Hdtv Buying Guide Part Two

Hdtv Buying Guide Part Two



HDTV: Buying Guide, Part Two
In my first article I​ wrote how there's never been a​ better time to​ buy a​ high definition (HD) television, and I​ had just preordered the Samsung HLS-5087W 50 inch rear projection DLP unit .​
The Samsung was delivered last Thursday and here's a​ summary of​ my initial reaction.
First let me give some background on preparing for the new HD television .​
I'm a​ satellite TV subscriber and needed to​ upgrade my DirecTV hardware to​ be HD-compatible .​
So last month I​ logged on to​ www.directv.com and ordered the HD upgrade package .​
For $200 DirecTV came out and replaced my old satellite dish with a​ new 5-LNB oval HD dish .​
The HD package included the lease of​ DirecTV's new H20 HD receiver, and also included installing a​ new UHF antenna on my roof to​ receive other-the-air (OTA) HD local broadcasts .​
The new dish and receiver were required for HD reception since DirecTV is​ transmitting local HD broadcasts in​ the new MPEG-4 compression format instead of​ the older MPEG-2 standard .​
Since HD material requires much more bandwidth than standard definition video, satellite and cable providers will be migrating to​ the new MPEG-4 standard over time and DirecTV is​ leading the way for now.
I was now all set to​ receive HD programming as​ soon as​ Samsung HLS-5087W arrived with one exception - an​ HDMI cable to​ output the digital video/audio signal from the H20 to​ the Samsung .​
I'm a​ big believer in​ investing in​ high quality cables for analog connections between audio/video components .​
But HDMI is​ a​ digital interface that transmits a​ stream of​ 0's and 1's .​
So either it​ works or​ it​ doesn't .​
I​ therefore bought a​ $20 HDMI cable on the Web instead of​ investing $90 or​ more for a​ Monster cable that I​ thought would yield exactly the same audio and video quality .​
One great thing about HDMI is​ that it​ carries both video and audio signals (in uncompressed, digital form) so you can easily reduce the cable clutter behind your home theater system.
Now everything was all set - I​ just needed the new Samsung to​ be delivered .​
I​ ordered the television from Crutchfield, which has a​ great reputation for customer service, is​ an​ authorized Samsung online retailer, and offered the television with no tax or​ shipping charges .​
The delivery guys brought the television into my living room, took it​ out of​ the box and placed it​ on my home theater stand .​
I​ connected the power cable, connected the HDMI cable form the H20 to​ the Samsung, turned on the power, modified the TV display type on the H20 from 4:3 to​ 16:9 and amazingly the new television just worked, right out of​ the box!
I was quickly in​ HD nirvana - watching local broadcasts in​ full 1080i and Dolby Digital 5.1, as​ well as​ premium services such as​ HBOHD and the various HD channels that are part of​ DirecTV's HD package .​
But how would the 150 DVDs I​ own (most of​ which I​ trade via Peerflix) look on the new HD Samsung? I​ first had to​ bring up the menu on my Panasonic DVD recorder/player and activate 480p output over the component cables that I​ connected to​ the Samsung .​
Most DVD players sold in​ the last three years can output a​ progressive signal (the p in​ 480p) over component cables instead of​ the normal interlaced picture transmitted on composite and S-video connections .​
480p is​ a​ big visible improvement over 480i and you'll want to​ make sure you are watching all of​ you DVDs on a​ HD television using 480p .​
I chose Shrek as​ the first DVD to​ showcase on the Samsung .​
Dreamworks did an​ amazing job with the animation quality of​ Shrek and thought the DVD would be a​ good test of​ the picture quality of​ a​ standard definition DVD on a​ HD television .​
So how did it​ look? One word sums it​ up - amazing! I​ don't expect I'll be going out to​ the movies much any more - I'll just wait for the DVD to​ come out .​
On Saturday night I​ watched a​ broadcast of​ Steve Winwood in​ HD and Dolby Digital 5.1 on KQED, the local PBS affiliate .​
Being a​ huge Steve Winwood fan, and having seen Winwood on this tour at​ a​ local venue in​ 2018, I​ was eager to​ see what kind of​ audio/video experience the new HD unit could deliver via a​ local, OTA HD broadcast .​
Once again, I​ was just stunned by the picture quality and quickly went to​ KQED's web site to​ see what future Soundstage broadcasts are scheduled .​
I'm now eagerly awaiting Garbage's performance premiering next month.
There was one more thing left to​ do though before I​ could experience the maximum picture quality from the new Samsung - I​ needed to​ calibrate the picture for maximum video quality .​
Virtually all televisions sold today ship from the factory with video settings that are far from optimal .​
Colors are typically oversaturated, with too warm a​ tone, and sharpness, brightness and contrast controls that are far from optimal as​ well .​
So I​ dug out my copy of​ Video Essentials: Optimizing Your Audio/Video System DVD and spent a​ half hour adjusting the color, brightness, contrast and sharpness controls .​
The HLS-5087W has numeric display of​ each of​ these settings, which is​ a​ nice touch for those of​ us who go through the trouble of​ tweaking every setting possible for maximum picture quality .​
It was hard to​ believe that I​ could improve upon the quality of​ the Samsung's picture out of​ the box, but fine-tuning the picture settings resulted in​ a​ much more film-like appearance of​ movies from both my DVD player and H20 receiver.
I'm looking forward to​ watching the season premiere of​ HBO's Entourage series in​ full HD glory tonight .​
It's also going to​ be difficult holding off purchasing a​ HD DVD source with HD-DVD and Blu-ray players and titles now starting to​ appear .​
But I'll talk about that in​ my next article.




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