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I am looking for a tabletop RPTV to replace my existing 32" XBR. Looked at Toshiba 46HX83 and Hitachi 46F500, liked both although the Tosh seemed smoother in zoom mode (50% of the viewing will be analogue CATV).


Are there any sets out there that look like they actually belong on a tabletop? The bases on the Tosh/Hitachi will take some getting used to. My spending limit is $2.5-$3K.
 

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Yes, it is difficult to find a tabletop projection TV (meaning a reasonably priced smaller large-screen TV) in the smallest possible tabletop cabinet size for a given screen-size? Projection LCD. LOCOS and DLP technology provide that opportunity to make tabletop and bookcase projection TVs possible. Many manufacturers using this new technology ignore the 40-46" widescreen projection TV market and true tabletop and bookcase designs. All that make sets in this size except Samsung make the sets too tall or too wide to be true tabletops.



The Panasonic LEDs are very narrow, but too tall due to the thick base as those you've considered. The new Philips Locos and Sony LEDs are nice and low, but too wide because they put those d**n permanently attached disposable speakers on each side of the screen.


For me, that leaves only one choice, the 43" or 46" Samsungs that will fit my space. but they are slightly above my budget. It would have been nice to have other choices, but I've not found any.
 

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The true "table tops" out there are the DLP sets (Sammy, RCA), the Phillips LCoS, and various offerings of small directview LCD sets. There are of course all of the directview CRT sets as well, including some widescreen selections. The budget you state is very tight for any of these, but I think that is the case with most people's budgets when they first start out (they tend to inflate over time :)).


For a large amount of analog SD viewing the only thing above that will give you a picture equivalent or better than your current set is...well, maybe none of them. The directview CRTs will do the best. Toshiba is well known for having a decent SD picture (along with Pioneer and Hitachi). The Sammy DLPs have a great HD and DVD picture, but like all of the DLP sets out there, and most HDTVs in general, your SD picture will be somewhat grainy, text will be a bit yucky looking, etc. The trick there is just to upgrade to a better input signal :). I have not been impressed with the Phillips LCoS to date, which to my eye gives you the worst of all worlds, including problem with fast-moving HD material.


Net net: Many of my friends have played conservative and stayed with directview CRT technology, like the Sony 40" digital offerings (still 4:3, not 16:9). Other than that you choices in tabletop are really focused, I think, on the Sammy DLPs. I don't like the reviews of the RCAs, although I haven't seen on myself. The Toshiba LCoS has a better SD and HD picture than all of the above, but it is both very expensive and completely unavailable, and is also *not* a tabletop set. The Optoma DLPs are also not really tabletops (the 65" is not for sure) and also may fall outside of your range.


Net net net: Directview CRT and Sammy DLP are your best bets. Watch some SD content on the Sammys and see how you like it. Don't stand too close, since it will look a lot worse closer up. Consider what your viewing distance will be. Consider what your outlook for more HD content will be in the next couple of years.
 
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