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best place to buy a big screen HDTV

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best place to buy a big screen HDTV

Old 05-25-05, 11:36 AM
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best place to buy a big screen HDTV

there are obvious places like bestbuy and circuit city but what about online places - lesser known stores. i bet i can find the same team for cheaper. im just a little weary about ordering such a big thing online...what if they rip me off or what if it breaks? what if i need to return it? who knows?

recommendations?

also for brand, ive heard samsung is the best - what about sony, panasonic, mitsubishi, etc?
Old 05-25-05, 11:45 AM
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A bit off topic, but I own a 65 inch old projection style hdtv (diamond series from mitsubishi) great tv but its 500lbs and huge... have had it 4 yrs now only one issue (red converg went out) but i have the 5 yr tweeter warranty so it was fixed fast and free thank God.

I haven't looked into tvs in years but am curious about models styles features, are there any good sites out there that explain to the common folk like me what the newest best features to look for are?

I see all these plasma, dlp, lcd, etv, hdtv, etc and get a bit confused, mine looks amazing in 1080i hd off the antenna when there is a good primetime show on (tonight show for instance), yet 95% of what we watch isn't in hd and just looks so so...


Also looking for something that doesnt need a ton of tweeking after delivery (geometry convergence etc) I had my set ISF tuned and the $400 was WELL worth it in terms of before and after, yet its a pain to have to get done after you already spent a fortune, also the whole burn in possible issues, do any newer styles fix all that stuff vs my old projection style prone to burn in and having to be reset everytime we move it (geometry etc).

Curious tho nowadays is it best to buy one with an hd tuner built in and or what models styles are the best and why... any sites that explain all this very interested in reading up on it all as we want a thinner lighter unit (maybe a wall hanging) with hd built in and i want it to do 720 for my xbox (my mitsu doesnt support 720)

Here is my tv/home theater btw minus the voom as they just went out of business...

http://www.ftlosm.homestead.com/Home_Theater.html

Bill

Last edited by StevePerryFan; 05-25-05 at 11:48 AM.
Old 05-25-05, 12:40 PM
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I price-compared at all the "name" stores when shopping for my HDTV last Fall. You definately start seeing the same tv's over and over again. I found the absolute best price at "American Furniture" -- their price was so low that Best Buy wouldn't price-match, even though their policy in-print says they should. Though it might have been a matter of hitting the right sale at the right time -- I just moved and had to buy a bunch of furniture, and "American" had massively low prices across the board. I don't know if you have "American" in your area, or if sales are still going on.

I'm with you that I was iffy about buying online as well. Here's what my strategy was. First, decide what tv you want to buy before price-hunting (or at least narrow it down to a couple contenders). Try to visit a "specialty" store in your area -- one that specializes in home theater, preferably an independently owned-store. An indie specialty store will more likely know what they're talking about -- as opposed to the sales people at places like Best Buy who can be shockingly incompetant when it comes to technical knowledge (yet they'll pretend like they know what they're talking about, which makes them doubly dangerous). Hear the spiel, and start getting a handle on brands, features, and other elements that you want in a HDTV. Know what your budget is, and work with that -- the budget will help eliminate many contenders.

Some issues you need to decide:

Size -- The advice I heard is that you should get the biggest that will fit in the space in your home, while allowing a comfortable viewing distance. I've heard if you go smaller than you could, people end up regretting it -- the tvs seem massive at first, but its amazing how used to it you get in the home.

Technology -- plasma vs DLP vs CRT vs others that I don't recall of the top of my head. Unless you're seriously on a budget, say no to CRT. The choice for me came to plasma vs the other technologies. Plasma is super thin (wall hanging), super high quality -- but the deal breaker for me was that it is super-expensive, and they didn't make them in the size I wanted (at least, not without paying the same price as a new car). DLP is high quality, thinner than CRT (but nowhere as thin as plasma), and priced between plasma and CRT.

Features -- not really a biggie. It's all about the picture quality. As long as there are sufficient inputs (make sure there's a digital video in, like HDMI or DVI) you're fine. Audio doesn't matter -- if you're springing for a HDTV you should have a home theater system. If not, you should be shopping for one. The thought of a beautiful giant HDTV always playing audio out of the on-board speakers makes me cry.

Picture Quality -- this is what it's all about. A warning though -- some stores don't display their HDTVs well. They don't know how to set them, and they look worse than they need to. Again, this is why a visit to a non-chain store that knows what they're doing is a must. On the other side, glare is an issue that stores hide. The HDTVs may be in a dark area, and look fine. However, in normal room lighting some screens may reflect too much. Beware of this. Also, check out viewing angles. The salespeople will have you stand directly in front of the screen. Think of how it will be in your home. There will probably be seating in different places (like to the side). Some HDTVs have terrible side viewing. If that's an issue with how people may be seated in your home, make sure you check it out. After that, it's up to your judgement. When doing my shopping I did a lot of staring at screens before deciding.

Brand -- The brands you've listed are all good. It's really impossible to say that one (like Samsung) is the best and the others are 2nd rate. Everyone has different opinions, even "experts". But there are obvious "high tier" brands, and obvious "crap" brands. Assuming you're going to drop a few thousand on this, don't cut corners and buy a cheap brand that either has a bad reputation or no one's ever heard of (except the salesperson who's trying to sell you on it).

Service -- Usually an afterthought, but can be the difference-maker when price-hunting. Something this expensive you'll want some protection on, so hear out the manufacturer's and store's plans.

Go to a bunch of different stores, and let them "sell" you on something. Just don't buy yet! After a few visits, you'll start to have a handle on things. Bring pen and paper with you and write brands and models down! Go home and research specific brands and models on the internet. avsforums is a giant forum site, where there's bound to be people with experience in the brands you're looking for. I would visit the stores first, though. These sites tend to be overwhelming unless you have a focus on what you want.

I ended up getting a Mitsubishi WD-62525 (62" DLP), and I'm happy with it. The only problem was a protective screen that had far too much glare, but it was easily removable. Other Mits owners seem happy too. But most big brands have their fans. See for yourself what you like. If you narrow things down to a model or two, you also might want to wait for a sale, or least make sure there's a good price-matching deal. Beware, some places say they'll price match but may back down if its too much (ie Best Buy in my experience). Memorial Day and July 4th are usually big for sales.

Finally, when the salesperson try to convince you your HDTV is useless without $2000 worth of Monster Cable, JUST SAY NO!

Hope I didn't over-kill you. I'm in the middle of writing a scientific grant, and my typing is stuck in that mode -- just be thankful I didn't give you hypotheses and specific aims It sounds like you're just where I was last Fall, so I'm relaying my own experience. You may actually decide you'd spend a little more to buy the HDTV from a smaller place that knows what they're doing. There is value to being able to pick up a phone, and talk to the owner, and have him directly deal with your problem, rather than going through 1-800 line operators. Have fun!
Old 05-25-05, 01:18 PM
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I flirt on and off with buying a big screen tv... and avsforums is always a great place to go. You didn't even specify which kind of big screen you're going to buy, and that decision alone takes a lot of research...

I'll say this: if you're worried about the warranty on a set, buy it at Costco. Selection is pretty small, but the return policy and prices can't be beat. If you don't buy it from Costco, I recommend getting some kind of warranty, though...
Old 05-25-05, 07:03 PM
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#1 rule: read plenty of reviews on models you might be interested in.
#2 Since there is not that much native HD content around right now, the ability to upscale normal television or DVD's is a key point that should not be overlooked. Used to be you had to spend $5-10k on a box just to upconvert nicely, but nowadays some(not all) manufacturers include very nice upconvertors in their televisions. This will even be a bigger factor than what technology(DLP,Plasma, or LCD) is used as most content is still SD(standard definition 480 interlaced). This is not something a salesperson will be forthcoming with as they don't want to shortchange less abled big screen tvs, which again is why reading plenty of reviews from USERS is important. Buying strategy wise it is better if you can pick up a 2 year old close out Mercedes than a brand new Yugo in car terms. Nice thing is you can actually buy a very nice tv at discount if you choose carefully and aren't hung up on the current model year.
Old 05-25-05, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by fujishig
I'll say this: if you're worried about the warranty on a set, buy it at Costco. Selection is pretty small, but the return policy and prices can't be beat.


They have a rather nice 65-incher for around 1,800 that I drool over every time I go there.
Old 05-27-05, 09:36 AM
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I am always amazed when people say to stay away from crt tvs. A crt will give you the best image of all types, you just need to get it looked at by someone who is ISF certified. The only real drawback to a crt big screen is the size of the set. My 55" Mitsu looked hugh when I first got it home, but now it looks somewhat small.

I guess seeing how I work at Best Buy and am "shockingly incompetant" I would not know how to relate ones lifestyle to a tv, but that is what you should try to do the most. Examle being: If you play games alot, you may want a tv that can do 1080i, and 720p so that you can get the best image possible from games that support those types. Looking back, that is the only thing that I did wrong. Damn Mitsu won't do 720p.
Old 05-27-05, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by tjr2mental
I am always amazed when people say to stay away from crt tvs. A crt will give you the best image of all types, you just need to get it looked at by someone who is ISF certified. The only real drawback to a crt big screen is the size of the set. My 55" Mitsu looked hugh when I first got it home, but now it looks somewhat small.

I guess seeing how I work at Best Buy and am "shockingly incompetant" I would not know how to relate ones lifestyle to a tv, but that is what you should try to do the most. Examle being: If you play games alot, you may want a tv that can do 1080i, and 720p so that you can get the best image possible from games that support those types. Looking back, that is the only thing that I did wrong. Damn Mitsu won't do 720p.

I agree 1000% on the isf thing, my tv (4 yrs ago) was almost $5000, i spent another $500 on an isf visit and did the duve liner and i gotta tell ya the before was nice but the after was freaking amazing almost 3D, it was surprising to see how a set goes out from the factory sooo off base (geometry, grey scale etc), people thought i was nuts spending $5g on a tv then spending $500 more but honestly I think they are nuts for spending $5G on a tv and getting only 50-75% of its actual ability to produce an amazing image that an isf tech can add to the tv!

Even my wife who could CARE LESS about big screens sat down before the whole isf thing and we watched some hdtv (loop on pbs), after the isf that night we watched the same loop same channel same segment even, and man it was freakin awesome...

As for the mitsu and 720P yeah me too I am mad about that i am a big xbox game player and this darn tv wont run in 720P but hey overall it does look great on games still for me, but that will be part of the learning process for tv #2 down the road here, my wife wants the "big black box" out of the room soon, so I am hoping to make a home theater room out of our den (shh dont tell her) and do a smaller flat screen in the living room inside the hutch she has picked out at art van furniture...

Bill
Old 05-27-05, 11:42 AM
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whats isf certified mean?
Old 05-27-05, 11:50 AM
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Best place to learn about ISF is here. linky
Old 05-27-05, 01:10 PM
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thanks
Old 05-27-05, 01:19 PM
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I'd suggest Best Buy. I hear their rebate plans are great.
Old 05-27-05, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by tjr2mental
I guess seeing how I work at Best Buy and am "shockingly incompetant" I would not know how to relate ones lifestyle to a tv, but that is what you should try to do the most. Examle being: If you play games alot, you may want a tv that can do 1080i, and 720p so that you can get the best image possible from games that support those types. Looking back, that is the only thing that I did wrong. Damn Mitsu won't do 720p.
Hey, no personal offense intended to Best Buy employees ! I said they "can be" shockingly incompetent, not that they all are. I didn't intend to single out Best Buy -- that goes for all chains. I just wanted to impart a warning to be careful listening to technical advice at stores, because it's a crap shoot -- you have some knowledgeable salespeople who really know their stuff, but some people who will spout off technical jargon that sounds impressive while being completely wrong about what they're saying. Can people here who shop a lot in electronics stores really say they haven't run into that second kind of salesperson?
Old 05-27-05, 06:03 PM
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No offence taken, just letting him know that no "all" chain store employees are fools. Best thing to do is learn one thing, and ask the guy about that.. if he can answer that question to your satisfaction you should be somewhat safe in the rest of the info that he provides... that is what I tell to the people that I sold to when I worked on the sales floor.

Hell, everyone in the store that I work at is like that... that is the reason that I fought so hard to leave home theater. I could not stand to listen to people flat out lie to the customers, and was wrote up when I told a custome that the salesguy was wrong relating to the info that he was givin.

The warehouse is soooo much better.

Last edited by tjr2mental; 05-27-05 at 06:05 PM.
Old 05-27-05, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Brain Stew
I'd suggest Best Buy. I hear their rebate plans are great.
Old 05-27-05, 07:23 PM
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I looked over all forums to decide on tv..got a Mitsu 62725
from Best Buy-Magnolia Home theatre(this is the high end company they bought now in the store as seperate wing. I actually found the salesperson to be knowledgeable and competent. I did not want to chance buying set through internet as if there was problem -it would be hell to send back get corrected etc...so far so good on tv...looks great the picture-especially HD
and I have not fooled with settings as yet...fan you can hear but no biggie..no problem when set is on and there is glare from shield which you can remove-though I have not...
My advice buy from reputable store that will help you if set has problem upon shipment. I also bought expensive stand from Magnolia and was missing some small pieces...they brought out another to me and set it up for a fee...if I had bought over internet..would have had to probally ship back and wait for another one or who knows what...

Goodluck!
Old 05-30-05, 01:22 AM
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Was going to say best buy, but then i saw the other thread.. sooooooo

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