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Freeview on a Plasma

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs Forum' started by Sheks, Jan 1, 2005.

  1. Sheks

    Sheks
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    Hi,

    Been given the ok by the boss (Mrs Sheks) to replace our aging 29" (4:3) Sony TV and replace with a Plasma (or other suitable flat screen display) (got to redecorate the living room as part of the deal).

    I have spent a considerable amount of time reading this Plasma forum and the *general* concensus seems to be in favour of the Panasonic sets (at the moment). However almost all the threads I have read seem to refer to $ky as the source, we no longer pay for $ky and have gone to freeview (via a Sony set top freeview box). With this in mind could someone please go to the trouble of answering some questions:

    1. Can anybody comment on the quality of picture obtained from freeview on a Plasma via RGB scart.

    2. Would I be correct in saying that high-definition is a non starter (short to middle term (2-5yrs)) for freeview in the UK at present?

    3. There has been a lot of talk on the forums recently regarding the possible lack of HD compatibility of the Panny panels with future $ky (or others) HD broadcasts, I am not sure I fully understand the problem with this given that the *standard* definition Panasonic plasmas are *relatively* low resolution anyway, so surely the HD source would be scaled down anyway - or am I talking rubbish?

    4. The plasma will also be used with a basic "all-in one" Sony DVD system - DAV-SC5 which I presently loop through the free-view box into the RGB scart of the TV, given that the AV-Sales Plasma comes with a scart terminal board, will this give an "acceptable" picture from the DVD or should I consider a component card as well (would the picture quality improvment be worth the extra expense)?

    5. My, soon-to-be two-year old, daughter watches a lot of CBeebies, should I be concerned with the logo in the top left of the screen causing screen burn on the plasma, what precautions should I take to minimise this? Please don't suggest not watching CBeebies, my daughter would be heart broken.

    Thanks in advance for any comments made.

    Sheks
     
  2. theo cupier

    theo cupier
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    Sheks - like you, I've been on a learning curve here for a while. I hope you & the rest of the forum don't mind if I put some quick, high level replies in here. This is as much to check my understanding (the regulars can shoot me down if I'm wrong):

    1. Should be no different from regular Sky since this also has RGB out. Sky+ has component out, so would be better.

    2. I'd be pretty surprised if Freeview went HD anytime soon. Your timescales sound viable, but probably at the longer end since BBC has its Charter up for review in the next year or so and will probably start to move into HD out of this... (pure guesswork on my part, here)

    3. Panasonics at the moment are definitely non-compatible with the format Sky have announced for HD. Some clever bods have identified possible workarounds (see the thread "HPCD-encoded DVI -> VGA can be done (it seems!)" if you want a real technical education) but nothing is certain at the moment. Some Pannys are 'standard' resolution, but the more expensive sets are HD. The expectation is that a decent SD screen will still have a clearer display with HD input, since it will have better data coming in. Yes, the image will scale down as you suggest. However, a HD screen would probably get more benefit out of an HD signal in the long term since it will 'make more' of the signal.

    4. Can't comment since I don't own one. Best suggestion would probably be to try and see a demo with the RGB scart AND the component input and see if you can spot the difference. If it looks worthwhile to you, do it.

    5. Know the feeling on Cbeebies (about 95% of our TV watching is this channel...) The Cbeebies logos would only be a problem if they were constant and static and fully opaque. From memory, Cbeebies use quite a few animated logos, they also have a range of them used at different times and not all of them are 'solid' colour (some are a bit transparent - but not to the extent that ITV are, for example). In short, it shouldn't be a problem - after all you don't let your daughter watch Cbeebies for hours and hours at a time do you ( :D )

    Hope some of this helps. As I said I'm a bit new to this myself and since I don't actually own a plasma currently, I'm just trying to relate what I've learned, partly so one of the regs can tell ME if I've got any of it wrong.
     
  3. Sheks

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    Thanks for the well constructed reply theo cupier.

    Your comments regarding HD and the BBC make sound sense, the question is whether the BBC decide to choose the same route with regards digital connection that Sky have chosen, unless anyone here who works for the BBC can advise, I would imagine we will be "guessing" for some time yet (although BBC may well *follow* sky with digital connection type).

    Given that the freeview HD timescale is likely to be >5 years, the purchase of a SD panel would seem to be a sensible option for us at the moment. Hopefully in 5 years HD panels, be they LCD, plasma or other will hopefully be below £1000, and I can put the SD panel in the bedroom :D . Also the plasma is going to used primarily as a TV, our main DVD viewing is in our (work in progress) dedicated media room via an ageing projector

    Had a good long look at the CBebbies logo this morning with my daughter ;) and the logo is often animated and doesn't appear to be too bright, so maybe if I keep the contrast down to start with.

    Givent that the primary connection to our plasma will be via scart I would like to know whether there are any foibles (sp?) with this connection on the Panasonic models that I should be aware of.

    Thanks again.

    Sheks
     
  4. Ikki

    Ikki
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    Sheks,

    The quality of the picture on plasma from Freeview can vary from outstanding to ropey, it just depends on compression and the quality of the original material. It is certainly no worse than SKY, in many cases better as SKY can be a bit agressive with channel compression. Plasmas in general are less forgiving with poor signal sources, they don't mask them as much as a crt tv will.

    As Theo Cupier says, I would not be too worried about HD at present. I have seen it in the USA and it is stunning, but a lot of people are getting very aeriated about it. It won't be along on Freeview at least until bandwidth is freed up at the analogue switch off, and then will depend on politics and business interests. Technically there is no problem, they have it now in Australia and the HD DTT boxes exist to receive it.

    I have had a plasma for nearly 2 years and have not had a burn in problem, I would not worry too much unless there is an agressive fixed logo that is on almost permanently, even crt tv's suffer from burn in under these conditions. :)
     
  5. theo cupier

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    I get the impression that the HD format is partly being dictated by the people who make programmes, not just those who broadcast them. The HD format chosen comes with some form of digital rights protection built in, I think, although it doesn't necessarily justify their precise choice of resolution/frequency (getting into technical deep water for me now!) I think this means that the BBC may have its hand forced down this route. Or then again, maybe not.

    This is the (my) big problem - it's a bit too early to know for sure. It may yet be that Sky changes their mind, or that Panasonic pull a rabbit out of the hat (so to speak). A lot of people have spent good money on plasmas hoping / expecting that they would be HD compatible only to find that Sky's announcement means they are not (and that there is nothing they can do about it other than spend a lot of money). Now that the picture is starting to clarify, it could / should influence your purchasing decision.

    I looked at the evidence and decided that it was worth making an issue out of HD at the moment. This is primarily because I can say with some certainty that if I spend £1500 - £2K now on a screen I'm not going to be able to afford to do it again in 5 or so years when HD is a bit more prevalent (or even if I can 'afford' it, Mrs Cupier is unlikely to be impressed) so I don't want to buy a screen with built-in obsolesence in this regard. I'm the sort of person that would spend a lot of time kicking myself about not having the right technology and want to upgrade.

    On this basis, I decided that I would leave buying a plasma for a while. How long this 'while' will be remains to be seen. We're moving house shortly and have the opportunity to turn one room into an 'adults' room (or at least where the kids don't spend all day crashing around) and it's laid out perfectly to put a plasma on the wall of the chinmey breast, perfect for where the sofa will sit :thumbsup: Since budget is an issue, I may live with my current 28in CRT after we move until something decent, affordable and more futureproof comes along.

    Would that be Fimbo, Florrie or Pom? :rotfl: Sorry! I've heard that Scart connections in general are poorer for picture quality than component, but whether it's too poor for you to bear is ultimately down to you. If you can live with Scart, live with it. If you see component and can't live without it - don't!
     
  6. Ikki

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    Theo,

    The BBC has been making much of it's material in HD for some time now, principally because they sell to a worldwide market where the use of HD is much more widespread.

    I think that the situation as far as equipment goes is very cloudy and things could change right up until it starts broadcasting, it appears to be a wise move to hold off if you are set on HD, let the early adopters take the anguish, and pay the high initial costs.

    I doubt that I will ever go the SKY route, so the problem is further down the line for me and I will probably be ready to change my set then.
     
  7. drpellypo

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    I got myself a plasma a Hitachi a few days ago, plugged the Philips freeview box (£70) in via scart (using a pretty expensive scart lead, reduced from around £70 I think), and the quality is stunning. As mentioned before, some of the programs are not as good as others, owing to filming techniques/cameras etc, but overall, I am really really impressed with the freeview quality.
     
  8. Rob100

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    Hi there,

    I'd have to say in my opinion with exception of Channel 5, every channel on Freeview is better PQ than the equivalent on $ky. I have a Sony Freeview Box, but despite it being faster (and having the week long EPG) I am still using my NetGem iPlayer on the Plasma (Panny 42" PW5) as it gives a slight less flicker (esp on reds), however I'm being very picky here. The Sony is a great box.

    I don't know how you suggest to connect RGB sources to the plasma, but I'd suggest you look at JS Tech RGB2VGA. I don't know what the scart board on newer Panasonic's is like, but the RGBS RCA inputs on my PW5 gave poor PQ compared with using the RGB2VGA input.

    As much as it drives me spare my Son watched Cbeebies (and DVD's) for much of the day and I've never had a problem with logo's burning in. Having said that I do keep the contrast/brigness quite low for RGB sources (via JS Tech RGB2VGA) as this also helps "hide" MPEG artifacts etc (I also figured this would help prolong the plasma's life). My DVD is straight intop the component input and I have this set up brighter and with more contrast.

    Rob.
     
  9. hornydragon

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    SKy+ does not have component YUV outputs a good FV box with good signal should be better than a sky feed........... Netgem FV box has component out so is ideal especially if AV amp has YUV switching
     
  10. Rob100

    Rob100
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    From tests I have done with my iPlayer, RGB via JS Tech into my PW5 looks MUCH better than component straight out the iPlayer into the PW5's component input.

    Rob.
     
  11. Bearded_Malc

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    If the CBebbies logo is a concern why not email the BBC to complain about it and the detremental effect it may have on your new plasma? One, because the more people who complain the high chance these logos will be taken off :lesson: and Two, because they are likely to email you back and say the logo isn't a problem. Keep this email and if you do get screen burn then you have someone to sue :thumbsup: .

    BTW http://logofreetv.org/ has email tools for complaning.
     
  12. hornydragon

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    interesting i have compared Scart RGB and component out of netgem but not RGB>JS and component was this to the VGA input on PW5 or VGA for JS and component for Netgem?
     
  13. forrestgump

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    SHEKS
    I have had my hitachi 42 plasma for nearly 1 year now, Cbeebies get's watched every night from 5-7pm without fail, no screenburn at all. this is mainly because Hitachi have an orbiter function that moves the picture ever so slightly every minute or so, picture quality is also down to not just the equipment but also the leads, most forum members will tell you to budget at least £200 for cables and maybe a converter if your plasma does not have scarts, my humax freeview /PVR gives a superb picture on my Hitachi PM 400E, so much so that my sky box has been dis-connecetd and is in the garage even though my contract does not expire till next february, this is because i think sky is crap, picture quality and programming.
    HITACHI PLASMAS for me evey time, HDTV!!!! Will be late 2006 before it goes mainstream, maybe 2007, there are other technologies waiting in the wings to replace plasma and lcd anyway, get a plasma now and improve your life mate, it has improved mine!!!
     
  14. SimonD

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    I use RGB scart from a Nokia 221T switched via a Yamaha AMP into a Panny PWD5 and am very pleased with the picture quality although as others have said it depends alot on the channel compression.

    I doubt very much if Freeview will get HDTV before they switch off analogue in (what is it now 2010??) they simply haven't got the bandwidth.

    While component *is* better than RGB the difference is only really slight, more so if you can go progressive.
    If you plan on upgrading the DVD in the future then I would get the component board while you can. I would hate to not be able to use it in 2 years time just because you can't get hold of the component board! What is the price difference 5%??

    The CBeebies logo has not caused a problem on my Panny over the past year. I have not noticed any screen burn after extensive use of any channel. The CBeebies logo is one of the better ones as it changes regularly/moves and is coloured whereas something like TMF has a stark white logo which is stationary!
    While I believe screen burn does occur, IMHO there is alot of scaremongering goes on about.
     
  15. Sheks

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    Thanks for all the informative replies.

    I am prepared to go with a SD panel for the short to middle-term given the freeview situation.

    I shall consider an additional component board for the panel (I then have an excuse to upgrade the DVD player later, just don't tell the wife :suicide: ).

    During the last week (holiday) CBeebies has been on a lot, but during work time it is on for less then 1.5 hours a day in the evening, so I shan't worry too much about it.

    I shall connect the plasma via RGB scart to the freeview box with confidence, I remember when we got rid of $ky (about 7 months ago) and went to freeview I was pleasantly surprised at how much better the picture was on some channels.

    Just got to decorate the lounge now :( and then can purchase the panel (hopefully in the next few weeks).

    :clap: Sheks :clap:
     

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