... 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)
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)
...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)
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)
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)
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)
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.