Upgrade help

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  • P-Dub
    Office Moderator
    • Aug 2000
    • 6766

    Upgrade help

    Well it's finally time for me to put some serious thought into upgrading. Here's my current system:

    Rec: Yamaha 595
    Speakers: Energy eXL 16 - fronts, eXL C - center, and point 1e for rears.
    Sub: Energy eXLS8, 8" powered sub.
    DVD: Toshiba 3109
    TV: Mitsubishi 27", SVideo input only.

    From the above, the most obvious improvement I can make is upgrading the TV set. Now here's the problem. I've had my heart set on upgrading to a FPTV setup ever since I borrowed the projector from work. So in a sense I've been saving up for that for the past few months. I didn't expect to be making any upgrades until I made that one big jump. Now I'm having second thoughts.

    You see, for my criteria, I'd like to get the best value I can. And value to me is what will get used the most and what will I notice the most and how much do I have to spend to get that improvement.

    For a while I've been thinking about maybe a new sub, would like to hear the lower octives. My 8" goes to about 30Hz, but really drops off after that. But the reality is, I don't really get the chance to watch a lot of dvds. I hope to get into a more regular schedule, but the fact is, it would probably be 2-3 a week. Right now I'm watching about 1-3 a month!

    I was also thining of going for a new receiver. Looking to get a DTS, and Pro Logic II capable receiver, DTS ES would be nice, but not really necessary. I do want pre-outs, but most of the units I've thought about have that feature. I use my receiver everyday for TV watching as well as DVD, and I figure DPL II would be a benefit for TV shows. I'd also like to experience DTS at home.

    I'm pretty happy with my current speaker setup. I believe if I mate them with a better source of power, or a different receiver, I'll be experiencing a different sound stage. For my space, I can't see moving to towers any time soon.

    The DVD player is pretty decent, no real complaints. If anything a new player would have to coincide with a new display, and I'd probably be looking at a progressive unit anyways.

    So that brings me back to my display. We do watch a lot of TV and for the foresable future, I can't see that changing. So an upgrade to a 32" or 36" set seems like the next logical move. Right? Well, kinda. As I look at the various sets, I'm faced with the fact that any new display must be able to support an easy way to squeeze anamorphic DVDs. So far I know all Sony Wega's will do this, but I'm not sure which other manufactures support this feature. I think Samsung, and possbily the top model Toshiba's. Next the question of 32" vs 36". I've read reports that those that upgraded to 32" sets are happy for the most part, but some wish they went for the larger 36" set. I know why, bigger is better when dealing with picture. So I'm leaning towards, if I go direct view, I might as well go for a decent 36" set. So the benchmark is the bottom end Sony 36" Wega. So now comes the nitty gritty the 36" Wega, 36FS13, lists for C$2,300 and the 32" Wega, the 32FS13, goes for C$1,500. I've also seen a deal at Costco for the 32" Wega, same price but includes the matching stand, if I get the 36" set, I need to get the stand as well, so add another $300. Now what is really the killer is the weight of these beasts. The 32" weighs in at a 165 lbs and the 36" set comes in at a heavy weight 223 lbs! That's some serious weight.

    So for direct view, I'm looking at $1,500 for 32" including stand, or $2,600 for 36" including stand. The 36" price is open to negotiations, and I'm pretty poor at that, but I'm still looking at over $2K plus tax. What really kills me is the weight of these monsters.

    So here's my other thought. Look at a 43" RPTV. There's two that fit my bill. The Sony 43HT20 for $3,000, or the Toshiba 43HX71, which is available online for $2,650. These are obviously more money than the 36", but when you look at it, the Toshiba is not much more than the list of the 36" Sony with stand, and the Sony 43" is about $400 more, that's before haggling. I'm also assuming I won't need a stand for either, but I have to do some measurments at home to find out. Now the beauty of these 43" sets is they weigh in at 144 lbs for the Sony and only 118 lbs for the Toshiba. Much more managable. Plus for the price, I'm into a nice 43" set that is HDTV ready and will do 3:2 pulldown, etc, etc.

    So where am I right now? It's a toss up. If I go direct view, I don't think I would go bigger than a 32" set and $1,500 is pretty reasonable. Otherise I'm looking at twice to price to get into a 43" set.

    Whatever set I get, I'd put the 27" into the bedroom. And I'd have to start over again for the FPTV fund.

    What is my upgrade budget? I was thinking along the lines of $3,000. So the 43" set would be in range. For a while I was thinking of getting a SVS 2039PCi and getting a new receiver, like the Yamaha 1200. Now I don't know.




    Paul

    There are three kinds of people in this world; those that can count, and those that can't.
    Paul

    There are three kinds of people in this world; those that can count, and those that can't.
  • Andrew Pratt
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 16507

    #2
    If it were me I'd get a RPTV since you are right about screen size. I mean I love my music and have spent a fair bit on the audio side but on a day to day basis the 50" screen is where I get the most benefit. Besides watching a widescreen image on a 27" TV just isn't fun




    Comment

    • JonMarsh
      Mad Max Moderator
      • Aug 2000
      • 15214

      #3
      Paul,

      No one can really say wha*you'll* be happy with, other than you. Still, if I had to make a recommendation, I'd go with the "baby" Toshiba widescreen RPTV. It's easy to tweak up to a very nice picture.

      Now, here's the part that may weird you out a little- the last two people I turned on to this set as an alternative to a conventional 36" set loved it... but ended up using the dealer trade in policy to move up to the Toshiba 57" widescreen within the first 30 days.

      So take a look at that one, too.

      Remember, most TV's (heck, virtually all) are not dialed in out of the box; they take a little setup with AVIA and a good eye to do there best. For an RPTV, I'd also recommend considering a full ISF cal when you can afford it (after the initial sticker shock!).

      Good luck in your hunt!

      Best regards,

      Jon




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      Comment

      • Kevin P
        Member
        • Aug 2000
        • 10809

        #4
        Paul, your system is similar to what I had 3 years ago. Since then I've upgraded everything!

        I think you should weigh your upgrade options against what you tend to use the system the most for. For example, if you watch a lot of TV, a bigger set is in order. If you watch lots of DVDs, you should consider a HD-ready 16:9 set, followed by the receiver, speakers and sub. If you listen to music more than watch movies/TV, then you probably would want to upgrade your speakers first.

        If you're thinking of getting a RPTV, as opposed to a 36" direct view, I would seriously consider getting a HD-ready set. I don't see much use in spending $2+K on a analog TV these days. Someday you'll get HDTV and will appreciate it, plus anamorphic DVDs look great on the 16:9 screen (or a 4:3 screen if the set has a squeeze mode). Perhaps the Toshiba 40" or 56" widescreen, if you have the space and the budget. On the other hand, if you're interested in going front projection, you could get a cheaper set and then go for HD on the projector instead.

        For a system that's used for home theater, I'd probably upgrade in this order:

        1. Bigger TV, preferably a HD-ready RPTV
        2. Sub - one that can go to 20hz or lower, SVS is perfect!
        3. Receiver - one with DTS and newer features
        4. Speakers, especially if you listen to music
        5. DVD player, a progressive model if you get the HDTV - I would consider this the lowest priority since the 3109 is a fine player other than its anamorphic downconversion. On the other hand, if you get a 4:3 set without a 16:9 mode, consider a DVD player upgrade a higher priority.

        So here's my other thought. Look at a 43" RPTV. There's two that fit my bill. The Sony 43HT20 for $3,000, or the Toshiba 43HX71, which is available online for $2,650.
        The 43" Toshibas are great sets once you tweak it. I didn't realize they made a 43" 4:3 HDTV-ready set. Like I mentioned before, you should get a HDTV-ready set if you can pull it off. It looks like the 43HX71 has a 16:9 mode which is a plus. Toshiba's really gotten their act together recently.

        If you watch a lot of TV, the 4:3 set is a good bet. If you watch mostly movies, you might be better off with a 16:9 set.

        KJP




        Official Computer Geek and Techno-Wiz Guru of HTGuide - Visit Tower of Power
        My HT Site

        Comment

        • P-Dub
          Office Moderator
          • Aug 2000
          • 6766

          #5
          Now, here's the part that may weird you out a little- the last two people I turned on to this set as an alternative to a conventional 36" set loved it... but ended up using the dealer trade in policy to move up to the Toshiba 57" widescreen within the first 30 days.
          Heh, now that's pretty funny. Nope I know that if I go with this set, that will be it, there's no way a 57" will fit into my apartment. I have looked at a 53" set, and they have wheels, the 43" sets don't. That just might be a deal breaker, no seriously, if I can't move this thing around, that has to factor into my decision. A front projector is what I'd move to eventually, no matter what I buy.

          The place that is advertising the Tosh is also including an ISF calibration. I don't think that will do much as the unit won't have much run time. Actually I don't know if it is actually an ISF, but it will be calibrated, so it won't be on full torch mode. If I ever get a calibration, I think a Michael TLV would be in order.

          Kevin: Yes, we do watch a lot of TV. Both 43" sets have a 16:9 mode. A 16:9 set, although desirable, is really not in the cards as HDTV is not coming to this house anytime soon, but both sets are 'HDTV' ready. I took a look at one tonight while picking up my ADSL modem, and I will need the stand. The set by itself would just sit too low and would not be in the best sightline. So tack on another $200 - $300 to the price. Now I'm only a few hundred dollars away from a 53" set. The Sony 53HS30 lists for $3800 and I saw the Toshiba 53HX71 on sale locally for $3,350. Oh what to do, what to do? Maybe I should just buy a new car. Or I could save and invest it?
          Paul

          There are three kinds of people in this world; those that can count, and those that can't.

          Comment

          • Lex
            Moderator Emeritus
            • Apr 2001
            • 27461

            #6
            Paul, my advice? Find yourself a nice 50" RPTV and get some quality viewing in man! your watching TV a lot, enjoy it. Outside of a larger sub, which is a smaller upgrade if done smartly, this is the single biggest gainer for you now, I think. Don't worry about front projection. Even if you have it? lower the screen in front of your RPTV, and save bulb life watching your TV on the RPTV and your moves on the FP later on.

            Just my 2 cents,
            Lex
            Doug
            "I'm out there Jerry, and I'm loving every minute of it!" - Kramer

            Comment

            • Uncle Clive
              Former Moderator
              • Jan 2002
              • 919

              #7
              Lex is right, if I'm not mistaken Paul, you maybe thinking about moving to a bigger place sooner or later. This way you can choose a place that can accomadate the RPTV for everyday over the air broadcasts and when you're gonna have a big movie nite whether with friends or just your family lower the screen, switch to Ultra2 cinema mode and let it rip!!!

              For whatever it's worth!




              CLIVE




              HEY!! Why buy movie tickets when you can own a Theater?
              CLIVE




              HEY!! Why buy movie tickets when you can own a Theater?

              Comment

              • P-Dub
                Office Moderator
                • Aug 2000
                • 6766

                #8
                I had a post all ready yesterday but forgot to post it. But since then things have changed a bit. It's funny, I don't need a salesman to upsell me, I can do it much better myself.

                So I started to look at a 32" set for around $1,500, then I think, might as well get a 36" so pump that up to $2,300 and damn I need a stand with either of those, so I'm now around the $2,600. But crap that 36" set I'm loooking at is heavy! Hey the 43" RPTV's are around the $2,600 - $3,000 range and weighs less than the 32". Hmm, there's an idea. Take some measurements, hmm, I'll probably still need a stand for these 43" sets, so add in another $200-$300. So now I'm looking at $2,800 to $3,300. Boy you know a 53" set is only around $3,500 and for sure I wouldn't need a stand for one of these things. And you know what, I can get a front projector for around $3,600 and I can probably make my own screen to start. Heck the projector I'm looking at is a bit better than the one I borrowed from work, and I was pretty happy with that. So there you go, I started out looking at a 32" set, and I'm now looking at a 53" RPTV or a projector. :P

                Okay, seriously, when I did take some measurements, the 43" set is about as big as I can fit into my room. Since I got my two new racks to hold my CD's and gear, I've lost a bit of side space. Remember I'm making sure I have some breathing room for my speakers. The 43" set has the following dimensions WxHxD 38"x43"x21" and the 53" set's are 45"x54"x23". The 43" when placed in my room should work very nicely, the 53" will just dominate and I think look totally ugly. Yeah bigger is better, but it's true, you have to see it in your surroundings. In fact the 43" set, without a stand would actually fit almost flush with my side units. But the only problem is the picture would start pretty low to the floor, ie the picture dimensions are 25.8"x34.4"x43". So with out a stand my picture will start about 17" off the floor. Currently my 27" picture starts at around 23" off the floor. This is a pretty big difference. I am tempted to try it without the stand, but I think the reality is, buy the stand to give it the extra height. I thing RPTV's are best viewed straight on? Here's a thought, if I'm watching it at an angle, will the reflective protective screen play less of a role?

                I think what I might do is use some masking tape and outline where the new set would go and where the screen would end up with or without the stand.

                Must do more research.
                Paul

                There are three kinds of people in this world; those that can count, and those that can't.

                Comment

                • Andrew Pratt
                  Moderator Emeritus
                  • Aug 2000
                  • 16507

                  #9
                  Paul another option to consider is that since you are planning on adding a projector for DVD's down the road you might consider buying a analog RPTV TV. As you likely know I have an analog 50" toshiba set that I use daily for watching fraiser, sport etc and for that it works very well. It also does rather well for DVD's given the size but of course not as good as a digital TV...so why recomend one? Well you can pick up a 50" analog set for around $1600 new which would leave you some cash for the projector. IMO once you get the projector for DVD's how often will you use the RPTV for movies? If the RPTV gets used mainly for broadcast material I would rather spend more on getting a better projector. At least that's the route I'm going with. Cheaper large RPTV for 4:3 material and a projector for DVD's




                  Comment

                  • P-Dub
                    Office Moderator
                    • Aug 2000
                    • 6766

                    #10
                    Thanks Andrew, I didn't even think of that! I've always gone on the basis of getting a HDTV ready RPTV. So now my options have openned up.

                    I think I'd still stick with a 43" set, just for space reasons. But if I could find one that can squeeze anamorphic dvd's then I think I'll be pretty happy.

                    I still have to add some nice component cables once I decide on a set. Do you know of anybody that sells some good cables? Like something better than Monster?
                    Paul

                    There are three kinds of people in this world; those that can count, and those that can't.

                    Comment

                    • Kevin P
                      Member
                      • Aug 2000
                      • 10809

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Paul Wu
                      Thanks Andrew, I didn't even think of that! I've always gone on the basis of getting a HDTV ready RPTV. So now my options have openned up.
                      I doubt the Toshiba 43" analog set will do the squeeze, but the HD ready set will.
                      I still have to add some nice component cables once I decide on a set. Do you know of anybody that sells some good cables? Like something better than Monster?
                      Meow




                      Official Computer Geek and Techno-Wiz Guru of HTGuide - Visit Tower of Power
                      My HT Site

                      Comment

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