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37" Plasma for Sky/Media Center and Xbox

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by JaneFletcher, May 11, 2005.

  1. JaneFletcher

    JaneFletcher
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    Hi all, I have been following the forum for the last few weeks. My god I have learned a lot and have managed to confuse my husband (and myself) ! I am now about to make a Plasma/LCD purchase. Here is my criteria to replace the 10 year old Sony 28" CRT :

    1. 32" LCD but ideally 37" Plasma (no bigger due to distance to the sofa).
    2. Sky+ to feed it, Modded Xbox to feed it, but shortly to be replaced by MCE2005 system.
    3. The screen MUST be HDTV ready (this is where things start to confuse me).
    4. I am not interested in speakers as I have a 5.1 system. But I could do with a stand to put on my TV cabinet.
    5. Price is incredibly important. I want to spend no more than £1100 for the TV and then whatever the stand costs on top of that.

    I quite like Panasonics from what I have seen, but I am confused by all the different models and which ones support HDTV. They seem to need extra plug in units, so I assume all I would need would be a Scart box for my SKY+XBOX and thats it ?

    The unit I liked was the PW7 (£999), but it seems as though this doesnt support HDTV ? Isnt it as simple as buying the HDTV plug in module when they come out (something like this would be ideal if it were true).

    Is the HDTV stuff completely useless until SKY start broadcasting ? Or can I download content for my modded Xbox that will make use of it (ie, HDTV versions of '24' which appear to be on the net to download) ?

    Would an LCD screen (with higher resolution) be better for MCE2005 use ? Or will the lower Plasma resolution be ok ?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. PioRow

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    The 24 episodes downloaded from the internet are not hidef. Although the logo appears at the beggining of the episode that says it is available in hi def on the fox channel if you get g-spot and look at the resolution of the episode you'll see its not hi def. Also at 350 meg its not big enough to be hi def, 45 mins of hi def would require a couple of gig.

    As far as a hi def 37" i think pv500 from panasonic is hi def compatible and there are also some 32" lcds that are hi def compatible, the sharp 32ga3 and 32ga4 come to mind.
     
  3. Daipac

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    Hi Jane, I will try and answer your questions by what I have read on the forums. I am sure somebody more knowledgable will come along and confirm or deny what I write.................

    From what I have seen, I don't think you can get a HD ready plasma for £1100 at the moment.

    The new Panasonic Viera TH37PV500 will be HD ready but that is going to cost around £2000 when it is released next month.

    I think you are referring to Panasonic panels as opposed to the TVs ? Panels such as the PW7 that you mention will need input boards to connect any devices to it or you can use a JS VGA Converter which will allow you to connect to the panel via the VGA input which the panels will have.

    If you buy a TV then you have all these inputs included, speakers aswell as a TV tuner but it doesn't look like you need these as you have Sky+ as your tuner and you also have external speakers.

    Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that as HDTV is dependent on the resolution of the plasma IIRC. Most of the HD ready plasmas seem to be at least 1024x768 whereas SD plasmas have a smaller resolution so cannot cope with the HDTV signal.

    I might be totally wrong about this and I am sure someone will make this more clear.

    Not too sure about this part sorry. I am not sure how much can be said for downloaded content on the forums without posts getting deleted.

    I would assume that an LCD screen would be better for PC use but I have seen people using MCE2005 on plasmas on this forum so it is definitely possible.

    Good luck........

    D
     
  4. lisag

    lisag
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    Hi Jane,

    I have a Panasonic 37PW7 plasma panel, and a HTPC with MCE2005.
    It all works and looks stunning.
    I don't think you will find another 37" panel with a high resolution for anywhere near £1000, but I am not up to speed with what is going on with LCD's. When I was looking around Xmas time, anything larger than 32" was much more expensive.

    The standard definition of this Panasonic panel is 852 x 480, but you can input higher resolutions and the panel scales it to fit the screen. I have my HTPC connected via DVI and am running it at 1024 x 576 and it looks stunning. It will accept higher resolutions but text then begins to look a bit blurry.

    I am assuming that if you input Sky's HD transmissions into this panel it will be scaled down, rather than just not displayed. If I have got this wrong someone, I hope, will correct me.

    Any other questions - just ask....

    lisa
     
  5. loonatic

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    The problem with SkyHD and the Panny PW6/7 range is not related to scaling the image but rather that they don't support the necessary resolutions over DVI/HDMI at the required refresh rates - namely 720p & 1080i at 50Hz - so how to get the signal into the screen is the problem.

    Cheers, Lee
     
  6. lisag

    lisag
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    Ah, interesting... I should have picked that up by now really :rolleyes:
    So, I guess it may work via a HTPC, scaler or even the JS Tech RGB to VGA converter?
     
  7. creative-av

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    Didn't think you could just use a HTPC in the middle of the SKY HD box and the screen as the signal is encrypted and it cannot be converted from a digital to analogue source(legally that is!)
     
  8. loonatic

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    Only if they bring out a HDCP compliant DVI or HDMI capture card for your PC...you might be able to use a HDCP stripper that would take the HDCP encrpyted HDMI signal and convert it to a non-encrypted VGA output which you could then feed directly to the panel.

    This might work :

    http://www.digitalconnection.com/Products/Video/DCDA1.ASP

    Cheers, Lee
     
  9. lisag

    lisag
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    Sorry to hijack Jane's thread here - but an interesting issue worth exploring, I think.

    So, is the problem purely with Sky's encryption? I have Freeview and no plans on getting Sky so not too bothered by this personally, but others are I am sure. I can playback HD clips that I have downloaded from the net, and they look awesome :eek: obviosuly some scaling is going on somewhere in the PC and panel, but quality is superb. So, I am presuming that I could also playback HD DVD's with the right player, and other non-encrypted HD material that I can get on to my HTPC?

    lisa
     
  10. creative-av

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    The issue is purely with the way Sky want to broadcast there HD material. The encryption is there to protect the copyright.

    I think if you do a search in the forum there are a couple of threads that cover this to death but as you said it is a topic that will affect a lot of people.
     
  11. loonatic

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    For a display to support SkyHD, as I understand it at the moment, it needs to support both 720p and 1080i resolutions at 50Hz over either a HDCP compliant DVI input or a HDMI input – which by definition is HDCP compliant.

    Now the Panny PW6/7 only supports 720p and 1080i via DVI or HDMI at 60Hz so is therefore not compatible.

    The new Viera range is compatible as will the new G8 display models…at least I expect them to be.

    I can’t see a way of getting SkyHD into a HTPC at present.

    You can use an external scaler such as a Lumagen that would take the 50Hz source and perform frame rate conversion to it and then output at 60Hz but for me that introduces FRC judder.

    So again it’s not the encryption that’s the problem but the lack of support for the necessary resolutions.

    The device I linked to above simply takes the HDCP encrypted HDMI/DVI signal and strips it of it’s HDCP encryption before outputting it via the VGA connecter which in theory should work fine on the Panny’s.

    BluRay and HD-DVD would impose the same resolution restrictions as far as I know but you should be able to get a drive for your HTPC that should solve that issue I would have thought…but only time will tell.

    Hope that helps a little…it’s an area full of pitfalls and unknowns at the minute.

    Cheers, Lee
     
  12. lisag

    lisag
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    I can play 720p and 1080i high definition video on my set-up currently though. So I am guessing that my HTPC scales/converts the video and outputs it to my Panasonic PW7 panel. I am connected via DVI and use the output resolution 1024 x 576 @ 60hz. So I still believe that any high def video file that I can get in to my PC I will be able to playback.

    The issue for me is to find sources for non-copyrighted HD video files, but that is probably not for discussion here....

    lisa
     
  13. hornydragon

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    the panny will however accept all HDTV resolutions in analogue inputs ie RGBHV (VGA) so 1080i 720p at 50 Hz is fine.............
     

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