post #1 of 1
Thread Starter 
I am looking to upgrade my living room TV/"home theater" situation, and would like general comments and suggestions, and some specific TV (and possibly component) recommendations.

Here is my current set up in the living room. A non-digital 27" CRT TV, hooked up to a DVD/VHS combo, a N64 gaming console, a digital converter box/rabbit ears (which we don't used anymore), and analog basic cable. On this set up, we do a little bit of TV watching daily, just the major network stuff (news, primetime comedies/dramas, daytime talk shows), no more than an few hours; watch a movie once or twice a week (90% of the time DVD, 10% VHS); play Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64 a few times a week, and that's basically it. Major problems with this set up is my living room has a very large, south facing window (see diagram attached), and there is too much glare on the glass TV, so that during the day, it is almost impossible to play video games that have dark levels.

My more serious set up is in the bedroom. Just FYI, it is a PC/HTPC, hooked up to a 30" dell monitor (2560 x 1600 resolution), and a Klipsch 5.1 surround sound audio system. I'm running Windows 7 64-bit, so we have 7MC hooked up to the cable, which gives us about 15 HD channels and a few dozen analog channels (but I almost exclusively stick to the HD content). So I watch live TV, online content like hulu, you tube, and my DVD/TV library (both physical disks, and the ones I've gotten around to ripping), plus some other miscellaneous HD content files. I'm pretty happy with the setup in the bedroom, but we don't game in the bedroom, and it is hard to have friends pile in my bed to watch movies.

So I am looking to upgrade the living room situation, mostly to watch movies with friends. I'm also looking to get some HD content in the living room, do some light gaming, and to get a less reflective TV to handle the daytime glare. Clear QAM tuning ability is also important (but I understand it's mostly standard), but that is about it. Size I'm thinking something bigger than the bedroom monitor, so 37"-47". Viewing distances are around 10'-13', unless we are sitting on the floor playing N64, where viewing distances are down to 4'-6'. Eventually, I do intend to probably get surround sound speakers (but maybe 5.1, not 7.1) and either a newer gaming console with blu-ray capabilities, or a dedicated blu-ray player, but not immediately. Part of the issue with the surround sound situation in the living room is the awkward arrangement, and that the best place for a TV is in a corner, between the big window and the fireplace.

I've provided a to-scale diagram of my current set up for illustration purposes. Living room is technically 12.5' x 25', but only about 18' of the width is usable if you include the stairs going up, and leave a pathway to get from the front door through to the dining room/kitchen. We have a couch and chair set, and then I keep the two dining room arm chairs (represented by the rounded trapazoids) in the living room when we don't have the leaf inserted in the dining room table. The couch is flanked by a smallish bookcase on the left, and a stool on the right, and in front of the TV is a dogbed. Also, the space on the wall between the foyer and the big window, I have a wall mounted bike wrack and 2 bikes hanging from it.

I wouldn't mind relocating the furniture and TV if anyone has better suggestions, but this is the best we have come up with (drawback being the TV is at a 45 degree angle to all the seats, and there is major sun glare during the day). I'm also looking to upgrade the TV stand to one that is meant for a corner in order to maximize space efficiency, and to have something that looks nicer than our prefab/modular TV stand.

As for budget, I am stingy (a value shopper/bargain hunter), and would like to pay $500 or less for the TV. I'm also concerned about energy use and efficiency. I'm looking for specific TV recommendations, any comments on possibly re-arranging my floorplan, ideas where to place surround sound speakers, and possible other component suggestions (receiver/speakers/blu-ray, etc). I saw a deal on a Vizio RazorLED 42-inch LED-backlit LCD HDTV, for $630, which seemed like a good price for the product, but I'm not sure if I'd benefit from the added cost of a newer LED model, when some 42-inchers go for less. I am concerned a bit about quality and over all value, so I'm not necessarily out to just buy the cheapest TV out there (but I would be willing to wait around for a sale item or coupon to pop up, you know).

Anyway, I hope this isn't TMI. Thanks for any help and consideration. I hope I didn't forget anything, ha.