Never be lost again

Just a quick shout-out for the UW Campus Map, which is pretty awesome. I don’t know when this latest version went live, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t look like this at the end of last year.

In other news, Wells Fargo will be building a new ATM in the campus area, at (if I remember right) approx 500 University Ave. Good thing, too, or I would probably have switched banks to avoid having to drive 15 minutes to an ATM.

Also, we got internet & digital cable hooked up in our apartment on Tuesday. Now I’m thinking about buying an HDTV, as we can get HD content to match our current lineup for only $3 more per month. Anyone have advice on HDTVs?

5 thoughts on “Never be lost again

  1. Jonathon

    What’s your budget? How large a TV do you want? One thing to note is that unless the TV has more than 1080 Vertical lines of resolution anything in the 1080i or 1080p range will look funny (most TV’s are only 720p native). Make sure your TV supports HDCP otherwise it’s already obsolete (hd formats require this). You also might want to have an HDMI connector as this is replacing DVI and Component for HDTV signals.

    The 24″ dell LCD’s appears to support most of these features except for the HDMI connector. The one advantage of it is you can use it as a computer monitor as well. If you’re looking for TV’s Sony used to make some nice LCD HDTV’s and you could get at least one with native 1080p support. YOu really have to just shop around, look for some basic features, and most importantly go to a store and LOOK at the TV.

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  2. Anonymous

    I agree with all of what Jon said.

    My roommate has an HDTV, but no HDTV content, so it really shows how bad digital cable looks. He got this RCA model at bestbuy. I’d put the link, but it’s too big for blogger, just look for the 52 inch RCA tv in bestbuy.com

    It’s ok, but I’m not a fan, probably because there is no HDTV content on there.

    Also, I think there is HDMI 1.3 which has support for the HD audio and higher color.

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  3. Jonathon

    Anonymous is right. HDMI 1.3 has recently been finalized. It supports better HD audio than earlier versions and also allows for a larger range of colors to be transmitted. To future proof yourself you probably want to have this particular connector.

    The big problem with HDTV’s is that while some of the spec is finalized much of the spec on the transmission/contenct protection side is still being finalized. I’d consider HDTV still Beta at this point. Anything you buy may break once all the standards settle down.

    All the problems with the technology at this point lie at the feet of the content provider’s who are all paranoid about people stealing their digital content. The actual video specs 720p, 1080i have all been finialized long ago. (As a piece of trivia 1080p is not an official spec of HDTV because the broadcast bandwidth for this is so high).

    In any case I want to reiterate you want a TV with 1080 lines of vertical resolution otherwise you get some wacky problems when the 1080i signal is deinterlaced. (I’ve actually worked with this and it’s really annoyying.)

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  4. Colin M

    Thanks Jon & Anonymous, that is good to know. I was already thinking of getting a 1080-line display (touted as “1080p” by the marketing, though I guess that isn’t actually a real format), though I didn’t realize the HDMI specs were still settling. I thought that had been worked out long ago. Oh well. I will definitely keep all that in mind when doing some comparison shopping. Any advice on rear-projection vs. LCD vs. plasma? I’m leaning toward LCD at the moment, for the coolness factor of being slim, and to avoid having to deal with a massive TV overall. I’m also thinking LCD over plasma because of burn-in issues and the size range I’m thinking of (26″-37″). Pricewise I had initially envisioned $1000-$1500, though I’m somewhat flexible with that depending on what’s on the market. Any thoughts?

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  5. Jonathon

    Generally I’ve noticed many rear projection screen have low angle of visibility. They also tend to be physically HUGE and so take up a ton of space.

    Some of the higher quality DLP screens don’t have the angle problem and DLP TV’s can be 1/2 to 1/4 the depth of a standard rear projection. The advantage of these TV’s are they are bright, and tend to have very good color reproduction. They also do and excellent job of giving you true blacks. Some cheap DLP’s to exhibit a strange color shifting to to the technology. Wikipedia has a good article on this if you’re interested.

    LCD’s fit in a small space given their screen size. The downsides are poor viewing angles on some models. An inability to reproduce true blacks, and lower contrast ratios than other systems. Some models can also have problems when by any sort of direct sunlight such as a window. Another issue to watch out for is shimmering/ghosting from low speed LCD’s. Most high quality computer monitor’s have fixed this but some TV’s still have this problem (cheaper panels).

    Plasma TVs. These are very bright, and hot. They actually function very similiarly to standard CRT’s. For each pixel there is a R, G, and Blue nodule covered with a phosphor of the appropriate color. Plasma in these little glass bubbles is heated and emits energy that makes the phosphor glow. Burn in occurs as the coating on the pixels wears out. This is the same burn in you saw on early CRT type TV’s. Burn in should not be an issue if the picture is moving a lot. But stuff like station logos do burn in if you don’t change the station enough.

    The only real downside of plasmas is you need to look at huge screens to get a decent pixel count. It’s hard to make small plasma filled glass bubbles small and pack them close together. Plasma’s are very bright, reproduce colors well, can do true blacks, and basically give image quality similar to that of old CRT TV’s. The heat, larger size, and possible burn in/plasma loss, issues are the downsides of this TV.

    Ok so with all that info you don’t need out of the way from your size requirement a LCD TV is probably the best choice. The other choices don’t really make good TV’s in the sub 40″ range. Then again if this is going in your living room why do a sub 40″ HDTV! You know you want a 52″ TV.

    I also thought I’d throw out that the VESA group put out some new monitor/tv connector standard over the summer. They are trying to push it as being superior to HDMI. Don’t worry much about this since HDMI seems to be the way everyone is going. If you’re thinking about a PS3 that uses HDMI for it’s HD content.

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