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"Should I buy a new TV?" (2014 edition) - I Am My Avatar
Big Warm Fuzzy Public Heart
"Should I buy a new TV?" (2014 edition)
Yes, yes, I know: you're embarrassed to ask me if you should buy a new TV because I'm into lifestyle fitness and "don't watch TV." Buddy, I would never give you crap about your new TV purchase. When I bought my current TV in 2007 or so I made an epic saga out of it, even though I personally only watch like a movie a week.

You're in luck: I did my homework on this again recently because I was considering a new TV for the house for xmas. I decided not to jump yet, but you get to be the beneficiary.

OK first, stop thinking "it has to be in a local store," assuming that decision is financial. Amazon.com is offering free shipping on most HDTVs. Check this puppy out.

It's a Samsung, it's 40 inches, it's $500, the amazon ratings are very good, it's a smart TV with built-in netflix etc., you can buy a 5-year warranty (but make sure the deductible doesn't make it pointless).

But maybe you didn't have something that big or that expensive in mind, so how about a 32 inch HDTV for $220!

(This one is only 720p, but at that size you can't see a difference when watching video.)

Again... free shipping.

If you bought your first HDTV back in 2007 or so when the prices first came down to a sane level, like I did, then you are due for a replacement anyway. Your TV is about due to fail. And the newer LED TVs use drastically less power, are much much cheaper, and have better contrast.

By "better contrast," I mean that you can see Batman clearly in a room with some light leaking in from the street. Which is IMPORTANT.

Less power? How much less? Instead of three 80 watt bulbs being turned on all the time while you watch TV, it's like one 80 watt bulb being turned on all the time. (It's time to replace your 80 watt bulbs with LEDs too, but that's another conversation.)

If your new TV isn't a "smart TV" with built-in netflix etc., get yourself a chromecast for $35. Do I really have to explain why for $35? Oh, all right:

Plug it into one of your new TV's HDMI ports and bang, you can stream anything from youtube or netflix to your TV, using your Android, iPhone or laptop as a remote. It's pretty awesome and it's easy to use once you get it set up. As long as you have wifi in your house already it's easy to get it going.

(It can't stream iTunes video, so if you have bought a lot of movies from Apple you probably would be happier with Apple TV. Apple TV is like a high-end, hammacher-schlemmer in-flight-catalog version of the Chromecast. Naturally it costs too much. You could also get a displayport to HDMI adapter for your Macbook, along with an audio cable. Or if you have one of the newest Mac laptops, just use an HDMI cable. Although you might find you prefer staring at your luscious retina display anyway. Mmmmm, invisible pixels.)

If you buy an HDTV and then hook it up to your DVD player with composite cables, i.e. these pieces of crap:

The red one is left speaker. The white one is right speaker. The yellow one is 1987-grade TV reception.

... Then you will get the same shitty flicker you had on your old RCA in 1987. Plus I will make fun of you.

Your DVD player may already have an HDMI jack. This is a single jack that carries both picture and audio, digitally, so nothing is lost. If your DVD player doesn't have one, buy a DVD player that does for, like, $30.

Or, at least use component video cables (a bundle with separate red, green and blue jacks) which, for plain old DVD, are acceptable. If your DVD player only has a single composite video output though, junk it.

Please note: there is a special level of "Tom making fun of people hell" reserved for people who hook up Blu-Ray players with composite cables. Unless they are over 70. In which case I just break into their house wearing a Zorro mask and replace them with HDMI cables.

(I replace the composite cables, not the senior citizens.)

This post had nice pictures but LJ's editor progressively munged the markup with each edit. LJ, why do you hate America?

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9 comments or Leave a comment
cos From: cos Date: February 1st, 2014 06:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Even if your TV does do native Netflix and YouTube natively, it's still worth the $35 to be able to search for and select what you want to watch on a tablet or laptop or phone instead of fighting with the TV & remote control interface, and wasting a frustrating ~5 minutes each time you want to watch something else :/
boutell From: boutell Date: February 1st, 2014 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good point. It's not a given that a smart TV will have a tolerable UI. They are often terrible. Or tolerable for picking stuff from your queue but intolerable for searching.
boutell From: boutell Date: February 1st, 2014 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Some will work with wireless USB keyboards though.
cdk From: cdk Date: February 1st, 2014 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
The fact that you can build a queue of YouTube videos while other YouTube videos are playing, alone, is enough to make the Chromecast better than any smart TV setup I've seen.
eloquentwthrage From: eloquentwthrage Date: February 1st, 2014 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
In which case I just break into their house wearing a Zorro mask and replace them with HDMI cables.

See, this sounds like something I can be down with. What shall I wear when you "break in"??

Edited at 2014-02-01 09:37 pm (UTC)
boutell From: boutell Date: February 3rd, 2014 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whatever does it for you, but make sure you yell "damn kid! get off my lawn!" as I can't really wriggle properly without that encouragement.
eloquentwthrage From: eloquentwthrage Date: February 3rd, 2014 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brilliant riposte! :-D
cherdt From: cherdt Date: February 1st, 2014 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not perfect, but I like the Vizio Co-Star Google TV device, which does most (maybe all?) of the things you mentioned about Chromecast. It has a pass-through HDMI for the cable provider. When you search for a show or a movie, it searches Comcast, Netflix, and Amazon, etc. I bought an Apple TV and the Co-Star last year and decided I liked the Co-Star better.

Does Chromecast talk to Plex? Wait, I can Google that. Yes, it does. That's awesome. I might have to get one just to experiment.
nerdsholmferret From: nerdsholmferret Date: February 2nd, 2014 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
HDMI cables are people! We've got to stop him, somehow!
9 comments or Leave a comment