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Special Report: What's The Best High Def TV For March Madness?


Its that time of year again. College basketballs March Madness brackets are loaded and in play. The next best thing to being at the games is watching them on a high definition TV. In 'Swanni's 10 Best Sports In HDTV,' Phil Swann says 'Watching a player shoot a crucial foul shot in high-def is both dramatic and cringe-inducing. You can see the muscles clenching nervously in his cheeks; the sweat pouring off his brow.' With all the games being broadcast in HD and all the major sports networks announcing expanded coverage in HD you might want to seriously consider upgrading your TV to High Definition. Basketball and many other sports make unusual demands on TVs. Fast changing foreground and background patterns demand responsive displays while artifacts from slow responding pixels can seriously affect your ability to follow and enjoy the game. In this special report, Retrevos gadget experts will offer some pointers, suggestions, and valuable resources to help you decide which TV to buy. You can find all the latest HDTV buying and support information at Retrevo's HDTV results page. Retrevo also findsthe latestdeals on high definition products that are updated daily. HDTV Display Technologies The technologies that you will likely end up choosing among are Rear Projection, LCD and Plasma. Heres a quick rundown: Rear Projection TV (DLP, LCD, LCoS) DLP is the most common technology used in projection TVs. DLP (Digital Light Processing) chips use more than a million tiny moving mirrors to project an image on ascreen. Some viewers complain about a 'rainbow' affect associated with the spinning color wheel and the somewhat restricted viewing angle. If youre willing to take a slight step down in image quality from LCD and Plasma and live with a bigger box, DLP offers a lot of screen for the money. LCD shutter, LCoS, and even CRT technologies are also used in front and rear projection systems and are worthy competitors to DLP especially Sony'sLCoS-basedKDS-R60XBR2. Sony KDS R60.gif Sony KDS R60XBR2 Dont forget to consider front projection displays. For under $2000, you can fill a wall. Drawbacks include fan noise, ceiling mounts, cabling, somewhat lower contrast levels, and bulb replacement. Serious Home Theatre buyers may spend over $10,000 for a high quality projector like the Marantz VP11S1. marantz.gif Marantz VP11S1 Plasma Plasma TVs are heavier (harder to mount), more fragile (lots of glass), use more power, generate more heat, and can be subject to vulnerabilities like burn-in (debatable issue now with newer models) and glare. On the other hand,they can oftendeliver larger sizes for less money, offer better black levels, better viewing angles,and to many viewers, better color and picture quality than LCD TVs. Like CRTs may viewers perceive glowing phosphors as warmer and richer than backlit LCDs. Among the Top of the line is Pioneer Plasma PRO FHD1. Pioneer plasma.gif Pioneer PRO FHD1 LCD LCDs have been getting bigger, better, and cheaper at a very fast rate. They offer higher native resolutions in many sizes often for much less money,use less power, have less glare, are lighter and easier to mount, and are even just a little thinner than Plasma. In the past, LCDs have suffered from poor contrast ratios that make black color look more like dark gray. But in newer generationquality sets, the colors are true and the images sharp. Unlike Plasma displays, they occasionally have stuck pixels. The next generation of LCD TVs incorporating LED backlit should raise thestandard for image quality that Plasma will have difficulty matching. Sony 42 Bravia.gif Top rated Sony KDS-46XBR2 The Features That Matters Most for Sports on TV Resolution More pixels meanhigher definition, more details, sharper images, and a more realisticlooking game.Resolution isrepresented by two numbers. First the number of pixels acrossacross the screen followed by the number down the screen, so that 1080 "i" or "p" represent the number of pixels on the vertical axis. The latest Full HD standard means 1920 x 1080 pixels. LCDs come from the computer side of the industry where reasonably priced high resolution displays are the norm. As a result you will find more and cheaper Full HD LCD TVs than Plasma. Phosphors and Burn-In Plasma TVs use technology similar to that used in a florescent light bulb. An inert gas is used to make tiny patches of phosphors emit different levels of red, green and blue light. Unfortunately, if phosphors are left on too long, they may become permanently charged creating a sort of ghost image that never goes away. This was more of a problem with older sets and CRTs (remember screen savers). Newer Plasma TV sets employ technology like pixel orbiters that subtly switch adjacent pixels on an off to prevent any one pixel from being on for too long. Many experts feel that burn-in is no longer a concern. However, if youre still worried about burn-in, its been said that reducing the brightness and contrast by a little bit especially during the first 200 hours of use can virtually eliminate burn-in. Sports viewers may be more concerned about burn-in since many sports broadcasts include persistent elements like scoreboards and news crawlers that remain on the screen. Also sports video games often leave elements on TV screens for long periods. Response time The ability of a pixel to turn on and off or go from active to inactive in the shortest period can help reduce many artifacts that can be very distracting when watching the fast moving pictures of sporting events. When pixels dont respond fast enough you may notice unwanted effects like trailing, streaming, smearing, ghosting, or jittering. These can appear like streaks or 'comet tails' following moving objects or even as a momentary loss of focus. Often youll see response time measured in milliseconds (ms.). A smaller number is better. Many sets are now achieving 5ms. response times which greatly help reduce these artifacts. The next generation of LCD TVs incorporating LED backlights will virtual eliminate this effect since LEDs can turn on and off faster than the LCDs themselves. Refresh rates Most conventional TVs refresh the screen 30 times a second (30Hz). Film displays refresh at 24 frames per second which wasconsidered fast enough to fool the eye. However many of the newer sets are boosting much higher refresh rates. In fact, several LCD TVs were announced at 2007CES that claim refresh rates of 120Hz. A higher refresh rate should also help reduce many of the artifacts associated with response time. Viewing Angle Rear projection TVs have the greatest viewing anglelimitations often requiring the viewer to sit 'just so' in front of the screen to get the best picture. Viewing angle is almost a non-issue with LCD and Plasma TVs. The new LCDs have been edging out Plasmas with angles as high as 175 degrees. We dont know anyone who is going to be watching their TVs at these angles. However, for sports viewing, when you have the gang over for the big game, viewing angle is much more critical than when it's just you seated on the lounger in front of the tube. Lifespan A concern about older Plasma TVs was the time before brightness started to diminish. In older sets, this was commonly speced at around 20,000 hours or about 10 years of normal use. Todays Plasma TVs claim 60,000 hours before brightness is affected. Its probably a safe bet that you wont be concerned about this when it starts to happen 30 years from now. High Altitude If you live in Denver or other higher altitude locations, you may want to pay attention to this one. Weve read that due to the use of gas filled chambers, Plasma TVs can make a noticeable buzzing sound at high altitudes. However, most Plasma sets are rated at 6500 feet and higher so if youre living in the mile high city, make sure you read the altitude specs. Bottom Line Due to the faster rate of improvementsand the fact that there are more Full HD TVs available at affordable prices, Retrevo gives an edge toLCD TVs over Plasma. We recognize that many viewers will find the image quality of Plasma displays more pleasing to watch. Plasma can also offer some better values in large screen displays. The new standard in high definition is 1920 x 1080 pixels (now called 'Full HD'). Make sure your set has as many HDMI ports as you can get for things like DVD players, cable boxes, game consoles and more. How much screen is right for you and your space is very much a personal preference. Plasmas tend to come in larger sizes especially the new 1080P models while LCD offer a greater range of sizes in all resolutions and prices. Retrevo Rear Projection TV Pick A little pricey butthe Sony KDS-R60XBR is a big screen, feature-rich, TV. Retrevo Plasma TV Picks Pioneer seems to be edging out Panasonic in the reviews at the moment. Heres a 50 inch plasma that sells for around $3000. Unfortunately, it wont do 1080p native. To get 1080p you have to move up to this one and spend almost twice as much. If you can live with 720p and dont have a lot to spend, Panasonic makes a very affordable good quality 42' plasma that sells for less than $1500. Retrevo LCD TV Picks For a little over $3,000, you can get the top rated 1080P 46' BRAVIAand for $1,000 less you can getthe 40' version. Sharp hasa verystrong brand in LCD TVs. Heres a 46 inch 1080P TV that usually costs less than the BRAVIA. The Olevia42'Full HD TV is generating some buzz and positive reviews. Userful Links HDTV Results page on Retrevo LCD TV Association has lots of good links and information Plasma Trade Association Plasma and LCD Buying Guides High Def and Sports Guide CNET's HDTV World A couple of good HD/AV magazines areHDTV Magand Ultimate AV Mag. Further Reading on Retrevo Retrevo can find manuals. pages within manuals, reviews, blog posts, forum discussions, deals,shopping info, and lots more on most popular High DefTVs and other consumer electronic products. Hereis a sample of some searches on Retrevo HDMI Connections on a Sharp Aquos Mounting the Marantz VP11S1 Projector Adjusting the picture on the Pioneer PRO-FHD1 Sony Bravia KDL-40XBR2 Reviews


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I'll add my two cents here. I'm not sure which Samsung you are considering but in general DLP's micro-mirrors might theoretically be able to respond faster than the Sony's LCoS based display (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) however Sony specs the LCos display at 2.5 ms which should be plenty fast enough to respond to fast motion sports. I also notice that the Sony has HDMI ports unlike the Samsung but lacks PIP which the Samsung has which could be useful for keeping and eye on more than one game. Make sure you read the user reviews (amazon is a good source) Sony comes out better on these. All that said I think it's a pretty close call. If you don't need that big of a screen and can afford a few dollars more, I would probably go with an LCD panel. Good luck!

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There is not definitive answer Bobby. People have different biases and preferences. If I were using the television in a well-lit room, I would go with the Sony model. Otherwise, I would go with the Samsung model.

I'm trying to decide between the 60" sony kds-60a2000 lcd and teh 61" samsung dlp
I am a coach and watch a lot of sports and I cannot decide between these tv's. Some sales reps have told me that samsung is the better tv for sports because of its reaction time of the dlp chip technology and black lines that bring out better overall color
If you had to choose between the samsung and sony which one would you go for
DLP or LCD for sports? Frys has the tv's at the same exact price and told me there is no difference in picture quality.
best buy told me to buy samsung. circuit city told me to go w/sony
so I'm looking for a definitive answer.