HDTV Choices [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-30-2006, 01:57 AM
I am looking to upgrade my 36" Toshiba TV to a HDTV. From what I can tell, there are 4 choices out there; Tube, Projection, LCD or Plasma. Does anyone know what would be the best choice to purchase with a budget of 1300 to 2000? Picture quality and features are important to me.

01-30-2006, 03:29 AM
Your most important decision is the size of the set. Do you want big screen or say something 34". Once you've determined the size, then see what's best for your budget. I think for example your better off getting a 48" HDTV rear projection widescreen HDTV if you have room for it then say a 32" LCD. You really haven't posted enough info for anyone to try to give suggestions- i.e., size, what room its in, etc.

01-30-2006, 05:23 AM
I just purchased the Sony 50" SXRD (LCoS technology) and it it by far the best picture I have seen out there!

01-30-2006, 05:30 AM
Your most important decision is the size of the set. Do you want big screen or say something 34". Once you've determined the size, then see what's best for your budget. I think for example your better off getting a 48" HDTV rear projection widescreen HDTV if you have room for it then say a 32" LCD. You really haven't posted enough info for anyone to try to give suggestions- i.e., size, what room its in, etc.

It will be going into the Family room which measures 16'-3"x17'-8". The current distances from my 36" to my couch is a little over 8 feet. The back of the 36" sits a foot from the wall. I was looking for a 48" to a 50" size screen.

01-30-2006, 09:51 AM
Thanks for clarifying I would definately recommend the Big Widescreen Rear View CRT Projector 48" HDTV I have from Mitsubishi, the Mitsubishi WS-48413 which I originally got in 2004 for $1600 on sale with free delivery/installation & I think has dropped to $1275 or so recently. For all I know Mitsubishi may even have a newer model of this great TV. Fantastic picture, best TV I ever had. Its HDTV ready. You can use your settings on new component cables, speakers, HD HDVR, Harmony Universal Remote, etc It is also on wheels and fits in perfectly with my living room (family room). I really think your better off getting something like this then either a no name Plasma or much smaller LCD, but its your call. This TV also looks cosmetically good & you don't need to get a stand with it. Good luck. PS You definately should buy or rent an HD DVR with this.

01-30-2006, 09:55 AM

First, there really isn't any such thing as "the best." Many people will claim that tried and true CRT, whether a direct-view or a rear-projection set, remains unsurpassed, and in many respects (color, black level, gamma), they have a point. But CRTs have their faults as well; they're clunky and heavy; they periodically stray from perfect convergence; their geometry can be misaligned; they can't stand up to ambient light; they are susceptible to magnetic fields; they can wear unevenly, especially when parts of the screen are left unilluminated, or too quickly, when the whole screen is too bright; and, like anything else, they can be built or designed poorly. Some experts have come to the conclusion that a well-appointed LCoS rear-projection set can have all of the advantages of CRT with none of the drawbacks, especially in a pro- monitor context. Even in the consumer world, certain LCoS sets have stunning PQ.

But LCD and DLP rear projection are not to be ignored either, especially when budget constraints enter the picture. Both are capable of sharp, colorful HD and ED images--the kind that only a digital display can offer--though both have their potential downsides from a technological standpoint. LCDs have traditionally suffered from gaps between their pixels (the screen-door effect) and less than stellar black level. The first issue isn't much of a problem any more if you don't sit on top the set set, and various types of lamp/iris control can mollify the second. LCDs look good in a lighted room; their relative inability to create a deep black is negated in this context.

DLPs tend to go blacker than LCDs, but the single-chip color-wheel design can result in rainbow artifacts on screen and even headaches in rare cases. They are also susceptible to temporal dithering artifacts, interruptions, in their greyscale. The fact that many DLPs resort to "wobulation"--the creation of high resolution with half the pixel count--is also a consideration. The jury is still out about whether a wobulating display looks as good a display that has the requisite number of pixels for a given resolution.

All such microdisplays--LCD, DLP, LCoS, and Plasma--suffer with standard-definition programming because they have to blow it up to their native resolutions, which far exceed that of traditional NTSC broadcasts. Big TVs in general have limits to how well they can display this inherently flawed material.

The flat panels, LCD and plasma, have certain obvious spatial advantages. LCD panels have basically the same identity as their rear-projection brothers. Plasmas can make a very smooth filmlike picture, though like CRTs, they can wear unevenly if abused. Inch for inch, their pixel counts are lower than that of the other types discussed, but not necessarily to their detriment. Plasmas have good blacks and accurate colors, especially Panasonics and Pioneers (with Fujitsus and Hitachis not far behind), but the lesser models sometimes have a hint or more of false contouring, the tendency to show gradations of dark color in discrete steps rather than in subtle shades.

Seating distance on- and off-axis, lighting, and preferred viewing material can play a role in what kind of TV you choose. The variables mount up if you want to get down and dirty about it, and I've barely scratched the surface. But I've also played the enthusiasts' game of running (almost) everything down to such an extent that nothing looks like a safe purchase. But, assuming a well-manufactured product, almost anything is a safe purchase, at least to the extent that it will flatter good source material. You can do your homework and get a sense of the strong suits that particular technologies bring to the table and how they match up with your situation to optimize your experience and give yourself that warm and fuzzy feeling of accomplishment, but TV at its best has never looked better.

By the way, you can go bigger than 50" if you want, or can afford to, especially if you intend to watch a lot of hi def or DVD material.


01-30-2006, 10:24 AM
Not much more to add beyond edyct's excellent post except to consider the new wave of 1080p sets. This is "true" hi-def, as opposed to the normal 720p, although the lack of source material makes it somewhat of a moot point. Even as prices continue to drop, I don't know if 1080p can be done for under $2k. I would also pay attention to how many HDMI inputs whatever set you purchase has. HDMI is rapidly becoming the new standard, and with BluRay/HD-DVD barreling down the tracks, it would serve you well to either have a HDMI switching AVR or pick a set that has multiple HDMI inputs.

Another site you might check into is avsforums.com. There are a ton of really knowledgeable people there as well. It's a confusing process for the novice, so take your time and learn as much as you can.

Hope this helps.

01-30-2006, 12:12 PM
I did a lot of research on the technologies out there before I made my purchase, and I wil say that you can read all the reviews in the world to help you make a decision, but nothing compares to going out and just looking at them side by side to see what you like and what you don't. For me it came down to DLP and LCoS technology wise. Even then, when I went out to stores and looked at the sets, the way the technology was displayed still varied from manufacturer to manufacturer. A 56" DLP from Toshiba might not be as crisp as one from Mitsubishi even though both got good reviews online. Ultimately I settled for the Sony KDS-R50XBR1. It wasn't as big as some of the other sets but its picture by far was the cleanest in my opinion.

Based on the budget you listed above it is definitely possible to get a 50" (or under) 1080i DLP/LCD/LCoS tv. As topspeed mentined, I dont think you can get a 1080p set for under 2K.

So ultimately my advice is, as with most electronics, get out there and see in person what you like, then use reviews and stuff to suppliment your in person research.

01-30-2006, 12:30 PM
And when you go out to see these things, don't take them at face value. Nothing that you see on a screen in a store will tell you much about how the TV behaves within a larger framework. If you can go to the kind of high-end store that actually calibrates what they sell, controls light, and offers different viewing formats, you'll be doing yourself a favor. Otherwise, supplementing your footwork with informative reviews is absolutely necessary--that is, if you have the kind of jones that many people at sites like this one have.

01-30-2006, 04:43 PM
Studies have shown that normal (20/20) visual acuity is on the order of 1 arc second.
This means that while 1080p sets are now taking over the market, they do not necessarily give a VISUALLY better quality picture! Depending on your seating distance, you may not be able to detect a sharper image between a 720p and a 1080p set.

ALSO, one important thing not often mentioned (except by our resident expert edtyct) is Temporal resolution; Although 720p & 1080p sets are both progressive scan, ALL commercially available HD broadcasts (so far) are either 720p, or 1080i. This means that while the 1080p set WILL display and up-convert a 720p signal in true progressive, it only SIMULATES a 1080p image from a 1080i signal. It cannot give true progressive performance with a 1080i input. A 720p set, fed with a 720p signal WILL display in true progressive, and a TRUE progressive display image is noticeably better for sports, and action.