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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    Concord, CA
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    7,056

    Default Blu-ray and More

    I was into my local RadioShack back in late December, 2008 to get a battery. They were out but called the downtown Concord RS and they had it in stock. So I went there. This store is across the street from Frys. So they have serious competition. Because of that they had a much greater selection of LCD TVs along with Blu-ray disc players. Two of the TVs had a very good picture, the 3rd had an incredibly great picture. I asked the girl there what was driving that picture, a Blu-ray disc player.

    I went home and looked at several 37" high-def LCD TVs and Blu-ray disc players. Decided on Samsung for both. Its player will also play DVDs in progressive scan and listen to CDs with highest quality audio. And the Samsung LCD TV is an all in one, rotating and tilting stand, surround sound speakers built into the frame, a 2 x 10W (RMS) amplifier built in, HDMI ports for both audio and video and more. Neither unit comes with the HDMI cables but the cable carries both the audio and video and therefore simplifies and eliminates the need for a tangled mess of wires. HDMI cables can get very expensive.

    Did some research online and there are mixed feelings about whether expensive HDMI cables are really any better than cheap ones. One of the advocates for cheap claimed to be an electronics engineer. Most of the advocates for expensive were like me, consumers who know little but had gone to the Monster website, the gold standard, for their explanation. To simplify, they say think of the cable as a pipe, bigger and better construction are better. Monster carries various grades of HDMI cables too, further confusing the issue for me, how big a pipe did I want?

    Went back to RS looking for a better price for what I wanted from the store manager, a bundle price offer even lower than the sale prices for both units they were offering. He said he would have to contact the store owner. I said do it. Eventually he returned from the back office and offered another 12% discount from even the sale prices for all that I wanted including several other items. Done.

    Now the really hard part, finding a piece of furniture that will hold the TV, glass doors with shelves inside for the Blu-ray disc player, storage places for the disc boxes, the right color, and so forth. Sent the wife to Sears to look. She found a TechCraft 48" wide Black Flat Panel Credenza that she liked very much. Took me back to the store to see the salesman and she and I were able to get 10% off of the listed price. Seems that these days nearly everyone will negotiate.

    Online, Amazon carries Monster cables in the various grades. I decided on 2 meter length and the very best quality since one of their marketplace venders carries that cable new at half the Monster list price. The cables arrived in 4 days. To protect the equipment I purchased a Tripp Lite ISOBAR6ULTRA Isobar Ultra Surge Protector/Suppressor 6 outlets 6ft Cord 2350 Joules from Amazon as well as an APC ProtectNet standalone surge protector for coax cable lines (CATV/DSS). The cable entering the house can be wired directly to the APC ProtectNet to surge protect everything attached to the datalines throughout the house.

    A couple more items: I added a RS Cable TV line from the wall to the Samsung LCD TV. Your cable TV provider can also provide that.

    Lastly, from what I can find out, your cable TV provider has optional Hi-Def and standard-Def cable boxes available. The Hi-Def version with Hi-Def channels should have an HDMI output port to connect to the HDMI input port of my Samsung LCD TV. Right now I have 2 CRT TVs connected to Standard-Def Cable boxes which do not have HDMI output ports. I am soon changing both cable TV and internet to another provider anyway. That about covers it. I invite questions, criticisms, comments. Am a newbie for sure at this and want to learn more. k

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    1hr N/W of LA LA Land
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    3,317

    Default

    That looks like a real nice setup k. I rarely watch TV myself. The cost of subscription TV is not worth the quality of the programming offered IMHO, and I only get 2 channels over the air here. Both show infomercials in Spanish. LOL

    Don't get me started on Monster cable. It's very overpriced, and their practice of suing anybody who uses the word monster in their business name makes 'em a legal bully IMHO. Of course it's not as bad as those guys that pimp $50 per ft "audiophile" cables, and little stands to keep it off the floor.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    austin, tx
    Posts
    322

    Default

    Nice....sounds great.

    my thoughts:

    The only difference I've noticed in HDMI quality in cables is the shielding. The more expensive cables seem to fend off RF and other interference better, which is usefull at my work. IMO, the size, conductivity and overall quality of the wire itself for HDMI is less important than other cables which usually carry analog signals, because HDMI is a stream of digital information that only needs to arrive at the TV "intact" and not interferred with, to then be decoded by the TV. Analog signals can be changed by the cable that transmits them, but once converted to a digital stream, the only cable requirement is that the data stream not get broken. An exception to this I should mention is Toslink type digital optical cables, since low quality cables of this type can make your life hell. So to me, it seems that cheaper HDMI cables could be used in most home installations, although if you know that the setup won't be changed for a few years, cables with gold connections will be more reliable and might cost a little more.

    Another thing to think of if someone is considering to view Blu-Ray at it's maximum quality, is to get a TV capable of 1080p, which is the progressive scan version of the 1920x1080 (third tier) HD standard. Most HDTV channels are 720p or 1080i, but Blu-Ray supports full 1080p and I was totally shocked when I first saw it. Fry's had a 60" plasma playing Pirates of the Caribbean in 1080p about two years ago and I remember just standing there like an idiot, stunned. IMO, all the flat panel TVs have one drawback, and that is that regular standard definition TV channels look terrible on them. A friend of mine has a 60" Samsung LCD and I crap on myself during Blu-Ray movies, but then an SD cable channel is turned on and there is aliasing all over the picture because it's being upconverted. More and more HDTV channels are coming out all the time, so it's not such a big deal.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    on the landline, Mr. Smith
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    7,787

    Default

    Nice stuff Kaye.

    Glad you cracked this door open. What the hell is going on with TV these days? Analog looks like crap on modern TVs.....as despaxas rightly pointed out. What gives?

    Oh, and what's with the 16 x 9/10 TVs and 4 x 3 broadcasts? I still have an older CRT TV cause I can't stand the stretched view of the world that most people don't seem to mind. Sure, you can do letter box (or what ever it's called), but then you shink your TV by a large percentage. Wiill broadcast ratios ever match TV ratios again?



    ......No I have not been keeping up.
    Last edited by unclemac; 02-09-2009 at 02:08 PM.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    NW Montana
    Posts
    8,197

    Default Looks nice Kaye

    My 18/20 year old 27" Sony finally died the first part of January. I am not a big TV fan myself. But being home most of the time I find myself watching more of it. We have very little competition around here so it's tough to negotiate a deal. We get Walmart (HA), Radio Shacks, Best Buys and a few local venders (usually higher priced).

    I was looking at the 32", 37" and 40"ers. Then was shown as 42" LG that was 120 hertz rather than 60 hertz. It looked really nice (next to the 60 hertz) so I bought it - last one off the shelf. I got it for $300 lower than the last listed sale price. Probably a lousy year old worn out display model.

    It was a semi impulse buy with less research than I usually put into a purchase like this. The thing has more in and out puts than I could ever imagine using. So far it seems nice. I'd like to start using some of it's capabilities more.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Virginia... where one Democrat CAN make a difference
    Posts
    2,929

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    Samsung (along with Sharp, Sony and LG) all have a stellar reputation

    I went with LG 42" LCD and the LG SuperBlu (BluRay and HD-DVD) I have been buying HDDVD movies amazingly cheap these days I am very happy with my decisions there.

    One thing I did learn is that the eye popping picture usually doesn't look quite so good at home. This is because these TV's come preset to look good in a bright noisy showroom... they are set to look better than the one next to it which is set to look better than the one next to it and so on... This usually results in colors bleeding into other colors when you are in a relatively dark room. Sometimes you get static in the blacks... a good calibration in home will take care of this if you have any issues like these. Calibrations are kind of expensive (100 - 300$) If you know how you can do it yourself. I am poor and don't know how so I went to the AVS forums and found a calibration setting for my TV, at my preferred lighting. Plugged in those numbers and it looks great. I had to access the technicians menus to do it.. again avs forums told me how to do that

    I am definitely in the 'cheap cable' camp. Monoprice is my cable supplier. If the cable has the spec rating for what you need there is no reason IMHO to pay a lot. In this case the spec you need is HDMI version 1.3a catagory 2. But to each his own on that one..

    I have noticed that movies with desert shots look outstanding even compared to other HD scenes. Sahara, Stargate, some scenes in Firefly etc...

    Standard DVD up-conversion to 1080p works surprisingly well. This is very much dependent on the software upconverter in the player. As I said though Samsung has a great rep and you will likely be thrilled.
    Damien,

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    306

    Default

    I think clarity is a major plus. VHS was a major movie rental standard before DVD but there was also the S-VHS which was superior to VHS but never went on rentals, I guess. I have seen BluRay movies playing in store with amazing detail and quality but I still prefer the look in the theaters where its a bit soft and at times grainy like film should be. Until more movies are shot digitally than film, then Ill get a TV that will play them. I guess we had over 50 plus years of Standard Definition which we will always watch the way it was meant to be seen.
    I do weddings professionally, DVCAM and DV looks very sharp already and we need to soften those close up shots already. Imagine HD where you can probably see the brides facial hair in detail. And those people who will see their major facial wrinkles in HD. I guess , I'm just saying that HD also are for actors and people who can afford major cosmetic upgrades. With HD cosmetic surgery will boom.
    Well, since digital tv is here, I guess we have not much choice but to upgrade somehow now or in the near future, so get the best cable, get an HD camcorder, shoot your home videos, remember to shoot your parents and wife close up too and let us know which standard is good.

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