Sit closer. I've never seen a projection TV that I could stand to watch. JMHO.
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Some of the new HDTV-ready rear projection models are excellent if the convergence is set properly, but this can vary a bit from sample to sample. I own a Hitachi 43" HDTV-ready RPTV and I think it has more detail, depth, and richer color palette than many direct-view models I've seen. I recently saw a 53" HDTV RPTV wide-screen model that looked great too. You may want to check some of these models out. I'm really glad I went for the larger screen. The off-axis viewing problems still exist with PRTVs, but The way my room/seating is arranged it is a non-issue for me. Good Luck!
As always, it depends on your budget. If you can go >$3500, I'd look at one of the Pioneer Elite PRO models, a Mitsubishi or a Sony. If you want to stay below $3K, I'd look at Toshiba or a cheaper Sony. But, absolutely, upgrade the display if you really like HT, preferably to about 55". It makes the experience MUCH better and, at least for me, the RPTV's look pretty awesome.
I agree that budget is kinda the biggest factor when purchasing a new screen, used or new is the other big factor, IMO. I recently purchased a 100in screen with a front projector and in love with it now, I wonder how I lived with out it. The picture is as good if not better then my 32" toshiba TV, I was not expecting that. I have the projector 13' from the screen and it does not have a problem with 100" at all and when a DVD/movie is 16:9 ratio the screen size is still 87" which is not over whelming at all. I have a slightly smaller home theater room with only 7'6" ceillings(which really sucks), like I said it depends on your budget new my TV set up is a little over $10K but I bought used and have under $2500 into everything, be patient but when you see a good deal pounce upon it. Also with a smallish room a front projector or plasma screen for that matter will make the room seem much larger then it is. Best of luck and let us know how you make out, :-) Tim.
Too much talk about budget with all due respect. He didn't say anything about pinchin' pennies, just bigger than 35". Therefore, I suggest the new fujitsu 4222 HDTV flatscreen. Kinda pricey at $10k, but meets your requirements of bigger than 35" and top of the line. (Its got like about a million DPI X a million DPI).
Ok, I'm done. I concede right now budget is everything and I'm livin in a dream world.
Like we've mentioned before and is repeated here, MAKE SURE that the TV has a good picture at ANY viewing angle at various distances. This alone will eliminate almost every brand of RPTV except a VERY few. I will say that there is a reason why Mitsubishi has the highest amount of sales and repeat customers when it comes to big screens. I will also say that the Pioneer Elite's are EXCELLENT but pricey. Check them out for yourself and see what YOU like.
To repeat what was already said (again), having ANY TV properly aligned ( convergence, contrast, brightness, color, etc...) CORRECTLY via calibration standards and NOT by eye makes a WORLD of difference. Most EVERY tv comes set WRONG from the factory and the "amateur tune up" doesn't do much to help. Keep in mind that RPTV's work best with a small amount of difuse light coming from behind the TV.
I would also like to add that if a GOOD quality RPTV is PROPERLY set up, you will not have a problem viewing it up close OR at quite an angle. I can view my 55" at a 90* angle from a 20' distance without ANY problems whatsoever. Our normal viewing distance is also only about 10' from the screen. Those that can't enjoy their big screen like that REALLY need to check their settings and probably invest in some rudimentary ( and quite easy ) calibration discs like Video Essentials or Avia. Both are WELL worth the money, even for a "normal" sized TV's.
One more suggestion is to look for a TV with PLENTY of inputs. Component video is most desired with S video being second and composite video being bottom of the barrel. Hope this helps. Sean
PS... don't forget to include a "screen guard" when shopping.
I have just read all of these responses and not trying to insult anyone here but PLASMA , hello. Prices on plasma telivisions have dropped drastically in just the last three months. My local superstore carries 3 models all WAY under 10K . If you go to ubid .com you can find the Philips plasmas with 150 watt amp and surround sound 10 speakers inc. I got mine one month ago for 4600.00 The only thing it does not have if high def. But guess what , I don't miss it because it is three times as clear and sharp as the best rear projections avail. Plus with dvd tech. its pretty hard to complain. Rear projection TVs will only last as long as plasma screens remain too expensive and that time is almost over.
I went through this agonizing purchase about two months ago. Initially, I said the same thing someone else here said--sit closer and buy a better direct view set. So I found a good deal on a Sony KW34HD-1. Excellent picture, widescreen image--had it all. But after watching this thing for about a week I kept coming back to the same thought. The picture was just too D@#! small for that kind of money! So the set went back. In its place came home a brand new Mitshubishi Diamond series 55 inch (and it was cheaper than the sony!). I love it. DVDs look great. The viewing angle is very good from left to right. Moving your seats vertically could cause a problem. I have noticed the image brightness only drops off if I stand up or sit too low. I think that one thing that anyone purchasing a RPTV should know is that they are not really designed to project low resolution cable tv or pixilated satellite. These sets are for high definition broadcasts and anamorphic DVDs. If you use the room primarily for movies or want to go HD, then buy a RPTV. As for the center channel, buy a 12"-15" speaker stand for just in front of the tv.
We went to a slightly larger format for the same reason as you, we wanted something to watch DVD's on AND we were tired of having to read the fine print (the eyesight ain't as good as it once was!) to find "standard" format, since we didn't like the black bars at the top and bottom.
We bought the Toshiba 40" theatre wide (16:9 aspect ratio). That way all movies were seen as they were meant to be without the bars! It is a nice TV and not too big. Here's a link if you are interested.
Good luck in your search.
Also, I ordered a different (larger screen) TV for my parents from Amazon.com. They had a great price and offer "white glove delivery" They bring it in, unbox it, put it where you want, and take all the garbage with them. My folks had the TV in two days with no additional charges.
Hope this proves helpful. Good luck! -
my understanding is that Plasma sets will NOT have as long of a lifespan as that of a good quality RPTV or especially a standard "tube" set. The various reasons escape me right now. As such, i do agree that the picture on them is typically excellent.
I would like to recommend to Argent to pick up a copy of the Video Essentials DVD and to calibrate your Mitsu. If you think it is good now, just wait till you have it set up "right". While the price on these discs keeps creeping up, you might be able to find them online for about $30 or so.
For the record, i like the Video Essentials calibration dvd better than i do the Avia. While the Avia is much more in depth and time consuming, the Video Essentials version will give you extremely similar results with half the work and time. Kind of the "quick and dirty" approach, but it works. Sean
Sean, I've been trying for a month to calibrate the tv properly. I bought the Sony DVP-S9000ES with the special Men in Black package. The thing was supposed to come with the Avia disc included as well as the MIB DVD and an SACD sampler. Get this, none of it was in there. The box was sealed when I bought it, and I trust my dealer. I've been at war with Sony for the past month to get the disc. Anyway, I will prevail.
Most decent Audio / Video stores will carry one of the two discs mentioned. If they don't have either, they can typically order it. You might also try something like Amazon, etc... on the web.
As mentioned, the Video Essentials DVD is easier to use while Avia can get much more involved and goes into greater depth. I think that for most practical purposes, Video Essentials is what i would use 90% of the time simply for ease of use. Avia can get to be a bit of a pain with all of the calibrations that they expect you to do.
I do have to make mention of a few "caveats" here though. Some TV's only have calibrations for ALL sources or inputs while some can be adjusted based on which input you select. If you have the "one size fits all" type of tv, adjusting it for best color and resolution with your dvd may make watching broadcast, cable, satellite, vcr, etc... hard to do. Once the TV is "dialed in" to that one format, it can really show just how out of whack some of the signals being broadcast truly are.
Another "quick" suggestion is to kind of "log" where each adjustment is once your finally happy with the settings. Most tv's return to the factory defaults ( which typically look like junk ) if you lose power. This means resetting the tv step by step all over again. As such, having ballpark adjustments to go by at a glance can really make life easier. Sean
Have a look at the new Loewe Aconda that is scheduled to hit U.S. stores some time in May. It's gonna be the big brother of their 30" Aconda and clock in at 38" (both 16:9 aspect ratio screens). The 30" Aconda has the single best picture I've ever seen and I expect that the 38" inch will be equally impressive. Many claim that the Aconda is, bar none, the best direct view television on the market. The new one is suposed to retail for around $5,600 (the 30" is $3,600). The 30' will be my next TV, and I would seriously consider the 38" inch if I had the room for it. Don't know whether this is enough new real estate for you, coming from 35", but it would definitely be worth a look.
Sean- Believe it or not, the Loewe has an NTSC standard calibration setting built in, and was pretty close to what I got using video essentials. However, its generally too dark (someone said that it has to do with the type of mask) for this set, esp on cable (closer to what I run with DVD). I found it was helpful to learn about the interactions between the settings and to use as a guide. For most audiophiles (all, I hope) the audio set up portion is not all that helpful but the DD test tone track works pretty well. I would guess that it is damn near mandatory for a projection TV. I did find its suggestion to turn the sharpness setting all the way down did NOT provide the best results with the Loewe. I guess for the $$ we're all plunking down on these displays (not to mention cables), its basically a real low cost accessory, which you could easily share with a friend.
BTW, in addition to a whole room for your 38" Aconda, you better have one hell of a stand, with industrial casters. I believe the tube along weighs nearly 300 lbs.
LCD Rear Projection. I'm just looking into them myself and can't offer any opinion but the technology sounds promising. RCA has a new 50" Scenium LCOS (Liquid Crystal On Silicone) coming soon to a home theater near you that claims better picture and near 180 degree horizontal and vertical viewing angle at a MSRP of $7500. Samsung also has a 40 and 50" version out now that can be had for around $4000 to $5000 respectively. They may suffer the same diffuculty producing pure black as with LCD front projectors, but they are also very flat (around 18" deep at the base) and have very short bases making them tabletopable, (say that word 5 times real fast.) Good luck.
Sony 40XBR700. Direct view with all the trimmings. I have a 36XBR400 and wish I could upgrade. I would never go with any other sort of screen besides direct view (unless I won the lottery and could buy some of the projectors that cost as much as a new car) 16:9 are nice but really don't fulfill the current need for all formats I am still stuck with, especially broadcast TV. Plasma are still finicky devices that sure are hi-tech, but the fear of screen burn keeps me away from those. So I would be thrilled to have a Sony 40XBR700... for the Holidays... (I HAD a Toshiba 35" that was 10 years old and I have to say the Sony 36XBR400 was a GIANT leap forward from that TV, I was amazed!!!)
I have the upmost opportunity to buy a "Video Essentials" Calibration DVD off of "E-bay" WELL BELOW retail (and believe it or not, it will be from someone from MY hometown...... Washington, D. C.). After reading this thread for about the last two days, I see that you do nothing but swear by THIS DVD, and I am coming to the conclusion that anyone who is SERIOUSLY into home theater SHOULD not be without this DVD. I see that it retails for over $40.00 on "Amazon". But I can get off of "E-bay" for WELL below that (I am going to bid on a couple of them tonight..... that way, if one of them fall through, I'll still be in the running for the other one). Now, what I want to know from you is this: The version I am bidding on came out in 1998. Is this the only version that has ever came out??? And is this the current version?? Or has this DVD been revised since then?? If the 1998 DVD is the current version, then I am going to go ahead and put my bids in tonight. If not, then I'll go ahead and pay retail just so I'll have the up to date version. I know I have an analog/interlaced display right now (a 27-Inch Panasonic CT-27SF37), but when I purchase my HDTV RPTV within the next two years, I am going to find this disc an INDISPENSIBLE tool then, as since I am going to be paying in the neighborhood of $2,000.00 to $3,000.00 for a television, I want to make sure I am getting all of the picture that I'll be paying for then.
Sean, Angela and Swampwalker:
I would like to thank all three of you for influencing my decision to purchase a "Video Essentials" DVD. As I feel that I am as serious about home theater as all three of you, I feel that this DVD is an indispensible tool that is necessary for getting all of the performance that I have paid for out of MY home theater. I just won one on an auction on "E-Bay" myself. I am getting one off of "E-Bay" for $23.36 (which includes shipping and insurance.... my price before shipping and insurance was $18.26....... and considering how much it will cost a tech to come out and calibrate my TV ($150.00+), I think that's going to be the best $25.00 I'll ever spend).
However though, if any of you already own a HDTV set, just note that Joe Kane will be coming out similar disc pretty soon that is designed specifically for HDTVs and Progressive Scan DVD Players. But I am sure that the current version will have its uses for HDTVs as well. I don't know how much this new disc will cost. But, just know that it will be coming out pretty soon, if it hasn't already. Just a friendly heads up for you all.
You can pick up a brand new copy of DVD essentials at Borders for $30. All there DVD's are quite cheap.
A rear projection tv is a great idea. I have a 60" that is a little big but great for the letterbox. Letterbox movies are what made me go bigger too. I had a 32" XBR and although the picture was incredible I have never looked back.
Since were drooling and dreamimg how about the Faroudga widescreen rear projection for thirty thousand.
I happen to get my "Video Essentials" DVD on E-Bay for just under $25.00 (including shipping and handling), and bought it from a hometown guy (which makes it even sweeter). So far, I have used it twice, and let me tell you, my DVDs have never looked better after I have used "Video Essentials" to calibrate my TV. But I must say that television broadcasts look pale as hell by comparison after looking at a DVD. I have to reset my TV's controls constantly after looking at a DVD. Makes me sort of wonder, are the networks using crappy signals when they are broadcasting their shows??? I think what I must do is come up with a medium somewhere, meaning that I may have to make a note as to what my movies settings are after I use "Video Essentials", and make a note as to what settings I use when I am watching broadcast TV. That way, I can reset the TV controls to those respectable positions when I am watching DVDs or just watching TV.
And now, back to the subject of TVs. I am also in the market for a RP HDTV right now, and will continue to do so for the next year or so. The sets I am looking at though, range anywhere from 42-Inches to about 50-Inches. And I am looking at sets from Mitsubishi, Panasonic and Toshiba (with me leaning a little toward the Toshibas right now, as they seem to offer that elusive balance of picture, performance, and features at an attractive price). Those sets range anywhere from $2,000.00 to about $3,000.00. I believe that I am going to end up with a set along those parameters. But now, if I want to dream a little, then I'll be happy to take a Runco PlasmaWall PL-61cx, a 61-Inch Plasma set, for a cool $32K. Now, how's that for dreaming and drooling?? :)
Charles- You are absolutely correct. The DVD image on my Loewe Planus (16:9 dtv, 420p via internal doubler) is awesome, on TV its very dark and sometimes fuzzy as well. One advantage of the Loewe is each input has a separate memory for video parameters. Basic problem is garbage in, etc.- these high end displays appear to be very dependent on signal quality. Glad you like the Video Essentials disk. I found that the default settings on the Loewe are very close to the Video essentials settings, but that the contrast and brightness need to be goosed up somewhat.