believe Sony manufactures DLP televisions aside from external projectors. Samsung has pretty much cornered the market on this technology (although there are a few other brands that sell DLP sets). Sony has primarily stakes their claim to LCD technology. Although they do sell rear projection sets, these are based on LCOS and SXRD technology, which is a type of LCD tech. They are very nice sets, no doubt, but also very expensive compared to DLP technology with little extra benefit, if any. Samsung makes LCD TVs also, but Sony is known for the quality of their LCD sets, so if you're going to go LCD, definitely go SONY despite the higher prices (although my little one is an "inexpensive" magnavox and I love it, so go figure...).
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Postby ThunderTitan » Jan 14 2007, 18:22

I'm currently at my home theater. :devil:
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Postby Kalah » Jan 14 2007, 22:12

I bought a CRT TV just before the shops started selling almost nothing but LCDs and plasmas... Thus I got a great deal on a Philips 32" widescreen with a flat monitor and terrific sound. I bought it mostly because I think the flatscreen technology (especially with regards to plasma screens) has a long way yet to go as far as both quality and reliability are concerned, whereas the old tube technology has been perfected for half a century. When this TV is 10-15 years old and ready for the scrapheap, I'm betting flatscreens will be both excellent in quality and reletively cheap.

My DVD player is a Sony DVP-NS333, a fairly standard model. I have connected both it and a new VHS player (also bought because they were about to stop production) to the TV, and connnected the DVD player to my home built amplifier and two speakers. Thus I have a stereo set and home movie theatre built into one. And it rocks.

The only thing I haven't connected to the TV yet is a PlayStation... Hmm...

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Postby ThunderTitan » Jan 14 2007, 22:20

All right.. you guys so need to post pics.
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Postby Kalah » Jan 14 2007, 22:30

Don't have a camera now, but here's one I've posted before...

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Postby Metathron » Jan 14 2007, 22:43

Is that a lava lamp intruding into the photo? Man, those are great! :-D
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Postby ThunderTitan » Jan 14 2007, 23:26

Metathron wrote:Is that a lava lamp intruding into the photo? Man, those are great! :-D


For what exactly? :|
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Postby Kalah » Jan 14 2007, 23:37

Yes it is a lava lamp... the pic isn't great... I'll post a new one focusing on the set as soon as I can get hold of a camera.

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Postby Caradoc » Jan 15 2007, 7:38

Corribus, you are right about SONY and DLP. I did a quick Google and saw a set listed, but it turns out the DLP reference was for cables.
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Postby Mytical » Jan 15 2007, 7:48

How about us who can afford it, but choose not to? :). Seriously, never been much of a tech junkie. If my computer is up to par, I am happy :). I would not go with HD as I do believe it will be obsolete soon. I may not have an LCD or Plasma Screen, but my tv sufices. Plasma is nice though, don't get me wrong. Anyhow some advice.

Make a budget on all your upgrades, and stick to it. Buy the things that you like and think will last. Purchase reasonably and try to avoid credit if possible (remember some credit places make you pay 1/4th of your purchases price extra a YEAR). Enjoy your new system :).
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Re: Your Home Theater

Postby Panda Tar » Jan 15 2007, 11:34

Angelspit wrote:(my apologies to those of you who can't afford those, please just ignore this thread)


Ignored. :cantsee:

But I know many people that have a Plasma TV (home theater all the same) and they say it's resolution is not good. I'd always go to a...well, I know not the right word for that, but cannon TV. Alas, it's too heavy if you want a 42" or more. LG is the most seen, followed by Samsung and some Gradiente.

Home theaters are quite cheap here. ;| What kills our pockets are the TVs prices. :S
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Re: Your Home Theater

Postby ThunderTitan » Jan 15 2007, 12:51

Panda Tar wrote:But I know many people that have a Plasma TV (home theater all the same) and they say it's resolution is not good.


Prob coz the ones with good resolution cost an arm and a leg...
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Postby Panda Tar » Jan 15 2007, 13:16

Not at all. You place the two of them with same resolution side-by-side, and you see a sharp difference. Plasma is good only to save space, imho.
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Postby ThunderTitan » Jan 15 2007, 13:33

Well it's not the resolution, but the sharpness or something. That's why i don't consider plasma's worth it, you pay almost twice the price to get the sme quality as a normal TV. But i'm sure they'll eventualy get there.
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