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can I upgrade from my 13" tv to a larger wide screen LCD without going to HD?

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can I upgrade from my 13" tv to a larger wide screen LCD without going to HD?

Old 12-12-09, 11:25 AM
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can I upgrade from my 13" tv to a larger wide screen LCD without going to HD?

spent some time at bestbuy only to find out that the tv I picked out required me upgrading to hd cable service. just looking to get a bigger flat tv than what I have and I don't want to sign up for a more expensive hd plan and get a box. apparently the hd tv would not have a good picture without getting an hd plan from comcast. my picture quality now is fine, just want a bigger flat tv ... ugh

sorry to post here but everyone here is so geeky and responsive I LOVE YOU GUYS! and I promise to watch cycling programming!
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Old 12-12-09, 11:32 AM
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Of course they're going to tell you that you need an HD plan to get a good signal - they get a kickback from Comcast when they sign you up.

It's not even really a lie if by "good picture" you mean "HD quality" - otherwise you may get only standard quality, if they're broadcasting NTSC and not clear QAM.

In my experience, the people at big box stores only tell the truth if there's something in it for them, or if there's nothing for them to gain by lying.

I assume you have a standard NTSC (non-HD) comcast service now, right? Well, assuming the new set has an NTSC tuner (I don't know if new sets have this anymore) then you won't get any worse of a signal than that. But Comcast may also have HD signals on the wire. If so you don't need a set-top box to receive them.

However, it's also in Comcast's best interests to not put anything on the wire that they don't have to, that can be received without their box. I think the FCC may require them to carry local stations on the wire in the clear, but anything beyond that you may need a cable box to get. Again, you can still get non-HD signal the same as you do now, either direct or through a non-HD cable box.

Everyone wants to hook a vacuum to your wallet and get something out of it every month; it's how businesses run now. They're going to tell you that's the way to go, but it isn't necessarily true.
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Old 12-12-09, 01:00 PM
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thanks

the new set has a digital tuner

everyone broadcasts in digital now, remember the switchover?

I don't pay for HD though

I want to be sure the picture quality won't be worse on the new set from what I have now

They called me back and said so - so I guess I'm all set (with the new set)
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Old 12-12-09, 03:50 PM
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you don't have to have a HD signal for the new set. If you have a HD signal the picture will be better, but from a normal signal the TV should do some upscaling to make it look a bit better than normal. However if you go really big 40"+ then you may think that the normal signal is poorer quality as the screen is so much larger. Basically get the TV you want
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Old 12-12-09, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
thanks

the new set has a digital tuner

everyone broadcasts in digital now, remember the switchover?
Certainly I remember the switchover, but that doesn't mean that there aren't still sets with NTSC tuners on the market. In fact, I just went and looked, and it seems that ALL of the sets on the front page of the retailer I looked at still have NTSC tuners in them. I know for certain that cable companies still carry NTSC on the wire. I was just at someone's house last night who still had an old set, and it was working just fine with no box. The fact that you still are using your old set means that you have an NTSC signal of some kind, and it looks to me like any set you get will be able to receive that signal.

The switchover only HAD to affect over-the-air (broadcast) signals. Nothing else had to change.
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Old 12-12-09, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
you don't have to have a HD signal for the new set. If you have a HD signal the picture will be better, but from a normal signal the TV should do some upscaling to make it look a bit better than normal. However if you go really big 40"+ then you may think that the normal signal is poorer quality as the screen is so much larger. Basically get the TV you want
I have had a 42" TV for almost 2 years now, and I'm still watching standard def signals off my 12 year old Dish Network receiver. In fact what I watch is actually worse than that; it's encoded at SVCD resolution at about 2000kbps via a MythTV box and played back. I honestly don't even care about HD for TV shows. I may get a blu-ray player sometime soon for movies though.
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Old 12-12-09, 05:15 PM
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so I went back to best buy and asked 2 guys who contradicted the person who called me back on the phone. that person said the new set would look as good as the old set, the 2 in the store said the new set would look worse. you guys are saying it will look as good, and maybe even a little better. sounds like it is worth a try since I can return the thing. at least I think I can return the thing.
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Old 12-12-09, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
so I went back to best buy and asked 2 guys who contradicted the person who called me back on the phone. that person said the new set would look as good as the old set, the 2 in the store said the new set would look worse. you guys are saying it will look as good, and maybe even a little better. sounds like it is worth a try since I can return the thing. at least I think I can return the thing.
The picture should look the same. However, if you take any picture of a given resolution and make it bigger, it will look worse. However, keep in mind that some people have really gotten used to HD signals (certainly the guys working at BB have) and once you're used to it, the SD signals do look pretty muddy. But if it's what you're used to, it'll look fine.
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Old 12-13-09, 06:54 PM
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Hm... interesting thread.

I got a high-def TV a little over a week ago. It's actually the first TV I've ever bought for myself, too, after one hand-me-down, a few years of using roommates' TVs, and a birthday gift back when I entered college. Digital tuner, yadda yadda etc.

I plugged the coax cable from the wall into the TV and had it auto-program whatever channels it could find. Imagine my surprise when, beyond the 70-odd standard cable channels, it found another couple hundred digital channels.

Now, not all of them are actual HD -- just the big networks, PBS, Versus, and maybe a couple others. There are also a buttload of music channels. And, I can't find any TV listings that have the same channel list and numbers (none list NBC at 117.777, as an example), so I went through the new channels and wrote down a list of what they are and which are HD.

But I'll be damned if I'm going to willingly buy a cable upgrade package that, fundamentally, doesn't give me content that's any more desirable apart from a prettier picture that I can already see.

I have to admit, though -- HDTV (and Blu-Ray, and high-def gaming) is at least as awesome of an upgrade as 5-channel+ surround sound.
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Old 12-13-09, 07:59 PM
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I took the plunge. Got the 24 instead if the 32. Got it for the sale price even though the sale ended yesterday. Best Buy has a 100% return policy - no restocking fee. I'm enjoying it without the HD via cable box $10 more per month. With the old TV aspect ratio I never knew what the networks were transmitting. Now with the wide screen and HD capabiliyu I can see the big variety and non uniform transmissions. The industry has a lot of work to do. I do have some stations in both versions and that's interesting. Right now I'm watching al old movie shot on film, digitized, possobily colorized and now broadcast in HD, however it still doesn't fill the whole screen, probably cuz I'm not paying the higher fee, but I can't imagine the picture being any sharper. Another interesting aspect is viewing distance. The little set - I watched pretty close cuz it was so small. This one I moved back quite a bit. I'm thinking of moving it closer. There must be some optimum viewing distance for each TV set. I do have many more channels - probably stuff I won't watch, but still investigating. Maybe I'll take up religion! I'm trying not to run between this and the set upstairs to make constant comparisions!
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Old 12-13-09, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
Right now I'm watching al old movie shot on film, digitized, possobily colorized and now broadcast in HD, however it still doesn't fill the whole screen, probably cuz I'm not paying the higher fee, but I can't imagine the picture being any sharper.
Once you find a true HD signal (my TV says whether each channel is 480i, 720p, or 1080i; not sure if yours does), especially when it's been in HD all the way from the original video camera to your house, it'll stand out, even on a small screen like what you got. My parents' new TV might be one size smaller than yours, and the HD channels are definitely crisper.

Another interesting aspect is viewing distance. The little set - I watched pretty close cuz it was so small. This one I moved back quite a bit. I'm thinking of moving it closer. There must be some optimum viewing distance for each TV set.
They've been saying that, when viewing HD, having the TV as close as before is no big deal. With the old lower resolution and big-screen TVs, you didn't want to have it too close, otherwise you'd see every scan line and dot on the screen. When viewing mine (I went with 42" -- as big as I'll go, and on sale for under $600), I can be pretty close and not be bothered by pixels or jagged edges because the resolution is so fine. I'd say that "optimum viewing distance" is more flexible than before HD.
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Old 12-13-09, 08:55 PM
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I believe I concur.
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Old 12-13-09, 09:44 PM
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One other thing I'm only now realizing --

Thanks to seeing so much low-res content on the internet, such as Youtube, I don't mind standard-def video being blown up onto a bigger screen.

Speaking of which, this is what I'm watching right now on the TV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xjPODksI08
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Old 12-13-09, 11:35 PM
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when Comcast stops charging double for HD, I'll switch from analog. We get the networks and a few other channels in digital, it's very nice. But the channels we only get in downshifted format look ok to me.
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Old 12-14-09, 01:23 PM
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If you watch a lot of the broadcast networks I would consider getting an antenna. If you live in a major city or the suburbs you would probably be amazed at the picture you can get with a cheap antenna like:

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...ct_id=10983714

Just sit it on top of a cabinet, and play around a little with what way it faces. For $10 it's worth the experiment. As long as the TV has a digital tuner you can watch hidef for free.
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Old 12-14-09, 01:30 PM
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^^^ Yup. Heck, it's sometimes surprising how much it'll pick up by sticking a length of wire into the RF jack.

(add-on edit) I'd try a piece of wire first, whether it's a big paper clip, some coat hanger wire, or whatever, just as an experiment. It should pick up the major networks. A proper antenna would double the reception, I'd guess.

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Old 12-14-09, 01:38 PM
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I inquired about a small set for the kitchen (no cable) and the sales guy I needed a "digital" antennae that looked just like the one you linked to ...
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Old 12-15-09, 07:05 AM
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We just bought our first digital flat-screen TV a couple of months ago. It's a 40" Samsung. Although we have cable, we do not pay extra for HD signal. When I set up the TV (it has an automatic program it runs through when you first install it), I had the option of selecting cable, antenna or both. I chose both. And what I've found is that my new TV picks up many HD channels through its built-in antenna. The regular cable channels are not HD, but in most cases I can pick up the same channel in HD just by clicking the channel changer. Eg, cable channel 3 is the CBS station in my city. However, channel 5-1 on my TV is the same station in HD.
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Old 12-15-09, 08:49 AM
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WOW! Hey tarwheel - I'm gonna rerun the setup! thanks. Not sure if mine has a built-in antennae though ...
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Old 12-15-09, 03:20 PM
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Definitely run the channel setup wizard, and spend $20 on an HD antenna. Both are worth the time and money. I personally think the HD signal is worth the extra money, so I pay the $10/mo programming fee to watch it, despite thinking it's a bit of a ripoff on the cable companies part. I have seen some larger TV's have problems with non HD signals on an HD screen. Those have typically been in the 50" and larger segment though, and the signal was VERY bad to begin with.

Also a good rule of thumb I use for my customers (I sell and install high end home theater and commercial distributed video systems) is that you need 3" of viewable screen for every foot of distance you sit away from the TV. So for instance, if you are 15 feet from your TV, a 45" set would be ideal. Since they don't make a 45" I tend to recommend a 50" or 52", some prefer the smaller 46" (hard to find size lately) or even a 42". There is definitely some personal preference, as well as some style and proportioning to take into account with the room. But the 3" viewable to 1' distance rule should get you pretty close.
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Old 12-15-09, 03:24 PM
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um OK, so what distance is ideal for my new puny 26" set?

OK, never mind a buddy figured it out as 8 2/3 feet

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Old 12-15-09, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
um OK, so what distance is ideal for my new puny 26" set?

OK, never mind a buddy figured it out as 8 2/3 feet
Pre digital comb filters and other electronic tricks on the old CRT TVs the recommended viewing distance was a lot greater. As picture quality has improved the recommended viewing distance has decreased. On truly old sets sitting too close made the poor picture quality much more obvious.
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Old 12-16-09, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MDobrick View Post
Also a good rule of thumb I use for my customers (I sell and install high end home theater and commercial distributed video systems) is that you need 3" of viewable screen for every foot of distance you sit away from the TV.
Working backwards with that formula... hmm... my setup is 6" of screen per foot of distance..
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Old 12-22-09, 09:57 PM
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Still no HD on my TV. We did get a DVR a few months ago and when the cable company guy brought it out he said it was a shame wasting that nice big TV without HD service. I looked at my two kids (2 and 4) and back at him and said "Dora ain't going to look any better in HD"
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Old 12-24-09, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I inquired about a small set for the kitchen (no cable) and the sales guy I needed a "digital" antennae that looked just like the one you linked to ...
A "digital" antennae is nothing more than an "analogue" antenna that has the word "digital" printed on the box by the marketing people.

Do a search on the internet - the antennae hasn't actually changed at all. What you need is a digital tuner rather than an analogue tuner, but all new tv's have that.

It's like they're insisting that because they resurfaced the road in front of your house, you need a new set of bike tires.

From the FCC directly -
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/dtvantennas.html
"You do not need to purchase a "DTV antenna" or an “HDTV antenna” to receive DTV or HDTV signals"
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