Upgrading to HDTV (with a few snags)

It’s finally time to upgrade to watching TV in high definition! Dad bought a 42-inch Syntax-Brillian Olevia 242v last weekend (just in time for Julie’s graduation—Congratulations Julie!) and gave away our old 32-inch CRT TV. I know it’s not the best available, but I think it was worth the $700 he paid for it, especially since we never thought we would be able to afford an LCD HDTV! The picture quality is amazing compared to analog TV! I immediately got to work trying to figure out the best setup.

I bought new white speaker wire to replace the old gray-black wire that ran across the ceiling, three more speaker mounts to place the front and center speakers on the wall (I had already mounted the two surround speakers), and I also bought an upconverting DVD player (which took me three tries to get right) and a Monster HDMI cable. I would have gone with Blu-Ray, but it’s still too expensive for me.

About the DVD players, I don’t know if it was the players themselves or the TV that wouldn’t allow them to function correctly! It might also have been that the first two were upconverting DVD recorders. I first bought a Samsung DVD-R155: it worked OK over HDMI, but it wouldn’t play store-bought DVDs. I returned that one and bought a Toshiba D-R410: it played store-bought DVDs wonderfully, but only over a component cable, it wouldn’t work over HDMI. The 480i it was outputting through component looked good, but I had specifically bought the unit to work over HDMI, so it went back to the store. I thought maybe I had just bought a defective unit, so I exchanged it for the same model. That one didn’t turn out to work well either, though this time I discovered that it was the TV that was having trouble interfacing over HDMI. It would get a signal, then lose it, then get it back; it was just pulsating on and off.

I finally decided to abandon the whole upconverting recorder idea (I wanted to replace our old DVD player and our old DVD recorder with just one unit) and just buy a regular upconverting DVD player, so I bought a Sony DVPNS700H/B. That turned out to be the best decision! Now the setup works perfectly! I still have the old DVD recorder connected, but that turned out to be a good thing in the end, because the other recorders didn’t have a tuner; this one does, so I can still record over-the-air TV programs (well, the ones on analog channels at least).

I drew up a little diagram of the setup that you can see below, as well as a picture. The next step is to get a Logitech Harmony 550 advanced universal remote to replace the five remote controls that we now have!

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