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The HD Minimum: $1400?

Old 01-25-08, 12:33 AM
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The HD Minimum: $1400?

I've wanted to HD for so long now but the more I learn the more I'm discouraged.

I bought an HD camcorder on boxing day and I absolutely adore it. Soon I will be able to edit HD on my computer and it seems dumb to have no way to view it, so I plan to re-purchase (had before and loved) a PS3.

$400 (actually I'd pay $500 and get the 80GB)

Okay, I can do that. It's a great system, does blu-ray, HD on disk, could probably network to my comp. (it's a mac, would that work?) and it would last me a long time.

Now I just need a TV that's big enough to appreciate HD. I can get a 32" Toshiba for $100 less than online standard locally.

$600 (actually I'd pay $700 and get a projector and screen).

But, I'm told, HD is kind of useless with surround sound, or at least having a big screen is pointless without big-screen sound. Cheapest surround sound systems:

$400.

Total: $1400 cheapest (or 1600 for what I'd get). That doesn't include cables, tables, stands, converters, shipping or tax.

Is there something I'm missing here or am I getting caught up in corporate spin? Is there a cheaper way to appreciate this technology, because there's a lot of things I'd rather have for that price tag than a better home theater experience...even if it is '6x' the resolution.
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Old 01-25-08, 12:40 AM
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Well, one thing to consider is that most of us didn't just buy everything at once. We at least had the surround system already, and many had bought the HDTV a few years ago. I had the sound system, but got the projector and player around the same time (I wasn't interested in getting an HD display until there was a disc media format for it).

BTW, surround sound isn't an absolute requirement for HD. Some people just don't care about it. My brother, for instance, has never had or cared to get surround sound, but has both HDM formats and numerous movies. However, if you do get a projector you'll need at least a basic stereo system to get any sound at all.
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Old 01-25-08, 08:14 AM
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I'm at $2,650 and haven't bought the soundsystem yet. But... I bought the TV with last year's tax return and bought the PS3 and my first batch of Blu-rays by trading in some DVDs I didn't watch much and just getting Netflix instead. Perhaps if that tax rebate goes through this year, I will get started on the soundsystem. So yes, HD can be pretty expensive for the average Joe (definitely something I save for and use credit cards on), but it's worth it in the long run!

One tip I would have for you is don't think the HDMI cables will be expensive. Just get them from Monoprice. My 3' cables at $5 apiece work perfectly.
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Old 01-25-08, 10:35 AM
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Drexl and Dane are right on all points, but I would just reiterate and expand on a few things:

-- it's well worth it to upgrade incrementally, spreading it out over months or years so that you have time to save up and spend a little more for higher quality components. don't get the cheapest available of each thing just to get it all at once.

-- it's definitely not essential to have surround sound, at least not immediately. for most people, the improvement in picture quality that HD provides is much more noticeable than the improvement in audio. that said, surround sound adds a lot to the experience, so it should be on your radar for the future.

Honestly, if you're going to spend $1400 right now, I would recommend looking for a creative deal that will get you a > 40" 1080p tv (for example, tigerdirect.com has a refurbished 47" Vizio for $999) and then get the PS3 (still the best blu-ray player for the money). then save for a year or two and add a surround sound system later.
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Old 01-25-08, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Chicken Warrior
$400 (actually I'd pay $500 and get the 80GB)
Not to rush you or anything, but I think Sony has discontinued this model. I scoured the DC area for one of these and came up empty handed. Ended up having to order it from Best Buy online. A friend told me the next generation will not support backwards compatibility (PS2). If that is important to you, you should grab one ASAP.
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Old 01-25-08, 10:47 AM
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32 inches seems awfully small for me. I have a 42 and I think its the perfect size for decent size condos, apartments, etc.

I'm still using my old receiver from like 2000 and it works great..so if you want to cheap out a little bit, pick up a cheaper receiver. Sure you won't be able to decode the latest and greatest audio codec, but I'm perfectly happy with what I'm getting.
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Old 01-25-08, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by kefrank
Drexl and Dane are right on all points, but I would just reiterate and expand on a few things:

-- it's well worth it to upgrade incrementally, spreading it out over months or years so that you have time to save up and spend a little more for higher quality components. don't get the cheapest available of each thing just to get it all at once.

-- it's definitely not essential to have surround sound, at least not immediately. for most people, the improvement in picture quality that HD provides is much more noticeable than the improvement in audio. that said, surround sound adds a lot to the experience, so it should be on your radar for the future.

Honestly, if you're going to spend $1400 right now, I would recommend looking for a creative deal that will get you a > 40" 1080p tv (for example, tigerdirect.com has a refurbished 47" Vizio for $999) and then get the PS3 (still the best blu-ray player for the money). then save for a year or two and add a surround sound system later.

I agree with all of this except the 40" Vizio 1080p part of it.

get a 42" 720p Panasonic plasma for around $900. Will BLOW AWAY the Vizio in terms of PQ and you get one of the most reliable TVs on the market.
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Old 01-25-08, 11:39 AM
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^ I would sacrifice the 2'' and spend the extra $99 for the upgrade from 720p to 1080p...its definately worth it.
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Old 01-25-08, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSpacey

get a 42" 720p Panasonic plasma for around $900. Will BLOW AWAY the Vizio in terms of PQ and you get one of the most reliable TVs on the market.
I agree. you can also get a Pioneer (non-elite) receiver for pretty cheap.
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Old 01-25-08, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BambooLounge
^ I would sacrifice the 2'' and spend the extra $99 for the upgrade from 720p to 1080p...its definately worth it.
the vizio i suggested is actually 47", so it is 5" larger than the suggested panasonic and is 1080p.

panasonic is definitely a better overall tv than vizio, but if the goal is to get a setup mainly for Blu-ray, i personally wouldn't compromise on a 720p set. my vizio suggestion was really just a hypothetical - the important points being that the TV be larger than 40" and 1080p. on the mentioned budget and at those specs, i don't think you'll find a much better value than the vizio. if the budget can be higher, or you want to get the TV first and can wait on the blu-ray player for awhile, then certainly consider a 42" panasonic 1080p set.
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Old 01-25-08, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by kefrank
the vizio i suggested is actually 47", so it is 5" larger than the suggested panasonic and is 1080p.

panasonic is definitely a better overall tv than vizio, but if the goal is to get a setup mainly for Blu-ray, i personally wouldn't compromise on a 720p set. my vizio suggestion was really just a hypothetical - the important points being that the TV be larger than 40" and 1080p. on the mentioned budget and at those specs, i don't think you'll find a much better value than the vizio. if the budget can be higher, or you want to get the TV first and can wait on the blu-ray player for awhile, then certainly consider a 42" panasonic 1080p set.
The compromise is actually worrying about the resolution and getting an LCD. A quality Panny plasma that is the LCD's PQ superior in every way except for resolution. Black levels/contrast ratio/black details, response time, moving image resolution, etc.

The only situation you should be choosing LCD for home theater over the other techs IMO is in situations of direct light where glare becomes a problem - LCDs are probably the best display in bright lighted situations.

To the OP: Most of us did this incrementally. I got my Onkyo 601 receiver for $500, scratch n dent sub for $50, and some cheap but decent 5 speaker set for $300. About 6 months later we got an Infocus X1 480p DLP projector ($1k). Then we moved. About 3 years after purchase I replaced the X1 with an almost dead bulb with a 720p DLP projector ($832 - $100 ebay sale of X1 = $732). 6 months later we picked up a 37" LCD to replace our 27" SD CRT for daylight viewing and to save projector bulb hours ($600). Etc.

I think a lot of us did it incrementally. Yeah, there's some people that do it all at once, but I prefer to do it piece by piece and research in between for my next couple of possible purchases - and wait for a good deal on them.

Last edited by GreenMonkey; 01-25-08 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 01-25-08, 12:33 PM
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^^^^what he said^^^^^


and to add, 40" will NEVER benefit from the added resolution. heck you need a 50" at a 5' viewing distance to see 1080p.
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Old 01-25-08, 02:37 PM
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Thanks for the info and suggestions. I won't buy things all at once but I just want to know how much I'm looking at before I start.

I will definitely be getting a projector instead of a TV, because I already have a few options for a screen and I want something that is portable. I figure i may as well get a 720p.

Originally Posted by rfduncan
Not to rush you or anything, but I think Sony has discontinued this model. I scoured the DC area for one of these and came up empty handed. Ended up having to order it from Best Buy online. A friend told me the next generation will not support backwards compatibility (PS2). If that is important to you, you should grab one ASAP.
I've heard this too, although I've also heard rumors that it will be re-released without Motorstorm for $50 less, so I'm not sure what to do.
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Old 01-25-08, 02:45 PM
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well, of course it's a big number if you plan to get everything in one shot

spread out and buy the sound system last...
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Old 01-25-08, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSpacey
^^^^what he said^^^^^


and to add, 40" will NEVER benefit from the added resolution. heck you need a 50" at a 5' viewing distance to see 1080p.
I don't think it's that bad. At 40" you'll probably have to sit about 5 feet away to get full 1080 benefit. But you should get greater than 720 if you sit between 5-10 (or so) feet.

There may not be a huge benefit, but there should be some benefit.

Here are some charts:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zolton/384259535/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zolton/384259535/
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Old 01-25-08, 03:01 PM
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One advantage of putting together a home theater system incrementally, as has been suggested above, is that you can enjoy your system all over again each time you make an upgrade. I started with a little TV and stereo speakers. Then I added surround sound and got to enjoy my 5.1 DVDs all over again. Then I added a bigscreen HD display for upscaling DVDs and was again able to enjoy my DVDs in a new way. Then I added a HD DVD player and finally got real High Definition.

So, if Chicken Warrior could just get a really good HD display (or projector, in this case) at first, regular DVDs would look better upscaled (most displays do this pretty well, I assume this is true for projectors also). Then in six months to a year add surround sound (or a BD player). Then in six months or a year add a BD player (or surround sound).

Each time an upgrade is made you will get to enjoy your system all over again. Better to do that than compromise with lower quality components all at once now.

IMHO, of course.

Last edited by lizard; 01-25-08 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 01-25-08, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Jericho
I don't think it's that bad. At 40" you'll probably have to sit about 5 feet away to get full 1080 benefit. But you should get greater than 720 if you sit between 5-10 (or so) feet.

There may not be a huge benefit, but there should be some benefit.

Here are some charts:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zolton/384259535/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zolton/384259535/


yeah. let me explain it this way then.....

Girl A - there is this girl who gives GREAT blowjobs. everything about it is enjoyable. she has great lips, can work that tongue like a magician, knows how to use her hands, talks dirty.... but she doesnt swallow.

Girl B - then there is another girl who is willing to swallow but cant give a BJ to save her life.

everyone loves to talk about the girl that swallows. but if you can't get me there, then who cares?

Girl A is 720p plasma

Girl B is 1080p LCD


Sure I kid a little. There is such thing as a good LCD, but 1080p v 720p is looking at the wrong things that matter about a tv.

Last edited by SoSpacey; 01-25-08 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 01-25-08, 04:09 PM
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Okay, that's one way of putting it, I guess. I think we should start using BJ analogies to describe everything at DVD Talk!
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Old 01-25-08, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by lizard
So, if Chicken Warrior could just get a really good HD display (or projector, in this case) at first, regular DVDs would look better upscaled (most displays do this pretty well, I assume this is true for projectors also). Then in six months to a year add surround sound (or a BD player). Then in six months or a year add a BD player (or surround sound).
BTW - the upscaling on the PS3 is genuinely breathtaking compared to my old Samsung upconverter.
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Old 01-25-08, 07:07 PM
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A lot of folks have really high standards, and if you have the money to support them, great. You can certainly spend countless thousands to make your home theater experience get better and better, but countless thousands are hardly the minimum for enhancing your experience. I replaced by 27" CRT with a 26" Vizio LCD for $450, a $39 upcoverting Philips DVD player, and a $20 HDMI cable. This is a horrifically crappy setup to many wealthier/more dedicated technophiles, but for me, this $510 investment represents a 3-fold improvement in the enjoyability of watching my DVD collection at home. I'd love to have a 47" 1080p, hell I'd love to have that new 101" they were showing off at CES, and a super hifi surround sound stereo system, and a $1,000 Blu-ray player. But if you are still watching a CRT TV, any old cheapo HDTV and any cheapo upconverting DVD player is likely going to look like a huge step forward for you.
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Old 01-26-08, 07:29 AM
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Keep in mind I got bargains on everything I purchased:

HDTV - 1500+tax
Stand for audio equipment - 150+tax
Panamax power center - 500+tax
PS3 - 600+tax
A1 HD DVD - 380
Comcast HD DVR and Service 125/month
AV receiver - 800
Speakers - 800

I also have other items, but they are not HD related. - Did not purchase at one time and all was on a very tight budget. I am going to start upgrading items later this year probably - TV or Receiver maybe. Cost can be a lot more than what I spent or a lot less depending on how demanding your standards are and the size screen you require.
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Old 01-26-08, 01:44 PM
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50" HDTV for getting the most out of your HD recording. Anything smaller, and it won't be worth it. Even 42" is pushing it, and I don't really recommend it.

But, I'm told, HD is kind of useless with surround sound

And you're told by those who probably still watch their movies on their grandma's Admiral 13" CRT with a broken TV antenna.

HD is first and foremost, VIDEO. Audio is second. You could still have a 3-speaker sound system and it will still sound great, but you will be more amazed by how the picture looks. On the other hand, you could buy a great 7.1 system and only have a 26" HDTV, but your viewing experience would be shit.

So, dedicate most of your money to the television. Just get by with whatever sound system you can. The HDTV is priority.

Last edited by DVD Polizei; 01-26-08 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 01-26-08, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
But, I'm told, HD is kind of useless with surround sound

And you're told by those who probably still watch their movies on their grandma's Admiral 13" CRT with a broken TV antenna.
Are you quoting someone?

Stop over, I'll show you why most of my money went to audio. I'll whip out the broken antenna, just in case.

I can even show you (audibly) quite clearly where I should have spent more (or at least differently), high-rez audio brings out the deficiencies in my main speakers. They are very good for movies, not so much for music using actual instruments.

My best purchase for getting the most out of movies: Subwoofer. Big, bad, vicious subwoofer. It alone costs within a few bucks of the projector. It's really not even close. Sure, the 90" screen looks great, and that's what people notice first. But a week later, it's the sound they talk about.

I can't enjoy a trip to a cinema anymore, my audio absolutely destroys anything around. (maybe not the Imax theater, they do pretty well) Some of them don't even have bass. It's horrible. I try not to use hyperbole on forums. But between broken speakers, broken processing, no subwoofers, inadequate reflection control.....commercial theaters just suck in comparison.
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Old 01-26-08, 11:26 PM
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I'm with Spiky. Unless you're hard of hearing, audio is at least half of the home theater experience, often more. I'd gladly sacrifice screen size and resolution in favor of keeping my surround sound.

Try this. Try watching a crummy transfer of a film, but with great sound. You can still enjoy the movie. Now try watching a nice HD presentation of a movie with a few cotton balls in your ears. You'll probably give up after a few minutes. Sound makes the image come alive.

If you're watching movies through your TV speakers, you're missing a whole world of entertainment.
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Old 01-27-08, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Chicken Warrior
Thanks for the info and suggestions. I won't buy things all at once but I just want to know how much I'm looking at before I start.

I will definitely be getting a projector instead of a TV, because I already have a few options for a screen and I want something that is portable. I figure i may as well get a 720p.
Definitely go with a projector, you won't be disappointed! I don't use my 42" plasma for anything but channel surfing. I'd recommend checking out these two sites to help make your projector choice

http://www.projectorcentral.com/
http://www.projectorreviews.com/
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