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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,


I will soon be purchasing my first HDTV, and I'm seeking a little advice. I'm not new to the world of home theater, but I definitely know the least about HDTV. I've decided that a 36" tube will work best for me, as my uses will include DVD's, gaming, and standard cable. No HDTV programming just yet. Also, I live in an apartment currently, so the size makes sense. Anyway, the list is composed of the usual suspects...


1. Toshiba 36HF72 - I have a Toshiba right now, so this was my initial pick. My experience w/ Toshiba has been very good so far, and most of the reviews I've read from this tv have been solid as well. I have read about some people having geometry problems w/ the 16:9 mode, though. Is this very common, and if so, is it fixable?


2. Sony 36HS500 - This set looks good in stores, and right now it's the same price as the Toshiba (here, anyway). I've read that some people prefer the adjustable DRC in the XBR over this one, but I'm not really even sure what that is. Can the DRC be turned off if it sucks? Also, can anyone give an opinion on the picture of this set compared to the Toshiba? I haven't found a store that sells both brands... One more thing - Apparently the 36HS510 is coming out soon, and if I read the specs correctly, it has the same "Wideband HD Amplifier" that the XBR possesses. If I'm thinking of this set, perhaps I should just wait for the new model?


3. Sony 36XBR800 - This probably isn't going to happen because of the price, but it does look pretty fantastic. Obviously it's got the Wideband HD Amp, and adjustable DRC, for whatever that's worth. Another thing is the DVI input, which I guess the HS has also. How much importance should I place on that, specifically?


Anyway, any commentary on these sets would be greatly appreciated. I've read a lot of previous post on comparisons of the two Sony sets, so I guess what I'm mainly looking for is opinions on the HS500/HS510 vs. the Toshiba. Thanks a ton for any advice offered. :)
 

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From what I have read and experienced with my Tosh (36hf12). The Tosh will have a better adjusted picture out of the box. The sony's have an extreme amount of options to tweak in the service menu. The tosh service menu is nothing to scoff at but i guess the sony is definitely a step above when it comes to tweaking.


The geometry is adjustable via the service menu. However the horizontal bowing issues require a trip to the service shop that is covered under the warranty. I wish I could give you comparison however I saw the Tosh at Costco for $1499 and couldn't turn it down.
 

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pigvomit is exactly right.


The sony service menu can't be beat with any other direct view TV in it's price range.


The auto squeeze feature on the sony models are also a very very handy feature.


XBR is definitelly the one to get. If you can't spend that much, I would chose the HS over the toshiba.


YOu just get so many more features, a better user menu, a better service menu, DVI, and more.


The toshiba is a wonderful set though but if they are close to the same price there shouldn't be any question on which to go with.
 

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Alternative to the hype: check out the link in my signature. maybe perfect for your small apartment if you don't want 5 set-top boxes and tons of wiring.
 

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My mother has the Sony KV-36HS500, and all I can tell you about it is that it looks fantastic with all of the various inputs. It even looks great when viewing crappy VHS tapes or TIVO.
 

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Reese77


Welcome to AVSforum. You will find a variety of opinions here but I sure wish I had known about the forum before I bought my first TV. I own a 34xbr800 widescreen now, watch about half DVD and half ReplayTV (no HDTV or live TV) and sit at 7 to 8'. I don't know about the Toshiba except it looked good in the store but I liked the Sony better (Toshiba would be my #2 choice for a 34" flat widescreen anyhow).


Since this is May, if you are thinking about a hs500, you may want to wait for the hs510. On another thread the hs510 appears to be out in some places so it may be coming to a store near you soon. As long as the DRC can be defeated (I am 99% sure it can be on the hs500), there is probably little use for the V1 ciruitry in my opinion. On my xbr800, I turn the setting to 1,1 which is as close to off as I can set it. And, I just leave it there. NTSC looks better to me with the DRC off or nearly off.


Someone should mention this at least once. :D Since you like DVDs, have you considered a 34" widescreen? DVDs are the reason I purchased widescreen and the hs510 is now coming in a 34" widescreen version for a MSRP of $1999. For more on the 34hs510, see the Sony website .


The hs510 also has DVI, which I think is worthwhile especially if you want to jump on board the latest DVI DVD player revolution. If you and I get around to it some day (like land cable in HDTV with a direct HD DVR), then HDTV should look very nice over the component ports or we can buy a switcher. Final disclaimer that the above is just my opinion. Some may think the DRC V1 circuitry is the best thing since microwave ovens. Have fun with your new TV. :)


Rick
 

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A couple of other points for the tosh are:


If you are viewing a considerable amount of standard analog cable the Toshiba is generally considered to have a better picture for average to poor analog signals.


Also,


Sound and Vision (I believe) rated the picture of the toshiba (36HFX71) as the 2nd best direct view image ( first was the $4K+ Loewe Aconda 38") in the market last year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've thought about the 34" widescreen, but since I watch standard cable and play a lot of video games (most of which are not WS), I can live with the 4:3. Plus, I did a little quick math and apparently the 36" still yields a 33" widescreen image. As long as the squeeze is there, I'll be happy.


Thanks to everyone for their opinions so far. With the new models allegedly on the way, I may wait for a bit (though it's going to be a struggle). The HS510 is supposed to be out this month, and it's listed for $1800, which is the current sale price of the HS500 at my local BB. Perhaps by the time it comes out we'll have the specs for Toshiba's 36HF73, which I hear is coming in June:
http://ww2.onecall.com/PID_18397.htm ...Or maybe the older models will get closed out at prices too low to pass up. I wish the upgrade bug hadn't bit several weeks before the new models come out - it's getting difficult to wait. ;)


Speaking of low prices, here's another question - what's everyone's experience with haggling for price? How much of a discount could I expect to get? Is it possible to angle for a free stand, because I need one of those, too. :D


Thanks again for the advice, and if anyone has more advice or any surfacing information on the new/old models, please feel free to share!
 

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If you have a Costco near by. The Toshiba 36HF12 (warehouse version of the 72) goes for $1499 and they also sell the matching stand for $150. The best part is Costco's return policy. If you are unsatisified you may return your purchace for a full refund.


I have spoken of this before just search for "36HF12" and "costco"




They also take AMEX
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just wanted to resurrect this thread for a moment to give an update: I ended up going with the 36" XBR. I bought it from Ultimate Electronics and got (what I perceive to be) a pretty decent deal. Thanks to everyone who offered their opinions! I've had it for about a week now, and it's been fantastic so far. Playing with all the settings can be a little mind boggling, but I think I've almost got everything tweaked. ...Except for analog cable; that still looks not-so-good. (Anyone want to post their settings?) On a sidenote: Though I am content, it's kind of funny how going from a 27" analog set w/ component connection to a 36" set with progressive yields a picture that looks about the same. It's great to have a bigger screen though. :)
 

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If you increased the image size for cable TV, sit at the same distance, and don't notice more artifact on NTSC then congratulations. Your "same picture but bigger" is a good thing for NTSC sources and a compliment to the electronics in the TV. Since you bought the xbr you may want to look at the 34xbr800 faq . After calibrating, correcting geometry, and fixing red push with AVIA , you might try the pro setting and decreasing the DRC palette to 1,1. Try to avoid any splitting of the cable signal if you can. If it really looks bad, call out the cable company. It will never be DVD quality but unless you are right on top of the TV, it should be watchable. Good luck. :)


Rick
 

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I saw that the local Costco dropped the price on the Toshiba to $1299 yesterday. Does anyone know if has "true" vertical compression in widescreen mode? ( I can't get the search function to work). Also what will be the difference between it and the upcoming model?

Thanks

loco
 

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Reese 77,


Congrats on your 36XBR! A great TV and top of the line in PQ. My 40XBR replaced my much older 27" XBR and WOW was their a difference! It has definitely spoiled me, and now when I look at smaller screens they appear "tiny". Once you go BIG, you'll never want to get a smaller screen.


A word about splitting your cable signal. No, it's not the best thing, but unfortunately it must be done on your Sony if you have digital cable box and still want Twin View (PIP). If someone knows a better solution then please post it. I minimized signal degradation by using a Monster Splitter w/signal amplifier. It seems to work fine, and there are times I'm amazed at how good SD material looks on my 40"er. Good luck.
 
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