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Saturday, December 08, 2007
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We finally decided to upgrade to a High Definition (HD) TV setup in the house.

Samsung LNT4661F The initial choice one needs to make is to go with either a LCD or Plasma display for the  HDTV. LCDs consume less power, are a better choice to be used as a computer display, provide better value for the money if you are looking at a < 50" screen and depending on the brand/model may not provide a wide viewing angle. Plasma displays provide better value for your money if the screen size is > 50", are said to be able to display a deeper black on the screen and have a wider viewing angle. Even though they have improved in this area, they are also susceptible to burn-in. The burn-in is especially an issue if you are also using the display as a computer monitor (Taskbar etc. is always on the screen).  We chose the Samsung LNT4661F,  which is a 46" LCD HDTV which supports a "Full HD" 1080p resolution and was recently ranked the #1 LCD HDTV by a national consumer ratings organization. It has 3 HDMI and 2 Component inputs plus a variety of other inputs. The short version is that the the unit looks great and picture is simply awesome!

TivoHDI've had a Series 2 Tivo in the house for more than two years and the decision to upgrade  to HDTV also motivated us to obtain a TivoHD. Tivo currently has a special for current subscribers that will enable them to obtain a new TivoHD with a lifetime subscription (No monthly fees ever). The TivoHD provides dual tuners, support for viewing and recording HD shows, has an HDMI output (which I am using) and supports CableCards. The device actually supports 2 CableCards so you do not need a STB/"Digital Box" from your cable provider in order to de-scramble and view the digital and premium channels. If the CableCard is a Multi-Stream (M-Card) CableCard, you only need one installed (in Slot 1) and it will work with both of the tuners built into the TivoHD. If the cable provider has only Single-Stream CableCards available, the TivoHD needs 2 of them in order to use with both tuners. I currently have an appointment scheduled with my cable provider for them to install the CableCards. BTW, the folks over at the Tivo Community Forums (Not affiliated with Tivo) are very helpful when it comes to questions about Tivo's, CableCards and more.

Oppo DV-980HI am sitting out the HD vs. Blu-Ray DVD format argument. To that end, I chose to  invest in an Up-Converting DVD Player to get the best value out of my HDTV investment. Basically what these types of DVD players do is to "up-convert" a regular DVD to a resolution that displays on an HDTV. I actually did a fair bit of research on this and chose the Oppo DV-980H DVD player which has an extremely good reputation in the AV community. The Oppo can do a high definition up-conversion up to 1080p (which my TV supports), has an HDMI output (Oppo is a class act in that, unlike most other vendors, they include a rather good HDMI cable, which I use, in the package) and also supports 7.1CH Audio. In addition, it also supports playing a variety of formats including DVD-Audio, SACD, DVD-Video, XviD, DivX, MP3, WMA and is compatible with CD-R/RW, DVD+R etc. An additional benefit with the Oppo is that, it is incredibly easy to turn it into a region-free player. This is works very well for me, given my liking for Bollywood movies. All I can say is that the quality of the picture that you get is pretty spectacular!

Logitech Harmony 880Of course, all of these units came with their own remote controls, so in the interests of  simplification, we decided get the Logitech Harmony 880 Universal Remote to consolidate and simply the user experience. I was able to use the USB interface to the remote to configure all of my new and existing devices via the computer. It was a rather painless way of configuring and consolidating all of the device remotes and I love the combination of LCD display and the hard buttons on the remote. In addition, given that the remote is rechargeable and has a dedicated base, there is a regular place that the remote will always be found, which is an important thing in a house with kids!

 

I am anxiously awaiting the CableCard installation on my Tivo which is scheduled for early next week. But so far, I am extremely happy with the quality of the components that we got and the manner in which they work together.

Tags:: Musings
12/8/2007 3:22 PM Eastern Standard Time  |  Comments [0]  |  Disclaimer  |  Permalink   
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