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The Official High Definition Thread
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Ryan
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Join Date: May 2004
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2006-05-03, 22:18

So, since this thread in AO has started to head off on a tangent about projectors (my fault actually), I'm starting this one over here.

Right now, in 1080p projectors, Sony has released the VPL VW100, which is a great projector, but still high priced. Optoma has announced the H81, which should be available in a few weeks. I believe projectordesign has something announced as well. I'm sure that BenQ and Sim2 have units coming down the pipeline, but no one else has said anything about 1080p front projection.

Also, there isn't any 1080p content, except for movie trailers from Apple, IIRC. HDDVD can handle 1080p, as can Blu-Ray, but the current Toshiba players still only output 1080i/720p at the most. Part of this has to do with there only being a handful of 1080p units out there, rear or front projection. Even most current 1080p rear projection televisions won't accept 1080p on any inputs! The only 1080p RP that does is the HP, I believe.

Fortunately, 720p is still *very* good, and a huge improvement over NTSC. I've decided for forget about 1080p, as I'll be getting an Optoma H79 in a few months. That decision may change as I get closer to the purchase date, but that one's the current forerunner. My only concern is that is doesn't have the lumens to power a large enough screen, since I'm currently looking at a 125" wide constant height setup for movies. Can you imagine Lord of the Rings on a screen that size!

On another HD note, the only way to get HD content right now is over the air and through the cable companies. Until the satellite providers stop compressing the hell out of their HD offerings, few home theater enthusiasts are even going to consider them. I'd like to go with DirecTV, but right now it looks like I'll get TWC just because of picture quality. Either way, it isn't a critical decision, since most TV I watch isn't in HD, and never will be.

So, I guess this is just an open thread on high definition, home theaters, television, whatever.
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digitalAngel
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2006-05-03, 22:30

my husband and i spent are tax refund on a new 61 inch HD TV last week.. so far we have played tiger woods on xbox360 in HD and it looks sweet!

we are planning to upgrade our directv service to HD.. is this true what you say about super compressed HD signal via satellite? i would love to learn more about this before upgrading so my money is spent on the best HD experience i can get. thx for the info

i Believe, that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade.
And try to find somebody who's life gives them vodka, and have a party!
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Ryan
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2006-05-03, 22:53

A lot of it depends on whether or not you'll notice the loss of quality due to compression. I haven't seen DirecTV's HD package on many rear projector setups, only projectors, so I can't really help you there, but there are noticeable compression artifacts. At that size, they will be more noticeable, but possibly only if you have a discerning eye. You might want to find a friend or coworker with DirecTV HD and ask if you can check it out at their house before you sign up.

OTOH, the customer service and pricing of your local cable company might be worse than the picture quality of DirecTV. I currently live in Comcast territory, and for SD, it wasn't worth $55 a month and terrible customer support for me.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2006-05-04, 17:17

I really want an HDTV.

I'm not sure what I think about buying a 720p set, though. I'm sorta convinced that, when all the dust settles, 1080p will be the standard for HD, and I don't want to be stuck with a sub-standard set.

Of course, 1080p sets are really expensive now...and they're not dropping in price quite as quickly as I hoped.

I'm moving, and I'll need a new TV this fall. I'm getting it mostly for movies and games, so I really don't want to drop a couple hundred on an SDTV, so "late" in the game. I'm thinking I'll probably pick up a cheap 720p CRT, although a 1080p projector will always be my dream.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Enki
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
 
2006-05-04, 18:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan
A lot of it depends on whether or not you'll notice the loss of quality due to compression. I haven't seen DirecTV's HD package on many rear projector setups, only projectors, so I can't really help you there, but there are noticeable compression artifacts. At that size, they will be more noticeable, but possibly only if you have a discerning eye. You might want to find a friend or coworker with DirecTV HD and ask if you can check it out at their house before you sign up.

OTOH, the customer service and pricing of your local cable company might be worse than the picture quality of DirecTV. I currently live in Comcast territory, and for SD, it wasn't worth $55 a month and terrible customer support for me.

I have DTVHD-Tivo and while I do occasionally see artifacts, they are far less distracting and ugly than even an unzoomed 42" NTSC input. I might suggest going for lower quality but good enough for today equipment. HD is going through so much upheaval and uncertianty I would keep it as inexpensive as possinble for awhile with "just good enough" to be happy for the price. Then when the market finally gets it s**t together buy very nice equipment that won't be obsoleted in 2 years or cost both arms and one leg.
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World Leader Pretend
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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2006-05-04, 19:20

Remember though, video is only half of the movie.

If you're willing to pay a premium for a relatively unnoticeable change in quality (unless you sit a foot away from your TV) you should also invest in some real HT Speakers.

Don't leaf through your local Best Buy pamphlet and choose the $500 dollar 5.1 HTIB, those rarely deliver.

Instead, invest in some really nice speakers that won't break the bank, but still sound like a $10,000 system.

Here's an example from Axiom Audio, an internet direct speaker company.

Review

This is a great value, as it costs $3681, or about the same as a 1080p HDTV. It also has a mini-fridge sized sub, great for a home theater.

(I'm not a salesman, just letting you in on a good deal)
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Ryan
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2006-05-04, 20:12

Axiom is one of the brands I'm looking at buying. Right now I'm looking at Paradigm, Axiom, Bowers & Wilkins, Energy, KEF and Onix Rockets. The Paradigms are at the top of the list right now, but I haven't been able to hear all of these speakers yet. I've read that the Rockets are better than the Paradigms for the money, but it's hard to audition them without a store to go to.



That's a Paradigm Monitor 11. A *very* nice tower, if anyone should be in the market for one.

Adding to what World Leader said, you need to get a good receiver or separates if you're going to spend that much on speakers. Something from Harmon Kardon, Denon or Yamaha would be adequate. I'm going the separates route myself, with the Outlaw 990 pre/pro and 7700 amp as my current forerunners. I'm also looking at Rotel and NAD.

Of course, you can't forget the subwoofer. I've never liked subs from speaker manufactures, though I haven't heard the Axiom EP600 (the one in the picture above). I say you always need a big SVS sub, but I'm sure most are happy with a smaller HSU or Velodyne unit. Subs from speaker companies don't tend to have the same extension, IMO.



That's 25" tall. SVS PB12/Plus, if you're interested.
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Engine Joe
Going Strange...
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY
 
2006-05-04, 21:25

I'm a fan of the Axoims - I have a set in my HT and they are hard to beat, especially in their price range.
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World Leader Pretend
Ruling teh World
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Boston, MA
 
2006-05-04, 21:50

Axioms tend to be a bit bright, which may/may not be a bad thing to you. Overall the speakers have great imaging and blend into the room.

If you are looking for something that has a very neutral tone, check out Ascend Accoustics, who sell internet direct at amazing prices for what the components are worth. Also sell Hsu subs directly from their site.

I'm sure that you've also heard of AV123, they sell Onix and other great speakers at great prices.

If you are looking for audiophile quality at "reasonable" prices, check out RBH Sound. These guys have one of the best reputations in the business, and have great customer support.

Here is their flagship tower system, the T3:


It stands an impressive 91 3/4" tall, or about 7 and 2/3 feet. Wow.
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scratt
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2006-05-04, 22:08

There was a very cool article explaining that 1080 is all a myth, and actually 720 is better effectively as good... I will try to dig it out..

Here's a couple of quotes from another source while I find that article..

Quote:
CAN YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE?
That's the key question. "If you have 20/20 vision, you would need to be closer than 2-1/2 times the screen's picture height to appreciate the quality of 1080p," says Richard Doherty, co-founder and research director of The Envisioneering Group, a technology assessment and research firm. "Otherwise, you might as well be watching 720p."
Quote:
TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY?
Is the extra resolution worth the price premium of a 1080p set? That depends a lot on what you want from your TV. If you insist on neighborhood bragging rights in the resolution department, then you may want to buy a 1080p model to "futureproof" your purchase. But if you choose to make the 1080p splurge, you should do it knowing that it might be a couple of years before widespread 1080p content becomes available. And, even then, the 1080p advantage will be pretty subtle on anything less than the largest screens. On the other hand, if you are interested in making the jump to high definition today--and enjoying the HD content that is already available--then most current 720p and 1080i sets will deliver stunning results right now.
It looks like you are gonna have to be pretty savvy to wade through all these specs..

'Wobulation' is another issue to watch out for... What a silly term!

I am not sure if this was the article, but it covers a lot of the same stuff..

http://editorials.teamxbox.com/xbox/...n-of-1080p/p1/

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt

Last edited by scratt : 2006-05-04 at 22:21.
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kaseyha
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2006-05-04, 22:17

I have a 1080p Samsung rear-projection DLP set. The first thing I noticed was how much brighter the the new 1080p DLP sets were than the previous gen. Alone, the difference in brightness was enough to convince me to buy. I don't have any experience with Direct TV, but Dish Network HD was pretty good. It depends heavily on the programming, but while artifacting is present, it still is much better than standard def broadcast TV.

Oh, and I love my KEFs. Accurate bass response, and GREAT imaging over a much larger area of the room than i was accustomed to with previous brands. The imaging issue was very noticeable and will be for most living room setups where the majority of the audience is not in the "sweet spot" of the room.

edit:
I know that the brightness has nothing to do with the DLP chip being used, but I wanted to point out that when shopping for a bigscreen TV, there is more to look at than resolution. My reason for buying the set I got was clarity of picture, lack of screen jitter, and an extremely bright picture.
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Engine Joe
Going Strange...
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY
 
2006-05-05, 06:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by World Leader Pretend
Axioms tend to be a bit bright, which may/may not be a bad thing to you. Overall the speakers have great imaging and blend into the room.
One person's 'bright' is another person's 'accurate'.
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digitalAngel
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2006-05-05, 12:13

i read an HDTV article on CNET which states:
Quote:
New MPEG-4 compression technology will bring more national HD networks and hundreds of local HD stations to satellite subscribers throughout 2006; set-top boxes with HD DVRs available.

Once MPEG-4 service is up and running, satellite might be the best way to get the most HD programming
mpeg-4.. very interesting! will that compression make it look better?

i see on direcTV's site they already have a box that is mpeg-4 compatable.

i Believe, that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade.
And try to find somebody who's life gives them vodka, and have a party!
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Ryan
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2006-05-05, 21:37

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalAngel
i read an HDTV article on CNET which states:


mpeg-4.. very interesting! will that compression make it look better?

i see on direcTV's site they already have a box that is mpeg-4 compatable.
It all depends on the compression rate that DirecTV uses. They could over-compress their MPEG4 feeds as much as they do their current MPEG2 feeds, we don't know yet. I'm not sure if any of their new satellites on online yet. Perhaps the new launches will allow them to lower the amount of compression they use.

WRT 1080p: I'd really like to get a 1080p projector, but I just can't justify the prices. I think a 720p projector will suffice for now. I'm still trying to see the Optoma H79 in action. I hope it has the lumens to drive a screen as large as what I'm considering. I've heard the model is plagued by bulb problems...

Last edited by Ryan : 2006-05-05 at 21:43.
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Moogs
Hates the Infotainment
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2006-05-05, 23:16

Paradigm speakers kick major ass. I have a pair of Studio/80s. Makes for aural orgasms galore. Great speakers when paired with a true Hi-Fi amp / receiver.
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Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2006-05-06, 11:54

Please don't buy 100 foot tall floorstanding speakers for your home theater. It defeats the purpose. You don't want sound bouncing off every wall multiple times. My home theater is in a 16x20 foot room and I don't even have a standalone sub because it is too much. Instead I opted for a pair of Definitive Technology floorstanding units with built-in subs.

Make sure your surrounds are dipoles as well...
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Ryan
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Join Date: May 2004
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2006-05-06, 23:13

Well, your room really should be acoustically treated. It takes a lot of time and understanding, but from what I understand it can be worth it, without costing too much.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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2006-05-07, 12:36

Wow...apparently I haven't thought about sound as much as I should.

But there's no way in hell I'd be able to afford any of the stuff in this thread, sorry. World Leader Pretend, I know you say not to pick up a $500 system, but for me, $500 is a lot. I'm breaking my bank to get a Samsung 30-inch 720p CRT already.

What would be your best advice for those looking for a cheap, but decent, audio setup? I've been listening through built-in speakers on small TVs my entire life, so pretty much anything would be an improvement, but I admit I could use some guidance here. I don't know nearly as much about audio as I do about video.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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World Leader Pretend
Ruling teh World
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Boston, MA
 
2006-05-07, 20:24

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboman
Wow...apparently I haven't thought about sound as much as I should.

But there's no way in hell I'd be able to afford any of the stuff in this thread, sorry. World Leader Pretend, I know you say not to pick up a $500 system, but for me, $500 is a lot. I'm breaking my bank to get a Samsung 30-inch 720p CRT already.
Whoa, I'm not made out of money by any stretch of the imagination!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboman
What would be your best advice for those looking for a cheap, but decent, audio setup? I've been listening through built-in speakers on small TVs my entire life, so pretty much anything would be an improvement, but I admit I could use some guidance here. I don't know nearly as much about audio as I do about video.
I would recommend the Logitech z5500 5.1 system. I own this system and use it for almost all of my audio/video needs. It is very loud, and has a nice 10" subwoofer. It also has a unique design that minimizes space and is easy to use/set-up.


Link
Audioholics Review
I bought mine for $310, with free shipping.
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Ryan
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2006-05-07, 21:16

If you're looking for an HTiB system, Onkyo makes one that seems to be considered the best in its price range. I can't quite remember the model number, though.

Forget that. In the $500 price range, you could get a nice receiver and set of bookshelf speakers. Check out AVSForum.com for reviews. I'd look at Harmon/Kardon, Pioneer and Onkyo receivers, and maybe Yamaha. The HK235 from Harmon/Kardon should be at the top of your list, IMHO. For speakers, Polk and Athena make good systems in your budget. Think about going with a 2.1 system right now rather than 5.1, but with a 5.1 (or 6.1/7.1) receiver. You'll be able to get some nice front speakers, and later on those can be moved to the back and you can add in a center and two new fronts. When you're working on a budget, always remember to look down the road at what can be easily upgraded.

Last edited by Ryan : 2006-05-07 at 21:24.
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