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Help us buy a new TV

Despite us saying we’re not big TV people, we tend to watch a lot of TV throughout the week. But it’s scattered. One show on this night, another on that night. We’re not glued to the TVĀ  every night gagging on Dancing with the Stars. We also don’t have a DVR so we have to watch TV when it happens or hope for reruns. Personally, I like that part of TV watching, but one thing that has gotten on my nerves over the past couple years is the size of our TV.

Old school viewing

tmpphp0ubolpOur TV is an old hand-me-down. In all its glory it sits at 27″ with nice simulated wood paneling on each side. It is a haus and takes two men and a midget to lift. All that being said, it has easily lasted close to 20 years and it’s only now showing signs of giving up. As TV and DVDs move go all HD and video games do the same thing, the 27-incher just isn’t cutting it anymore. It’s time to upgrade.

We have this close to getting a TV last Christmas. We were in Walmart, found one that looked good, it was a price we were willing to pay…I was even walking to ask for help when I stopped in the middle of the aisle and just say, “let’s go,” and we left. I just couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I’d be paying $1000 for a TV. The last TV I purchased new was also a 27″ (when 27″ wasn’t too slouchy) and it was only $200. So we went one more year with our vintage television.

That will change this year.

This Christmas we will get a new TV. Period. But I have a real hard time choosing big ticket items when there are so many choices. Not to mention I’m really bad when it comes to choosing electronics. I obviously want the best product for the price, but when I’m dropping near $1000 for a TV it better be damn good.

So I need everyone’s help. Just about everyone else in this world (and most of you, I’m sure) have a big TV by now. Some sort of widescreen behemoth that sits in your living room projecting sweet LCD glow onto your couch and smiling faces. So you all know more about the big TVs than I do, even if you’re not a TV tech head, you know what you like and don’t like about your big television…and that’s what I want to know.

Spend my money

And for those of you looking for a challenge and the chance to help me spend my money, find me a television that meets these minimum requirements:

  • Must be an LCD (not projection or DLP)
  • 1080p
  • Must be 42″ – 46″
  • Must be less than $1,000 (the lesser the better)
  • Must be able to support an XBox and DVD player simultaneously
  • Viewing priorities: 1) Video games 2) Cable television 3) DVDs

And that’s about it for the basics. Any other features would be pure bonus…VGA in, extra outputs/inputs, whatever, etc… And bottomline, it needs to be an inexpensive as possible while still providing a good experience. I don’t want to spend $1000 (and we’re not going to). If we can spend $700 and get a decent TV that delivers, so be it. I’m not looking for the best TV for a $1000, I’m looking for the best TV at the lowest price.

We only have SD cable right now so I know that will look like ass on a big TV until we upgrade that too, which we will eventually. But we’re pretty tolerable of crap, so HD cable will probably come later. We spend more time playing video games on the TV than anything else. We just don’t watch many DVD movies despite our entertainment center overflowing with discs.

So what type of television do you have?
Do you like it? Do you hate it?
What’d you pay for it?
Would you recommend it?

Like I said, I’m looking for input form everyone, not just you nerds that know what all the technical stuff means. I honestly don’t care about tech specs…I just want what I’m watching to look good.

And when we make our purchase this holiday season, we’ll have a house party to show it off. As the last one to get a new TV it will video game and movie extravaganza, I’m sure.


  1. Erica Erica November 13, 2009

    There’s gonna be plenty of good Black Friday deals on TVs this year – I keep up with the sales using, and I’ll let you know if I see something that meets your criteria. We have a Samsung at home, and it’s fantastic. Also, there is usually a huge price jump between 42 and 46 inch TVs, so if you don’t care about size as much you can usually get more features for less $$ with a 42 inch.

  2. Octa Octa November 13, 2009

    Well I have a Sony Bravia 32″ with integrated theater sound (5.1, compatible with optical cable), the only downside is that it only supports up to 1080i. One of the basic components I looked for was the option to add digital channels without a third party receptor, and at least 2 HDMI ports.

    I think a 32″ screen is a decent size, and I will look for a TV with: Full HD support, digital channels/HD integrated receptor, 2-3 HDMI ports, 2 component ports, 1-2 video/audio ports.

    I have seen a lot of Samsung TVs with that characteristics in the range of $600-$899 (32″, 42″, 46″), and that company have an excellent costumer support so you won’t worry about that.

  3. Will Will November 13, 2009

    Everybody says Vizio TVs are pretty good for the amount of money you pay. I have 1 and I think it’s great, but I don’t have any other HDTVs to compare it to. I don’t know the model number, but I got it about 2 years ago for around $800-$900. It’s 42 inches and has 2 HDMI, 2 component, S-video, and some other connections I don’t ever use. You shouldn’t have to worry about an HD tuner since you have cable and I won’t go into how black the blacks are (that’s not racist). To me, the picture looks great as long as you have an HD signal coming in. SD looks like crap. I’ve heard that other brands do a better job with SD signals. I like the TV and recommend it if you want something inexpensive. That being said, my next TV will probably be a Samsung or a Sony.

  4. Octa Octa November 13, 2009

    I forgot to say that I got mine for $600 last Christmas. Pretty good deal because at that time the 360 only supported 1080i, then after the spring update it supports up to 1080p but I think that’s only if yours have the HDMI port (elite and the 60gb bundle).

  5. Brian Brian Post author | November 13, 2009

    I forgot about the whole 1080p thing, I suppose that’s pretty important. I think my 360 has the HDMI, it should.

    If the price jump is big between 42″ and 46″ then a 42″ should do the trick nicely. Our living room isn’t that deep, so we’ll be sitting pretty close the TV actually, so bigger isn’t necessarily better.

    Thanks everyone so far! :)

  6. Lindsey Lindsey November 13, 2009

    We have a Samsung and we really love it. Erica definitely has a point, Black Friday always has some great deals happening for TV’s. We got my mom a really nice TV last year from Target for $400. My dad got a good deal last year at Sam’s Club too. So don’t forget to check Sam’s, sometimes they have deals, usually they don’t but you never know.

    I think that when we were researching TV’s, this was kind of a while ago but John seems to have this weird hatred towards Sony, especially their TV’s. Maybe I can get him on here to explain it…

  7. Thee Thee November 18, 2009

    I bought my parents a 37″ VIZIO earlier this summer and am very impressed with the picture. It’s a much nicer picture than my 50″ (albeit mine is only 720p) and the value was great. We bought it at Walmart for less than $600.

    I recommend buying as large as you want to afford. Since the set is a HD, the TV views smaller than a comparable non-HD TV.

  8. Mick Mick November 23, 2009

    I’m sure you’ll probably wind up with a new TV as have I but in my investigation I saw Target has a really cheap 32″ Westinghouse LCD on for Black Friday. In my investigation I’ve seen some really horrible reviews from people who bought them so if at all possible you might want to stay away from that model. You also might want to take into consideration the refresh rate. I have several LCD’s of which all are acceptable but the lowest refresh rates certainly provide the most crisp and fluid viewing.

  9. Brian Brian Post author | November 23, 2009

    From what I’ve read, response time is a big deal when it comes to fast moving stuff, like video games. I’m shooting for as close to 5ms as possible.

    I’m aiming at Samsung, Sony, Sharp, and Vizio for my brands of choice. I’ve heard good things about all of them and fewer bad things. Plus I just trust them over say Ensignia or something generic-ish. They all probably start at the same factory but whatever…

    If things go well then we’ll have a new TV this weekend with all the crazy sales. Here’s hoping…

  10. Big G Big G November 24, 2009

    Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on things!

    I can’t argue with your preferred brands. I think a TV from any one of those manufacturers will work great for you.

    At this point in the game, 1080p is the way to go. video games, HTPC’s, and Bluray players will look great on them.

    Also, you’re right on the money with response time. 5ms or less is right about where you want to be so that you get minimal motion blur with fast action.

    Since you guys watch lots of movies, I suspect that a Bluray player might be in your future at some point too. I expect we’ll see sub $100 bluray players this holiday season. If that is the case, I’ll probably pick one up. Most bluray content is 1080p by 24 frames per second. In order to get the best playback possible, make sure you get a TV that has a refresh rate of 120Hz or higher. 120Hz is the least common multiple of 24, 30, and 60 frames per second. These are the three frame rates that HD content will be delivered to you in.

    As with most electronics… I’m a proponent of establishing a budget and then maximizing the value you can get for that budget. Simply put… decide what you’re going to spend, and then spend that. It enables you to get the best TV you can afford.

    By doing the “best cheapest” thing like you’re doing… you might as well just watch the flyers and go pick the cheapest one that meets those requirements. Essentially, you’re not really looking for the best TV you can get, but rather, just looking for the best deal.

    What will set a more expensive TV apart from a less expensive TV with the same specs will be the image processing inside the TV. It comes down to the amount of effort that the manufacturer put into the firmware and circuit design to give you the best picture possible.

    To really be able to notice the difference though, you have to know what to look for. Crawling moss, macro-blocking, halos, dithering, banding, judder, etc…


  11. Brian Brian November 25, 2009

    Safe to say I’m always looking for the best deal, not always the best product. :) The greatest thing is finding that sweet spot…a good product at a good price.

    Jen’s got a bead on some decent TVs so hopefully we’ll be able to snag one of them. One is a 46″ Sony and the other a 42″ Vizio. I’m hoping to get the 46″ but I know the 42″ is 120Hz and a little better on tech specs…either one will be awesome happy for me.

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