24
Dec
08

HDTV Setup

So I finally got around to joining the Hi-Def revolution, and it is, in a word, awesome. I had a few of the pieces in place already: a cheap upscaling DVD player, my Macbook Pro with its new 320gb hard drive filled with HD content, but of course that content doesn’t do too much without the HDTV. I have had my eyes on the Olevia 237T 37″ LCD for a while. I had been waiting for a nebulous price drop that kept not happening, so I watched it for the better part of the year. That is, until mid-November. (Yes, this post is late. I’m lazy. Sue me.)

Apparantly, Olevia is phasing out the 237T in favor of a new model that supports native 1080p resolution (as opposed to the 720p of the 237T). Since I can’t tell the difference between 720 and 1080 on a screen that size, I jumped when Target dropped the price from $749 to $598. (Yes, I value my money and will wait for a good deal. I’m not cheap.)

The interesting thing is that I got the tv right as Nicky was going to visit family in El Dalvador for three weeks. That meant I had plenty of time to experiment. One of the first things I learned was to never, ever buy cables from anywhere other than monoprice.com. Everywhere else is a ripoff. Seriously, I bought three HDMI cables, an optical cable, toslink adaptor (for MacBook pro audio out to standard optical) for ~$25. Shipped. Add a DVI to HDMI adaptor for ~$4 shipped from Amazon and that’s every cable I need for less than a single HDMI to DVI cable from the Apple store. And the Apple store is by far the cheapest brick and mortar to get HD cables from (everywhere else is $50 and up, including Radio Shack).

The next thing I learned is that HDTV’s are very light, considering how big they are. My old TV, a 29″ tube is so massive that it takes two to lift, and even that was just to get it on and off a dolly. Its REALLY heavy. The Olevia, on the other hand, is light and thin enough that I can move it myself fairly easily.

So that brings me to the current setup. Its currently in a TV armoire that I hate with the DVD player and a PS3 underneath it. I can also plug my MacBook pro for iTunes rentals, and other downloaded content via Front Row and Boxee. The PS3 won’t be staying, since its not mine, but I’ve been playing with it and on it rather extensively. One thing I discovered is that while an excellent game console and blu-ray player, a PS3 is an ass media extender/HTPC. Streaming from my laptop or file server is very rudimentary, even with Nullriver’s excellent Media Link pref pane. Also, Sony recently came out and said that they weren’t planning on putting Netflix streaming on the PS3 any time soon. (Because they want to sell their shitty PSN movies with about the worst DRM possible. Fuck you Sony.) That, and I don’t see myself putting in the effort to get really good at “hardcore” games. So that’s the current setup. I’ll post later on what I intend to add to make my home theater system complete.

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