Sunday, November 2, 2008

Early Christmas

Television. Kelli and I watch a lot of it. We have a big on as well. When we moved into our house 4 1/2 years ago we bought the best TV we could afford. We bought a 57-inch Sony HDTV Projection TV. The price was $1799 from Best Buy. We got 3 years no interest as well as a $250 gift card. We used the gift card to buy an X-Box. The TV has served well. We have had zero issues with it until recently. With our new UVerse TV service (which we love!) the box is a native HDMI output. I bought a HDMI to DVI cable. This worked fine until a recent software upgrade. Now if the TV is turned on before the box (a matter of a second or two as the same remote blast out signals to turn them both on at the same time) the box won't send out video. This causes us to turn the TV off and back on. Not a big deal. But annoying.

The TV is also pretty massive. The depth of the TV is a good 3 feet. The makes the TV sit nearly 3 1/2 feet off the wall. Massive use of space. At the time we bought it a 42 inch Plasma TV was over $2500. We couldn't swing it.

This morning I looked through the Fry's Ad (like I do everyday that doesn't begin with the letter T) and noticed a Philips 50 inch Plasma 1080P TV for $1377. True it's 7 inches smaller than our current TV....but the price is good and the 1080P is something I wanted (our current TV is 1080i). We went to Fry's to "check it out". The TV looked only where near as sharp as our current Sony. Contrary to popular belief the sharpest pictures produced today are still made by old-fashioned CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors. Why? Well they have been in production for over 50 years.... damn good research and production. We then wandered around looking at other TVs. I used my new phone to quickly look up prices to compare to other nearby stores and online stores.

This is the Fry's ad I saw this morning.


There was a nice Samsung Plasma 50 inch Plasma 1080P for $1150. I liked the picture...but it was the floor model box. No thanks. a salesman...very nice and knowledgeable man....greeted us and showed us several models. Kelli and I look at TV's often. I drag her through the TV section of Fry's or Best Buy at least once a month. We noticed a new technology called 120 Hz for LCDs. The new LCD's produce a much sharper picture than LCD's from last year, which used 60 Hz,  by having double the resolution. To be fair Plasma TVs use 480Hz so they have never had an issue with images smearing or ghosting. The salesman showed as a really nice Sony TV that was in our price range...but not 120 Hz. We liked it. We then noticed the TV next to it showing the same programming...but looked 100X better. That TV was a Samsung 52inch LCD with the 120Hz feature. We were standing 10 feet back and were amazed at how different they were. The price was a little more than we were comfortable with. The salesman showed us the same Samsung TV in a lower ($100 cheaper) model next to the higher model showing the same programming. Still the picture was just that much better. The TV's were tuned to the same colors, contrast and picture quality...the details were just amazing.

Thinking I could find a better price we left and visited Circuit City, Starpower and Best Buy. Circuit City and Best Buy had the same Samsung TV...but $800 higher than Fry's. Circuit City would price match plus 10%...Best Buy would only price match. We are Best Buy people. I attempted to buy the TV from Best Buy but after waiting more than 20 minutes for the associate to verify the TV was in stock at Fry's (part of the price match system) we left. The customer service was lacking. When I said I would go to the Circuit City around the corner they told me they were closed (an outright lie). We went back to Circuit City and had more bad service...but we got the TV for $880 less than they were advertising it for. For the record we bought a Samsung LN52A750 (click here for more info on the TV). The 52-inch LCD TV has 4 HDMI ports, an Ethernet port (to pull video from a computer and RSS feeds from the net), and more. I bought the mounting bracket for $40 from . The prices for mounting brackets from Best Buy, Circuit City and Fry's were crazy! Using my phone I scanned the barcodes and found the exact same mounting brackets online for a MINIUMUM of $100 less than in the store. I did a lot of research and picked a basic tilting bracket. I was going to get one with an articulating arm.... but was leery as most models have issues with really big TVs (ours weighs 67  lbs). I also bought three 15-foot HDMI cables and some speaker brackets (in case I get a hair up my rear to mount my speakers on the wall).

There is a funny thing about HDMI cables. The prices vary between $13 and literally $200 for the EXACT same cable. The "Monster Power" 24K gold plated HDMI cable performed exactly the same as a $13 generic cable...why? Well HDMI is digital....1's and 0's. The signal either gets there or it doesn't. In the past with analog cables outside interference could alter the signal. Buying shielded, high quality cables, brought a better picture. The cheapest HDMI cable at Best Buy was a 4-foot cable for over $79!!!!'s cheap. I read several articles and reviews and every one of them ended the same way....the price of the cable doesn't change the picture or sound produced.

This week I have recurrent ground training and a check ride for my I likely won't mount the TV until next Sunday....maybe. Kelli and I will also likely buy/acquire some type of table to place under the TV for all of the components.

Take a look...every paragraph started with T! And the TV fit in my MULTI-ACTIVITY VEHICLE just fine. If we had bought a 56 inch TV.....we would have had to take it out of the box or pay for delivery. The TV we bought slid in perfectly with a few inches to spare. Our friends Lacy and Raymond bought a smaller Plasma TV that wouldn't fit in their much larger and gas hungrier Mazda CX-7.


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