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General discussion

David Katzmaier, TV editor Live!

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 19, 2007 3:51 AM PDT

Ask the Editors Live! HDTV live chat event with CNET senior editor David Katzmaier starts this Thursday June 21st at 11 a.m. to noon Pacific Time. Stay tune and don't miss out!

Discussion is locked
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I'm here everyone...
by katzmaier CNET staff/forum admin / June 21, 2007 3:59 AM PDT

Fire away with the questions.

-- Katz

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rbk
by rbkirk / June 21, 2007 4:01 AM PDT

I've got an HDTV that I have not tested with a regular UHF antennae. Assuming I can get digital broadcasts over an old, large TV antennae, I want a way to record TV...

I was looking at a program like Beyond TV, but don't know how well a setup with a "regular" antenna, and a PC as an HDTV tuner would work...

What is the best way to record over the air broadcasts of HDTV?

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PC for now
by katzmaier CNET staff/forum admin / June 21, 2007 4:04 AM PDT
In reply to: rbk

At the moment nobody really makes an affordable set-top for recording HDTV over the air, so unless you get a satellite DVR (Dish or DirecTV) the best way is with a PC card. I haven't tested too many of them, but from whathave seen the PC card's antenna connections work as well as a set-top reception-wise. And you can get some recording cards for cheap.

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contrast ratios in LCDs
by Jabba128 / June 21, 2007 4:02 AM PDT

Will LCD tv contrast ratios get any better soon?

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Probably but...
by katzmaier CNET staff/forum admin / June 21, 2007 4:05 AM PDT

...the stated contrast ratios for LCDs are already really high for a lot of models. I'm sure models next year will climb higher, but that could just mean they're brighter...the best way to achieve a high contrast ratio is not with high brightness, but with deep blacks. And the best black-level LCDs are already surpassing plasma (the new Pioneers, which I haven't tsted yet, notwithstandint).

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OLED
by Jabba128 / June 21, 2007 4:03 AM PDT

Will Sony release an OLED tv set this year?

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Nope
by katzmaier CNET staff/forum admin / June 21, 2007 4:07 AM PDT
In reply to: OLED

I really don't think so. OLED is at least a year out before the sets come in sizes that benefit home theater (at least 30 inches plus) and even then they'll be really expensive. But I wouldn't be surprised if Sony was first.

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Steve O
by sponeill / June 21, 2007 4:06 AM PDT

I am a newbie. I have been looking for about a year. Istill can't figure out the best way to go in a 46" 50" range. LCD or Plasma

Suggestions?

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check the tops lists:
by katzmaier CNET staff/forum admin / June 21, 2007 4:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Steve O
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Living Room Set
by utstick / June 21, 2007 4:06 AM PDT

Hey David, I currently have a PS3 and XBox 360. Should I still consider buying a cheaper 720p HDTV plasma, for instance, or should I go ahead and shop for something that supports 1080p? I don't want to spend a thousand dollars more than I need to if the differences are not noticeable.

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Depends on size
by katzmaier CNET staff/forum admin / June 21, 2007 4:10 AM PDT
In reply to: Living Room Set

In my experience, you'll want a 50-inch or larger screen to BEGIN to see the benefits of 1080p at a normal seating distance (say 2x the screen's diagonal). If you sit very close, say 1.5x the diagonal, then you might see a benefit from 1080p, but for the vast majority of people a non-1080p set is perfectly fine at sub-50-inch sizes, even for the highest-rez sources.

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LCD contrast ratios continued
by Jabba128 / June 21, 2007 4:06 AM PDT

What are the current high numbers for LCD contrast ratios?

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not positive but...
by katzmaier CNET staff/forum admin / June 21, 2007 4:12 AM PDT

...I think Samsung is advertising in the neighborhood of 20,000:1. I honestly don't keep close track of manuf CR specs because they're often very inflated and don't give an accurate picture of real-world performance (black level especially).

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RBK and recording HDTV
by rbkirk / June 21, 2007 4:07 AM PDT

Another question....I have no idea if I can even get an HDTV signal over my 20 year old giant TV antenna in my attic...

It uses that old two wire TV antenna wire to go down into the house, screwed into two leads on the old antenna...

I was thinking of taking that, attaching RG6 to it, and then test it with an over the air HDTV tuner to see if it can even get a signal....and then see how things look.

If that worked, I would probably return the HDTV tuner, and then buy a PC HDTV tuner card and use something like Snapstreams Beyond TV...
http://www.snapstream.com/products/beyondtv/

Unless you have a better method to record over the air digital broadcasts....

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that should work...
by Braydon.Vihan CNET staff / June 21, 2007 4:16 AM PDT
In reply to: RBK and recording HDTV

it's all about placement with OTA HD. The first step is definitely finding out if you can get a signal, and using the existing antenna is what I always recc. to try first.

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Choosing the right TV
by bryanlovessoccer / June 21, 2007 4:08 AM PDT

What is a good TV that is between 20" and 30" with an ATSC tuner that is fairly cheap? Also, what is the importance of the ATSC tuner? (my friend recommend that I get a TV with that tuner)

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Don't review those...
by Braydon.Vihan CNET staff / June 21, 2007 4:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Choosing the right TV

...sizes at the moment, so I can't say firsthand. If I were buying a smaller set I'd probably get the 26-inch version of the Samsung I reviewed recently, model LN-T2653H, or if I wanted to spend less, the Vizio. The tuner is great if you don't have cable connected...otherwise it's not that useful.

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1080P
by canadian studen / June 21, 2007 4:08 AM PDT

I know that this question has been asked a million times, but I bought a HD tv in January, a Toshiba 42" plasma. I was wondering is 1080P tv that big of a difference? Should I wait till the prices come down? Or is not the best time too buy one?

Thanks in advance

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Again, depends on size...
by Braydon.Vihan CNET staff / June 21, 2007 4:19 AM PDT
In reply to: 1080P

...but overall it's not that big of a difference to most people (see reply below). If you'd rather save a couple hundred than be watching TV, you'll get better prices closer to the holidays, or by buying last year's model now.

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HDTV Picture Quality / What's the deal with OLED?
by EatMoreBread / June 21, 2007 4:09 AM PDT

Why is it that some HDTV channels appear to look better than others? Some appear more grainy than others while others seem to be a bit more blurry. As far as I can tell, they're all outputting in 1080i and I know my TV's pretty decent (Sony XBR2)

Also, what's the deal with OLED TV's? I hear so much about how they're so great, but what are they? What advantages do they have over traditional LCD/Plasma TVs?

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As for channels...
by Braydon.Vihan CNET staff / June 21, 2007 4:22 AM PDT

It's all about the source. Some networks, like Discovery HD and HD Net, pay special attention to try to get the very best quality, so they usually look the best regardless of your provider (cable, sat, etc). But some networks don't have as consistent of a source. Also, many cable and satellite companies privide more bandwidth to some channels (typically pay-per-view, local sports) and so they look better.

For OLED, I'll refer you here:

http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6449_7-6741419-1.html

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led backlit lcds
by bherbstman / June 21, 2007 4:09 AM PDT

Will LED backlighting make a big difference in image quality--brightness, color accuracy, contrast, etc.

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Yes it will
by Braydon.Vihan CNET staff / June 21, 2007 4:24 AM PDT
In reply to: led backlit lcds

The few LED backlit LCD's I've seen can produce a very deep black, and alsso looked a bit more vibrant color-wise. The specs certainly indicate LED-backlit sets will improve upon current LCD backlight tech. Then again they'll be quite expensive, which is the main reason they haven't come out in force yet beyond super-expensive models like the Sony Qualia (now discontinued).

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Better TV?
by sherv33 / June 21, 2007 4:09 AM PDT

Which plasma am I better off spending my money on:

Panasonic TH-50PX77U or the 75U? Is there a major difference between the two?

Also, through some of the research I have done, plasma(over LCD) seems to be the way to go for watching sports, correct?

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77U has a glare-reducing screen
by Braydon.Vihan CNET staff / June 21, 2007 4:26 AM PDT
In reply to: Better TV?

...which I really like. Other than that the two should have very similar PQ, and the price diff is like $100 at some places. I'd take the 77U myself.

Some people complain of blurring during motion on some LCDs, but many don't notice it. Also, newer LCDs have much less blurring during fast motion...I personally think the blur thing is also overstated between the two tech, but I'd take plasma for other reasons (uniformity, off-angle, price/size).

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DLP
by johnc600 / June 21, 2007 4:11 AM PDT

I purchased a samsung hls5087w in the fall. It took a while to get the color right but now the picture looks great. However, recently I have noticed the TV is getting some horribe user reviews. Most of the complaints have to do with component failure. Should I have gone with the sony Vega (3 lcd) or did I make the right choice with DLP?

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Can't really say.
by Braydon.Vihan CNET staff / June 21, 2007 4:27 AM PDT
In reply to: DLP

I'll say off the bat we don't test for long-term use here, so I can't really answer that question with authority. But I know a few people who've owned DLP for years and not had any issues.

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PDP 5070 v. 2007 Panasonics or Samsungs
by Jonathan8606 / June 21, 2007 4:12 AM PDT

How much should we adjust your ratings down when comparing a 2006 rating against a 2007 rating? I'm trying to decide between the 2006 Pioneers and the 2007 Panasonic or Samsumg.

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I try to keep them current...
by Braydon.Vihan CNET staff / June 21, 2007 4:29 AM PDT

And I still think the 5070HD can hold its own against the Panny 50PX77U or the Samsung 5064, with the exception of the Panny's glare-fighting screen. I am excited to check out the latest Pioneer but it's going to be expensive.

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RBK
by rbkirk / June 21, 2007 4:12 AM PDT

What is the best way to record over the air HDTV broadcasts?

I do have access to relatively old PC's that might make good HDTV tuners, with the appropriate add-in cards....They could sit by the TV and be a digital recorder...

If you have not done this article already, it would be nice to have one on the best way to make an HDTV DVR/Tivo-like device....

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