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As the title suggests, I'm in the market for an HD-Ready television within the month. And, as many others have done, I'm looking for advice on what to purchase. This is a hotly contestable subject, I know. I've been lurking and reading. Were it not for the continued enthusiastic responses to newbies looking to buy, I'd be afraid people were sick of the subject. But so long as there are some people out there eager to help, I would appreciate it. So let me tell you what my default choice is and what my needs are first.


Now, I am not your typical HDTV adoptee. Not only do I have a TiVo, which means I voluntarily sacrifice video fidelity for convenience, but I record from poor-quality cable TV (AT&T digital cable, which offers a mix of mildly noisy analog and heavily compressed digital channels). And I shun live TV, finding it nearly intolerable to plan around TV schedules anymore, so even though I'll probably eventually get a DTV tuner, I'll probably still watch 99% of my TV through a TiVo.


So why am I looking into getting an HDTV now? It may be silly to be looking to spend this much money for them, but...primarily videogames. I've been nuts about videogames all my life, and I've always tried getting the equipment to make them look their best. In fact, I recently acquired a low-end line-doubler to allow me to play them on a VGA monitor, offering a bit of extra sharpness. Unfortunately, the latest generation of videogame systems offer progressive and high-resolution modes my equipment can't display. And while I'm fairly happy watching DVDs on my computer, it'd be nice to be able to play them on my TV with similar sharpness even if just for when others come to visit.


So even if I'm not ordinarily the sort to adopt HDTV yet, I think my time has come. I'm currently looking at the Sony KV-32XBR450. I'll have to shop around a bit more, but it appears to be selling for $1899 at Circuit City this month. Here are some of the reasons it appeals to me:
  1. Size I want as large a 4:3 viewable space as possible, but I have an existing cabinet I need to keep. 31"H x 36.5"W is my max. Not an 1/8" more. (Note that this means I'd probably get more out of a 4:3 set than a 16:9 set, regardless of mode, simply because the width is the restraining dimension.)
  2. Price tag I'd rather spend less than $2500. I can't spend more than $3000.
  3. Direct View I know my price dictates this anyhow, but I'm hooked on direct-view tubes. I'd rather a small bright picture than a large, low-contrast one.
  4. Flat glass The fewer bends in the front glass, the better. Sometimes my viewing environment can be a bit bright. That means I prefer an anti-glare flat screen to cylindrical, and cylindrical to spherical.
  5. Good display of 480i input I like the fact that the Sony does reverse 3:2 pulldown. Assuming the TV's implementations are good, I'm happy. It would be nice to be able to disable or minimize the processing that occurs if it magnifies flaws in the source, however. Any comments on their effects on TiVos, AT&T Digital Cable, or videogames would also be appreciated.
  6. A reasonable number of inputs I'm going to have to get a switch box eventually, but I want to spend as little time as possible swapping cables. At least two component inputs. The more, the better. S-Video is necessary. Coaxial and composite is unimportant, but I'll probably end up with them anyhow.
  7. No edge enhancement features or the ability to disable them I already know from reputation that scan velocity modulation may cause very unpleasant effects on my heavily digitally compressed content, so if I have it, I want the option to disable it.
  8. Good S-Video Input I still have a number of S-Video devices, so I couldn't have a TV that was somehow deficient in how it displayed S-Video. I am not aware of any sets with such flaws, but with so much scrutiny focused on component input, it bears mentioning.[/list=1]


    So there you have it. I'm not able to compromise on 1, 2, or 3. The others are important in roughly equal amounts, though I really want 4, 5, and 6, and I'd be willing to compromise on 7 or 8 if you made a good argument. So, assume I'm looking to get the Sony KV-32XBR450. Keeping the above criteria in mind, convince me there's a better option for me (or if it's your opinion that the Sony is the best choice, tell me more). Please tell me in what ways your suggested set is a better choice for me, as well as what features of the Sony I'd be trading for these benefits.


    Thanks in advance for any replies.


    -Tyson
 

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While not answering any of your questions, I was surprised yesterday to see a KV-36XBR 450 Sony Wega in my local Costco for $1,999. That's four extra inches for $100 and you don't have to go into Circuit City. I don't know if it will fit in your space.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Norde
While not answering any of your questions, I was surprised yesterday to see a KV-36XBR 450 Sony Wega in my local Costco for $1,999. That's four extra inches for $100 and you don't have to go into Circuit City. I don't know if it will fit in your space.
Unfortunately, no. My cabinet is just barely wide enough to hold the KV-32XBR450. Very tempting to go larger, but it would throw my entire entertainment system into chaos to get a larger set. Thanks for alerting me to Costco, though.


-Tyson
 

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I have the 36XBR450. I'm very happy with it. It handles everything that you've mentioned (assuming you're going with the 32"). You can (and should!) disable the SVM (scan velocity modulation) edge enhancement easily. It has 6 inputs: 2 component (either capable of 480i or 1080i) and 4 (maybe 3?) s-video inputs. I think that you'll be quite happy with it, given your criteria. Despite the stuff below, I love my XBR450 -- the DRC (line doubler) is great and worth the difference with the reverse 3:2 pulldown. DVDs are excellent. HDTV is better and beautiful.


My only regret is getting a 4:3 TV. I know you've said that you want to keep your cabinet. So, the rest of what I write is for others' benefit, if not yours.


I say this every opportunity I get: I wish I had bought a 16:9 TV. With so much quality HDTV programming and anamorphic DVDs available, I watch much more 16:9 material than I thought I would. As it is right now, that high resolution material is squeezed into a small space. What I would prefer is to squeeze the lower resolution stuff (4:3) into a small space (side-bars within the 16:9 screen). I am almost sure that I will be buying a 16:9 TV within 2 years, even though my 4:3 set will only be 2.5 years old. That is how much more I would want one. 40" 16:9 RPTV's are excellent substitutes for 36" (or even 32") 4:3 TVs because the smaller 4:3 material will end up being comparable in size to a 30" to 34" 4:3 TV. The higher resolution material will be bigger and better. I wish this is the way I had gone.
 
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