Help Me Buy an HDTV

Hey people,
I’m attempting to drag myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century and I’m thinking of getting an HDTV. I have no idea how to select a new TV. My budget is about $1,000 so I expect I can get something fairly decent through obviously it won’t have a mega screen. Anyone have any experience with HD television?

This thread is better suited for IMHO.

I’ll move it for you.

Cajun Man
for the SDMB

You’ve got your budget figured out, now you need the other details.

How far away from the screen will you typically be? This will help determine optimum size.

What type of content will you be watching? Do you have a cable/satellite subscription? A blue-ray player? an upconverting DVD player? Plan on hooking up a PC to it?

What about sound? Do you have/plan to get a sound system and if not, is it crucial to get the best audio out of your TV set?

I’m planning on upgrading to HDTV of some sort for christmas, and was planning on opening a thread like this myself.

Specifically, whats the different between component and HDMI cables? In terms of functionality, I mean. I’ve got a DirecTV reciever, an older VCR/DVD combo, and my PS3 (which I’ll be using for Blueray).

Right now the television is about 12 feet away but I’ll be moving at some point in the future. I’ll probably end up getting cable and at some point a blue ray player as well.

I recently purchased one myslef and couldn’t be happier.

HDMI are a purely digital signal whereas component are analog, you get some degredation in the transition between the two.

I would reccomend determining the number of components/inputs you need and then add 1-2 more for upgrades. Sure you may only have 2 HDMI dvices now, but in the future what happens if you need a third?

I went with LCD, and am really pleased with the unit I got. Other folks swear by Plasma because of the “deeper blacks”. I have had a few friends with older model plasmas prefer the picture on mine.

The 120hz motion flow type technology can be fun if you have an HD source, but if you are using other media types sometimes it leaves artifacts. I usually keep mine turned off.

For your price range I have heard a lot of people realy like the Visio models at CostCo.

LCDs have deeper blacks these days (I believe, though I am just guessing) because they have high contrast glass over the screen.

If your DTV receiver and dish aren’t HD compatible, you’re going to have to upgrade. The dish they’re using for HD is called the Slimline; it’s bigger and much heavier than the older dishes. I’m in the middle of a dispute with my HOA about mine because the installer had to put it on my roof due to support issues. Just something to keep in mind if you’re in an HOA.

DTV will usually replace your dish for free, but you might have to work to convince them to give you a free receiver upgrade. The HDMI cables should come with the receiver, although mine weren’t in the box. I had to ask the installer for them.

For my living room, I have a 37" Samsung LCD that I got for about $1300 and I’m loving it. I did originally buy a Samsung 32" from Costco (which was about 1000), but it had some sound issues, so I took it back. I found the 32" size reasonable for the size of my room (I'm sitting about 10 feet away), but ended up going with the 37" since it was only a few hundred more. I’m happy with the size; it doesn’t overwhelm the room like the 42" Mitsubishi projection TV I have in my entertainment room and even the standard def 4:3 programs are bigger on the screen than they were on the 27" that I replaced.

The only problem I have with the TV is that it sounds a bit tinny. This is apparently a big problem with most HDTV’s, so if you don’t want crappy sound you have to find an alternative. I don’t have a sound system and I don’t want one taking up space in the room, so I ended up plugging some small computer speakers into the headphone jack. I’m not an audiophile, so it sounds good enough to me.

The DirecTV thing reminds me, I wanted to upgrade to DirecTV HD, but the satelites usefd for the HD signals are very close to the horizon, the treeline around my house was in the way (even though I could get standard def just fine) I had to give up and switch to cable.

As for upgrading I just called DirecTV and told them I was considering switching to cable for HD service and they offered me a free install, a $99 HD DVR plus the HD channels and DVR service free for a year and 6 mos of movie channels.

I can’t speak to the sound on the TVs as I am using a sound system. One thing you might want to check is look at display models and switch to a standard def channel. some TVs are better than others at the scaling.

And they called it “Slimline”? :dubious: (at them, not you)