DualShockers Very Own HDTV Shopping Guide For Gamers

DualShockers Very Own HDTV Shopping Guide For Gamers

I’m sure by now many of you readers out there have taken the HDTV plunge, or maybe you’re about to go for a second helping of HDTV goodness. Either way this guide should help you arm yourself with enough knowledge to fight off those pesky pushy salespeople. Now there’s one thing that’s easy about buying TV’s…and that is, getting stiffed. This is my personal shopping guide for those of you who are on the market for a brand spanking new HDTV. I’ll do my best in telling you what to look for and how to go about getting it. For starters, knowledge is power. Knowing the ins and outs of how HDTV’s works and what best suits you will greatly push you along your HDTV buying journey. Whether it be Plasma, LCD, or DLP rear projection, figure what’s its best used for and how does it fit your needs. Keep in mind you might actually do other things on it besides play games, so check how it performs with SD/HD broadcasts as well as DVD/Blu-Ray.hdtv_elite

1.) Never go on hear say:
Too often people tell me “my buddy has an LCD, so it has to be good because when he goes to the store he always asks for the best they’ve got!” Word to the wise: people that go shopping for electronics and ask the sales person for the “best they’ve got” usually get shafted. The sales person will immediately try to sell the crap that hasn’t been selling to this particular type of foolish consumer.

2.) The truth behind the 1080p myth:
This myth will soon fade; as 1080p is becoming the industry standard, but as of now it can still make a difference of up to a couple hundred bucks. The truth of the matter is that with a TV under 42″ (even if you have perfect 20/20 vision) the human eye cannot discern the difference between 1080i and 1080p. I don’t care what a sales person tells you, this is a FACT. A sales person will always want to sell you something that costs more money. If you sit more than 3 feet away from your TV (and you should, unless your Mr. Magoo) and are purchasing a TV 42″ or smaller, then 1080p should be a non-issue and keeping that in mind during your purchase could save you some greenbacks. Maybe you can use the money you saved for more games perhaps?

3.) To 120hz or not to 120hz? That IS the question:
The tech behind the feature is actually pretty silly when you think about it, and I think it was more of something that was stumbled upon, rather than being something intentional. 120hz, does not and cannot make your games look better, here’s why. Film and Blu-Ray’s run at 24p (that’s 24 frames per second), games on the other hand typically shoot for 60fps but wind up locked in at about 30fps with some exceptions. What 120hz does, is that it fills in the image with 5 false frames. For example, a 24P movie frame is repeated 5 times (24×5=120), basically the same frame is repeated while being sped up fast enough so it syncs with the audio, giving you an image that looks more like something shot on a camcorder, as opposed to having the authentic film look that movies are supposed to have.  When you go to your local big box retailers and pass by the Sony kiosks I’m sure you and those around you can’t believe your eyes while watching the “Pirates of the Caribbean” on display and you think to yourself, “WOW! Blu-ray IS amazing,” (and it is) but the effect your seeing is 120hz, not so much the disc itself. In all honesty, I personally think the feature was added to TV’s so SONY can feed people that HDNA bullshit, but that’s just me.

hdtv_hdna

4.) Contrast ratio! Contrast ratio! Contrast ratio! That’s what it’s all about:
Contrast ratio is something that should be on everyone’s shopping list when looking for a TV yet most people tend to overlook it. The contrast ratio, which is what determines how black your blacks get, is what truly gives an image that POP. An almost 3 dimensional look. Just think about it, the darker the black can get, the more vivid the green, blue and red hues can stand out from an image. Plasma’s are known to have the highest natural contrast ratio’s, LCD’s can achieve some high ones topping out around 40,000:1, yet can only right now do them dynamically (tv processing), with some exceptions namely the super expensive LED backlit SONY XBR8, and SAM LED TOC series. This is the main reason why when people ask me what set to buy I usually lean towards plasma’s.

bestbuy

5.) Pricing and Bargain Shopping:
Let’s be real if the difference between a Honda Civic and a 6 series BMW was a couple hundred bucks, you’d hold out and save up right? A TV is an investment just like a car, and the purchase of one should be treated as such. Don’t go on impulse. Take your time scouting out retailers, reading reviews and checking prices online. Make sales people compete for your money. It’s not your job to buy a TV; it’s the salesperson’s job to sell you one. There’s nothing wrong with asking some questions, as long as you’re armed with enough information to fight off the salesperson’s banter. I actually go to places like Best Buy and walk around the TV section looking lost, and ask stupid questions to see how much bullshit the salesperson feeds me. Then I throw it back in their face!

These are just some tips, to get you guys on your way to HD heaven, if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments section.

22 responses to “DualShockers Very Own HDTV Shopping Guide For Gamers”

  1. Hassan says:

    This is a very good guide. Thank you.

  2. Unknown says:

    A couple questions, (and im not planning to buy a tv anytime soon, I just want to know for the future)…

    1. So, if you buy a TV less than 42′, you might as well get a 720p… right?

    Also on 120hz tvs cant you normally change the clock speed under the settings or something to not get the “camcorder” effect?

  3. Joel Taveras says:

    @ Unknown

    That’s right dude, if you’re getting a Set 42″ or smaller then 720p will look just fine.

    As far as 120hz goes, I know that on Sony’s Bravia TVs you have the option of turning it on or off. Not too sure about other manufacturers though.

  4. Razmossis says:

    In all honesty, once you’ve had any tv for a period of time the main priority becomes ‘convenience’, things like pic in pic, how easy the guide is, good freeveiw, a good remote lol.

    But yes, if you are getting a big tv you should go high end, you’ll get a few more years satisfaction out of it.
    1080i is noticeable if you’ve been using a 1080p tv for a while. Contrast and colour features are vital, oh and if your getting a tv with high end colours and a great contrast ratio, make sure you put the screen settings to dynamic, other wise theres no point lol

  5. royston vasey says:

    you know that motionflow 200hz interpolates between frames it does not just add duplicate frames. It calculates the missing frames and adds them its impressive stuff, obviously this means lag of at east one frame plus lag from the processing; i think the lag maybe an issue overall i wouldnt know i haven’t tried but it actually increases the framerate of videogames!

  6. k_h138 says:

    120Hz doesn’t cause the “camcorder effect,” it’s frame interpolation (or “Auto Motion Plus” as some companies have labelled it). 120Hz is to get rid of judder that is caused by the 3:2 pulldown when playing 24fps video, which most sets do since they’re at 60Hz to get smoother motion. With 120Hz, each frame is displayed at equal amounts of time. For the camcorder effect, it’s caused by Cinemotion, AMP or whatever, which actually increases the number of frames by adding artificial frames to the original source.

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=928075

    Therefore, if a person is looking to purchase an LCD, one with a refresh rate of 120Hz is recommended, while one with AMP, Cinemotion or whatever, is strictly based on personal preference.

  7. royston vasey says:

    oh and another point it baffles me how people cant tell the difference between 1080i and 1080p: interlacing adds artefacts to both films(in motion not static images) and videogames(makes aliasing looks worse) and most importantly it adds display lag since deinterlacing is fairly processor intensive; on a good telly its hardly an issue admittedly.
    i have a 24″(1366*768) LG telly and a 1980*1080p Iiyama monitor(same size) and the difference between 720p and 1080p is substantial even at that screen size. i mean think about it 720p is less than a million pixels and 1080p is 2 million.
    since a lot of low end tellys have a crap scaler they make a mess of 1080i whereas my 1080p monitor scales down to 720p beautifully.
    i think it boils down to source material with the right reference 1080p detail comes through and i would definitely recommend it even though it moght not be immediately apparent.

  8. MeatyMomRider says:

    What do you think of those new series 8 laser tv’s that samsung just dropped. They’re still 1080p but look twice as good as any other tv I’ve seen thus far (available for purchase). I mean they look like something past HD kinda like the first time you saw blu-ray when all you had was regular dvds. Are these worth the money or should I just wait for the OLED TVs?

  9. Joel Taveras says:

    @ MeatyMomRider (love the name by the way)

    The series 8 Tv’s you’re talking about don’t work with lasers, they are actually LCD’s that are backlight by LED’s. The only Laser TV on the market is the Mitsubishi Laser Vue, and it’s not what you think. It’s built like a DLP projection, not a flat panel. Although it’s tested better than the BEST flat panel on the market (The Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-151FD) at $6,500 it’s a serious investment. As far as OLED goes, Samsung is just about to go into production now in preparation for 2010 summer release, but as it stands I think the biggest size that will be available then will be barely 40″. There are plenty of great sets out there now, just take your time shopping, and take my guide with you and you’ll be alright.

  10. Louis says:

    Well. i have a 60 inches lcos xbr1 and i would likechange it. I would like to know what you guys would do with no cash limits…I want the best tv available but i don t want to downgrade sizem wich seems hard those days, huge tv are not as popular as it use to be.. I was thinking about the new panasonic 65 inches plasma that will be available in Auguste… Any imput would be apreciated..

  11. Joel Taveras says:

    @ Louis

    I see you only want the very best, but the specs on that 65″ panny plasma are just descent, not great. If you truly want the very best TV on the market then you should do yourself the favor and pick up the The Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-151FD, it is hands down the best TV money can buy. All i can say is get moving as this TV is the last of it’s kind. Pioneer announced a few months back that they will no longer be manufacturing new TVs and have recently closed their last plant. This set is the Holy Grail of flat panels, and once they’re gone there won’t be anymore.

    Good Luck

  12. name says:

    even though every person i have spoken to tells me never buy a plasma TV for games, there not suited for them.
    and there much more susceptible to screen burning.
    one question though.
    with the ps3 on a 32inch LCD hooked up via HDMI.
    RGB rage.
    full or limited?
    i find full makes the colors vivid and less washed out, but on some games makes enemies extremely hard to see.
    limited makes the colors look fake/extremely washed out, like theve been painted using 50 parts water to 1 part paint.
    and super whites on or off?

  13. royston vasey says:

    this screen burn never happens in practice trust me i own a plasma, people confuse screen burn (permanent) with image retention (temporary), you leave the telly on for a while and persistant image just disappears. The screen burn is complete FUD from the plasma/lcd wars early days dont believe it!

    your second question
    full range RGB is for computer monitors limited is for TVs, some new TVs are now comaptible with full range however; so check your manual.
    If you dont have a manual check with your eyes if full range rgb(0-256) crushes blacks (makes dark scenes harder to see – even when you raise the brightness) then set your TV to limited rgb(16-256)

  14. royston vasey says:

    @joel
    i remember reading pioneer sold their Kuro tech to Panasonic so panasonic will continue the Kuro brand. These are the best money can buy (a plasma incidentally)i dont think they are going anywhere soon.

  15. Louis says:

    Thank you for your input, i already know about all this pioneer kuro thing, i know the elite are the best but they are already hard to find and also i find those a bit dark…In fact i like the bright screen of lcds but all the best lcd are just made in 55 inches max….Also i find all those 120- 240 hz processing giving unatural images. I ve been told the new 2009 v10 serie is almost as good as the elite with a brighter screen almost like a lcd, and the 65 inches model will be out next month…I m not sure what to do, seems like not so easy to determine wich set is the best those days…

  16. Pwnedkiller says:

    Hey Joel im actaully shopping for a HDTV now and ive been searching around for about a month now and will be buying one in about a week. My mind is pretty much set on a Vizio 32 inch ECO Class HDTV 720p. I just want to know what ur thoughts are on the tv if u think its a good buy or not here is the link thank you. One more thing i have personally looked at this tv in person and the picture looks just as good if possibley better then the samsung ones.

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10993794

  17. Joel Taveras says:

    @ Pwnedkiller

    I just had a chance to look at the specs for that set, and they’re pretty decent for a set that size. It has a contrast ration of 15,000:1 which is excellent for a set under 37″, as well as 3 HDMI inputs which means your covered even if you have a cable box and 2 game consoles. Overall a sweet little TV and an even sweeter price.

    Enjoy it, and good luck!

  18. Pwnedkiller says:

    @Joel

    Thanks man

  19. Louis says:

    @ Joel

    So what should i buy in your opinion?

  20. Joel Taveras says:

    @ Louis

    I know you have your heart set on the 65″ panny, but I would still go with the Pioneer Elite. I’m big on quality over quantity, the 5″ difference shouldn’t be a deciding factor.

    But that’s just my honest opionion.

    Either way good luck with whichever set you choose.

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