Give Me an HD Primer

Discussion in 'Technology' started by Sachsen, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. Sachsen

    Sachsen Member+

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    OK, did a little bit of googling, read the wikipedia article on HD, etc., still am a little fuzzy on the details.

    Background: I currently do not own an HD or flat-screen TV -- still stuck with an old gargantuan tube TV. Planning to buy my first plasma or LCD soon. I have Dish Network, happy with them. Have a DVR and love it (one receiver for two tube TVs - one in the living room, one in the bedroom.)

    So... if I want to start watching things in HD, what is it going to cost me with Dish? I assume I'll have to trade my regular DVR in for an HD-DVR? And then do I have to pay extra per month for HD channels, or is it as simple as turning on an HD-ready TV and then I can watch everything in HD? I ask because I've been reading about stations broadcasting in HD OTA, but I assume I would need a good old-fashioned antenna on the roof to pick those up?

    But most importantly -- what am I going to need in order to watch the WC this summer in HD, and how much extra is it going to cost me per month vs what I currently pay Dish?

    Thanks, y'all.


  2. spejic

    spejic Cautionary example

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    I believe it is an extra $10 a month, no matter which package you have.
    Yes
    Yes, but it's a little trickier, because digital broadcasts are more sensitive to hills and the direction the antenna is facing.
    Nothing more than the above. Even with the most basic package, getting the HD will get you all the ESPN HD networks.
  3. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite BigSoccer Supporter

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    If you already get the locals through the satellite, you should get the local HD through the satellite as well, I would think. Some people do say that the local HD OTA is better though.

    Make sure you get enough inputs for your various devices (DVD, video game systems, etc.) as well. If you can get a few extra "to grow on" you're even better off.

    Of course you'll want something capable of 1080p.
  4. Sachsen

    Sachsen Member+

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    Which, as I browse the interwebs, seems to be a matter of opinion... seems like most sites claim that you really can't tell the difference between 720 and 1080 unless you have some sort of superhero eyes.

    Is 1080 really worth the extra expense?


  5. zman31

    zman31 Member

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    Depending on what you want to spend, viewing distance, and size of screen, it can be worth it.

    I suggest getting the biggest TV you can afford, don't get the cheapest of any size range and don't get the most expensive. Set your budget, then narrow your choices based on size of screen first.

    All OTA signals will look better than their satelite or cable counterparts. The OTA signal is uncompress while the others are all compressed in one form or another. Think of the differnece between a CD and an mp3 rip of it. On a boombox you might not be able to tell the difference but on a fairly decent stereo system you can.

    All OTA and sat. HD is either 720p or 1080i, though directv has 1080p ppv options, not sure about Dish. 720p and 1080i are very similar. Most TVs will have a native resolution and will convert the incoming signal to it's native resolution. If your TV is 720p, it will display 720p signals natively and process all 1080i signals to display them in 720p. How well it does this will affect the image. My directv box will do this for me if I tell it that my TV only accepts one type of signal. I've found that my TV does the conversion better so I have the box output the native signal and let the TV do the processing.

    I would suggest getting a 1080p TV as it is the current top end of home resolutions.

    Couple of links

    http://carltonbale.com/1080p-does-matter
    http://carltonbale.com/home-theater/home-theater-calculator
    1 person likes this.
  6. royalstilton

    royalstilton New Member

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    BestBuy is selling a Samsung LED-LCD TV -- 46" 120hz 1080p -- for $1300.
  7. Naughtius Maximus

    Naughtius Maximus Member+

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    You too, eh?

    Had the same old 32" monstrosity for years and have FINALLY managed to persuade the powers the be that we need a new one what with the WC coming up and all. As you might imagine, for a long time she found this a less than convincing argument but now she wants a new dining room suite :)

    Wimmin, eh? You can't live with 'em..... you're meant to say something after that, aren't yer but I can never remember what it is.

    Anyhooo.... went out and bought an LG 37LF7700, (the largest TV picture I was allowed), which is an LCD with built in HD decoder for satellite, (currently the only HD available where I live), and aerial, (ony SD content atm but will do HD when it's available). So, fired it up on Saturday morning and was soon watching BBC HD channel, (very swish :)), and then tried to switch to my tivo only to find out the tivo wouldn't respond to it's remote control... AT ALL :mad:

    Well, more accurately, it WOULD respond... but only if I switched the TV off. As you can imagine, this tended to impair my enjoyment of a number of TV programmes with the notable exception of films starring Jim Carrey which, strangely enough, I enjoyed slightly more.

    I believe some Samsung TV's have the same problem. It's an IR issue from what I've been told and is solved by buying, (quel surprise), a new TV stand to go with the new TV.

    So, if you have other equipment which uses a remote control, (i.e. every other piece of home entertainment one can purchase), it might be something worth checking.

    It's the damnedest bloody thing I've ever seen, that's for sure.
  8. royalstilton

    royalstilton New Member

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    there's a place just down the block from us up for sale. you could move over here. :)
  9. Naughtius Maximus

    Naughtius Maximus Member+

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    Are you sure the US of A is ready for me? Anyway, I haven't finished annoying people over here yet so you fellas will have to wait your turn :)
  10. Naughtius Maximus

    Naughtius Maximus Member+

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    I spent some time checking them at the various stores and , IMO, you can tell the difference... just. The thing is that, if you're like me, you'll probably keep it for quite a few years so the difference in price, amortised out over the period of ownership, is pretty small and, in any case, the price difference, (over here at any rate), is only about £40-80, i.e. about $60-120 over 10 years or $6-12 per annum. Well, that's for me at any rate. Some people change their electrical stuff like their underwear.

    Also, while I think about it, I swapped my PVR/TIVO/DVR/'whatever the hell you want to call it' with my parents which is a different make and model and the problem of the remote control not responding has been solved. As I understand it it's very rare but it might be worth taking your PVR to the store before buying to try it if you're not sure. It's the IR frequency from the TV messing it up, apparently.

    OH! Almost forgot... the other thing they try and sell you is the 100Mhz speed instead of the standard 50 but I couldn't see any difference in that. YMMV.
  11. Michael K.

    Michael K. Member

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    Another passenger on the OP's boat right here. So where do we stand on the plasma - LCD issue? I understand that LCD sets tend to consume less power, but plasma is still(?) the choice of the cognoscenti. I'm not in the cognoscenti video-wise, but I do plan on watching a lot of sports when I finally settle on a set.
  12. Naughtius Maximus

    Naughtius Maximus Member+

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    Best thing... go to the shop and compare alongside each other. I thought the LCD provided the better picture but that's just me. Plasma's meant to respond quicker so is better for sports, supposedly. I just couldn't see it myself. LCD's are meant to have come on leaps and bounds over the past, say, 5 years and are now of comparable quality to plasma.
  13. Michael K.

    Michael K. Member

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    Funny, I've been reading some things that recommend NOT doing that, because depending on the shop, different sets are going to be set up differently (brightness, contrast, etc) or not at all.
  14. Naughtius Maximus

    Naughtius Maximus Member+

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    Oh, that's DEFINITELY true. Yeah, you'll notice they'll have the latest bluray film showing on the £1-2000 model and the £500 next to it will be showing something else or, sometimes, not even switched on :D

    Where I live I'm pretty lucky, (well, in some respects, anyway), and I went around five local electrical superstores, each with about a 60-100 TV's of various sizes and types. The point being you don't have to see ALL of them working but if a salesman says you MUST have a 100hz picture because that's what HE wants to sell you the next store will have them alongside each other with the same show on and you can decide for yourself.

    Actually, I didn't speak to the sales people at all much. I just looked at the pictures, specs and made my own mind up.

    I found that 1080p was worth having but 100hz pic didn't seem to make much difference. Plasma's didn't look as crisp to my eye but, like I say, maybe that's just me. I also found that it's often a good idea NOT to go for the biggest pic you can find because so much stuff is still in standard definition and, tbh, it looks pretty ropey on a VERY large screen. It's a compromise, IOW.
  15. Footer Phooter

    Footer Phooter Member

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    Just bought mine the other day. Got a small issue though. The picture is, for lack of a better term, shaky. It vibrates a bit. If I'm watching something with a frame of reference (like a set scoreboard in the corner), I can definitely notice it. I didn't have this problem before with my old tv and cable box. Is this likely a problem with the TV, cable box, or signal?
  16. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite BigSoccer Supporter

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    Starting with the obvious:
    Have you upgraded your cable (or satellite) box to an HD model?
    Is the issue on all channels, or only some?
    What type of connection are you using? HDMI?
  17. Footer Phooter

    Footer Phooter Member

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    Yes

    Seems like it's an issue on all channels, but it might be worse on others. (Tough to tell. It's definitely more noticeable if there are horizontal lines on the screen, like you'd get on a ticker or scoreboard).

    HDMI connection from the cable box to the TV.
  18. Footer Phooter

    Footer Phooter Member

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    Turns out it was the fact that we had a baby monitor sitting next to the TV. Moved the baby monitor about 3 feet to the right, and the problem went away. Picture looks awesome now.
  19. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite BigSoccer Supporter

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    Who in the hell would have ever guessed THAT one?
  20. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

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    I have a clock radio power cable intertwined with my computer speaker wires and I can listen to the radio via the PC speakers.

    Ya, I know ... poor isolation, cheap wires, but still.
  21. Andy TAUS

    Andy TAUS Member

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    LOL.

    My Topfield HD PVR started pixelating/breaking up every now & again. Thought it was some kind of local signal/antenna/cabling problem. I worked out that the solar pump in our hot-water system, when it switched on-off (does so frequently), was interfering with FTA digital reception to the PVR. This effect was replicable by switching the solar pump on/off manually.

    Cost me a packet to swap out the solar pump for a new one. No reception problem since.

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