HDTV Set Top Box

I am wanting to begin the exploration into this. We bought a Toshiba HDTV ready and I think that we may now be ready.
Any suggestions on what specs are best to not compromise on?
Any views on the various brands?
Check out AVS forum, you'll find all you're answers there.... RCA's isn't bad, has discreet power/funtion IR codes, and works well, the Panasonic is seriously lacking..
what AVS forums? I did a search on HDTV and set top boxes and only saw one thread from last August with no information. Am I missing something?

This is one to keep in your bookmarks, top end source for AV info....
thanks, Kenny!
Hi Angela,I recently upgraded to the Toshiba TW40X81 HDTV ready set myself, and am curious to see what you come up with. Kenny, thanks for the tip, i'll check it out later. For those interested, one of the old Panasonic models does allow high definition recording. My friend brought it to my apartment, but we couldn't get a high def signal with the antennae provided (just experimenting), so I will have to see if my landlord will let me install a dish, (I won't bet on it).
I read a recent article in the LA Times regarding frustration in getting HDTV programming... very interesting and enlightening. Based on the article, don't assume that DirectTV re-transmits HDTV signals. The long and short of it is that the writer wound up with a large antennae on the roof and finally got decent reception and HDTV. I wish I had saved the article as the gyrations this poor guy went through were funny. I am interested in the DirectTV/HDTV set up and will be checking this out further.
thanks, Jim. I am doing a lot of reading. I agree, it is NOT as simple as they would make you believe. I think I'll use my energy on researching a better center channel instead :-)
I am also interested in getting HDTV. I want a good local antenna and a dish. I heard that the Sony waited 6 months to make sure they had everything and the RCA is a pain in the rear. Which way to go?
Martin, we have the same TV. It's awesome, isn't it? We like the size since it's not so BIG and the theatre wide format is perfect for DVD's. We got tired of trying to read all the fine print on the movies to find full screen and didn't like the black bars. Toshiba finally released their set top box in January for around a $1000. I see them on eBay, new in box, for around $800. It's looking like satellite is the way to go and we just don't watch enough TV for that. So, I am not sure that we are going that route yet. When it's more prevelant over cable, maybe. We mostly use it to watch movies and have a pretty good setup for that. So.... I don't know yet. The HT is my project, the audio system is my husband's. I want to upgrade the center channel and would like to get one of the ML's.
Hi Angela, yes, that Toshiba is damn good. I really enjoy the line doubling for basic TV watching, great black level. Actually sounds good as well! I will keep my eyes and ears open in regards to any developments in HDTV broadcasts. I wish the cable companies would simply carry an HDTV signal, and supply a compatible set top box. There may be trouble ahead for Toshiba owners because I think that Firewire will become the standard for receiving HDTV, and the Toshiba does not have a Firewire input. Hope they make an adapter for all of us early adopters. By the way, are you using a progressive scan DVD player? My Pioneer DV-37 has 3/2 pulldown , and it is much more relaxing when watching movies. It is not as if the difference is amazingly dramatic, it is more (to use an overworked phrase) "filmlike", in the sense that the lack of scan lines seems to enable me to get into a movie as if in a theater, except there is no one behind me to kick my seat. Maybe my eyes have to work less. I don't know about the scientific aspects of not having the flicker of interpolation, but I am not missing the movie theater so much when watching movies at home anymore.
Martin, our TV has progressive scanning as well. Does it make a difference to have the DVD player output this as well? Doesn't the TV do it anyway? Pardon my ignorance here, I am learning. thanks -
Hi Angela, you must have both. If the TV can display in progressive scan, then the DVD player must send the signal in progressive form in the first place, otherwise you will be watching movies with the built in line doubler, which is not too shabby, but not nearly as good as progressive scan. The TV's line doubler does help with analogue feeds (cable, antennae, VCR, etc.) but all progressive scanning is not equal either. You should look for a DVD player that does 3:2 pulldown. Film runs at 24 fps and video at 30fps and progressive scan is the best method of compensating for the difference available to us. My Pioneer DV-37 does this very well, and is reasonably priced. The new Sony DVP-9000ES does this as well and adds SACD playback. Some new players by Toshiba are available with 3:2 pulldown, but I am not familiar with them. Progressive scan was more than half the reason I upgraded from my Toshiba TW40F80 (non HDTV, non progressive scan) to the TX40X81 which has both features. Hope this helps a bit.
hey, this is good stuff! thanks so much, you have given me much to think about. - a