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      09-10-2006, 12:40 PM   #1
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Tech Gurus: need advice

hey, i used to really be into technology, but have been out of it for a few years. I have not done research on it, but am planning on buying new A/V equipment so had some questions:

Im buying a new house and need the whole set.

1) I need a Television, preferably 42" or larger
2) DVD player
3) Audio equipment for home theater

My questions based on the above 3 required items are as follows:

1) Should I do plasma or LCD or DLP? Please briefly explain the differences in terms of a) quality b) price c) longevity/maintenance (bulbs, etc.). I am leaning towards plasma because they just look so damn cool and I'm driven by style (i intend to hang it on the wall, don't think LCD' do that -- do they??). Once we have decided this, which particular model should I buy? I like bargains (does not mean cheapest, means most value), so if you know of one its appreciated.

2) I have heard of HD, Blu Ray discs, etc.c etc.. please explain the benefits. do they have dvds that can take advantage of this format, should i get it if i am getting a new tv. Is it buggy (like Gen 1 dvd players were), give me the scoop and if I should buy it or just buy a "regular" DVD player. I think they also have dvd players that do "upconverting" please explain this and if I should get one that has this feature or not. Please specify a good model to buy.

3) Audio Visual equipment: Whats the latest and greatest? Is it still 7.1 or DTS or THX or what? Has there been any major changes in speaker technology in the past 3 years (i suspect not). Again what brands? I remember Denon used to be a good quality brand at reasonable prices. Still true or what? My existing receiver is a Harmon Kardon and I love it, but need a new set, and am giving that to my parents. Was also thinking of getting a receiver whereby I can listen to different music in lets say the downstairs living room, while watching a movie using the same receiver in my home theater.

Thank you! I remember the last time I bought a whole new set, i spent days doing research. But I was in college and now i'm working so don't have the time so your help is appreciated.
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      09-10-2006, 01:03 PM   #2
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I've heard good things about panasonic plasma's, I plan on purchasing one soon when I move in a couple months

for audio, I'm a fan of the Polk RT series I've got a set of the rt10 towers and the things just get LOUD and don't distort at all. You can get rediculusly loud and it's just as clear as when it's not cranked up.
Plan on filling out the system with the CS5 center channel and some rti bookshelfs for the rear channels too.


The DVD player stuff I don't really know about, but there are the 2 formats currently being developed and nobody really knows which format will win out in the long run.........
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      09-10-2006, 01:22 PM   #3
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Ive been tomany stores and have seen first hand, Panasonic=SHIT. Sony=overpriced but very good quality. Samsung=faily priced and nice. Personally I have 2 samsung TV's. 1 42" Plasma and the other is a 55" DLP. Both are amazing love the quality. If Money isnt a problem, i would go for pioneer. They are by far the best but are the most expensive. Dvd players on the other hand....Basically i feel blu-ray is bullshit and will be like the other sony crap they come up with. Basically i feel HD-DVD will be the way of the future. At the moment i dont feel like its worth it to get the HD-Dvd player for 500 bucks. I am personally going in about 10 min (half time) to get the samsung or sony DVD player that upconverts to 1080i and 720p. Looks perfect and for 99-120 its more then worth it.

I dont know anything about sound equipment, sorry.
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      09-10-2006, 01:24 PM   #4
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I've also heard good things about panasonic plasmas, and even LG plasmas. I have a polk rt center channel in my current setup, maybe I could match it with polk surrounds, but to be honest, this time around I was thinking of going either Boston Acoustic or Paradigm, which are supposed to be a notch up.

in either case, i really need some advice on the t.v. set first. thats the priority now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ward
I've heard good things about panasonic plasma's, I plan on purchasing one soon when I move in a couple months

for audio, I'm a fan of the Polk RT series I've got a set of the rt10 towers and the things just get LOUD and don't distort at all. You can get rediculusly loud and it's just as clear as when it's not cranked up.
Plan on filling out the system with the CS5 center channel and some rti bookshelfs for the rear channels too.


The DVD player stuff I don't really know about, but there are the 2 formats currently being developed and nobody really knows which format will win out in the long run.........
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      09-10-2006, 01:27 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice, esp. the DVD stuff. I have heard stuff similar to what you're saying, but it didnt make much sense to me. Can you explain what the upconverting is and does, and what sort of spec do i need to look for in my t.v.? I have heard about 720, 1080, EDTV, HDTV, true HDTV, i dont' know what any of this means... basically just tell me what to look for to get the best for my buck.

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Originally Posted by 325 Baller
Ive been tomany stores and have seen first hand, Panasonic=SHIT. Sony=overpriced but very good quality. Samsung=faily priced and nice. Personally I have 2 samsung TV's. 1 42" Plasma and the other is a 55" DLP. Both are amazing love the quality. If Money isnt a problem, i would go for pioneer. They are by far the best but are the most expensive. Dvd players on the other hand....Basically i feel blu-ray is bullshit and will be like the other sony crap they come up with. Basically i feel HD-DVD will be the way of the future. At the moment i dont feel like its worth it to get the HD-Dvd player for 500 bucks. I am personally going in about 10 min (half time) to get the samsung or sony DVD player that upconverts to 1080i and 720p. Looks perfect and for 99-120 its more then worth it.

I dont know anything about sound equipment, sorry.
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      09-10-2006, 01:27 PM   #6
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I'd be interested in some TV info too, keep pitching in folks!
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      09-10-2006, 03:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tl_boy
Thanks for the advice, esp. the DVD stuff. I have heard stuff similar to what you're saying, but it didnt make much sense to me. Can you explain what the upconverting is and does, and what sort of spec do i need to look for in my t.v.? I have heard about 720, 1080, EDTV, HDTV, true HDTV, i dont' know what any of this means... basically just tell me what to look for to get the best for my buck.

Upconverting bascially means the DVD player will literally convert the picture quality from 480i/p to a HD quality picture, like a 720p or a 1080i. Im not 100% sure what the numbers mean, but i know what the letters at the end are. 720p is one notch below 1080p, most tech gurus say 720p is plenty since most shows and events (like football!!!) are broadcasted in 720p/1080i. The i at the end of 1080i means interlaced. If you are going to do gaming then a TV with a high P number is what you want. Most Tv's out now are 720p/1080i.

EDTV is a joke, its a marketing scam buy these companies to get individuals who dont know alot about TVs to think they are getting a GREAT picture when infact the picture looks the same as STD. HDTV is Hi Def. Most entry level HD TV's come HD Ready which means you need a set top box to descrable the HD code. Either a DirecTv hd box or a local cable provider set top box or even a HDTV tuner which is basically a box that an HDTV antenna plugs into to descramble to code.

If you can, get a TV that has built in HD tuner. that way all you need is a cable card to watch the hd signal. Im not sure if you can just plug and it will descramble, ill get back to you on that if you want.

Best bang for your buck....

Plasma-
42" Plasma- http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Speci...cation.do#tabs

or

http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Phili...oductDetail.do

LCD- basically the SHARP Aquos line are IMO the best LCDs out there.

http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Sharp...oductDetail.do

DLP- with DLP TV's i wouldnt go smaller then a 50".


http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Samsu...oductDetail.do


if you feel like spending the extra money on a pioneer...

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pn...tailsComponent

My choice would be either the Samsung DLP or Plasma, while the Aquos is great i just like the picture of plasmas alot more. One thing to note about them is that they give off alot of heat. All of the TV's I posted are great TV's honestly you should go and look at them yourself and see which is best for your situation.
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      09-10-2006, 04:18 PM   #8
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The best picture I've seen in a plasma TV is the Hitachi 42". Side by side with a 46" Pioneer, the Hitachi is miles ahead, clearer, crisper, more vivid colors. Pioneer, on the other hand, is miles ahead of Samsung and JVC.
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      09-10-2006, 04:53 PM   #9
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Ive seen hitachis before and wasnt impressed, they were little more too if i recall correctly, but to each his/her own, thats why you really should go check them out on your own. But youll be much better prepared now that you know the different types and the Tv jargon
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      09-10-2006, 07:54 PM   #10
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The samsung plasma has good reviews. It mentions an HDMI connection - is that a connection you can use from your satellite box for video? Reviewers said the sound was average though, and some complained it does not have PIP abilities without other components. If I get a HD Satellite receiver (which are pretty common these days), should I look for a plasma that DOES NOT have a built in HD tuner, because I would be wasting money then?



Quote:
Originally Posted by 325 Baller
Upconverting bascially means the DVD player will literally convert the picture quality from 480i/p to a HD quality picture, like a 720p or a 1080i. Im not 100% sure what the numbers mean, but i know what the letters at the end are. 720p is one notch below 1080p, most tech gurus say 720p is plenty since most shows and events (like football!!!) are broadcasted in 720p/1080i. The i at the end of 1080i means interlaced. If you are going to do gaming then a TV with a high P number is what you want. Most Tv's out now are 720p/1080i.

EDTV is a joke, its a marketing scam buy these companies to get individuals who dont know alot about TVs to think they are getting a GREAT picture when infact the picture looks the same as STD. HDTV is Hi Def. Most entry level HD TV's come HD Ready which means you need a set top box to descrable the HD code. Either a DirecTv hd box or a local cable provider set top box or even a HDTV tuner which is basically a box that an HDTV antenna plugs into to descramble to code.

If you can, get a TV that has built in HD tuner. that way all you need is a cable card to watch the hd signal. Im not sure if you can just plug and it will descramble, ill get back to you on that if you want.

Best bang for your buck....

Plasma-
42" Plasma- http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Speci...cation.do#tabs

or

http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Phili...oductDetail.do

LCD- basically the SHARP Aquos line are IMO the best LCDs out there.

http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Sharp...oductDetail.do

DLP- with DLP TV's i wouldnt go smaller then a 50".


http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Samsu...oductDetail.do


if you feel like spending the extra money on a pioneer...

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pn...tailsComponent

My choice would be either the Samsung DLP or Plasma, while the Aquos is great i just like the picture of plasmas alot more. One thing to note about them is that they give off alot of heat. All of the TV's I posted are great TV's honestly you should go and look at them yourself and see which is best for your situation.
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      09-10-2006, 09:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tl_boy
The samsung plasma has good reviews. It mentions an HDMI connection - is that a connection you can use from your satellite box for video? Reviewers said the sound was average though, and some complained it does not have PIP abilities without other components. If I get a HD Satellite receiver (which are pretty common these days), should I look for a plasma that DOES NOT have a built in HD tuner, because I would be wasting money then?
No!!! Either way you shuold get a plasma with a tuner since you cant recieve local channels from DirecTV in HD, only through cable provider. HDMI is the "clearest" form of video quality. Like the component (red yellow white cables) DVI, S video and so on, HDMI is the clearest. You said you were getting a sound system so i dont know why the sound would be a problem but on both of my TV's they are good. The DLP i know has pip, it has a pretty neat function where its side by side full screen.
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      09-10-2006, 09:52 PM   #12
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hey 325, or anyone for that matter

what do you think about rear projection vs plasma
I saw rear projection was quite a bit cheaper, and for the price of a 50" plasma you can get a 60" rear projection tv
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      09-10-2006, 11:59 PM   #13
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I was at a store today and realized I may prefer a 50 inch plasma. I currently have a 60" mitsubishi big screen, so going to 42 inches may be difficult for me.

The good news is i have found the best DVD player for the buck: http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/cgi-b...970HD%20(HDMI).

Its only 150 bucks, i'm going to order one tommorow. Thoughts?
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      09-11-2006, 12:19 AM   #14
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I like LG. I've had both plasma and LCD and prefer LCD.
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      09-11-2006, 01:25 AM   #15
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you want 50"? i used to have a pioneer elite 50...one of the best plasmas on the market. i think it cost around 5 grand, but i got it for 4 at some korean outlet in LA. You cannot go wrong with pioneer if you have the money. If you are on a budget get a 50" panasonic--just like the pioneer but less outputs and no hd tuner. Both tvs have supreme picture quality and the best black levels available.
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      09-11-2006, 02:11 AM   #16
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i have heard a lot of good things abt the pioneer plasma tv's.... the picture quality is really great....
regarding the LCD tv's,i donot think you can get a 50" LCD....
i have a 37" sharp aquos and i love it.... you can hang it on the wall just like a plasma....
the only negative thing abt a plasma in my opinion is that the screen reflects any light in front of it..... i m not sure of the picture quality in a very well lit room....
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      09-11-2006, 07:20 AM   #17
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I am not an expert but I would go with panasonic plasma 42". Although with plasma, you will loose the brightness over time. DLP is probably better but the plasma looks so classy on the wall.

For speaker, I would go with Klispch...They are great for music. If you have lots of blingbling, go with thx system.

DVD, might as well go after the blu-ray technology.
Just my opinion.
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      09-11-2006, 08:04 AM   #18
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Pioneer Elite plasma's are the best. Check "Guide to Home Theater" and other magazines in print.

DLP RP's use bulbs that "optimally last about 8000 hrs" but are never warranted for that length of time.

Any display technology today loses brightness over time. It's so graduall that you'd never notice.

The only 2 things I don't like about pasma's are;

1. Glare

2. You must watch 4x3 content stretched out to fit the screen to prevent uneven phosphor wear(burn in).
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      09-11-2006, 09:32 AM   #19
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Sharp Aquos LCD! -- Plasmas are good and less expensive but don't last that long and are expensive to repair. LCDs are more expensive, but I find the picture nicer. However, there are some issues with the black and white colors.
DLP (picture-wise) rules them all! -- it is TI after all
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      09-11-2006, 11:06 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr325i
Sharp Aquos LCD! -- Plasmas are good and less expensive but don't last that long and are expensive to repair. LCDs are more expensive, but I find the picture nicer. However, there are some issues with the black and white colors.
DLP (picture-wise) rules them all! -- it is TI after all
do u work for TI???
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      09-11-2006, 11:15 AM   #21
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My advice, and this is going to sound silly, make sure you get a monitor with a black frame ... you'd be surprised how much smaller a monitor will look when it's got a colored frame.

Get an upconvert dvd player ... it's basically just the line doubling they had years ago but it's cheap now. Do they even make dvd players without upconvert?

Get your HT receiver with as many HDMI inputs as you can ... you're going to want them down the road. All the game consoles will use them, the new HD tivo will, your upconvert dvd player will.

Spend money on speakers, don't buy brick and mortar brands, they're overpriced and sound like crap. For really neutral sounding budget speakers check out Paradigm.

HD DVD and Blueray, skip for quite awhile. Betamax vs VHS all over again. Just make sure you get plenty of HDMI inputs so that when you're ready you can hook it up.

On thing to keep in mind, and this one I didn't realize until I started my research and it threw a big wrench in my plans. All HD monitors have a "native" resolution. If you get 1080p, that's what it displays in and it has to scale everything else to it. If you're a computer guy, take your lcd monitor and switch to a lower resolution ... same thing. 720p on a 1080p looks okay, but SD television looks like complete ass.

My wife still watches a lot of SD so she's got her old 4:3 analog tv and my HD set just gets used for movies, xbox360 and HD channels. I can't stand watching SD on it.

They might've improved the scalers since last I looked, but definately make sure to demo SD before you buy. They'll always be playing an HD source on them in the store.
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      09-11-2006, 11:19 AM   #22
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Quote:
The good news is i have found the best DVD player for the buck: http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/cgi-b...970HD%20(HDMI).

Its only 150 bucks, i'm going to order one tommorow. Thoughts?
They're all bone cheap because they're made with the same chipset. Check out avsforums.com and see what those guys have to say. If they like something, it's gotta be perfect because they're a bunch of HT snobs (I mean that in a good way).
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