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  1. #1
    Community Member Arnhelm's Avatar
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    Default What to Look For in a New Television Set

    Hi folks. I'm looking at getting a new TV set. My old 36" CRT-type served me well for all these years. Still, the time has come to get something a little more modern. That includes a model that will receive digital signals without a converter box.

    All I remember from the last time I looked at the subject is I want one that has 120 Hz refresh.

    This is going to be primarily for DVD's and video tapes. I have those players already. I will be using an antenna to pick up local broadcast stations. No cable or satellite connection.

    So, will you share your knowledge and ideas on the subject, please?
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  2. #2
    Community Member Arnhelm's Avatar
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    Right, add 1080p and HDMI interface to the list of "wants" for this new TV.

    Anyone with thoughts on reliability and longevity please chime in here, as well. This is not just about specs, it's about total quality overall.
    There is no free lunch.

  3. #3
    Community Member CheeseMilk's Avatar
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    First of all, you're going to have to decide between LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and Plasma.

    Plasma screens:
    -better at rendering blacks than LCD, and have no motion blur
    -usually cheaper
    -wider viewing angle
    -more reflective; not great for rooms with windows
    -more susceptible to pixel burnout (although this is getting better as tech improves)
    -not usually available in smaller (<36") sizes

    LCD screens:
    -brighter
    -thinner and lighter than plasma, making wall-mounting easier
    -use less energy and generate less heat, especially with an LED backlight (which most newer models have)
    -motion blur and non-uniform LED backlighting (especially on low-end models)

    Now to brand: I'm totally biased here, since my father had a really good career selling Sony products. As far as I can tell, classically Sony was the best, but you paid a premium for it, and the other companies would catch up after a couple of years. This may of may not be true anymore.

    I can't really speak to reliability (I'm still using a 46" rear-projection from 1996, myself) but definitely get something with a decent factory warranty; as with most modern electronics, the speed with which the factories crank these things out lends itself to manufacturing errors constantly.

    Really, anything is going to blow away your old CRT when you're looking at a new one with true 1080p HD input.

  4. #4

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    Consumer Reports does an annual review of many types of television sets and are generally fair in their assessments. The last one was obviously for 2012 and you have to sign up to view their findings, but it's still a good source of what to look for and which brands offer the best value for your money.

    I, like CheeseMilk, have bought Sony audio and video equipment for the last two decades. I've yet to have any unit fail except to obsolescence. Several of my friends have purchased and are happy with both Samsung and LG units. Not that this anecdotal information is a recommendation, mind you. My only recommendations are to avoid Best Buy and never get the extended warranty.
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  5. #5
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    Okay, 'fess up. You're gonna play DDO on an 80" screen, aren't you? XD

    Seriously, I haven't had any trouble with the Samsungs we've had for the past few-to-several years.
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  6. #6
    Community Member Arnhelm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tscheuss View Post
    Okay, 'fess up. You're gonna play DDO on an 80" screen, aren't you? XD...
    Honestly, no. [bragging_on] I have a 30" monitor and it works just fine for DDO. [/bragging_off]

    Will check out Sony and see what's within my budget. Avoiding Best Buy is already on my list of things to do.

    Going with LCD/LED. Environmental changes at Denver's altitude will cause some issues with plasma screens from what I understand. Also wanting a lighter weight unit for probable wall-mounting.

    Checking lots of reviews from a variety of sources, including friends and online. Trying to do my homework on this purchase as it has to last me several years of tight budget forecasts due to medical bills.
    There is no free lunch.

  7. #7
    Founder & Hero cdbd3rd's Avatar
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    /Seconding Samsung as brand used with no issues for years.

    See also Cnet.com for decent reviews.

    As for the antenna use for local stations - didn't air broadcast in general go the way of the dodo a while back when they were forcing everyone to get digi-boxes?
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  8. #8
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    Most new TVs are capable of converting digital TV channels, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Rabbit ears provides the best deal in high def programming around, provided you live close enough to a larger city (in Boston here I get around 30 channels.)
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  9. #9
    Community Member Arnhelm's Avatar
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    cdbd3rd - Nope, lots of broadcast channels still around.

    Cordovan - Aye that, and I'm too frugal to pay for TV when I can get basics for free.
    There is no free lunch.

  10. #10
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    Samsung FST monitors and TV's were the dog's bollocks back in the day, the first (and best) monitor I ever had was a Samsung FST 15" and it lasted for well over a decade; the unique flat screen CRT tube was actually made by Sony. Hitachi are a fantastic electronics manufacturer as well for quality and reliability. So I would look at Sony, Samsung and Hitachi.

    Although I would probably avoid buying anything from Sony if I could help it.

  11. #11
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    If you want to also use it as a computer display, make sure it does a good job of it. Last time I was TV shopping, I assumed that since my video card supported 1080p resolution, things would look fine on any true 1080p TV. I figured a digital television was basically a big computer screen with a built-in television tuner. I was wrong. I'm now stuck using the TV's VGA connection at 1024x768 resolution. 1080p would be much better. 1080 is the smaller of the two numbers, not the bigger, although I forget what the other number is.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdbd3rd View Post
    As for the antenna use for local stations - didn't air broadcast in general go the way of the dodo a while back when they were forcing everyone to get digi-boxes?
    My understanding is that the boxes are digital tuners for people who don't have digital TVs. It doesn't matter if the cable attached to the box comes from cable TV service or from an antenna in the same room or on the roof.

    Reminds me of something "funny 'cause it's true". Someone pointed out that with analog TV, when there's interference you get "snow"... with digital TV, you get Cubism. It was a female wfmu.org DJ that said it, but I forget which one.

  13. #13
    Community Member Arnhelm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asanarama View Post
    ...1080 is the smaller of the two numbers, not the bigger, although I forget what the other number is.
    1920 by 1080 is the standard at 16:9 screen ratio, if I understand the technical jargon correctly. I have learned to watch out for 1080i, which is Interlaced mode and not as good a picture quality as true 1080p.
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  14. #14

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    OK. I've been doing home theater and home automation in Chicagoland for 20 years. So I have some experience here.

    1920x1080 is one of dozens of "standard" resolutions. It is currently the most popular array in big screen TV's. Everything that goes into a 1920x1080 TV is displayed at 1080p. Most sources will have to be scaled up as very few, if any broadcasts are being sent at full 1080p. Your best source of 1080p content currently is BluRay and some high end streaming services. Broadcast TV is almost all 1080i and 720p

    I would hope that anyone selling plasma TV's in or around Denver would sell models that are designed to work perfectly in the altitude. There can be issues, but those technical hurdles were surpassed years ago at this point.

    Plasma Technology produces its own light. It has more natural colors. smoother motion.

    Weight and depth differences between Plasma and LCD are negligible. Both can easily be mounted on any wall with the appropriate bracket.

    Burned out or dead pixels has not been an issue with either technology in years.

    Panasonic has built the best Plasma sets for the last few years.

    Samsung is right there with them(I personally own a Samsung)
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  15. #15
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    Looks like you have some good advice in here. Now grab a couple of your favorite movies, and go do some comparing at various stores.
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  16. #16
    Community Member Arnhelm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Impaqt View Post
    OK. I've been doing home theater and home automation in Chicagoland for 20 years. So I have some experience here.

    1920x1080 is one of dozens of "standard" resolutions. It is currently the most popular array in big screen TV's. Everything that goes into a 1920x1080 TV is displayed at 1080p. Most sources will have to be scaled up as very few, if any broadcasts are being sent at full 1080p. Your best source of 1080p content currently is BluRay and some high end streaming services. Broadcast TV is almost all 1080i and 720p

    I would hope that anyone selling plasma TV's in or around Denver would sell models that are designed to work perfectly in the altitude. There can be issues, but those technical hurdles were surpassed years ago at this point.

    Plasma Technology produces its own light. It has more natural colors. smoother motion.

    Weight and depth differences between Plasma and LCD are negligible. Both can easily be mounted on any wall with the appropriate bracket.

    Burned out or dead pixels has not been an issue with either technology in years.

    Panasonic has built the best Plasma sets for the last few years.

    Samsung is right there with them(I personally own a Samsung)
    Thank you for the response, Impaqt. I appreciate the update for the current status. I'll check out some of each TV asTscheuss recommends and enjoy the selection process.
    There is no free lunch.

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