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I need advice on buying a widescreen TV

Discussion in 'TVs' started by FirstTimeBuyer, Dec 14, 2001.

  1. FirstTimeBuyer

    FirstTimeBuyer
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    This will the first time I buy a TV (because I'm moving out - I'm a student, but I digress). But anyway because I don't know much about tvs and I dont want to waste my money buying a poor set, I'd like advice as to what is the best widescreen set I can get for £800 (£900 being the max upper limit for the tv), and where can I get it from? Oh and can someone explain the 'virtual dolby' feature on some tvs? Many thanks for you help in advance.
     
  2. LV426

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    Virtual dolby is a means of simulating the effect a full surround setup (which should use 5 or more speakers) from the two stereo speakers in the TV. Opinions vary, but I'd say it's not really worth spending extra on. Better to save the cash and get a separate DD amp and a set of 5 speakers later.

    My next comment may well be controversial.

    My suggestion is to spend as little money as you can on the TV.

    Why?

    Because, I fully believe that, within only a few years, flat panel technologies (eg LCD and Plasma) will take off in a big way. Whilst at present there are advantages with flat panels (othere than their size/weight) there are also disadvantages, not least of which is their relatively huge cost.

    However, if I were a gambling man, I'd put money on flat panels becoming hugely more affordable, and better in performance within, say, three years. By that time, I'd guess that a flat panel TV will command a premium of only 25-50% over a similarly specified regular TV.

    So, my logic is - if you spend a fortune on a TV now, you end up stuck with it when other people are busy upgrading to a flat panel device. Spend as little as possible now, with the intention of junking it in 2-3 years.
     
  3. Ian J

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    I am afraid that I have to disagree with Nigel as he completely disregards the "quality of life" aspect. Televisions should be treated as disposable and not as life long assets to nurture along for as long as possible.

    No-one would spend as little as possible on a car on the basis that something better would be manufactured in three years time and I am willing to bet that there are a lot of people who spend more time watching television than they do driving their cars.
     
  4. Doubledoom

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    I like that response Ian.
     
  5. LV426

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    OK. I said it would be controversial!

    If you could forsee (with reasonable certainty) a motor industry on the edge of making cars that look better than they do today, went faster, were more comfortable, and used a tenth as much fuel (yeah...in yer dreams)

    Would you buy a Bentley or a Ford Focus today? (Antique car collectors aside)

    As well as desirability (and I don't question that more expensive TVs are generally more desirable) you have to consider cost vs lifespan. In this case, I'm suggesting that the lifespan will not be determined by the longevity of the hardware, but by the desire to replace it with something better. And it's my suggestion that the something better will be here fairly soon.

    In which case, I'm suggesting spending, let's say, £300 on a TV, and chucking it after three years. Cost = £100 per year. At the end of that time, you buy a new flat panel device and you have, after three years, something which I predict will perform better than any current TV does ie will offer a better "quality of life". It will certainly look nicer as a piece of furniture.

    The alternative is to spend, say, £900 on a TV now. Using the same simple depreciation model, you have to keep it for 9 years. For six of those years, you have something that offers less "quality of life" than the guy next door who did as I suggest. So you chuck your £900 TV after three years anyway. Your improved "quality of life" has cost you £200 extra a year.

    Always assuming that my predictions on improvements in price/performance of flat panels pan out.
     
  6. Guest

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    like that response nige
     
  7. bcottis

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    I would argue 'cost per year' is not top of the list for most HC enthusiasts.
     
  8. LV426

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    No, I don't suppose it is. I'm just being hard and rational (I think).
     
  9. Ian J

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    Home Cinema has very little to do with rationality and most forum members don't cost it accountant fashion as Kapman (who liked Nigel's response) must be aware as he has recently posted that he is looking to spend £1500 on av equipment

    To carry your argument to it's logical conclusion, one might as well buy a £200 all in one system from Curry's as in three years time av separates will have a higher spec and be cheaper.

    Ian

    As an addendum I notice that nobody has actually answered the original poster's question.

    I am a lover of the 50Hz JVC range and the 32 AV WFT1 was voted best Nicam set of the year by Home Entertainment. I have one of them, think that the picture is exceptional and they are now available for under £700.
     
  10. FirstTimeBuyer

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    Thanks - thats what I wanted to know.
     
  11. simon1

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    The simple answer is to visit several stores and compare models.

    Your choices are as follows:

    Flat screen/curved screen - flat screens look more up to date, but have more geometry problems than curved. (Check a tv quickly by
    puting the teletext on or displaying the on screen menus, you will usually see some bending to the text/graphics).

    50Hz/100Hz - 100Hz provides a more stable pic, but if you can't tell the difference, don't pay a premium for this (some people swear by it, some people simply don't notice).

    Nicam/Dolby ProLogic/Dolby 3DS/Dolby Digital:

    Dolby 3DS, or any set that trys to simmulate surround sound without rear speakers will never sound as good as a set with rear speakers, it simply provides a wider sound stage - best avoided.

    Dolby ProLogic - Stereo sound + cente channel speaker + mono rear surround. Outdated now by Dolby Digital, but an awful lot of programmes broadcast on tv/sat and on pre-recorded video are in Dolby ProLogic. Although nearly all dvd discs are in Dolby Digital, they are also compatible with ProLogic.

    Dolby Digital - aka DD 5.1. The more sophisticated and preferred surround system uses stereo sound at the front, centre channel speaker, STEREO rear surround and a dedicated bass channel.
    Another system called DTS is also available in addition to DD sometimes on equipment and uses the same 6 speaker/channel system. DD equipment always has the facility for Dolby ProLogic.

    Nicam Stereo - Good quality stereo sound directly broadcast by the terestrial stations. NB, sat and cable are not Nicam, but will provide stereo sound to any of these tvs via a scart connection.

    If your sat/cable provider broadcasts in stereo a programme/film that was originally made in Dolby Surround, you can enjoy the surround sound on any Dolby ProLogic/DD tv set.

    Only you can decide which set is best for you.

    Generally speaking, a Nicam tv be the best option as it will allow you to add either a DD amp & speakers or a dvd player that has an on-board DD amp and includes the speakers.

    Dolby ProLogic is fine, but it is outdated now by DolbyDigital. Only go for this if the Nicam equivelent is unavailable or not substantially cheaper. You can still add a DD amp to these sets, but make sure the tv features stereo 'phono' sockets for this purpose.

    'Buy the biggest set you can afford' is quoted by many people on the forum. I would agree. With your budget, I suggest a 32". Many people don't appreciate the sizing of widescreen, so bear this in mind;

    24" WS equvilent to 21" conv
    28" WS 25" conv
    32" WS 28" conv


    Lastly, don't buy from the high st - you will pay over the odds!

    Use a search facility like www.price-guide.co.uk/
     
  12. Colger

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    Can I just add to Simon1's response which really answers the initial request - remove the colour signal ie set the colour to black and white and look for any colouring at all which might suggest a purity problem, you should also notice any convergence problems if they are present.
    Use the high street stores for comparison purposes especially places like Comet and Curry's but dont ask them any technical questions!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  13. FirstTimeBuyer

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    ok - thanks for the help people :)

    btw Ian J - can you provide me with a link as to where I can purchase the JVC model you mentioned cause I cant seem to find it anywhere - thanks.
     
  14. Ian J

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  15. Dunky

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    The JVC 32AVWFT1 is currently out of stock at Empire Direct and I have spoken to JVC who tell me that they are witing for stck themselves. Could be a long wait (I've already been waiting 4 weeks!!)
     
  16. Ian J

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    I bought mine from Sound & Vision in Bolton who offered a very competitive price. No web presence but telephone 01204 861861
     

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