Need advice in buying a new TV...

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Morpheus 02, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Morpheus 02

    Morpheus 02 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago IL
    SOme of our local Circuit CIty's are going out of business, so i was looking at this as an opprtunity to upgrade our TV.

    Here are the deatils of what we are (and are not) looking for:


    Needs
    • can be seen 19-20 feet away (distance between couch & TV)
    • HD Ready
      We have a 3 1/2 year old girl, & we don't plan on mounting the TV on the wall. Enough said on that.
      We occasionally connect our TV to a laptop.
    • There is a local Low Power station we regularly watch (for Korean Historical Dramas)
    Would Be Cool

    • Have a USB port but does it do anything special? can we show videos & photos? Any other plugs we should have?
    Don't Care

    • Super detail -- We don't need to read the classified ads in the Daily Bugle when we watch Spiderman
    • Sound -- as long as we can hear it, we're OK
    Questions

    • What's the price range i should expect?
    • Is there a particular brand?
    • When's the best time to buy?
    • Should we wait until after Christmas?
    Let me know if i need to explain anything. Any other advice is welcome!
     
  2. JiNX-01

    JiNX-01 Admiral Admiral

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    My brother bought a flatscreen TV. He recommends you don't go less than 37 inches because when older non-widescreen TV programs are shown they'll be much smaller than on a traditional TV.
     
  3. Bloodwhiner

    Bloodwhiner Commodore Commodore

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    Get as big as your budget allows.

    Best bet is stay with brand names - Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, Sony are all good bets. I'm not so crazy about Vizeo or Olivia.

    Don't assume you are getting a great deal just because Circuit City is closing. Take the brand and Model number, run them through google for price comparisons. Also read any reviews at cnet, epinions, amazon you can find.

    Black Friday is coming up, there will likely be some very good deals between now and Christmas. Generally the budget brands on put on sale on BF while name brands get marked down a week or two later.

    Watch http://dealnews.com for good price points as well.
     
  4. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I'd agree with all of that.

    Go in the store and look at the sets and see what looks good to *you*. Make sure they are hooked up to good sources and don't be afraid to ask for the remote and make adjustments in the store. They may look at you like you're crazy but you won't end up at home with a $2000 TV set that you're less than happy with. You might want to bring in a DVD or two of the type of material you will normally be watching. Do remember that how a TV looks in the store isn't always how it will look at home so be mindful of that when looking at a set 15 feet up in the air among 20 others.

    If you go with a chain like Best Buy or whatever you do have the option to get a different set within 30 days if you aren't happy. That can be great peace of mind on a first HD purchase worth whatever savings you might be able to get from online or warehouse retailers.
     
  5. Cain

    Cain Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    From what I understand, the going out of business sales for places like Circuit City usually to have deals that are all that great. If I were you, I would check all the ads for the day after Thanksgiving. With the economy the way it is, I bet there will be a lot of good deals. And a lot of the deals will probably last until Christmas.
     
  6. mostly_nameless

    mostly_nameless Commander Red Shirt

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    When I was shopping for an HDTV, I always went looking on a day when football was on because it's a great way to study how the screen shows motion. Keep an eye on the feet, the ball, and the crowd. If the picture is going to pixelate, you'll see it there. If you can, watch something rather dark too, to see how it handles black.

    Get as many inputs as you can. HDMI and components are best.

    Will your low power station still broadcast after February? If so, I guess you'll want dual tuners, NTSC (old US standard) and ATSC (new US standard). I'm not sure they're still making sets with NTSC tuners....?

    The big brands are all good, Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi, Samsung. LCD and Plasma are both good too. Just look to see what you like best.

    Also, I think there will be some good discounts fairly early this year while retailers try to get their share of what little holiday money floats around. So, don't limit yourself to a store that's going out of business, if you don't have to.
     
  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    What good would a USB port do? I don't see any use for one on a TV.

    I would get a TV with as many inputs as possible, either HDMI or component video (i.e. Y / Pb / Pr). Any piece of a/v equipment you're likely to buy nowadays, would use one or the other.
     
  8. BigFoot

    BigFoot Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Certain TVs allow you to play pictures and/or mp3s from USB flash drives.
     
  9. Peacemaker

    Peacemaker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    More than that...I know of several friends that have wired their TV's into their pc's...of course they have terrabytes of, uh, for grown up's only material on their hard drives (no pun intended), but there you go...saves on storage space I suppose.
     
  10. BigFoot

    BigFoot Admiral Admiral

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    ^ I didn't know you could do that using USB.

    Because I've got my TV hooked up to my PC. Though I usually use my PS3 for playing videos/mp3s/pictures (which is getting all that stuff from my PC that's running a Media server).
     
  11. Peacemaker

    Peacemaker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yep, the desktop's right next to it at my best friends' place, and since the desktop is the hub on the network they can set up playlists from anywhere else on the network. This, of course, tells you something about some of the people I know, I guess. I mean, when they're like, "Oh, by the way, if you want any porn, we've got terrabytes of the stuff...," well, how exactly does one reply to that?
     
  12. BigFoot

    BigFoot Admiral Admiral

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    ^ No idea (how to reply to that).

    OTOH, I do know that I love having access to all of our family photos and all of my mp3s using my PS3.
     
  13. Hermiod

    Hermiod Admiral Admiral

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    Mar 16, 2006
    Another HDTV question. Probably one for UK readers.

    My existing Panasonic CRT TV does a very good job with active format descriptors - i.e. the part of the TV signal that tells the TV what aspect ratio to use. It also has a very good automatic zoom if it detects a letterboxing on a 4:3 image. Most widescreen programming in the UK broadcast via Freeview, cable or Satellite is broadcast as an anamorphic image with the AFD telling the TV to stretch it back out to 16:9.

    My Samsung LCD in my bedroom, however, does not do such a good job. I don't want to buy a TV that doesn't do this properly as it's going to go in my living room with a mother and a sister who will annoy the hell out of me by watching everything in stretchy vision if the TV doesn't sort it out automatically. So, two questions really.

    1) Do Panasonic or other brand LCD TVs do a similarly good job as my existing Panasonic TV ?

    2) How does Sky+ HD work with standard definition 4:3 shows over HDMI ? I assume it upscales programming to 1080i and adds pillar box black bars to the sides ?
     
  14. BigFoot

    BigFoot Admiral Admiral

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    ^
    1) I can't speak for other brands, but both of my Sony Bravia LCDs do the switching between 4:3 and 16:9 perfectly.

    2) No idea. Btw, just because a HDMI connection is in use it doesn't mean the signal has to be HD as well. So it's possible it's just plain old 576i/p.
     
  15. Hermiod

    Hermiod Admiral Admiral

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    I wouldn't mind that if it deals with the aspect ratios properly.
     
  16. BigFoot

    BigFoot Admiral Admiral

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    ^ You're definitely gonna have to get more info about Sky+ HD from someone else. :)
     
  17. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    Location:
    Rhode Island, USA
    Here's the (not-so) short version:

    If you're going to view from 20 ft away, you need to go big. kinda doubt you're really 20 ft away (that's a LOT), but even if you're 14ft away or more, you gotta go with either a 46" or 52" tv if you want to make out any sort of level of detail.

    Circuit City going out of buisness sales are unlikely to be any help for you. They get bought out by a liquidation company, which marks everything up, and then slowly brings it down with % off. If it JUST started the sell-off, you can get better deals elsewhere. If it's been going on a while, the price might be ok, but the decent stuff is long gone. Better off with the Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) sales, or anytime betwen now and Christmas is supposed to be good this year due to over-supply in the TV market with the down economy.

    LCD would be my recommendation. Can plug the computer in directly with a VGA (monitor) cable connection, will look exactly like a regular computer monitor. They'll all have USB connections, but mostly just to put a thumb drive in for a picture show or whatnot. I've never used mine, aside from a firmware update. Get the 1080p tv. You can save money by getting 720p if it's an issue, but why get one that's already out of date, and with blu-ray as an option, and even cable tv at 1080i, no reason to limit yourself, considering how cheap the tvs are getting.

    With a small child, why NOT put it on the wall? Would prevent them from touching it, smearing the screen, hitting it with things, knocking it onto themselves, etc. I'd definitely recommend that, if you have a space that can support it. Better visability from a distance, as well.

    If you're deadset on NOT putting it on the wall, and you have decent floorspace, I don't think the LCD vs Plasma debate is something you should be talking about. Given your distance from the TV and your desire for it to not be on the wall, a DLP (thin projection) tv is probably the answer for you. You can get these cheaper than the thin tvs, and in larger sizes. For the price of my 46" LCD, a friend of mine got a 60" Sony DLP, and it looks great. It worked in his living room whereas I had to hang mine on the wall, so I couldn't do the same tv, so it's definitely a matter of the room setup. But given what you've said, could be the answer. Same HD screen resolution, not as thick as old projections, better viewing angle. And much cheaper if you want a big screen, compared to LCD/Plasma tv sets.

    For example (and this is the first site I looked at, didn't comparison shop or check more prices), BestBuy has a 56" Samsung Slim-Depth DLP TV HL56A650 (1080p) for $1200. It's on sale, but even regular price is $1499, so with a little deal shopping, can find a good deal on that. Depends on how you feel about brands (Samsung is a pretty good one), what you want to spend, size you need, etc. That tv would probably be where I'd start...
     
  18. Morpheus 02

    Morpheus 02 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago IL
    Thanks everyone for your input. Please keep it coming!

    We would use the USB for family photos & movies...we would watch them far more than an HD show. It'll be a while before we get a Blu Ray player.

    Scout101,

    Thanks especially for your answer. (If you have a long version -- i'd appreciate it too!).

    Yes, our living room is really that long -- it's the front of a Chicago bungalow. The middle space is generally "play space", with the couch & TV on opposite walls.


    Thanks for the starting price -- anyone else have thoughts on what size should be what price?

    Thanks!
     
  19. BigFoot

    BigFoot Admiral Admiral

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    ^ I have no idea about prices in US, but I agree with everyone saying you should get a big TV. I sit 8 feet away from mine, and I got a 46" LCD. I would have gotten a 52", but I don't have the room for it.

    So yeah, I agree with Scout101 that you should look at DLPs. They're much more stable compared to LCDs and plasmas (so your child won't be able to knock it over) and they're also much cheaper. As for size... I'd suggest you got for a 60" if you can afford.
     
  20. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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