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2007-05-22 20:13
by Scott Long

The 35 inch Toshiba TV that I have had for over 15 years finally bit the dust last weekend, so I need to go out and buy a new boob tube. I have done a lot of research on the subject, but thought I would open up the floor here for more advice. Here are the basics you need to know to help me with my decision.


  • The TV will be in a room with a little bit of natural light, but not too much
  • The TV will be viewed from about 12.5 feet away.
  • I mainly watch sports and documentaries, with a few episodic shows. Very few movies.
  • The budget goal is to stay under $1800.
  • I'm not planning on hanging the TV on the wall.

So give me your suggestions. Should I go DLP, Plasma, or LCD? Give me your thoughts on brands. Tell me what you think is the best deal for the money in regards to quality, size, and features.


I was on the Jordin Sparks bandwagon early on, as I always thought she had the best mix of what an American Idol winner should offer. She has a big voice, a winning personality, and is young enough to really connect with most pop music buyers. Katherine McPhee filled this role last year, but she can't sing anywhere close to as well as Sparks.

Before I take a shot at him, let me say that if you are not reading Mark Donohue's Western Homes at TV Toaster, you are really missing out. Mark is better than 90% of the TV critics I've read. We don't seem to have the same taste in TV viewing, as Mark is more of a sci-fi guy, while I have a more macho man show (The Shield, Deadwood, 24) focus, but Western Homes has such interesting reviews that he makes me want to check out some of the shows he discusses that I haven't set on my DVR.

Now here is where I think Mark is off. In his latest post on American Idol, he thinks that Blake Lewis is going to have the best career of this cast. I disagree. I do believe Blake has talent, but I suspect that Jordin will be the big hit off of this show. Beatboxing can be interesting to listen to in a live setting, but sounds ridiculous on record. The biggest problem I have with Lewis is the ska feel he likes to bring to his renditions of most songs. A lot of hipsters dig the ska beat, but it reminds me of professional soccer. Despite the hype, I just don't see it catching on in America on any large scale. His first record will sell well, initially, but he is not someone with a long-range career. I do think his new Simon LeBon hair-do is working, though.

Melinda was the best singer, but I don't see where she fits on terrestial radio. Her version of the Tina Turner classic, Nutbush City Limits was the only time the show really rocked all year, but she didn't have the right look to compete with the younger, hipper finalists. I won't be surprised if her debut doesn't eventually outsell Blake Lewis, despite having a harder time getting on TRL.


Since I brought up Western Homes, let me also mention that if you missed Jon Weisman's great post at Screen Jam about The Office, I highly recommend checking it out.


Let me note that I'm not trying to leave out the Toaster's fearless leader, Ken Arneson, when discussing Toaster spinoffs, but his Aesthetics site generally makes my brain hurt. I read it consistently, as it makes me feel smarter while taking it in, but sadly the stuff I learn generally leaks out of my brain, as my noggin is overrun with lyrics by Arena Rock bands, instead.


Continuing the theme of how a select few are determining what the rest of us can listen to check out this story on former Imus producer, Bernard McGuirk. I'm not particularly enamoured with McGuirk, but to have picketers sabotage the guy before he even gets on the air is really twisted.


Still waiting for some article by Baseball Prospectus about how the White Sox starting staff are blowing away the pre-season projections? As I have mentioned many times in the past, I love BP, but feel like I need to be some type of ombudsman when it comes to the blind spot they seem to have about the White Sox, especially their pitching staff. (Shades of 2005, the starters have lasted at least 6 innings in 26 of the past 27 games.) We will see if my prediction comes true that the top 3 teams in the AL Central will end up after 162 being separated by just 2 games, but I do think it isn't too early to see that the chances of White Sox having their first losing season this decade is not likely.


2007-05-22 23:39:17
1.   Ken Arneson
Dang. I didn't realize that anybody was actually reading my Aesthetics site. I owe you a bottle of ibuprofen.

Cheers for SWOBODA! I always enjoy seeing real life defeat the numbers, over and over again. Although I wouldn't get too excited about the White Sox last two victories...the team the A's threw out there tonight was probably the worst I've seen in green and gold since 1997.

2007-05-22 23:53:11
2.   joejoejoe
If you asked me to predict which fad from my youth would enjoy a revival 20 years later I think human beat boxing would have been last on the list. Thanks for nothing Blake.
2007-05-23 07:29:29
3.   Knuckles
You want a Samsung DLP. The picture quality is impressive, the screen is matte rather than glossy, so you get no glare, it's lightweight and only about a foot deep. Ours is a 42" and a perfect fit for the room. Mine's 2 years old and have had zero problems with it. My folks have one at their beach bungalow which is pushing 4 years old and they've had no worries either. They also have a Dell plasma at their normal house, and everyone prefers the Samsung...
2007-05-23 08:40:38
4.   Tom

Did you read the Louis C.K. interview on the Onion AV Club? Do you know him? Thoughts?

2007-05-23 09:40:38
5.   Kevin Lewis
I too have a Samsung, and it has been wonderful. If you buy it with an AMEX, you automatically get another year of warranty on it without buying the extended one from the store.
2007-05-23 10:25:25
6.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
Consider taking your television question to . Lots of people there with time and expertise to give you an educated opinion (or three).

But, there are probably a few other questions to consider, first:

- How big is the largest screen you'd consider?

- Are you assuming an HDTV, and if so, how are you planning to get HDTV signal? (Cable, Satellite, Antenna, etc.)

- Are you going to listen to the speakers from the television, or will you plug it in to some sort of surround-sound system?

If you can figure out those few things first, you'll get a clearer idea of what you might enjoy most.

2007-05-23 13:41:33
7.   Todd S
If you don't need to hang it on a wall and have the room, DLP or projection LCD will give you the most screen for the money. A quick search at showed this Samsung DLP as an interesting place to start:

That's a full 1080p model, but most broadcasts are currently in 1080i only. If you want to save more money, you can go with a 720p model. I'd recommend the 1080p so that if the broadcast standard ever changes, you'll be at the leading edge for a few more years.

2007-05-23 14:10:45
8.   misterjohnny
Get the biggest DLP TV you can get. If you are not a movie watcher, don't worry about getting 1080p. Broadcasters (and cable and satellite) are not going to waste bandwidth broadcasting in 1080p, so 1080i is just fine. Only the HD DVD/BluRay devices will be using 1080p.

If you need the TV now, go to Costco to get it. If you are not a member, join. They automatically give you a two year warranty, and their prices are fantastic. You can find cheaper prices on the 'net, but you have to ship the dang thing.

Make sure the TV doesn't have the speakers on the side of the TV, which makes an already wide TV even wider.

If you can wait until Sunday, I think a major retailer is having a big sale this weekend...

2007-05-25 06:25:43
9.   Todd S
Costco is a great suggestion. A friend of mine bought is TV there and is quite happy with the price/warranty.
2007-05-27 07:21:32
10.   Jay Jaffe
Scott, I'm not sure I'd be celebrating the Sox triumph over PECOTA just yet. They're 18th in the Hit List this week, with a Hit List Factor (the average of their actual and various Pythagorean winning percentages) of .487 (a 79-win pace), and they've been outscored by 11 runs.

Furthermore, the BABIPs of the starters suggest they'll come back to earth. Garland .239, Buehrle .258, Vazquez .263, Contreras .269, Danks .287 - I don't expect all of them can remain that far below league average (.296) all year long.

Bottom line, I'm not claiming the Sox are a 72-win team (PECOTA isn't my baby), but I do think they'll finish closer to 81 wins than to, say, 90, and I don't see them making the playoffs.

2007-05-27 07:24:54
11.   Jay Jaffe
I should add that I do expect the woeful Sox offense -- last in the league in both SLG and OBP and not by a little -- to compensate somewhat for the starters by improving a bit, but I'm still talking about them centering around .500, not contender status.
2007-05-27 12:53:24
12.   Scott Long
Thanks for checking in here, Jay. I predicted 88 wins at the beginning of the year for the soc and I still think that is about right. It looks like I might have been a little off on the indians, as their bullpen is bending, but not breaking.

The sox pitchers don't walk many which keeps them from big innings. Anyone who has watched the sox this season can tell they are better than the 18th best team. The starting pitching and power hitting will keep them in the playoff hunt.

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