Which HDTV?

When I went to CES I thought I wanted a plasma screen. After all, they are sexy. Thin. Cool. And all that. And at CES they had tons of them all over the place.

I'm glad my brother talked me out of it. Instead I got a Sony Rear Projection TV.

From the front it looks like plasma. If you visited my house and were sitting on my red couch you would probably think "cool plasma screen." After all, it's BIG and thin. Or looks that way from the front.

In back it has a bump that sticks out a few inches. Not very big, but means I couldn't hang this one the wall (which is one reason to buy plasma.

But, to get the high resolutions you need to go rear projection. My brother did the homework and found that the Sony screens are the sharpest at the $4,000 level or below. Yeah, you can match it if you go higher.

I also considered DLP screens since they are a lot lower in price but at CES when I had them side-by-side I couldn't stand the way they looked. The picture that is. When you had rapidly moving stuff on screen they looked blurry when compared to LCD or Plasma or other technologies like my Sony screen.

Anyway, how did you pick your HDTV? What is most important to you? 

Comments

  1. You didn’t specify which Sony RPTV you purchased, but based on your description of the picture quality, I’m going to assume one of the SXRD sets.

    Which size did you end up snagging? And you do know that not all 1080p Sony SXRD sets accept 1080p input? You can learn more at AVSforums.

  2. You didn’t specify which Sony RPTV you purchased, but based on your description of the picture quality, I’m going to assume one of the SXRD sets.

    Which size did you end up snagging? And you do know that not all 1080p Sony SXRD sets accept 1080p input? You can learn more at AVSforums.

  3. Note to Scoble: I still don’t get HD…

    In fact, I was in the Sony Style shop at University Village last week getting a Blu-Ray demo on their brand new demo unit and walked away shaking my head (even after the excitable young fellow from Sony showed me the Kill Bill HD/SD split screen about…

  4. I like all these posts about HDTV. Cool stuff. But why rear projection over plasma? Plasma doesn’t have high resolution?

  5. I like all these posts about HDTV. Cool stuff. But why rear projection over plasma? Plasma doesn’t have high resolution?

  6. I’ve had a Hitachi 51″ rear projection screen (1080i) for over three years. I still love it. You couldn’t get a plasma anywhere near that size for less than about $10K back then, and I paid a fraction of that.

    I agree that with the right signal, and if the screen were flush with the wall, it would be very difficult to tell plasma from rear projection. About the only thing I don’t like about it is the large footprint and the relatively small viewing “sweet spot” that comes with RP. But since my wife and I are the only ones aloud to watch it, the sweet spot is plenty big for two.

    I also echo your comments that you should get as big a screen as you can afford. I couldn’t believe I walked out of the store with a 51-incher, then after about a week, started wondering why I’d not considered the 60. I’ve calmed down since then…

  7. I’ve had a Hitachi 51″ rear projection screen (1080i) for over three years. I still love it. You couldn’t get a plasma anywhere near that size for less than about $10K back then, and I paid a fraction of that.

    I agree that with the right signal, and if the screen were flush with the wall, it would be very difficult to tell plasma from rear projection. About the only thing I don’t like about it is the large footprint and the relatively small viewing “sweet spot” that comes with RP. But since my wife and I are the only ones aloud to watch it, the sweet spot is plenty big for two.

    I also echo your comments that you should get as big a screen as you can afford. I couldn’t believe I walked out of the store with a 51-incher, then after about a week, started wondering why I’d not considered the 60. I’ve calmed down since then…

  8. The plasma screens I looked at at CES weren’t as good a resolution and were more expensive and had fewer features.

    Erik: I know just what you mean! Even 60 is looking dinky now while a month ago it was overwhelming.

  9. The plasma screens I looked at at CES weren’t as good a resolution and were more expensive and had fewer features.

    Erik: I know just what you mean! Even 60 is looking dinky now while a month ago it was overwhelming.

  10. How did I pick my HDTV? The main focal point for me was the best screen possible at a certain price point ($2,000 or less). Second, something that will last a while (so I can put move it to the bedroom as I upgrade later on). My “plan” was to get a HDTV bigscreen now to “pacify” my delusions/cravings for something big and cool until a good selection of 1080 content was out. THEN buy the 1080 screen once the price point gets to a nice comfortable level (we all know the prices will come down). I ended up finding a nice rear projection Samsung 50″ DLP HD for $2,000 (biggest screen I could fit in my place). It doesn’t have 1080 but dang its cool. As long as you are sitting about 10 feet away it looks as good as anything out there to my critical eye. Sure, when you look at it closely (within a couple feet) its not as sharp as some of the more expensive screens out there. But, since I am sitting on a couch 10+ feet away, I’m totally happy (HD sports, HD movies, etc). Like you, I find myself starving for more content and Comcast Cable only has so much new HD content without all the replays. Sunrise Earth is cool, but only for about 5 minutes. I bought a new (dual core) PC this week and now entertaining bitorrent HD content (MariposaHD as you suggested looks very cool), but still takes a while to download. As for DVD players, I am very content with the scalable versions available. HD-DVD or BlueRay can wait until I start to see a nice selection of DVD content available to buy/rent… and see a lower price point on the compatible DVD players.

    So how are we going to feed to screen hungry HD screens of this world? It seems like everyone (on the web) is giving advice to wait until the movie producers decide on a DVD format before you go out and buy a HD player. So, I would think because of that (and the price) only the hardcore will buy HD/Blueray players now. So that makes me wonder how do they open up the doors to the rest of the HD owners for now? Well, if its down to 2 DVD formats battling it out, why can’t some manufacturer develop a DVD player that can play both? Guess what, Samsung (among others) are thinking about it (http://www.pcworld.com/resource/article/0,aid,126193,pg,1,RSS,RSS,00.asp). Probably cost prohibitive, but if mass produced and at the right price that might open the doors sooner (to a greater volume of HD consumers), rather than later. Who knows, just a thought. I would be interested if available.

    HD hungry,

    Brian

  11. How did I pick my HDTV? The main focal point for me was the best screen possible at a certain price point ($2,000 or less). Second, something that will last a while (so I can put move it to the bedroom as I upgrade later on). My “plan” was to get a HDTV bigscreen now to “pacify” my delusions/cravings for something big and cool until a good selection of 1080 content was out. THEN buy the 1080 screen once the price point gets to a nice comfortable level (we all know the prices will come down). I ended up finding a nice rear projection Samsung 50″ DLP HD for $2,000 (biggest screen I could fit in my place). It doesn’t have 1080 but dang its cool. As long as you are sitting about 10 feet away it looks as good as anything out there to my critical eye. Sure, when you look at it closely (within a couple feet) its not as sharp as some of the more expensive screens out there. But, since I am sitting on a couch 10+ feet away, I’m totally happy (HD sports, HD movies, etc). Like you, I find myself starving for more content and Comcast Cable only has so much new HD content without all the replays. Sunrise Earth is cool, but only for about 5 minutes. I bought a new (dual core) PC this week and now entertaining bitorrent HD content (MariposaHD as you suggested looks very cool), but still takes a while to download. As for DVD players, I am very content with the scalable versions available. HD-DVD or BlueRay can wait until I start to see a nice selection of DVD content available to buy/rent… and see a lower price point on the compatible DVD players.

    So how are we going to feed to screen hungry HD screens of this world? It seems like everyone (on the web) is giving advice to wait until the movie producers decide on a DVD format before you go out and buy a HD player. So, I would think because of that (and the price) only the hardcore will buy HD/Blueray players now. So that makes me wonder how do they open up the doors to the rest of the HD owners for now? Well, if its down to 2 DVD formats battling it out, why can’t some manufacturer develop a DVD player that can play both? Guess what, Samsung (among others) are thinking about it (http://www.pcworld.com/resource/article/0,aid,126193,pg,1,RSS,RSS,00.asp). Probably cost prohibitive, but if mass produced and at the right price that might open the doors sooner (to a greater volume of HD consumers), rather than later. Who knows, just a thought. I would be interested if available.

    HD hungry,

    Brian

  12. At around 4AM the day after thanksgiving, I woke up and found the ad for the Frys near us. They had a $1400 42 inch plasma screen on sale so me and my dad drove over there, waited in a line for an hour and then made the mad dash across the store to grab it. They had it in their ad but they only had two in stock. We got the last one.

    It’s actually been pretty good and we haven’t noticed any blurring like what you’re talking about. The only thing that it does have an issue with is it often makes a buzzing sound which I think is a fan inside hitting some wiring or something. We’ve been pretty happy with what we got.

  13. At around 4AM the day after thanksgiving, I woke up and found the ad for the Frys near us. They had a $1400 42 inch plasma screen on sale so me and my dad drove over there, waited in a line for an hour and then made the mad dash across the store to grab it. They had it in their ad but they only had two in stock. We got the last one.

    It’s actually been pretty good and we haven’t noticed any blurring like what you’re talking about. The only thing that it does have an issue with is it often makes a buzzing sound which I think is a fan inside hitting some wiring or something. We’ve been pretty happy with what we got.

  14. Paul: that’s cool.

    You’d have to have it side by side. If you have HD, it’s pretty hard to see the difference otherwise.

    But, you’re in good company and paid 1/4 what I did.

  15. Paul: that’s cool.

    You’d have to have it side by side. If you have HD, it’s pretty hard to see the difference otherwise.

    But, you’re in good company and paid 1/4 what I did.

  16. Robert, I just want to say that these posts on HD are good content. Figuring out what to do about cutting edge technology when it’s going to cost you thousands of dollars is tough, and getting straight-talk opinions from somebody is the best.

    Most of the videophiles I know have sworn by getting actual HD projectors. The idea being that you can essentially get a 120″ or better viewing area for much cheaper, with the downside being the requirement for a surface to project onto and a wall distance to get that kind of size. Did you examine that option at all? If so, why did you decide against it?

  17. Robert, I just want to say that these posts on HD are good content. Figuring out what to do about cutting edge technology when it’s going to cost you thousands of dollars is tough, and getting straight-talk opinions from somebody is the best.

    Most of the videophiles I know have sworn by getting actual HD projectors. The idea being that you can essentially get a 120″ or better viewing area for much cheaper, with the downside being the requirement for a surface to project onto and a wall distance to get that kind of size. Did you examine that option at all? If so, why did you decide against it?

  18. I chose a Sony KD-30XS955 for $759 and no shipping. I got it into my house myself but recruited two bruizers to carry it up the stairs to my media nook(150lbs.). The room is only 11X12 so we sit close to the 30″ screen. As an old saying goes “white man builds big fire and sits back, native builds small fire and sits close”. Sorry if not politically correct but the analogy contains some wisdom. This set has cable card, memory card, HDMI, great sound, 1080i, and built in tuner. It works with rabbit ears. My income is under $3k/yr but hopefully I will come into some serious money by the time the next generation of TV technology hits(nanotube electron emission).

  19. I chose a Sony KD-30XS955 for $759 and no shipping. I got it into my house myself but recruited two bruizers to carry it up the stairs to my media nook(150lbs.). The room is only 11X12 so we sit close to the 30″ screen. As an old saying goes “white man builds big fire and sits back, native builds small fire and sits close”. Sorry if not politically correct but the analogy contains some wisdom. This set has cable card, memory card, HDMI, great sound, 1080i, and built in tuner. It works with rabbit ears. My income is under $3k/yr but hopefully I will come into some serious money by the time the next generation of TV technology hits(nanotube electron emission).

  20. I got my Hyundai 32″ HD LCD about a year ago. Price was a major factor, I didn’t want to spend over $1000 and I did it. The Hyundai got very good reviews, definately not the best, but it was the best at that price point. I am very happy with it. It got me into the HD realm very cheeply and I couldn’t be happier.

    -Jeff O’Hara
    http://blog.zemote.com

  21. I got my Hyundai 32″ HD LCD about a year ago. Price was a major factor, I didn’t want to spend over $1000 and I did it. The Hyundai got very good reviews, definately not the best, but it was the best at that price point. I am very happy with it. It got me into the HD realm very cheeply and I couldn’t be happier.

    -Jeff O’Hara
    http://blog.zemote.com

  22. After looking around and actually buying two plasmas. I returned both (Panasonic and Vizio 42″) after seeing ghosting on regular tv broadcasts. Also had some issues with burn-in. I watch tv news and the ticker is a problem for plasmas. I bought A Sharp Aquos. Ir simply had the best picture. The Samsung LCD were a close second. I am not includign the Pioneer super sets as they simply are too exprensive.
    One other note: On GeekTv or one of the techie vlogs they stated that 780p was the way to go 1080i was a waste. Anyone who knew anything would view 780p. IMy service provider broadcasts in 1080i but my upscanning Toshiba DVD has 780p and 1080i. I personally can’t tell the difference. Just food for thought.

  23. After looking around and actually buying two plasmas. I returned both (Panasonic and Vizio 42″) after seeing ghosting on regular tv broadcasts. Also had some issues with burn-in. I watch tv news and the ticker is a problem for plasmas. I bought A Sharp Aquos. Ir simply had the best picture. The Samsung LCD were a close second. I am not includign the Pioneer super sets as they simply are too exprensive.
    One other note: On GeekTv or one of the techie vlogs they stated that 780p was the way to go 1080i was a waste. Anyone who knew anything would view 780p. IMy service provider broadcasts in 1080i but my upscanning Toshiba DVD has 780p and 1080i. I personally can’t tell the difference. Just food for thought.

  24. Greetings,
    It’s entirely personal choice, but I have trouble understanding why people go Plasma, DLP, or rear projection… I’m an LCD addict, they just do EVERYTHING better. Mind you, not cheaper, but if you have the disposable income…

    I bought the Sharp 45″ LC45-GX6U not long after it came out (basically, when stock was available), for just over $5K with tax, etc… It’ll do 1920×1080 native (there are some minor caveats, but not relevant), and it’s a really incredible set. Being a full-size LCD is freaking incredible, it has built in CableCard, so the cable feed goes directly into it. (I have another cable feed that feeds my Tivo addiction.)

    Plus I can plug my laptop (or my Mac Mini) into it, and get 1920×1080 native resolution, which I’ve done a few times. There’s nothing like plugging your laptop into a huge TVs DVI cable, and having it show up as an extra monitor in your monitor drop-down list. :)

    The funniest HDTV moment for my wife and I was when I was playing Burnout Revenge connected to the LCD, and she was playing an RPG on a different platform, ALSO connected to the LCD at a different input, and they were both being displayed in the ‘side-by-side’ picture mode.

    I don’t have an XBox 360 because there are no good games (defined as games I’d enjoy playing) for it yet. Once it gets some good games, I’ll consider it. (Okay, so I considered buying it for Geometry Wars, but that’s sad, that a $5 game is the only thing that makes the platform look worthwhile.)

    What I find fascinating is that you suggest you won’t buy a Playstation 3? I wouldn’t expect you’d buy it just for the Blu-ray format, but given Sony’s history of exceptional games for their Playstation platforms, I’ve got to imagine you’ll get one also.

    – Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!

  25. Greetings,
    It’s entirely personal choice, but I have trouble understanding why people go Plasma, DLP, or rear projection… I’m an LCD addict, they just do EVERYTHING better. Mind you, not cheaper, but if you have the disposable income…

    I bought the Sharp 45″ LC45-GX6U not long after it came out (basically, when stock was available), for just over $5K with tax, etc… It’ll do 1920×1080 native (there are some minor caveats, but not relevant), and it’s a really incredible set. Being a full-size LCD is freaking incredible, it has built in CableCard, so the cable feed goes directly into it. (I have another cable feed that feeds my Tivo addiction.)

    Plus I can plug my laptop (or my Mac Mini) into it, and get 1920×1080 native resolution, which I’ve done a few times. There’s nothing like plugging your laptop into a huge TVs DVI cable, and having it show up as an extra monitor in your monitor drop-down list. :)

    The funniest HDTV moment for my wife and I was when I was playing Burnout Revenge connected to the LCD, and she was playing an RPG on a different platform, ALSO connected to the LCD at a different input, and they were both being displayed in the ‘side-by-side’ picture mode.

    I don’t have an XBox 360 because there are no good games (defined as games I’d enjoy playing) for it yet. Once it gets some good games, I’ll consider it. (Okay, so I considered buying it for Geometry Wars, but that’s sad, that a $5 game is the only thing that makes the platform look worthwhile.)

    What I find fascinating is that you suggest you won’t buy a Playstation 3? I wouldn’t expect you’d buy it just for the Blu-ray format, but given Sony’s history of exceptional games for their Playstation platforms, I’ve got to imagine you’ll get one also.

    – Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!

  26. The media room has a Sim2 Selecon HT300 DLP projector and a Stewart Electrimask Screenwall screen (2.35:1 aspect ratio). Yes, Stephen, projectors are really the way to go for serious viewing

    The master bedroom has a Fujitsu 42″ plasma. and a motorized tv lift.

    The family room has and LG 60″plasma because of the built in DVR functionality (160GB disk storage) Can record both HD and SD.

  27. The media room has a Sim2 Selecon HT300 DLP projector and a Stewart Electrimask Screenwall screen (2.35:1 aspect ratio). Yes, Stephen, projectors are really the way to go for serious viewing

    The master bedroom has a Fujitsu 42″ plasma. and a motorized tv lift.

    The family room has and LG 60″plasma because of the built in DVR functionality (160GB disk storage) Can record both HD and SD.

  28. The thing that did it for me was viewing angle. By far Plasma has the best. LCD 2nd and rear projection third.

    Sony has some great new products the SXRD stuff is very cool to look at, but there really isn’t much, if any 1080p broadcasts available yet. Yes 720p is good and 1080i is slightly less crisp. But really hard to tell with the naked eye.

    When making the choice between LCD and Plasma, there are some clear leaders. With LCD, I would have to say Sharp owns this market. The latency/ghosting effect is realling becoming a thing of the past the as refresh rates are getting down to single digit miliseconds. For plasma, the best I have seen is Pioneer and then Panasonic. BTW, I found that one of the ways to save money on a plasma is to buy a commercial, as opposed to retail unit. These are the units that are used at airports etc. You can find them at office equipment and supplies dealers. The unit I have, has no speakers and no tuner…and best of all, no fans. I didn’t need the speakers as I have a surround sound system. I didn’t need the tuner as I have a digital HDTV cable box, that connects via optical cable to my surround sound sytem. The best thing about the commercial unit is that I saved over $1,000 from the retail unit for the same screen. BTW I have a 50″ Panasonic plasma.

  29. The thing that did it for me was viewing angle. By far Plasma has the best. LCD 2nd and rear projection third.

    Sony has some great new products the SXRD stuff is very cool to look at, but there really isn’t much, if any 1080p broadcasts available yet. Yes 720p is good and 1080i is slightly less crisp. But really hard to tell with the naked eye.

    When making the choice between LCD and Plasma, there are some clear leaders. With LCD, I would have to say Sharp owns this market. The latency/ghosting effect is realling becoming a thing of the past the as refresh rates are getting down to single digit miliseconds. For plasma, the best I have seen is Pioneer and then Panasonic. BTW, I found that one of the ways to save money on a plasma is to buy a commercial, as opposed to retail unit. These are the units that are used at airports etc. You can find them at office equipment and supplies dealers. The unit I have, has no speakers and no tuner…and best of all, no fans. I didn’t need the speakers as I have a surround sound system. I didn’t need the tuner as I have a digital HDTV cable box, that connects via optical cable to my surround sound sytem. The best thing about the commercial unit is that I saved over $1,000 from the retail unit for the same screen. BTW I have a 50″ Panasonic plasma.

  30. I’ve got a Mitsubishi DLP TV. It’s one of the best pictures out there and was definately better than LCD when I got it a year or so ago. Now I think LCD has caught up, especially with that Sony SXRD. DLP is still good for the price, all the technologies have their gotchas and you just have to decide what you can live with. Basically every decent HD looks pretty good right now if you don’t place it next to something better.

    FYI, TI is coming out with DLP technology that gets rid of all the drawbacks, better resolution and speed than LCD and Plasma, plus will allow you to hang a 100inch DLP TV on the wall and it will weigh somewhere around 30-60lbs. Anyway its something like that, too bad we keep having to wait for the better stuff. It’s neverending…

  31. I’ve got a Mitsubishi DLP TV. It’s one of the best pictures out there and was definately better than LCD when I got it a year or so ago. Now I think LCD has caught up, especially with that Sony SXRD. DLP is still good for the price, all the technologies have their gotchas and you just have to decide what you can live with. Basically every decent HD looks pretty good right now if you don’t place it next to something better.

    FYI, TI is coming out with DLP technology that gets rid of all the drawbacks, better resolution and speed than LCD and Plasma, plus will allow you to hang a 100inch DLP TV on the wall and it will weigh somewhere around 30-60lbs. Anyway its something like that, too bad we keep having to wait for the better stuff. It’s neverending…

  32. Our Dell 2300MP DLP projector works like a charm. We get 100″ screen from projection (imagine our couch surrounded by 5.1 system and 10ft away from projection wall and don’t forget our HDTV enabled Microsoft enhanced DVR!) and picture is so sharp that guests drop their jaws. Cost? $1200. TV things above $2000 is probably upcoming oveprised unperfected technology.

  33. Our Dell 2300MP DLP projector works like a charm. We get 100″ screen from projection (imagine our couch surrounded by 5.1 system and 10ft away from projection wall and don’t forget our HDTV enabled Microsoft enhanced DVR!) and picture is so sharp that guests drop their jaws. Cost? $1200. TV things above $2000 is probably upcoming oveprised unperfected technology.

  34. We bought a 32″ (4:3) JVC CRT HDTV for about $1200 in May ’03 and I couldn’t be happier with it. We got CRT for the picture quality, 4:3 for the backwards compatibility with SDTV & VHS & the lower price vs 16:9 CRT, and JVC because it looked just as good as the Sony and fit in our existing entertainment center better. NFL in HDTV drove the timing of the purchase.

  35. We bought a 32″ (4:3) JVC CRT HDTV for about $1200 in May ’03 and I couldn’t be happier with it. We got CRT for the picture quality, 4:3 for the backwards compatibility with SDTV & VHS & the lower price vs 16:9 CRT, and JVC because it looked just as good as the Sony and fit in our existing entertainment center better. NFL in HDTV drove the timing of the purchase.

  36. Hello… I’m a journalist working on a story about “Sunrise Earth.” I’m looking for reactions to the show. If you’d like to comment, please e-mail me at jmmcknig@syr.edu. Thanks!

  37. Hello… I’m a journalist working on a story about “Sunrise Earth.” I’m looking for reactions to the show. If you’d like to comment, please e-mail me at jmmcknig@syr.edu. Thanks!