The Total Cost of HDTV

I haven’t yet made the leap to HDTV, but occasionally check prices looking for a good time to jump. The good news is that HDTV sets keep getting cheaper; the bad news is that they’re still going to cost you extra to feed.

$2000 seems to be enough to get you a decent 42-inch flat panel (LCD or plasma), making less expensive DLP sets seem antiquely bulky. Upgrading Comcast cable to get some HD channels is about $15 a month including an HD box. It’s another $10 for their HD-capable DVR, though Wired recently panned the interface as having “all the user-friendliness of compiling a TCP/IP stack”.

Any Tivo-junkie would naturally want the superior interface of the Series 3 HD Tivo; though it comes with a hefty $800 price tag and $13 monthly fee. There are lots of PC and Mac based DVR solutions, though all seem more like glorified VCRs than Tivo’s comprehensive solution.

In summary, end-to-end HDTV with a 42-inch flat panel and Tivo DVR will cost you $2800 in equipment up front, plus about $30 a month in additional service fees. And that’s before you even touch the competing HD DVD standards and the additional power consumption of a plasma set…

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One Response to “The Total Cost of HDTV”

  1. Matthew Says:

    Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal just reviewed HDTV and came to a similar conclusion. Great picture, but be prepared to spend a bit of money on the TV and on additional items.