Thanks to everyone who sent me suggestions and comments on my request for HDTV advice. The over-whelming suggestion was to go with a wide-screen LCD monitor. While I initially had my reservations about the idea, I must say I was misguided. Read on for what was purchased, along with a quick review…
I went with Bobster this evening and he purchased a Samsung 22″ Widescreen LCD Monitorfrom Circuit City (along with the Xbox 360 VGA cable).
We got it back to his place and loaded up a couple games on his standard-definition TV for comparison. He played a few minutes of Oblivion (which looks gorgeous, first time I had seen it) and then I showed off Gears of War. Again, GoW looks great on a SD television.
We then unhooked the 360 from the TV and connected it to the Samsung. Since the 360 was still set for a regular TV screen at the 640 x 480 resolution, it looked bad initially. But setting the resolution to 1280 x 720 and the format to widescreen via the 360 dashboard, everything looked crystal clear. Beautiful would be an accurate description. We used the audio cables to connect the sound to his Sony surround system and threw Gears of War in the tray. It was so sharp I think I may have cut my cornea with its sharpness. The colors (which are drab in GoW) looked great and playing the game in 720p was a revelation. Sure, it looks great on my standard-def Sony, but man does it look better in HD. And don’t get me started on hearing it for the first time with surround sound. Going back to my twelve-year-old Pioneer Pro-Logic receiver with two speakers was painful.
Next he put the Oblivion disc in. While I can’t comment on whether it looked better or not, Bobster affirmed that it did, in fact look better. He can elaborate in the comments if he wants. So far we’re 2 for 2.
Then the true test came — Dead Rising. Having suffered through trying to read the obfuscated standard-def text, seeing Dead Rising in HD was such a drastic improvement that I was dumbfounded. Everything looked SO much better. I could actually read the people’s names above their heads and read the instructions as the scrolled across the bottom of the screen. I guess that’s what Capcom wanted us all to experience. I don’t blame them. The game looked fantabuloso.
The final demonstration we did was to watch Saving Private Ryan on DVD. We watched about the first fifteen minutes of the movie and it looked great. As far as I understand it, the 360 doesn’t upscale regular DVDs to HD, so what we saw was 480p, but it was just fine. The movie looked great, even on the little 22″ widescreen. Lets just say that seeing someone’s guts spilling out never looked so … gooey.
So the purchase was a resounding success. I would heartily recommend this Samsung monitor to anyone who asked. Thanks again to all those who suggested the monitor idea, it was a homerun. If I wasn’t in the market for a new TV, I’d be very tempted to pick up this monitor for my 360. It was very tough coming home to my regular, vanilla SDTV. Sure, Gears looks great, but it just doesn’t compare.
720p (and eventually 1080p) for the absolute win!