August 21, 2011

Joining the Modern Era (Maybe)

We’re going to get a HDTV. Really. Honest. We’ve been talking about it for a few years, we’ve just yet to pull the trigger. We’re talking about getting a 3D HDTV.

The issue that’s holding us back is our real projection TV still works. The frugal-ista in me doesn’t want to spend money I don’t have to, so if it still works, why replace it? Well, rear projection TVs have an aspect ratio of 4:3, meaning the height is approximately 3/4ths the width. HDTVs have an aspect ratio of 16:9, meaning they are much wider. These days, most cable providers assume everyone has an HDTV, so they’re broadcasting more and more in the 16:9 aspect ratio. Sometimes this means the image is shrunk so it fits the width of the TV, and some of the screen is blank. More often, however, it means the ends of the image are being chopped off. It’s surprising how often something important is in that chopped off corner and I end up not knowing know who John Stewart was making fun of in the daily show. So I think it’s finally time to buckle down and get a new TV.

Last year we discussed getting a 3D HDTV. I was amused at the notion of completely skipping the 2D HDTV generation. But they were expensive, too expensive. I missed the 2D TVs I wanted for black Friday so I thought I’d wait another year rather than settle for a mediocre sale. Today I’ve found a article in the economist that 3Ds are starting to become worth it. There’s still not a lot of 3D content, but the 3D technology comes on TVs that have better HDTV capabilities. So the economist argued a 3D TV was worth it, for the better HDTV. There seems to only be a $100 difference between comparable 3D and 2Ds from the same manufacture, so 3D TVs are no longer “premium” priced. Score!

The trouble is, I still don’t know much about HDTVs. We talked to one sales man who said Plasmas still have the burn-in issue. (Consumer reports appears to back this up). Bummer. There also seems to be a difference in quality. Some TVs have a ghosting effect, some don’t.

Ghosting occurs when the images for the left eye and right eye aren’t filtered 100% correctly. It’s also the reason I try not to watch 3D movies in the movie theater. The movie theater uses polarizing filters to filter the right image from the left image, because the glasses are cheaper to produce and needed in bulk. But anyone who works with polarizing filters for photography can tell you, cheap polarizing filters won’t completely separate the image. Some 3D TVs use polarizing filters, but many use the active shuttering technology. It makes for more expensive glasses, but for the headache prone like me, it seems like the way to go.

The store we were in was playing two different movies on two different TVs, so I’m not sure if the one had ghosting was because of the movie, the TV, or the glasses. Each 3D TV manufacture appears to make multiple different glasses, presumably of different quality. I don’t even know if the TVs were active shuttering or polarizing technologies. We’ll be doing a lot of research between now and Black Friday (because I still refuse to pay a lot!) I need to firm up an idea of what size TV we want, and what would be a good deal.

Oh, and if you like the idea of a 3D TV, but don’t want glasses, you may only have to wait a few more years. Think I can convince Domingo to keep the rear projection TV until 2015?

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  1. […] cheap, I don’t even like others over spending on our behalf.) It’s also making me re-think the HDTV. The nice thing about the rear projection TV is it’s heavy. Like 100lbs heavy. Any earthquake big […]

  2. […] that we’re considering a 3D TV, it seems like every other day there’s a new article about them. Domingo found one about a […]

  3. […] finally got a new TV like we had been talking about for years. We’ve been thinking about moving into a bigger house when I finish gradschool, and I […]


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