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#1 TheSchonk

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 08:54 AM

Im looking for a new tv and was wondering if you guys could help me? The TV im interested in right now is a Westinghouse 37" LCD HDTV Monitor 1080p - LVM-37W3 for $785. Is that any good? My budget is around $800 btw.

#2 BoNg420

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 12:10 PM

Well you get what you pay for, you better off spending a little bit more. Try a site like fatwallet.com and search their "hot deal" forum and you could find some better deals. If you buy a 3rd party company TV, you will regret it. My Grandpa bought one and the picture looks like shit. Why throw money away basically?

When it comes to TVs I like to stick to the 3 S's

Sony
Samsung
Sharp

#3 Chancer

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 02:30 PM

Unless you want a cheaper budget TV you may need to come down in size to 32" in order to bring some of the better Brands into your reckoning.
Panasonic are excellent.
I just got a 32" Philips for the bedroom wall and it is superb (even on SD signals). The price is within your budget according to a quick check at BB online.
If you go for a cheaper but larger screen you may regret it as stated by BoNg420 the quality of the pictures can leave plenty to be desired.
Always have a look at the TV in action if possible on both HD and SD. We all have good intentions advising on certain brands but some peoples idea of superb may not always be yours when you get the set.
Twisted is a man you can rely on, he is very clued up on all this stuff and speaks sense on it.
If you must have 37", is it possible to increase your budget a little more?
Sorry if I confused you more

#4 TheSchonk

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 05:17 AM

QUOTE(BoNg420 @ Oct 25 2007, 07:46 AM) View Post

Well you get what you pay for, you better off spending a little bit more. Try a site like fatwallet.com and search their "hot deal" forum and you could find some better deals. If you buy a 3rd party company TV, you will regret it. My Grandpa bought one and the picture looks like shit. Why throw money away basically?

When it comes to TVs I like to stick to the 3 S's

Sony
Samsung
Sharp


What about Vizio or RCA? Just wondering because I saw a few of those a t walmart for a decent price.

QUOTE(Chancer @ Oct 25 2007, 10:06 AM) View Post

Unless you want a cheaper budget TV you may need to come down in size to 32" in order to bring some of the better Brands into your reckoning.
Panasonic are excellent.
I just got a 32" Philips for the bedroom wall and it is superb (even on SD signals). The price is within your budget according to a quick check at BB online.
If you go for a cheaper but larger screen you may regret it as stated by BoNg420 the quality of the pictures can leave plenty to be desired.
Always have a look at the TV in action if possible on both HD and SD. We all have good intentions advising on certain brands but some peoples idea of superb may not always be yours when you get the set.
Twisted is a man you can rely on, he is very clued up on all this stuff and speaks sense on it.
If you must have 37", is it possible to increase your budget a little more?
Sorry if I confused you more

The most im willing to pay for a 32" is $700 but I really want atleast a 37" to 40" for about $850 or maybe a little more. How much money does it take until the 37 inchers+ stop being so crappy?

P.S. I heard that halo 3 isnt Hi Def. So what is the best output to play it on?

Edited by TheSchonk, 26 October 2007 - 05:17 AM.


#5 epsilon72

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 06:16 AM

QUOTE(TheSchonk @ Oct 25 2007, 09:53 PM) View Post


The most im willing to pay for a 32" is $700 but I really want atleast a 37" to 40" for about $850 or maybe a little more. How much money does it take until the 37 inchers+ stop being so crappy?

That depends on what you define as 'crappy' (it's a subjective thing)

Halo 3 is rendered in slightly-less-than-720p, but it is scaled to whatever resolution you have your 360 set to. Just make sure to set your 360 to match the native resolution of whatever high-def display you buy.

edit: I think Twisted has some guide to home theater somewhere on here in the editorials section or something like that - it might be worth a read.

Edited by epsilon72, 26 October 2007 - 06:20 AM.


#6 _iffy

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 03:30 PM

Just after the super bowl is the best time to buy a tv. (living in north america) Most retailers stock up for the super bowl, and have a huge sale afterwards to clear the over stocked inventory. 25%-50% off sales are not uncommon. by the time that happens, you should have more money saved up, and you might even be able to go bigger.

LCD technology has been around for a long time now, and everyone knows how to make them. Brand name doesn't really mean too much with these tv's. Only look at brand name for warranty and customer service stuff. Numbers are everything. Contrast ratio (True), colour gamut, colour accuracy, brightness.

Edited by _iffy, 27 October 2007 - 03:31 PM.


#7 Chancer

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 05:34 PM

QUOTE(_iffy @ Oct 27 2007, 03:06 PM) View Post


LCD technology has been around for a long time now, and everyone knows how to make them. Brand name doesn't really mean too much with these tv's. Only look at brand name for warranty and customer service stuff. Numbers are everything. Contrast ratio (True), colour gamut, colour accuracy, brightness.

Wrong and misleading. There are some real crap LCD sets out there. I see them day in day out and it is fact.
Go buy an Alba or a Bush and compare it with a decent Brand LCD.
The numbers are not the end of the story either.
@ the poster. Go and check out the TV sets first. Don't buy without viewing. View on SD and HD inputs and view a variety of material.

#8 TheSchonk

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 09:37 AM

What specs should I look for?

#9 TheSchonk

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 10:17 AM

What do you think of this
http://reviews.cnet....l?tag=pdtl-list
or this?
http://reviews.cnet....l?tag=pdtl-list

edit: Sorry to keep posting but is there really a noticeable difference between 720p and 1080i or 1080p? The reason im asking because most of the affordable tvs are 720p. Thanks.

Edited by TheSchonk, 30 October 2007 - 10:26 AM.


#10 XPxAxBxLxOX

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 03:34 AM

Out of the two you suggested to buy, I would recommend the sharp. Only because I believe the sharp is more reliable and the picture is much better as compared to samsung. I work on more samsungs than sharp.

Edited by XPxAxBxLxOX, 31 October 2007 - 03:35 AM.


#11 TheSchonk

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 09:35 AM

Almost all the tvs I come across are 720p or only have an 8ms response time. Can you really tell a difference with specs like that? Also I heard that plasma's have relly good response times but arent good for gaming. Why is that?

#12 cerealkillajme

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 01:32 PM

QUOTE(TheSchonk @ Nov 2 2007, 04:11 AM) View Post

Almost all the tvs I come across are 720p or only have an 8ms response time. Can you really tell a difference with specs like that? Also I heard that plasma's have relly good response times but arent good for gaming. Why is that?


There's not too much difference between 720 and 1080, but before buying I'd find a 720p and 1080i/1080p capable TV and do a test at 720p and 1080i/1080p and see how much difference it makes. I have 720p/1080i on both my TV and projector and can barely tell any difference, but can tell 1080i looks a touch better. 8ms response time should be fine though.

Plasmas aren't recommended for gaming due to burn ins on the screen. For instance a game like Halo, you have a HUD display that is always there, so if you play a level and it takes 2 hours or so, you've had the same image (HUD display) in the same spot for so long and it leaves a ghost of the image on your screen (may take more or less time, I'm not sure really, probably also depends on the TV). I believe some (new) ones have a setting that helps to clear them though.

Edited by cerealkillajme, 02 November 2007 - 01:33 PM.


#13 TheSchonk

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:39 PM

QUOTE(cerealkillajme @ Nov 2 2007, 09:08 AM) View Post

There's not too much difference between 720 and 1080, but before buying I'd find a 720p and 1080i/1080p capable TV and do a test at 720p and 1080i/1080p and see how much difference it makes. I have 720p/1080i on both my TV and projector and can barely tell any difference, but can tell 1080i looks a touch better. 8ms response time should be fine though.

Plasmas aren't recommended for gaming due to burn ins on the screen. For instance a game like Halo, you have a HUD display that is always there, so if you play a level and it takes 2 hours or so, you've had the same image (HUD display) in the same spot for so long and it leaves a ghost of the image on your screen (may take more or less time, I'm not sure really, probably also depends on the TV). I believe some (new) ones have a setting that helps to clear them though.

This may seem like like a dumb question but how do I know it outputs 1080? Because on the displays it says 720p but when I look at the specs it says 1080i(Not all specs are readily available).

#14 twistedsymphony

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 08:25 PM

... I really should stop by this forum more often.

the most frustrating part of any HDTV shopping experience is the overwhelming amount of bad information, not just in marketing gimmicks but people who "think" they know what they're talking about but don't.

Chancer is right, I did write a guide on HDTV buying. you can find it here: http://thoughthead.com/55

I suggest you read it, the answers to most of your questions can be found there. I'll also go over some of your inquiries more directly (but I'll be leaving out the parts you could learn yourself by reading my article)

QUOTE(TheSchonk @ Oct 25 2007, 04:30 AM) View Post

Im looking for a new tv and was wondering if you guys could help me? The TV im interested in right now is a Westinghouse 37" LCD HDTV Monitor 1080p - LVM-37W3 for $785. Is that any good? My budget is around $800 btw.
...
What about Vizio or RCA? Just wondering because I saw a few of those a t walmart for a decent price.
The most im willing to pay for a 32" is $700 but I really want atleast a 37" to 40" for about $850 or maybe a little more. How much money does it take until the 37 inchers+ stop being so crappy?

Having a budget is fine, we all have bounds that we need to work within. But it seems to me you're not really working with a budget but rather applying an artificial value to an HDTV at X size...

Here's the deal, if you want the best TV, find out what the best TV is that fits your needs... ignore prices and determine what size you really want, what resolution works best for you (BTW there is a size/seating distance/resolution chart in my article) and once you've got all of that start looking for HDTVs that fit this critiera.

Picking cheap TVs from newspaper flyers and then trying to determine if they're good or not will only get you a cheap TV... Price needs to be the last consideration not the first.

QUOTE(TheSchonk @ Oct 26 2007, 12:53 AM) View Post

...P.S. I heard that halo 3 isnt Hi Def. So what is the best output to play it on?

All you need to know is that the signal leaving the Xbox 360 is 720p... it doesn't matter what the frame buffer resolutions are. The final output signal for 99% of Xbox 360 games is 720p a small number of games can also ouput at 1080p without scaling... but that's mostly inconsequential.

Considering you don't want to spend more than $1K (I assume) you should probably not even consider 1080p at this point, as any 1080p display under that price point will be compromised in so many other aspects you'll be throughly disappointed.


QUOTE(_iffy @ Oct 27 2007, 11:06 AM) View Post

Just after the super bowl is the best time to buy a tv. (living in north america) Most retailers stock up for the super bowl, and have a huge sale afterwards to clear the over stocked inventory. 25%-50% off sales are not uncommon. by the time that happens, you should have more money saved up, and you might even be able to go bigger.

Excellent advice right there. The end of the SuperBowl is also when most stores start liquidating the last year's models to make room for the new models... easily the best time of year to buy if you're looking for a good deal from a slightly used model.

QUOTE(_iffy @ Oct 27 2007, 11:06 AM) View Post

LCD technology has been around for a long time now, and everyone knows how to make them. Brand name doesn't really mean too much with these tv's. Only look at brand name for warranty and customer service stuff. Numbers are everything. Contrast ratio (True), colour gamut, colour accuracy, brightness.

I understand where _iffy is coming from but I can't agree completely. In many instances no-name brands will have the same guts as a name brand, maybe even identical down to the name plate. However this is in no way shape or form a universal rule... the fact that LCD tech has been around so long is a reason why SO MUCH of it is crap because the manufacturing process has become widely known enough that all the 3rd rate Chinese manufacturers are getting into the market, and while that works wonders for driving the price down, it also works wonders for driving the quality down... LCDs tech is still new and still has a long way to go before the point where you can just run to the store, buy whatever and not have buyers remorse.

QUOTE(TheSchonk @ Nov 2 2007, 05:11 AM) View Post

Almost all the tvs I come across are 720p or only have an 8ms response time. Can you really tell a difference with specs like that? Also I heard that plasma's have relly good response times but arent good for gaming. Why is that?

Plasmas have HORRID response time, probably even worse than LCD in some regards. DLP and CRT are the only techs where response times are so fast that they are inconsequential. For LCD and Plasma you'll need to do your homework.

Again I think you should abandon the idea of a 1080p display given your price range, it's also mostly useless if your primary function is going to be gaming since a majority of games are designed for 720p. There are many other much more important factors than resolution.

QUOTE(TheSchonk @ Nov 2 2007, 02:15 PM) View Post

This may seem like like a dumb question but how do I know it outputs 1080? Because on the displays it says 720p but when I look at the specs it says 1080i(Not all specs are readily available).

"Native Resolution" is the only way to determine the REAL resolution of the display.. most 720p displays will accept 1080i/p signals but then they shrink them down to 720p for the actual output resolution that you can see.

DLPs, LCDs, and Plasmas are all "fixed pixel" displays, meaning they only have 1 resolution and that is all they are capable of displaying... for LCDs you'll probably see 1280x720 or some close derivative (avoid 1024x768 plasmas like the plague) the reason they can still display 480p or 1080p content is because they have circuitry inside that can squish or stretch the image to fit on the screen.

The #1 most important factor when buying an LCD or Plasma is Contrast Ratio... without a doubt The contrast radio essentially quantifies the shades of gray the display can produce between absolute white and absolute black. In general the brightest white is determined by the backlight (for LCDs/DLPs) and the contrast ratio essentially rates how deep a black the display is capable of displaying.

LCDs and Plasmas have notoriously horrid contrast ratios, and when raking image quality the IFS (professionals who fine tune displays for perfect display quality) ranks contrast ratio as the #1 most important aspect towards a good picture... FWIW resolution ranks down at #4. That means that for the "best" picture quality you would actually be better off getting a NON HDTV with an amazing contrast ratio than an HDTV with a sh*tty contrast ratio.

Personally I wouldn't touch any display for my hometheater enjoyment with anything less than a 1500:1 ratio and even then it would have to have some fairly compelling reason to buy one with a contrast ratio that low.

Take a look at the CR for those TVs you've been eyeing and tell me how well they stack up.

#15 TheSchonk

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 05:29 AM

QUOTE(twistedsymphony @ Nov 2 2007, 04:01 PM) View Post

... I really should stop by this forum more often.

the most frustrating part of any HDTV shopping experience is the overwhelming amount of bad information, not just in marketing gimmicks but people who "think" they know what they're talking about but don't.

Chancer is right, I did write a guide on HDTV buying. you can find it here: http://thoughthead.com/55

I suggest you read it, the answers to most of your questions can be found there. I'll also go over some of your inquiries more directly (but I'll be leaving out the parts you could learn yourself by reading my article)
Having a budget is fine, we all have bounds that we need to work within. But it seems to me you're not really working with a budget but rather applying an artificial value to an HDTV at X size...

Here's the deal, if you want the best TV, find out what the best TV is that fits your needs... ignore prices and determine what size you really want, what resolution works best for you (BTW there is a size/seating distance/resolution chart in my article) and once you've got all of that start looking for HDTVs that fit this critiera.

Picking cheap TVs from newspaper flyers and then trying to determine if they're good or not will only get you a cheap TV... Price needs to be the last consideration not the first.
All you need to know is that the signal leaving the Xbox 360 is 720p... it doesn't matter what the frame buffer resolutions are. The final output signal for 99% of Xbox 360 games is 720p a small number of games can also ouput at 1080p without scaling... but that's mostly inconsequential.

Considering you don't want to spend more than $1K (I assume) you should probably not even consider 1080p at this point, as any 1080p display under that price point will be compromised in so many other aspects you'll be throughly disappointed.
Excellent advice right there. The end of the SuperBowl is also when most stores start liquidating the last year's models to make room for the new models... easily the best time of year to buy if you're looking for a good deal from a slightly used model.
I understand where _iffy is coming from but I can't agree completely. In many instances no-name brands will have the same guts as a name brand, maybe even identical down to the name plate. However this is in no way shape or form a universal rule... the fact that LCD tech has been around so long is a reason why SO MUCH of it is crap because the manufacturing process has become widely known enough that all the 3rd rate Chinese manufacturers are getting into the market, and while that works wonders for driving the price down, it also works wonders for driving the quality down... LCDs tech is still new and still has a long way to go before the point where you can just run to the store, buy whatever and not have buyers remorse.
Plasmas have HORRID response time, probably even worse than LCD in some regards. DLP and CRT are the only techs where response times are so fast that they are inconsequential. For LCD and Plasma you'll need to do your homework.

Again I think you should abandon the idea of a 1080p display given your price range, it's also mostly useless if your primary function is going to be gaming since a majority of games are designed for 720p. There are many other much more important factors than resolution.
"Native Resolution" is the only way to determine the REAL resolution of the display.. most 720p displays will accept 1080i/p signals but then they shrink them down to 720p for the actual output resolution that you can see.

DLPs, LCDs, and Plasmas are all "fixed pixel" displays, meaning they only have 1 resolution and that is all they are capable of displaying... for LCDs you'll probably see 1280x720 or some close derivative (avoid 1024x768 plasmas like the plague) the reason they can still display 480p or 1080p content is because they have circuitry inside that can squish or stretch the image to fit on the screen.

The #1 most important factor when buying an LCD or Plasma is Contrast Ratio... without a doubt The contrast radio essentially quantifies the shades of gray the display can produce between absolute white and absolute black. In general the brightest white is determined by the backlight (for LCDs/DLPs) and the contrast ratio essentially rates how deep a black the display is capable of displaying.

LCDs and Plasmas have notoriously horrid contrast ratios, and when raking image quality the IFS (professionals who fine tune displays for perfect display quality) ranks contrast ratio as the #1 most important aspect towards a good picture... FWIW resolution ranks down at #4. That means that for the "best" picture quality you would actually be better off getting a NON HDTV with an amazing contrast ratio than an HDTV with a sh*tty contrast ratio.

Personally I wouldn't touch any display for my hometheater enjoyment with anything less than a 1500:1 ratio and even then it would have to have some fairly compelling reason to buy one with a contrast ratio that low.

Take a look at the CR for those TVs you've been eyeing and tell me how well they stack up.


I read your home theater guide and I now have a pretty good idea on what to get. This is the tv I currently have my eye on http://www.amazon.co...V/dp/B000NKAYXA. It has a really good contrast ratio and a 6ms response time. What do you think?

Edited by TheSchonk, 04 November 2007 - 05:32 AM.





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