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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys.

I've been lurking here for a few weeks learning all about HDTV.

I appreciate the very informative posts. You guys are great.


I am currently in the market for a new TV but I'm not sure if I should consider (or need) a HD compatible set or stick with analog.


I currently have DirecTV (Sat 101 only) and Cable hooked up to my 13 year old 27" Sony. The TV still looks great...but I want a larger display, mostly for sports.


I recently installed DirectTV and like most of you, I am a bit disappointed in the picture quality...it lacks sharpness and on some channels (like HGTV) it looks like a crappy old VHS tape recorded at the slowest speed. I find myself watching cable more often than DirecTV because of this.


Anyway, I'm ready to take the plunge for a larger TV.

I'm looking at the 40" Sony XBR Direct View as well as the 51" Sony RPT.


Q>Do I really need a Digital TV if 90% of my viewing is analog?


Q>Do DTV's display analog signals better than, same as, or

worse than an analog set?


I'd hate to spend $3000 on a set which displays analog worst than my 13 year old Sony.


Your help is greatly appreciated!


Thanks!

:confused:
 

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With a larger display you will notice more inperfections in the picture. I went from a 19" to a 32" normal analog TV and it gave me a whole new view on DBS. (not is a positive way). If you want HD sports (HD NET) or HD movies (HBO HD) then thats something to think about. From what I hear HD Net is a wonderful channe. If that justifies the cost of an HDTV for you then Id say go for it. AFAIK, analog signals will be the same quality on both analog or digital displays. Best of luck on your HD quest!!! :)


Steve
 

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This was a big concern for me. I just moved from a 32" analog set with a nice picture to a 32" digital set (Hitachi 32UDX10S).. and have analog cable/DVD inputs.


My cable provider (TWC) must be pretty good and/or the line doubler in this digital set must be pretty good too.


Analog cable looks GREAT. Significantly better than on the analog set (JVC 32260).


Regular DVDs are slightly better on the digital set. Anamorphic DVDS are MUCH better.


I can't compare with DBS input as my DBS receiver is on the fritz.
 

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Picture quality on DTV is much better than DirecTV (or Dish Network, for that matter) and is significant better than analog. The problem with both satellite services is that they have dramatically increased MPEG compression ratios in order to squeeze all of those hundreds of extra local channels into the same limited amount of bandwidth. OTA (over-the-air) DTV, on the other hand, uses comparatively little compression so the picture quality is far superior. The lowest DTV resolution is standard definition (SD) 480p (progressive), which is twice as sharp as analog 480i (interlaced). ABC now offers all of its scripted comedy and dramatic series in high-definition (HD) 720p, and CBS offers all of its series in HD 1080i. From a personal perspective, I can tell you that in side-by-side testing, the picture quality of even an SD broadcast is much, much better than analog. Not only is the picture sharper, but the color and contrast appear much more film-like. And with the HD broadcasts, it only gets better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys!

I appreciate the feedback.


I went to Tweeter this evening to look at some Digital sets but walked away disappointed that they could not demo an over the air signal or even regular DirecTV.

All they had to show me was the HD feed and a DVD player playing Toy Story.


I will continue shopping around.

Thanks again!
 

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Hey PT, I have been to at least 3 different tweeters stores and have always had them switch to an NTSC picture. I would try again at another store. At most stores the sets that you see are not adjusted properly if at all. So what you see is usually not what you really get. Not to mention most of the sales staff are usually clueless (in my experience). Good luck
 

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Put it this way pt, never mind analog vs digital for a moment. If you go to a decidely bigger set, theres really no question the DirecTv SD channels will look "worse" (any flaws of which there are many will be magnified). Unless of course perhaps you double or triple your seating distance from the screen. But that kind of defeats the purpose then doesnt it.


Regardless, you're on the right track as far as wanting to see one in action with that feed. Nevermind what any of us say. Going to see it for yourself is the best move.
 

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I agree that it is best to see for yourself. However, I experienced the same problem as you -- it just wasn't possible at my retailer. Try to solve this if you can by visiting other retailers.


One thing I want to point out:

You say that "90%" of your viewing is of analog material. That is true now. But, in a few years (perhaps sooner), there will be significantly more content via digital transmission (HDTV and DTV). If you're prepared to buy an analog TV and consider it as a short-term (1 to 3 years) item, that is fine and I wouldn't even suggest it unwise. Alternatively, buying a DTV set now will improve your DVD experience and will give you access to HDTV as soon as you decide to buy a tuner box. With HDNet, you get some decent sports HDTV programming.


I bought a digital TV. I do regret it -- because I bought a 4:3 set. I wish I had bought a 16:9 digital set. I reasoned that 75% of my current (before the purchase) viewing was of 4:3 standard definition TV material (the other coming from DVD). I splurged for an HDTV tuenr and now find myself watching 75% HDTV and widescreen DVD's. I wish I had the 16:9 set. My point is that I didn't weigh heavily enough how my viewing habits/preferences might change with the higher quality TV and signal. I expect even more HDTV will tilt my viewing even more to 16:9 HDTV material.


By the way, I actually think that my Sony XBR450 made DirecTV look better than it did on my analog TV. Still not good, mind you, but as good as it was going to look on a set of that size.


Just some thoughts as you make your decision.
 

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Well I had a 35 inch direct view Toshiba with E* and I wanted the new DTV experience. I purchased Hitachi's 43 in 16x9 set and a Dish 6000 receiver. Boy did I get surprises. First, all SD is now larger and add to that stretched. So I now sit further back to hid the lack of sharpness, and sometimes I often wince when people get into the corner stretch zones and turn short and pudgy. It is not pretty.


But on the other hand, DVD watching has become a truly theatrical experience with my progressive JVC player and 5.1 sound. It is a pure joy.


Luckily, I got the HD convertor and receive HD HBO and CBS. This is the "saving face" for a poor decision. It is really special to watch common television in full 16x9 with no distortion, no grain, just the sharpest picture you have ever seen. I do not allow company to the SD, only the HD and DVD.


If you are not doing something very similiar, stay where you are and you will be a lot happier.
 

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In my experience there is a marked difference in NTSC display performance amongst the various HDTVs that are out there, probably having to do with the quality of the line doubler.


The previous poster may mislead you into thinking your 4:3 analog viewing will be distorted. While the better brands have a "Natural Wide" or "Wide Zoom" mode available that gives you a reasonable picture that fills the whole 16:9 screen, pretty much all of the widescreens have a "Normal" or 4:3 mode that lets you view the 4:3 material in the correct aspect ratio, with gray/black bars on the sides.


If you are watching 4:3 stretched to 16:9 without any artful "clipping" involved, then I agree you will get an ugly picture.
 

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BTDT,


I agree with BTDT. wstanko's point is very misleading to people who aren't familiar with their 16:9 choices. That is, there are many (most even) 16:9 TV's that will not force you to watch a stretched 4:3 show. As BTDT points out, almost all will allow a 4:3 show to be shown in the correct 4:3 geometry with side bars (gray or black). I don't usually see too many people complain about that.


As I said above, given that I now watch about 75% 16:9 material, I would far prefer the side bars on the 25% of the time I watch 4:3. Stretching 4:3 is yet another option, but I would agree with wstanko's point that stretched 4:3 looks pretty bad. My point is that 4:3 doesn't have to look bad on a 16:9 TV.


wstanko, I'm surprised that your Dish 6000 doesn't have a side bar option so that you can watch 4:3 material in the correct ratio. Is this something that you've tried and rejected or is this something you are unaware of is possible? I only ask in hopes of helping you improve your enjoyment, since you seemed a bit unhappy. I don't have Dish 6000, but others here who do could probably help you figure out how to view 4:3 material so that it is not so objectionable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the great feedback guys.


It sounds like image flaws will be magnified by a larger set regardless if the set is Digital or Analog.


I will keep searching for a dealer who can show me all types of signals thru a variety of televisions.


Thanks again for the education!

:)
 

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Gents,


How much better of a picture will I get on my 38" RCA HDTV tube tv if I get another RCA DTC-100 tuner (since the internal RCA HDTV tuner has no outputs) and output the s-video of the digital HD directv and the digital over the air broadcasts to my stand alone tivo VERSUS using the internal analog tv tuner in the tivo and using a standard directv (Non HDTV) receiver to the tivo?


thanks,

Rick
 

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Originally posted by wstanko

Boy did I get surprises. First, all SD is now larger and add to that stretched. So I now sit further back to hid the lack of sharpness, and sometimes I often wince when people get into the corner stretch zones and turn short and pudgy. It is not pretty.


I guess I should have elaborated more, for many have said that I have more choices that should make me happier. First of all, the "stretch" that I referred to is the stretch that does not take place on the 4x3 section of the picture. It is only in the side panels area. That is what I meant by people getting into the stretch zone. Once they move from the 4x3 zone, it begins to elongate. Some may find this very acceptable while others say you will get use to it and not "see it" after a couple of weeks. You can call it artful, landscaping, etc, I choose to call it what it is.


Secondly, yes I also have various zoom modes that will fill the screen without any distortion or stretching. But that is at the expense of clarity and content for have you ever zoomed in on digital photograph and found that to be as sharp as the original? It only degrades it more. There is also a loss or top and bottom content. Again, some may find this totally acceptable; I am just pointing out the fact that it is not superior to what I had.


Thirdly, I am aware of my gray bar options for viewing only the 4x3 area. Since the manual of my TV warns of burn-in using this option, I only use it for special football games (go Steelers). The serviceman while converging my set also said to stay away from the gray bars for the resulting damage will not be covered under warranty. I have read many articles in the "Home Theatre Forum" regarding this burn-in risk and their consensus is, don't.


As for as my options on the 6000 are concerned, I have also explored all of them. Using its HD mode (the component input jacks) with a SD signal adds a layer of softness that is not present if I use the SD (S-video) output. Going A/B easily proves the S-video a better picture. But if I choose to use this HD output, I have the ability to zoom in on the picture in half or full mode with the same results as when the Hitachi did the zooming. The 6000 also has gray or black bars as an option for 4x3 viewing. The same burn-in will eventually begin. So the extra options are no different that the original TV options, only that I begin with an upconverted, softer picture.


The original point that I was trying to make was simply that I had a better SD picture to watch when I had a direct view 4x3 TV. Going to a 16x9 HD RPTV gave me many new viewing options many of which are great. But SD viewing has suffered for the TV is optimized for HD.


"And That's My Story, I'm Sticking To It!"

:D
 

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Hmm. I note that you have a Hitachi, which is one of the RPTVs that impressed me the least with its ability to do decent NTSC display. Other brands do a much better job at upgrading the picture (although actual defects will continue to be evident...and bigger).


Oddly enough, my impression is that the whole purpose of the gray bars was to avoid burn-in. That is why that is the built-in "template" color used by the RPTVs themselves. I am surprised that your manual warned you against using a built-in display mode, or that your installer told you it would void your warranty. Maybe this is another Hitachi quality problem?


I watch all of my 4:3 in Natural Wide mode on a Pioneer Elite. The amount of stretching or picture loss is not at all noticeable, and the Elite does such a good job of presenting the picture that the slight zoom involved does not introduce any noticable degradation.


I think this may be a question of RPTV brand/model. The net net is that there IS a difference between the different tiers of HDTVs out there. If you have the cash then go for quality -- but shop around and see what is acceptable to you, of course.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Rick Fehnel
Gents,


How much better of a picture will I get on my 38" RCA HDTV tube tv if I get another RCA DTC-100 tuner (since the internal RCA HDTV tuner has no outputs) and output the s-video of the digital HD directv and the digital over the air broadcasts to my stand alone tivo VERSUS using the internal analog tv tuner in the tivo and using a standard directv (Non HDTV) receiver to the tivo?


thanks,

Rick
Rick, Your question is a bit confusing, but I will make an attempt at it:


First of all, the TiVo tuner won't be able to get any of the ATSC broadcasts (of course) which means you are stuck with 4:3 content and whatever quality you can get out of your analog reception.


So, you can record HD content downconverted to 590i (according to RCA) over the S Video to your TiVo, setting up the appropriate recording options to make this happen, which may involve manual recording settings.


On 4:3 broadcasts received from digital OTA stations what you are getting is an NTSC (480i) signal upconverted to HDTV and then downconverted back down to 590i by your DTC100. This will tend to be better quality than analog OTA, as what you are seeing is pretty close to the pure signal that is available back at the broadcast station.


Another point is that your SA TiVo will then reencode the 590i signal into MPEG, which based on your quality settings will result in more or less degradation. Something to think about.


I too am eager to be able to record HDTV. I'm not sure if I would go to all of the trouble you describe to do it. HD-TiVo, where are you?!!!
 
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