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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old November 24th, 2007, 03:17 PM   #1
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Help guide me through the minefield of HD TVs

Hello, all. I want to buy, at some point in the not too distant future, an HD Television, so's to sort of join the modern world. I've heard that if if I don't try to go too big, and stay at 720p, I can get away with $500 or less, is this right? If not, oh well.

At any rate, there any number of brands, sizes, etc. out there, and I know ther are certain kinds of HD TVs that aren't real HD, that use increased sharpness/contrast to make the picture look sharper, so wondering if someone out there can help me to not make a bad decision when buying. Thanks.
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Old November 24th, 2007, 04:14 PM   #2
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I think the Olevia brand is a pretty decent quality/price combination.

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Old November 24th, 2007, 05:16 PM   #3
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Thanks.

Can someone edit the thread title to say "minefield" instead of "minefiled," which sounds like german word referring to finger nails? My bad.
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Old November 24th, 2007, 06:08 PM   #4
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i agree slash kicks ass, you heard the godfather theme? no relavince what so ever mind you
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Old November 24th, 2007, 06:21 PM   #5
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Actually, yes. . .I have that concert video. Cause I'm that dorky.

So how 'bout this one (sorry, none of the sponsors carry this brand):

http://www.circuitcity.com/ccd/produ...&cm_keycode=66

Last edited by Josh Bass; November 24th, 2007 at 11:53 PM.
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Old November 25th, 2007, 12:22 PM   #6
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I have an Olevia, I think that exact model. I'm very happy with it, though I'm using it as a computer monitor. I'd definitely recommend it to other people.

I scouted around as well, it seemed like the best bang for the buck.
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Old November 25th, 2007, 02:51 PM   #7
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You wouldn't recommend it as a plain old tv?
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Old December 8th, 2007, 05:56 AM   #8
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I have returned with more queries.

Okay, so, this is probably a dumb question, but, in light of that requirement that everything be DTV compatible by '09, will any HD TV I buy right now be okay?

Also, I understand there are these "HDTV Tuners", which I really don't get. . .I can't just turn the thing on and flip channels like a regular TV? Are these tuners included with purchase, or a separate expense? (Yes, I am this ignorant. Until not too long ago, I still had the same TV I'd had since I was 5 or so--and I'm not close to anyone with an HDTV).
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Old December 8th, 2007, 08:21 AM   #9
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I have returned with more queries.

Okay, so, this is probably a dumb question, but, in light of that requirement that everything be DTV compatible by '09, will any HD TV I buy right now be okay?

Also, I understand there are these "HDTV Tuners", which I really don't get. . .I can't just turn the thing on and flip channels like a regular TV? Are these tuners included with purchase, or a separate expense? (Yes, I am this ignorant. Until not too long ago, I still had the same TV I'd had since I was 5 or so--and I'm not close to anyone with an HDTV).
Quite a while back many HD TV's were sold as HDTV "ready." This meant that they were HD capable, but did not have the ATSC tuner that was required to bring in the signal. Thankfully, that is not really an issue anymore. Almost every unit sold comes with the tuner installed and I have not seen one without it in maybe a year or more. As for the basic DTV tuner, no TV's have been made for years without them. Any TV you buy will be DTV ready.

The main things to look for now is what format/s it is capable of displaying, ie. 720p, 1080i and 1080p, the lines of vertical resolution and the projection or screen type.

All are HDTV formats and will work fine. That being said, you should go for 1080i or 1080p. Years ago 1080i was all that was around, but now there are many 1080p sets. If you can afford it I would get the 1080p, but the 1080i like my Sony is fine.

The second thing to look for after the format is the lines of resolution. I have not looked lately but many older models that were say 1080i only had 800 or 900 or less lines of vertical resolution. Obviously if you have a set that has less vertical lines than the format it is supposed project, the quality of the picture will suffer. The actual lines of resolution can be hard to find out, but do find it out.

The last thing is weather it is DLP, rear projection, LCD, Plasma or whatever.

It used to be that the old rear projection was the only choice, but that has changed. My Sony is DLP, Digital Light Projection. It uses millions of tiny mirrors to project the image onto the screen from behind. This provides a brighter picture than the older rear projection units. It is also lighter and thinner, my 50" Sony weights only about 70 pounds and is only about 14 inches deep. It works quite well. Probably the next step up is LCD, liguid crystal display, like all of your LCD computer screens are now. It is probably a little better than rear projection, but can cost more. Then comes Plasma, which is more expensive yet. Plasma screens used to burn out in a short period of time, but that has changed and now they last thousands of hours and it is not much of a problem anymore. The Plasma picture is brighter and very nice. A really good Plasma unit with very high quality footage makes it look like you could walk into the picture.

So, if you want an HD TV, make sure it already has the ATSC tuner, that is has full HD lines of resolution, choose your display type and size and then break out your wallet. Or you can ask Santa! :)

Mike-------Not responsible for any inaccuracies, but someone will point them out anyway! :)
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Old December 8th, 2007, 03:13 PM   #10
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I don't think I can get 1080anything for $500, at least of any respectable size, right?
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Old December 8th, 2007, 04:24 PM   #11
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Oh, now size matters! :) What size do you need? You may be able to, but the lines of resolution may be smaller. There are really some good buys out there now.

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Old December 8th, 2007, 05:21 PM   #12
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In one of the posts above, I linked to an Olevia that's 32", although it's 720p, not 1080. Seems like a pretty good deal. I don't really see the point of getting, say, a 1080p 19" set.
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Old December 9th, 2007, 02:07 PM   #13
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Okay, I see I am wrong. Specs say the set I linked to above supports up to 1080i.

So what's the difference between 1080i and 1080p? I get that one is progressive and one interlaced, but what does that mean to the viewer (I'd understand the difference if we were talking about SHOOTING formats)? I mean, news is still gonna look interlaced and sitcoms/movies still look progressive, right?
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Old December 11th, 2007, 01:12 PM   #14
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Okay, I see I am wrong. Specs say the set I linked to above supports up to 1080i.

So what's the difference between 1080i and 1080p? I get that one is progressive and one interlaced, but what does that mean to the viewer (I'd understand the difference if we were talking about SHOOTING formats)? I mean, news is still gonna look interlaced and sitcoms/movies still look progressive, right?
ALL plasma/LCD displays/TVs are progressive, aside of ALiS panels made by Hitachi/Fujitsu. Most (all?) plasma/LCD panels have 768 lines or more, so they are not exactly 720p.

News should not look interlaced, as the TV will deinterlace interlaced signal. How it does it is a whole different matter. Some Olevia models have Silicon Optix chip, one of the best in industry. But frankly, my Panasonic looks pretty good too, and panning and ticker lines and scrolling titles, they all look good. My Panasonic drops resolution on pans which is sad. But to prevent this you need a really good deinterlacer.

The good thing is that movies should look fine, you need a TV with proper cadence detection. Many modern TVs can detect 3:2 cadence and lock onto it. Samsungs and LGs and some Sonys of the past could not. Read the reviews. Get a Silicon Optix test disk and run it when you get your TV. If the TV cannot properly process 3;2 cadence, throw it out... I mean, return it to the store immediately.

Also, you must not confuse panel resolution with input signal type. For the former, go with one that works for your eyes, unless you intend to use the TV as a computer monitor, more on this below. For the input signals, make sure that the TV supports everything you want to throw at it. If all you want is to watch football and HD-DVDs then any TV will do ;-)

For games and for using as a computer monitor LCD is better. Verify that your computer graphics card supports panel's native resolution and that the TV accepts input signal in panel's native resolution. If you want to work with text, make sure that the TV supports "dot-by-dot" mode.

For movies I prefer plasma, but in the size you are targeting most modern TVs are LCDs.

If you plan to edit videos on this TV or to show off your stuff, look for a TV that can be calibrated. Not all TVs can be calibrated, and some can be calibrated easier than other.

I would not care much about built-in speakers, they will be pretty sad for this size and price anyway.

Look for HDMI inputs, the more the better.

Ugh, a long post. Use Google for Pete's sake :-)
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Old December 11th, 2007, 01:43 PM   #15
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You guys ARE my google!

No, it's for entertainment purposes only (games, TV, movies).
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