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Decisions: KV-34XBR960 and stand...

ReCrunkulous
08-01-2005, 02:48 PM
I have been doing research around town and on the internet for the past month and a half, trying to decide which TV I was going to buy. I had pretty much decided from the get-go to purchase a Sony, but how big and which model were up in the air.

At first, I was leaning towards the KV-30HS420, but the more I price hunted online, the better deals I found for the KV-34HS420.

At that point, I found the KV-34HS420 on sale for $1188.00 at my local Electronics Express. I tried negotiating with the floor salesman, and was literally $12 away on price from making a deal. So I walked.

My patience draining, I proceeded to do even more research on the KV-34HS420 and found it for $950.00 through Amazon. At that point I thought I would see what the next nicest model was running for. And that's when I was introduced to the KV-34XBR960. And there was no turning back...

After spending literally days on the web scouring prices, forums, merchant reviews, user reviews, and product reviews, I feel close to making a decision. Since this TV weighs almost as much as I do, I plan on investing in the matching stand. I am a sucker for nice accessories that add to the elegance.

My budget is right at $2000 all told. I have found the TV at an online etailer for $1395 plus $199.95 shipping, which is a real steal at $1594.95. The cheapest I have found the "official" XBR3 stand is for $279.99 plus $36.50 shipping, $316.49 total. That would put me at $1911.44. The company offering the TV is the only one whose customer feedback was good in that price range. A few other stores were offering the TV for a little less, but with an alarming feedback record.

My one hangup with this plan is the potential that the Sony 2-year warranty that comes standard with the XBR would become void if I went through this company. I could go through Crutchfield and get the set from a factory-authorized (warranty intact) dealer, but would be paying a $300 premium for it. I also have found a stand that would structurally be identical to the SU-34XBR3, but would look a little different since it was meant for an older model (the XBR910). I can get this on Amazon for $69.99 plus $35.49 shipping, a total of $105.48.

So, my decision comes down to this: purchase the XBR through an online etailer with a good customer service reputation (but not factory-authorized) for $1595 and the current stand through another etailer for $316... $1911.00 grand total

or

purchase the XBR through Crutchfield for $1899.99, thereby eliminating the online risk factor and the old stand meant for the XBR910 for $105.48.... $2005.47 grand total

What do you guys think? I've done a TON of research and these seem to be the best options I've found. I'd like to know what folks who have experience with Crutchfield, Amazon, Click4TVs.com, and etronics.com have to say about those respective companies.

Blue_Tech
08-02-2005, 01:23 AM
Let me throw a wrench in your plans...

Look at the side-by-side comparison of the XBR and XS models (http://www.crutchfield.com/S-Tjl7uG85Oy9/cgi-bin/ProdView.asp?g=148350&id=features_and_specs&i=158KD34XS9).

You could save $300 with the XS and you only give up the following:

PIP
Only 7 total video inputs versus 10 (whoopdie doo)
No Firewire output (do you even own an HD-VCR???)

Both sets have Sony's new Super Fine Pitch Grill, which is what they are claiming is their latest advancement in HD picture quality, and all other features are identical.

Now, is your living room decor really so contemporary that the matching stand will match for years to come? Sure, its nice, but it only fits those Sony TV's, and it is exspensive.

Check out the wood TV stands available at Furniture Online (http://www.furnitureonline.com/productlist.asp?txtCatalog=OF&txtCategory=587), check out the models near the bottom of the page.

My 32XBR400 weighs about 180 lbs and has been sitting on something very similiar for almost 4 years with nary a problem.

ReCrunkulous
08-02-2005, 09:55 AM
Okay...

So I am giving up PIP and FireWire if I go w/ the XS955. Most set-top boxes (like the ones offered by Comcast) would have IEEE 1394 outputs, right? I don't need that feature today, but probably will need it in a couple of years.

There is a difference in comb filter type, as well. The XS has a 3D Digital comb filter, described as:

"not only analyzes consecutive scanning lines within a field, but also analyzes the preceding and following fields. Results in improved color purity and a more stable video image, and nearly eliminates dot crawl and color bleeding."

whereas the XBR has a 10-Bit 3D Digital:

"like 3D Digital, adding 10-bit signal processing to render superb gray-scale gradation, resulting in superior picture detail."

Is this a big deal? Is this a difference someone investing long-term in a top of the line TV would regret not having?

As far as the furniture goes... the stand makes it look like one continuous unit. I wouldn't plan on using it for anything other than housing the TV, but the design of the stand adds to the appeal of the TV when put together. It's just damn hard to justify the price... If I bought the XBR1 model it would fit the 960, right? The XS fits in the same stand as the HS TV, and it's a little more affordable (not much).

Blue_Tech
08-02-2005, 10:17 PM
I believe the stands are compatible on both sets. Call Crutchfield CS, they are some really nice folks over there.

As far as the 10 bit filter versus the simple filter, and the firewire... I look at add-ons like these as the natural progression of things. Manufacturers are going to forever be adding, tweaking, and upgrading their sets.

Personally, I have viewed the new XBR at Ovation in Louisville, and I cant see an improvement in PQ over my 4 year old model, except for brightness (naturally). The only reason I would upgrade to the XS model is for widescreen capabilities, as my set is a 4:3 model.

6 months after you get either one of those TV's home, there will be a new model with even more features. The point is, the XS has spectacular picture, period. If this is your first HDTV, you'll forget all about those petty frills of the XBR the minute you turn that baby on... I promise.

Of course, I am human, and male... so if money were not really an issue, yes, I would buy the XBR, just because. But I am really an average individual on a budget like you... so I would take the XS to save a little cash. Just dont buy the HS model, I've been reading alot of things about that one on the boards.

ReCrunkulous
08-03-2005, 10:43 AM
Well the HS is definitely out. I think it may actually come down to whether a friend of mine who has a license to distribute electronics can get me a price at dealer cost. After reading some older threads about NY-based etailers, the only places I now feel comfortable going through online are Crutchfield, Amazon, and ABT in Chicago. Amazon.com has the XS at a helluva bargain right now.

The PIP feature is the main thing I'm stuck on. Football season is coming around the corner, and I would most definitely be taking advantage of the XBR for sporting purposes if I get it. I am aware that only 1 of the 2 screens can be HD, but since at least currently only 1 game is ever shown in HD at a time (CBS at 3:30, ESPN at 7), that's not a big deal. But is it worth the $300 or so difference?

Thanks for the tip on Crutchfield. I will holler at them later on today. And yes, this will be my first HDTV purchase. This set will replace a 19" ProScan that is about 5 years old. It has an S-Video input in the back, and is still a good set, but the time has come to step it up to the big leagues.