Good quality large TV for $2k or so?

So my parents have decided to spend $2k or so on a large TV for Xmas. As they say, they’re getting older and have worse vision, and usually work in the kitchen, which is a good 20 feet or so off. They’ve currently got a 32" standard boring old TV.

They’re currently getting TV through satellite (DirectTV I think with a DVR), and don’t have any audio better than the speakers on the side of the TV, and so I’m wondering what the best option is for them (because of course, since I know computers, I know things about TV…?)

Now I’m wishing they hadn’t moved away from cable, as Comcast is doing HD DVRs that would work. I’m almost thinking that HD isn’t going to be a requirement here, especially considering the lack of other equipment. Just a Big Honking TV might do. Are there cheap, large SDTVs of decent quality that anyone might recommend?

You can get HD directv for like 10 dollars more a month.

You can get a 46" Samsung DLP in that price range (or probably a little less; I got mine for $1600). The quality is great–I’d definitely recommend it.

I will second that. I got the 42" for less than $2k and it has an incredible picture.

– Xaroc

I recently went out and looked at some of these DLPs (the Sammies) - my gf vetoed the potential purchase because…

1 - too dark.
2 - viewing angle is pretty extreme.

Then we walked 10 feet, she pointed to the LG or whatever 42" Plasma and said “that!”

It’s about $1000 more, but the picture is way better and it’s got no viewing angle issues.

I am sure Ben will back me up on this but clearly they weren’t setup right because I have to turn down the brightness on my DLP or it will burn the corneas out of my eyes. Also, the picture is fantastic, better than a lot of plasmas I have seen. The viewing angle thing can be somewhat of a concern but it isn’t too bad. Definitely not $1000 worth of bad.

– Xaroc

I will back you up on that. The picture is extremely bright–so much so that it can be hard to watch it in a dark room. I’ve never seen a plasma that is brighter than my set (not that I would want a set to be brighter, anyway).

A week or two ago, my wife and I were watching American Chopper (which Discovery HD shows in high definition). They started using an arc welder on camera, and my wife said “ouch.” I agreed–the brightness actually hurt my eyes a bit.

If you thought DLPs were too dark, then they must have had the brightness turned way down. Or perhaps they had just been turned on–it does take a minute or two for them to come to full brightness.

The viewing angle is really not a big deal, unless you like to watch TV from extreme angles, or really close on a five-foot-tall stool. Most of the viewing angle issues they have are vertical; if you set up the TV so that it will be at eye level from your couch/chair, you’ll be fine. The horizontal angle is very wide, so unless you like to watch TV from a near perpendicular angle, it wouldn’t be an issue.

Never, ever make a decision about any TV from the setups in a store. What you need to do is spend quality time with the units, tweaking them with the remotes. If the sales guys won’t let you do that, find another store.

Those Samsung DLPs, the 42" and 46" sound pretty good – entry level is just fine and the price is pretty good… Thanks for the pointer. I’ll see if I can find them locally and look at them.

Never, ever make a decision about any TV from the setups in a store. What you need to do is spend quality time with the units, tweaking them with the remotes. If the sales guys won’t let you do that, find another store.[/quote]

And another girlfriend.

Ok, heard that a couple times now.

So, I go to the store, get the remote in my hands - what do I do with it to see the “true” Sammie DLP?

And the viewing angle really is a problem, since not everyone has a living room perfectly suited to TV… If people were on our loveseat and tried to watch a DLP, it would be nearly completely dark, but fine from the sofa.

At home I have mine setup with like 50 on most settings and about 75 on sharpness. Then look at it where your head is no higher than the top of the TV (basically like you would sitting on a couch). The biggest area of making it dark is the vertical like Ben mentioned. If you are standing up with your head 2+ feet over the top of it 5 feet away it is going to look darker than sitting. Most of the DLPs in Best Buy seem to be setup on a stand on the floor rather than higher up on shelves so it is hard to get a true viewing experience. Right and left I don’t know where the cutoff is for a decent picture. I can still see it sitting right next to it at my computer, it is definitely darker but viewable.

– Xaroc

Yeah, definitely make sure you are at eye level when checking out the viewing angles, because again–a lot of the viewing angle issues are vertical. as long as you are at eye-level to the set, I’ve found that it has a very wide viewing angle in the horizontal plane. I have my set in a corner of the living room, facing the couch, but it’s perfectly viewable from my armchair as well, and that sits at about a 45-50 degree angle to the screen. At around a 70 degree angle you’ll see some darkening, but why would you want to watch TV from such an oblique angle anyway?

So the Samsung DLPs 42 or 46 look good. My parents checked at the local stores, and found a Toshiba 46HM94 (46" DLP HDTV) for $1700 with stand.

It’s an older set – the current version ends with 5. Any thoughts on it? The price is really good…

I’d be watching a DLP if my wife wasn’t so enamoured with flat panel displays. Thin is in, especially if there’s a shot at hanging it on a wall sometime (apparently). Me… well, I thought the DLP’s were super. But the Sharp LCD is nice, if pricey.