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17 October 2008 @ 09:28 pm
TVs are expensive  
Okay, about eight years ago i believe i bought my current 27" tv at Costco. I'm pretty sure it cost about $250, or an amortized cost of about $30 a year so far. I know LCD and HD TVs are supposed to have been getting cheaper and i guess that's true, but you still can't seem to get them for a comparable price =P Best Buy has a 27" standard def tube TV for $250, so i guess price reductions have kept pace with inflation for those. The cheapest quasi-equivalent flat panel is a 26" widescreen 720p LCD for $400, both Best Buy and Costo have a version at that price.

Of course this also brings up another issue, the stupid diagonal measurement for TVs was bad enough when everything had the same aspect ratio, trying to figure out what widescreen TV would be the same height as mine is a real pain =P For a 16:9 ratio it would work out to 33" i think.

There's a 32" 720p widescreen LCD for $450 at Best Buy, and one at Costco for $500. If i wanted to get that down to the same amortized cost as my current one i'd have to keep it for about 15 years. Of course if i'm going to be keeping a TV for a long period of time it might be good to go for 1080p now. Costco has two 32" widescreen 1080p TVs for $600, the cheapest 1080p Best Buy has is $700, though it is a 42".

All in all it seems like i really ought to wait awhile longer before jumping to HD. Although actually i guess the real question is, how much cheaper are widescreen 1080p LCD TVs going to get? Will they eventually work their way down to the same price as the equivalent height CRTs? If this is about as cheap as they're ever going to get then there's no point in waiting any longer. I've also got a gut feeling that if the price is decreasing at a rate of less than $30 a year (my amortized price above) that one could argue that i'm not gaining anything by waiting, but i'm not sure that's a logically defensible position :)
Current Mood: boredbored
Ambermaggiedacatt on October 18th, 2008 05:56 am (UTC)
For a 16:9 ratio it would work out to 33" i think.

I can't believe I bothered to do the SAT problem required to check this. But I got the same answer.
DonAithnendonaithnen on October 18th, 2008 06:07 am (UTC)
Yay! Math are us!
Pava: Osaka Sez!jmpava on October 18th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC)
The main price seems to be for flat/LCD, not for HD. If HD is your goal, you can get HD CRTs. They aren't as prevalent, becuase they don't being as much money in as the LCDs, but I'm pretty sure they still exist. Granted, if what you want is flatscreen LCD, then yeah. It's pretty expensive right now...
DonAithnendonaithnen on October 18th, 2008 06:12 am (UTC)
Well the prime mover, so to speak is that this TV is large and heavy and i don't want to have to move it again. At least not more than the once necessary to get it out of here :)

And once i'm getting a flatscreen TV i might as well get a widescreen HD one :)

So the one mandatory time limit on the purchase is "by the next time i move."
Kirinkirinn on October 18th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)
If you do make a decision or even do more research on this, please continue to post about it. I've been meaning to look into getting an HD set to replace our old and smallish SD TV (which makes my PS3 sad) for some time now.

Some things to look into:

I believe in the 26"-33" range, you're not going to be able to *see* the difference between 720p and 1080p unless you're sitting way too close to the screen. There are charts online somewhere that plot out the distances/sizes at which the difference is noticeable, though I don't have a link handy.

Gaming use means you want as little lag from input to screen as possible, and some HDTVs are better at this than others. It's especially important if you ever want to hook up old analog consoles, since the TV will be doing up-scaling for you and that can easily lag. Less of an issue for 360 and PS3, since they can do their own upscaling and give the TV a native signal even when playing older games, but I think it can still happen with some sets.

Anyway, yeah, let me know. In exchange, I'll be sure to post something if I actually get around to doing any more research before you do. ;)
DonAithnendonaithnen on October 18th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
Well for starters, after looking through this:
and this:

I really can't see any reason to get anything other than an LCD. The big disadvantages LCDs used to have was contrast and refresh rate, and they've made significant improvements on those factors in the last year or so, while Plasmas have fixed the burn-in problem, but that's about it.

This comparison of 720p vs 1080p:
seems to agree with you about the difference between them, however one of the caveats is that a 1080p might be better if you're going to run your PC through it. I'm certainly not planning on doing that all the time, but if i've got a 32" TV with PC inputs i may want to mess around with that occasionally :) Also, in the 10 months since it was written the price difference between 720p and 1080p seems to have fallen to $100.

The upscaling is a concern. All the TVs i've looked at claim to be able to handle 480i input, but obviously they don't tell you how well on the box =P

I may go by Costco sometime soon just to take a look at the Vizios (which got Consumer Reports' best buy in category) and the Sceptres (which has slightly better stats than the Vizios but which Consumer Reports unfortunately did not review) but i expect they're not going to have any standard def signals running for comparison =P