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JohnC Offline OP
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Well, it's a new year. I think we're going to get a bonus this year. (Won't know until March though.) I've been thinking.........(insert favorite retort here wink ) Maybe it is time to upgrade my TV/Home Entertainment unit.

The main issue on the agenda would be TV. I saw a huge increase in picture quality with my old analog 32" TV upon upgrading to DirecTV (100%digital signal) over a year ago. I've been told that HDTV even without any HD programming is still an upgrade to a digital TV and that my current digital signal (DirecTV) on a digital TV would be a big improvement over my analog TV.

I am currently at a 32" picture. The question would be to go to a 36" tube TV or a small (42"-46") projection TV. Both of course being digital (HDTV ready). I think I know that all things being equal a tube will provide a better quality picture than a projection TV. Of course the larger image provided by the projection sure does look pretty cool for watching just about anything. But who knows after having either for a while if I would have preferred the other?

On a preliminary price comparison the 36" TV was actually $200-$300 more than a 42" or 46" projection TV by the same manufacturer. While price does matter, at this level of spending the difference would not sway me if I felt one direction was clearly superior, for my viewing pleasure, than the other.

Any experience pro or con with the tube vs projection debate? Especially at the smaller size level?

TIA.

And Happy New Year! yippie


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Sorry, no help here. I just want one of those cute tiny little flat screen thingies to put in my kitchen. (Didn't I read somewhere that someone had invented something that would make those plasma screens way cheaper next year?)

smile Jodi

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What is really way cool is what happens the year after when they perfect the technology for beaming 3D motion picture images directly into your brain complete with Dolby THX (TM) sound. The roads should be either really clear for driving anywhere (because everyone is at home plugged into the matrix) or heck unhinged depending on how they manage to craft the traffic laws. If you think cell phones were a problem you ain't seen nothin'.


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JohnC Offline OP
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Come on! Where are all you techies out there? Somebody knows about this stuff! laugh


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You didn't state how large a room you are putting the TV in. Obviously size and distance from the image are related (unless you like IMAX type situations!).

I personally like regular crt based TVs and am looking at a 30 - 34 inch widescreen. Haven't done the research yet but I notice they are not all identical. The Phillips screen I was looking at today in CostCo was advertised as including a line doubler. I liked the image as there were no visible black lines between each scan line, however I wouldn't have said it was high definition, even though it was identified as 1080i. The important issue is what is it's native resolution, not what resolution it is compatible with. I have seen other widescreen crt TVs that had crisp clear images, but they were $2,000 plus. Think it was a Sony tube that I was looking at.

If I had a large enough room I would consider a projector which could be hung on the ceiling. I don't like rear projection TVs very much. The good ones are expensive and still take up a lot of floor space. Most (if not all) projectors seem to use the TI digital mirrors (think it's called DLP). The issue with a projector is brightness. You may need to darken the room to get a decent image. A smooth white wall can be used as a screen, but a proper screen can improve the situation. You may also be able to find a screen paint for your wall. In the old days projectors used lcd's - don't know if this is an option anymore. Resolution shouldn't be much of an issue as most projectors are made for conference rooms and thus match computer resolutions. XGA (1024x768) would be close to matching 780p.

Plasma is another option. The thing you should know about plasma is that the phosphors are only optimal for about 2 years then they start to fade. May not matter if you are not a critic of image quality. Also the phosphors have a memory (actually is the fading problem). If you look at the monitors in airports, where some of the information is displayed most of the time, you will notice it is still there even when something else is displayed. Of course plasmas are nice because they are thin. Still a lot of research going into plasma so there may still be improvements coming.

Take you time and enjoy the research. I would suggest you find a good quality DVD and use it to test each TV under consideration. We all have different tastes, so what is most important is the TV that you like the best. Kind of like buying pianos!

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JohnC Offline OP
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Iainhp,

Thanks for the feedback. The room is appx 14' square. Plasma and DLP are out just because of cost. Many of the projection TV's are still HD without being DLP. At least where I've been looking. Definitely staying under $2K.

As I stated earlier I am no techie, however, I thought the concept of line doubling was what made for a so called digital picture versus the old analog that filled half the screen at a time every 1/60th of a second?

If so any so called HDTV "ready" set would provide this improvement. Which, I think, is my goal. I don't plan on buying an HD tuner but would like a bigger (than my current 32 analog) and better picture. The quality of the digital widescreens in the stores can be impressive.

I've been sorting through www.avsforum.com. There is a lot to try and digest, including a whole new language and acronyms. I think buying pianos is easier wink

Thanks again! smile


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Line doubling is exactly what it says. A line doubler will double the resolution of an image by taking 2 consecutive lines and creating a third line between the 2 lines by running a "doubling" algorithm. A simple algorithm would average each pixel (picture element) on the 2 consecutive lines to form the in between pixel. There are obvously more elegant line doublers.

In the old days TV was 525 lines, however I don't believe they were all visible. VCRs produced less active resolution (switching from SLP to SP when recording would increase the resolution). On a large TV set there were visible black lines between the active lines - if you sit far enough back you don't notice them. Using a line doubler would help reduce these black lines, or even get rid of them. However a line doubler cannot add information that is not already there.

HDTV on the other hand is (supposedly) a higher resolution format so should actually produce a crisper image. One of the issues is that you might actually notice the blemishes on Sam Donaldsons face (or Tom Brokaw, or whoever)! However the HDTV spec was bastardised resulting in many native resolutions instead of just one (thus 780p, 1080i, etc....). Interlacing is somewhat outdated - it was originally created to reduce the bandwidth required for TV broadcast. Computer monitors are all progressive scan, and if you look carefully many DVD players offer progressive scan from the component output (however you need a TV that will accept progressive scan input). This is the way you will get the optimal performance from your DVD player. I don't know why they kept interlacing in the HDTV standard.

I have not kept track of this stuff over the last few years but there was another standard called DTV. DTV = Digital TV. I do not remember too well, but I don't think HDTV had to be digital (anyone out there more up to date on this).

There are now computer monitors out there that match the 16:9 widesceen TV aspect ratio (Costco has some laptops, and I think Apple has a few as well). One would have expected that TV and computer monitors would be merging to provide the same formats, but the world doesn't work that way I guess.

Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is next week. Perhaps a look at their web site will give you a peek at what is coming this spring to a store near you!

If I get a chance I will look at the forum you identified.

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I think the answer to your question is neither. Plasma is superior and prices are coming down rapidly. The displays that were $25,000 two years ago are down around $7K now. 3M has recently announced they are entering the Plasma TV market, this will speed improvements and drop prices further. Those big bulky projection TV boxes will be nothing but a memory very soon now. This is not the time to buy anything, It's a good time to keep waiting IMO.


Regards

Steve

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JohnC Offline OP
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Steve,

Having just started looking there is enough information out there to make your head spin. I hear what your saying and do not plan to rush into anything. But I know a lot of people who kept waiting for computer prices to drop before ever buying one. You *could* seemingly wait forever. The key would seem to be if one can identify a possible watershed time in the technological evolution the would make it worth waiting for. You may be right that this is the time to wait.

Are there any specific things you would look to see happen soon?

Thanks for your response.

Iainhp,

Thanks for the additional feedback. thumb


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I never liked the projection TV's too much, because I found their picture quality not to my liking. Plasma tvs look very good though, but the price is somewhat prohibitive.

I don't know what the deal is with those LCD TV's- they are so small yet significantly more expensive then a normal television set.

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Just headin back from CES. Saw a 76 inch plasma TV with 2 mega pixel resolution so that is where the trend is going. Interesting also was that the vertical resolution was 1080p (not i) which I have not seen before. There were several other plasma panels with that resolution. So I would expect plasma prices to fall as the larger panels are introduced. It was rumoured that someone had an 80 inch on display bit I did not see one. I don't think I saw any crt TVs. Quite a few front screen projectors in the 1080i resolution - all marked as HDTV.

I was also quite impressed with some of the LCD TVs. The viewing angles have gotten much better. They also are growing in size - quite a few above 40 inch now. Of course no prices are shown!

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You'll find lots of information (and opinions) in the Home Theater Spot Forums .

About a year and a half ago I finally bit the bullet and upgraded the 19" TV we'd been watching for years to a 50" Toshiba RPTV (Rear Projection TV). WOW! I love my RPTV!

The stretch mode on my Toshiba is great. Keep in mind that any decent large HDTV capable unit is going to be wide screen, so when you watch regular TV shows, the stretch modes are key. Otherwise you have to watch them with wide grey bars on each side of the picture.

I originally was looking at a tube type direct view TV (38" RCA I believe) but finally ruled it out because of issues like the fact that it made a small amount of noise even when it was turned off and because of all the glass in the picture tube it weighed a ton!

After discarding the tube TV, I started looking at 42" RPTVs. Then at one store they had the 42" next to a 50". The 50" wasn't that much bigger overall, but WOW, what a difference in the visuals! Plus the 50" had a fairly wide top on it for the center speaker, while the 42" would have required some kind of shelving.

The RPTV is on wheels so I can roll it around if I need to and it has plenty of inputs for antenna, cable/satellite, HD, DVD, etc. The room I have it in is about 12x15. The TV and the baby grand are at the open end and the seating is at the other. Not ideal because I have to use surrounds up near the ceiling for my front speakers, but with the new piano, I didn't have much choice.

Unless you keep your room dark all the time, rule out a direct projection with screen. Any significant light will wash out the projected image on the screen. Plus the bulbs are horrendously expensive!

Plasmas are ok, but they're still cost way too much for my budget. You can buy a 50" RPTV easily for under $2,000.


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