Saturday, April 21, 2007

Shop for New TV

Long story in short. I gave away my 10 years old 27" Sony CRT TV and shop for a new TV. Obviously, I am NOT going to buy the old 4:3 CRT TV again. It is for my bedroom so DLP is not an opinion (although it is really cheap!!!). Plasma is a good choice (price is in my acceptable range too) but I just afraid the burn-in and the short lifetime issues. So I decide to get a LCD TV.

First of all, Sony is not in my list at all. For the past 10 years, I had enough trouble with Sony's product. Except the TV I just gave away, none of the Sony products I owned can last more than 2 years. Sony's technical support is the worst in the industry. Yes, their products really look great but the quality is very bad inside. They really don't know what they are doing right now.

So, what is my requirement with the LCD TV? Here is my list:
  • 27-32" in Size
  • High Contrast Ratio
  • 2+ HDMI Inputs
  • 2+ Component Inputs
  • 720p is enough (I don't plan to watch HD-DVD/Blue-Ray in my bedroom)
  • Cheap (Around US$1000)
Now, who makes the cheapest LCD HDTV now? No doubt, all the mainland Chinese brands are cheap. You can even get a 27" LCD HDTV for US$499 @ Costco. However, after checking the technical specification, I understand why they can be so cheap.
  • Bad contrast ratio (max 2000:1)
  • Only 1 input for each connector (HDMI, Component, Composite)
  • Ugly outlooking (OK, it's not in my requirement)
So, I also kick those Chinese brands out of my consideration list.

My next question is... Who makes the best LCD TV now? On my list, they are Samsung, Philips, and Panasonic. Samsung is on the top of my list. This Korean brand makes awesome gadgets and appliances for the past 10 years. They have great design, good quality, and fair price. I know my 20" Dell LCD Monitor is using the Samsung panel (so does my 20" Apple Cinema Display).

After some researches, I locked @ Samsung LN-T3253H and Samsung LN-T3242H. Fry's is selling the LN-T3242H for US$1099 while LN-T3253H for US$1129 (just US$30 difference). You may ask, what are the difference? There are 2 major differences. T3253H's speakers are at the bottom instead on the side (save space) and LN-T3253H has USB input so you can plug in USB thumbdriver or hard drive for music and photo. Also, LN-T3253H can use the USB input for firmware upgrade!!!

I also find out Fry's has free shipping for LN-T3253H!!! So end up LN-T3253H is cheaper than it's lower model LN-T3242H. I placed the order immediately and the total price is US$1230.14 (including recycle tax and state tax).

After 4 hours, Fry's sent me email and told me the TV has been shipped. The carrier is US Postal Service via DHL. My heart sinked immediately.

(To be continue...)


Chris said...

I'm contemplating returning the 3253 I just bought and getting the 3242 or the Sharp 32" instead. Have you had any problems yet?

Icey Cake (冰餅) said...

I have no problem with my 3253 so far. What exactly the problem do you have?

Chris said...

No real problems yet...I don't have HD cable set up yet or any cable for that matter and all I'm doing is watching some DVD's. I haven't played around alot with the settings, but the color seems way off from what I'm used to on a regular tv. Just seems a little washed out, darker, etc. Any ideas on what settings I should play around with?

Icey Cake (冰餅) said...

Chris, that's strange. I don't see any color problem at all. Actually, the color is richer than my old Sony CRT TV. In fact, the TV has multiple profile you can switch for cooler/warmer color and brighter/darker brightness in the menu. May be you want to try the warmer color settings?

Chris said...

Did you have to do alot of adjusting or was it fine right out of the box? I played around with some of the settings, but I still can't get a very colorful picture...when I increase the "color" setting, it just turns everything red. I'll try the cooler/warmer settings like you said. Thanks.

Icey Cake (冰餅) said...

The colors are very rich and beautiful when it just comes out from the box. The only thing I have changed is the using Dynamic (under Picture menu) for TV and turn on Game mode for one of my component inputs. Besides that, I didn't do anything else.

I guess you probably want to reset your settings to factory default. If you still have the problem, I think your unit probably has problem and you should contact Samsung or just return the TV back to your merchant for exchange.

Chris said...

Thanks for the info...I just realized that I was using an older DVD player (7 years old) with component. I don't have HD cable set up yet with cable provider. I just bought a upconverting DVD player and HDMI cable so let's see if that works better. I've been doing some research and I didn't realize that older DVD players can give crappy pictures. Not sure if color is affected though and I will find out tomorrow.

Icey Cake (冰餅) said...

chris: Seriously, I don't think the "old" dvd player causes the funny color on your TV. I'm using a very old Sony DVD player, PS2, a modded XBox, and a cheap digital cable STB. Most of my connections are either component and s-video. I don't have any HDMI connected device yet. So I'm sure it's not because the connection type problem.

Chris said...

I hooked up the "new" dvd player and everything is soooo much better. The two older players I have are no-name brands and the one I just got was a Samsung. So much color and clarity it's amazing! Just to be sure I reconnected the older player and the picture went bad again. I'll keep playing around with it though...