The Official "I need help with a new TV purchase" thread

Discussion in 'Gator Bytes' started by helix139, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. SRQGator1
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  2. uflawyer
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    uflawyer Well-Known Member

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    I just bought that TV last month for my son's bedroom and it has a great picture. I recommend it.
  3. SRQGator1
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    My girl just bought me a 52 inch LCD Sharp, 1080p and 120h, she paid 3200. I was looking for a nice tv but not top of the line, all i will use it for is just typical tv watching, not movies or anything. I have direct tv. My question is this, should I just keep it, or look for something not so expensive
  4. helix139
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    well if you don't want it you could always donate it to me :)
  5. uflawyer
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    uflawyer Well-Known Member

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    Keep it and go get yourself a HD DVD player or blue ray and enjoy watching a movie like you have never seen before. Have you seen a gator game in HD yet? If not, you will be very happy with that as well.
  6. FrankGator627
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    What happens to TVs that dont get sold? Like a model they bring out but after a year take down....do they leave them up until they get sold or what happens to them?
  7. helix139
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    helix139 VIP Member

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    they usually become refurbs
  8. ufrulz2
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    OK, guys, here goes:

    1. We want to spent in the ballpark of $2K (can go a little over) for a flat-screen TV to hang on the wall in our family room.

    2. Not concerned with surround sound, as it's not a theater room -- just basic TV. So I'd value sound as around a 3 or 4 out of 10 (I want the sound from the TVs speakers to be decent, but I don't need a fancy Bose surround system for the audio).

    3. I have a membership at Sam's.

    4. As I mentioned, we want it wall mounted, predominantly to save space in the family room and to keep my 2-year-old's fingers off of it. ;)

    4(a). No restrictions on size, other than budgetary constraints, although I don't think the room is big enough for, say, a 60".

    5. The TV will be across the room from an L-shaped sectional couch with recliners on either end. One recliner will be pointed directly at the TV, and the other will be at pretty significant angle to the TV (perhaps 70 degrees). I am not terribly worried about the view from this recliner, only from the one directly across from it. The distance from that recliner to the wall is approximately 13 feet.

    6. I will not use it as a computer monitor.

    7. I will not be gaming on it.

    8. I am willing to sacrifice a few inches for a great picture, as long as it meets the minimum required size, so I'd answer 1 or 2 here.

    9. I'd prefer to go with one of the major brands (Philips, Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, Sharp) rather than one of the cheapies (Vizio, Olevia, eye-fly, etc.), although I am not set in stone if the picture is good enough.

    10. I definitely want to buy my TV at a store rather than online.

    11. The TV will be hung on a wall with no windows. The wall immediately adjacent and perpendicular to this wall has two overhead recessed lights that are aimable and will be aimed away from the TV. There are also two small windows on that wall (on either side of a fireplace) that are about 7 feet off of the floor and are approximately 30" wide by 24" high. One of these windows will be fairly close to the TV (within about four to six feet), but because of the direction our house faces, I don't think it's likely to allow significant light onto the screen of the TV (although there will be some). No other windows, lights, etc. will affect the picture.

    12. I don't want a front-projection tv.

    13. No aesthetic requirements.

    14. I have no discounts.

    15. We will be viewing typical TV fare -- shows on broadcast networks, HBO, and sports over the air (including Gator games, of course). Occasionally we'll watch a DVD, but rarely. Oh, and there will be plenty of Elmo on, thanks to my 2 year old. :)

    16. We want someone to install it for us.

    17. I think a typical fixed mount will be fine. No need to pull the TV out from the wall, although we may need the TV to be mounted on an angle pointed slightly downward so that it's aimed at our couch (rather than aimed above the couch).

    18. Nothing else.

    OK, guys, with all that said: recommendations, please!!! Thanks.
  9. helix139
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    helix139 VIP Member

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    Here are a couple recommendations:

    Look for something 50" and above. I think you'd be well suited with a plasma screen in your case. Excellent picture and no reason not to get it, especially since at 40" and above it becomes cheaper than LCD. Just make sure you get a blackout curtain to pull over that window.

    Pioneer and Panasonic are great brands for plasma, and Panasonic just upped their rated lifetime considerably. Samsung is also very good.

    As far as wall mounting it, circuit city has a large tilting wall mount on sale for $89.99, which is exactly what you're looking for and the cheapest option you'll find. I just picked one up myself. Plan to spend at least another $300-400 to have your TV installed. If you don't want to run cables in the wall and know how to use a drill and a studfinder, I'd say mount the TV yourself, as it really isn't that hard to do. Considering installation cost and your sound system (which I'd say put around $200-300 into for a decent HTIB), we're looking at around $1200 for your TV. In that price range, Vizio is about the only company that puts out a 50" plasma. If you can afford to bump your budget up to allocate $1600-1700 for just your TV, you can find a decent samsung or possibly panasonic, or a 47" philips 1080p LCD (walmart has these). The other option is to hunt around for open box deals in your local sams, best buy, etc, but with Plasma I wouldn't go that route, as these TVs have been running at full contrast for who knows how long
  10. ufrulz2
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    Thanks, Helix. Question (and excuse my naivete): what is HTIB? Home theater something something? Do I actually need any type of home theater or speakers to go with the TV, or can I just use the speakers that come with the set? Or are the speakers really that bad?
  11. helix139
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    Home theater in a box. It's basically a receiver, amp, and speakers all in one package ready to go. You could just use the TV speakers, but to quote UFLawyer, "it would be like kissing a woman with no lips."

    HTIB can be adequate, but is almost never superb, so your other choice is to buy the TV now and buy a better sound system later, but with just the TV speakers, you'll be missing out on surround sound in addition to low frequencies. You'll appreciate the above with OTA HD and movies.
  12. ufrulz2
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    Thanks. Assuming I am able to go upwards of $1700 (or a little higher) just for the TV, are there any particular brands or models that you would recommend?
  13. helix139
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    helix139 VIP Member

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    For plasma (what I would recommend for you, since you have no real reason why it wouldnt work for your purposes):

    Panasonic and Pioneer are the absolute best, with Pioneer typically more expensive. Samsung and LG are a close second.

    LCD:

    Philips, Sony, Samsung, and Sharp are all equivalent in PQ. you'll pay a premium for Sony.

    Look for at least a 46 or 47" LCD or a 50" plasma in any of those brands and I think you'll be happy. Make sure it has at least 2 HDMI inputs, also. My best advice is to go into the store and view some TVs side by side. Find some models in your price range beforehand online and look through the threads dedicated to that TV on avsforum.com. Users on there will post picture settings that seem to work well. Adjust the picture in the store according to those settings to get a better idea of what the TVs are capable of looking like. Most showroom TVs are set really bright because bright tends to grab your attention first. When I get home from work today I'll do a little research and post some model numbers for you to help narrow it down further.

    You stated you have a membership at Sam's, so I would definitely go down there and see what models they have on hand. Also check Sam's online, as I believe you would be able to return your TV in store if anything is wrong with it.
  14. ufrulz2
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    Thanks, helix, this is really helpful stuff. And I appreciate you looking up some model numbers for me. One more dumb question: what exactly is the "HDMI" input? I assume that's how the TV gets the HD signal from the box or whatever other input source (DVD player, etc.)? Why do I need more than one?
  15. helix139
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    helix139 VIP Member

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    pretty much right on the mark...HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) a digital connection used to transfer audio and video. Not having enough of them means you either have to spend money on a somewhat pricey external switch or you will have to reach around the back and swap cables. With a TV on the wall, that isn't something that will be very easy. It is the direction most audio and video sources are headed. Cable and Satellite Boxes, DVRs, DVD players, PS3, all newer XBox360's, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, and newer computer video cards all currently use them, and it is starting to appear in camcorders and digital cameras also.

    As for model numbers, here are a few:

    Plasma:
    Samsung HPT5034
    Philips 50PFP5332D/37
    Panasonic TH-50PX6U
    Samsung HPT5054

    LCD:
    Philips 47PFL5432D/37
  16. ufrulz2
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    Thanks, Helix. I saw the HPT5034 at Sam's tonight for $1700. Do you know the difference between that one and the HPT5054? (Other than the fact that one digit is different, lol)
  17. helix139
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    helix139 VIP Member

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    Apparantly some kind of movie mode or something is the only difference. It's not worth paying extra for IMO. If you can find the Panasonic I recommended at your Sam's though (they're showing it online), I'd recommend that one, as Panasonic has twice the rated life (120,000 hours vs. 60,000 hours) and Panny has a reputation for making a superb plasma
  18. ufrulz2
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    Helix, what do you know about Hitachi plasma TVs and, in particular, the P50H401?
  19. helix139
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    Nothing specific that I can recall off the top of my head but I've not heard a lot good about them. They have some weird resolutions and do a TON of scaling, which isn't a good thing. Stick with Pioneer, Panasonic, Samsung, LG, or Philips for plasma, in that order.
  20. uflawyer
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    uflawyer Well-Known Member

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    Bose is a lot of things, but I would not use the word fancy as an adjective to describe it. I prefer: "no highs, no lows, it must be Bose"

    Spend about $1K and get a Klipch in the box system and you will be blown away by the difference surround sound makes compared to ordinary tv speakers. I don't necessarily agree that you should blow your whole wad on a TV and forget sound. By the time you get around to buying an A/V system your TV will be obsolete. Even watching the Gators in surround is an experience. (Surround Sound is not just for Movies)

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