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A bit of advice if possible.

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by bossc@, May 13, 2003.

  1. bossc@

    bossc@
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    Hi

    I've been browsing and searching this forum for a couple of weeks and would like a bit of advice if possible. The wife has decided that we should get a plasma (she wants to rearrange the front room and hates the traditional box CRT).

    After reading a lot of threads I am interested in the Panasonic and Pioneer series and also the Hitachi 42PD3000. Unfortunately near us there are very few places to see them set up (properly at least) We've done the rounds of the usual Comet/Currys (dont laugh - I know what they're like and would never buy from them, just went to get an idea of size) So I have a few queries.

    Anyone know of anywhere on Teesside or nearby that has a decent range of screens and a bit of knowledge on them.

    With the Panasonic and Pioneer screens the tuner is optional. I'm running Ntl Cable, Marantz DVD and Marantz SR series AV receiver along with a Panasonic S-VHS video. It may be a stupid question but would I need a tuner or can the cable box be used. If not I'm presuming that I would need a scart switch/controller to connect it all together.

    The local Comet (again - please dont laugh) had a small selection including the Pabasonic PW5 and the Pioneer HDE(??) They were all running from an instore RF signal (how they ever expect to sell the bloody things when they cant get a decent signal to them I dont know) and of all the sets the Panasonic stood out. That was maybe just cos the black level seemed so much better - as they were all the same signal - although the Panasonic seemed to have a much lower resolution. Is resolution so much of an issue for home use or is it simply more important for, say, display use. One thing I had thought about was the possibility of running the PC to the panel. (I'd also be using it for Gamcube and Xbox) If I'm going to spend the money I may as well get the most use from it. Which begs the question re screen burn. Is it an inherrent problem in a lot of sets. I think I've read on here that the Hitachi PMA400 has extra software built in to combat this.
    Unfortunately the ony Hitachi set they had was an old model.

    I know that after looking for advice on the internet that this is by far the best site and would like if possible, someone to let me have any honest opinions of the 42PW5 series, the MXE/HDE? series and the Hitachi 42PD3000/PMA400E.

    I'm going to have to travel a lot further afield to view them and I wouldn't buy without doing that but if anyone has any pointers about what to ask/look out for I'd be grateful.

    Also - sorry - what is the difference between the 42PW5B and the 42PW5BC as Empire direct have them both.

    Its just as shame I dont have time whilst their offer last to do some serious legwork.

    Thanks:)
     
  2. Paul D

    Paul D
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    Heres a review i did a while back, but like anything time goes on and there are new screens coming out shortly.


    I went to Sound and Vision to check out a budget projector for a workmate, and had a demo of the two plasmas whilst there.

    The models i had access too were:-
    Panasonic 50pw5B
    Panasonic 42pw5B
    Pioneer 503 50"
    Pioneer 433MXE 43"

    Before i get flamed by any forum members who may feel i'm being biased because i own a Panny 42pw5B, well all i can say is flame away as i viewed with the intension to be as honest as Derek and to see what the best display was.

    My friend will shortly be investing in a 42"ish plasma, so to make sure i advised him correctly i spent well over an hour demoing.

    First up was the two 50" models as they both have higher resolution screens etc.

    Things started very badly for the Panasonic AND Pioneer!
    Somebody had been messing with the settings, and both screens looked aweful.
    Resetting the Panasonic was easy as i have the 42" model so was familiar with the menus etc.
    The Pioneer was harder for the reason that i didn't have one etc!
    Once i had delved into the Pioneers setup menus, i was a little shocked on how good it looked.
    On bright scenes the contrast from the Pioneer was almost identical to the Panasonic. I would go as far to say that the Pioneer WAS very very slightly brighter, but had a slightly yellower white to the Panasonics pure "ice" whites.
    This may have simply down to the Pioneer needing the colour balance calibrating etc.
    On some scenes the Pioneer seemed to have a "vibrance" with skin tones which was somehow subdued on the Panasonic.

    However this is where a bolt from the blue came!

    Sat in the middle of the Pioneer and Panasonic was the new Sony plasma (the one with the speakers built into the bottom of the screen).
    This screen TOTALLY blew both other screens away on picture brightness!
    Not that brightness is a problem on the other screens, but this Sony was like a bright CRT TV.
    Another thing that may suprise a few people is that it's black level was darker than the Pioneer!
    Since the Sony wasn't part of my research i will leave it for others to go have a look for themselves as it may be poorer in other areas, but i feel Sony have been underrating their contrast figures.
    Right back to shootout...

    Now to get down to the nitty gritty.
    I selected a dark film to checkout the shadow detail of both screens.
    Since the Pioneer may have been able to have been tweaked a little further, my findings may be updated if i see evidence to the contrary etc.
    The "fast and the Furious" has lots of bright and dark scenes, as well as some very vivid colours so was a good choice.
    Since i knew the ideal settings on the Panny, i only adjusted the Pioneers contrast and brightness.
    I know Pioneer owners won't be happy me saying this(flame away!), but i was suprised on how bright the panel "blackness" was. Without anything showing, the whole panel was giving out a grey glow that reflected of other equipment in the room. As said before even the Sony was darker.
    I spent some time in the menus convinced something was wrong, but give up when i checked out the Pioneer433MXE and the black level was the same.
    Derek had quite honestly reported this himself, but it still suprised me.
    I carried on the test, remembering that Derek had said that this was acceptable due the greater shadow detail on the Pioneer versus the Panasonic.
    Sorry Derek this is where we have to part waves
    In this demo the Panasonic not only matched the shadow detail, but in most cases had more. I again spent some time adjusting the Pioneers menu settings (ie mode 1/2) including black settings/temp, you name it i switched them on and off.
    The only way i could get more detail was to have the Pioneers brightness so high that the screen was being washed out.
    Set to normal viewing levels the Pioneer was showing most of the shadow detail on view, but it was being spoilt by a "grey mist".
    This is where the Panasonics higher contrast was most evident, with black being inky black and nice vivid whites.
    I'm sorry if this post is offending anybody, but i have to continue.
    Next up was "crawlies".
    This may have been due to the Pioneer being sharper, or it could be something else. But whilst watching both screens, the Pioneers backgrounds was alive with film grain or crawlies, where they weren't visable on the Panasonic. This will need more investigation, as it could be a plus point to the Pioneer so i will leave this one open etc.
    I final point (last nail in my coffin!) is the Pioneers "orangy" reds. Without "ISF" type calibrating gear, both the Panasonic and Sony had good deep "blood" reds. The pioneer looked slightly orange, but this may have be correct and the other two wrong!.

    Similiar results were obtained on the 42"/43" models with the Panasonics lower res screen making no difference to detail with DVD playback, so there is not point going over them again. Except to say that using Panasonics Tunerbox softened the picture somewhat compaired to a direct feed.

    Pioneer good points:-
    Connectivity
    DVI built in
    Key digital card soon to be available
    433MXE extra inch! plus higher resolution (good for HTPC)
    Brightness
    Possible extra sharpness(see crawlie notes)

    Panasonic good points:-
    Clean noiseless picture
    Pure whites
    Reds
    Contrast/shadow detail
    Deep blacks (but still not perfect yet)

    Pioneer bad points:-
    Poor black level
    Crawlies (but this may be good picture sharpness!)
    Possible poor reds

    Panasonic bad points:-
    Possible 50" fan noise
    Possible 42"buzzing
    Slight 5 series 42" single scan flicker
    Can look muted compaired to Pioneer and Sony 42"


    Soooooo.....
    Whilst it may be obvious that i still think the Panasonic whilst not totally perfect is still top of the heap. (FOR NOW!)

    I will get my fire coat

    End quote:

    Hope this is of some help...
     
  3. bossc@

    bossc@
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    Thanks fulabeer - thats excellent. Nice to get so much detail.

    Have to say that even my very limited bit of viewing today echoed a couple of your points. Bearing in mind that both screens were being fed from the same poor RF loop in the shop (and no doubt the screens were sat at factory settings and I never had the chance to play with them) I would say that the contrast settings on the Panasonic did make the screen stand out from the others on show. The blacks were 'black'. Also, your sentiments on the red were spot on. Every now and then a red logo came on and the Pioneer definately seemed more orange than the Panasonic.

    Again, the screens were just set up as out of the box so its maybe unfair of me to make that judgement and of course when I get the chance I'll find somewhere that'll allow me to play with them. But you obviously know what your doing and once again as a cursory thing a lot of what you've said seemed to be my first impression.:)
     
  4. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    bossc@

    Plenty of good pointers in fulabeers review.

    A few additions in reply to your original questions:

    Panasonic TH-42PWD5BX is the Charcoal Display model and is normally supplied with the BNC terminal board for Composite or S-Video along with Component video.

    Panasonic TH-42PW5B is the Silver display which is normally supplied with either the RCA terminal board for Composite or S-Video along with Component video or the Tuner terminal board - which then requires that you purchase the TU600 tuner to get any video signals into the display.

    Please note that with the Tuner connected you have no PC input into this system (you have to manually disconnect the tuner cable to get the VGA socket on the panel to work).

    Pioneer PDP-433HDE is supplied with the RO3 Media Box (without it the display is useless) and your video and PC signals are input on the Media Box (note the PC input is on the front panel behind a drop down flap so some may find this a tad 'unsightly').

    Pioneer PDP-433MXE is normally supplied with the PDA-5002 video card and offers you VGA and DVI inputs for your PC signal (along with Composite, S-Video and Component)

    If your Marantz Amp has YUV Component video switching they you could consider a JS Technology RGB2YUV converter for your Digibox and then send your panel a YUV signal via the AV amp.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  5. bossc@

    bossc@
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    Cheers Joe

    Thanks for clearing that up. Unfortunately the amp is the SR5200 and does not handle component switching. The DVD is the DV4100 OSE and aslo does not do component.

    Ultimately I'm looking for ease of connectivity (thats why the Hitachi 42PD3000) seems so promising, along with the best 'bang for my buck' I can get within a £3.5 k budget.

    My main problem is finding anyone nearby that has any of the screens in and set up properly. Looks like I'm going to have to get off my arse and start travelling.

    Thanks for the help guys, along with my browsing on here its been invaluable.:)
     
  6. wilber

    wilber
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  7. bossc@

    bossc@
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    Cheers Wilber - already been through that list and the only one near us is the Miller Bros at Stockton. Called them yesterday and they can 'order one for me but we dont carry stock'. A bit pointless but he did try to tell me about the LG MZ42PZ14 for £3k or a 30" LCD at £4.3k. (Bless!)

    Politely declined....
    :)
     
  8. wilber

    wilber
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    It is a beautiful set but you really should see it with your own eyes rather than take my word for it.

    Is Newcastle that far from you? My geography isn't that stong I'm afraid! John Lewis stores throughout the UK have been getting the 32 inch set & some now have the 42.
     
  9. wilber

    wilber
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    Actually there may be a way forward for you ....

    If you buy from John Lewis, they will do a 28 day money back if you aren't happy actually come to think of it if you buy anything mail order under distance selling rules, you have the same right.
     
  10. bossc@

    bossc@
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    Cheers wilber

    The wife is actually going on a shopping spree with her mum up at the Metro centre a week on Friday. Its only about 50 miles, so may take the day off and scout the area myself. Got to be better than working ..or wifey clothes shopping.;)
     

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