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Old 03-30-2005, 11:09 AM   #1
A couch and an HDTV to go please.
 

Join Date: Mar 2005
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Default Starting from scratch.

I have just registered as a member after lurking and reading for a few weeks. I have both enjoyed and benefited from the wealth of knowledge and experience posted here and appreciate the willingness of so many to share their ideas, but I must also admit to some confusion about the best next steps for my entry into large screen TV viewing.
It has become clear to me that there is no one right solution as to what kind of equipment makes the best sense for any specific solution, only a range of divergent opinions based upon the experience, viewing habits and tastes of the individual. And this circumstance is further complicated by the constantly changing technology that is evolving at such a rapid rate that it renders any decision almost moot by the time the equipment is bought and installed. Nevertheless, I intend to jump in and so ask the community for some advice. Here are my circumstances:

1. By virtue of my specific geographic circumstances, I can’t receive any OTA signals, so am presently getting my content over Dish Network satellite and by DVD. I suppose that this suggests that I don’t need to buy a TV with internal tuners and ought to upgrade my satellite service to HD (or change to Voom or DirecTV HD)?
2. I would like to have a set in the 42-inch range; preferably a flat panel hung on the wall. This suggests a plasma or LCD?
3. I intend to run the audio through a surround sound amp and speaker system. This suggests buying just a TV monitor, not a consumer set?

Finally, I am confused by a couple of questions:

1. Given the present scarcity of HD content, I will probably watch a proportionally large bit of SDTV and DVDs. That brings into question the best kind of set for that circumstance, EDTV or HDTV? Or is it better to enjoy HDTV, however sparse the offerings, as more and more content is coming on line?
2. I understand the question about plasma burn-in, but wonder if I’m not underestimating the needed screen size, as many images will be viewed, as I understand it, with either horizontal or vertical “black bars, thus reducing the total image size?”

I will continue to read the past posts, but would appreciate members’ views and advice on my specific circumstances. I hope to take a further couple of weeks before making my purchases.
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Old 03-30-2005, 11:53 AM   #2
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orcasite
1. By virtue of my specific geographic circumstances, I can’t receive any OTA signals, so am presently getting my content over Dish Network satellite and by DVD. I suppose that this suggests that I don’t need to buy a TV with internal tuners and ought to upgrade my satellite service to HD (or change to Voom or DirecTV HD)?
Yes, if you are going to be using a satellite or cable set-top box (STB), you do not need an internal tuner. And yes, you should absolutely upgrade to HD service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orcasite
2. I would like to have a set in the 42-inch range; preferably a flat panel hung on the wall. This suggests a plasma or LCD?
Plasma will be less expensive than LCD. I have a 43" Pioneer and it is just fine in a large great room. Some will say that plasma vs. LCD gives greater depth-of-field and image vibrancy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orcasite
3. I intend to run the audio through a surround sound amp and speaker system. This suggests buying just a TV monitor, not a consumer set?
It depends on if you need or want any of the consumer features, but generally, a commercial panel might meet your needs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orcasite
1. Given the present scarcity of HD content, I will probably watch a proportionally large bit of SDTV and DVDs. That brings into question the best kind of set for that circumstance, EDTV or HDTV? Or is it better to enjoy HDTV, however sparse the offerings, as more and more content is coming on line?
Many will say that an ED set is just fine and that is true, but going HD will give you better PQ minus SDE (screen-door effect) for viewing <8-9 feet on any source and the ability to truly enjoy HD content. I went with an HD panel for those two reasons along with the fact that more and more HD content will be coming and, at the end of the day, I would always feel I compromised if I got an ED set. The Costco Pio 43" HD panel is not that much more than a good ED panel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orcasite
2. I understand the question about plasma burn-in, but wonder if I’m not underestimating the needed screen size, as many images will be viewed, as I understand it, with either horizontal or vertical “black bars, thus reducing the total image size?”
HD content will fill the 16:9 widescreen (freaking awesome!!); DVD content will have black bars top and bottom (that is part of the image); SD content (4:3) will have black or grey bars on the side. None of that will cause burn-in during normal viewing, as long as you vary the source and format throughout the day. But you can watch a 4:3 show for three hours or two DVD's for four hours and you'll be fine. You can always zoom the SD or DVD image, but you don't have to and with regard to DVD, you lose out on what the director intended.

Hope this helps.

Walt
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Old 03-30-2005, 01:11 PM   #3
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Those are very good responses. I will only add the following:

1. I use a 42" plasma with a primary viewing distance of 10-12 feet. Works very well at that distance. 50 would be nice but not needed. However, if I started to increase the distance the 42 would quickly loose the "large screen" effect. This is a subjective opinion and others will vary but I found that most recommendations regarding size/distance from the various buying guides were reasonable.

2. I'm one of those ED supporters. I bought my commercial Pany plasma in 9/03. At that time, the HD version was approx. $1500-1600 more. I don't think that price difference was justified and still wouldn't pay the approx. $1,000 difference today. At the time, my decision was between the 42 EDTV and the 50 HDTV. I still think that is the appropriate comparison for a plasma buyer. The 42 HDTV was not worth the difference.

You'll get the most bang for buck by getting HD service on an ED screen. The difference in HD content vs. regular cable / satellite is dramatic even though technically downconverted. The additional upgrade associated with an HD screen for that size is relatively small.

Eventually, this debate will be moot. The price difference between ED and HD will continue to decline and ED's will disappear. But for now, it's your call.

3. My decisions related to consumer vs. commercial and ED vs. HD were partially based on planned obsolescence. I'm always reluctant to pay alot for an integrated package knowing that I will subsequently want to replace certain components. Based on your situation, I'd definitely go with commercial. Note that many commercial units can be acquired from a local dealer for a price competitive with online retailers. For example, go to Panasonic's broadcast / commercial section of their website for listing of authorized dealers.
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Old 03-30-2005, 02:59 PM   #4
40" HD LCD + THX = Love
 

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Orcasite, you didn't mention your price point. If you decide to go with a HD LCD FP, let me know. I bought a Samsung 40" LCD (model LTN406W) about 6 weeks ago. It doesn't have a built in tuner which is what I wanted and appears to be what you're looking for as well, although the size is slightly less.

My viewing distance is about 8.5 feet so 40" works out well for me. Only when I watch DVDs with a cinematic ratio (22:9) do I wish I had a bigger set. HD content (16:9) is perfect and even SD content in 4:3 with grey bars is plenty fine.

Amazingly enough, the consensus is that HD FP monitors display SD programming poorly, but the Samsung is very good.

One note about plasmas that continually gets overlooked is that because of the heat they generate, they need a fan. LCDs don't. Enough can't be said about watching a DVD when there is a very quiet passage and being able to hear a pin drop.

If you can, please reply with your price point and any other factors that you are considering.

Regards,
Eric
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Old 03-30-2005, 03:11 PM   #5
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orcasite
I have just registered as a member after lurking and reading for a few weeks. I have both enjoyed and benefited from the wealth of knowledge and experience posted here and appreciate the willingness of so many to share their ideas, but I must also admit to some confusion about the best next steps for my entry into large screen TV viewing.
It has become clear to me that there is no one right solution as to what kind of equipment makes the best sense for any specific solution, only a range of divergent opinions based upon the experience, viewing habits and tastes of the individual. And this circumstance is further complicated by the constantly changing technology that is evolving at such a rapid rate that it renders any decision almost moot by the time the equipment is bought and installed. Nevertheless, I intend to jump in and so ask the community for some advice. Here are my circumstances:

1. By virtue of my specific geographic circumstances, I can’t receive any OTA signals, so am presently getting my content over Dish Network satellite and by DVD. I suppose that this suggests that I don’t need to buy a TV with internal tuners and ought to upgrade my satellite service to HD (or change to Voom or DirecTV HD)?
2. I would like to have a set in the 42-inch range; preferably a flat panel hung on the wall. This suggests a plasma or LCD?
3. I intend to run the audio through a surround sound amp and speaker system. This suggests buying just a TV monitor, not a consumer set?

Finally, I am confused by a couple of questions:

1. Given the present scarcity of HD content, I will probably watch a proportionally large bit of SDTV and DVDs. That brings into question the best kind of set for that circumstance, EDTV or HDTV? Or is it better to enjoy HDTV, however sparse the offerings, as more and more content is coming on line?
2. I understand the question about plasma burn-in, but wonder if I’m not underestimating the needed screen size, as many images will be viewed, as I understand it, with either horizontal or vertical “black bars, thus reducing the total image size?”

I will continue to read the past posts, but would appreciate members’ views and advice on my specific circumstances. I hope to take a further couple of weeks before making my purchases.

You have single handedly re affirmermed my faith in human nature !do you mind if i post this post in other forums as an example of how to listen before you post a question !and on how you now get valuble information as you have researched and dont want every thing placed on a plate before you!

To seasoned forum veterans this means a lot ...i thank you
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Old 03-30-2005, 04:41 PM   #6
High Definition is the definition of life.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_V
One note about plasmas that continually gets overlooked is that because of the heat they generate, they need a fan. LCDs don't. Enough can't be said about watching a DVD when there is a very quiet passage and being able to hear a pin drop.
If my plasma has a fan, I've never heard it. However, my unit (Pany PWD) had good reviews related to its quiet operation and relatively low heat production. Now I do hear my DVR gurgling away.
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Old 03-30-2005, 04:47 PM   #7
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmo
If my plasma has a fan, I've never heard it. However, my unit (Pany PWD) had good reviews related to its quiet operation and relatively low heat production. Now I do hear my DVR gurgling away.
Ditto - have never heard my Pio plasma's fan. Not an issue for me.
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Old 03-30-2005, 05:15 PM   #8
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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sorry but i have posted your question in Uk forums-before your permission and many agree with the intelligence and politeness of your question. see here

http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=200788
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Old 03-30-2005, 05:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orcasite
I have just registered as a member after lurking and reading for a few weeks. I have both enjoyed and benefited from the wealth of knowledge and experience posted here and appreciate the willingness of so many to share their ideas, but I must also admit to some confusion about the best next steps for my entry into large screen TV viewing.
It has become clear to me that there is no one right solution as to what kind of equipment makes the best sense for any specific solution, only a range of divergent opinions based upon the experience, viewing habits and tastes of the individual. And this circumstance is further complicated by the constantly changing technology that is evolving at such a rapid rate that it renders any decision almost moot by the time the equipment is bought and installed. Nevertheless, I intend to jump in and so ask the community for some advice. Here are my circumstances:

1. By virtue of my specific geographic circumstances, I can’t receive any OTA signals, so am presently getting my content over Dish Network satellite and by DVD. I suppose that this suggests that I don’t need to buy a TV with internal tuners and ought to upgrade my satellite service to HD (or change to Voom or DirecTV HD)?
2. I would like to have a set in the 42-inch range; preferably a flat panel hung on the wall. This suggests a plasma or LCD?
3. I intend to run the audio through a surround sound amp and speaker system. This suggests buying just a TV monitor, not a consumer set?

Finally, I am confused by a couple of questions:

1. Given the present scarcity of HD content, I will probably watch a proportionally large bit of SDTV and DVDs. That brings into question the best kind of set for that circumstance, EDTV or HDTV? Or is it better to enjoy HDTV, however sparse the offerings, as more and more content is coming on line?
2. I understand the question about plasma burn-in, but wonder if I’m not underestimating the needed screen size, as many images will be viewed, as I understand it, with either horizontal or vertical “black bars, thus reducing the total image size?”

I will continue to read the past posts, but would appreciate members’ views and advice on my specific circumstances. I hope to take a further couple of weeks before making my purchases.

Given the fact that you don't need an internal tuner or a sound system, the Commercially available (better circuit boards than consumer model without the bells and whistles) 42PWD7UY Panasonic Plasma EDTV would be perfect for you. Also because you watch primarily non-HD content (SD and DVDs)...but the biggest surprise is that when you do watch HD content, it looks absolutely stunning on these sets as well. You really cannot believe what you see. They will run 60,000 hours, and give you a much better picture than any current LCD (blacks, grey scale, color saturation, viewing angle, and NO motion blur). LCDs are a few years away from Plasma in those areas, and you would be paying MUCH more per inch for them as well. It's true that you must be very careful the first 100-200 hours of operation to "break it in" properly. Most people don't have the discipline to to do this OR they are paranoid about burn-in...which is really a non issue if you just do it right. If not for the unjustified burn-in paranioa syndrome, Plasmas would outsell LCDs by margins that count not be counted. They still outsell all LCD sales in hotels, motels, sporting suites, bars, and homes. They are the #1 selling flat panel displays bar none at this time in any size. Seeing is believing is all I can say to you. HD is cool because I have an HDTV crt TV as well...but HD is very over rated when you see what these sets can put out in terms of picture quality. They especially shine watching non-HD content which is by way at least 2/3 of all currently available formats. Which would rather spend your money on...something that looks good on maybe 10-15 channels or something that rocks with any format your throw at it? DVDs are spectacular on these sets and unless your nose is right up to the screen , you cannot tell these sets from their HDTV cousins...even from the same manufacturer. Go to any CCity and look the HDTV vs EDTV Pannys....you'll see what I mean. These sets are the BEST kept secret going. Sure opened my eyes and I thought my HDTV was so hot when I bought it. Your wallet and your eyes will thank you for years to come. In fact, you can buy 2 of them for about the same price as an 42" LCD HDTV if that puts things in perspective.
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Old 03-30-2005, 06:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enquirer
sorry but i have posted your question in Uk forums-before your permission and many agree with the intelligence and politeness of your question. see here

http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=200788
Nice, but I have to comment that you posted a link to another forum here, but didn't post a link to this forum over there. Are you trolling?
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Old 03-30-2005, 06:27 PM   #11
40" HD LCD + THX = Love
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmo
If my plasma has a fan, I've never heard it. However, my unit (Pany PWD) had good reviews related to its quiet operation and relatively low heat production. Now I do hear my DVR gurgling away.
Apologies for misrepresenting the amount of fan noise.
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Old 03-30-2005, 06:34 PM   #12
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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No I'll post a link back .The brits often think manners and smartness are possessed by themselves exclusively

Last edited by Enquirer; 03-30-2005 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 03-30-2005, 06:43 PM   #13
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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NO, NO NOT at all i have posted a link back here!
I have been involved in the AV industry for years .
people expect instant answers with no effort on there part !the intial post is smart and would result in many helpful replies. many questions i see posted are from questions answered many many times before then they insult the helper!
This has to stop so i held up this post as an example of an smart question.I am certainly not a Troll!
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Old 03-30-2005, 07:07 PM   #14
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Myers, as you keep going on about how great Panasonic Plasma EDTVs are, I’ll keep going on about how great LCD HDTVs are. I own one that’s now over a year old, yet to my eyes it is better than any Plasma screen I’ve seen recently. That’s my opinion.

Opinions seems to differ and conflict, but a couple of things I can mention – some manufacturers claim the viewing angle of LCD TVs is GREATER than that of Plasmas, and the response time is as little as single digit millisecond figures, so motion blur is almost becoming a non-issue these days. My LCD TV's response time is 16ms, yet I don't find any problems with motion blur. LCDs are years ahead of Plasma when it comes to higher resolutions in a smaller screen size (meaning better PQ). Blacks aren’t perfect on Plasma screens either.

Orcasite, it’s up to what you see in store that should influence a decision on what HDTV/EDTV to purchase. Remember that not all TVs are set up well in store displays either – a poor quality video cable used on one TV compared to a properly set-up TV beside it might confuse you. It takes time to find the right TV; don’t take anyone’s opinion for granted. There are hardcore Plasma supporters and hardcore LCD supporters on this forum.
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Old 03-30-2005, 07:41 PM   #15
A couch and an HDTV to go please.
 

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Thank you all for your quick responses and your helpful ideas. Here’s what I gleaned from your thoughts:

1. No matter what equipment I buy, EDTV or HDTV, Plasma or LCD, I do need to subscribe to an HD satellite content source. I will read in the Zoom, Dish, and DirecTV fora for further help in understanding which one will best suit my content preferences.
2. I appreciate waltaz’s careful and informative response to my enumerated questions. I think I will take his advice and get a unit without an internal tuner (a “commercial” rather than “consumer unit”). I will need to view both LCD and Plasma sets to determine which will be better for me, although I take his point that Plasma may offer a better price point for a similar screen size. I liked his thinking about the ED vs. HD question and now armed with his ideas along with slowmo’s and Myers830’s strong support of the quality and money-saving properties of ED, will revisit a retailer where I can see both and make up my own mind. I will also ask the dealer to display SD and DVD sources in order for me to answer my question about the best screen size and PQ with lower resolution source material.
3. Eric V asked about my price point – an excellent question as I unfortunately left that information our of my original inquiry – mostly because I wasn’t thinking about actual costs yet, but having just started the research, was interested in learning as much as I could about the qualities and durability of the various technologies as well as finding out what actually contributed to PQ. One of the few benefits of my present age is that this will likely be the last or next-to-last TVs I will buy, so getting the exact right one is a bit more important to me that saving a few bucks. Never-the-less, I am not rich and I take some offense at wasting hard-earned money, so while price itself is a somewhat lower concern, good judgment and parsimony both require me to be thoughtful about such large purchases.
4. I very much appreciate Enquirer’s praise for my post, but will feel more worthy when I have something to contribute to this forum, rather than simply posting questions and asking for advice. Incidentally, I think anything I post to a public forum can by used by any member in any constructive way, so have no difficulty with Enquirer’s forwarding my post to others.
5. I have read in this forum of noisy fans on some Pioneer units, so feel forewarned about that issue. I shall certainly listen to any unit I am considering buying for fan noise (assuming it has a fan).
6. Finally, my couch is about 9 feet from the screen, so I think I am looking at the right size in a 42 inch or so unit
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