So yeah, wow is this whole subject (and the process of selecting an HDTV) is starting to give me a headache. I'm a hardcore gamer. Hard. Core. I'm looking to move to HDTV now that I (finally) acquired an Xbox 360, and because I recently moved across the country and ditched my old 480i-only 25" Samsung CRT in the process of moving, since I couldn't afford a moving van and had to pack my stuff in my little Hyundai, and am (relatively) flush with cash now that I got my tax return (about 1k) and have my car paid off and can afford to save for a decent TV above that price if I'm patient.
I figure if I'm going to be buying a new TV, I might as well go with something HD for my new Xbox 360, and so that all my old Xbox/GCN/PS2 games (can, if they support it) look spiffy. Problem is, I'm pretty much screwed. My first choice was the purchase of a Viewsonic N3250W. I actually thought LCD tvs were a good idea for gaming. Must have been some leftover drugs in my system from back in the day, because what a mess that was. I should have gone to the store and checked the 480i quality. I've subsequently discovered that LCDs make 480i look like crap. Hell, this one made 480p look like crap. Colors were awful. Black levels were mediocre. Ghosting. Abysmal upconversion. The list goes on. I did my homework before purchase, but apparently I got an "F" on it.
So now, I'm wiser. But I still have a dilemma. See, now I know not to buy LCD. The problem is that I can't find a solution to everything. I'm looking at DLP now, because the price is right, but there's that whole lag issue, and given the obnoxious shortage of GCN component cables (and their subsequent scalping on Ebay for, last check, 70+ bucks), I'm going to be stuck playing any new GCN titles (Zelda Twilight Princess, anyone?) in 480i for probably a while. Plus the discontinuation of the XRGB2 (and price of it) means further headaches.
So now I'm leaning towards CRT. Good old CRT. Trouble is, apparently there's *still* lag in even HD CRTs with 480i signals. My current top choice is the Samsung TX-R3079WH. Outside of the possibility of distortion around the edges (supposedly fixable with the service menu for those of us bold enough to attempt such a feat...), it looks like it suits my needs as far as features and image quality go. Even has HDMI inputs. Trouble is, there's still that question of lag. I will be playing games in 480i, both old and new (Devil May Cry 3, for instance, is 480i only, and I haven't gotten a chance to do it justice ever since the SE came out, as I've lacked a TV that makes it look as pretty as it deserves to be), as well as 720p (how's that look on HD-CRTs btw? Acceptable or better compared to DLP?) for newer games like my Xbox360 stuff.
I'd like to go with a DLP for the large screen size and small form factor, though that whole bulb thing is annoying. I definitely don't want to wait years for SED (which is perpetually delayed, and possibly soon to be scrapped), Plasma is an option, but man is it expensive and I haven't heard a single thing in this entire thread regarding lag on a Plasma, let alone anything anywhere about how it makes 480i look compared to CRTs. One of the most frustrating things about the LCD was how it made 480i (and even 480p, to a lesser degree) look "muddy" and overly pixellated. Maybe that's just because 480i on a CRT features the poor mans' antialiasing...but honestly, I find that I prefer that vs how it looks on LCD. Maybe that's just because LCD is an overall inferior technology to every other kind of TV type out there. Jury's out on that one.
So, first up, is anyone still alive around here? Second, any advice is greatly appreciated. I know that I should go to a store and test games for my self (believe me, I will, but I'm afraid Best Buy will kick me out after I spend hours testing a ton of games, because I am that picky), but any suggestions as to ideas that don't involve tacking 300+ dollars for an upconverter on an already expensive purchase would be helpful. As it stands, the best I can come up with currently is to just have 2 TVs, one DLP/HDCRT for new school, and one oldschool CRT (thankfully they're cheap, I can get a 27" w/components for around 200-250), but that doesn't address the issue of hooking up a Home Theater and wanting to play games (including 480i ones) in surround sound...so it still isn't really a solution.
Btw Fubarduck, thank you for writing such a detailed FAQ on gaming lag on HDTVs. I knew it was there but never the extent of it, and I was close to purchasing a DLP TV until I read your faq. The whole "game mode" thing does sound like it helps, but I'm still worried about it, and will have to spot test some rhythm games (Guitar Hero!) so that I can get a feel for how acceptable it is.
God forbid I should try to play Ninja Gaiden Black on a TV that lags...