Help us come into the 21st century, entertainment-wise

So we’re just about convinced that we have room in the budget (between saved-up points, gift cards, cash, and regular Christmas gift budget) to get a wide-screen HD TV. Our current big TV was one I bought in 1991… and it’s 19 inches. Needless to say, sitting 8 feet away, the viewing experience is not all that one might desire.

Budget-wise, a 46 inch, 120 mhz refresh looks like it’ll fit. We happen to have a framed poster in that room that is roughly the same width as the 46 inch TV would be - the poster is 38 wide by 19 tall, the TV would be 40 wide by 22 tall (per http://www.nicetaco.com/tv.aspx), so it gives a good visual for the size of the screen. Larger would of course be nice but 46 inches is definitely in the realm, price-wise.

I assume we’d want to go with 1080p vs 720p.

Would we notice the difference between 120 and 240 mhz?

We aren’t terribly interested in a 3D set, though those are dominating the marketplace it seems (when I filter by other criteria).

Anything noticeable about going with LED-LCD vs plain LCD? or vs. plasma? We’re not especially picky but want the screen to be reasonably clear.

How would the power usage be compared to that 19 inch CRT dinosaur?

In a brightly-lit room (it has windows east and north) do you think any of these would do? We don’t have bright lamps in there but in daylight, not much we can do about it.

We want to get something internet-ready. A lot of the ones at Best Buy list things like “smart”, “Netflix” etc. - is it a reasonable bet that any internet-ready TV would handle all the services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu?

Or would we be better off getting an internet-ready Blu-ray player instead?

For a while, there was buzz about cable-card-ready TVs - you still had to rent the card from the cable company, but at least you didn’t need a separate box and separate remote.

For internet ready, do I assume we’d connect via wi-fi? How have folks’ experiences been with doing that to a TV? Or can we connect via the cable somehow? (we have TV and internet through FIOS). Would we need a separate “cable modem” if we wanted to hard-connect the TV? If so, do we buy that or rent it from the Veridiots?

How many HDMI inputs do we really need??? I see us connecting the WII, the Blu-ray player, and the cable box. Do each of those need their own HDMI? or does one of them use a separate input?

Other stuff I’ve forgotten to ask?

You might be interested in this thread. Plus we have a 40" Bravia Z series, which is an LCD, HD-capable, 200 Hz, and we’re happy with it. Supposedly we could link a computer to it for Internet, but we’ve not tried that. Got it 2-1/2 years ago to replace the Sony Trinitron we got in 1994. you might check out the Bravias.

Although ours is a 40", if you can go for 46" or larger, then do it. As a TV salesman (or ex-salesam) wisely told me on this Board when we were looking for a new set, no one has ever said: “Gee, I wish I’d gotten a smaller TV.” (The wife was wanting a 32", but that quote got her to acquiesce to a 40".)

Thanks - I missed that thread. Some good thoughts there on size and type. We could afford a bigger screen if we went for plasma, just have to decide which would work best in the room.

But I’d be grateful for any opinions on other questions like internet-readiness etc., refresh rate (the plasmas are a lot higher to begin with, 600ish vs the LED’s 60/120/240)…

My husband and I are shopping for a new TV and found this site to be very helpful: cnet.com reviews - TVs.

I can’t offer any advice regarding the TV itself. I have a 52" 720p plasma so I am way behind the times :slight_smile:
However, I can offer two pieces of advice. Run every component you can via its own input. You can customize colour, saturation and a pile of other visual/audio settings per input, so it’s best to take advantage of that.
My only other piece of advice is to not buy your cables where you buy your TV. I have had great experiences purchasing from www.monoprice.com. Copper is copper, especially with digital signals, save your money for your TV or a Blu-Ray player instead of high priced cables.

Ah - so we want to make sure we have an input for the cable box, an input for the DVD (or Blu-Ray), an input for the VCR (maybe… we own one but have not used it in many years), an input for the Wii - that’s 4.

And yeah - I’d heard that things like Monster Cables are a complete ripoff :).

If you find a deal that can’t be beat with too few inputs, I would cast aside my advice and purchase a splitter or what have you.
Keep in mind that your cable box (providing you upgrade to an HD box) will likely be either a component (Blue, Green and Red for video) or HDMI input. DVD typically pushes component. Blu-Ray will be HDMI and probably have a component out as well. The Wii? No idea what the output options are there. A VCR, on the other hand will push out composite (one Yellow cable for video) which is likely what your cable box pushes out if you haven’t upgraded it yet.

Most TVs have that capability and then some. Good luck on your purchase!

FWIW if you have a room that gets a lot of daylight you might want to go with either LCD or LED, as you can get some pretty bad glare on a plasma screen.

I have a 46-inch 1080p plasma and love it. I also have two smaller LCDs (a 32 and a 19 both 720) and I think they perform just fine for what they are. The LED LCDs have a beautiful picture and are very thin. I’d have considered them over the plasma if they were affordable for me at the time of my purchase.

3D - I wouldn’t bother unless you think it’s something you’d be really into. I recently read an article (found it) investigating “Who Killed 3-D?” I wouldn’t pay a premium for a feature that might be obsolete in a year or two.

I can’t comment on refresh rate since my LCDs don’t get watched as often. I have no idea what they are but they look fine.

Power Usage - no idea but I think I remember reading that plasma is a bit more than LCD but that’s a full brightness.

Room lighting - I’ve heard that plasma sets perform less well in bright rooms. If I’m watching TV during the day (not often) I just close the blinds. If you can’t do that I would investigate just how big an issue this is with plasmas before getting one.

Internet Ready - my set is not, but I have a Blu-Ray that is. The apps on an internet ready set probably vary from company to company so I wouldn’t assume it comes with them all. You shouldn’t have to hunt much to find out what comes with a set you like as they are usually plastered on the display set, the box, and should be listed online.

Internet Connectivity - At least for Blu-Ray you pay extra for a Wi-Fi ready player vs one that is strictly hard-wire. Mine is hard-wire because everything was already near my cable modem and router. The router has an input from the modem and 4-5 outputs, one of which goes to the Blu-Ray. I’m not familiar with FIOS.

Inputs - A TV in that size range will likely have at least a few HDMI and a couple each of the other types of inputs (composite, component, and maybe s-video). I use all three of the HDMI inputs on my set. You can buy an HDMI switcher if you have tons of things to connect. You’ll want HDMI for Blu-Ray, your cable box (if it’s available and you have HD programing), a laptop, and your game machines. Some upscaling DVD players have HDMI but you can also use the component (green, blue, red) jacks for that. While the video quality will be the same, the advantage with HDMI is you’re only running one cable instead of 5. For the VCR, my set still has the old coaxial input/output so you can use that or use composite inputs (yellow video, red/white audio).

Don’t worry so much about internet connectivity on the TV itself. Every other month, a new service pops up or goes away, and if you’re only using the TV’s capabilities, you may be stuck with a $1200 TV that can’t connect to a new service.

To me, at least, it makes more sense to let your BD player, Wii, Xbox, Roku, etc. handle the online services as you’re more likely to be replacing them in a year or two, rather than the display. They’re also a lot cheaper than a new TV.

Have you considered a HD projector?

Or “tv screen” is 4 ft tall by 6ft wide. We have surround speakers too. We never go to the movies. :slight_smile:

There are a few limitations. The room doesn’t need to be a specific width, as the projection is adjustable, but you have to have a wall suitable for your projected image, and someplace to mount the projector (ours is on a shelf over the sofa), and without too much bright incoming light, or darkened curtains. if it works for you, though, it kicks ass.

ETA: No problem connecting up with a XBOX360, Playstation, or Roku.