Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TV or not TV


Here's the thing. I have a huge, heavy television that is a few years old. The screen is about 21 inches wide and 17 inches high. It sticks out in the back about 21 inches. I am trying to decide whether to hold onto a perfectly fine TV, or get a new one.

I would like a compact (but same size screen) television. But I know nothing about all the 'new' words surrounding televisions. When our satellite dish was installed, the fellow said it is all set for HD, should we decide to get it, whatever it is.

So, I am turning to my dear blogging friends for advice. You may leave a comment here or click on 'view my complete profile' on the sidebar for my email address.

What should I get?
What is HD and do all TVs have it now, or is it a choice? If it is a choice, should I get it?
What is plasma? Should I get this?
What about an LED (are these the right initials?) screen?
Are all TVs now HD, plasma, and LED or are these all separate options?

I have heard of television screens where you have to sit in a certain place in the room or the view is distorted. What do you know about that? Is it true?

Are larger screen televisions blurry?

I'd like to get a screen about the same size as we have now. Will that work with all the new TVs or do I have to get a bigger screen for a better view?

And do I have to hang it on the wall or do they come with platforms, sort of like my computer monitor?

Needless to say, cost is a consideration. And my only local shopping option is Walmart.

I will greatly appreciate any advice you have to offer as I think about entering this new television age.

27 comments:

  1. You think you are confused now wait until you go to purchase a new model. Sorry I can't help you.

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  2. Hey Lisa, I did go down to Walmart one day and just stood there in front of a wall of televisions, completely mystified. :<)

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  3. We bought a thin Hitachi plasma a couple of years ago and we love it. Very clear picture that you can just fall into...especially on those beautiful Masterpiece Theatre productions like Wallander or Little Dorrit. However, we did get a smaller one, 32in. I think. The cottage rooms are small and we didn't want to overpower ourselves with a television. We still wanted the fireplace to be the star of the show.

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  4. for info re plasma v led the Times wrote a nice piece back in June that still makes sense I think

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/18/technology/personaltech/18basics.html

    Measurements for screen size are made diagonally across the screen so you are used to about a 27" ? screen at the moment

    HD is High definition and can allow you to see things very clearly if the broadcast is good quality... it can be clever and improve the quality a bit too sometimes...(we look at our photos on the tv screen) you need an hdmi cable to connect this up if you use it.

    Usually they come with a stand included.. you just fix it to the base with a screw provided that's if you want the tv freestanding ...if you want to wall mount then you need to buy the brackets/mount separately (they often rec a mount on the tv box)

    We have a Vizio from costco ...great picture but one of our hdmi connectors stopped working after a little while which was a bit frustrating (it has two) don't know if we were just unlucky or what?

    Our screen is 37 inches you can sit where you like to watch it and it isn't blurry

    hope that helps Val

    ps this is worth a look at too
    http://hometheater.about.com/od/televisionbasics/bb/lcdtvbyb.htm

    and

    http://www.google.com/search?q=buying+a+flat+screen+tv&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

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  5. Hi Nan
    I really recommend a plasma tv
    HD tv is just the greatest
    I think you have to have cable though
    LCD is the other choice besides plasma
    I think LCD is inferior
    if you want to talk on the phone email me

    Love
    Laura

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  6. Oh Nan, I do sympathise. We have to change t.v.'s or get 'boxes' by next March as it is all changing in our area in the U.K. Like you, I am at sea. I am content with my current t.v. very like yours, and passed on to me by one of my sons when he upgraded. It all used to be so easy!!! A sure sign of age.
    Carole

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  7. Here in my new country home - I do not have a television. Really have not missed one. With getting settled, computer and reading there is no time for television. I know with winter and the short days I might want one for special shows. I will go with one about your size.
    My older one is at the city house (which is on the market) and will not move it as it is outdated.
    So, good luck!! My little granddaughters kept asking "grandma when are you getting a television and a dog"
    Well grandma has a new dog!!

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  8. My dad got his new flat screen at WalMart and it has a nice picture. I wish I could remember what kind he got. But, he looked at every tv from every angle possible before he settled on one. It took two trips to decide. The tv came with a little attachment so it can sit on a shelf.
    My advice would be to do just as Dad did- look until you think you've found the right one, from every position you can think of.
    Good luck! I know what it took for him to decide. :)

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  9. We've had our t.v. for over 15 years. Thought about upgrading but found that once you do your satellite price will go up too. At this time we're fairly content with the old one. When and if it kicks the bucket then I guess we won't have a choice!! LOL!

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  10. We have a 52 inch LCD high definition TV that we enjoy very much.

    Do NOT buy plasma.

    Do NOT buy TVs that are mounted on the wall.

    We bought a Playstation 3 that allows us to watch DVDs in blu ray. With blu ray, the movie appears over the whole screen (not just a small section).

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  11. I wish I could help you, but I think we're going to have to ask my brother for advice when it comes time for us to get rid of our big tv. I did find this article, though. Maybe it will help.

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  12. 1. HD can be VERY worth it at times and other times not so much. For instance when you watch the State of the Union speech in HD, you can actually see fingerprints on the brass railings in the House chamber.

    2. I think (note think) that LED is kind of the direction things are headed. But regardless of that plasmas throw off more heat. We have an LED that we are pretty darn happy with (Sharp Aquos).

    3. Most, if not all new TVs will be HD ready. But obviously you should make sure.

    4. I have no idea what HD looks like on satellite TV.

    5. HD just stands for High Definition and both Plasma and LED flat screens should have it. Plasma and LED are just different ways of producing the picture with some difference in picture quality. Once isn't necessarily better than the other. I think it is just comes down to personal preference.

    6. I have vaguely heard of the distortion issue myself, but we have had no problems with our LED.

    7. I think the large screen TVs you are thinking of that can seem blurry are projection TVs. Plasmas and LEDs don't have that problem. I have seen them as big as a bed and they don't get blurry at all.

    8. Size: I am pretty sure screen size is measured diagonally. So you would want to do that to your current TV to be able to compare apples to apples. We have a 32" which we thought was plenty big when we bought it. Now we wish had a bigger one.

    9. You can get them with platforms. We have ours sitting on a chest. I wouldn't let JOhn drill holes in a brick, exterior wall, in a rental no less!

    10. Fix your price and then go to Wal-Mart, note your choices. Then go back home and research the ones you like and can afford. Then go back to Wal-mart or check on line. Amazon or similar might give you more options. We got ours online. From whom, I don't remember. But definitely go look at them in person first.

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  13. I think it depends on how much tv you watch - we have a tv that looks like yours - and people are mostly shocked that we don't have a big plasma creation - but we have a little house and it would eat half our living room. I hate when people hang the tv on the wall or worse, over the mantle, like it's art. It is a tv. Not an oil painting. Sigh. Anyway, consumer reports? We always check in with that magazine before a purchase (your library might have copies). Good luck.

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  14. I'm sorry, Nan. I'm not very technologically inclined. I do like the HD. The clarity is amazing. I remember each type of TV is different and good for different reasons. I can't expound more on this because I could easily steer you the wrong way. Sorry about that. Good luck!

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  15. What a coincidence; I'm having exactly the same problem. My TV is 20" and works fine but it's very old and bulky and I only get digital channels by using a digibox. So I want a flat screen TV (so do you). But everything is so big! The smallest I've been shown for my tiny room is 26" and the stands are too big.
    I don't know about the US but in the UK HD (High Definition) is very limited at the moment (there's a BBC HD channel) but I think will eventually become the default mode. It's being pushed all the time as it's supposed to greatly improve the picture but I'm perfectly happy with the picture I get now! So I'm willing to spend money to improve my home entertainment but can't find exactly the system I want.
    Where I'm luckier than you is that I have an independent local shop full of experts. Why not look at what's available from Amazon electronics and check out some of the reviews? Then you could see the real thing at Walmart and picture it in your room.

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  16. Hi Nan,

    I sympathize. Several months ago I faced the same problem. I went to several stores and actually couldn't find a "regular" TV. I finally settled on a Toshiba HD and really like it. I did have to have a new HD satellite dish installed however. The picture is amazing and the TV weighs so little I can move it around very easily. Walmart didn't have much in stock when I was looking so I settled on Best Buy. Good Luck!

    Linda in Chapel Hill

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  17. HD is high definition TV. The picture on the TV is like being there it is so clear. The flat screen TV do come on stands or you can have them mounted on a wall. I have a 32" flat screen TV not a plasma and the picture is wonderful! My husband works at Best Buy as a second job, so he comes home and tells me all this stuff-some I get and some I don't! Good luck!

    P.S. You won't get any help at Walmart with what you need or anything about flat screens, you would have to go to a store like Best Buy or a store that isn't a box store.

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  18. HD is the way to go. The picture quality is awesome. And I would recommend going with a flat-panel screen. You basically have your choice between plasma, LCD, and LED.

    I wouldn't recommend plasma. I've heard they're not reliable. And LED is the newest technology so it's more expensive. We have LCD and are really happy with it.

    The good news is that prices on high definition TVs have really come down in the last few years, so hopefully you'll be able to find something in your budget. And when you go to move your new TV, you won't have to move a 100 pound one -- you'll only have about 30-40 pounds instead!

    My husband gave me all this info. He's the high def fanatic in our household. I've just absorbed it by osmosis. But there really is no comparison between HD and regular TV. I think you'll really be pleased if you decide to go that route.

    Good luck with your search!

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  19. Hi,
    I am Debra's Husband. You can trim the stuff you need to know down to about 5 or 10 things, which will get you a nice up to date TV.

    You can get about the same size overall TV, but will get a larger viewing area.

    LCD TV's are what you want. PLASMA is for the large screens.

    HD. Full version HD will ONLY be in this format - 1080P. Nothing else is the same as full true HD. It will give you the capacity to view ANYTHING as it comes to market. 32" Full HD LCD TV is about the smallest you would want to go. We have a 37" Sharp Aquos 1080P LCD TV we are very happy with.

    It is true that you have a viewing angle that is a little different than on your CRT TV. Just try them out in the store, and you will see.

    You can mount them on the wall, or they will all come with some kind of stand.

    Most of them are made in just a hand full of factories, so don't worry too much about the brands, but I would stick to one of the following: Sharp, Panasonic, Samsung, Vizio, Sony (a little too expensive for what you get).
    Hope this helps.

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  20. Walmart has all the tv's you could ever want. There are small-sized flat screens, and that's what I had but it stopped functioning after only two years--I'm told that's unusual. You'll like the HD, which only means high-definition. It shows every wrinkle and mole, and makes a lot of people who otherwise go away with looking plastic look more human. HD is the only kind of tv available now, and it's not more expensive.

    I'm not sure about plasma, but it isn't necessary. I got the other kind when I bought mine two months ago. I bought a bigger screen and love it for nature shows and I can actually read the credits in movies, etc. I had gotten exasperated watching a movie when a character showed another a letter and I couldn't read one word of it! Now I can.

    Good luck. I'm sure you'll like what you get.

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  21. I think it's LCD. We just purchased a small flat LCD TV. I believe they're a little more than the plasma TVs but the thing I love about it is that there is absolutely no glare or reflection from windows or light or sunlight. I love that because a pet peeve of mine is seeing my reflection in the TV. After all if I wanted to watch me I'd look in a mirror! And I don't usually so .... :)
    Anyhoo! I hope you find just what you need when it's the right time for you. ♪

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  22. I am charmed by your questions. They would be my own if I did not have a husband in love with all the latest gadgets.

    So, I too cannot answer your questions with any ring of authority.

    I hope you've had better luck by email. And if not, you let me know -- and I'll chase my husband down for a few answers.

    Good luck in the land of TV shopping...

    And now on to sample other offerings from your blog...

    Janell

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  23. Wow! Thank you all very much! We will print out the comments and study them carefully. I really am so grateful. I'll let you know when we get one!

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  24. We have one like yours. My son - elsewhere in the house somewhere - has an enormous flat screen HD heaven-knows-what thing that cost the price of a small car. But hey - they're both just televisions to me. I can't say I can see the difference being worth the money.

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  25. More in the post on this subject today, apparently I 'should' have a receiver dish, but, as I am in 'listed building;, (old houses here in England are quite often listed), I find I am not allowed to have a dish!!! on we go. What a labyrinth!
    Carole.

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  26. I just realized that I kept writing LED, when I meant to write LCD. Lest you think I don't know what I am talking about...

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  27. Scriptor S. I certainly can't afford that! But I do like the idea of a better picture and lighter tv.

    Oh, Carole, What a hassle!

    Thomas, I never doubted that you knew what you were talking about. :<)

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