Saturday, February 04, 2006

iRant: HDTV (follow-up to comments posts)

FYI, I just completed the first of a two part HDTV segment for this coming Monday's episode of commandN. I cover Display Types and Display Technologies, which can be a little confusing for HDTV newbies.

I've gotten quite a few comments asking about what kind of TV I bought and whether I survived the delivery process, so here goes...

I just got my final delivery for my Superbowl party/den of audio-visual delights, so all has gone well and the ordeal is now over! :-) The television I bought was a 52' Toshiba DLP rear projection HDTV (Toshiba 52HM85). I am VERY happy with this television to date. One cool thing about it that I didn't know was that you can do split screen viewing from different inputs, i.e. I could play my XBox (or watch a DVD or whatever) on the left hand side of the TV screen while watching digital cable on the right hand side of my screen - very cool!

I'm also very happy with my new HD cable box, which has a built in DVR (digital video recorder - a hard drive to record digital programming, like a TiVo) with two separate receivers. What this means is that I can watch one channel while recording another, or record two channels while watching a third previously-recorded show. It doesn't have the "I thought you might be interested in watching this show"-TiVo ability (I'd want a bigger hard drive for that anyway), but it's got just about everything else. A simple interface integrates well into the digital cable guide listings to record individual shows or recurring episodes of a series, and you can pause and rewind live TV (b/c the DVR is always recording a buffer of what you're watching). The biggest limitation that I expect I'll face is that my box will only record about 10 hours of high definition programming (which is all I eventually plan to watch :-) ).

Another point: I've certainly noticed a difference in quality levels of HDTV programming (and a lack of programming generally). For example, "CSI" and "My Name is Earl" look like their are SHOT as well as broadcast in HD (which means they look FANTASTIC!!!), whereas "That 70's Show" and a lot of others just seem to be upconverted to HD for broadcast. There are also a couple of high def channels that I can't get right now that I'd love to have - DiscoveryHD, for instance, and GlobalHD (for Canada).

I'd love for people to let me know what shows they think look best in HDTV, so leave me a comment with your favs!

PS: I just realized that I told a small lie above, I'm still waiting for my new Yamaha 5.1 home theatre system to arrive. This won't affect my Superbowl enjoyment too much, but it'll be a great addition for movies and shows broadcast with 5.1 (6-channel: 2 front, 2 rear, 1 centre, and 1 bass speaker) sound. I'll also likely be buying a new DVD player that upconverts to a high def signal pretty soon - I was a little disappointed at the results from my current DVD player, which looks pretty much like TV used to :-) .
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2/04/2006 10:13:00 a.m.  


Anonymous Steve Dinn said...

I found that CBS had much better looking HD content than any other network. CSI does indeed look spectacular...especially the opening show that sweeps over the strip -- amazing.

February 04, 2006 12:52 p.m.  
Blogger B. McKechnie said...


Anything on the PBS HD channel looks amazing (they have special travel shows, etc. all done in HD).

For the true HD experience though check out some of The Movie Networks HD movies and shows (Sopranos etc).


February 04, 2006 2:27 p.m.  
Anonymous Steve Coakley said...

Be sure and mention the HIGH COST of projection bulbs for DLP TV's. They can cost as much as $500 plus $200 to get installed and they only last about 3,000 hours. Even less if the brightness is all the way up. Also, replacements usually have only a 90 day warranty!

February 06, 2006 4:16 p.m.  
Anonymous Lynn said...

I have the same TV and you are going to love it.

You mention the Xbox. Is that the 360? I have a 360 and it looks great on the Toshiba, much better than my Xbox.

Best HD programs I have seen are:

Prison Break

The last commenter mentioned bulbs, so here is a link for the replacement bulb for your new TV.

You can install it yourself when the time comes.

February 10, 2006 4:03 p.m.  
Blogger Class of 1986 said...

Congrats on the new tv...if you like the nfl, games broadcast on abc and espn as well as cbs look great...i am a little disappointed with fox, i think it may only be 480 or even 720 tops. If you get discovery hd, all the shows look really good. American Chopper and Monster Garage are worth waiting for the HD version.

February 13, 2006 10:50 a.m.  
Blogger JoeM said...

I only watched part 1, and I felt that the terms you used would still be confusing to newbies.

Maybe that's the terminology that they are using on the sales floor, but when you say "display type", I immediately think "LCD, DLP, CRT, plasma, etc". I would have gone with something like "form factor" or "box type" or something else to describe the physical configuration of the TV.

February 14, 2006 5:17 p.m.  
Blogger Jeff MacArthur said...

Yeah, it is confusing for newbies for sure, Joem. The terms I used, however, are pretty "standard" terms, so I thought it'd be better for people to know the terminology. You're right, though, most people would think of the display "type" when they hear LCD, DLP, etc., as opposed to display "technology", but then you have the problem of everyone thinking that all LCDs are flatscreens. :-)

In the end, I'm glad I went through this experience (i.e buying my HDTV) even just in terms of learning b/c it is an entirely confusing subject area until you get to know more about it! :-)

February 14, 2006 10:36 p.m.  

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