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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old July 14th, 2005, 12:46 AM   #1
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HiDef TV worth the purchase?

I'm asking this question on behalf of my 'analog" dad:

He's in the market for a new TV, and wondering (cost aside) if getting a HiDef TV worth it when most of the programming out there is SD? Of course there is an advantage with DVD's and component RGB, but what about broadcast content?

I think he should go with the HD, as there seems to be more and more HD content coming out, but what do you guys think?
I think he's concerned about the pixelation that occurs when viewing SD broadcast content on an HD monitor.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 01:46 PM   #2
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SD digital broadcasts don't look too bad on our family's 36" Sony HD CRT. Some stair-stepping can be seen, but in fact they look better than analog broadcasts from the standpoint of the picture being cleaner, with no "noise" (we pick up broadcasts by antenna since we don't have cable). Videotapes, however, definitely don't look very good.

Given that there is more and more HD content, though, and that your dad will most likely keep the TV for a good while, I'd recommend getting an HD television.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 04:05 PM   #3
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57" Hitachi HDTV here. It is beautiful when it displays HD but a regular CRT looks better when it comes to SD. I would get one though, as the life will be much longer then a SD CRT. Also, if there is any DVD watching, I think it is a must. I watch a LOT of movies and they look so crystal clear, it is like HD. I cannot wait for Blu-Ray or HD-DVD!

Go for it.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 08:12 PM   #4
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In my living room we have a Panasonic 36" 4:3 TAU HDTV and It's good for SD broadcasts but the letterboxing in HD broadcasts worry me. Major advice: When you buy an HDTV, Make sure it's 16:9!
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Old July 14th, 2005, 10:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
the letterboxing in HD broadcasts worry me
Worry you? For what reason?

Our HDTV is 4:3 and the letterboxing never worries me. There's still a lot of SD 4:3 footage (more than 16:9), which on a 16:9 display would have to be pillerboxed. No matter which aspect ratio TV you get you're going to have some kind of "boxing" to fit the non-conforming footage (unless you use stretching or zooming, which brings it's own problems).
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Old July 15th, 2005, 12:09 AM   #6
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There are some HDTV sets that make an SD program look better, not worse, than it would on an SDTV. I shopped around and compared HDTVs for a couple of months, before I settled on one that looked best in its size, type and price range, with both SD and HD programs. I chose the JVC AV-30W585,
a 30-inch, 16:9 CRT. It cost me just $750. and its picture looks very sharp at a distance of 7 to 9 feet. I have it just beyond the back edge of my big editing desk. The 30-inch size is just right at this distance, for 2 or 3 viewers. A larger one would probably be best, if more people will be watching it from across a room. This also a good bedroom-sized set.

I can't use this HDTV for editing my SD footage from DV, as its up-conversion to 1080i makes the picture look sharper and better than it really is. So, I have a 24-inch SDTV alongside for SD editing. Right now, I'm watching a widescreen, digital program on PBS, that is actually in SD-480i. It looks good enough on the JVC HDTV to pass for an HD program. All the local broadcast HD channels show 4:3 digital SD programs on their HD channels when they don't have an HD program, except the PBS station, which shows these SD programs in 16:9. These digitally-sent SD programs usually carry about 525 lines of horizontal rez, or about the same as a good DV recording. This selection of higher-quality SD programs makes an HDTV such as this much more useful, as you aren't limited to just true HD programs, to have an excellent viewing experience. This HDTV makes pre-recorded DVD movies look super, especially if they are the widescreen versions, even though they are only SD-480i.
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Old July 15th, 2005, 03:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Lefchik
Our HDTV is 4:3 and the letterboxing never worries me.
What about the future when every program is made in 16:9? That should be very worrysome for 4:3 owners. They might not see their programs at full-rez. Even if they watch on Echostar or DirecTV!
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Old July 15th, 2005, 08:39 PM   #8
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Our Sony HDTV plays 16:9 footage at full-resolution; it doesn't waste any lines on the letterbox bars. I imagine most other 4:3 CRT HDTVs play 16:9 footage the same way.

However, there is one issue with 16:9 televisions, and that is how fake widescreen DVDs and other such footage appear on them. For an explanation of this problem, see this post by me: Pseudo Widescreen and 16:9 Televisions
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Old July 16th, 2005, 09:36 AM   #9
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HDTV wasn't really worth it when I bought my first set back in 1998 but resolution aside I love my current Sony HD 50" LCD and HD Sony HD 34" CRT for their 16:9 aspect ratio. Of course the resolution is nice when watching a HD broadcast but the majority of my viewing is DVDs. One thought might be to consider a DLP or LCD set as many offer native PC resolutions (Samsung offers both DVI and RGB computer input on their 720p DLP rear projection sets). I wanted a Samsung DLP over my Sony LCD for that very reason but the wife was one of the lucky few who could see the "rainbow effect" of earlier (1st gen.) DLP sets. It literally made her sick in the showroom and I cancelled my order on the spot. The lawyer said it was cheaper to keep her! :)

Prices are definitely falling as Philips has some refurb 30" CRTs on their outlet site for $359 with free shipping.
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