December 7th, 2009


HDTV brainstorming

So I'm starting to think about getting an HDTV. The way this sort of thing usually works for me, that probably means that I'll actually get one around June. Here are random thoughts. Happy to hear opinions from those of you that know this stuff.

I think I want a TV between 37" and 42". That way, it won't be any smaller vertically than my existing old-school 27" CRT. I also know I want 1080p and 120/600 Hz. Specs like that should be available for close to $500 in a few months, I have a feeling, if they're not already. I'm not sure what other numbers matter.

I need to buy a stand. And a universal remote. I don't know anything about universal remotes these days, except that they're uber-fancy and cost a lot more than I'd expect them to. (Apparently you can spend $200 on a remote??)

And I need some sort of DVR setup. As far as I can tell, the options are:

TivoReally easy to set up and useI hate monthly fees, and lifetime subscription is $400. So much less control (No auto commercial skip? I've had that in my standard-def DVR since 2003! No place-shifting either?)
Windows-based computer with Media Center and CableCARD (either roll-your-own, which recently got easier, or buying prefab system)More control than TiVo, no monthly feesUgh, Windows. Ugh, CableCARD. Edit: Less "ugh" on CableCARD, but ugh, prefab systems, and ugh, all roll-your-own CableCARD options are also $250 and are sold out everywhere.
MythTVTons of control, costs whatever I want, no monthly feesUber-complicated, might never be completely smooth UI (i.e. usable by roommate), requires separate $250 box to do cable in HD
added from comments: Cable company's DVRFree up-front"Dumb as a post", not much storage, costs even more per month than TiVo

I'd like to do it all for about $1200. Should be doable. Just want to make sure I do it right.

And I need to be smart about spending around $8, not around $80, for cables and stuff.