I want a fancy TV

So I’m very close to actually going out there and getting myself a fancy 16:9 widescreen TV at last. I watch so many DVDs I feel I owe it to myself. And I thought, why not spend this absurd amount of money I am earning?

But there are so many kinds! There’s CRT, there’s plasma, there’s LCD, there’s projectors. Formats! Digital-ready, analogue, teletext, . And the brands! Sony, Philips, Samsung, LG. And the price to match! $2000, $4000, $6000!!! (that’s AU money) And more!! Dot-pitch, dimensions, flatscreen, TV reception, sockets, DVD image quality.

So I want recommendations, pitfalls, what specifications I’m really looking for, what is superduper fantastic, what is more than adequate, what is necessary, what I can live without.

I currently have a fairly standard DVD player (Toshiba) with a Sony 5.1 surround system, hooked up with RCA cables and a dicital fibre optic cable.

So I’m ready - inform me!

All I can say is that I bought a Samsung 42" plasma about this time last year Best Purchase Ever!. Never looked back.

Do compare Samsung with the others (more features than LG, loads cheaper than Sony/Panasonic)

Would love to give you the downside, but there ain’t none!

I purchased a Panasonic 47 widescreen about a year ago, very happy with it.

A couple things to keep in mind:

Screen protectors - good idea but think about the location vs. sunlight. Most screen protectors are a high-gloss type and sunlight causes nasty reflections. Consider an aftermarket non-glare screen protector.

Viewing distance - a few people I know went out and bought the largest t.v. they could afford. 57-60 inche screens suck massive ass if you are seated within 7 feet of the screen b/c you live in an apartment or have it in a small room in your home. Google and you’ll find some good info on size to viewing distance ratios.

Progressive Scan DVD - Upgrade your DVD player to a newer Progressive Scan DVD player and buy component cables to connect the two. Monster Cables are over-priced, look into Accoustic Research brand for 1/2 the price and just as good quality.

Good luck, and if you get a plasma I am coming to your house next week to watch football!

MeanJoe

You’ve got 3 (or 4) real choices here for rear projection TVs. I’m speaking from a slightly high-end point of view. If you don’t really care about picture quality and what not, then you can disregard and just get something cheap :slight_smile:

This is longer than I anticipated. There is a lot to cover with these, and I hope I don’t screw up the details. If you have any questions or just want to tell me that I’m posting rubbish, please say so. I’ll post more if you have questions.

CRT rear projection - Best black levels, and if properly calibrated by an ISF tech (at about 400 bucks a pop) it can have the best picture quality (PQ). Worst picture out of the box, and needs yearly calibration. Also can suffer from permanent burn-in, so you need to be careful about watching TV with logos and video games. If you have a wide screen TV but prefer to watch normal cable in 4:3 ratio, then the black bars on the sides can burn in as well. CRT is the cheapest technology right now, as well as the biggest in both size and weight. CRT’s also require you to be almost directly in front of the unit, and eyes level with the screen. Finally, they may not be as bright or vivid as the other technologies.

LCD rear projection - Poor black levels which can be fixed by calibration, but in general look better out of the box than CRT. Some artifacting with high speed shots (like hockey), and other little quibbles that you will only see if you are looking for them. Generally you will get great picture quality with very vivid colours and excellent detail. However, the dreaded “dead/stuck pixel” problem can strike these types of TV. If you get a stuck pixel, the pixel will not change colours as it’s supposed to and will instead stay a certain colour regardless of the signal. Most stuck pixels are not noticeable past a few feet and won’t cause an issue, but red pixels are can be noticeable at normal viewing distance. Stuck pixels are not covered under manufacturers warranty as they are “part of the technology”.

DLP rear projection - Very good PQ, good black levels and excellent details. Almost perfect out of the box, but calibration is recommended anyways. DLPs suffer from the infamous “Rainbow” effect where some (not all!) people can see a rainbow in the screen when looking out of the corner of their eye or when turning their heads. This may not be noticeable in the store as the bright overhead lights diminish the effect. Some people can live with this, and some can’t. Some can’t see it at all… DLP can suffer from stuck mirrors, which can cause either a white or a black square on the screen. Even though stuck mirrors are considered “part of the technology”, people are getting them fixed with no problems. This may change, but for now it’s fairly safe. DLPs also suffer from artifacting, and may be more noticeable than the LCD display.

Both LCD and DLP have user changeable bulbs, where the CRT needs a tech visit for changing the bulb. Bulb life should be about 5 years of 3 hour/day viewing, with some less and some more.

There is a new technology coming in called LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicone). This is not readily available and I don’t know much about it.
Brands:
DLP - Samsung makes a good line of DLP RPTV
LCD - Nothing compares to the Sony GWIII line that just came on the market. For an extra 33% you can get the XBR line, but I think that the regular line is just fine.
CRT - I don’t know. I consider the technology dead and haven’t looked into the new lines.

What would I buy? Nothing right now. LCD and DLP technology still need to mature and both have some serious drawbacks. I’m content to wait a little longer and see which one wins the war.

Errr… please forgive the grammar/typos/punctuation in my post. I’ll be sure to give the meth addicted chimp that wrote it a good talking to.

Thanks for your long post and recommendations, AC, but I should’ve mentioned that I do not want a rear-projection TV. I think they look awful.

I see you are in Australia, so I don’t know if this applies to you, but new rules in the US make it mandatory to have ALL televisions be ditigital by 2006(?). This means the older style televisions are going down in price real fast and the newer, digital TV’s will be coming out and going down in price as more and more people buy them.

But as far as the flat, plasma, hang-on-your wall, “wow” televisions, I just read they have been going down in price about 25% per year. So I think I am going to wait until they are free…or at least in the triple digit price. Plus, there are quite a few kinds out there…LCD and Plasma and a new one coming out this year as well. I want to be careful not to get stuck with the proverbial 8 track cassette recorder/Betamax video recorder.

But if you can afford it - go for it. There are a few websites - the names I cannot remember - who rank those models with customer satisfaction. You might want to look there first, as I recall there seems to be problems with some of them losing pixels.

Also, don’t forget the price of those super thin wall models often does not include the price of expensive wall mounts, connecting cables, receivers and other very necessary “extras”!

2008 for us turning to digital, but there are wet-top-boxes for that, so even if I don’t get a digital capable TV, I won’t miss out.

Not that digital TV has particularly good resolution yet - it appears to be artifacted so bad it looks like a DivXed AVI.

SET-top-boxes.

Dammit.

Do yourself a favor and try a DLP next to a Plasma. I think you will be suprised.

I’ve just googled a little bit and I may be mistaken in what I thought a Rear-Projection TV was. What’s a Front Projection TV? And what’s a standard CRT TV in relation to them all?

Front projection TVs are small projection units that usually hang from the ceiling and project (think movie theatre) onto a wall/screen. This is the only way to get TV bigger than 70" at the moment, but they require a room with good light control so you wouldn’t want to use this in a room with more than one window. They are expensive to buy when you factor in the screen, and the bulbs have a short life span and are expensive. Most people I know with FPTV only use it for movies and use a plain old TV for watching cable.

A plain CRT (cathode ray tube) TV is what you have right now (assuming you own a TV), and should not be confused with the CRT rear projection TV. You can’t really get past 36" with a CRT (well, Sony does have a 40" CRT TV, but I don’t like the picture and it’s 300 lbs).

I’m still reading the FAQs as well, so I don’t know exactly how a CRT RPTV works. My advice is to go to a fancy schmancy AV store and get them to show you the differences. Don’t buy yet, but you really need to experience some of these yourself.

Finally, you can get some excellent info on AV forums. I suggest http://www.avsforum.com/ and http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htforum/index.php

Both of these places have very active TV forums. Good luck and if I can help any more just let me know.