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recommendations for a small to mid sized LCD TV

by Floydianslip / August 4, 2006 1:14 PM PDT

Ok, I happen to be employed by a major electronics retailer who just happens to offer a good discount on home theater goods. I'm in college and am looking for a good LCD screen. My roommate plans on getting a PS3 when it comes out, but otherwise the only HD source I'll be able to use will be an up-converting DVD player I plan on picking up as well.

I'm looking mostly at 26 in screens. Just looking for some good recommendations. I am not too picky although it will need at least one HDMI input. I will mostly be using the TV to watch movies... so which would be better: 720p or 1080i? Also, the most important thing is the sound quality. I don't have room for good speakers and I'm not expecting anything amazing from the ones built in... but they need to suffice. Thanks for any help you can give.

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If you've got the $, get an XRB
by Dan Filice / August 4, 2006 2:32 PM PDT

Last month, I spent many hours over a weekend installing an LCD for my father-in-law and my wife's friend's husband. We originally bought the Samsung and the Sony Bravia. After hours fiddling with the setups on the Samsung (using Video Essentials), we realized the Samsung was defective. It kept changing aspect ratios by itself, even when watching a single source. We returned it and bought a Sony XRB. Wow, what a difference. IMHO, the Sony was built better than the Samsung. The case and stand on the Samsung were just cheap compared to the Sony. The Sony had better colors and blacks. Now get this: The speakers on the Samsung were on the bottom edge of the TV frame and POINTED DOWN!! Go figure. Also, the Samsung image seemed to be soft or washed. The Sony image punched. Next, my wife's friend had bought a Sony Bravia. It didn't quite fit his cabinet, so we returned it and bought a Sony WEGA. It didn't say XRB, but the XRB shares the same video processing engine (WEGA engine). The Bravia had the same softer picture like the Samsung. The WEGA/XRB punched! You probably won't see this on a showroom floor because most TVs have their brightness turned up to 100 percent as well as the contrast, and the picture image choices are typically on "Vivid" to give the brightest, most contrasty picture. The Sony speakers were very good. Had nice bass and virtual surround, which was nice in a small space. The Sony XRB/WEGA remote was better than both the Samsung or Bravia. Better setup and fine-tune options too. Also, for whatever reason, the WEGA/XRB seemed to do a much better job of handling crummy standard-def cable channels. There was less jaggies on text too. So, I would say if you've got the bucks, get an XRB. It runs about $200 to $300 more than the Samsung and Bravia, but to me you will forget the extra cost when you see the picture. And my 2-cents: stay away from Philips, Magnavox, RCA and the off-brands. They're tempting because they are $400 to $500 less than a good TV. Oh, as far as 720p vs 1080i, I don't think you will find a 26" TV that is rated at 1080i native resolution. 720p is perfect. The Sony and Samsung are native 720p but they do display 1080i. Personally, when watching HD channels that broadcast in both 720p or 1080i, I can't tell the difference. Both look stunning.

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thanks/eek
by Floydianslip / August 4, 2006 3:32 PM PDT

I will check out the prices on the XRB sets tomorrow, thanks for the advice. I work in the customer service department of said store and fully agree with you about the knock off brands! Just in-case I can't go up to the XRB, do you happen to know if the 26in BRAVIA (~$1300) has the same speakers as the other sony you described? and thank you SO much for the info about the Samsung... that had been the model I was leaning to.

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Sony Speakers
by Dan Filice / August 4, 2006 4:50 PM PDT
In reply to: thanks/eek

First off, both Sony TVs I mentioned say "Bravia". They are different. The XBR model is the KDL-V26XBR1 and the Bravia is the KDL-26S2000. l looked up both on the Sony site and they only give specifics on speakers on the XBR (two 2-way 40 X 100mm full-range cone speakers, each with separate tweeters, 26 watts total). the Bravia specs do not mention anything about the speakers. I would assume the XBR might have better speakers. When I first installed the Bravia, I didn't spend too much time analyzing the speakers, but I do remember they were fine and nothing was obviously bad. Both Sonys have only one HDMI. If you use a standard progressive DVD player, use component. If you plan on getting an HD player, it will have HDMI. I would assume your X-Box will too. Hmmm....tough decision. You might need to swap plugs each time. By the way, the XBR is $400 more retail: $1699 vs $1299. You know that the XBR is a good TV because the sales people refuse to give it a discount. I think I was able to get $100 off because we were exchanging a TV. In another month, we may see a price drop on existing Sony TVs because they will be offering their new sets which are 1080p native resolution. Unfortunately the smallest size will be 42" I believe.

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the xbr lcd's can't be discount much becauseee
by masterying01 / August 5, 2006 3:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Sony Speakers

they're on sale for a ridiculous amount every week already...cause they're trying to get rid of them to make room for the new ones. it sucks. the 32xbr1's regular price is $1999, but its been onsale for the past month....and right now you can pick it up for around $1600 sale (non-haggled) price. retailers still have to make some margin on the tv...tats why it can't be discounted that much...sorry. ;p

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Sony XBR...
by uabtim / August 4, 2006 3:31 PM PDT

The XBR sounds like it would probably be the best choice for you. If the dvd player is going to be the only HD source until you get a PS3 then it's definately the best choice. Not only is it going to have one of the best pictures, but it's also one of only few sets that will take an analog cable signal and upconvert it into digital quality picture. Only downside with the XBR is that it only has 1 HDMI input. However, again, if the dvd player is the only HD source it makes no difference. If there is another HD or digital device you want to add on later, you can always use component and won't see too much difference.

As far as the best resolution choice, 720p is going to be the best choice. It will come out a little clearer than 1080i.

As far as audio, there's always the Bose Cinemate. Just run an audio cable from the tv into the speakers and you're set.

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One more item about XBR
by Dan Filice / August 5, 2006 2:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Sony XBR...

The XBR has a cable card. The Bravia does not. Not a huge thing if you only plan on hooking the TV up to rabbit ears but a nice option that replaces the cable box if your cable company supports it.

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