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Old 02-09-2014, 01:24 PM   #1
charlikin
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Tivo with old Sony Trinitron SD

Well, I'm feeling very foolish right now. I have an old 27" Sony Trinitron that I bought in 1997. It still has a great picture - just takes a few seconds longer to warm up. I had sworn that I wasn't going to replace it until it died.

It's been hooked up to a Tivo Series 2 DT which I had upgraded with a larger hard drive. The Tivo was getting slower, and when TWC went all-digital so that the second tuner no longer worked, it seemed like the right time to upgrade to the newly-released Roamio. Just got the entire thing hooked up yesterday, cable card, tuning adapter and all - only to discover that the Roamio displays most of the menus in HD so that they appear squishy and fuzzy on my SD screen. It's basically unusable.

It looks like my choices are either to return the Roamio or bite the bullet and replace my beloved Trinitron. I'm not thrilled about replacing the tv since a larger one will take up more space on the tv cabinet, leaving almost no space for a couple of large knick knacks I have displayed. (This may not seem like an important concern - except that I have very little space for displaying things elsewhere in the room.) I know the Sony will eventually die and I'll have to face this issue then, but maybe I can still hold off a few years...

Okay, I feel very foolish even posting this. Just wanted to get people's comments and advice (and perhaps some secret code for making the Roamio usable on my Trinitron!). Please be kind. ;-)
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Old 02-09-2014, 01:53 PM   #2
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If you go get a 27-32" flat panel display, those are pretty cheap nowadays and can be easily wall mounted, saving the space on your shelf for your decorations. Is that doable?
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:31 PM   #3
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Thanks, HarperVision - can't mount anything on that wall (long story). But I'm intrigued by your suggestion of a smaller tv.

The guidelines I've read say that for the distance I'll be sitting from the tv (usu. around 9 ft, though sometimes possibly closer), I should get between 40" to 80". I was thinking I'd stick to the low end of that range which in terms of horizontal dimension would be about 10" wider than my Trinitron.

Would it be bad to go smaller?? (assuming smaller still exists - lol!)
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:45 PM   #4
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Have you tried changing the TiVo to display the TV aspect ratio as 4:3 classic?

Settings==>Video==>TV Aspect ratio==> 4:3 classic
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:54 PM   #5
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Yes, the aspect ratio is set to 4:3. But the menus appear as though I have a much higher resolution screen - the text is small and sometimes smushed, esp. in the program descriptions. From what I've read here on the forums, the premiere models used to have an option to display the menus in SD, but the roamio doesn't have that option. Big omission, imho.

It's really frustrating to me because other than that, the roamio seems really nice.
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:45 PM   #6
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Would a 27" flat panel HD TV on a stand fit in your cabinet? My mom had a similar problem and I helped her buy a nice flat panel Samsung for her bedroom a couple of years ago.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:16 AM   #7
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Probably even a 32" would fit okay. It's just that everything I've read has said that the minimum I should get for my size room is 40". And I've read a lot of comments from people who bought at the smaller end of the scale and said they wished they'd gotten bigger.

Anyone out there with a 32" in your living room? Are you happy with it?
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:44 AM   #8
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Return the roamio and get a Tivo HD or Series 3 or Premiere with the option for sd menus on ebay or craigs list or through the sellers forum here.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:00 AM   #9
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This is such a personal decision. You're happy with your 27" 4:3 now, and a 32" 16:9 would be a nice upgrade. You can compare viewing areas here: http://www.cavecreations.com/tv2.cgi Only you can balance how much TV you want vs how much room you want to display your things.

I remember when I went from a 13" to a 19" in my bedroom and at the time it felt a little like a 60" TV does now - and was happy with that for years. It's all relative: what we get used to, what our needs are. I'd go by that more than a chart that says what size TV one 'should' get for what distance.

32" TVs aren't expensive these days, and in your circumstance could satisfy you for years (as you said your 27" would.) So - in several years if you decide you want a larger one, or have a new layout to accommodate one, they also will have come down in price and you could buy one then.

I think you'll be happier than you can now imagine with the image quality of a new TV, and I say that as someone who understands =completely= hanging onto beloved older things.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:15 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by charlikin View Post
Would it be bad to go smaller??
That's really your call. Don't rely just on what you've read. You know your room size and your preferences and can use that to determine "good" and "bad" (highly subjective on any topic).

I'd echo the suggestion to consider wall mounting. Both of our plasmas (50" & 65") are wall mounted and they really help to free up space in the room and on our furniture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlikin View Post
From what I've read here on the forums, the premiere models used to have an option to display the menus in SD, but the roamio doesn't have that option. Big omission, imho.
SD has been on the way out for quite some time now. It doesn't make sense to cater to such a small niche.

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Anyone out there with a 32" in your living room? Are you happy with it?
Again, subjective. Some are. Some are not. After owning a 50 I wouldn't get anything smaller. After getting a 65 I wouldn't get anything smaller. YMMV. You can't just poll on subjective matters and you have to decide based on your preferences and priorities. Try using masking tape to mark out different screen sizes to help you in your decision making -- it's what I did to help decide between the 60 & the 65.

Last edited by takeshi : 02-10-2014 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:47 AM   #11
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Go to a store. Stand 9' from a 32" and see if it fits your needs. I suspect it will.

And you will really appreciate the move from SD to HD.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:23 PM   #12
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If you change the video to 'panel', does that fix anything?

I definitely watch my Tivos on non-HD resolution, though at 16:9, sometimes (e.g. when going through my XS32 recorder).

I used to absolutely use my S3 & TivoHD on a 4:3 TV too.. though that's not too relevant.
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:41 AM   #13
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Go to a store. Stand 9' from a 32" and see if it fits your needs. I suspect it will.

And you will really appreciate the move from SD to HD.
At 9', unless OP has eagle eyes, I don't think you'll be able to make out the enhanced details of 720p, nevermind 1080p, over standard def.

The "retina" point for a 32" at 720p is around 4-6 feet or so. 1080p is closer to 3-4'.
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:57 AM   #14
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At 9', unless OP has eagle eyes, I don't think you'll be able to make out the enhanced details of 720p, nevermind 1080p, over standard def.

The "retina" point for a 32" at 720p is around 4-6 feet or so. 1080p is closer to 3-4'.
I don't agree with this. We have a smaller HDTV in the kitchen. I can tell the second I walk in if my wife doesn't have it tuned to an HD channel. And from farther than 9 feet.

Retina point doesn't really address the overall observable quality of the picture.
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:36 AM   #15
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Anyone out there with a 32" in your living room? Are you happy with it?
/ Raises hand

My old TV was a Sony Wega CRT (36'' I believe) and when it died, I had to find a replacement that would still fit in my entertainment center.
I ended up with a 32'' LCD flat screen TV that just fit. The next size up wouldn't have.

I would have liked to go bigger, but overall I am happy. When I had the Sony, I had the TiVo set to 16x9 and watched everything letterboxed. When I got the LCD, I was surprised to find that the 32'' 16x9 picture was slightly bigger than the letterboxed picture of the 36'' CRT. I was satisfied.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:36 AM   #16
charlikin
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Thank you so much, everyone, for your help with this momentous decision!! (Lol - talk about first world problems...)

Hmmm...exchanging the Roamio for a Premiere is an interesting idea. Have to read more about the Premiere - I had read that the menus were really sluggish, but was that only with the HD menus?

Meanwhile, I did go to Best Buy last night to check out just how big these 32" and 40" tv's are. Couldn't stand 9' back from the 32" because it was in an aisle, but I mocked up its size at home with cardboard and put it in front of my 27" Trinitron - it's really about the same size - slightly wider, a few inches lower. It would be nice to go up a *little* bit in screen size - too bad they don't make 37" anymore - that might have been just the thing. ;-)

Another question: a lot of programs show text on the screen now - extra stats or tweets from users, stuff like that. I can't read any of it on my Trinitron, but would it be readable on a 32" HD or would it still be too small? Like, is it a matter of resolution or of size?
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:47 AM   #17
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Another question: a lot of programs show text on the screen now - extra stats or tweets from users, stuff like that. I can't read any of it on my Trinitron, but would it be readable on a 32" HD or would it still be too small? Like, is it a matter of resolution or of size?
It's a combination of both, but I think you'll find HD text is much easier to read because it's sharper.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:16 AM   #18
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if you are mounting this in an older cabinet, one option to provide for a new wider TV is to modify the cabinet.

I have done this, and helped others, basically chopping it down and placing the TV on top. That is, take the top off, cut the sides level to where the TV base is, and put the top over the base. You would never know it was modified. YMMV.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:39 AM   #19
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Either that or replace the cabinet with a nice TV stand. That would allow you to place a larger TV on top and still have shelf space for equipment and knick knacks.

Trust me when I tell you that you really want to go with a larger screen to get the most enjoyment out of HDTV. The new flat screens have a surprisingly small footprint compared to older CRT models. There are lots of models in the 36" range and larger to choose from that won't break the bank.
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:15 AM   #20
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Also of note, the newer TVs use much less energy than a 27" from 1997. That alone could be worth the price of entry.
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:38 PM   #21
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Also of note, the newer TVs use much less energy than a 27" from 1997. That alone could be worth the price of entry.
Excellent point!
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:09 PM   #22
charlikin
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Lol! I love the idea about cutting down the cabinet. Don't need to do that though - it already is a flat cabinet. The problem isn't that the new tv wouldn't fit on top of the cabinet - it's that there wouldn't be room on the sides for my beloved knick knacks. Purely an aesthetic issue. ;-)

Well, slightly more than that. I'm also concerned that the 40" screen will seem overwhelmingly large. I'm sure that sounds funny to people with even larger screens (who wish they were larger still!), but I don't actually *want* an immersive home theater type experience. I like the intimacy of a smaller screen. To me, tv shows should look like tv shows, not like movies. :-)

I guess I would get used to 40". So it's really just a matter of the knick knacks.

Omg, I sound like a kook, even to me!!!
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:33 PM   #23
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You'd get used to a 40" screen really fast. In fact, you probably wouldn't want to view a smaller screen once you got used to it. If anything, even though the viewing area on a larger flat screen is bigger, the perceived size of the TV is actually smaller than your average behemoth 25" CRT.

And seriously, what's with the frickin' knick knacks? Not to sound chauvinistic, but you're either a woman or the decision is being driven by one. If a guy had to choose between a larger flat screen and knick knacks, there'd be no contest. If there's a feminine interest involved I completely understand.

Whatever the reason, I hope you find a solution that suits your needs.

Any chance of putting the knick knacks on a shelf above the TV? You could also mount a bracket on the back of the cabinet to raise the TV above the knick knacks. The TV would be mounted to the bracket much the same way you would mount it flat against a wall, but you can adjust the vertical height so that the TV does not sit directly on top of the cabinet. All flat screens come with a base that you have to attach to the TV for sitting on top of a cabinet. You just don't attach it when mounting the TV on a wall or cabinet bracket.

Here's basically what I'm talking about:

http://www.target.com/p/3-in-1-auste...FcdQOgodQjwADw

You can purchase any number of TV stands that have this type of bracket. I'm not sure if they're available as an add-on for an existing stand, but you may be able to attach some supports to the back of the cabinet so you could use a standard wall mount bracket with it.

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Old 02-11-2014, 09:58 PM   #24
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....... It would be nice to go up a *little* bit in screen size - too bad they don't make 37" anymore - that might have been just the thing. ;-) .........
I repair Vizio's and I'm pretty sure they still sell a 37" LCD. Check your local Walmart and Costco.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:47 PM   #25
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It would be nice to go up a *little* bit in screen size - too bad they don't make 37" anymore - that might have been just the thing. ;-)
The 37" LCDs were actually slightly larger, (bezel included) than the current 40" LCD/LED panels w/ bezel.
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:50 AM   #26
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Display sizes are misleading. The size is supposed to indicate the diagonal measurement of the viewing area, not the actual dimensions of the TV. Bezels on flat screens can be anywhere from about 1/2-inch to several inches wide. You should be able to find them posted on line somewhere. Just google a particular model you're interested in to get the physical dimensions.
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:15 AM   #27
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CoxInPhx, you're right! I looked up a couple of 37" models and the bezels were so big that they were actually physically larger than the current 40" models. Crazy.

So my arts & crafts project for last night was to mock up a 32" and 40" tv from corrugated cardboard. I put each one on top of the tv cabinet in front of my current tv to see what it would look like. The 32" does look kind of small - maybe because it's lower than my current tv (only 20" high with stand as opposed to 24" high for the Trinitron). The 40" looks ginormous. Seriously, folks with the 50"+ sets - don't your eyes get tired having to shift from side to side to take in the whole picture?? lol
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:08 AM   #28
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I sit about 8-9 feet from a 60-inch screen and have no problem seeing the entire viewing area without having to shift my line of sight.
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:08 PM   #29
charlikin
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Just want to say thanks, everyone - I've made a decision! I'm going for the 40". I was staring at the Tivo menu on my 27" Trinitron and realized that the menu would be almost exactly the same height on a 32" widescreen set. If my purpose for getting the new tv is to make the menus readable, that ain't gonna do it.

Also, I visited a friend who has a tv I've always thought was much too big. I'd assumed it was probably a 46" - turns out it's a 55"!! No wonder it seemed so huge. 40" doesn't seem so bad now. :-)

Will report back when I get the new set. In the meantime, I've got to find a new home for the Trinitron. ;-)
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