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Getting ready to jump in the HDTV pool

njt
08-11-2005, 08:10 AM
Hello, I am a new member and want to thank everyone for the incredible info on theis site. I am curently considering two sets (one CRT (Sony KV 960 XBR) and the other RP LCD (Sony KDFE42A10). Please note that I am not married to the idea of getting a Sony, but that is the brand that has performed well for me in the past. If anyone has any advice on these two technologies, I'd appreciate it.

My concerns are this:
I like the idea of the weight and narrow size of the RP LCD, but I am concerned about the complaints about contrast an black levels
I was particularly disturbed by the gray window boxing used in RP LCD, my understanding is that the Sony CRT uses black window boxing
I'm a little worried about the weig (196 lbs :eek: ) of the CRT, but I'm guessing moves (after initial delivery), will be rare if at all.


Viewing habits:
50% Sports: Yes HD, MSG HD, ESPN HD
30% DVD Movies
20% random SD programing

Again... any input is appreciated (pro/con on Sony as a brand, RP LCD being 'good enough' etc.

ja2935
08-11-2005, 09:41 AM
njt - Sony is acknowledged by many as being the reference standard for CRTs - however this comes at a price; thare are other more reasonbaly priced brands out there which many say perform just as well (I'm very happy with mine) but not many, if any, other than Sony, with built-in HD tuners.

I'm not a RP expert but I have heard it said that Sony are not the best at rear projection but cannot really comment as I am not a fan of RP - they always look less sharp to me than direct view CRT but this may just be a perception due to the larger screen sizes.

If you are going to get a 16:9 TV which is susceptable to burn in (CRT is, LCD I believe isn't) and watch much 4:3 programming, you should probably get used to watching it in a stretch mode (Toshibas have good stretch modes, including in HD mode). Otherwise, the next best is to put up with the gray bars as these are designed to minimise burn in.

There are many factors to consider when choosing between say a 34" direct view CRT and a RP:-

Viewing distance and angles - CRT look just as bright at any angle but may be too small - only up to about 6 to 8 feet.

Many say that CRTs handle SD better than other types of HD set - but this may be perception due to the smaller screen sizes; if you can get to see how your set handles this before you buy it might sway you,

Most CRTs are 1080i, the Sony LCD RP you mentioned is 720p.

Light level - CRTs are probably a bit better in brightly lit rooms but cranking up the brightness and contrast is not good for either the picture quality or the life of the set.

Size and weight - as you are aware CRTs are HEAVY and bulky.

Finally, be aware that any TV looks much bigger when you get it home than it did in the showroom - make a cardboard cutout of the screen size and overall size and try it in your chosen viewing location! Also, whatever you get will (unless faulty) look a hell of a lot better when you get it home and properly adjusted than it ever did in the showroom!

Good luck!

RSawdey
08-11-2005, 07:35 PM
I think that model, the xxxA10, has the new 'dynamic iris' that produces much better blacks & contrast.

You can use black bars with LCD RPTV, since LCDs can't burn in.

If you think this 200 pound monster is bad, the old 40" set weighed 300! The LCD is not only lighter, it also uses less power & gives off less heat & is MUCH thinner.

IMHO, the LCD RPTV is not only bigger (needed for HD) but also its progressive scan & 60 fps & burnproof... the better choice to the CRT.

njt
08-12-2005, 03:46 PM
I wonder if black bars are an option on the Sony RP LCD. I suppose the default in the store was gray... which i found incredibly distracting. I'll look into this and or call Crutchfield.

On the black levels front, they were displaying The Matrix on one of my store visits and the black outfits looked pretty black to me. In the end I suppose that this will come down to personal opinion but I do think quality is #1 on my list (as opposed to screen size).

Emsurfer
08-12-2005, 05:13 PM
Given that the majority of your HD viewing will be sports, a large screen is beneficial, 42 vs. 34. The SONY XBR will still give you the sharpest image, color saturation, and black-level by far, the SONY 3LCD RP does come close. The price is about the same. The 720p on the RP LCD will give you 60fps which would be beneficial for Football, hockey, and basketball. If you watch mostly baseball or golf, then there is no benefit. The baseball and golf green would look sharper on the XBR. If you're cost conscious, I would consider the Panasonic CT-34WX15 or the Toshiba 34HF85. These two TVs will give you a lot of bang for your buck. :)

iserum
08-12-2005, 06:13 PM
if you watch 50% sport SONY RP is best option for you you can also check out JVC HDILA models they have new models in store and PQ is phenominal.

i would recommend any one looking for SONY RP should at least look at JVC DILA models, i bought SONy 55 inch six months ago, JVC had quality problems at that time otherwise i would have bought JVC.

BrianO
08-12-2005, 10:33 PM
Despite its weight and smaller picture size I would select the KD34XBR960 or the slightly cheaper but slightly heavier KD34XS955. Why? PQ. Both are equipped with a super-fine pitch 1080i CRT giving a more detailed picture when viewing many1080i broadcasts, such as some of the PBS HD programs. The KDFE42A10 has a 1280x720 screen. Like the KDFE42A10, both these CRT models have integrated ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuners and a Cablecard slot..

Mike Wolf
08-13-2005, 12:40 PM
Panasonic and Sony are two of the top brands for HDTV of all formats.

Make sure you use a properly known setup dvd, like AVIA or SOUND & VISION tune up dvd's. You can order them on the internet, and i, a professional, recommend them.

Gray bars are CRT users friends, because it evens out the screen usage, so theres no burn in, or unevenness of the screen age.

njt
08-13-2005, 04:41 PM
Thanks again for all of the advice, everyone. Spent a bit of time in the Sony store in Paramus NJ today to do a bit of side by side comparrison.

The RP LCDs strike me as haveing a bit of 'graininess' (just using that term for lack of a better descriptor) to them. It's not fine pixelization... but more of a watercolorish pixalization. I wonder if that was simply the feed. They were playing an INHD broadcast and I believe using component video connections (whereas I will be going cable card and HDMI for the DVD). Also the clarity realy seemed to fade on rapid camera pans. On the plus side they are BIG, brilliant, pretty thin and light!

The XBR 960 was crisp and clean, though (very unfortunately imho) they choose to display a different source on the CRTs (a looping DVD of seasame street). The form factor is huge, as many have warned. But the display was as clean and it was only dvd. the horizontal "wire" that runs across the screen disapears at about 3 ft+, so I'm not too concerned about that.

njt
08-13-2005, 04:42 PM
Make sure you use a properly known setup dvd, like AVIA or SOUND & VISION tune up dvd's. You can order them on the internet, and i, a professional, recommend them.

Will do. Thx.

RSawdey
08-15-2005, 03:17 PM
Despite its weight and smaller picture size I would select the KD34XBR960 or the slightly cheaper but slightly heavier KD34XS955. Why? PQ. Both are equipped with a super-fine pitch 1080i CRT giving a more detailed picture when viewing many1080i broadcasts, such as some of the PBS HD programs. The KDFE42A10 has a 1280x720 screen. Like the KDFE42A10, both these CRT models have integrated ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuners and a Cablecard slot..

The XBR models are also the only ones with a Firewire output for their tuners.

1080i is interlaced at 30 frames per second. 720p is progressive at 60 fps.
Progressive & fast frame rate do a much better job of showing motion, which is why ABC & ESPN use it. Watch a fast sports pan from ABC on a 720p set and you won't have the background turn into mush.

BrianO
08-15-2005, 11:14 PM
The XBR models are also the only ones with a Firewire output for their tuners.

1080i is interlaced at 30 frames per second. 720p is progressive at 60 fps.
Progressive & fast frame rate do a much better job of showing motion, which is why ABC & ESPN use it. Watch a fast sports pan from ABC on a 720p set and you won't have the background turn into mush.

I'll take the extra detail possible with 1080i/30 (2.25 times as many pixels) over what I consider to be the marginal improvement offered for motion with 720p/60 any day of the week (including Sundays :) ). There is a lot more to life than sports. But feel free to disagree since there is no single right answer. :)

Emsurfer
08-15-2005, 11:34 PM
I'll take the extra detail possible with 1080i/30 (2.25 times as many pixels) over what I consider to be the marginal improvement offered for motion with 720p/60 any day of the week (including Sundays :) ). There is a lot more to life than sports. But feel free to disagree since there is no single right answer. :)

It all boils down to taste. Even watching sports, I like to set my RP LCD on 1080i for the extra detail of seeing the people in the stands clearer.

mybuddy
08-16-2005, 08:39 AM
I would vote for the Sony CRT model for a lot of the reasons stated. However, bear in mind, that it's a monster. Size and weight.
If you are not in a hurry, most mfgs. will soon be coming out with slimmer & lighter CRTs, just as Samsung has with its 30" SlimFit" which is only 16" deep and weighs only 120 lbs.
I tried an LCD (flat panel) and did not like it because of the black level, side viewing and the fact that it did not have what I call a natural looking picture.
Good Luck!

Emsurfer
08-16-2005, 12:07 PM
Hey MyBuddy,

Do you notice a significant difference between a 140lb 30"CRT vs. the Samsung slimfit that is 120lbs? As far as the "slimfit" design, does the TV look "trimmer" and more anesthetically pleasing compared to other models? I was just curious. :D

mybuddy
08-16-2005, 08:56 PM
I though that njt was talking about a 34 Sony CRT, which weighs about 195 lbs, I think. I didn't know that he was talking about a 30"
I had originally wanted the 34" Sony XBR960, but it was too big and bulky to fit into my entertainment center.
I bought a 34" Cinema Series Toshiba, with speakers on the bottom which fit OK. However, the picture was horrible, so I took it back.
That's about the time the Samsung "SlimFit" came out, so I decided to give it a try. The way the cabinet is designed, it almost looks like a flat panel. The back half of the 16" deep cabinet is very small which adds to its unique look, ease of handling and hook-up.
It has a black frame around the picture, built-in HD tuner, fine pitch picture tube, 5000:1 contrast ratio and delivers a great picture.
I would rather have had a larger set, however, the 30" is the only size out now. I'm sure that Sony, Panasonic and others are going to come out with their own versions of the slimmer sets soon.

RSawdey
08-17-2005, 02:57 PM
I'll take the extra detail possible with 1080i/30 (2.25 times as many pixels) over what I consider to be the marginal improvement offered for motion with 720p/60 any day of the week (including Sundays :) ). There is a lot more to life than sports. But feel free to disagree since there is no single right answer. :)

So I will... 1080i is only 12.5% more PIXELS PER SECOND than 720p. But that increase is also the reason you see more 'pixelization' breakdowns with high motion frames. I prefer progressive @ 60 fps, not just for sports, but for all motion... I watch more movies than talking heads...

RSawdey
08-17-2005, 03:03 PM
It all boils down to taste. Even watching sports, I like to set my RP LCD on 1080i for the extra detail of seeing the people in the stands clearer.

First, you are NOT 'setting your RP LCD' to anything - you are changing the setup of your cablebox! It is impossible to change the resolution of any TV.

This can NOT improve your image. Your TV has a res of (probably) 1366 x 768p/60 or 1280 x 720p/60, this is the ONLY res it can produce. If you have a better image, it's because the format converter in your TV is better at converting to 720p than the STB is. All images MUST be displayed at the native res of the display... that's the ONLY res a fixed pixel display can make.

Best motion images are from 720p signals presented on a 720p or 1080p display. Only then are all motion artifacts eliminated.

Emsurfer
08-17-2005, 06:45 PM
First, you are NOT 'setting your RP LCD' to anything - you are changing the setup of your cablebox! It is impossible to change the resolution of any TV.

This can NOT improve your image. Your TV has a res of (probably) 1366 x 768p/60 or 1280 x 720p/60, this is the ONLY res it can produce. If you have a better image, it's because the format converter in your TV is better at converting to 720p than the STB is. All images MUST be displayed at the native res of the display... that's the ONLY res a fixed pixel display can make.

Best motion images are from 720p signals presented on a 720p or 1080p display. Only then are all motion artifacts eliminated.

That's what I mean. the cable or satellite box output set to 1080i. And yes it is clearer. However, with it set to 720p, I do get less motion artifact.
:D

mybuddy
08-17-2005, 07:58 PM
How does what you said about the native resolution apply to picture tube sets? Is it the same as with Fixed Pixel sets?
I have used laptop computers for about 15 years with LCD - active matrix screen. The native resolution of the one I'm using now is 1280 X 800 native resolution. I can set it to a higher or lower resolution. However, the native resolution is always the best picture.
Does the same rules apply to computer & TV screens?

RSawdey
08-17-2005, 10:15 PM
CRT TVs are monosync devices, not multisync like monitors. They are essentially fixed to a single res by their electronics, 1080i. 540p is a trick.

mybuddy
08-18-2005, 12:05 PM
I have a High Definition (Built-in tuner) CRT TV.
So, will it reproduce any picture up to 1080I,
depending on the source?
My sources are (1) RF cable direct to TV.
(2) HD Cable Box. (3) DVD Player - Upconverting
(4) HD over the air antenna.

RSawdey
08-19-2005, 02:22 PM
Your TV only produces ONE resolution - 1080i. It may also support 480p via the 540p trick & scaling... basically everything gets converted to 1080i.

1) Why are you using this worst of all possible connections, limited to poor SDTV?
2) Cable STB should be setup to output HD as 1080i.
3) DVD player should be setup to output 1080i.
4) Your tuner will know how to convert all received formats to your 1080i display.

rbinck
08-19-2005, 02:26 PM
Can you expand on the 540p trick?

njt
08-20-2005, 08:15 AM
Interesting info everyone. Did anyone else around here feel (back when they started getting into HD) that the more you know... the more you realize there is to learn? :p

I'm a little bit closer to my move (3 weeks now) so I'll be getting one of the two sets at that time. If I am reading the opinons in this thread correctly... I'm wondering if the 42" A10 may have the better picture for me (due to the percentage of time that I will either have basketball, football or baseball on). I had orginally assumed 1080i>720p, based on the number. I did not realize the factor of framerate and it's effect on motion.

rbinck
08-20-2005, 12:05 PM
While frame rate is important, it is often overblown. The only source for 720p/60 is ABC, FOX and ESPN. Everybody else uses 1080i/30. What that means is if your game is not on ABC, FOX or ESPN then you will still be watching at a 30 fps frame rate. If having the best motion on those sources for live games is paramount, then go for it.

If you are going to go with a fixed pixel display, then a 720p/60 capable unit is what you will probably end up with anyway. Just know that if you are watching network primetime shows and or movies you are really not getting 60fps anyway, no matter what your display frame rate might be. Movies are shot at 24fps, for example.

maicaw
08-20-2005, 01:20 PM
RSawdey CRT TVs are monosync devices, not multisync like monitors. They are essentially fixed to a single res by their electronics, 1080i. 540p is a trick
Can you expand on the 540p trick?
wizardly-silence-

here's my
- --HDTV (real world images)video is different than XBOX ( graphic image files)
1)it is compressed ( 1 bit = 3 color pixels (up to 72 bits into 1))
2)motion compensated -up to 16 frames of preceding video referenced to reconstruct the current frame
3)re-encoded (reformatted )by the local affiliate (not to mentioned the ghastly things done by cable and sat. cherry-picking compression)-see below-

It's way different from what the camera recorded - but it's the best the FCC will allow for now- DVD's are 480 and a waste of pixels on a real HDTV
-If you are using the TV to play xbox and ps2 games you are basically wanting a big hi res computer monitor - that's not what your HDTV was designed to do - - it's kind of like using your HDTV to read a comic book -- we all do things like that sometimes but for primary use it would be lots better to just get a good front projector designed for computers if you want big computer graphics (gaming) -it's a much simpler and more elegant as well as cheaper technology

an excerpt from a Broadcast Engineering article and some other links -
It is likely that the debate over the advantages of interlace vs. progressive formats for sports production will grow in volume in the coming year as "the rubber hits the road." The progressive proponents note the dramatic improvement in slow-motion playbacks. Many HD sports productions have used SD super-slo-mo systems that are upconverted to HD resolution.
And then there's the question of digital compression efficiency. High-action sports can produce some of the most demanding scenes that an MPEG-2 encoder will ever encounter. Panning cameras and athletes running in and out of the shot - often in different directions - can stress the motion-compensated prediction algorithms in MPEG-2. Many sporting venues have crowds that are close to the action; basketball and tennis may have a large portion of the background in wider shots filled with hundreds of faces that are in reasonably sharp focus. Lighting issues may affect SNR, especially when panning across dimly lit stands; and still photography flashes can create dramatic momentary changes in video levels. All of these issues can add up to produce severe compression artifacts, or the need for resolution-limiting pre-filtering to prevent them.
It is generally held that 720p compresses more efficiently; however, the delivered quality may vary based on downstream interformat conversions. During the recent NBA finals there were reports of widely varying image quality in different TV markets. ABC delivered a contribution quality feed to affiliates, which have different house formats and encoders - interformat conversions and variations in encoder implementations and/or setup may have been responsible for the observed differences.http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CVJ/is_8_45/ai_106500423#continue
In the case of I pictures, the actual image data is then passed through the encoding process described below. P and B pictures are first subjected to a process of "motion compensation", in which they are predicted from the previous (and in the case of B pictures, the next) image in time order. Each macroblock in the P or B picture is associated with an area in the previous or next image that is well-correlated with it, as selected by the encoder using a "motion vector". The motion vector that maps the macroblock to its correlated area is encoded, and then the difference between the two areas is passed through the encoding process described below.

Each block is treated with an 8x8 discrete cosine transform. The resulting DCT coefficients are then quantized, re-ordered to maximize the probability of long runs of zeros and low amplitudes of subsequent values, and then run-length coded. Finally a fixed-table huffman encoding scheme is applied.

I pictures encode for spatial redundancy, P and B pictures for temporal redundancy. Because adjacent frames in a video stream are often well-correlated, P pictures may be 10% of the size of I pictures, and B pictures 2% of their size.

The sequence of different frame types is called the Group of Pictures (GOP) structure. There are many possible structures but a common one is 15 frames long, and has the sequence I_BB_P_BB_P_BB_P_BB_P_BB_. A similar 12-frame sequence is also common. The ratio of I, P and B pictures in the GOP structure is determined by the nature of the video stream and the bandwidth constraints on the output stream, although encoding time may also be an issue. This is particularly true in live transmission and in real-time environments with limited computing resources, as a stream containing many B pictures can take three times longer to encode than an I-picture-only file.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPEG-2#MPEG-2_video_coding_.28simplified.29
-and this too:
http://www.ee.washington.edu/conselec/CE/kuhn/hdtv/95x5.htm
Don't forget - there are professional broadcast LCD monitors available that will toast anything you see at retailers -but they aren't priced for the mass market - eg Sony LUMA -

rbinck
08-20-2005, 01:42 PM
It would be good to get an explanation of the 540p is a trick. I've seen many references on various forums to the conversion of 480p to 540p as a trick, usually stated "this HDTV will use the 480p to 540p conversion trick," but that contex seems to be different from the statement 540p is a trick. I was looking for an explanation of the trick.

mybuddy
08-21-2005, 08:44 PM
Your TV only produces ONE resolution - 1080i. It may also support 480p via the 540p trick & scaling... basically everything gets converted to 1080i.

1) Why are you using this worst of all possible connections, limited to poor SDTV?
2) Cable STB should be setup to output HD as 1080i.
3) DVD player should be setup to output 1080i.
4) Your tuner will know how to convert all received formats to your 1080i display.

I use the built-in analog tuner via rf cable for channels 3 - 75. The reason. Those channels are much better this way that through the HD cable box. Channels 200 through 950, including the 10 HD channels, are good or great through the HD cable box. I really don't understand the reason???
Also, what do you mean when you say "480P via the 540P trick & scaling"

njt
09-12-2005, 04:17 PM
Thanks to everyone in this thread and others on the forum. After weeks of hand wringing, researching and demoing I selected the 960 XBR. Taking delivery tomorrow with Cable showing up with an HD STB/DVR next Tuesday.

I'll post my experiences (pos. & neg.) in the hope that the info will help other noobs. Thanks again for the fantastic advice! :yippee:

RSawdey
09-13-2005, 08:39 AM
The '540 trick' is the same technique that's been used for years with Gameboxes that use analog SDTV to produce 240p. (think DonkeyKong). The TV is still running in the SAME interlaced mode, but the SAME data is put into both fields of the frame - halving apparent vertical resolution, but eliminating combing & twitter... it's not really progressive, but simulates it.