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Help Please - HDTV Advice

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pmad

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Looking to spend about $2,000 on a HD TV.

I have no clue. So please help.
I'll be sitting about 10' - 15' from the set.
The room is neither too dark or too bright.

Plasma, LCD, DLP, others:
----What's the difference?
----What makes one better than the others?

Definition:
----1080i, 1080p, 720p?
----What's the difference?
----Can the untrained (mine) eye tell the difference?

Brands:
----Anyone to get?
----Anyone to avoid?

Sizes:
----How big to go?

Is now a good time to buy or is there something big I should wiat 3 mths for?

Anything else I need to know?
 

kornchild2002

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OK, here it goes:
1. Plasma has the best quality for thin screen styled (ie you can hand the entire TV on your wall) TVs as it offers vibrant colors and the color black really comes out at you as being accurately portrayed. LCD TVs have a bit more washed out look when compared to Plasma TVs but LCDs are much cheaper and come in sizes a bit more manageable. DLP TVs offer some of the best quality though as they are really vibrant and DLP technology really enhances the picture. DLP TVs are also generally cheaper than Plasma TVs when looking at a direct size comparison. You get more bang for your buck when picking a DLP TV as you can get a bigger size for the same amount as a smaller plasma.

2. The highest resolution you can go up to is 1080p, this is a progressive image. Older TVs use a interlaced picture. This means that the picture is split up into two images then put back together on the TV. You can see this affect when watching a interlaced video on a computer monitor. You see these horizontal lines appear when fast movement occurs on the screen. The most common resolution is 720p though. Many would argue that 720p is better than 1080i as 1080i is interlaced. A progressive picture provides better quality as the image is sent to the TV in one movement, it is not split up like interlaced. DLP TVs generally come in the 1080p resolution while most plasmas and LCD TVs top out at 720p/1080i. It all really depends on the use of this TV. If you plan on doing some HD gaming via a Xbox 360 or PS3 or want to watch some high def movies on HD-DVD or blu-ray, then settle for nothing but 1080p. If you want to enjoy some HD content but don't plan on gaming, then get 720p.

3. As far as brands go, it doesn't really matter as long as you don't get an off-beat one. They all pretty much use the same components. Different companies offer different technology that may help increase image quality. Go to the store and see which TVs produce the best image when using the standard video that is playing on all TVs. If a HDTV can make a 480i image look good, then it will definitely make a 720p or 1080p image look good.

4. Size, it all depends on your budget and your living space. I would say that you should get a CRT HDTV if you want 30" or below. CRT HDTVs are heavy as hell but they produce outstanding picture quality. For 30"-40", get a LCD. For 40"-45", get a plasma. For >45", get a DLP.

It all really depends on how much HD content you want to watch. Remember that LCD TVs are very bad at displaying low resolution content. LCD TVs are built with a native resolution, most LCD TVs are built with a native resolution of 720p. Displaying 480p or 480i content will cause big pixels to be displayed. This is due to LCD's inherent ability to decrease their resolution. Plasmas are also affected by this but not so much. DLP or CRT TV's on the other hand can affectively switch their resolutions. So watching a standard DVD using a standard DVD player will look better on a CRT or DLP TV when compared to a LCD or Plasma TV. If you have a upscaling DVD player (like the Xbox 360), then it doesn't really matter. There are some upscaling DVD players that can take a 480p/i DVD image and output it to 720p/1080i/1080p. This gives you much better quality when watching them on a LCD TV, it doesn't add much quality on CRT or DLP TVs (unless your DLP TV is big).

There really isn't a perfect time to purchase a HDTV. The day after the Superbowl is commonly thought to be the best day but there are still some very good Spring sales, some sales here and there in the summer, black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), and the day after Christmas often produce good sales as well. I suggest that you watch the adds and see when a good TV hits your price range.
 

pmad

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Thank you for the tremendous amount of information.

I don't know if it matters, but I will use it mostly for soccer and football.
Lots of green.
 

kornchild2002

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As long as you are actually receiving a HDTV signal, then it shouldn't really matter. I would get whatever fits in your budget. I am partial to CRT HDTVs even though they use older technology. CRT HDTVs still use the old tube technology but it is pretty much perfected. I have a 30" CRT HDTV that handles up to 720p/1080i (I use 720p with my Xbox 360 as I don't like seeing interlaced lines) and a LCD projector that goes up to 1080p which I also use with my Xbox 360. I would say that, if you have the space and money, DLP is a really good bet. If you want a smaller TV, then I would say that CRT is a better choice. Plasma is nice and all but their TV prices are still too high for me and LCDs are also nice but I just don't like it that LCDs can't display black. Instead, they display more of a greyish black. Clear coated LCD TVs produce a really nice picture and they are able to display black pretty accurately but these clear coat LCD HDTVs cost way too much. I saw a Sony 30" clear coat LCD HDTV the other day and it was $3000, that is way too much money as you can get a 50" DLP HDTV that has better picture quality. With LCD and plasma, you pay for the convenience of having a small TV with a big picture. However, older technology like CRT is still better for smaller picture sizes and DLP is better for the bigger picture sizes (unless you get a DLP projector but those are damned expensive).

All-in-all, you will get more bang for your buck if you purchase a DLP TV.

Oh, I forgot to mention. The resolution of your TV signal is a important matter. If you have standard cable, standard digital cable, or standard satellite, then you are receiving a 480i signal which will look like sh*t on a LCD HDTV but won't look that bad on a CRT or DLP HDTV. If you are getting 720p digital cable or 720p satellite, then any TV will be fine except for a LCD HDTV running at 1080p. It also depends on how many movies you watch and it you have a upscaling DVD player.
 

Dim

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Lots of good advice.
I personally purchased a CRT HDTV recently (Sony 34") and am very impressed with the picture quality of SD and HD content. I think it rivals some of the more expensive plasma or LCD displays but only cost $650. However, it was heavy as hell (~200lbs) so you'd need some help/brawn getting it in.

I will also echo that LCD tv's look like crap displaying SD signals. However, I haven't been too impressed with DLP. Perhaps they offer better bang/buck overall and scale resolutions better, but to me, they look a little less sharp/saturated than a plasma. I guess this makes sense since it's projection.
 

yashin

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I got a Sharp 37-inch 1080p LCD (37XD1E) last month and I'm delighted with it. The 4 wavelengths of backlight on it do a good job of enhancing colours and blacks. The onboard DVTB-T tuner has received excellent review, but I must admit the quality of SDTV broadcasts is lacking (both the terrestrial digital and UK PAL cable over a SCART connection).

I just took delivery of an AppleTV last week and I'm really starting to see the benefits. The menu system, photo display, album artwork, movie trailers all really show off an HDTV. Even my 5.5G iPod videos (640x360 1500 kbps h.264) look excellent.

And connected to a PC running Half Life 2 in 1080p it's absolutely stunning.
 
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