A week ago, I bought my first HDTV. I ended up buying a Samsung T240HD 24-Inch LCD HDTV Monitor. I bought this HDTV to put into my home office. This is NOT my main living room TV that I just replaced. Why did I end up buying a small HDTV for a side room instead of for the main living room? Let me explain.
I have DirecTV in my bedroom, living room, and home office. In other words, in pretty much every room in the house that I use. In the living room and bedroom, I have DVRs. The living room has an old DirecTV Tivo and the bedroom had a DirecTV+ DVR. All of my DirecTV receivers are fairly old. The newest one is the DrecTV+ DVR (about 2-3 years old). The oldest one is the bare minimum DirecTV tuner (non-DVR) that I had in the home office. A couple weeks ago, the DirecTV+ DVR in my bedroom started to act up. It was making a clicking noise, and I was seeing messages pop up on the screen very few seconds saying that it lost the satellite signal and was trying to re-find it. I thought it was odd, but I let it be and went off and did some other things that evening. I came back late in the evening and was getting ready for bed. So I turned the TV on in the bedroom for a few minutes to watch TV as I got ready for bed. The TV turns on, but I get nothing on the screen. I tried everything I could think of to get the picture to come back, but nothing. The DVR was dead.
As a temporary solution, I unplugged the DVR and moved the plain DirecTV tuner from the home office into the bedroom. I now had DirecTV in the bedroom again, but nothing in the home office. The following weekend, I took the DirecTV DVR apart and pulled out the hard drive. I plugged it into a PC and tried some programs to repair the hard drive without any luck. Since the DVR was gone, I called DirecTV to deactivate it, so that they wouldn't charge me for the dead DVR. While I was on the phone with them, I asked how much it would be to buy a cheap, very basic DirecTV tuner for the home office. I just wanted to get something cheap and very basic to last me through the rest of the year. I was planning on starting the HDTV upgrade of my house at around Christmas time of this year, by replacing the big TV in the living room. Of course doing this upgrade wouldn't be cheap. I would have to replace the TV in the living room (probably about $1,000), I'd have to get a new DirecTV satellite dish (basically free), I'd need a new stereo receiver for the living room (about $300), and I'd also need new DirecTV receivers for all the rooms. I certainly didn't want to spend much for a temporary solution that I'd only use for a few months. I'd also been waiting for DirecTV to come out with the new DirecTV Tivo that's supposed to come out some time this year. Usually, when you get a new receiver, you have to sign up for a new contract (I'm not currently in a contract with them.) The problem was, to get the basic, temporary receiver, I would have had to either spend $150 to get it without contract, or $50 with a 2 year contract. I'm not going to spend $150 for a temporary solution and I'm not signing up for a 2 year contract now, when I'll likely be doing that in a few months for the DirecTV Tivo. That means I am not going to get a new DirecTV receiver for the home office. I had to come up with an alternate solution.
Since DirecTV was clearly out of the question in the home office, the only other alternatives would have been cable TV (which I don't currently have) or over the air antenna. I wasn't about to bother getting cable TV. That left antenna. Of course with the whole upcoming digital TV transition on June 12th, that would have meant that anything I chose to do would have to work beyond that date. That pretty much means HDTV over antenna. So, I decided to buy a small HDTV TV, plug an antenna into it, and use that in the home office until I get around to the full HD conversion later in the year. I would leave the living room alone and use this lesser used home office setup as my test-bed for HDTV.
I went out that evening and shopped around for a 26" LCD HDTV. I found lots to choose from. All of these 26" HDTVs were around $300-400 and all ran at 720p (the low end, lesser-resolution HD standard). I considered these, but then I went into BestBuy to look at their TVs. They had the same 26" TVs, but they also had a 24" LCD computer monitor that doubled as an HDTV... This monitor/HDTV also ran at full HD (1080p). But this monitor/TV was $450. That's about $100 more than the 26" HDTV alone. So it was a choice between a cheaper, lower resolution HDTV or a slightly more expensive monitor/HDTV that had the advantage of being a full blown computer monitor and a full resolution HDTV. No contest. I sacrifice 2" of screen space, but gain full resolution HDTV and a 'backup' computer monitor to boot. I bought the monitor/HDTV.
This is my first HDTV, so I have a lot to learn regarding the whole HDTV world. I'll be blogging some of my discoveries about this in the future.