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Television Media

Buying a New TV? 162

Posted by Cliff
from the every-house-has-to-have-one dept.
Bob Bitchen asks: "I have had the current TV set for 10+ years and really haven't put any thought into a new one. The current set is having some problems and I'm thinking of getting a new larger set or possibly a projector, with a budget of $1000. What's the best thing to get these days? HDTV ready might be nice but it's not mandatory. I don't know enough about the projector technology to feel comfortable about buying them but I might be convinced, if I hear from enough converts. Do the projectors perform as well as conventional displays? If I do go with a conventional display TV, what models are preferred and why? I am also looking for some good sites for comparing and learning more about the current state-of-the-art in televisions. I found a good site for projectors but haven't found a similar site for TVs."
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Buying a New TV?

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  • ..."can't go wrong with a Sony".

    Obviously try-before-you-buy, but my 5 year old Sony is still a great, great TV.

    Personally, I'd be wary of HDTV until it shakes down a bit more...but that's just me.

    -psy
    • try buying one of their mp3 players... DRM hell :( So in that case you can definately go wrong with a sony. BUT in terms of TV sets, they are definately the best. Go with a Sony if you have 1000 bucks to spend.
    • I have a 20" Mitsubishi TV from the late 80's that's fallen 4 feet twice and 6 feet once, and is still going without any repairs, except for one button on the front panel and the tuner doesn't stop on channels (happened when somebody spilled water in it). Oh, and the CRT is dislodged. But it still freaking WORKS!!! It's used as a monitor for the Playstation2 now. Sony might be good, but I don't know if they're the best.

    • ..."can't go wrong with a Sony".

      Unless you have to carry it up stairs. Sony makes their TVs out of solid depleted Uranium! Make sure you have a dolly!
      • by psyconaut (228947) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @11:44PM (#6642086)
        Story for you (like you care!) ;-)

        My current Sony weighs 98lbs. Sounds like nothing. I mean, I can quite comfortably hump a 98lb girl all night ;-)

        BUT.....when I bought my Sony, I didn't take the dealer up on the free delivery....we removed it from the box and I hauled it by myself into the car....and out when home...across the drive...and up the stairs. FUCK ME! It was a long haul. Sony make TVs that are not move-friendly. 98lbs doesn't sound much until you have to do what I did and realize that it has no FREAKIN' HANDLES! ;-)

        -psy
        • You think that's bad? I did the same thing... found a great deal on a floor model Panasonic 34" TV... They said they couldn't ship it for a few days, so I called a friend and promised beer. The damned TV was 170 pounds, all of it on the screen side, all of which made it want to flip onto it's side, a lot.

          I'm still not sure how the hell we didn't earn the tagline 'hilarity ensues'.
        • For $10 you could have gone to U-Haul and rented a dolly. Mechanical advantages are cool!
        • by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Friday August 08, 2003 @02:01AM (#6642677)
          " I can quite comfortably hump a 98lb girl all night ;-)"

          Gravity's not exactly a constant in dream land, buddy. ;)
        • 98lbs doesn't sound much until you have to do what I did and realize that it has no FREAKIN' HANDLES! ;-)

          Sounds like you need... The Carnivale! It sports a two-prong wall-plug, pre-molded handgrip wells and a durable outer casing to prevent fall-apart.

    • "can't go wrong with a Sony"

      More than half of the Sony devices I've had have been complete crap. But the other half have been pretty darn good. Very strange.

    • ..."can't go wrong with a Sony".
      Sony is a **AA member. So show your support for DRM by buying their stuff
    • Yeah, the Sony Wega's are absolutely the best tube TV's there are for picture quality, if I had paid more than I did for my TV, I'd have bought a 36" Wega. Personally, I have a 34" NetTV Multi-Media monitor (no TV tuner, just 2 VGA (800x600 max), 2 component (R,G,B coax connectors), and 2 component audio/video/S-video. Picture is great, but I think that' probably outside your price range, since they run about $1700. Check county auctions though, I got mine from an auction for $80, after a school stopped
    • by trikberg (621893)
      The first thing I thought when reading the OP was "Don't buy Philips, don't buy Sony". And of course the first post recommends a Sony. I don't have any first hand experience of Sonys because I avoid buying them due to the high number of people complaining about their poor quality. I think their TVs may be a little better than the usual products, but I still avoid them. Based on the Sonys I've seen on display in shops I also dislike their picture quality. Although the source signal usually stinks and the set
      • I have a Panasonic 20" TV/VCR combo that decided to become a black and white 2 weeks after the warrantee expired. My Phillips/Magnavox 27" runs fine after 5+ years now, crappy remote and all. Besides, my TV is always set to composite input, and the volume is done through the home theater so I only need the power button, which is taken care of by the remote for my cable box, which conveniently has one big red button that turns all my devices on or off.
    • I've had a real mixed bag of experiences with Sony products. My Sony monitor was a total piece of shit. Good tube, but shitty electronics. And my walkmans and discmans never seemed to last. On the other hand I've been very happy with my Sony VEGA TV. I think the thing I like best is the special 16:9 mode, where it compresses the scanlines vertically, so you can watch your movies in wide-screen mode without losing any vertical resolution. Pretty nifty.
  • HDTV is not worth spending you money right now [slate.com].
    Look at the GE TVs. They are cheap and will last until HDTV standards are stabilized.
    • by i_am_nitrogen (524475) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @11:06PM (#6641875) Homepage Journal
      HDTV standards are stabilized. HDTV is awesome. All stations in my area broadcast digital SDTV or better. I'd recommend an HDTV tuner card in an HTPC, with a projector. It'll be a little bit more than $1000, but the improved screen size and picture detail over a conventional TV are definitely worth it.

      If you're buying a TV now, unless your room is very small, it's definitely worth going for a projector or an HDTV capable set, if it's within your budget. Generally, if you do the ceiling mount and screen yourself (which even the most well-monied individuals can enjoy doing as a refreshing change), a mid-range projector will cost less than HDTV tubes, plasmas, and RPTV's. I personally use an XGA DLP projector, and while the rainbows (it's an older DLP model; newer ones are much better) were mildly annoying at first, I'm very satisfied with the purchase.

      • The ATSC standard may be stabilized but the receivers are still a work in progress. Most of them have problems with sensitivity, multipath and software bugs. Receiver designs are still in flux. The biggest problem is how to cope with dynamic multipath. There are locations that receive strong ATSC signals where no commercially available receiver can successfully decode the signal.
      • Check to make sure that you're in an area with decent HD coverage.

        This is pretty much any major metropolitan area except for NYC (Due to 9/11 knocking out all but one of the HD transmitters there.)

        If you have a signal, HD is well worth it. Note: Even without an HD signal, an "HD-ready" TV with composite inputs can make for an AMAZING PC monitor for gaming, etc. In my case, I don't have an actual HDTV, I just feed my 18" LCD on my desktop using an HDTV tuner card in my PC. Sadly, I live in the NYC area
    • HDTV is amazing, but you obviously have to have enough HD programming/signal to justify its cost.

      Pre-9/11, we were able to receive Over-the-air broadcast of local network station from the WTC. After those broadcast facilities were destroyed Local HD dropped off. You can get several channels from Satellite: DirecTV offers HBO, Showtime, Discovery, HDNet, ESPN. Cable providers have varied service. We now have TWCNYC, which carries HBO, Showtime, PBS plus CBS, NBC, ABC.

      In anycase, with a $1,000 budget HD
    • That article is over 18 months old. HDTV is available in most major markets in the US. Try the AVS Forums Local HDTV and Reception Forum [avsforum.com] for information on HDTV availability where you live. Also check out AVS Forums HDTV Programming forum [avsforum.com] for information on which shows are available in HDTV.

      The HDTV FAQ [avsforum.com] should also come in handy. And also check out Antenna Web [antennaweb.org] for further information on HDTV reception.

    • GEs are pure junk. It should say right on the box "the worse junk for the money." We have a GE here that is useless - not because it doesn't play, but because it only plays when it wants. And even then it only plays the channels it wants, at the volume setting it wants. Basically the cheap shit PC boards are pure junk, fail, with the result of a microprocessor (that runs the show in virtually ALL teevees these days) that seems to have a will of its own. if it turns on it may turn right back off, and if it s
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 07, 2003 @10:46PM (#6641766)
    OK, stay away from the "Dick Tracy"-style of wristwatch TV...they aren't good and there is no place to plug in cable.
    Also, colour is now available so you don't have to see everything in black and white.
    Make sure you get one with more than 13 channels...somebody told me there is more.
    Remember to pay your license fee that you MUST do if you own & watch the tele.
    Use rabbit ears to pick up stations a long distance away (called "DX"), but don't use real rabbits or else the blood will obscure your view of the tube.

    Thanks for listening.
    Thomas Farnsworth
    • all right, my lingering question after reading all these posts is this: what the hell is a "TV"? I mean, what do the initials even stand for? I think we have something called a "television" in one of the rooms in our house, but its use has been supplanted by a more stable technology called "the outdoors".
  • .. I'd spend maybe $200-$300 for a TV and the rest on a sound system + TiVo.

    Not sure if that gives you much to think about, but considerations are always good. :)
    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Thursday August 07, 2003 @10:56PM (#6641822) Homepage
      I agree with this. Get a great regular TV for $200-$300 and then get other things with the rest of the money. Use it to pay down a credit card. Get ahead on your home loan. Go on vacation. Spend some of it on a TiVo (you can't go wrong, but you can always return it if you don't like it (I know, not possible)). I'd say don't go buy a HDTV, wait a few more years for everything to settle down. And look into repairing your TV. It could give you years more service for only $50. Of course, if it's much more than $100 just get a new TV.

      But definatly get a TiVo. DirecTiVos are especially great.
      • Tee Eye Vee Ooooooh (Score:4, Interesting)

        by fm6 (162816) on Friday August 08, 2003 @12:48AM (#6642392) Homepage Journal
        Spend some of it on a TiVo (you can't go wrong, but you can always return it if you don't like it (I know, not possible)).
        Well, you can go wrong -- TiVo's have a high failure rate. There are two things you can do to avoid making this a problem:
        • Don't buy it over the Internet. If you do and it dies, you'll waste months fighting with the support people for TiVo and for whatever label you bought it under. Instead, go to a local merchant and make sure there's an understanding that you can get a replacement unit right away if the first one dies.
        • Get an extended warrantee. I usually consider this a ripoff (if your gadget is reliable, an EW is a bad value, and if it isn't, why are you buying it?), but for a Tivo this actually makes sense.
        Also, note that a Tivo's price doesn't include a subscription, even though the device is pretty useless without one. A lifetime subscription is a better value (it costs less than 2 years of the monthly subscription) but there *are* those hardware issues...

        If you're lucky, nothing will go wrong and your enjoyment of TV will go up drastically. (Tivos aren't just convenient, they're wonderful for digging up shows you always meant to watch, or would want to watch if you'd ever heard of them.) If you're not lucky, the damn thing will go psychotic. Which is survivable, if you're prepared for it.

        • And exactly what do you base this on?

          TiVo's do not have a high failure rate. Of the 11 TiVo's owned by friends and family only one has had issues -- the modem blew out due to a power surge. An issue which has been largely resolved in the newer TiVo's, and is completely irrelevant with the S2 TiVo's if you use broadband connections. It can also be worked around by using an external modem.

          And neither TiVo's financial reportings nor the TiVo Community boards bear out your alleged "high failure rate".

          TiVo's
          • Read this post [slashdot.org]. Read the horror stories on TivoCommunity.com. I don't have a scientific sample, although I'd guess it's a pretty small percentage. But it's obvious way higher than the failure rate for other consumer devices. Why do you think the waranty is only good for 90 days?

            Before you get all bent out of shape, bear in mind that I'm not advising against buying the product, just making more than usual allowance for product problems. And if you still have nothing better to do than flame me for suggestin

        • Yeah, I ordered mine online (via my local cable company) and it arrived completely dead. After an interesting hour and a half trying to convince their lovely level 1 tech that it was, in fact, broken, I had to go through a pain in the ass process to send it back. It took about two months for them to send me a new one. Fuckers.

          Also, the service is not all that stellar. Considering how much you pay for the subscription service, which consists of nothing more than a channel-guide (oh, and annoying ass *ex
  • Projectors (Score:3, Informative)

    by ColaMan (37550) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @10:53PM (#6641806) Homepage Journal
    It all depends with projectors on the amount of time you'll spend with it on - they do have a limited bulb life, and the bulbs are expensive to replace.

    A conventional (tube) TV set can run for many thousands of hours without any appreciable drop in output / quality. Most projectors have a 2000 hour bulb life (or less).

    There! That's my share of FUD against projectors done! Please feel free to correct me if you think differently ;-)
    • Re:Projectors (Score:3, Insightful)

      by i_am_nitrogen (524475)
      Well, if you amortize the cost of a bulb over the bulb's life, I think it's worth the 30 cents an hour for a 110" diagonal screen with 1024x768 progressive resolution. If you just have friends over frequently, and have each one donate a dollar to your "bulb fund," you can easily cover the costs.

      An important question though:

      are you buying this to watch TV frequently for long periods of time? In other words, do you have kids who watch the afternoon cartoons every day? Projectors are better used in situat
      • > If you just have friends over frequently, and
        > have each one donate a dollar to your "bulb fund"...

        you will leave a bad taste in their mouth and won't have said friends for much longer. Jeez, do you also charge for the chips-n-dip?
    • maybe a crt projector solves both problems
    • One more negative point about projectors: Those cooling fans are loud. You don't notice it as much in a large room, but in a smaller living-room type setup you will certainly hear the cooling fan during quiet parts of the movie. Annoying to say the very least.

  • by MightyTribble (126109) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @11:02PM (#6641859)

    They do a nice 30" HDTV-ready 16:9 ratio unit for a little over $1,000, I think it's the 3096 / 3097 / 3098 model numbers, but they may have changed. Cambridge Soundworks usually has one set up in their stores. If you already have a surround-sound system, get the *97 (2 tuner, more home theater tweaks than the *96, but without the built in sub-woofer, which you won't be needing).

    But really, so long as you're not being dirt cheap, you can't go too far wrong with a Sony Wega.
  • a word of warning (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kommakazi (610098) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @11:13PM (#6641911)
    I wouldn't reccomend getting a projection TV if you are planning on hooking up a newer gaming console such as a PS2 or Xbox, they will most likely damage it. (Look for warnings in your console's manual.)
    • Re:a word of warning (Score:3, Informative)

      by Babbster (107076)
      Modern rear-projection (and front for that matter) televisions do not have significant burn-in problems. Five to ten years ago, this was a big problem but it just isn't anymore. The only way to burn in a new projection TV is to run a static image for days at a time without respite - something I wouldn't recommend doing. Normal usage, including video games, is just fine.
      • My highly scientific *cough* research doesn't support this. There are a lot of internet postings indicating people with no problems, but many people seem to have phosphor burn problems as well. (You also gotta wonder why RPTV manuals have dire warnings about phosphor burn if it's not a big deal. One manual I read in PDF, maybe Toshiba, had the warning every half dozen pages or so.)

        Logos (aka bugs) on things like Discovery Channel and new channel crawl bands seem particularly problematic. Proper configur
        • Well, the last projection I owned was a Toshiba 40" widescreen (NTSC, before they came out with the 40" HDTV version) and it stood up to many, MANY hours of Playstation use (mainly Final Fantasy Tactics) without a problem.

          Now, admittedly, I had tuned the TV using one of the DVD home theater discs and so the contrast wasn't at the default "so bright it's like staring at a sheet of white paper in direct sunlight" setting. So, I suppose that if people leave the contrast setting too high they probably CAN bu

    • Remeber that this is only a problem with CRT projectors.

      One of the greatest sights in life is seeing GTA: Vice City on an
      8' screen...
      • Re:a word of warning (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bakes (87194)
        I played Colin McRae rally on a 3" screen

        I was at a holiday home out in the bush - the TV only had a co-ax input, and the co-ax cable to go from the VCR to the TV was missing. Thus the only thing I could watch it on was the tiny weeny beeny LCD screen on my video camera. It was late when we arrived, and that's all we had.

        The next day we called a friend who was on his way there to stop in town and get the co-ax cable.

        Could have been worse, I suppose. Could have been a smaller LCD, or none at all. I d
    • Yes, you would really hate it if your projector burned an 8' image of Super Mario into a large white space on your wall.
    • I wouldn't reccomend getting a projection TV if you are planning on hooking up a newer gaming console such as a PS2 or Xbox, they will most likely damage it. (Look for warnings in your console's manual.)

      Yeah, but they also tell me not to play for more than an hour at a time lest I get "fatigued" (whatever that means) or have like a seizure or something.

      Those warnings are straight CYA.

  • A few useful tidbits (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Munger (695154) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @11:50PM (#6642118) Homepage
    First of all, Audio Review can be a useful site for all kinds of home theatre gear. They don't have a lot of the latest models, but it can give you a good idea of the best brands etc.

    Second of all, there's a whole bunch of terminology you may want to become familiar with. First off, connections. You want component video inputs. For that price, you shouldn't have a problem getting a set with component video. It's seperates the signal into more discrete parts reducing interference greatly.

    100Hz is really nice. It gives you a rock solid picture, that you can stare at for hours. It's not essential but for the price you're looking at, you can probably get a nice one.

    Progressive scan means it draws the entire frame, every frame. Normal television is interlaced - it draws the odd lines one frame, and even frames the next. These translate into the "p" and "i" you see at the end of picture modes. What are picture modes I hear you cry?

    Standard American broadcasts use NTSC (as does Japan). That has 480 lines of displayed resolution. So 480i is what you're used to seeing. Progessive scan output (from some DVD players and digital set-top boxes, and interpolated on some TVs from regular transmission), is called 480p. Remember, 'p' is better than 'i'.

    Next up is PAL (used in Australia and UK). PAL is 576 lines. So if you're in PAL territory, try and get a TV that does 576p.

    If you're in NTSC territory, 576p probably isn't that important. Similarly 480p isn't much used to the PAL folk.

    Next up are the High-definition modes. There are two different HDTV modes: 720p and 1080i. It's arguable which one is better, though I'd favour 720p. Ideally, if you're going for HDTV, get a set that supports both. Different places around the world don't necessarily support both resolutions either - check for your area. The other thing worth knowing is that the XBox is the only console with HDTV output. Not that many support 720p though and a even less supporting 1080i. At around the $1000 mark, I think you're probably looking at a standard (CRT) television. You probably won't get HDTV for that price, but you probably will get a nice 100Hz, progressive-scan capable display. And go the widescreen. I'm regretting making my last TV a 4:3 (tech-talk for standard ratio), now that I have digital television. Lastly, if you're a bit of a junky when it comes to these things, get as many inputs as you can. Unless you're going to get an AV receiver (which typically only swap 2 sets of component video), you'll want to be able to plug in lots of stuff.
    • As far as I know, PAL broadcast standards top out at 625i at 24fps. Of course, actual broadcasting is far less than that. NTSC tops out at 525 but the standard is 480i tops at 30fps. And from all the gripes I've heard, DVDs encoded for PAL also only top out at 480p.
  • DLP (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Frogbeater (216054) on Thursday August 07, 2003 @11:54PM (#6642133) Homepage
    The research I've been doing is in the $4000 range and I've decided on DLP.

    There is no "burn-in" and the consoles are significantly thinner (not plasma thin, but thinner than traditional rear projection units.) The picture is pretty awesome at all angles and the technology is really cool.

    Info on DLP concept. [dlp.com]

    A vendor [tvauthority.com](Pricey, but informative.)

    Rumors are around that sub-$1000 DLP systems will be out by the end of the year.
    • I looked at the Samsung rear projection DLP. The picture was really sharp, but the images had a lot of noise. Like in faces on the screen, the skin looked like it was crawling. Very distracting. Has anyone else noticed that?
      • If you looked at it on a show room floor, remember that they are terribly out of whack.

        Probably the sharpness was turned to full, the colour temp was way up, the contrast was way skewed; all to make it stand out on a well-lit showroom floor.

        Once you spend 1000+ on a TV, you owe it to yourself to get a certified ISF (ISF? My dyslexia has suddenly kicked in) tech to come calibrate it for you.

  • more info needed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tumbleweed (3706) on Friday August 08, 2003 @12:04AM (#6642176)
    Do you just watch regular broadcast TV? Are there enough HDTV broadcasts in your area that you're interested in to even bother with an HDTV set? Do you watch a lot of DVDs? The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your list.

    If you watch a lot of DVDs, you'll probably want a widescreen set. That'll shoot up the price.

    If you want to watch a lot of HDTV broadcasts, same thing, but with a further question: what HDTV spec (there are several) are the broadcasters in your area broadcasting in? Broadcasters are kind of split on whether to broadcast in 720p or 1080i. I'd rather watch 720p over 1080i, but too many people don't understand the difference between progressive and interlaced, and just assume the higher number means it's better. Feh.

    How big a screen are you thinking about? There's a world of difference in price between a really good 27" set and a 36" flat-tube screen. Even between a 32" and a 36" can be a big price difference, depending on other features.

    What I find annoying is that noone seems to be making intermediate TVs. I want a widescreen flat-tube 36" TV that goes up to 480p. No speakers. PIP (picture in picture) would be nice, too. But the thing is, there seems to be a plateau at a regular NTSC TV, and then it steps up to HDTV specs, with the attendant price increase. I just want to watch good DTV broadcasts and DVDs in full 480p mode (that's the max that DVDs can do - they don't even match low-end HDTV specs, sad to say). And what's with all the high-end tv with speakers? People who buy high-end TVs don't use the crappy built-in speakers - they're hooked up to a decent sound system.

    TV manufacturers are downright _weird_ about some things.
    • And what's with all the high-end tv with speakers?

      Not to mention tuners. Don't they realize that we all use TiVo now? I just want to buy a tube in an attractive box. I'll allow it to have a power switch and an IR sensor for power. And I wouldn't complain too loudly if it had multiple inputs that could be switched via IR. But that's it.

      But I guess they wouldn't sell enough of them to make it worthwhile...

    • And what's with all the high-end tv with speakers? People who buy high-end TVs don't use the crappy built-in speakers - they're hooked up to a decent sound system.
      TV manufacturers are downright _weird_ about some things."


      wow
      I'd be pretty pissed if I bought a $3,000 TV and I couldn't hear anything unless I also invested in a speaker setup.
      • Yes, but would you be as pissed if you spent $2000.00 on a TV with the same great picture quality , with the understanding that you could use the $1000.00 you saved on your own set of speakers?
    • ...what HDTV spec (there are several) are the broadcasters in your area broadcasting in?

      They might be broadcasting a particular spec now, but that is not to say they will continue to do so. They might change the transmission from 720 to 1080 once more HDTV sets are out there. Or broadcast both and let you take your pick (if that is even possible).

      I'd like to get a HDTV, but here in Australia it's still a bit early. The sets are too expensive and the broadcaster have only recently started pumping out a
    • Re:more info needed (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Lynxpro (657990)
      Hopefully the future HD DVD standard will be 1080p, NOT 1080i. What really chaps my hide is the fact that digital HDTV resolution is no better (in terms of lines) than the various flavors of analog HDTV the Japanese wanted us to adopt in the mid-80s (MUSE system, anyone?). AT&T and Zenith both developed systems that had 2000+ lines of resolution in the early 90s but somehow we got stuck with the lower resolutions *standards* (this was before the divesture of AT&T's hardware company that became Luc
    • 1080 interlaced scanlines is effectively 540 scanlines.

      Not to mention, interlacing gives you a migraine (me, it does, anyway...)

      -uso.
  • Projectors et all (Score:5, Informative)

    by okeby235 (99161) on Friday August 08, 2003 @01:17AM (#6642514)
    Ok, I have spent some time doing this recently at home. Spent a heap of money but I am sure my experiance will be good for your more limited budget.

    If you are going to go for a projector make sure the room is DARK. And I mean REAL DARK, like only watch movies at night or with blackout curtains. This may not be an issue if you have a tv room specific for watching tv, but it can be a pain normallly.

    Be warned that there are two kinds of projectors floating around, Data projectors and Home Theater projectors. You definately want the second kind. Data projecters often have specs that look amazing (high res, very bright etc) but the colour quality SUCKS. They ghost lots on fast movement and are definately not something to watch tv or movies on.

    The other thing to consider is that for $1000 you are not going to get a really amazing projector, I think you will be dissapointed by the brightness and quality of the picture. Projectors really improve as you throw money at them.

    Limited bulb life of projectors is an issue too. It is many hundreds to replace a burned bulb and they typically last 2000 hours.

    Ok, so after all that I think you should look for a nice tube tv. Make sure it has the following things:
    * Widescreen format (16:9). I know lots of TV is not in widescreen now but it will be in future and most DVD's are. You don't want to be pissed off watching everything in a letterbox. Now is NOT the time to buy an old style 4:3 tv.
    * component video input. Seperates the colours into different cables, greatly improves the picture quality and is essential when connecting a good dvd player.
    * 100Hz. Faster refresh rate, the picture looks much sharper and clearer, easier on the eyes.

    European TV's normally have all the above features, but they often are more than $1000. Look for Metz, Loewe and Grundig.

    Hope that helps!
  • Consumer Reports (Score:4, Informative)

    by rubinson (207525) <rubinson@@@email...arizona...edu> on Friday August 08, 2003 @01:34AM (#6642581) Homepage
    Your best bet is to do some real research rather than relying upon the anecdotal experiences of Slashdot readers and friends.

    Consumer Reports tends to review televisions every few months. Their most recent comprehensive review (27-36 inches, HD-ready, and projection) was in the March 2003 issue. Perhaps your local library has a copy? They also have most of their content online at www.consumerreports.org [consumerreports.org] for a $4.95 monthly subscription ($24 per year).

    If you're considering spending $1000, it's worth spending $5 on research.

  • My advice: Go with a flat tube. IMO they give the best picture for the money. They give a nicer picture than both the curved tubes and the projection TVs. Sure, they don't look as nice as the LCDs and plasma screens, but they are a whole lot cheaper. I'd avoid flat panels in the sub $1000 range. They are too small, and I've heard anecdotally that they have a shorter lifespan than tube TVs. I haven't used a video projector in several years, so I can't give much opinion on them.

    I bought a 27" flat tub
  • by reporter (666905) on Friday August 08, 2003 @02:52AM (#6642808) Homepage
    For maximum flexibility, select the following for your $1000 budget.

    1. NextVision N6 [viewsonic.com] by Viewsonic
    2. Sony SXGA LCD monitor
    3. Sony stereo system
    4. video/audio cables
    The NextVision N6 will convert any HDTV or SDTV signal into an RGB video signal and an audio signal that can be connected to a nice LCD monitor and a high-quality stereo, respectively. Furthermore, the NextVision N6 has a built-in SDTV tuner, so you can immediately start watching standard NTSC television programs.

    While you enjoy your time shopping for this equipment, please remember that when you buy products made in a particular country, you indirectly support the value system of that country. So, please avoid products that are made in China (which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong). At Amnesty International [amnesty.org] and Tibet Online [tibet.org], you can find plenty of reasons to avoid products "Made in China" (which includes "Made in Taiwan" and "Made in Hong Kong").

    • Why not support Taiwan and stick it to the ChiComs? Seems to me that would be the logical way to show the people of mainland China that representative democracy and capitalism is a far better system for the bulk of the people that a communist dictatorship run by corrupt bureaucrats? Not trolling, I really want to know what their justification for not supporting Taiwan is? From AI, it looks like their only beef with Taiwan is their use of the death penalty, which most American's have no problem with for v
    • Good call on the China thing. By treating as an equal and trading with the Chinese and other savage societies, you legitamize their conduct. As the homeowner gains nothing by bargaining with the robber, so the just gain nothing by 'splitting the difference' with the unjust.
    • This setup isn't for anyone who's serious about watching TV at a range beyond 5 feet or less. LCD monitors within a $1000 dollar (minus other listed equipment) price range are just far too tiny for use as your main television. That price range will only net you a 17" LCD, but can instead put you in the range for a 30"-36" direct CRT HDTV or can put you in the range for a refurbished or discount 43" rear projection CRT HDTV.

      The setup you propose is a hugely wasteful one for what you get. I'd only advise
  • If the TV channels you watch use permanent on-screen logos (DOGs, idents, whatever) then once you've narrowed down your list of TV choices you should check-up on how prone each of them is to so-called "logo burn". Some sets are much more vulnerable than others, especially rear-projection.

    Monitors have screensavers, TVs generally don't, and if (for example) you're watching a news channel for an hour, with a logo constantly displayed in the corner of the screen, you could soon find that there's a "shadow" pe
    • I thought TV burn in was only relevant for plasma screens. (Which is probably a little over the $1000 budget, unless you Americans get crazy deals compared to us Canucks...)

      Traditional CRT's definitely don't need to worry about this. Screen savers have purely for graphical entertainment on computer screens for about a decade now. I'm pretty sure projection screens and LCDs are safe too.
  • by Detritus (11846)
    Get a cheap NTSC TV today and wait a few years. Future sets will include tuners that can decode ATSC (HDTV) and digital cable. They will also have CRTs with better resolution than NTSC. LCD flat panel TVs will also be much cheaper.
  • My TV is about a decade old, too. I have, after careful consideration, determined that an LCD projector (2500+ Lumens) seems to be the best long-term, easily transportable choice. Has anyone deployed an LCD projector (or DMD) as their TV? How is it? Did you use a screen or the wall?
  • epinions.com try it. maybe look at avsforum.com as the majority of that community is really into home theater.
  • TV reviews (Score:2, Informative)

    by asjk (569258) *

    I am also looking for some good sites for comparing and learning more about the current state-of-the-art in televisions.

    Try CNET.com where they give a good overview of TVs and reviews by the staff and users alike. They have a good database set up to compare products. I used this resource in researching my TV purchase. I eventually bought a Sony 32 inch XBR flat screen and love it. I found that Crutchfield's online price beat any of the local outlets since I didn't have to pay $300 sales tax. They delivery

  • by GreatDrok (684119) on Friday August 08, 2003 @04:49AM (#6643187) Journal
    I have spent a lot of time on this and ended up compromising and buying two TVs. Most made for TV material is 4:3 and shot for a small screen. If you watch that material on a big screen it is really going to look bad as you stare up news reader's noses and the likes. A small set (21-25") is ideal for that sort of casual watching material. It is still worth getting a good set though but HDTV ready is not necessary. You will need to use a calibration DVD (eg Video Essentials) to pick a set that will actually give you good flesh tones etc. I bought a 21" Sony, got into the factory settings menu and reset it to give a more natural picture. Sony (as do many others) set the colour temp far too high so you end up with a very blue picture which might look impressive but is rather unrealistic. With that I am all set for watching standard definition material.

    For movies I bought a single chip DLP projector (InFocus X1) which is the best bang for the buck at the moment. Fully multistandard, calibrates wonderully and is very bright and clear. The video scaler and deinterlacer are excellent too extracting 24fps from NTSC LDs with 3:2 pulldown eliminating judder. Resolution of the DLP is only 800x600 but that is ample for all current DVDs and even in 16:9 mode where it compresses the picture down vertically it still looks clear. A true 16:9 projector would have a little more resolution but brightness and colour correctness make up for this small deficiency, and cost (about $1500). Oh, and it will accept HDTV signals although it downconverts. Once HD is really cooking this projector will be ready to retire anyway so not to worry.

    Lessons to live by:

    Buy Video Essentials, practice with it until you can get a really nice picture, try several sets, it takes time to get used to it but you will learn which TVs can be calibrated and which can't.

    Don't be swayed by the brightest punchiest picture in the shop. Quite likely a TV with that default setting is running a very high colour temp and also the tube is liable to burn. A calibrated picture looks dark and dull at first but once you get used to it you will never go back. Room lighting is also important, TVs are not designed to be used in brightly lit rooms, control the light, especially that shining on the screen.

    Avoid LCD TVs like the plague, the scalers in them are very poor and they have poor contrast and black level, plus they cost a fortune for what is really a very small and muddy picture. They are a very poor substitute for plasma screens.

    Plasma TVs are for people who like to show off. Very few produce an acceptable picture, and those that do cost a lot. For the money you would spend on one of them you can have a nice little direct view and a huge projection system. My set up currently has a 100" screen but I want something bigger. It cost less than half the price of a decent plasma screen and the picture is 3x bigger.

    LCD projectors are better than they used to be but DLP is much better and about the same money. The InFocus X1 can be had for less than $1500 which is amazing value, particularly as it has a built in Faroudja deinterlacer.

    For CRTs, make sure that the picture is stable when there is a strong flashing image (Video Essentials includes the necessary tests and instructions). Nothing worse than a TV where the picture bends and pulses when Arnie blows s**t up :-)

    Back projection CRTs are OK but very bulky, imagine what your room will be like when the thing is not turned on. It will be like sharing a room with the monolith out of 2001 and you're back to staring up people's noses. Once all TV is shot assuming large screens as movies are then this won't be a problem. As I said, my solution is to have a small set for small screen stuff and a big screen for big screen movies. Cost is more than your budget but you might be able to find ex-demo or secondhand projectors on E-bay and it is well worth it.

    Of course, you could just avoid all this and buy the first set that you like the look of, but that wouldn't be the slashdot way now would it? :-D
  • You can get a 30" Samsung HDTV ($699 this week at Best Buy) and something like a Sansui DVD/TV/VCR (yes all 3 in one box) 24" TV ($299 this week at Best Buy)

    Have one for your bedroom and one for your living room/ company - you'd be surprised at how handy and space saving these new 3 in 1's are. Also MAKE SURE what ever TV you get that it has front av inputs. Nice for a digital camera or hooking up a laptop on the fly. Some TV's (just not in the $1000 price range) have DVI hookups.

    I'd go with glass for thi

  • TV Buying Advice (Score:2, Informative)

    by cumorehe (105484)
    I bought a new HD projection TV a little while back, here are the things I realized once it was here:
    Depending on the size you get, make sure that the room you plan on putting it in is big enough. If there isn't enough space between your primary viewing location and the tv, you're going to be overwhelmed. Mine is 50", my living room is ~12' wide. I ended up having to rearrange everything in my living room so that the tv was against one wall and the couch against the opposite wall. I could still use a few ex

  • There are a number of articles and how-to's on just about every aspect of TVs including flat-panels and HDTV over at www.crutchfieldadvisor.com [crutchfieldadvisor.com].

    I would start with the Choosing a TV [crutchfieldadvisor.com] learning center article and check out the HDTV Center [crutchfieldadvisor.com] as well.

    (Disclaimer: I am associated with Crutchfield, but there's honestly some of the best information anywhere located there)
  • I moved into a new apartment a while back, and decided that my 19" Sharp TV wasn't cutting it anymore. I decided to upgrade. Here's what I did:

    - TV standards are not finalized yet, and the deadline for ratification (IIRC) has been extended past 2006, the original due date. As such, thich means that there's several competing standards out there. The more standards a TV is compatible with, the more expensive it gets. Additionally, with people getting digital cable and satellite receivers, a TV doesn't really
  • Check out AVS Forums (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zathrus (232140) on Friday August 08, 2003 @09:42AM (#6644273) Homepage
    First off, if you want a good site for general home theater stuff, check out AVS Forums [avsforums.com]. You may end up wanting to spend more than your budget though :)

    That said, I'd highly recommend you get a widescreen HDTV-compatible set. If you want to keep your TV around for as long (or longer) as your last set, you'll regret not getting HDTV. No, the switchover isn't going to happen in 2006. But it will happen, and you can receive HDTV in most areas now. Even without HD reception you'll get better DVD viewing, a huge computer monitor (if you want), and can get better visual quality out of most consoles.

    Your choices are going to be rather limited at $1000, and I can't recommend any specific ones (I just bought a new TV set... but for considerably more than $1k... the Samsung HLN467W - 46" DLP widescreen), but there are some available. Do check out the menus. Check to see if it has discrete codes available, otherwise you'll want to kill yourself if you get a programmable remote (or, more likely, your SO will want to kill you because they can't operate the damn system). Check what inputs it has -- at this price point about the most you can hope for is one or two component inputs on the high end. You almost certainly won't get a VGA or DVI input.

    If you don't go HD, then don't bother buying a TV bigger than about 32" -- which will be far, far below your budget. Big screen non-HD is just a waste of money.
  • You mention your specific budget in terms that infer 1 full expenditure. Have you thought about buying your TV on a store Credit Card? Most stores (BestBuy, Sears etc) will balance a $4000 Plasma to ~$90pm for 4 years.

    This will future greatly proof your investment (at this price, includes the HDTV 720x). No i don't work for a big store but i am drooling over the Panasonic and Daewoo 42" Plasmas for a personal Xmas present. My budget matches yours. I am also looking at a Sony XBR32" for ~$800 online. No ide
  • Did you look at epinions.com [epinions.com]?

    I realize that lots of people like Ask Slashdot because they feel that they're pretty similar to the average Slashdot reader, but there is a wider audience out there. Epinions is a site where you can search for many parameters, like brand or price, or features, and see what fellow consumers have recommended.

    I wrote a little description of the TV I bought a while ago here [epinions.com].

    As with anything where you ask for people's opinions, I find it helpful to find the harshest critics and

  • If you want to keep your budget under $1,000 you can pretty much forget about a projector. I don't think you will find one that is high quality enough to make it worth it.

    I would not worry about getting an HDTV because you won't find many under $1,000, but may be able to find an HDTV ready set at 32" or 36". The biggest advantage is not so much that they are HDTV ready but that because they are they have more lines of resolution than just a normal set. For normal TV or cable viewing this will not mean m
  • by rakerman (409507)
    I use a Dell 2000FP 20" LCD. It has no TV tuner of its own, but it has VGA, DVI, composite and S-video inputs (which you have to manually switch on the front bezel). I use a VCR as my TV tuner.

    The Dell.com price on it is $999.
  • Other considerations being reasonable, it may be worth it to stick with one brand of equipment.

    I use Sony produced DirecTV receivers, incliding a Sony DirecTiVo upgraded to store 150 hours of TV. Going with a Sony TV means that I can always use just one remote.

    I like the Panasonic and Sony televisions. I would personally spend $300 on a mid-line TV and worry about HDTV in a few years, but I'm trying to watch TV, not have a home theater.

  • I'm still using my 1986 RCA, my 1985 Zenith, and my knobby 1982 GE. I'd be happy just to step up to remote control let alone HDTV. But I'd say for that kind of budget, HDTV is an absolute must. You'll regret it later when everything is Hi-Def. Even PBS is going digital.
  • I have a JVC 20-inch TV [jvc.com] and I'm quite happy with it. It's a 20-inch set because I didn't feel like I needed any more than that and I didn't want the TV to overwhelm the room (and I have a smallish house), and I've never regretted the choice.

    Pluses:

    1. Flat-screen CRT with high-quality picture
    2. Blacks are actually black and not very dark gray
    3. It's hard to see the individual scan lines (esp. at 20") so the picture looks like it's drawn progressively
    4. Closed captioning crisp and easy to read (I'm hearing impaire

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