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Time for HDTV?

Home Theater

August 30, 2005 10:09 AM PST


Moving always presents problems. Besides all the normal boring stuff like deciding where to put the furniture, a Geek is also presented with additional dilemmas like where to put the media server, what type of internet access to get, where to setup the home theater and the HTPC, and what type of TV service to use.

Since I've decided to move to an even smaller town than I lived in previously (much higher cow to people ratio), I can no longer get my precious Comcast. Millennium Digital serves my area and they are an 'unknown' entity to me - not to mention much more expensive than Comcast. I have decided to go with DSL this time around since it looks like I'll be able to get more upstream and roughly the same downstream bandwidth for about $20.00 less a month. So ISP decision made, that leaves TV...

I'm not going to make any real changes to my setup for watching movies. The projector is still the way to go, I only need to figure out where to mount it and the surrond system etc. But as for daytime TV viewing I've got to make some choices. The room I'm considering using for normal TV viewing doesn't have alot of space for a big CRT. Also I need to factor in the future Xbox 360 and all it's hi-def goodness. I've always been a bit stand-offish about plasma given the screen burn-in issue and wear out factor. I have recently noticed that LCD TVs are getting larger and really starting to come down in price however. I found at least two 37" LCD TVs with full 1080p resolution! A WestingHouse and a Sceptre. Both can be had for under 2k. That's 2 million pixels (1920 x 1080) of goodness thet can also be used as a PC monitor. Ahhh, thoughts of Half-life 2 at 37" wide. The Westinghouse is just a monitor while the Sceptre has a tuner for roughly the same price. Rumor has it that LCD prices will continue to drop this fall.

While half my brain ponders if this is finally the right time to hang a flat TV on the wall, the other half is occupied with the problem of keeping such a TV feed with signal. You can't very well have a high res TV and only watch low-res channels. Millennium Digitial doesn't appear to have any digital HDTV offering however. Also I figure I'm too far out to pickup the local HDTV over the air. So that pretty much leaves satellite as my only option. But after digging into the various offerings from DirectTV and Dish Network all I can tell so far is that much more research is going to be required. Of course any solution I move to that requires a set-top box will render my existing army of analog PC TV tuners and my home-grown DVR solution useless. Ahh what to do?

Anyone out there have HDTV advice they would like to share?

Comments (6)
Paul, August 30, 2005 11:07 AM:

So, you're not using the shotgun modem anymore?

John, August 30, 2005 11:27 AM:

Oh you're funny.
I loved that modem, may it rest it peace. It got me through a rough couple of years when my house seemed to be designated a broadband free zone by all the major providers.

Gavin, August 30, 2005 01:29 PM:

Good move on the Millenium Digital Cable. I had them for a while in an appartment building I was in. The only reason was because the same conglomerate that owned the appartment complex also owned Millenium Cable. It sucked. Channel selection was off and even had some feeds that were on East Coast time.
I don't remember much about the internet part of that deal, but I think that's because I blocked it out.

GW, August 31, 2005 09:21 AM:

Voom may be an options as well. I've not heard the greatest things about them and they tend to use high compression rates on some of their HD channels. However, they carry HD channels.

I've got a 42" Samsung ED plasma and a Samsung 56" DLP. The Xbox is on the DLP, which is why Ghost Recon is so easy :) Anyways, I'm running component from the Comcast digital box directly into the plasma and it looks great. Even being an EDTV the HD channels look amazing. I don't really use anything on it to have screen burn worries though. The best part is I got it at Costco Home for $1700.

I'm digging DLP also. While it's not a "hang on the wall" solution it is much smaller than a CRT. Plus they comes with all the hookups in the back that you can imagine. I run Comcast HD, DVD, Xbox and a PC through it. Very happy with it. The one downfall I might mention is it takes 45 seconds for the bulb to warm up. Which seems like such an ancient problem.

I've not had any issues with either of the Samsung TV's. While ED might kill your PC resolution, I think it's an acceptable TV solution with HD signals for the near future.

If you're looking for something in particular let me know if you want me to cruise by Costco Home to see if they have it. I live right by it. (Not everything is marked up there)

John, August 31, 2005 09:36 AM:

Great, thanks for the info.

John, September 10, 2005 12:21 PM:

Woot had a pretty impressive sale on this monster last week:

Infocus 61md10.

It is a 61" rear projection DLP that is only 7" thick and wall mountable. I was tempted. It looks like InFocus just dropped their list price on it anyway (it was 4999). Some of the reviews don't paint it too favoribly when compared against the Samsung however. But man is that thin.

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