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Thinking about HDTV... - MegaZone's Safety Valve
The Ramblings of a Damaged Mind
zonereyrie
zonereyrie
Thinking about HDTV...
I'm finally thinking about making the jump to HDTV. The TV I have now I picked up in 1994 and I told myself I'd keep it at least 10 years before buying a new one. At the time I was aware of the developments in HDTV, and I figured that in 10 years HDTV would be viable - there would be actual content, and sets would be affordable. So it has been 11 years, and all that has actually come to pass. With TiVo coming out with an HDTV unit next year, and the PS3/Blu-ray, it seems like time.

I have two basic parameters to limit my search:
1. I'm looking for a set that supports true 1080p - 1920x1080 progressive. No point in buying something that only does 720p or 1080i.
2. I'm looking for sets 60" or larger. Yeah, if I'm going to buy a new set I want to jump to a real home theater size set - my current set is 32".

That pretty much means a projection system - mostly DLP, though LCoS is an option for a couple.

It seems like the picture champ would be the Sony KDS-R60XBR1 60" Grand Wega SXRD. That's an LCoS system, and from everything I can find it would have the best picture. However, it is easily the most expensive, by far, since it is the best and LCoS is a new technology. I'm thinking about it, since this will probably be my TV for at least the next 10 years, likely longer. But the cost is more than a 72" Toshiba DLP set...

Which brings me to the set that seems to be the leader right now - Toshiba 62HM195. This is a 62" DLP set. It is the lowest cost of the sets I've been looking at (pricing things online - Froogle, etc) and it seems to be decent. There is also a 62MX195 from the 'Cinema Series', which costs a little more, but I can't see a real advantage to it. There is also a 72HM195, which is the 72" version, otherwise the same. It seems to be a decent set.

There are some others, which don't really distinguish themselves: Samsung HL-R6168W 61" DLP, Mitsubishi WD-62628 62" DLP, or the JVC HD61FH96 61" LCoS.

Does anyone have any opinions about these sets? Any other sets that fit the requirements that I should consider? Recommendations for review sites that would have more info on these?

Tags: , , ,
I am: curious curious
Current Media: TiVo: Iron Chef

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Comments
blarglefiend From: blarglefiend Date: November 25th, 2005 01:23 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Have you considered projectors? Those'll easily get you a 100"+ widescreen picture, and some of them are supposed to be very good.

The main downside is the need to replace the bulb every so often, but if you factor the cost of that into your calcs it should still come out reasonable.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: November 25th, 2005 11:33 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
I thought about it, but the room is probably the WORST possible light control situation. It is a 2-story cathedral ceiling with 4 sky lights, windows on the end wall all the way up, 'windows' into the second floor landing in the upstairs front of the house, and a large open square arch into the kitchen, which is also open to the front room. If the sun is up, there is light coming in here. I could get a lot of blackout curtains, and some kind of shades for the skylights, etc, but I don't really have the funds to do all that, and I don't think I'd like the look of things. Plus the way the room is best arranged, there isn't a good place for a projector - and a ceiling mount would have to be on a long pole or something, which I think is ugly. So I'm pretty much limited to direct-view or rear-projection.

Sony does have a projector that uses the same LCoS system as the set I'm considering - in fact the projector came first - and it is considered perhaps the best projector, but I think the light situation and room layout are killer issues.
richspk From: richspk Date: November 25th, 2005 03:44 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
What I've heard through the grapevine is that Sony reliability really sucks these days. Also, I wouldn't even consider anything with the Sony name on it right after the rootkit fiasco, but that's just me.

I don't even own a TV these days, but I <3 my 21" LCD Samsung monitor, and I've had good experiences with Mitsubishi DiamondScan CRTs in the past. I don't suppose that helps you much.
krellis From: krellis Date: November 25th, 2005 04:37 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)

I love my Sony

I love my Sony KF-60WE610 - its a 60" Grand Wega, 2 or 3 generations before the one you're looking at, I think. Only 1080i, no HDMI, no ATSC tuner. I got it about two years ago now, and haven't looked back since. The picture is absolutely incredible, and it doesn't look my analog signals from TiVo look TOO crappy. I really love the Picture and Picture function Sony has - I'm not sure if the others in the market have it, or if they're still including it, but I love using it to stick a video game on half of the screen and something like a baseball game or movie on the other half of the screen.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 25th, 2005 05:20 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)

Re: I love my Sony

I have pretty much the same thought pattern as the original writer. One thought: I am concerned about DLP, and the fact that there are spinning wheels and wobulating chips. I don't believe that the reliablity of these systems can possibly approach LCOS. I believe it's worth the extra money for this peace of mind.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: November 26th, 2005 12:37 am (UTC) (Direct Link)

Re: I love my Sony

I did more digging on the Sony, and it looks like the HDMI input only goes to 1080i. It won't take 1080p input, it just upscales everything.

The Toshiba does take 1080p input on HDMI. It also has some other bells and whistles which are nice-to-have - for example, the Sony has a Memory Stick reader, the Toshiba will read MemoryStick too - and also MMC, SD, CF, and SmartMedia. Using Froogle, the best price on the 60" Sony is $3549, the best price on the 62" Toshiba is $2529, the 72" Toshiba is $3349.

Considering the input limitations, and that I was looking at 1080p for future-proofing with things like Blu-ray, I think the Sony is out - especiall considering the price premium.

If it took 1080p input, I'd really consider it because I think lCoS is a better technology than DLP. But I don't think DLP is bad or anything, I just like the solid-state LCoS system and DLP has the color wheel and MEMS mirrors which are moving parts.
z_gryphon From: z_gryphon Date: November 25th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
At the time I was aware of the developments in HDTV, and I figured that in 10 years HDTV would be viable - there would be actual content, and sets would be affordable.

Well, you're halfway there.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: November 26th, 2005 12:31 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Compared to TVs in general, HDTV sets are affordable. You can get a decent set for less than I paid for the non-HD set I have now, back in 1994. IIRC, this set was something like $1200, and it was normally a LOT more than that - we bought the floor display of 'last years' model that they were trying to clear out. The Toshiba I'm looking at is about $2500 for a 62" 1080p set - 10 years ago you couldn't even get them that big, and you'd be talking $25,000 or more. :-) About twice the price for a set twice as big, with almost 7 times the resolution (more really, progressive vs. interlaced), is pretty good.
z_gryphon From: z_gryphon Date: November 26th, 2005 05:06 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I suppose. I'm just seeing everything from the perspective where, to quote Troy Hickman's recent post on the City of Heroes boards, a can of corn is a big purchase for me. If and when I make the switch to HD, it's quite probable that it'll involve taking a size hit from the conventional set I have now, which is moderately sad-making. And then there's the whole Blu-Ray thing. I feel like K in Men in Black. "Probably going to have to buy the White Album again... "
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: November 26th, 2005 08:48 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yeah, I can see that. Though Blu-ray won't be displacing DVD for a while yet, probably a few years before it catches on. On the upside I suspect that's the last generation of media, and everything will be downloads after that.
z_gryphon From: z_gryphon Date: November 26th, 2005 09:58 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
That's the upside? That after Blu-Ray if I want a movie I'll be at the mercy of teh Intarweb working, my hard drive not failing, etc., and every time I get a new system I'm going to have to transfer terabytes of movies and crap over to the new machine? That's not utopia, that's hell. Give me discrete modules or give me... disgruntlement!
From: ninjarat Date: November 25th, 2005 06:29 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
C|Net's HDTV World is still a good site:
http://www.cnet.com/4520-7874_1-5102926-1.html

I went through this a year ago and I went with the Sharp Aquos LCD mostly due to space restrictions. Things haven't changed much in a year which means rear projection (DLP, LCD and LCoS) is the way to go unless you have some other requirement. Which set is best is up to your eyes. Don't rely on specs. Look at the sets in operation, preferably in showrooms that have lighting comparable to where you plan to put yours. Bring some videos that you like and play them on the sets you are comparing if you can.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: November 26th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Thanks for the pointer. I checked out reviews for the main sets I was thinking about, and I think the Toshiba sounds like a good one. I did more digging and I found out the Sony only takes 1080i input and upscales to 1080p, the Toshiba can take 1080p on the HDMI input - which is want I wanted for future proofing in the first place, since Blu-ray will support 1080p content.
From: jakichan Date: December 2nd, 2005 08:56 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)

Make sure that 1080p works

While Toshiba does claim the set will accept 1080p inputs, the fact is that no one on avsforum (a site I highly recommend) has gotten it to work yet. Just be aware of that. Also, if you haven't research DLP that much, you should. If it's a single-wheel set you may see rainbow artifacts, and it gives some people headaches.

I'm gonna blab a bit - I got an HDTV about 2 years ago and have become quite a fan.

The thing that amazes me, is that in the almost two years since I bought my Hitachi 50V500 the technology has changed so much. Now the 1080p sets are the same price as the 1080i sets were when I bought mine - although I do not regret that purchase. (My old 20" TV died - I needed something and had the money. I got the best I could at the time.) These days it seems the technology is changing so quickly that 5 years (the length of my extended warranty, which [unlike most electronics] is usually a good idea on a big TV) seems like a good time to change TVs. I was thinking of suggesting that (as I've seen with PCs) the money spent on future-proofing is usually wasted, but in this case the 52" Toshiba is actually a little cheaper than my Hitachi was.

Also, I see no reason to get a 1080p set until the future of 1080p is a bit more clear. Toshiba's HD-DVD doesn't do 1080p, BluRay isn't out yet (neither is the PS3), and when the PS3 does come out we should see the 2nd model year of the 1080P sets. I figure in 3 years, when I will consider a new TV, it will be even more obvious.

The thing about 1080p, though, is that you won't see it OTA any time soon. When I got my HDTV I got a comcast HD box, and then right away I had some great HD content. I still remember the first HD content I saw at home (and episode of CSI where they went to Reno - lots of evergreen forest shots) and it blew me away. And I don't expect the PS3 to live up to the expectations we've seen so far. Once it's clear where my 1080p programming will come, then that may drive an upgrade.
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