My HDTV experience so far

Let me start by giving you a bit of my home theater history. I just purchased my first HDTV a 50″ Panasonic Plasma. In order to drive this beast I had DirecTV come out and install an HD DVR, an HR20-100S. I’m also feeding it via my PS3 for high-def video gaming and Blu-Ray.  This TV is amazing and apart from some small power related issues has been outstanding from the start. The picture quality is second to none and it immediately made me envious that my other sets are not HD as well.

I’ve been experimenting with movie and music video delivery using TVersity. For movies I stream Divx and Xvid and for music videos I have them in a variety of formats – xvid, mpg, mkv, pretty much you name it.  I’d like the capability to stream DVD ISO’s but unfortunately TVersity doesn’t do this yet. I have a gigabit ethernet connection to the media center from my PC’s which are in the back of the media room.

Last week I came across a pretty good deal on a 42″ Westinghouse LCD at Best Buy. I’ve installed this in the bedroom, but after seeing the lackluster performance of the standard def DVR, I upgraded the living room to the new DirecTV HR22 HD-DVR and moved the old HR20 into the bedroom.  I’m immediately seeing the benefit of the bigger hard drive as I can now record movies and TV shows without worry of deleting shows I hadn’t seen yet. I’d say 100 hours is comfortable for your standard living room DVR.

I have some legacy hardware that I tried to add some capabilities to the bedroom tv with, one being an old Apex DVD player and the other a PC. The DVD player has component out so at 480i the TV does a better job of displaying DVD’s than I thought it would. The PC connects via VGA and pushes the full 1080p resolution. The problem is getting the content to the PC. I haven’t run a cat 5 or 6 line to the bedroom so I’m strictly going over 802.11G. TVersity works fine for getting content to the PS3 but for another PC, it’s not so elegant. The interface is severely lacking.  I tried XBMC and found that to be a much richer interface. it also supports on the fly ISO mounting, a big plus. However I had some stuttering issues when I tried to watch some DVD ISO’s over the wireless. I’m pretty sure it’s bandwidth related but its possible its processor related on either side.

I can stream TVersity content to the DirecTV box over it’s UPnP capability but again, this requires running a cat 5 line at the very least and I wouldn’t have any ISO capability. The PC is also very noisy.  I’m not sure just replacing the fans won’t help in that department, but the stuttering really bothers me.

The color on the LCD to me is also not as good as I’d like it to be. People look a bit orange to me and I’ve calibrated according to setting on the AVS forums.  I’d like to add I haven’t had a single color issue with the Plasma but I paid almost 3x as much for that, so there is something to the old phrase You get what you pay for.

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