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Help Us Bring HDTV To Our House!

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by LunaticFringe82, May 17, 2007.

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  1. LunaticFringe82

    LunaticFringe82 New Member

    May 17, 2007
    I’m a relative newbie to HD, but our 25th wedding anniversary is coming up next month and we are thinking about taking the HD plunge. We’ve been with Directv for 8+ years and currently have two SD Directivos still humming away with our two traditional tube TVs.

    I’ve poked around some here and while I’ve learned a few things, I’m hoping to get the best advice as to how to get the best HD setup for the money. We’re in the Chapel Hill, NC area, so the addition of WRAL and WRAZ to Directv’s lineup has helped us make this decision.

    So, here we are.

    Our TV room is long and fairly narrow, with the TV in a corner. Viewers will sit between approximately 6 and 12 feet from the set. Would a 50” screen be too big? What’s the consensus on the best HDTV for the money if you consider that this will probably need to suffice for 10 years?

    Considering that I’m not confident at all regarding the installation of an HD system, is Directv the best bet to “do it all”? Or should it be some combination of Directv/Best Buy (assuming that I purchase the HDTV there)?

    We’ve got several SD (and worse) DVDs that we still watch quite a bit of our boys baseball teams. Are there any tips/tricks to help these look on an HDTV as similar as possible to how they looked on a tube?

    Our SD Directivo still have many hours of unwatched TV from this spring. Can the installer(s) hook it up to the new TV so that we can not only finish watching what’s stored on there, but to record new shows in SD?

    Am I going to hate the current Directv HD DVR s much as I hated the Directv SD DVR (the R15… I think)?

    Thanks in advance for any help. I'm much more inclined to listen to many of you rather than having a salesperson tell me everything that he or she thinks I want to hear.

    <if this is in the wrong forum, feel free to move>
  2. Michael D'Angelo

    Michael D'Angelo Lifetime Achiever

    Oct 20, 2006
    :welcome_s to DBStalk

    A 50 inch should be a good size for your room. It will not be too big. I would go with the 50 inch Samsung DLP or the 50 inch Sony LCD. I have seen both and they both look great.

    I think after having a HR20 for a week or so you will like it a lot like a lot of us do. It takes a few to get use to it. I actually like it better then any TiVo I have had and I have had a lot of them.

    I would have Directv do the install because BB or somewhere else will probably charge to put up the dish and it is free by Directv. Just make sure you having signals in the 90’s on all SAT’s before the installer leaves or you will have problems with the MPEG4 HD channels.
  3. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Dec 9, 2006
    Welcome also...
    Your new TV will have several input so you can connect all of your other equipment and watch it also.
  4. mattw

    mattw Legend

    Sep 28, 2006
    I have a 57" inch rear projection viewed from about 12 feet. If you have room where you would like to place it, I would prefer something closer to 60" than 50". The old rules of size/distance changed with HD. It used to be you needed to sit back from a set to make it viewable. With the HD image that is not an issue. You will be happy with either but after a while the set doesn't seem as big as it was when it was purchased. You quickly get used to the larger screen.

    If you get real picky there are THX guidelines on how large a set needs to be to fill X degrees of your viewing angle. I looked at those a while back and my set was on the small side for a THX home theater.

    I had had Directv install the dish but I did all the internal wiring (big smile from the installer when I said I would pull the wires through the attic) and I purchased the HR20 at BB. I was happy with the installation.

    Hope this helps.
  5. Larry G

    Larry G Godfather

    Apr 13, 2006
    I agree with BMore. 50" would be a reasonable size for your room.
    I've had an HR20 since they came out and I love it. It was my first DVR so I didn't have anything to compare it too like TiVo users but I have had good experiences with it. Very few minor problems.
  6. carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    As to the specific TV set, please find a local retailer where you can watch various models. Not all HDTVs are created the same. Secondly, once you finally decide on which brand and model you want, spend an extra $300 or so and get it calibrated to the inputs, and room, where you will use it. I put a 42" Samsung Plasma in a very similar watching environment, and I love it. For the size of the room, I probably would not go over 50", but again that is a very subjective call.

    The user interface, menu, and general operation of the HD DVR (the HR20) is very similar to the R15, however the stability and reliability is somewhat higher/better. It is different than the Tivo based DVRs. Some people have moved easily from Tivo to HR20 and end up preferring the HR20 after they give it a fair shot. Some don't make that transition as easily. If you decide to upgrade to HD and do so with DirecTV, the HR20 is your only DVR option. If you give it (the HR20) a fair chance, I think you will find it to be a great DVR - and having HD is just incredible.

    Installation will probably be by the same company regardless of where you actually buy the equipment, so I would go for the best deal. Keep in mind, you don't "buy" an HR20, you lease it with an upfront cost to do so.

    Depending on the model of SD Tivo that you have, you may or may not be able to continue to watch recordings from it after you deactivate it. You might consider having additional coax lines run to your primary TV location and keep both the SD Tivo and the HR20 active, at least until you have finished watching old recordings. You need two coax lines to the HR20 for satellite connections and if you plan to use over the air also, an additional line for that.

    Watching DVD's and/or VCR tapes on your new TV will work, but you may find it not as enjoyable an experience. That is really a subjective experience. Again, proper calibration of the new TV will help in this arena also.

  7. joed32

    joed32 Hall Of Fame

    Jul 27, 2006
    If space is not too big of a concern, keep one of the tubes in the room also. still the best way to watch SD. If you can't do that you will still be OK with it on a 50" but it will be a litle soft. Either way you are going to love HD!
  8. jpl

    jpl Hall Of Fame

    Jul 9, 2006
    To answer the last question you had - you should have no issues watching the remaining shows on your tivos. Just hook them up to one of the video input channels on the new tv. With the tivo you don't actually need the DirecTV service to watch recorded content (unlike the new DirecTV DVRs) - a co-worker replaced his TiVo with an R15 about a year ago when one of the Tivo's tuners died. He still has that tivo hooked up to another TV where he can watch some of the stuff that's recorded on it, even though it's no longer an active tuner.

    With the new DirecTV DVRs, btw the DVR functionality is tied into the service. They activate/deactivate the DVR functionality remotely. So, when you deactivate one of those boxes, you can't even watch something that's already been recorded. That's not the case with the tivo DVRs. Also you can, as you asked, hook up the tivo to your new tv as an alternate DVR (used in addition to the new DVR you'd be getting). If you do that, though, realize that it will be seen as separate receiver, and you would get charged an extra $5/month for that hook up.

    I'm assuming that you're still going to have one of your old tube TVs hanging around after you upgrade one to HD. If that's the case, here's what I would recommend. For the HD TV, upgrade to the HR20, and deactivate the tivo dvr that would have been hooked to it. Leave the other tube tv set-up alone (just keep the tivo hooked up to that one). On the HD, you would use the HR20 to record everything - HD and SD. When you want to watch something that's recorded on the tivo, though, you can still do that. Hook it up to one of the video input channels on your new TV (the satellite inputs will be disconnected from the tivo DVR, and it'll act more as a VCR at this point). When you want to watch something on that Tivo, just flip to that input channel, and you should have no issues. I don't see the point in having two different DVRs on the same tv set up to record stuff unless you need the space or the additional tuners.
  9. JeffBowser

    JeffBowser blah blah blah

    Dec 21, 2006
    I sit at 12', and think my 65" is not quite large enough, I had upgraded from a 50, which, to me, looked too small at 12' distance. I'll leave the rest of your questions for others. Some of them will result in widely disparate opinions...
  10. jpl

    jpl Hall Of Fame

    Jul 9, 2006
    I just gave conflicting advice to this. I thought that the directv tivos could operate stand-alone - meaning that if you don't have the tuners activated you could still play recorded stuff off of them. I may be incorrect on this front. I know you could with the model dvr I had. To the OP, what Carl recommends makes alot of sense. If you can't run it stand-alone, you may want to co-locate it with the other tivo DVR, for the time being, until you're done watching everything on it. If you keep all three dvrs (both tivos and the HR20) active, though, realize that you'll get hit with an additional receiver fee.
  11. SledDog

    SledDog Icon

    May 5, 2007
    Just had D* HD installed using an H20, moving over from E*. The installer did a great job. Both he and I hooked up the receiver to my plasma via HDMI and the surround (optical) and the DVD recorder (composite). I had previously connect all other items (DVD, Surround and so on) to the plasma. I have a hitachi P50H401 50" 1080HD. I sit about 12 feet away. I would not sit much closer than about 8 feet or so. Getting closer than that, I find my eyes are scaning side to side to see the entire screen.

    If possible do your research on connecting whatever display you decide on to the receiver. You can download the receiver manuals from D*. You can also download the manuals for different displays from the manufacturers websites. Don't leave the entire install and hook up to the installer. Have a "hand in", that way you know what has been done and you can change it later, if needed. Not being involved will lead to problems when you want to change/add components.
  12. bobnielsen

    bobnielsen Éminence grise

    Jun 29, 2006
    You can still watch recordings on a deactivated Directv Tivo DVR.
  13. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Dec 9, 2006
    This is just such a subjective issue. I actually stepped down in size [from 51" to 46"] as I changed from a rear projection Sony to a direct view LCD. I'm so happy with the sharper image that it gives me from 10-11'. SD looks great too.
    This is one of those YMMV [maybe more than anything else].
  14. gabe23

    gabe23 Legend

    Mar 6, 2007
    My living room is also long and narrow with the TV in the corner. My couch is about 6 feet away and a couple of chairs are 10-12 feet away. We've got a 50" Sony SXRD set, and I think it's perfect for the space. My neighbor has a 70" version of the same set (his LR is bigger), and the SD content just looks awful on a TV that big unless you're about 25 feet away. I'm not really a big fan of Sony, but I love the LCOS technology, and my SXRD has been wonderful so far.
  15. techntrek

    techntrek Godfather

    Apr 26, 2007
    The rule of thumb I've read in many places is you should sit within a range thats 2.5 to 3.5 times the diagonal size of your TV. Works in inches or if you convert to feet. Here's an example converted to feet:

    50" diagonal / 12 = 4.16' diagonal
    4.16' X 2.5 = 10.4 feet minimum
    4.16' X 3.5 = 14.6 feet maximum
  16. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Dec 9, 2006
    But damn my Sony KDL-46XBR2 looks good.
  17. ajwillys

    ajwillys Godfather

    Jun 14, 2006
    6-12 feet is a big range for considering optimal size. Personally, I wouldn't go over 37 or so for 6 feet but would feel comfortable with 70+ for 12 feet, but that's just me.

    I guess what you want to consider is optimal seating location. Figure out which seats you and your spouse are most likely to sit in and figure the distance from that. Using the 2.5 to 3.5 rule works pretty good but I've also heard of a 2 to 3 rule which might work better for home theater type applications (sports, movies).

    As far as your watching your sons baseball games, the only thing that will make them look better on a big HDTV is watching them in the Picture-in-picture screen. What I mean is they don't look any worse on the big screen, the imperfections are just much larger and detailed. Since viewing angle is not an issue, I'm partial to LCoS (SXRD in Sony Land) but that's just me. Another option would be to keep the tube tv's and get a projector that drops the screen in front of the tube tv's for real tv watching. Just remember that projectors are for dark rooms only.

    If you want the ultimate ease in hooking it all up (assuming you're not having surround sound), use HDMI to connect the HD Directv receiver to the tv and get an upconverting dvd player with HDMI output to connect it also. That would only require two total cables and there's no color matching or figuring out which is input and which is output. Just make sure you don't pay more than $25 or so for the HDMI cables, they do nothing.

    Lastly, I would say congrats on the 25th wedding anniversary and good luck on the upgrades.

    Oh, btw. The HR20 is MUCH better than the R15 IMHO.
  18. Diana C

    Diana C Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Mar 30, 2007
    New Jersey
    Another rule of thumb is that the screen should fill 30° of your field of view. For a 50" 16:9 TV (IOW a screen that's about 4 feet wide) that's approximately 8 feet from the screen. At 12 feet from the screen, that same 30° requires an over 6 foot wide image, or about an 80" TV.
  19. JeffBowser

    JeffBowser blah blah blah

    Dec 21, 2006
    I tried that 30degree rule one weekend, I could not stand to be that close to the TV.
  20. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Dec 9, 2006
    That's because you're older than six. :lol:
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