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Cheap versus expensive scart lead results

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by Faust, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. Faust

    Faust
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    After having said that I was using cheap scarts on my new TH37PE50 (cost £4.99 each four years ago – gold plated the packaging said, but I would think gold effect) I was advised to buy top grade scart leads by a number of forum members. I remarked that the picture via Sky with the cheapo leads was stunning and I doubted that I could improve the PQ beyond what I had already. Anyway to cut a long story short I contacted my Panasonic dealer who advised me to pop into the store and to bring along one of my scarts for a comparison test. The results shocked the dealer. He first connected my scart and played a DVD which he said would sort out the men from the boys PQ wise. As I suspected the result was very good indeed even with my cheap lead. The dealer then repeated the exercise with an IXOS mid-range lead costing about £35, result – both the dealer and I could not tell any difference. Astonished by this the dealer then tried a top of the range IXOS costing £55 each and a Monster cable of similar price. By now we had been joined by two other sales assistants and two customers. We ended up on our hands and knees looking for any differences e.g. solarisation or lack of detail – five people could not detect any difference. The dealer then placed a second panel at the side of the first one and connected one using the top of the range scart and the other using my cheap one then played identical DVD’s. Again none of us could detect any difference, although one salesman thought that the reds on my cheap lead showed slight bleed – although if you have to get on your hands an knees to see it then it hardly matters. The dealer admitted he was truly amazed by the results and told me to hold on to my cash and stay with my cheap leads. Now although these results are not scientific, certainly in my case spending lots of cash on top grade leads would be a waste of money.

    On a slightly different tack the dealer was also running the PV500 and the PE50 side by side using the Panasonic Hi Def demo – obviously the PE50 was receiving the feed via its analogue component connectors. The results are truly amazing – the PE50 produces results equal to the PV500, or if not equal then certainly both I and a number of other people in the store at the time could not detect any difference. That’s not to say there is no difference as obviously there must be, I’m simply saying that viewing both these TV’s from close up to a distance of ten to twelve feet away I could not tell any difference – truly.

    I’m sure others will disagree with my experience regarding the above. However, all I am doing is reporting the results I have found using cheap scart leads.
     
  2. billym

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    I had the same experience as you Faust viewing the Hi-def demo on the PV500 and PE50 side by side - couldn't tell the difference which is why I went for the PE50 which I am absolutely delighted with. :thumbsup:
     
  3. Faust

    Faust
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    Well as I'm not interested in Sky and their Hi Def offering (not unless its free) then the PE50 will suit me fine. Even if I do want Hi Def then as Sky's first generation box will have component as well as HDMI it's always there as an option, and given the results with this panel and a Hi Def feed it's hardly going to be a disappointment is it?

    There is two much sales hype with Hi Def and not enough realism - same applies to the scart issue as well if you ask me.
     
  4. Kalos Geros

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    Faust, I have recently purchased a Bandridge SCART lead as replacement for the really cheap all-black SCARTs I have been using previously (paid merely £5 for it) and picture quality jumped in contrast and sharpness (definition) considerably and there are no more ghostly interference the old sCART was picking up from the tuner I believe...I am not saying you should get expansive cable like Bandridge's ProGold series but a decent well shielded SCART lead can make a world of difference...top priced SCARTs seem only to be a safety precuation to ensure that you ALWAYS get the best possible quality picture but the £5 Bandridge is quite sufficient in my opinion...Like you I have noticed the same effect of HD source being run instantaneously on an HD and an SD Hitachi and the definition even on the SD plasma was stunning, better than DVD so difference in the source quality DOES matter!!! I saw HD running ona 63" Panasonic HD plasma (fantastic) and 42" PV5000 and I was disappointed in the latter but I contribute that to the fact that the PV was connected via S-video which was very obvious in picture quality, Hitachis were all connecetd via HDMI/DVI or component...so if PV were connected properly it would probaly look as good as you desribed it...
     
  5. Faust

    Faust
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    The point is though that when the top of the range IXOS was connected no one could tell any difference between that and my cheap scart. In fact if this had been a blind test I would defy anyone to say which one was the expensive scart.
     
  6. Kalos Geros

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    Well just my point!!!
     
  7. Faust

    Faust
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    I think we are singing of the same hymn sheet here Kalos - a case of "the emperors new clothes" if ever there was one.
     
  8. Mindvox

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    I don't mean to sound like a AV snob, but I can spot differences between standard "cheap" scarts and more expensive counterparts. There's a reason why these cables cost so much, and while they can be a rip off, that's not the reason they're so expensive.

    The jump in quality might not be worth the £40, £50 or more that an IXOS or Cambridge Audio might set you back, but any step up in picture quality, however small justfies the price to me sadly.

    The differences are not always noticable to everyone as I have friends who say their scarts look no different to the Cambridge Audio ones I use, but when I see their results I notice differences immediately. I don't argue with them because a) that's their call, and b) it's not their fault they can't see the difference, not everyone does.
     
  9. damo_in_sale

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    If the PV was connected via SVIDEO then it wasn't recieving a Hi-Def signal at all, just a really pathetic SD signal.
     
  10. neilmcl

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    Probably not a real world test though. The back of my screen, like many others I'd imagine, is a spaghetti junction of AV cables galore plus RF cables, Sky and numerous mains leads. THis is where a quality Scart cable, or any cable for that matter, comes into it's own. The better cables have much better shielding and screening to limit RF and electromagnetic interference which is why I can beleive those who definitly see and hear a noticeable difference when they trade up.
     
  11. Kalos Geros

    Kalos Geros
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    I'll sign to that too, but I found the BANDRIDGE at GBP 5 (I suppose these sell in UK also but would cost around GBP10) deal with RF interference of my previous cheaper SCART leads...I don't say that premium cables cost soo much because manufacturers can sell them at this price, but rather that one needs to find a good ratio between how much qualitiy is enough quality for one's tastes and the price. If I purchased a GBP 50 SCARt lead and noticed only a slight if any improvement I'd really feel like I went into quite an overkill. The GBP 5 SCART did it for me, I cannot risk spending GBP 50 with a cable that I may find unnecessary.
     
  12. Faust

    Faust
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    You may well be right in what you say neilmcl, however, the crucial point I was making was that neither I nor the dealer or three other people in the shop could detect any discernible difference, and believe me we were trying very hard, I mean lets face it, if you have to get down on your hands and knees then we really are getting picky. As for sound, I usually have my 5.1 system on using optical. Perhaps at the end of the day the leads I have whilst cheap may not actually be bad quality, which gives food for thought. The bottom line is that I went to actually buy some quality leads but as the dealer rightly said - why bother, hang on to your money, and he had a vested interest in saying otherwise.
     
  13. Nick_UK

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    Snake Oil can work out very expensive sometimes :cool:
     
  14. ukroadster

    ukroadster
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    Quote "I had the same experience as you Faust viewing the Hi-def demo on the PV500 and PE50 side by side - couldn't tell the difference which is why I went for the PE50 which I am absolutely delighted with"

    Same here, went to Sound and VIsion who had a selection of HD plasmas 42pv500, hitachi pd7200, pioneer 435xde all hooked up to a HD demo.

    The black sheep in the line up was a SD 42PE50B which was receiving the HD feed by Component.

    Guess what, it was as good as all the HD screens and looked absolutely fantastic.

    I was planning to buy the 42PD7200 but even the sales staff admitted that the 42pe50 was as good (no difference) even though they knew I was happy to pay the extra so could have tried to sell me the more expensive sets.

    It was real eye opener.

    When you see the HD panels running the HD demo in most stores it does indeed blow the sd panelos out of the water, however all I can say is go and see the same demo on an SD 42pe50 it will look equally fantastic.

    Needless to say I bought the SD 43pe50 and very happy with it.
     
  15. ukroadster

    ukroadster
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    Back on thread for a second, I can tell the difference between the really cheap scarts and the £25 cambridge audio ones I have but I cant tell the difference between a reasonable argos 'premium' £7.99 gold 'coloured' scart and the cambridge audio ones - the difference is very small.

    Oh, and I do have very good eyes ;)
     
  16. MAW

    MAW
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    My favourite snake oil is those speaker cables with direction arrows. Can anyone tell a simple soul how the little electrons know which way they face in a length of OFC copper?
     
  17. Kalos Geros

    Kalos Geros
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    Oh, I like those snake oil cables thet don't come marked at all but cost a fortune like a friend of mine has...had to trace the cable from the amp all the way around the room to establish which half of it connects to which polarity on the speakers...
     
  18. MAW

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    I suppose if they just put the little arrows on 1 of the wires they do serve a useful function! My toner tells me which is which so I don't have to worry, but not everyone has one of those.
     
  19. Kalos Geros

    Kalos Geros
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    Well, my friend has ME, damn it...;-)
     
  20. Majid Khan

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    Hmm.. maybe I should stick with my £15 scart leads for the time being (Hitachi gold plated flat scarts, bought from Argos).. -- I get the feeling i might not notice any improvement if I were to buy one of the QED scarts for 25 quid... although i've read others claim that the QED P2110 is definitely a noticeable improvement over cheaper scart leads (but just how 'cheap' I wonder? :) )

    I've never used components before (although i remember a salesman at Comet using a composite 3-3 phono lead as component) - but for the moment I'm thinking whether it might be an idea to just get the JVC component leads from Dixons for £10 -- anyone tried these out? or should i just go for QED components for £40 ?
     
  21. Faust

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    Another point to remember with the Viera is that it has its own integrated Freeview tuner so requires no scart cable (unlike my Sky+ box). Should we be buying super duper RF cables for this as well? Mine is daisy chained all over the place - starts off from the wall socket which is a ten year old cable fed through the cavity wall, which in turn has a joint to the arial, then RF lead into VCR, from there up to DMR E30, and from E30 finally into TV. Again the Freeview PQ is pretty dammed good. Certainly speaking for my own setup (mainly Panasonic) I would love to do a blind test on those who think they can tell which scart is which, and put some serious money on the table as a bet. My cheap cables appear to be similar to the Argos Premium ones - i.e. gold.
     
  22. samjet

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    just another perspective - i don't own a single scart :D

    all my connections are component - to my own mind i have proven that this represents a very noticeable improvement over scart regardless of price
     
  23. neilmcl

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    How do you get a TV signal then, do you have integrated Freeview?
     
  24. MAW

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    Some freeview boxes output component video, Topfield and Netgem spring to mind. They are expensive boxes, but if you are going to switch component video with a AV amp, even Faust would appreciate the cash saved by not having to buy a converter (RGB to YUV) for over £100
     
  25. samjet

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    yes integrated freeview

    i'm just setting up sky+ and will be using a js RGB to component convertor

    so i will at last have to own an RGB scart to run from the sky box to the convertor :D
     
  26. neilmcl

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    Maybe a silly question but is there any real benefit in converting the RGB signal from Sky to component, surely you'd get just as good, if not better results leaving the signal as RGB.
     
  27. Ekko Star

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    The scarts are fine. In actual fact you can take a < £5 scart and make it perform admirably well. Anything over £15-20 and you're wasting your money on fancy packaging plugs and cable sleeves. Thor make an excellent cable ( TV Cables one of the sponsors sells them at an excellent price) and you really don't need to go above that level at all for most purposes.

    Usually the biggest failing of "cheap" scarts is that they are not adequately screened. You can remedy this for most day to day uses by snipping Pin 19 at the display end of the scart cable to stop tuner video feedback and ghosting. If you are getting crosstalk on Audio, snip pins 1-3.

    The best cheap scarts are flat ribbon cable ones. Even poorly screened here they can get away with it as the individual trail of ribbon makes it difficult to crosstalk with only but the next ribbon ;)

    The JVC components are excellent. I use them on some of my equipment. Proper component cable will be certified 75ohm. As long as it can handle that you'll be fine.
     
  28. pwood

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    Yip I agree that a good quality scart lead need not cost the earth. I use Tech Link ones at £20 and have an Ixos one I bought ages ago and no difference, however there was a difference in colour and contrast when viewing a really cheap £2 scart lead. The monster ones in comet crack me up with their price tags :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:
     
  29. RHCP

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    Off topic, what are we saying here that my th42pe50 is a hd ready plasma?
     
  30. pjclark1

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    And this nicely demonstrates the problem. You don't get RF interference on a SCART cable, but the poster is convinced that you do.

    This is the only real (as opposed to imagined) problem you get with SCART cables.
     

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