Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Near West Palm Beach, Florida
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I bought my first HDTV in January, and I shared some of your concerns as well. My first set was a Sharp 52" 120Hz set... I exchanged it for a Sony 52W4100... last year's version of the V5100 series. The Sharp was a good set, but I find the Sony to be slightly better. And the Sony has a feature called Motion Enhancer that adds a "pop" to the picture. Some describe it as a 3D or Soap Opera effect. Some hate this feature, but just as many (maybe more) like it. I bought the W4100 over the V4100 simply to have the 120Hz just in case it would be needed a year or two or three from now.. future-proofing.
Since then I've also picked up a Samsung 40B550, a 1080p 60hz set, and I do not see a difference the Hz makes. 120Hz is supposed to reduce the blur that occurs in fast action scenes and sports, but I've yet to notice any blur in either set.
You will be disappointed in how poorly standard def is displayed, but you do not need HD cable or satellite... you willl likely receive the major networks in HD even with Basic or Expanded Basic cable (like I do). HD screens especially emphsizes the flaws in SD programs. You can pay $7 for an HD box, or receive additional HD programming for more $$$, but it is certainly not necessary for you to enjoy your new TV. The best cure for SDTV is distance... the farther from the screen you are... the better the picture looks.
Standard DVDs will look great, a big step up, even if only connecting via coax cable or composite. And a DVD upconvert player ($45-$70) will improve that experience even more. Bluray is not necessary. Sure the picture is awesome on Bluray, but when I play DVD on my upconvert player, viewing from 10ft, I cannot tell difference between that and Bluray.
Looks like you're buying from BestBuy (prices match); 30 return policy with no restocking fees. Pickup a Bluray player and/or an upconvert player, rent a BD movie and watch some of your DVDs to see how they compare... then decide whether you need Bluray. If not, simply return the player. Or ask them to hook up a DVD player to the screen you're buying, or one similar, and see how the picture quality looks in the store.
They will try to sell you calibration... say no thank you. They will try to sell you a Comcast, DirectTV or other HD package... just say not yet. They will try to sell you a warranty... most reviewers recommend you don't buy one... you decide what gives you peace of mind. They will try to sell you expensive HDMI cable(s)... just say no thank you, and head to Walmart for a cable... or order now from monoprice.com. Cheap cables work just as well as the most expensive.
Good luck... enjoy your shopping... and remember, you have that return policy... do not be afraid to use it.
Vizio E600i-B3, LG 42PG25 Plasma, Sony 46Z5100 LCD, Samsung 19D4000 LED, Insignia 28", Samsung BD-P 2550, PS3 Slim, LG BD570, Panny DMR-EZ485V