We went with cutting the cable and putting a big honking antenna on the roof five years ago. We can pull in HDTV signals from NH, Boston and RI. Tons of stuff. Then, we subscribe to Netflix and I have an Amazon Prime account that allows quite a lot of streaming video. We've been happy with this for quite some time.
I know nothing about current cable restrictions, but to get the HDTV signals on our old TVs, we have some little conversion boxes. They were free, through the federal government, when standard TV signals were cutoff...now, they cost about $40. Don't know if that's all it would take to convert your cable.
Our only "new" TV is a three year old LG HD flat panel thing...it cost about $400 and has been trouble free. All the other TVs we have are the big, old, cathode ray tube things with the free/cheap converter boxes on them.
I know nothing about the new technology, but my DH does. Nonetheless, we have bought most of our recent electronics at Costco because it simplifies the decision making process in a market with so many products my head spins. The prices are lower than competition and there is a limited selection in a given size/price range. Returns are straightforward.
A friend bought a huge (70" or so) flat screen at Sam's Club. I bought mine (no, not 70"-two 32" flats) at HH Gregg-because the independent retailers negotiate prices, and they delivered free (you pay, and they send you a debit card for the amount a month or two later), and took away the old ones for me (they were two cranky, older regular tv's) . My understanding is that there is a built-in converter in the new ones, so you don't need the converter box. At work they have a nice flat screen, and it picks up the local channels, and the extra channels the one local broadcasts on two sub-channels, and I don't get the extra with my Directv feed. I think it all depends on your location, the local topography, and you can get an pair of rabbit ears or other inside antenna to get more signal. This weekend has some great sales, and shopping around will really save a bundle. I was warned about Vizio by a tv salesman, but that was a few years ago, so their quality might have improved.
Costco all the way for electronics. Good prices, no-questions-asked returns (that we've luckily never have had to make use of), & a decent selection of quality brands.
Have both a 32" (I think) upstairs in the bedroom, & a much bigger 55" or 60-something" downstairs in the living area. Hubby is a longtime bigtime audio/video-phile, so I leave all the research & buying in that department to him. Costco is pretty much where he always ends up.
Upstairs set is a "niko"; downstairs set is a "Panasonic". Both have been completely problem-free for several years now & have crystal-clear pictures. Connected up easily to all our paraphernalia - Directv, dvd, etc., etc.
All of the new ones have the converter built in, so you don't have to worry. My advice, by the cheapest thing out there that is what you want. Technology is changing so quickly, it will be old fashioned soon, and probably well outlast when you want something more modern.
When I bought my 33" to replace the moribund and now dead Sharp CRT, I looked high and low and finally found a suitable candidate at Wally World, of all places. I knew I wanted a low end TV that is just a TV, no oddball stuff I didnt want or need, or for that matter, would ever use, so I narrowed it down to Toshiba and Icantremember and chose the Toshiba because I liked the picture better. Cost just over 300.00 including cat food and taxes and I am happy with it. My worst problem was sorting out WHY the picture only covered a square in the middle of the screen then I discovered the picture mode. Set up was a snap, hooking to the dish was a non-issue, in fact, it took longer to remove th behemoth than to assemble and hook up the new TV.
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We have a Samsung LED flat screen with 1080p... I swear for the first few weeks every time we watched it I was saying how awesome the picture was.. You feel like you're watching REAL life and not a TV lol. We've had it for almost 3 years with no issues so far. Makes sure you go somewhere that you can look at the picture on each screen before deciding which you like best, but we are now LED all the way.
Go with an LED set, which is actually an LCD set with LED backlighting instead of a fluorescent panel. Avoid plasma sets like the plague. They're energy hogs and can interfere with nearby AM and FM radios.
Select a 120 Hz or higher refresh rate rather than 60 Hz. Less jerkiness on fast-moving scenes.
Make sure it has at least one composite video input (red, white, and yellow input jacks) for compatibility with VCR, DVR, and audio devices. Component video input (red, white, and green jacks) is a plus, as some upscale recording/playback devices use this.
Also make sure it has an RF (antenna) input for off-the-air signals.
If you need an HDMI cable, don't let the salesman oversell you. They'll try to convince you some expensive cable is necessary for a good picture. It's bullsh*t. A $10 one from WalMart will work just fine for distances under 40 feet.
Last edited by Frank B; May. 24, 2013 at 10:17 PM.
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