Saturday, October 6, 2007

All I Wanted to Do Was Buy A New TV.....

All I wanted to do was Buy a new TV....

Not go back to collage ..........

One could very easily utter those very words when One enters one of the new superstore, or big-box retailers, two, of which ,spring to mind and I think you know who I mean....

A few years ago buying a tv was relatively easy and straight forward .
You went in pick up the size you wanted, usually 27' diagonal, and went home, hooked it up to whatever source you got your signal. usually a roof antenna or in some cases rabbit ears on top of the tv.
In the days of yore, a tv was a piece of furniture. Manufactures tried to make a cabinets look like they belong in the room and not some ugly box with a screen sicking out in the middle of the room, they used real wood and and were finished like furniture. At least on the bigger 27 consul models, I remember seeing some nice looking tvs back then.

Back then you only had one connection to hook up, coaxial cable from your antenna. You got the sound from the tiny speakers which were built in the tv set.
And so it went, for many decades. Eventually black and white gave way to color.
Over the years stereo was introduced. First, there were stereo speakers built into the tv itself, After a fashion, connections were added to pipe to audio into external speaker and eventually running the audio into a stereo for a fuller richer sound.

As the tv has evolved, the was of getting the signal also changed. Cable tv was introduced and along with more channels. Now we have both cable and satellite distribution of tv content. Along with stations that show nothing but old shows that were made before this brave new media was ever dreamed up. That is a very short version of how tv came to be what what know today.

All of this to say choosing a tv has become challenge.
There are so many different ways to get content into your tv and almost all of them have a different connection.

Depending on what your source is,you can hook it up a number of ways. Of course for a very basic off air signal either standard definition, what your watching now. Or if you have a set with a built-in HD tuner, and the right antenna, in the right area, you can pull in off air High definition channels. Thats not even counting hooking up you dvd player.If you have RCA cables you can probably use them and get a ok picture. If you a dvd player with HDMI outputs and your tv has at least one HDMI input you can run the dvd player through it and it will upscale the picture to near high-definition quality and look really good.

The point is selecting a Hight definition tv is a daunting task. You must consider where your putting it, If in a bight living room with lots of light and windows a LCD, is considered the best option, if in a dark room or basement or dedicated viewing room, a plasma is considered best. Then the size, of the tv. The big thing is they have changed the screen format from the traditional 4;3 square that were used to , to the new 16;9 format. and they still use the old diagonal measuring system, which always was misleading to begin with, and who ever thought of the idea if measuring the screen diagonal in the first place? The screen size should be stated by at least the height and width of the cabinet so you know how much space the unit will actually take. and give you a much better idea if the size screen your getting.

I've said all this, and I haven't touched on screen resolution yet,
Our stranded definition tv is all the same approximately 480 lines and hasn't changed in over 60 years. Until now.
I could go into a lot of technical details that I'd probably wouldn't get right. I won't try to explain stuff I'm not a expert in, Instead I'll post some links at the end of the article,
Suffice to say , HDTV come in three varieties, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p.
The experts say 1080i is the best you can get right now, However there is very little content that is native 1080p, other then Sony's PS3 and Microsoft's X-Box 360, and some Hight-def dvd, that require a High-def dvd player to play them properly.
The broadcasters that do send a high def signal on send the lower 720p signal.which is still a HD signal, and WAY better then what we're used to seeing now.

I which I could just say get this or that brand and model. As you know a picture like audio is subjective, what looks or sounds good to one person my sound or look lousy to another. All one can do is read the reviews and actually go see the tvs in person and bring your own content to test it with. Bring material you know, both in HD and standard def. Ask the place to show you a standard def signal on the tv you looking at, some tvs handle the up converting from standard better then others, don't bring amainated material to test with, it will always look good no mater what. try looking at the tvs from different viewing angles and if possible different lighting.
As more stations convert to HD the choices of content increase, for some stations converting to HD is easier to integrate into the system then others. Particularly those who have a lot of old footage that they need to either up convert themselves or have it done for them. The success of the up converting depends a lot on the material they have to work with. Ideally working form the original print would be best, as you can guess that may not always be possible,
As you start on this venture, consider your source of HD content, at the low end of the scale, pulling it off air with a antenna is a option, depending on where you live, Most folks are going to go to either a cable or satellite system, either Direct tv or my personal favorite, Dish Network.
At the moment, Dish had almost forty channel in in their HD package, They seem to be adding channels on a regular basis. By the end of the year they could very easily have 50 channels give or take. Not that I'm specifically plugging them But I have had Dish for almost 10 years and have been very pleased with their service and channel selection. (Something to consider.)
Most HD tvs also have the options of piping you computer to the tv so you can use it as a monitor for the computer. This opens up a new world of content. Image being able to stream last night esispode of a a tv show of the computer and instead of watching it on your computer monitor, you watch it on your big tv. Having never done it yet, I can't vouch for the picture quality, however if its done right I hear it can look pretty good, But it defiantly opens new possibilities.

If your not sure how to hook up your new HD tv to get the best picture possible, it may be well worth the investment to have it professionally installed and set up.They will know the best way to hook it up given the source. I am not sure recommend using the installation services or even buying from one of the above mentioned big-box stores, simply because the level of training and expertise of the personal in the stores can very from some kid who barely know what a tv is, to a "expert" that may or may not actually know whats hes talking about.
I think, I'd subjust if possible and money allows go to a local custom installer who can sell you the equipment and install it and back it locally if there are any problems, if they install it they will probably adjust the calibration and fine tune it to get the best picture, you probably also get a matching surround sound system and they should install it too as a package deal. I realize that that is probably a more expensive way to go, and not everyone can do that but your sinking a considerable sum of money into your entertainment system, which hopefully you will have for many years to come.

So if your looking to get a new HDTV, take your time and do your research, because time is on our side, The longer you wait the lower the price goes, and the more content will be available to watch when you finely get a new tv.

Here is a excellent link for more information on choosing your new HDTV;

No comments: