My current setup is a 27" JVC Standard Def CRT TV, and an Onkyo 5.1 TX-SR304 Receiver.
I figure with all the great sales in the next few weeks, it's finally time to upgrade to an HDTV and a Receiver that supports HDMI.
My budget is about ~$800 for the two combined, but I value quality over the price point, so it's not set in stone. I'm not looking for anything too fancy, still sticking with the entry-level stuff. My room is not exactly large, and the physical size of the 27" CRT is closer to ~35." So I have a few questions that hopefully you guys can give me some help with. Primarily, this setup will be used for playing console games( 360 and PS3), as well as watching TV. I do not want a 3DTV.
Preferred retailers: Newegg.com, Amazon.com (have a prime account), Best Buy or Walmart(brick and mortar preferred).
1) How big of a TV should I be looking at if I want to keep about the same physical size of TV (or a little bigger, seeing as how HDTVS are wider)? I was looking at 32", but they seem a little smaller, and 40" is definitely too big. Would 37" be the right size? Note that this will be a standing TV, it will not be wall mounted.
2) I hear a lot about "input lag" when gaming, especially when using a surround sound receiver, however with my current setup I have not experienced any noticable "lag" at all in the controls. Are there certain refresh rates or features on receivers that I should be aware of as red flags indicating a probable lag issue? I play mostly RPGs and action games, i'm not super-anal about pinpoint perfection in FPS games, but I certainly don't want to buy a setup with glaring issues either.
3) Color clarity and sharpness are important to me. A lot of the dynex and other off-brand TVs I see set up in Best Buy/Walmart/etc look varying degrees of blurry with washed out colors. Samsung and Sony seem to have the best picture quality, color accuracy (especially black), and sharpness. Are there any brands I should particularly stay away from?
4) I was originally planning to just upgrade my reciever to the newer Onkyo TX-SR308, however i've read a lot of reviews where they have persistent issues with HDMI, and if you get an older one you have to send it off to some obscure repair center for a firmware update, so I think i'll make another choice. I'm looking for an entry-level, comparable device to the TX-SR308, with good sound quality and no "input lag" problems when gaming. Are their any other suggestions of brands or specific products to look into? I'll be keeping the same 5.1 speaker set I already have installed.
5) What's the difference between LCD and LED-LCD? Is it worth the price markup for LED-LCD for what I want to use it for? (mostly gaming).
6) Are their any specific really solid TV or recievers available in that price range for what I want to use them for?
Thanks for the help, and I apologize if this post belongs somewhere else or if I left anything important out.