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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

I have taken the HDTV plunge…

Just snapped up a Toshiba 42-inch LCD from Circuit City. It was the interest-free financing that snagged me.

It’ll be delivered on Friday. I anticipate much gnashing of teeth as I try to make all my existing equipment work with it. And I’m gonna have to hang onto my cable-company DVR — the non HD kind — until I get through the several weeks’ worth of Lost I’ve recorded. I guess I’ll have to give up on all those episodes of Enterprise I’ve been TiVoing on Sci Fi’s Monday night marathons. Oh well: I’ll watch on widescreen DVD eventually. Woo-hoo!

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  • Sweet!

    I personally haven’t really even considered an HDTV, since well, I just use my laptop to watch stuff. I really don’t use the TV at all.

  • David C

    Congrats! You’ve taken your first step into a larger world.

    I’ve had a 42-inch Sony for a couple years now, and can’t imagine life without it, especially now that I have a HD TiVo Series3 to go with it….

  • MaryAnn

    I just use my laptop to watch stuff.

    It’s really hard to curl up in front of the laptop with a glass of wine or a cup of tea.

    Though I’m looking forward to finding out if I can hook up my laptop to the HDTV so I can watch stuff I’ve downloaded.

  • Joe

    Woohoo! congrats, the wife and I got a 38″ widescreen earlier this year, and love it. Can I make a suggestion on a DVD player? We purchased what’s called a DVD upconverter for the very reasonable price of $60. An upconverter, while not HD DVD, or blue-ray (also not nearly as expensive) will play your current DVD’s in the native screen resolution of your HDTV, providing a better picture quality overall. Couple that with component cabling (from the upconverter to HDTV) and fiber optical sound cables to the stereo, you can get a pretty kick ass home theater experience. Just my two cents. Also, as for your laptop, most HDTV’s come with a standard computer style video jack (it’s name escapes me at the moment, something like standard VGA I think) and all’s you would need is the cabling to link em up. I wouldn’t be surprised if your laptop had an S-video out as well, another way you could link em up. The downside of that is that your laptops video card may not be able to handle the sheer vastness of the real estate that is your new screen, so it might look icky, but it hasn’t stopped me from doing it.

  • David C

    You mean a separate upconverter that you plug in to an existing DVD player (didn’t know such things existed), or a new unit?

    Either way, upconversion is indeed very good, and upconverting DVD players are so dirt cheap these days, there’s not much reason not to have one.

    For little weird questions, possibly specific to your hardware, avsforum.com is an incredible resource. A forum with lots of people who know their stuff, and are helpful to people who know… less. :)

    Oh, as an FYI, I’m not sure if you’re in the market for a game console, but one of the nice things about my Xbox 360 is that it provides a relatively trouble-free way to view video files from my PC, by way of a home network. (Oh, but that probably doesn’t apply to you and your weirdo Mac tribesmen…. :) )

  • MaryAnn

    My DVD player is relatively new (within in the last couple years), so I’m not looking to buy a new one. I’ll look into this upconverter thingie, though.

    I’m also fearful I may have to spend $200 on an HDMI cable to get the most out of this TV. But I’ll wait and see what kind of hookups the new HD DVR from the cable company has before I do that…

  • James

    There’s no need to spend that much on an HDMI cable. It’s digital so even one for $5 from Amazon should work just as well as a $200 Monster cable.
    As long as it’s not 20ft long and you don’t live right next to a power transformer then you should be good to go.

    I imagine that your DVR will come with one.

  • David C

    Right, for HDMI, cables are basically a binary work/not-work kind of thing, as I understand it. A bad HDMI cable doesn’t mean you get a bad picture, it means you get *no* picture. The DVR probably has an HDMI output, but if not, Component Video hookups are almost as good, perhaps completely indistinguishable.

    (BTW, even with Component, S-Video, etc., cables, Monster Cables probably are *not* worth their rather huge markup. I blew way too much money on them before learning that….)

  • MaryAnn

    Thanks, guys, for all the advice. What I thought would be a throwaway post turns out to be very useful, and will probably save me tons of money, too.

  • Joe

    Just want to clarify on the upconverter, it is a standalone DVD player, didn’t mean to make it sound otherwise but can see how it would confuse (previously I had been using my playstation 2 for DVD playback, and the quality difference has been stunning). I would also like to second David C’s comment on cables, I have spent too much money on them myself. I saw a cable sales website awhile back that had all different cables for REALLY cheap. If I find the URL I will forward it along.

  • David C

    Speaking of cables, I probably have as many random cables as that website sitting in a cluster in my living room after my last hardware upgrade, so let me know if you need any, MaryAnn! (I think I’ve got multiple spares of just about every conceivable type of AV cables except HDMI….)

  • MaryAnn

    Got any component video cables, David? (You know, the red/green/blue ones.) I could use a couple of those…

  • MaryAnn, see if your cable/satellite operator offers the following channels in HD… they feature some shows I think you’d be interested in:

    HDNet: “Enterprise”
    UHD (Universal HD): “Stargate: Atlantis”, “Surface”, “Battlestar Galactica”

    You do NOT need to spend $200 on an HDMI cable. All HDMI cables are digital, hence they offer the same quality of data transmission. You should be able to get a good HDMI cable for less than $30 through a place like http://www.cablesforless.com.

    You can get an upconverting DVD player for about $100 now… it will need to connect to the TV via HDMI in order to upconvert DVDs to 1080i or 1080p. If you want to go to true HD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray players are available, but the formats are not compatible with each other and so you may want to wait until the HD Format War shakes out a bit. (Myself, I have an HD-DVD add-on for my Xbox 360… “Children of Men” and “Planet Earth” are simply stunning in HD. I’m planning on getting a Samsung combo HD-DVD/Blu-ray player at the end of the year.)

  • Congratulations!!! J and I just went ass-over-teakettle into debt to get a 65″ TV and supersweet DVD player. At first, I wondered what we were doing. Two weeks later, I cannot imagine how we got by without them. Enjoy your new addition to the family!!

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