HDTV shopping

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HDTV shopping

I've basically decided to get the Samsung HL-S6188W, probably from Magnolia in Palo Alto or Santa Clara.

Samsung info follows; below that is archival info while I was still undecided.

Child pages of this page:

DishNetwork deinterlace problem
Home Theater Notes
Samsung HDTV

Two threads at www.avsforum.com: owners and discussion.
Discussion: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=626669
Owners: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=665890

Magnolia as a 30-day satisfaction/return policy with no restock fee (but I have to get it to them somehow, no free pick-up!). I think we have a winner.

Prices

One buyer online says he got BB and CC competing with each other. The online price for the TV he bought (61" or smaller?) was $2399. He got BB down to $2199 and took that price to CC which gave him $2080. That's 15% off the online sale price.

Warranties

Somebody who said he researched lots of warranties says RepairMaster RMT55000/RMLMP3 has a 4-year warranty (that's 5 total) that includes up to two lamps is $290.

You can get the RMT55000 plan for $190 from New World Video Direct and for another $100 throw in the RMLMP3 3-yr lamp warranty. Go to their web site and search under warrantys for "Plan G" - RMT55000/RMLMP3 for $290.

Mack warranty is $200 for items in this price range, cheaper than CC or Magnolia.

XBOX 360

XBOX 360 outputs 1080p via component; Mitsubishi doesn't accept 1080p that way.

DishNetwork

Dish HD is via HDMI not Component (yay!)

Stands:

Ikea OPPLI with Casters. $99.99. Somebody asked about thermal management; I'm sure I could cut the back off or something. Might be too high too. Link to item

BestBuy has something called "Bush" that works. $200 on sale. Link to item

 


Archival information

I want to get HDTV this winter. Since I already have a 60" big-screen rear-projection TV now, I have to get 60" or more in hi-def or I'll be giving up more screen size than I want to.

A screen size of 60" or more means rear projection, because LCDs and plasmas at that size are prohibitively expensive.

Sony's LCoS three-chip rear projector looked muddy to me next to a white-lamp-based DLP when both were adjusted for their brightest showroom pictures, and in general I'm sensitive to the way dark areas of LCD images tend to go right to black. So I think DLP is the answer.

I wish I could use Samsung's LED-based DLP but they don't come in sizes above 57" or so. These use less power, have a light source with a longer life (no bulb to replace), and should run cooler and possibly quieter. CNet is disappointed in the image quality compared to other TVs in the price range.

At 60" or more I definitely want 1080p. I'm sure people can't tell the difference between 720p and 1080p in smaller screen sizes, but I'm sure I will be able to at 65". Also I want 1080p not 1080i even though it makes no difference for film transfers: it does make a difference for games, and for TV shot on video (e.g. live sports) when they start producing content at that resolution.

In the table below I'm accumulating my notes about TVs I've seen or read about. Some things are taken for granted unless noted: DLP, 1080p, rear projection, enough inputs.

Things I don't care about: Memory card slots for showing still pictures, cable card slots... More as I find them.

Model, size, vendor, price, date Notes
Mitsubishi WD-65731, WD-65732, WD-65831, WD-Y65 - all 65" and all share a user manual.

65732 at Costco $3,000 with stand 11/22/2006

One person says 65831 was $2771 from factory with wait

One person says 65732 would be $700 less than $65831 (for what difference?)

Another person sees $500 diff at Costco.

Another: a 732 in October for 2756+tax

Oddly not reviewed very often. People comment on good image quality but poor contrast and no deep blacks.

No 1080p on component, only on HDMI. This means best possible XBOX 360 needs to wait for MS to produce HDMI out. (This might be quite common.)

Jenny and I saw a Y65 at Circuit City and liked the way it handled the score area of a basketball game without acne.

Has VGA in with a DVI-A adapter. Many split-screen options.

Y65 cons compared to the higher-end 732 and 831:

  • has no iris adjustment, makes it do dark scenes worse
  • has fewer inputs (but I think it has all I need)
  • has non-disableable SharpEdge, which some say contributes to bad artifacts on moving interlaced sources
  • lacks PerfectTint which calibrators need (also 731 lacks this)

Video processing said to be better on 732; 732 and 831 are both better but not identical.

Press "2 4 7 0 MENU" on the remote to see lamp operating hours. 10-30 is normal for new, more is questionable.

XBOX 360 outputs 1080p via component; Mitsubishi doesn't accept 1080p that way.

On AVSForum I am working backwards; I am a few pages below page 212 of this thread.

Page 192 has posts from UMR with his professional calibrator's view of 831.

There is a page that lists all the Service Menu settings from one owner's calibrated set.

Photos comparing SD on 732 and 831 are here.

831 has a brighter bulb but the other one is bright enough. Has firewire on the front but nobody cares. But UMR the calibrator says the 831 does better video processing after page 192.

Ultimate AV review of the 731:
http://ultimateavmag.com/rearprojec...731/index6.html

 

Samsung HL-S6187W and the HL-Sxx87W series generally

CNet shows the street price for 61" at $2,000 to $2,500.

Circuit City HL-S6187W thanksgiving sale $2,469

CNet likes this series better than JVC HD-xxFN97. No picture-in-picture in the 87 line, only 88. Multiple reviewers say it can't resolve all horizontal lines of 1080p or even 720p (even after turning off overscan? WTF?!). The HL-Sxx88W adds picture-in-picture, firewire and cable card but has identical performance. CNet calls it the best value they've reviewed. CNet says it handles standard-def sources well.

The Samsung -86W series (and probably this one) uses five colors on the color wheel, not 3: they added yellow and cyan. Some HP's use four colors, including a dark green. The extra colors can limit the rainbow effect. Six colors (two each of R, G, B) can improve things too.

The 88W has PIP. I got Magnolia to give me a price on the 88W to match Circuit City's 87W.

Use DishTV remote control code 738 for Samsung DLPs, so volume works.

Two threads at www.avsforum.com: owners and discussion.
Discussion: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=626669
Owners: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=665890

Magnolia as a 30-day satisfaction/return policy with no restock fee (but I have to get it to them somehow, no free pick-up!). I think we have a winner.

Mack warranty is $200 for items in this price range, cheaper than CC.

JVC HD-xxFN97
Costco $2,500 for 56"
Costco $4000 for 70"
3-chip IDLA (JVC's version of LCoS) ... CNet says the picture quality isn't quite up to the other rear-projections in its class, like the Samsung HL-SxxyyW series. But they found it definitely acceptable, including good shadow detail in the "crime scene" of Unforgiven.
Mitsubishi Diamond Series
Costco $3,000 for 57"
Costco $3,500 for 65"
Costco $5,000 for 73"
 
Mitsubishi Medallion Series
Costco $2,500 for 57"
Costco $3,000 for 65"
Costco $4,700 for 73"
 
Panasonic PT-61DLX76 CNet thinks this set is just average. Lots of connectivity but not great picture quality. Light blacks. Poor 3:2 pulldown. Other picky image-quality problems. Not recommended.
JVC HD-xxFH95 series LCoS 3-chip display. CNet says it's good but has some flaws. Bad with 480i sources (but I don't think I'll be using any); doesn't take 1080p inputs; slow to change inputs (but I won't be doing that a lot). Not recommended.
HP MD6580n CNet is pretty impressed, but it's an old machine. Not at many retailers.
Mitsubishi WD-62628 CNet likes the features but is disappointed in the picture quality.
Samsung HL-R6768W Older model than the 87W series; non-defeatable edge enhancement.
Sony KDS-R60XBR1 LCoS. Blacks not as good as DLPs. No 1080p input. Good connectivity and features, good blacks.
Toshiba 62HM196
BestBuy $2500
November 22 2006

Price club has 62HM116 that includes stand

Consumer Reports loves this model. Ultimate A/V thinks it's pretty OK but not orgasmic. Has no 1080p input at all - component or HDMI. Only 1080i. (Makes no difference for film sources, only possible difference is for games and 1080p shot on video.) Don't know about color wheel details. It has split-screen picture-in-picture. (Have to run coax from satellite B channel to an antenna input...)
SONY series:
A2000
XBR1
XBR2
SXRD means LCoS. CNet reviews:
  • A2000 has speakers on the bottom, not the sides
  • A2000 has no PIP
  • A2000 has no 1080p input
  • Save separate settings for each input
  • Lets you "save power" (and possibly extend bulb life) by reducing light output 25% from the setup menu - other displays offer more
  • 2x HDMI with 1080p/60 (but not 1080p/24)
  • 2x component in back and 1x component in front
  • Poor 3:2 pulldown
  • Computer display via DVI/HDMI is great and fills the screen at 1080p (with overscan) vs. others that can't take it(?). VGA input doesn't fill the screen.
  • Circuit City: $2,700

Older XBR1 has better standard-def performance, no 1080p input, otherwise virtually identical.

  • XBR2 has PIP
  • 3x HDMI
  • 2x component
  • Newer 480i processing
  • A more powerful bulb. (A2000 is already bright enough though.)
  • Spare bulb which lists (today) at $300
  • Light output reducer that improved shadow detail
  • Runs an extra grand or more

Ratings sites: CNet, Sound & Vision, Home Theater Magazine.

Home Theater is worried about single-chip DLP with rainbows because they say 3-chip DLP is coming at the same price. But I only see that in their capsule reviews, with no hint when real 3-chip DLP might arrive.

Besides Home Theater Magazine, check Ultimate A/V Magazine with good buyer's guides.

ultimate AV
hometheatermag
guidetohometheater.com
avsforum
hdblog.net
 

Warranties

Somebody who said he researched lots of warranties says RepairMaster RMT55000/RMLMP3 has a 4-year warranty (that's 5 total) that includes up to two lamps is $290.

You can get the RMT55000 plan for $190 from New World Video Direct and for another $100 throw in the RMLMP3 3-yr lamp warranty. Go to their web site and search under warrantys for "Plan G" - RMT55000/RMLMP3 for $290.

XBOX 360

XBOX 360 outputs 1080p via component; Mitsubishi doesn't accept 1080p that way.

DishNetwork

Dish HD is via HDMI not Component (yay!)

Stands:

Ikea OPPLI with Casters. $99.99. Somebody asked about thermal management; I'm sure I could cut the back off or something. Might be too high too. Link to item

BestBuy has something called "Bush" that works. $200 on sale. Link to item

 


This page was last edited April 26, 2008.