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Old 01-05-2008, 10:01 AM   #1
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Need some television help/advice

As I mentioned I recently joined Netflix. Right off the bat with my first three movies I ran into a "problem". It seems that most of their movies are formatted for a wide screen TV like the new digital HDTVs. I have standard 36" TV, so my movies appeared letterboxed, something I particularly don't like.
So I'm researching TVs. I've really only talked with sales people who have pretty much said that besides buying the TV, that I also need to pick up a HD DVD player and a new cable and to get the most from my movies I need to make sure they are "Blu-Ray" movies. I'm also lead to believe that something needs changed with my Dish Network.
So I call my satellite co. They tell me I need a new dish and all new cables ran throough the house and a new receiver and the installation will cost me a hundred bucks, but I'll get $10 off each month until it is credited back, but from then on I will need to pay an extra $20 in order to receive the channels in HD..... Are you kidding me?

All the time I see ESPN and various channels advertise being broadcast in HD, you don't get to see them in HD unless I pay more to my dish provider?
So I guess basically I'm wondering if I should even bother getting the flat panel HDTV unless I'm prepared to go all the way and buy the other needed items and services? Sure, my movies won't be letterboxed any more I'm told, but will it be a waste of money without the new DVD player and new dish, cables and additional package?

Is this like a pay me now or pay me later thing, where a year from now I'll be having to get all this stuff anyway?

Thanks for any input.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:44 AM   #2
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lol..thats why I'm in no rush to get a HD TV. I don't wanna pay my cable company more each month. Its ridiculous, and I see my TV fine now.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:49 AM   #3
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If it wasn't for the way movies are being formatted I wouldn't be either.
And I notice more and more TV shows and commercials have the telltale black lines on the top and bottom. Proving that the wide screen format for everything is nearer than we think.
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Old 01-05-2008, 11:29 AM   #4
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I for one love widescreen. I've actually converted nearly all my movies to widescreen when available. I don't mind the lines, after all these years, I don't even notice them. ER for example has been in widescreen for at least three seasons.
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Old 01-05-2008, 12:38 PM   #5
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Do not listen to the salesman who told you that you need to get HD DVD and for it to be Blu Ray. First off, those are two separate things. Think of it like Beta Max and VHS. You can not have an HD DVD that is Blu Ray. That is besides the point though. You do not need to waste your money on one of those two formats yet and I would recommend waiting until one of those two formats wins out. Otherwise if you pick wrong (like those that picked Beta Max over VHS) you will be stuck with a very expensive paperweight. You can get a new DVD player that plays regular format movies (not Blu Ray or HD DVD) and upconverts the signal to look great for under $100. I got mine for $89 on sale. I paid another $6 for an HDMI cable online which also improves the quality.

You can buy an HDTV and an antenna and pick up the major networks in HD for free. Of course you will not be getting any of the cable or pay channels in HD. Just like any service from the cable company, they will charge you more, so if you want cable or pay channels in HD then you will pay more than what you are paying now.

As for the special cables and a new receiver, that is bologna. Yes you can get a new receiver that is designed for HD (with HDMI inputs), but it is not necessary. You can buy HDMI cables which are digital cables designed to give the best audio and visual quality, but again it is not needed. If you buy an HDMI cable at the store you buy the TV then they will probably charge you $100 or more for one cable. You can find the exact same cable online for $6. The brick and mortar stores use those cables and pray on peoples ignorance and trust to make $$$.

If you are interested in HDTV then don't be scared away from getting it. All you really need is the TV and the HD service from your cable provider. The TV will come with cables that will work just fine.

HDTV is amazing and once you have it you will never want to go back. Just don't let the salesmen talk you into buying all sorts of stuff you really don't need.
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Old 01-05-2008, 01:04 PM   #6
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Wow. Thanks for all the input, GB.
Here's what I'm being "talked into" by Circuit City online. A 42" plasma made by Element, which is their proprietary TV set made for them. Cost: 899.99. Then if I buy a wall mount, which I was told is a good idea with plasma sets because they aren't as durable as LCDs, then they will give me the $49 cable they said I "need". Also, I was told I would be given an additional $25 off. I was kind of himhawing around and she said her supervisor said I could receive even more off if I bought it by Jan 5th, which of course is today.

Element TVs of course have no reviews on CNET and I would like to scoot into the store and check it out first. I have compared it to other sets in price anyway and it seems like a good deal. Amazon offers free shipping and no sales tax, but I would probably still end up paying more. And if I don't need to pull the trigger on all the other stuff, which you are saying I don't really need to to still enjoy the HDTV with my movies or if I get an antenna for the local channels.... I don't know. Tough call. That's why I'm asking

Appreciate it! I feel like I'm armed with a little knowledge now
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:00 PM   #7
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Unfortunately we will only be able to buy HD TVs after February 17, 2009. The government has decided that that will be the end of analog TV broadcasting. The good news for those of us who still have analog TVs is that we can buy a converter box. You can learn more at this site: DIGITAL TELEVISION (DTV) Tomorrow's TV Today! — FAQs - Consumer Corner I do want an HD TV someday, but we can't afford it right now. We do have a nice TV now though, with a 36 or 37 inch screen with a great picture and color, so we aren't in a huge hurry. (James says he thinks it is 36 inch, but I am the one who bought it before I ever met him, and I am pretty sure it is 37. LOL).

Barbara
P.S. Hmmm After reading some more through the site I included the link for, I see that we won't have to have a high definition TV, just one that accepts digital broadcasting. It will still require a converter box for analog TVs, but it has nothing to do with HD.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:05 PM   #8
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You will still be able to buy analog TV's Barbara. Well that is if you can find someone who is selling them. I am sure that there will be plenty of them for a great price after Feb of 09. Like you said though, you will need a converter. Those will not be that expensive though. I have heard they will be around $50, but I am not sure about that.

I have never heard of a 37 inch TV. I did not know anyone has ever made one that size.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:09 PM   #9
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You will still be able to buy analog TV's Barbara. Well that is if you can find someone who is selling them. I am sure that there will be plenty of them for a great price after Feb of 09. Like you said though, you will need a converter. Those will not be that expensive though. I have heard they will be around $50, but I am not sure about that.

I have never heard of a 37 inch TV. I did not know anyone has ever made one that size.
LOL It is probably 36 inch then. For some reason 37 kept going through my head.

Yeah, we will go the converter box route. Our TV is fine for our needs right now. I do love the picture you get on HD TVs. It looks like you are right in the room with the people on there!

Barbara
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:13 PM   #10
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I'm planning on upgrading to an HDTV in the Spring and this is very good information.

I have been looking (and drooling over) a Sony Bravia 1080P set and the picture is phenominal. Not sure what size to get yet.

GB, thanks for the very helpful info.

Barbara, thanks for the link.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:13 PM   #11
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I do love the picture you get on HD TVs. It looks like you are right in the room with the people on there!
When people see mine for the first time they say it is like looking through a window. It truly is amazing. It is a luxury though and certainly not something anyone needs to have. And the longer you wait to get one, the better (and probably less expensive to a point) they will be.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:22 PM   #12
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I have been looking (and drooling over) a Sony Bravia 1080P set and the picture is phenominal. Not sure what size to get yet.
That is the kind I have Andy. The 40XBR2 to be exact. When doing my research, what I learned is that you should get the largest screen size you can fit in the space you have. It is different from analog TV's where if the screen is too big for the room then you do not have a clear picture or get distortion or you get dizzy etc. With the HD picture you can be right on top of the set and it is crystal clear so you actually benefit from going as large as you can.

My screen is 40 inches. We sit about 6 feet from the screen. At first my wife thought that was going to be way too big, but now she agrees it isn't. If we were to do it again and had the money then we would have gone even larger.

Andy (or anyone else) when you are ready and need to buy HDMI cables then let me know and I can give you some links to online stores that have then for very short money. Make sure you do not buy them in the store unless they are charging under double digits.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:26 PM   #13
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GB, I'm oing to clip your post and show it to Suzanne. I want a screen of 50+ inches and she thinks it's too big for the room. We'll be across the room from the set, about 12-14 feet so I don't think it will be a problem.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:28 PM   #14
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Yeah what GB said is spot on

you do however need a dvd player that will upgrade to HD. They are cheap, mine only cost $100 bucks. they just make every dvd widescreen and enhance the quality. My MASH dvds look great on my 50 Inch plasma!

the HD-DVD and Blu-ray aren't worth the money yet. I have a Hd-dvd player and hardly use it.

the cables are a waste of money, The Hdmi is all you need. or the cables that come with the machine. I've spend hundreds of dollars on cables. I sat down one night with my plasma and tried differant cables, I couldn't tell the differance between the $120 dollar gold plated monster cables versus the $12 dollar cables. I could however tell a differance with the HDMI cables, but few people would even care.

HD cable television is worth it! I love my High DEf channels. I recommend them highly.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:30 PM   #15
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When I was doing my research Andy (and I read a TON before my purchase) I found a chart that said what size screen was good depending on your distance from the screen. I wish I knew where I got it, but try doing a google search and you might be able to come up with it.

IMO 50 inches would not be too large at all from the distance you are sitting.

One thing to keep in mind is that at that size you are probably talking plasma, not LCD. Each type has its benefits and drawbacks of course.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:35 PM   #16
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I couldn't tell the differance between the $120 dollar gold plated monster cables versus the $12 dollar cables.
The thing that people need to understand is that an HDMI cable is carrying a purely digital signal. We are talking 1's and 0's. The signal is exactly the same though any cable so a $100 cable will perform exactly like a $5 cable. There will not be any difference whatsoever.

Using an HDMI cable from your cable box to your TV will not give you a noticeable picture difference. The only benefit there is that you are using one digital cable instead of 5 component cables so there is the benefit of less clutter and easier setup. The real visual and audio difference will be using HDMI with your DVD player, game console, and receiver.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:40 PM   #17
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Here is one chart I found for you Andy.
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Old 01-05-2008, 11:59 PM   #18
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As I understand it, the converter box is about $70. However, there is a coupon available that can get $40 off that cost. I learned about it earlier this week and have applied for the coupon. Anyone who needs to convert their old TV can call 1-888-DTV-2009. Applying for the coupon is easy and can be done completely on the phone.
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Old 01-06-2008, 10:28 AM   #19
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Don't know if this will help you, Pecanis - but I kept it real simple. Bought my digital flat screen (no HD) on line from Circuit City. I bookmarked all the major stores, i.e. Best Buy, CC, Sears etc - & compared specs & prices. The shipping was free, btw. Mine is much smaller than youse guys, lol - as I wanted it to fit in my entertainment unit, & personally, don't have the need for a Huge screen. All the cables are confusing to me as well. Circuit City has 3 different hook up plans - all expensive, imo - starting at about $169 & going up. So... I had my local cable co hook it up. (I don't have a dish.) You might call your Dish(?) co & ask them questions about what you may or may not need. Meanwhile, here's CC's site:

Preferred Brands

Hope that helps.

Also, according to my cable co or CC, (don't recall now which), the date has been moved up to June 2008. That was part of the reason I shopped/started looking right after Thanksgiving.

Donated my old TV to Salvation Army. They will come to your home & p/u. I was a little sorry to see it go, as imo, my TV had more features & just seemed like a better built (at least sturdier) piece of furniture - rather than a lightweigh electronic toy. Guess I'm a dinosaur when it comes to all these new Hi-Tech electronics. Hope this helps. Good luck.

ETA: I bought a Sharp (Liquid crystal). It's okay, but I'm not very impressed. It's lighter in weight is about all. At a later date, I may put it in another room.
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Old 01-06-2008, 10:46 AM   #20
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Every bit of info helps.
Thanks again everyone. I think I'll make it into the store to browse today.
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