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do i need 1080p if i'm only buying a 42 incher?

illinest
11-18-2008, 07:36 PM
Looking into the Panasonic plasmas (and let me just say it's a relief to find that so many here feel that they're a good set)
I'm sitting less than 10 feet from the TV at furthest so I'm thinking I don't need any bigger than 42 inches and I've heard from another source that 1080 is a waste of money on TVs smaller than 50 inches.

So I'm trying to parse this comment for context because I don't know if it's a 'see how smart we are for saving you money!' kind of comment or if it's a legitimate 'I'm a professional TV rater and it's physically impossible to tell the difference!' kind of comment.

Beyond that I have a bunch of other little questions and I figured it might be a good time to get some clarification.

When a set is rated for 720p, does that mean it's displaying 720 pixels or that it's capable of receiving a 720p signal and then it converts that signal to it's actual resolution?

What happens to standard television resolutions? Is it upscaled? When I buy my HDTV I'll actually be the first person I know to own one so I don't have anyone to ask about this.

Do I need to spend 100 dollars on a 3 foot length of cable in order to watch this?

Anyone know what resolution DirectTV HD programming is broadcast at?

There appears to be about a zillion different 42 inch Panasonic plasmas. Is there an important difference between them?

I think that might be enough. I don't need to overload everyone on my first post right?
:thumbsup:

djbamber
11-18-2008, 10:29 PM
Hello, and welcome to the forums. I just got a 50pz80u panny less than 2 weeks ago. The difference between 1080p & 720p resolution is the 1080 screen has almost twice as many pixels, and they are smaller. The more pixels the panel has, the more you'll pay. IMO if you aren't going to be doing much more than normal HD tv viewing, then 720p resolution would be fine. However, when I went and compared a px80 (720p) to the pz80 (1080p) I liked the 1080p screen much better. The 85 series pannys have a higher contrast ratio, and a side location for the HDMI output . When you jump to the 850/850 series you add 24 frame playback capabilities, THX certified video. A $1000 price difference too! I bought the pz80 for use in the master bedroom viewing from 8 to 12 ft away. I can't comment on the px series SD playback, but my panny plays SD far better than my year old 1080p LCD. As far as $100 monstrous prices for a 3' long cable I'll say one word: DON'T! Do a google for HDMI cables, and you'll get a lot of results, monoprice, bluejeans, ect. I bought 3 6' long cables for $15 including shipping. Save your money, buy the biggest screen you can, like the 50 inch series. I would check out both b&m, and online authorized retailers. You can get good feedback from resellerratings.com to help you make an informed decision. I have bought 3 HD sets in the past 3 1/2 years, and I was pro LCD until a few weeks ago. My 52 inch LCD works well in my brightly lit living room. So does my panny plasma when I checked it out before moving it upstairs. My last 2 purchases were online (free shipping, no sales tax) so I do feel comfortable doing this. That doesn't mean that everybody will feel the same way. Good Luck!

PFC5
11-19-2008, 02:59 AM
Welcome to the forum! :hithere:

For an 8 feet viewing distance you should really go with a 50" display to fully be able to resolve the HD resolutions and particularly the 1080p resolution. A general rule of thumb is half the distance viewed from would be the best size display to get. That means from 8-9 feet you should get the 50" display at 1080p resolution to properly match the screen size and resolution to the viewing distance.

Now if you can only go with a 42" size for space (entertainment center opening will only fit a 42" size, etc) then you could get away with a 720p resolution for that distance and size and likely not notice the lower resolution. One other thing to remember is that any plasma smaller than 50" that is a "720p" display is not a true 720p display which is defined as 1280x720, but the smaller plasmas that are not 1080p which are actually 1024x768. That means you are losing about 20% of the horizontal resolution with that size.

If price is the limiting factor, then consider a 50" 1720p model which is actually 1366x768, so there is no lose in horizontal resolution. At 8-9 feet away you may not notice much of a PQ difference but you WILL appreciate the larger size and be glad you went with a bigger screen. Hardly anyone ever says the screen is too big after getting a bigger display, but MANY state they which they went bigger when they bought the smaller size.

Just more food for thought.

Hope this helps!

DoctorCAD
11-19-2008, 06:50 AM
And dont buy the $100 cable, no matter what the salesdude says.

zip2play
11-19-2008, 07:28 AM
illinest,

I have found that almost all sets 37 and smaller are made in 720p and that almost all 46 inch and larger are made in 1080p. I seems that the 40/42 inchers are on the cusp and you have choice of either resolution.

My eyes are about 7 feet from my 37 inch 720 and that is just fine. I tried 47 inch 1080 and watching my digital output cable (most channels in 480p) and regular def DVD's produced a much worse picture on the new set...at 7 feet it was too easy to see all the flaws on the big set (AND it felt too much like sitting in the first row of a movie theater:eek:.) I returned the set.
IF you intend to watch ONLY HD cable channels (at 720p/or1080i) or IF you intend to watch most of your TV via BluRay discs, then and only then do I think that 1080p on 42 inch screen is worth the extra money.

(I am a;so looking into a 42 for the living room set but I'm going to wait until the GIVE them away on Black Friday!)

s2mikey
11-19-2008, 07:55 AM
I will chime in with my usual recommendation that you look at ALL the performance categories for a TV before making any selection. Time and time again, HIGH-quality 768p displays will beat out mediocre 1080p displays in shootouts. Why? Because a TV image is made up of LOTS of things and resolution is only one of them!

Contrast, black-level/dark scene details, color accuracy, & motion performance are all very important to overall image quality and TV performance. I have seen 1080p sets(especially LCDs) that induce vomiting because they screw up everything except the 1080p part. What good are all those pixels if the rest of the image characteristics are crap?

If you stay with a 42" screen size, I would say that 1080p is NOT the first consideration. Id make sure the other things I mention are up to par first. Of course, if you can get all the other things right, by all means go for 1080p! Otherwise, I'll take a TV with better blacks & contrast at 768p over a TV with 1080p and lousy blacks & contrast.

See what Im saying here? ;)

MadMAf
11-19-2008, 08:17 AM
I bought the 42pz80.

When I was shopping, the salesguy at Sears was kind enough to put a 42px80 beside a 42pz80 and run them with the exact same feed at the exact same time. He did that with a SD feed and then plugged-in a BR and ran a movie.

There was indeed a clear difference in PQ between both sets from 6-7 feet away, especially with the SD feed where the image from the PX was much much more pixalized.

With the BR feed, the difference was less clear cut but it seemed to me that the flow of the action on the screen was smoother with the PZ and more detailed.

My:2cents

s2mikey
11-19-2008, 10:39 AM
I bought the 42pz80.

When I was shopping, the salesguy at Sears was kind enough to put a 42px80 beside a 42pz80 and run them with the exact same feed at the exact same time. He did that with a SD feed and then plugged-in a BR and ran a movie.

There was indeed a clear difference in PQ between both sets from 6-7 feet away, especially with the SD feed where the image from the PX was much much more pixalized.

With the BR feed, the difference was less clear cut but it seemed to me that the flow of the action on the screen was smoother with the PZ and more detailed.

My:2cents

Hey - The eyes dont lie! You saw what you saw...and thats that! At 6-7 feet, I would expect to see your results. From 8-10 feet, maybe not as much.

It always comes down to personal choice. My comments were more general in that you shouldnt just gravitate to the 1080p sets without proper research and making sure to take ALL facets of image quality into consideration.

DoctorCAD
11-19-2008, 11:41 AM
Nobody NEEDS 1080P

Its a WANT thing!

iserum
11-19-2008, 12:02 PM
I bought the 42pz80.

When I was shopping, the salesguy at Sears was kind enough to put a 42px80 beside a 42pz80 and run them with the exact same feed at the exact same time. He did that with a SD feed and then plugged-in a BR and ran a movie.

There was indeed a clear difference in PQ between both sets from 6-7 feet away, especially with the SD feed where the image from the PX was much much more pixalized.

With the BR feed, the difference was less clear cut but it seemed to me that the flow of the action on the screen was smoother with the PZ and more detailed.

My:2cents
I am surprised, i did the same comparison with 50 inch model, i could not see any difference in 720p feed and then connected the sets with BD player with 1080p hgmi feed. When i mentioned this to sales guy he told me to get close to the set to see the pixel difference, i could see the pixel difference at 1 foot close to screen at 50 inch set. That is in line with what Cnet and other reviewers say online reviews.

MadMAf
11-19-2008, 12:05 PM
"Nobody NEEDS 1080P"

You may very well be right. Maybe what explains the difference in PQ between the PX and PZ lies in something else than the resolution.

Maybe Panasonic, starting with their PZ serie, got their hands on a higher quality mainboard or bought higher-end circuits.

Dunno.

But I guarantee you that there was a clear cut difference between the two models: the PQ on the PX was much more pixelized.

PFC5
11-19-2008, 03:25 PM
Panasonic does a good job with SD material on my 1080p 50pz80u, and better than my DLP did that was only 720p. It depends on the model and brand as to how well SD will look, but I find that plasmas do a better job with SD signals than the LCDs do.

illinest
11-19-2008, 03:42 PM
first i want to say thank you to all who responded.

I measured the distance to the screen today and got actually 12 feet on average, so 'by the book' I should be looking at 72 inchers?
nononono. I'm afraid not.
My WAF (wife acceptance factor from another thread here) is stuck on 42. :)

Fortunately for me I'm pre-approved (by the wife) up to about 1,000 dollars so I ought to be able to get that 42 incher i want in 1080 and make the question moot.
When I asked the question I had only seen the 1080p at $1200 or so but I looked harder and now I'm seeing it as low as $800. (before shipping)

Now I know to look for the 42pz80, is that right?

By the way I apologize for skipping this before but I decided on a Plasma television first and then Panasonic for the brand, in part due to the black levels which are important to me but also because Panasonic appears to have good customer service.

But since Panasonic was such a slam dunk on my favorite two criteria (three if you count price) I'm trying to figure out if there's some stuff that Panasonic doesn't do very well that might bother me after I buy it. All I want to hook up to it is the DirectTV, the DVD player and the Wii.
Someday I'll get a Bluray or a PS3 I guess....

PFC5
11-19-2008, 03:47 PM
If you can find a 40pz80u for $800.00 you can find a 46pz80u for around $1,000.00 there and at 12 feet viewing distance, I would DEFINITELY go with the 46" display. You can find a 50pz80u for about $1200.00 now so I am fairly sure you can find the 46" for $1,000.00 You will not regret this larger size from that distance as an almost guaranty. :D

The only thing the Panasonic falls short on is the extra user controls but most people likely do not need them if they just get a calibration disc as I have my colors,etc spot on with DVE.

Rick-F
11-19-2008, 03:52 PM
Nobody NEEDS 1080P

Its a WANT thing!

DoctorCad is exactly right! Many people by a 720P 42" plasma and WANT to see HD on their TV. But these 1024 X 768 panels are just about 15% short on pixels for resolving the MINIMUM pixels in a 1280 X 720 HD TV broadcast. And they're less than half equipped to resolve 1080 X 1920. . . . for some years they were not even allowed to be called HDTVs.

No one NEEDS 1080 X1920, but if you WANT HDTV-- then do not settle for less than 1280 X 720. 1366 X 768 is a wonderful compromise.

shortyd999
11-19-2008, 08:01 PM
Question, so Panasonic does have good plasmas??? B/c i've been reading and heard that Panasonics didnt do well with colors. I was considering a Panasonic I saw at Sears until I read some reviews online.

PFC5
11-19-2008, 10:53 PM
Question, so Panasonic does have good plasmas??? B/c i've been reading and heard that Panasonics didnt do well with colors. I was considering a Panasonic I saw at Sears until I read some reviews online.

They have excellent colors, but slightly less than the best, but I doubt you would notice it. I calibrated mine with the BD version of DVE and with the 3 color gels I have everything adjusted so all three colors are spot on. I was NEVER able to get that with any of my 3 other HDTVs.

Is the color "perfect"? No but it is still excellent when adjusted properly. I am sure you would love it if you bought one.

MadMAf
11-20-2008, 08:09 AM
Question, so Panasonic does have good plasmas??? B/c i've been reading and heard that Panasonics didnt do well with colors. I was considering a Panasonic I saw at Sears until I read some reviews online.

Maybe some other sets (Samsung? Pioneer?) provide better colors. Dunno. Why did I chose Panasonic, then? Whenever I bought other electronics than Panasonic, I have always been disapointed. Always. Sony, RCA, Hitachi, Sharp. Name them. They always fell me. Not Panasonic, though.

One last thing on PQ and color: One thing I am certain of: My non-professionally calibrated pz80 has much better PQ than my dad's 46' professionnaly calibrated Sony XBR. Even my 10 y/o kid said so after watching TV at his place.

rejones
11-20-2008, 12:48 PM
I have found that around 7-8 feet is a good viewing distance for me; I agree about not buying the cable, it doesn't seem necessary. In terms of the difference between the televisions, I would say it's negligible, but I always go for Philips because if the lamp ever malfunctions the Philips replacement lamps are really good. I got mine at Discount-Merchant.com and have been very happy with it. Enjoy the new TV :)

BuckeyeRideR
11-20-2008, 03:03 PM
panasonics are ranked 2nd to pioneers. Any yes i wouold definiteley get 1080p. There is a definite difference!

zip2play
12-27-2008, 08:57 AM
BY Rick-F: No one NEEDS 1080 X1920, but if you WANT HDTV-- then do not settle for less than 1280 X 720. 1366 X 768 is a wonderful compromise.


You got me thinking so I did some research on my set, a 2 year old "720p" Magnavox 37 inch LCD (37MF231D) that Consumer Union rated as second best and a Best Buy a long time ago.

I dug up some specs and it is rated 1366 x 768...I was pleased.

(Live and learn. :D)


ps...It has been a WONDERFUL set and has a great QAM tuner and gave me 70+ beautiful digital channels without need for an STB until Comcast started encrypting almost everything.