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Buzz wants an HDTV, can you help?

Kevin C. Tofel

The Internet just keeps bringin' people together and we love it. On Monday, fellow Weblogs, Inc. blogger, Marc Orchant gave me a virtual introduction to Buzz Bruggeman. Aside from having one of the coolest names on the Web, Buzz is also well known in the tech and Tablet PC community for his ActiveWords software. That's all well and good, but "what does that have to do with HDTVs?" you ask. Ahh...that's where we come in.

You know how we just love to spend other people's money, right? We (as in all of you and us) gave Robert and Maryam Scoble some HDTV advice and now it's Buzz's turn to wax in our wisdom. Buzz is looking for a high-definition set, so let's help him out. Whaddya say?

We usually start off answering the "What set should I buy?" question by asking some questions right back. It's always good to know what kind of budget we're talking about, what the primary uses will be the for the HDTV and where the high-def signal will come from.

Buzz was kind enough to answer our questions with the following useful information:

  • The budget is about $2,000, unless there's a compelling reason to increase it.
  • College basketball is a must-watch
  • The set will mainly be used for home entertainment; there are no special gaming or PC needs.
  • Cable is the most likely signal for reception.
Buzz is considering an LCD model from Sharp: the LC-37GB5U. Right off the bat, it should meet all of Buzz's requirements. We've seen this set on-line in the $1,600 to $1,800 range so it's within budget. Resolution-wise, the Sharp is 720p capable with a native 1366 x 768 resolution; any 1080i broadcasts will get converted to 720p. This resolution might help with the "college basketball" requirement due to the progressive line scanning. This is key if you plan to watch fast motion sports.

The Sharp has both an ATSC and NTSC tuner built in, which is over and above the signal requirements Buzz has. If he's going to use Cable for his HDTV programming, he doesn't need the digital tuner, but it's a nice add-on and could save a few dollars per month with a good antenna.

All of today's (and tomorrow's) inputs are present on the Sharp as well. It has HDMI, DVI-I, two component inputs, but it does lack a CableCard input. That's not a show stopper, but it will require a cable set-top box for Buzz. All in all then, this choice isn't a bad one at all based on the requirements and the budget.

The only other sets that we might recommend Buzz take a look at are:
  • Panasonic's CT 34-WX15: It's less expensive and adds two-inches of screen. On the flipside, you don't get an ATSC tuner and it's bulky at 160 pounds and two-feet deep.
  • Sony's Bravia KLVS32A10: It lists for $2k and offers more contrast (1000:1) over the Sharp (800:1) as well as a faster response time (8 ms vs. 16 ms).
  • Samsung's HL-R4266W: This DLP set is around $1,800 and takes Buzz up to 42-inches; possibly too big for his room, but not too big. This model brings the contrast up to 2500:1 and adds a Digital Cable Ready tuner via CableCard slot.
So those are our thoughts to help Buzz look at all of the options. What do you think? Did we overlook a great set that's worthy of consideration?

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