Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Holiday HT Recommendations

I am a self-professed expert in a couple of subjects. One is basketball--ok, the NBA really, and the other is home theater. The basketball thing is just an obsession of mine but the HT stuff is not only an obsession but also I used to manage a small home theater operation for a living. It seems especially at this time of year I receive numerous calls and e-mails regarding holiday electronic purchases. This doesn't bother me at all, however the purpose of this post is to lay some blanket rules in order to help you become a little more self sufficient.

Rule #1

HDTV'S are all good.

Seriously. It has been a while since I've seen an HDTV that really sucked. Even Target and Wal-mart are selling nice looking HDTV's.

That being said, this time of year is always the best time to buy. Best Buy is running a 42" Panasonic Plasma for $899. Ultimate has a 50" Samsung Plasma for $1399 and Costco has a JVC 65" 1080p HDILA Rear Projection with stand for $1399! If you can get one and are in the market GO FOR IT!

The only rule of thumb as far as quality is concerned is that you should have heard of the brand before you buy it.

Rule #2

You don't need 1080p.

For one, the human eye can't distinguish a 720p image from a 1080p image on screen sizes less that 42 inches.

Secondly the only native 1080p images come from some video games and some blu-ray discs.

Thirdly, by the time that 1080p becomes the standard HDTV format the TV you are buying today will be broken or totally obsolete.

However if you can get 1080p in a price range you can afford then go for it. I do recommend it if you are going for a screen size of over 60"

Rule #3

Home theater in a box is well worth it.

Although I am not a fan of the integrated dvd player HTIB systems, I have been astounded by the sound quality of the last few HTIB systems I have heard.

Companies like Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo, Sony and Pioneer are making HTIB systems that start around $300 that include a receiver with plenty of power, a good solid subwoofer, and decent satellite speakers. Some have seperate DVD players and some have HDMI inputs on the receiver. The only thing I would look in to would be the number and type of inputs/outputs on the receiver. Make sure there are sufficient for your DVD, Video Game Sys, Sat or Cable box etc.

A couple of years ago I would have advised against the HTIB's and recommended a piece meal system...well times have changed.