We\’ve gone HDTV

I’ve been talking a lot about MythTV lately, and here’s a tangential topic: we bought our first HDTV unit last weekend. It’s a widescreen 30″ CRT Philips 30PW8402 unit. We don’t yet have hi-def video sources (save for DVD), but I’ve still gotta say: wow. The picture is so much better than our Sony TV (and not just because that Sony’s picture tube was dying, either!). There’s some stuff in 16:9 even in standard def, and that can be zoomed in upon. Very slick.

And DVDs are stunning on this thing. We’re very happy with it all and are glad we opted for a HDTV instead of a standard def one.

One of my concerns was about traditional stuff — would it all be “squashed” by the wide screen? Turns out no — the remote has a picture size button, that alternates between 4:3, zoomed 14:9, zoomed 16:9, widescreen, and superwidescreen modes. The zoomed modes are used when the black letterboxing at the top and bottom of a standard screen are part of the signal (such as widescreen movies broadcast in standard definition). The widescreen modes are used with true widescreen signals, such as from a DVD player.

Our DVD player already had component video out, so a few cables, and a quick check of the setup menu to tell it we had a 16:9 unit, and wow — stunning results. We’re really enjoying it.

My next project is to get a DVI to HDMI cable so I can hook it up to the MythTV unit digitally. This will get us the best possible quality, and I can use a Linux-based DVD player to send a pure digital signal to the TV.

4 thoughts on “We\’ve gone HDTV

  1. Thanks for the suggestion…

    We use Dish Network. I have looked at their Dish HDTV package, which includes HD versions of ESPN, Discovery, TNT, and HDNet and HDNet Movies for $10/mo. The first three channels are ones that we rarely watch. Neither my wife nor I are much sports fans (though whenever there’s a Purdue game on, she’ll be tuned in.) And we watch PBS, History Channel, and TLC more than Discovery. As for TNT, we don’t really watch much there either. HDNet and HDNet Movies look somewhat interesting, but we’d rather choose the movies we watch (and I saw HDNet running episodes of Hogan’s Heroes — a fun show, but definately NOT HDTV fare). Dish also offers HBO/Showtime/etc on HDTV, but we’re not current subscribers to those channels anyway. So for us, it’s just not worth the extra $10/mo right now. That’ll probably change once more stuff goes HDTV.

    So, for right now, we’re trying out online DVD rental as a way to take more advantage of our new TV. Our next step will probably be to add a HDTV over-the-air tuner to our MythTV setup. It’ll cost about $200, but will bring in stuff that we regularly watch, and not cost anything on an ongoing basis.

  2. I’ve had the same set for almost a year and love it. I’m building my first Myth box in the next few weeks, using a Geforce FX 5200 and Air2PC cards. I’ve got a dvi to hdmi cable coming as well, hopefully we can get it working!

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