• 10-30-2006, 09:32 AM
    SlumpBuster
    Am I being a little girl regarding HD?
    In a coincidentally similar stroke to MarkW recent desire to enter the 21st century, I too am looking at taking the HD plunge after not really knowing too much about it.

    I have a healthy budget, but am getting frustrated. I spent the last two weeks looking to future proof my purchases as best I could.

    I boned up on the standards, interlaced vs. progressive, DVI vs. HDMI, Plasma v. LCD v. Projector. I found a 50" Samsung Plasma that looked right, but its 780p max. Looks like 1080p requires a move into LCD. Can't help it though, I like the plasmas better than LCD from what I've seen. Rear projection is not really an option b/c of view angle issues. We were looking at projectors, but my wife had a good point when she said, "Do you really want to watch 'How I Met Your Mother' on a 110" screen? For movies it would be great but..." It does seem a little overkill.

    But, then it hit me. What was going to be my source material?
    Cable? My cable company, WoW, seems to be a little weak in the HD department. 10 maybe 20 channels, including premium HBO, Showtime, Starz. No CableCards. No DVI or HDMI output from STB. I had Comcast and the reliabilty was awful. Cable went out every other week. So no option there.

    Dish? Tried that, and it sucked. Reliabilty, weather, trees, and latitude all conspired to make it a bust.

    HD-DVD/Blu-Ray? Nice quagmire this is turning into. RCA just released an HD-DVD player with a street price of $350 but do I really want to spend $35 on Tokyo Drift? Um, no. I rented it last night (It was good if you like those kind of movies, which I do), but I don't really buy movies as it is. More of a rental junkie.

    So what does that leave me with? Just doesn't seem like there is all that much HD content out there. OTA and upconverted DVDs? Is that enough to justify the expense?

    So, bottom line. Are the present sources, particularly upconverted DVDs, worth it? Am I just being a little girl afraid to take the plunge?
  • 10-30-2006, 09:47 AM
    GMichael
    The HD channels on cable are limited. But if you get the DVR for an extra $9.00 a month you can record a lot of HD shows each week. And you don't have to watch your std definition shows at 110 inches. You can easily cut your picture back to 60 or 70 inches buy the selections in a projector. Just a few clicks away with your remote. If you enjoy movies and TV, HD is a huge bonus. Don't pass on it. If you have the room and budget, I vote for a new projector. Here's another good place to poke around. http://www.projectorcentral.com/
  • 10-30-2006, 10:51 AM
    ericl
    bummer to hear about your comcast service. There are times that it is unreliable for me but usually it's great(i live in SF). 10-20 hd stations is a lot! especially with an HD-DVR. Don't forget on demand too. there's always soemthing to watch tehre.
  • 10-30-2006, 11:09 AM
    PeruvianSkies
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to protect your purchases, especially if you are ready to drop some serious cash like you are. So to answer your first question...no you are not being a little girl.

    My best advice since you are up against a wall at this point would be to wait until the water breaks a bit. I would wait (and I am waiting) to see what develops early in 2007, which is right around the corner. I think that by then you will have an even better idea as far as the future for the HD formats and HD hardware. You are right now on the brink of something big and making a decision now would probably not be the wisest thing, just yet. It's great that you are really thinking through alot of these decisions and educating yourself on the market. I can tell you one thing for sure though...watching movies in HD through Comcast or anything that they broadcast in HD is really making it hard to watch movies on regular DVD because they don't look nearly as good, which is a shame when you have 1200 DVD's like I do. I am hardly going to upgrade all of my movies to HD formats because it would take another 6 years or so to get to that point and not to mention about another $15K-$20K. Yikes.

    So I am waiting to see what happens....you are welcome to join me in the observatory!
  • 10-30-2006, 11:59 AM
    markw
    My foray into 16:9, or HD, is less for the programming as for DVD watching.
    Granted, I hope to avail myself of OTA programming as much as possible but I do realize that a lot of my TV watching will be in 4:3.

    My main goal in getting a 16:9 set is to hopefully be able to watch wide screen novies with a better presentation than I currently get on my 32: Proscan CRT dinosaur. It's great for 4:3 stuff, and I'm sure I'll keep it in the main room for along, long time, but I'm sure I can do better with the wid screen movies.

    Now, I'm keeping my eyes open for the Athena Micra 6 systems to go on sale again. A few months ago they were < $250 and now they're up to over $400? What gives?

    P.S,.. now I'm looking at a Toshiba 32HC66. Decisions, decisions...

    Hang in there, Slump, and keep me posted.
  • 10-30-2006, 12:13 PM
    The Tahitijack
    I think I see where we are headed and will ask the next question.

    Suppose most of the mass market buyers were willing to bet againt HD-DVD and Blue Ray and simply go with "todays' technology. Would most of the general public/non-audio videofile be satified with a 50' plasma with 780p? In general these customers would source movies from non-HD DVDs like PurivianSky's collection and watch HD programing from their cable company. Which leads me to the question whether any cable cos are already or will broadcast in 1080p?
  • 10-30-2006, 12:33 PM
    topspeed
    Sooner or later, Slump, you're just going to have bite the bullet and do it.

    I jumped in with a 720p a while back knowing full well that 1080p was right around the corner. What I also knew was that there wouldn't be any worthwhile 1080p content right around the corner...and there still isn't. In the meantime, I've thoroughly enjoyed HD content not only from DirecTV but more often then not, from OTA. All of the majors offer OTA HD, which means Lost, 24, Boston Legal, and most importantly, 'SC FOOTBALL in all of its 16:9 HD glory. I haven't regretted it for a second and often can't believe I waited for so long.

    HD content is going to increase, just give it time. DirecTV launched a satellite early last year specifically to add 100+ HD channels to their existing portfolio. When will it happen? Who knows? I do know that considering most of what is on the tube is crap anyway, do I really care if that crap is in HD or SD? Probably not.

    If I were buying today, I'd get a 1080p set just to future proof against the BluRay/HDDVD war. I'd get as many HDMI inputs as possible, although I doubt I'd care if it were 1.3 or not, as I'll be running my audio feed through an AVR/PrePro. I'd do this merely because HDMI is much more convenient than three massive component cables. If you can detect a visible difference between HD content via HDMI vs. Component, your eyes are far better than most.

    As for which technology, it really comes down to what compromises are you will to make? Plasma has awesome colors and blacks, but won't go to 1080p and consumes energy faster than Kobyashi does hot dogs. LCD's are bright and you can hang <42" on the wall, but they suffer from SDE and mediocre blacks. DLP's, LCoS, etc. will all have problems. What is important to you?

    Personally, as far as rear projection sets go, my list would start and stop at either Sony's 1080p SXRD set or JVC's 1080p HDiLA, both LCoS based sets. TPV considers the JVC as Best on the Planet and I don't disagree. LCoS simply offers the fewest compromises with excellent off-axis viewing, IMO. That said, I'd wait until either of those sets adopts a LED based projection system as the price you pay for the unrivaled brightness of LCoS is bulb life measured in months, not years. Mine went Casper in 8 months. AVMaster's did the same. It's not a big deal as I have a 5 year warranty on the bulb and changing it requres all of 5 minutes. You should be aware of the deficiency however.

    Get off the sidelines and get into the game! You have no idea what you are missing until you have it...and then you'll wonder why you waited so long (just like I did).
  • 10-30-2006, 12:38 PM
    topspeed
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by markw
    My main goal in getting a 16:9 set is to hopefully be able to watch wide screen novies with a better presentation than I currently get on my 32: Proscan CRT dinosaur. It's great for 4:3 stuff, and I'm sure I'll keep it in the main room for along, long time, but I'm sure I can do better with the wid screen movies.

    You should get a projector, Mark. If you main goal is better movie presentation and you can control ambient light, I see no reason why you shouldn't avail yourself of the dropping prices on projectors. They are very cost effective provided you do it right.
  • 10-30-2006, 12:38 PM
    GMichael
    Let's turn back the clock a few decades and ask, "Does anyone really need COLOR TV?" What's wrong with B&W?
    That was fun. Now let's turn the clock forward. "Does anyone really need holograms?" What's wrong with 1080p 3-D?"

    If someone else has something "better" then we will need, or at least want, it.
  • 10-30-2006, 07:53 PM
    SlumpBuster
    Thanks guys. Lots o' good advise.

    GMichael: Thanks for the heads up on shifting display sizes on a projector. That puts me back at square one, but that is good. Its features like that that are hard to discover without downloading owners manuals. But most companies are pretty good about putting them online.

    Peruvian: What exactly do you expect to break in the spring? HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray?

    Ericl: Yeah, the comcast infrastructure in my city is old and has not been well maintained. WOW had to completely rewire my house because the 25 year old Comcast coax was toast. Sure the house's romex is 50 years old and just passed inspection, but the cable TV wires are garbage. Go figure.

    Topspeed: Thanks for the push.

    As to what Tahitijack said: I'm actually predicting that HD-DVD and Blu-Ray will both never become more than the equivalent of Laserdisk. It goes against my 20 year market penetration theory. Each new format will run a course of 20 years before being replaced. I think its linked to the various generations having their favorite format. The major formats LP, Cassette, CD, VHS all had roughly 20 year cycles. Right now we are 5 years into the cycle for DVD and Mp3. While there were always other formats around (reels, 8 track, DAT, Minidisc, DCC, Beta, Laserdisc) they just never fully penetrated. Consumers pick their horses and ride the race. Frankly, you'll never be able to convince the Walmart/QVC set that HD-DVD and Blu-Ray aren't just fancy DVDs, especially after you just convinced them as little as 4 years ago that their VHS was worthless. And those are the people that you have to target to get market saturation and subsequently $30 players and $5 disks. And, for what its worth, alot of the user reviews I've seen on the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray describe it as underwhelming.

    "This is it people, this is what you have been waiting for," they said. Then they said, "Oh wait, no this is what you have been waiting for, and it comes with a format war too!"

    I'm gonna go listen to the LPs I got this weekend. Obsoletion be damned. :cornut:
  • 10-30-2006, 07:59 PM
    SlumpBuster
    Oh, one last question. I read somewhere that the difference between 1080p and 720p is negligable at most viewing distances. Sounds like diminishing returns territory. Has anyone here actually seen properly executed 1080p?
  • 10-30-2006, 10:14 PM
    edtyct
    At typical viewing distances (10 ft. or so) from typical displays (say, 50"), typical viewers (most of us) may have a hard time distinguishing 720p from 1080p. Those with large front-projection screens who sit 12 ft. or more away from the action, or those with small flat panels who sit within, say, 6 ft., are much more likely to benefit from the highest resolution, at least so far as fill factor is concerned. Under the right circumstances, the difference is undeniable. But with smaller screens, the right circumstances aren't always comfortable or convenient; moving back far enough for the sake of sound staging, eye strain, or SDE will make the benefits of 1080p less important, and less noticeable. If you have any experience with native 480p vs. native 720p, you'll know what I mean by this sliding scale.
  • 10-31-2006, 02:52 AM
    drseid
    Definitely I encourage you to take the plunge. I agree with most of the responders that recommend a projector... There is a new 1080p (24fps input capable) one on the market from Sony called the "Pearl" for under 5K that is getting a lot of buzz right now. That one is perfect for some of the new Blu-ray players about to hit the market that can take advantage of the feature. If you go with a 720 or 768p set or projector, obviously you can save a lot of money and I doubt you will miss the higher resolution much (on a projector using a large screen it would be most noticable).

    I also agree that if your cable company has 10-20 HD channels, they are one of the market leaders in the area. I personally could not go back to regular TV after using my HD DVR from Cox...

    With respect to software for the new formats... I would not say it is scarce. HD DVD has over 100 titles available, and will almost double that by year end. Blu-ray is also gaining a good foothold, and will accelerate further this quarter and into 2007. I confess that most of the Blu-ray exclusive titles don't interest me, but HD DVD has some that I love like the upcoming Casablanca and King Kong in November, and the already released "The Searchers." Others on both formats already released like MI3, Batman Begins (maybe this one is HD DVD only... I forget), Unforgiven, etc show good initial studio support is there for both formats. If you don't like buying the discs (Amazon has a great deal on them BTW -- averaging 40%+ off most titles once you add the 10% off special offer) then Netflix has almost all the releases available for both formats.

    As for a winner between HD DVD and Blu-ray... I have no idea so I am supporting them both. I confess that I hope HD DVD wins (and 99% of my collection is HD DVDs) as I feel it offers much better value for the money. That said, I can live with either format now that Blu-ray has started to get its act together.

    I actually do believe that one (or possibly both) format(s) will emerge much stronger than the all but obscure LD (that I still own and love)... There is just too much at stake for the studios to allow things to get like that. They both may not be as successful as DVD, but what has been? I *will* say that upconverted DVDs look *nothing* like HD DVD (and Blu-ray when mastered properly). The differences are far from subtle on a decent sized screen (50 inches and up).

    Good luck,

    ---Dave
  • 10-31-2006, 06:16 AM
    SlumpBuster
    [QUOTE=drseidNetflix has almost all the releases available for both formats.[/QUOTE]

    And Dave drops some science on the nOOb. Uber pwnage!

    Duh, here I am thinking "But blockbuster doesn't rent these things."
  • 10-31-2006, 06:17 AM
    GMichael
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SlumpBuster
    Oh, one last question. I read somewhere that the difference between 1080p and 720p is negligable at most viewing distances. Sounds like diminishing returns territory. Has anyone here actually seen properly executed 1080p?

    Depends on the size of the screen and how far away you view it. Once you get to 100+" screen you'll notice. I saw a 65 or 70" Samsung 1080p LCD plugged into a Blue-Ray at CC two weeks ago. Sitting at about 6 feet away, I was very impressed. Not only were the slow moving scenes (AKA discovery channel stuff) nice, but the high action scenes were just as hot.

    Will Blue ray or HD-DVD catch on? Maybe. I'd like to see them backward compatable. Who can afford to replace their whole collection at one time?
  • 10-31-2006, 11:31 AM
    drseid
    Will Blue ray or HD-DVD catch on? Maybe. I'd like to see them backward compatable. Who can afford to replace their whole collection at one time?

    Well, HD DVD does have the combo disc that is available for some releases (mainly new titles). These have one side that has the HD DVD layers, and the other is that has the standard DVD version of the movie. I confess I hate these combo discs, primarily due to their cost (about $5 more than normal HD DVDs)... I guess that is as close to backwards compatibility as you will find with the formats. HD DVD might be onto something if they would price the combos at the same price as non-combos (or offer both choices whenever a combo option is available).

    ---Dave
  • 10-31-2006, 12:13 PM
    topspeed
    I saw a Sammy 1080p DLP w/ BluRay two weeks ago (that was me standing next to ya Mike, and you didn't even say hi :( ). The picture was very impressive, although load times between chapters was excessively long. The level of detail and lack of pixelation were outstanding. That said, I'm in no rush to upgrade my monitor or my dvd player.

    As for HD DVD vs. BluRay, one of the benefits of BR is superior storage allowing Dolby HD and TrueHD sound (correct me if I'm wrong). Of course, BR's "Ace in the Hole" is coming November 17th.

    http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/msnbc/Co...d10a.widec.jpg
  • 10-31-2006, 12:30 PM
    GMichael
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by topspeed
    I (that was me standing next to ya Mike, and you didn't even say hi :( ).

    I never knew that CA was so close to NY. I didn't see you. Was too busy looking at Milla Jovovich jump off that building with her shorts riding up her... well, you know. HD is great! :ihih:
  • 10-31-2006, 12:51 PM
    SlumpBuster
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by topspeed
    As for HD DVD vs. BluRay, one of the benefits of BR is superior storage allowing Dolby HD and TrueHD sound (correct me if I'm wrong). Of course, BR's "Ace in the Hole" is coming November 17th.

    http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/msnbc/Co...d10a.widec.jpg


    Ya know, I just read about that earlier today. Goes to show that you never know. I don't play console games and haven't owned one since the woodgrained Atari 2600. I'm more of a PC gamer (plan on losing most of this weekend to the latest FEAR installment) But even I know that PS3 should not be underestimated. Christmas may determine a winner.
  • 10-31-2006, 12:54 PM
    SlumpBuster
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GMichael
    Was too busy looking at Milla Jovovich jump off that building with her shorts riding up her... well, you know. HD is great! :ihih:

    They claim that you can't wear out laser based media. Well come feast your eyes on my worn out copy of The Fifth Element. I looped some of those scenes so long the laser burned right through it. Looks like swiss cheese.
  • 10-31-2006, 01:02 PM
    GMichael
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SlumpBuster
    They claim that you can't wear out laser based media. Well come feast your eyes on my worn out copy of The Fifth Element. I looped some of those scenes so long the laser burned right through it. Looks like swiss cheese.

    Sick minds think alike.
  • 11-02-2006, 02:28 AM
    drseid
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by topspeed
    As for HD DVD vs. BluRay, one of the benefits of BR is superior storage allowing Dolby HD and TrueHD sound (correct me if I'm wrong).


    Well, not exactly Top... HD DVD can (and does currently) use advanced codecs like Dolby TrueHD... Actually they fit on HD DVD easily. Storage has actually ended up in HD DVD's favor with respect to most discs. 95%+ of HD DVDs are of the dual layer variety (HD DVD 30s) while 90%+ of Blu-ray releases are BR single layer (BR 25s). As such HD DVD actually in reality has more storage. Now BR *can* use dual layer (BR 50) discs, and when they do they have a storage advantage (although most BR discs will be of the single layer variety now and into the future)... But they give up any advantage because studios like Sony are using legacy codecs like MPEG-2 instead of the much more efficient VC-1 almost all HD DVDs use. BR tends to also use uncompressed audio as opposed to the advanced codecs HD DVD uses. Bottom line is HD DVD needs a lot less space, and long movies well in excess of 3 and half hours can fit on a dual layer HD DVD disc with VC-1 encoding (I believe they can hold up to 4 hours without video degradation). This also allows plenty of space for extras and lossless codecs. King Kong will be a superb example of this when it is released on the 14th for HD DVD.

    I should point out that BR can use VC-1 and advanced codecs too (and if they do, single layer BR 25s will be fine for most movies). Unfortunately right now, many of the BR players do not have the ability to decode the lossless audio codecs within the player (HD DVD players do in the case of Dolby TrueHD), but this will change in time (and the PS3 can do this, I believe). Also, many studios are switching to VC-1 and AVC/MPEG-4 for BR to free up space, as they realise they botched the early MPEG-2 single layer BR releases due to compression/disc space issues (not to mention shoddy masters)... Sony seems to be the lone MPEG-2 holdout. Once the codecs are used, both formats will be able to fit plenty of stuff along with excellent picture and sound on all releases.

    So round 1 is in HD DVD's favor here... the future is going to be pretty much even (with the possible exception of Sony BR releases).

    ---Dave
  • 11-03-2006, 06:50 PM
    evil__betty
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SlumpBuster
    In a coincidentally similar stroke to MarkW recent desire to enter the 21st century, I too am looking at taking the HD plunge after not really knowing too much about it.

    I have a healthy budget, but am getting frustrated. I spent the last two weeks looking to future proof my purchases as best I could.

    I boned up on the standards, interlaced vs. progressive, DVI vs. HDMI, Plasma v. LCD v. Projector. I found a 50" Samsung Plasma that looked right, but its 780p max. Looks like 1080p requires a move into LCD. Can't help it though, I like the plasmas better than LCD from what I've seen. Rear projection is not really an option b/c of view angle issues. We were looking at projectors, but my wife had a good point when she said, "Do you really want to watch 'How I Met Your Mother' on a 110" screen? For movies it would be great but..." It does seem a little overkill.

    But, then it hit me. What was going to be my source material?
    Cable? My cable company, WoW, seems to be a little weak in the HD department. 10 maybe 20 channels, including premium HBO, Showtime, Starz. No CableCards. No DVI or HDMI output from STB. I had Comcast and the reliabilty was awful. Cable went out every other week. So no option there.

    Dish? Tried that, and it sucked. Reliabilty, weather, trees, and latitude all conspired to make it a bust.

    HD-DVD/Blu-Ray? Nice quagmire this is turning into. RCA just released an HD-DVD player with a street price of $350 but do I really want to spend $35 on Tokyo Drift? Um, no. I rented it last night (It was good if you like those kind of movies, which I do), but I don't really buy movies as it is. More of a rental junkie.

    So what does that leave me with? Just doesn't seem like there is all that much HD content out there. OTA and upconverted DVDs? Is that enough to justify the expense?

    So, bottom line. Are the present sources, particularly upconverted DVDs, worth it? Am I just being a little girl afraid to take the plunge?

    If I were to drop thousands of dollars on a Home Theatre set up (which I have), I would do absolutely everything possible to get the best picture. I pay an extra $10/mth to get HD, and sure, sometimes my signal goes down under heavy snow/rain, but for those 362 other days of the year, I think that that $10 is some of the best money spent. Is everything in HD? No. But I sure do love watching everything that is available. HD DVD/ Blu-Ray? Who really cares right now. Give it 6 months, hell, a year, and see whats out there and what your cost would be. Maybe it'll be worth it to drop some more money to convert to one or both of the formats.

    Trust me, once you dive into HD, you'll think to yourself, "Why didn't I do this earlier?????" I'm proof of that and by the looks of the posts, there are others here who will testify the same thing.

    In regards to TV's, buy the one that if from a reliable brand, looks the best to your eyes, and suits the the requirements of what you want it to do. Once you put the money down, take your TV home and love it to bits. Eventually there will be something else out there that will be better than your set, but who cares, your happy with the kick ass TV thats hanging on your wall, right?
  • 11-08-2006, 10:48 AM
    recoveryone
    I just glanced over the pervious post,and what I didn't see any question of room size or design setup. IMHO, a projector is great in a room built for one (complete darkness/limited lighting under controlled conditions). I would suggest going with the largest size flat panel or projector you can fit in your room. And get second T.V for everyday viewing.