Lefty, If you go to the forum main page and type in widescreen in the search box, you should get quite a bit of information from previous discussions. I find that I find more information this way since most people don't like repeating themselves if they have already discussed it.
You are smart to come here to get the real scoop, stores are usually out to sell what brand they have a dealership for, end of story... Best of Luck.
I did some looking this last weekend at a local high end audio store that carried many of the more popular brands.
I looked at Pioneer, Sony, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Panasonic and the new Sharp DLP projector. I was really impressed with the new flat tube Sony Wega 40" (currently the largest tube TV). For rear projection (50" and above) the Pioneer looked the best to me.
All of these new TV's have capability for HDTV. Some have tuners built in, some leave it to the buyer to decide. These are purchase decisions that only you can make, depending on what you watch, what else you own and where you live.
When you go look, take a DVD that you are familiar with. Do not depend on the "canned" demos the stores use. Even if you must look at more than one location, a direct hook up will at least make the comparison on somewhat even ground.
Spending this much money, a salesman should not object to spending 15 minutes plugging in a DVD player for comparison. The only thing you would not have control over is individual TV adjustments (possibly correct, most likely NOT), and room viewing conditions.
I know if I were spending several thousand dollars and considering I would have to live with the decision for several years, I would do tests whether they were happy with me or not.
Tekunda, It's ok.... we'll talk anywhere :)
Maybe he subscribed to cable and looking for a better picture? :^)
There is a good sony available(model number slips my mind), it retails for around 12k and will smoke every Rear projection out there, it is 65" is completely ready for HDTV(including the 'tuner', which is like $499, up here any how), and has the best finish I have ever seen on those card board cabinets they use on rear projection. The pioneer is the runner up, by a long shot, but the sony is much better, I don't like the high gloss cabinets on the pioneer but it is all personal preference. I personally use a front projector(Sharp Vision XV-s55U, shot onto a 100" 4:3 ration fixed frame screen) and love it, when I need a new one, I will get another front projector, it takes up NO floor space and has a very good picture(about the same as the pioneer elite rear projections, but not as good as the high end sony), one of my good friends has the Sony and neither of us can decide which we like better, yes he has a better picture, but I have more flexibility and a larger picture. There are great deals to be had on both rear and front projection set up's here, the best advice I can give is by it used! for some reason Home Theatre stuff takes a huge drop in value quickly, way more then stereo stuff. I have under 2k into my 1000" screen and a manufacturer waranty(dealer demo unit, projector is $8600 new and the screen is another $899-which I had to buy new) and my friend bought his 12k sony rear projection here for 4.5k from a dealer(again a dealer demo, with the waranty of a new product). Mine is close to a year old and I have had NO problems at all, his is about 4 months old(well when they became ours, plus the store use too) with NO problems, buy from a dealer and get deal of the century!
I would love to use front projection and get rid of the "box" all together.
However, front projection viewing needs to be in total darkness to achieve best results. Impossible in my home due to huge skylights.
The DLP Sharp that I viewed for 20 minutes or so was perhaps the best big image I've seen. The unit was model XV-Z9000u (HDTV Compatible). Even at an enlargement of ( what appeared ) 10 feet across, the picture was near perfect and very film like.
The only other issue is the bulb. The factory quotes 2000 hours of life, but the salesman who is a long time personal friend, says that is overly optimistic.
At a replacement cost of $300.00 per bulb and considering the viewing habits of my family, this amounts to another $500.00 per year. It might make sense to buy a decent 27" for general viewing and reserve the big projector for special times. Savings would make a high quality 27" free in about a year.
Still I agree with Tireguy, it would be nice, unless you face the obstacles I have.
By the way, I did a search at Sony.com for the 62" rear projection unit. I could only find model KDP-65XBR2 at (MSRP) of $6499.99. Either the price was dropped, or there is a more expensive model that is not featured on the home site.
I'll find out the number and post it tomorrow(my friend is old and has kids so he goes to bed early). Your right albert I forgot about the skylights, I even knew about them from a previous thread.
Well I live in a cave so lighting isn't an issue, though the ladies don't like it much-go figure. I have yet to replace the bulb, I've had it for about a year and it was used when I got it, I priced a bulb and it was $264 which I still thought was too high! I watch about 3-4 movies a week, never kept track of hours though, I am expecting it to go in the spring time. The zoom is nice, my projector allows from 40"-500", but you can play with it and make it really small or HUGE. I love toys!
I think tireguy meant the 65HD1 which has MSRP of $12K. This is an older model and has only 1 HD input. I recall reading that there were issues with this set.
Anyway if you can afford it, the latest Sony XBR2 comes very close to the Elites.
a. What is your viewing distance
b. What is your budget
c. What will be your viewing preferences(& how much%) on the widescreen (Cable/NTSC, DVD, HD)
Based on above, you can narrow down your choices.
Toshiba HX series seem to offer best value. Any choice you make requires proper calibration to make them look like 3D windows :)
Hey, Tim, I hear that memory is the SECOND thing to go.........
and HEY, what is old anyway? be careful, you are in the minority around here, my friend.... :)
To heck with the front projector, I just had an opportunity to spend some time with a Loewe Aconda, if I could go back I would consider getting one of them. Though not near the size of the front projector it was amazing, but then you have to deal with the unit between your speakers(if that is an issue). And I have not forgot about you Albert my friend has been on vacation all week and is coming home tomorrow, so I'll get in touch with him then. Also for the record he is 38 which to me is pretty old to me, heh heh heh ;)
Tim- If Santa doesn't bring you a lump of coal next year, I will!!! Leaving age out of it (38 is YOUNG, I think; can't quite remember that far back), I don't blame you for liking the Aconda. I have a Loewe Planus 16:9. It outputs at 420P and with DVD or a good, uncompressed DSS feed, the picture is amazing. However, I would warn Lefty that for NTSC and some highly compressed DSS channels, the picture quality can easily be beaten by a good analog set like my Tera or a Proton. So as Albert says, a lot really depends on your proposed use. If you are going for mostly DVD and HD signals, I would recommend a Loewe; if your going for NTSC TV and occassional movied I would go with something else.
I actually have a "pet" chunk of Anthracite coal which I like a lot, a great conversation starter. But I could always use another or perhaps a chunk of bituminous coal would be nice, I collect that sort of stuff! FWIW it is hard to locate Bituminous coal so maybe you could get started now :) I also checked out the planus which was a great deal, and if money was a factor with the unit, it would be what I would use, but something about the aconda that does everything so well and looks to boot, not that the planus is ugly by any means just like a 9.5 and the aconda being like a 9.9.
I recently read that Flat screens are NOT as "accurate" or can't be dialed in as well as a curved screen. Anyone else know anything about this ? Sean
Sean- I have always felt that the WEGA flat screens DO NOT have accurate geometry; the picture always looks concave. My Planus is not a flat screen, it has an arc from side to side, but is relatively flat top to bottom. There was a technical explanation in a post a year or two ago on this issue. But IMO, a true flat screen, at least as executed by SONY, is distorted. And to all of you SONY fans, if you like then god bless. Just my 0.02 (BTW, this is one of the few things my wife agrees with me on, so I MUST be right ;))
yes I think I have heard that some place too, about flat being "inaccurate". Prior to the Wega was the Trinitron TV's which use similar design as Craigs Loewe, they use a cylindrical tube section instead of a round tube section, thus creating the relatively flat top to bottom. FWIW the smaller Aconda is flat and the bigger one has the side to side arc but no top to bottom, which there is rumor that by the end of the year(now 12 months away) the large aconda will be flat too, though I can not confirm or deny that. Why do companies make flat screen TV's, so people who don't know any different can brag? I think most feel it is close to the "plasma" idea of a flat screen which when I tell them. "I have a 100" flat screen", to bad it vinyl, I don't tell them the later part of that they don't need to know.
I would advise you to go check out the excellent forum on the matter: www.avsforum.com In my opinion it's the #1 site for information on the subject of widescreen/HDTV. Another excellent site is: hometheaterspot.com. These 2 sources should be able to answer all of your questions.
Spend some time in these sites and you should be able to pick up the information you need to make an informed choice.
I was recently in the same position as yourself. The first thing that I would advise you to do before investing in any HDTV is determine what digital channels are available in your area. If you are in a major market you should be OK and might possibly be able to get all your major networks digital stations. This will first help you to determine if you can get HDTV. The only real reasons to get a widescreen are you want HDTV or the majority of DVD's you watch are in an aspect ratio other than 4:3, right?
Ok, so once you decide if you can get HDTV and you still want a widescreen your next choice which be which manufacturer. Some things to keep in mind. Right now you are faced with purchasing both a Television and a set-top/HDTV/Satellite receiver. All the major manufacturers set top/HDTV box's are also Direct-TV satellite receivers. A subscription to Direct TV will also be a good idea as it will at least allow you to receive HBO High Def channel, and the HDNET (new high def channel). Add this to whatever digital locals you are able to receive and you will have a nice choice of HDTV programming.
Oh yeah, you are going to need an antenna mounted on your roof. Some have had success with indoor rabbit types but the optimum choice will most likely be a roof/mast mount UHF antenna. Again this will depend on whats available in you area.
This brings us to the TV itself. I have seen the Louwe televisions, they are nice but expensive. Kind of like the Bang and Olufson. I think you are paying extra bucks for a fancy looking tv. But don't take my advice read what others have stated in the forums I mention above.
Right now the major players, SOny, Toshiba, and Mitsubishi all offer very nice rear-projection televisions that make HDTV look just superb. A smaller size 40" you can pick up for around 1500.00 new from authorized dealer. You can go bigger and spend more.
The television I choose was the 40" wide toshiba 40H80. I just love it and would recommend to others. The new model is the 42H81. This is also supposed to be superb, but go see for yourself.
The majority of reviewers recommend using the same manufactures set - top bot Toshiba/Toshiba, Sony/Sony. This will avoid any compatibility issues and is also encouraged by myself. I went with the Toshiba DST3000. This receiver pulls in all my local digital stations here in the bay area, perfectly.
I use the channel master 4 bay bowtie which costs about 25 bucks from Stark Electronics. I think it cost another 25 to ship it. I got all my antenna accessories for cheap at radio shack. This is one area they still reign supreme.
Next time you go into good guys, ask em if they have any UHF antennas for HDTV, They will either say, Huh??? or try to sell you a 500.00 Terk that you don't want or need.
I think at this stage in the HDTV game, I wouldn't believe a thing you hear from the mass market guys. DO your research on the sites I've suggested and I think you will be able to find your way to HDTV bliss.
Good summary from deep ellem and I would definately second the avsforum recommendations. However, it does get pretty technical sometimes; probably what the HDTV folks say when they get here.
if ya got the digital thing on ya mind......make sure your tv has a digital decoder built in(if not a digital tv)(who can afford one>?) all the new tv's in the uk are widescreen period as that is the bradcasting format...also they broadcast in digital....my mother recently had to get a digital box connected into the house via a phone line as her tv is not digital--my friends bought new tv's and the decoder is built into the anlogue tv--no one i know can afford a digi tv..........so either a digi box converter or a digi read tv.... a question! why on earth did europe go widescreen its a very fatigue watching format all the time and sux for video games and you have to buy the biggest screen there is to get any sizeable picture-----have u seen a 28inch widescreen or 32---its so small--i'd go no less than a 36"---and i havnt seen any good rear projectors ever!!! i'd go glass screen...