Sean Alexander

Thoughts are actions in rehearsal

IMG_2431After a marathon memorial day weekend of edging, hauling, de-weeding, flower planting, and laying out nearly 8 cubic yards of mulch (thanks Larry), we’re almost ready for summer. I must have dumped nearly 500 lbs of 3in deep grass & refuse in the back half of yard (hidden from picture), away to compost. The french drain that runs through our back yard was so overrun that we had to dig out all the old mulch down to the black matting. I really should have done a before and after picture.

Then, our 5 year-old Samsung HLN-507W starts screaming like a banshee. The darn color wheel has burned out multiple bearings. After doing some research, I learn that the replacement is no small feat – a simple $100 part, much more in labor. For that price, I might as well get a new TV then attempt to fix the Samsung myself, moving it upstairs or reselling.

So I’ve gone throug the obligatory RPTV vs. Plasma vs. LCD debate. The Samsung was bought for our old house and I discovered for our viewing distance, I need a larger TV (darn). With the budget I had, a Sony Wega 60″ 1080p SXRD was the way to go. I had a coupon for BBY that brought the price down to $2000. After setting up the TV, I have to say it’s phenomenal. I hooked up my TiVo Series3 and a Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player via HDMI and even at 1080i, once calibrated (through my meager efforts) it looks vibrant, much brighter than my 5 yo set before, and no more rainbow effect when playing Halo 3. My only complaint is video garbage when the TiVo is switching between menu and native mode TV playback (I could set the TiVo to manage but want a pure signal).

As for gaming, even over component, there’s so much more detail in Halo 3 than I saw before, part of it due to better color reproduction, upsampling and contrast. (Any ISF-certified techs who want to be showcased in a video on your calibration services, please let me know. )

Now I just have to find a way to try out an Xbox 360 Elite to see 1080p in its glory.

Speaking of calibration, my father is really getting into digital photography and needs a good calibration solution for his monitor/printer. I’ve heard good things about the ColorVision Spyder2express – any thoughts out there?

3 thoughts on “Of Yardwork and HDTV

  1. Brian Hoyt says:

    You could also get the VGA pack for your exisiting Xbox 360 and then get 1080p for everything (including HD-DVD if you have the drive). I think the spring update fixed the last few issues with sony VGA inputs.

    As the the Spyder 2 it is very capable, especially for the price. Check out the free HFCR software in the the Calibration section of AVS Forum to use it to its fullest.

  2. Thanks Brian- I thought about the VGA cable but the Sony isnt’ the best as presenting full-screen VGA from what I’ve read.

  3. Steve Owens says:

    Sean –

    Nice back yard… that does look like a lot of work! I am sure that the kids and your wife will enjoy it very much.

    BTW – do you ever ready Mavromatic (the blog of Danny Mavromatis – He has a lot of interests in common with us (minus smokin’ BBQ on the Egg). Like you, he is an Emmy award winning programmer. He give a shout out to Silverlight on his blog recently. He is a Flash progammer for ABC/Disney. He would be a great convert.

    Let me know if you make it to the ATL again. I was out of town during your last visit.


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