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50PHD8UK, review + lessons learned

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Old 11-19-2005, 06:40 PM   #1  
High Definition is the definition of life.
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Default 50PHD8UK, review + lessons learned

Two weeks in, here goes:

-- What’s surprising is how perfect an HD signal is. I was bracing myself for some degree of MB, jaggies or other sorts of digital artifacts, some PQ cost of buying a digital set. But even using DirecTV via component, and hardly doing any setting tinkering, the set can look damn near perfect with material shot in HD (discovery HD, HBO original programming, Lost). Every detail visible, without causing any noticeable noise/strain on the set. you don't really understand, in a store, what this looks like in a dark room, it's like having a door open to another world

-- There is a lot less HD out there than I thought. Not being able to stretch SD material on HD channels is very annoying. You would think shows like Survivor, World Series of Poker, Daily Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm and others would be in HD, but no. Even when watching the king of spectacular HD, Discovery’s HD theater channel, there’s a ton of repetition. Discovery has claimed they’ve been shooting their new stuff in HD for the past couple years, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Aside from Rome and Lost, there's nothing i watch on a weekly basis in HD.

-- Standard def is jarring at first – stretched and more rough. but if you’re a fair distance from the set – I’m at 10 feet, you get used to it.

-- 50” looks damn big in a living room. And I haven’t gotten used to it. but I really enjoy the size. For me, it’s perfect, but i've also realized i would have been content with a 42

-- The blacks. Was watching it for a full day before I remembered that plasmas traditionally have issues with dark images and that that was one of the things I planned to look out for. I suppose it’s possible to display something darker, but there’s nothing lacking to my eyes. These are CRT level blacks I’m seeing, with plenty of detail.

--- Component video switching via my 2-year-old pioneer receiver may have resulted in a slight signal degradation. Going back and forth on this

-- PC Connection was perfectly pleasant and gave me a great transaction

-- Burn in. I was playing Xbox (looks great and i'm sitting 5 feet away) and watching stuff with bars within 15 hours of arrival. Though I occasionally would stop and switch to something else to give the pixels a 15 second break, say every 20 minutes or so, I never saw any evidence of even the most rudimentary image retention

-- The set is damn near silent. At first I thought it didn’t have a fan. I had to stand behind it and listen close to hear any fan at all. Does get a hot though

-- The plazzie is very tough on the eyes at first, even on standard with the contrast dialed back. Feels like my eyes are being burned out of my head sometimes

-- DVD … still waiting for my HDMI card to really test this out

-- There’s a lot that you get used to with these sets. The picture quality, the size. You get spoiled pretty quick.

In sum: After 6 months of research, I’m perfectly satisfied with this set. I’m trying to think of something I really don’t like about it, but aside from not streaching SD material on HD broadcasts, I’m coming up short (having to buy the blades and stand sucks, but I knew that going on).

I wish I had not fretted so much, but I am very glad I waited for the price I got. If you’re on the fence, here’s my advice: get a panny plasma now, or wait 6 months for a much better price, but quit analyzing. In the end, most of what I actually needed to know was stuff I researched online *after* buying the set

Not everything looks fantastic, but nothing looks unacceptable. And the set makes it perfectly clear that it’s all about the signal it’s fed, which bodes well for the future as DTV upgrades to MPEG4 and Xbox360 and HD DVD players come out.

I remember that ED proponents like to say how ED is perfect for “right now.” To me, this set is perfect for “right now” as it makes the most of SD while displaying peak performance HD (there's still not much of it, but what there is makes you realize why you're upgrading in the first place). there are those who say they can't tell the difference btween ED and HD in the bright stores watching the 480p store feed, and i'm sure that's true ... but they haven't been in my living room when Rome is on

Last edited by cinzano; 11-19-2005 at 06:48 PM..
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Old 11-19-2005, 10:27 PM   #2  
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Great post dude. I have a 42" Panny Plasma coming to me, but I am worried about how regular TV will look until I get HD? Is the picture that bad? If so, what makes it bad? Is the picture stretch to fit the 42" is that why it's not a good picture?
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Old 11-19-2005, 10:32 PM   #3  
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I am getting Model TH-42PX50U
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Old 11-20-2005, 12:00 AM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yanks0826
Great post dude. I have a 42" Panny Plasma coming to me, but I am worried about how regular TV will look until I get HD? Is the picture that bad? If so, what makes it bad? Is the picture stretch to fit the 42" is that why it's not a good picture?
480i was never designed to be shown at today's big screen sizes. what makes it look 'bad' is tough to describe. nothing specific or distracting. it just looks like ... well, 480 lines of interlaced video streached across an awesome widescreen display with a much higher resolution. best way to describe it is 'softer.' but, in a sense, you're seeing it 'as good as it can look' even though it wont seem that way. for the most part, this has nothing to do with panny, or plasma, or HD .... just the fact the screen is damn big.

i had a 32" toshiba highly rated CRT before this. my feeling about SD now is that this is bigger, which is great, but streached to fit the screen and a little soft. to me, the end result is that i enjoy SD about the same as my old tv, maybe a tad better. but i love xbox, expect to love DVDs once i get my hdmi card and progressive player, and adore HD.

at any rate, it will look better on your 42 than on my 50. those 8 diag inches represent about 50% more screen

btw, another HD perk: movies. was watching the second harry potter on ABC's HD channel and it looked fantastic.

Last edited by cinzano; 11-20-2005 at 12:10 AM..
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Old 11-20-2005, 07:52 AM   #5  
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Thanks for the reply.

One question, what do you do with an HDMI cable? Where would that plug in to? What is the purpose?
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Old 11-20-2005, 10:17 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yanks0826
Thanks for the reply.

One question, what do you do with an HDMI cable? Where would that plug in to? What is the purpose?
either your HD set top box or an upconverting dvd player. most seem to think it makes a bigger difference with a dvd player. lots of more detailed posts around on this here and on avs forums
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Old 11-21-2005, 07:41 AM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinzano
I remember that ED proponents like to say how ED is perfect for “right now.” To me, this set is perfect for “right now” as it makes the most of SD while displaying peak performance HD (there's still not much of it, but what there is makes you realize why you're upgrading in the first place). there are those who say they can't tell the difference btween ED and HD in the bright stores watching the 480p store feed, and i'm sure that's true ... but they haven't been in my living room when Rome is on
ED vs. HD is moot for a 50.

When I was choosing a plasma over 2 years ago, my choice was between the $2900 42 ED Pany PWD6UY vs. the $6500 50 HD PHD6UY. The 42 HD version was too much of a "tweener". At that time, I was unwilling to invest $6K in any set while the market continued to evolve dramatically.

I don't think any ED owner hereon has recommended a 42 ED over a 50 HD simply based on the lack of PQ improvement of the HD set. If you have the money / room for a 50, by all means, get it. The ED vs. HD debate has been concentrated within the 37-42 sizes.

If I were buying again today, my choice would still be limited to the 42 ED and 50 HD. I would probably buy the 50 now given current pricing vs size, but not because of the technical differences between HD and ED.

You got a great set - enjoy it.
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Old 12-04-2005, 11:41 AM   #8  
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Default 50PD8UK or 50PX500U ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cinzano
Two weeks in, here goes:

-- What’s surprising is how perfect an HD signal is. I was bracing myself for some degree of MB, jaggies or other sorts of digital artifacts, some PQ cost of buying a digital set. But even using DirecTV via component, and hardly doing any setting tinkering, the set can look damn near perfect with material shot in HD (discovery HD, HBO original programming, Lost). Every detail visible, without causing any noticeable noise/strain on the set. you don't really understand, in a store, what this looks like in a dark room, it's like having a door open to another world

-- There is a lot less HD out there than I thought. Not being able to stretch SD material on HD channels is very annoying. You would think shows like Survivor, World Series of Poker, Daily Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm and others would be in HD, but no. Even when watching the king of spectacular HD, Discovery’s HD theater channel, there’s a ton of repetition. Discovery has claimed they’ve been shooting their new stuff in HD for the past couple years, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Aside from Rome and Lost, there's nothing i watch on a weekly basis in HD.

-- Standard def is jarring at first – stretched and more rough. but if you’re a fair distance from the set – I’m at 10 feet, you get used to it.

-- 50” looks damn big in a living room. And I haven’t gotten used to it. but I really enjoy the size. For me, it’s perfect, but i've also realized i would have been content with a 42

-- The blacks. Was watching it for a full day before I remembered that plasmas traditionally have issues with dark images and that that was one of the things I planned to look out for. I suppose it’s possible to display something darker, but there’s nothing lacking to my eyes. These are CRT level blacks I’m seeing, with plenty of detail.

--- Component video switching via my 2-year-old pioneer receiver may have resulted in a slight signal degradation. Going back and forth on this

-- PC Connection was perfectly pleasant and gave me a great transaction

-- Burn in. I was playing Xbox (looks great and i'm sitting 5 feet away) and watching stuff with bars within 15 hours of arrival. Though I occasionally would stop and switch to something else to give the pixels a 15 second break, say every 20 minutes or so, I never saw any evidence of even the most rudimentary image retention

-- The set is damn near silent. At first I thought it didn’t have a fan. I had to stand behind it and listen close to hear any fan at all. Does get a hot though

-- The plazzie is very tough on the eyes at first, even on standard with the contrast dialed back. Feels like my eyes are being burned out of my head sometimes

-- DVD … still waiting for my HDMI card to really test this out

-- There’s a lot that you get used to with these sets. The picture quality, the size. You get spoiled pretty quick.

In sum: After 6 months of research, I’m perfectly satisfied with this set. I’m trying to think of something I really don’t like about it, but aside from not streaching SD material on HD broadcasts, I’m coming up short (having to buy the blades and stand sucks, but I knew that going on).

I wish I had not fretted so much, but I am very glad I waited for the price I got. If you’re on the fence, here’s my advice: get a panny plasma now, or wait 6 months for a much better price, but quit analyzing. In the end, most of what I actually needed to know was stuff I researched online *after* buying the set

Not everything looks fantastic, but nothing looks unacceptable. And the set makes it perfectly clear that it’s all about the signal it’s fed, which bodes well for the future as DTV upgrades to MPEG4 and Xbox360 and HD DVD players come out.

I remember that ED proponents like to say how ED is perfect for “right now.” To me, this set is perfect for “right now” as it makes the most of SD while displaying peak performance HD (there's still not much of it, but what there is makes you realize why you're upgrading in the first place). there are those who say they can't tell the difference btween ED and HD in the bright stores watching the 480p store feed, and i'm sure that's true ... but they haven't been in my living room when Rome is on
Hey thnx for the info I am also very close to buying this plasma.
I am moslty concerned about the quality & precision of the picture that the plasma gives. Do you know it there is any difference in the
panel itself over the consumer 50PX500U?
I realize that the consumer PX comes with all the bells & whistles. But I am trying to figure out is there an actual step up in quality when you get into the PD commercial line of panels or do they both have the same glass & tech specs inside. They are both called 8th generation panels but are they the same.
I kinda like all the bells & whistles but bottom line if the picture is of higher quality buying the PD commercial panel then that is what I want to buy.

Tried to figure this out online & have not received a response from panasonic yet on this matter. I was wondering if you know of these details youreself ...

thnx ...............
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