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Old 12-08-03, 03:55 AM   #1
kthemmes
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Help in deciding on a HDTV

Hey Folks,

I am recieving at the end of the month, $2500 from my Grandmothers estate, and I am coming close to buying my first HDTV.

I still have a few questions about buying one, and if anyone can recommend something good.

My price range will be about $1500-$2000. A lot of people praise their RPTV's. Is there one brand better than the other?? Im also looking at a size between 42 - 47 inches due to the small living room I have. Also is the clarity any good on the RPTV's??

Also from the research i have done, using a PS2 or an Xbox on a RPTV is a no no. Even though i have heard some sales clerks say that you can. Not thats a problem, I would just hook up the ps2 on the 32 inch tv that was replaced. Even though playing a video game on a big scren would be fun.

I do have a good Home theater system built. I have a Yamaha HTR-5590 Digital Reciver, Two Yamaha Tower Speakers, Two Yamaha book shelf speaker, and One center speaker. Now all i need is the widscreen TV to go with it. (and maybe that last center speaker and sub to finish off the 6.1)

If anyone has any suggestions, Im open to your help.

Thanks again,

- kthemmes
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Old 12-13-03, 04:36 PM   #2
Lint21
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A few quick thoughts on your questions:

Is one brand better than another? Depends on who you ask. There are certainly some that are held in higher regard than others. Among those that seem to be well-respected are Toshiba, Panasonic, Hitachi, and Sony.Personally, I didn't pay much attention to brands like JVC, Samsung, and Phillips. Some people like Mitsubishi, but I'm wary of them since the local sales guys push them so hard. I think they get bonuses from Mitsubishi for selling them.

Is the clarity any good on RPTVs? It depends on what you are watching. I have a Hitachi 51SWX20B. DVDs look excellent, as does HD. Broadcast/cable TV is pretty good, but not nearly as nice as the 36" Sont Wega tube I tried before this. You will probably get a better picture across the board with a tube tv (in my experience), but widescreen tube sets are very expensive, and frankly, not large enough. With your smaller living room, though, you may not care about the difference from 36-40" to 50+".

I use my XBOX, PS2, and Gamecube on my RPTV a lot. I have noticed no ill effects. Just be smart and don't leave one image in place for hours at a time (think of the radar in GTAIII). When I bought my set, I got the extended warranty from Circuit City, which they said covers burn-in. Playing games on the big screen IS fun

The best advice I can give is, look at a bunch of sets before you buy anything. A few years back, I did tons of online research on tube TVs. There was a Toshiba that was hailed as being better than everything in its class, better features, etc. I was ready to buy it, but figured I should at least see it in person. When I went to the store, my girlfriend asked me why I didn't want a Sony. We looked at the Trinitrons and were sucked in by the flat screens they had (this was a while ago, when most Tubes were very curved). The Toshiba couldn't compete after seeing the picture quality on the Sony. We got a Sony.

The same thing happened when we bought the Hitachi RPTV. I was set on the forum favorite Panasonic, or maybe a Sony. Well, they were both alright, but each had its problems (to me). The Panasonic was decent enough, but it was hard to see from any angle other than straight on. Also, the Panny didn't have some feature I wanted (I think 720p support). The Sony had a screen protector that induced a huge amount of glare. I noticed the Hitachi and looked at it for a while. The screen was much more viewable from angles, important to me because I want everyone to be able to see the thing, not just the guy in the middle. I did some research online and found a bunch of extremely satisfied Hitachi owners. I'm just glad I held off from ordering a set online, where I might have saved a couple hundred bucks but been stuck with a set I didn't like.

Also, try buying at somewhere like Circuit City (maybe Best Buy or Good Guys) where they have a generous return policy. I mentioned the 36" Sony above. I bought that from CC, wanted bigger, and they came and picked it up for free 25 days after I bought it. I could have returned the Hitachi for 30 days too. The online vendor I looked at the most was OneCall.com, which I could not have returned to.

Anyway, sorry for rambling on like this. Good luck with your search, and for heaven's sake, get a subwoofer
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Old 12-13-03, 09:49 PM   #3
Frank S
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First let me clarify a few thing the above poster had wrote. First off tube HDTV's will NOT give you a better picture then CRT based RP/HDTV's! Tube HDTV's don't resolve (can not display) nearly as much resolution as a CRT based HDTV.

Also, I would stay away from Sony when it comes to CRT based RP/HDTV's! They have a VERY bad track record with quality control issues on these type HDTV's. Sony is great for tube based but NOT CRT based RP/HDTV's.

If you can squeeze up to 53" you will be able to get a MUCH better theater feeling and also be able to consider THE best price/performance HDTV's out there, the Pioneer SD (non-Elite) HDTV's. You should be able to find a 53" one for around $1400 and it will beat anything near it's price point. I know Costco sells the 64" model for around $1999 but I am not sure they sell the 53" model still.

Go HERE for the best place to read info on all the different manufacturer's HDTV's.

If space it a absolute minimum for you maybe consider a front projection setup as well. There are some decent DLP models BUT you need to demo some of these as there are some people who are sensitive to and will notice a rainbow effect which can casue headaches not to mention drive them nuts by noticing the rainbow effect. Newer models are getting better at reducing the rainbow effect but you should NEVER buy a DLP until you have actually demo'd the exact model you are going to buy a head of time to be sure you don't see the effect.

Last edited by Frank S; 12-13-03 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 12-14-03, 12:01 PM   #4
drmoze
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I concur with most of Frank's points above. The best bang for the buck these days (because the technology is mature) is the crt-based rptv's. And do go bigger. You think you want 47", go 53-55". We have a 65" WS and sit back just about 9' from it. No problems at all. Unlike the old tube sets, sitting closer than 3 diagonals away is not an issue. Especially with HD and progressive signals.

IMO, a big (36-42") direct-view flatscreen is just a big tv--nice, but just a tv. A big rptv (or a big plasma screen, although they are much pricier) feels more like a small movie screen. It envelops you more. (Yes, I'd probably get a projector if I had a basement with a windowless HT room!)

As for brands, I have to recommend Mitsubishi. High-quality, reliable, and very tweakable to fine-tune convergence, overscan, and linearity (important) in addition to the usual color/contrast/etc. settings. Pioneers are also well-regarded overall. My choice for a brand would be between these two, maybe a Hitachi third, wopuld also not recommend Sony for non-tube tv's. (Although Sony would be my first choice for a direct-view tv!)

And, looking at sets in stores really WON'T help, alas. The vast majority (read: all) of the rptvs there will be set up extremely poorly: contrast cranked up, color too saturated, convergence way off, etc. You cannot compare sets unless each is properly set up. This won't happen in a store. Best to go to the usual aficianado sites and trust the overall recommendations. Again, I think you can't go wrong with the Pioneers and Mitsus.

Random notes: I wouldn't pay extra for a built-in HDTV decoder. Not enough OTA to justify the cost. We have digital cable with a HD box at no extra charge. Between that and a progressive DVD player hooked up, I feel no need for any built-in HDTV circuitry.

Your HT setup sounds fine. (I like the Yammy receivers too.) I would definitely go for a good powered sub. Big screens need big sound! Looks like adding a sub will give you great audio overall.

Just my thoughts.....
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Old 12-14-03, 12:38 PM   #5
Lint21
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Just so that there is not an impression of conflict, I'd like to note that Frank S likely knows what he is talking about more than I do with regard to Tube vs. RPTVs. I don't know the technical specifics, so one might be technically superior so the other. All I was going on was my own impressions. To me, tube sets look great, but a lot of that could simply be my impression from watching broadcast/cable television (the difference was dramatic).

drmoze stated, "And, looking at sets in stores really WON'T help, alas." In my opinion, this is only partly true. Televisions *are* notoriously misconfigured in stores. However, most stores have the remotes available so that you can at least make a basic adjustment (lowering contrast and brightness). Also, many sets have a "Movie" setiing (or similar) that will get you closer to what videophiles would recommend with a minimum of hassle.

The other thaing that looking at a set in the store can do is help with completely subjective observations. I would not have known about the Sony's horrible screen protector if I had not gone to the store, or how difficult it was for me to see a Panasonic from an angle.
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Old 12-14-03, 02:17 PM   #6
drmoze
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One minor follow-up re: store displays: Even though you might be able to secure the remote and adjust the contrast and color saturation down, there's still a 95%+ chance that the convergence will be way off. And adjusting it is a pain, esp. for multiple sets. Bad convergence will make a picture look fuzzy and muddy the colors.

Also, curiously, many people like tube sets because they are used to having the saturation and contrast set much higher than they should be. Ideally, objects on tv in a normally (and indirectly) lit room should look just like those in the actual room around the tv. (Pop Quiz: Does your tv pass this simple test?) I see so many tvs where the color is so saturated that it looks more like a garish painting than like anything natural. If you're lacking a caliration disc, try tweaking the settings with this simple test to get a more natural picture. (Obvious, but many people never think to do it.)
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Old 12-20-03, 05:03 AM   #7
DVD Polizei
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Frank S,

What is your opinion on the Sony LCD RPTVs? Like the 42" and 50" versions.
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Old 12-20-03, 05:09 AM   #8
Frank S
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Quote:
Originally posted by DVD Polizei
Frank S,

What is your opinion on the Sony LCD RPTVs? Like the 42" and 50" versions.
I'm not really a fan of any LCD TV's. I just don't like the black levels on LCD's that are more grey levels. And if your like me and prefer the more film like look LCD are just to "digital looking" for my tastes as well
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Old 01-15-04, 03:17 PM   #9
kthemmes
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Okay, I made my first HDTV purchase.

I picked up a Mitsubishi 48" widescren HDTV
model # ws-48313. It's what my budget could afford, and I was impressed with the clarity over the others I looked at.

I hope I made a good choice. I feel good about it though. It gets delivered on Monday

Thnaks again

- kthemmes
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Old 01-15-04, 03:53 PM   #10
Shannon Nutt
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You made a good choice...although keep in mind that the TV you bought doesn't have built-in HDTV, which means you'll have to get a converter box from your cable company AND your cable company has to offer HDTV programming.

I recently bought a 55513, which has a built-in tuner, and a DVI input (which I use for DVD viewing). The built in tuner is used for Over the Air broadcasts (I pick up ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, and the WB, although FOX and the WB still aren't broadcasting HD shows...at least not in my area). I also get ABC, NBC, HBO, SHOWTIME and STARZ via my cable company in HDTV.

You'll notice that TV shows look great when broadcast in HDTV...but LIVE events (CBS Football, The Tonight Show) are simply fantastic!

I think you'll be happy with your Mitsubishi though - I know I love mine.

Last edited by Shannon Nutt; 01-15-04 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 01-15-04, 05:15 PM   #11
covenant
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Quote:
Originally posted by Frank S
Tube HDTV's don't resolve (can not display) nearly as much resolution as a CRT based HDTV.
Doesn't CRT stand for Cathode ray tube??

I've seen RPTVs with higher resolution than some CRT TVs and vice versa. It's not something you can generalize.

Last edited by covenant; 01-15-04 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 01-15-04, 06:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by covenant
Doesn't CRT stand for Cathode ray tube??

I've seen RPTVs with higher resolution than some CRT TVs and vice versa. It's not something you can generalize.
Except CRT RPTVs generally have 3 CRTs, 7" or larger. This allows them to resolve 1100+ lines, more than single CRTs are capable of. I believe single CRT sets max out at about 800 lines.
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Old 01-15-04, 10:44 PM   #13
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Duh! what was I thinking...I forgot those things behind the screen.....
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Old 01-20-04, 06:37 AM   #14
kthemmes
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I have a few questions about my RPTV, as stated above I went with the 48" Mits.

It arrived no problem yesterday evening. I havent had time with work.and prior commitments, to get it hooked up and ready to go.

I ordered the DVE, and it should be here in a few days.

Is there anything you guys can recommend I do with the contrast, and what not. Just something to get me started until the DVE gets here

Also Sine I took down my 27" tv stand, i have no where to put my center channel speaker. The center channel speaker is a Yamaha, and is magneticaly shielded. Would it be a problem if I set it on top on the RPTV, or should I rig a shelf to my wall? Just figured id get your thought.

Also if there is anything else you guys can advise me on feel free. Im holding off on the HDTV tuner from dish tv. Its a little expensive, so ill out my money away for now.

thanks again,

Kent B. Themmes
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Old 01-20-04, 11:28 AM   #15
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Turn the contrast way down. You shouldn't be able to watch the set in a well-lighted room. At least not for very long.

If you have any DVDs with the THX calibration you can use that to get close.
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Old 01-21-04, 01:13 AM   #16
Bagheera
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kthemmes

There was somone on another thread that had a custom peice of glass cust to put across the top of the screen with lillte no slip pads on all four corner to direct the wieght to the edges of the frame.

Can you tell me how far away are you from the screen? Does it feel "imursive" to you with the 48" ?
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Old 01-31-04, 05:57 PM   #17
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I am thinking of buying a Panasonic HDTV 47" Widescreen. I checked out Circuit City and Best Buy and got two different opinions. The guy at Best Buy told me not to bother even buying a HDTV if I am still using just regular cable because the picture will be horrible. He said to just I would be better off just buying a 36" tube. Circuit City on the other hand told me the picture from regular cable will just as good as my current 27" tube but no worse. Of course I know DVD's with a progressive scan player will look awesome. I was wondering if you guys could help me out here!! Thanks.
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Old 01-31-04, 06:26 PM   #18
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The quality of a standard definition signal on a HDTV will be determined by the quality of the signal (whether it's digital or analog), the TV's line doubler and/or upconversion to 480p, 540p or 1080i (depending on brand and model) and finally the TV's stretch modes that you might decide to use. A SD direct view TV will only look better in the sense that the display is smaller and the combination of a SD TV hiding some of the deficiencies of the signal and that signal not being processes further to display on a HDTV. You need to decide if having DVD and HD look great is worth the trade off on a somewhat poorer SD viewing experience. I don't have HD of any kind yet but the move to a 55" HDTV was worth it to me for DVD viewing alone.
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Old 01-31-04, 07:46 PM   #19
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Thanks chipmac. I just don't want to get the TV and be so disappointed that I would to take it back. Not sure why the Best Buy salesman was so against the HDTV. I think I am going to go for it tomorrow.
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Old 02-02-04, 11:48 AM   #20
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I have the 47" panasonic, and I have to say, the Standard cable isnt that bad and in fact some channels are better ( I do have digital cable just to mention). I had the same reservations as you did, because although it isnt the most expensive TV out there, it is still a big investment for me. After watching the Superbowl in HD, it is a trade-off Im glad I made and I find myself more and more just wanting to stay home and watch TV and movies.
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Old 02-02-04, 02:08 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by FantasticVSDoom
I have the 47" panasonic, and I have to say, the Standard cable isnt that bad and in fact some channels are better ( I do have digital cable just to mention). I had the same reservations as you did, because although it isnt the most expensive TV out there, it is still a big investment for me. After watching the Superbowl in HD, it is a trade-off Im glad I made and I find myself more and more just wanting to stay home and watch TV and movies.
I bought it yesterday and had it home and setup in time for the Super Bowl. Although I didn't see it in HD the picture was definitely acceptable and actually looked pretty good! I am happy with and definitely looking forward to the first movie when I get a new DVD Player. Right now my DVD player 4+ years old and no S-Video or component. I would recommend this TV.
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Old 02-07-04, 08:18 AM   #22
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SD cable is terrible. digital cable looks great! SD cable will look worse on a HDTV than a old 27"tube. some SD canle channels look better than others. I know I have both and all my channels look great on my old tube but on my sony wega HDTV SD cable looks terrible and digital cable channels look great and HDTV cable is fantastic. the signal into my house is the best it can be! im close to the pole it comes stright o my drop amp and one line to my HDTV and the other to a splitter and the rest of the tvs in the house.

on the cable box diagnostics. I get almost 25db snr and agc is 10-12%. (these are considered good #'s for the signal)

I would still buy HDTV. as on my sony I can make any sd cable channel look good with my settings.

Sony Wegs 36" XBR800 has alot of settings to make the picture look good. nobody has a better signal than I do on cable and still SD channels would be unwatchable if not for the Sony Wega settings.

if someone can tell me that a tube HDTV isnt as good as others in resolution than I guess im blind cause from where im sitting the picture is fantastic.

personally I dont like RPTV's the viewing angles are just terrible. prefference im sure but all my friends have them and I never liked the picture. nice units too. look good but cant beat a FP or Tube IMO.

good time to buy. I bought my Sony Wega 36" XBR800 HDTV for $1100 brand new in box. thats a steal for this tv!
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