Going flat panel in the near future - but HD or not?

RMCF

Distinguished Member
Bear with me if this type of post has been done before, but I have been reading dozens and dozens of posts on this forum for so long now about LCD/Plasma/HDTV etc and I would like a few more opinions.

I intend to go the flat panel route in the summer. I was going to sit it out for a while but the prices are now getting too tempting.

My problem is that I can't see myself going down the SkyHD route for quite a while. I am just not happy about the amount of channels yet, plus the additional subscription for a limited service.

So do I buy a non-HD panel that is great at showing SkySD? Or is this just a bad investment considering that in a few years I may want HDTV? Is it a better option to be future-proofed?

The thing that scares me is the many opinions saying that SkySD can at times look average on an HD panel.

So many questions!! Has anyone on here plumped for a SD flat panel rather than an HD one?

Any thoughts appreciated.:D
 

Jazz Monkey Jr

Distinguished Member
It depends what you want from it, what size are you looking at, what budget have you got?
I would go for at least a 720p panel as they are pretty cheap and will display hi-def stuff and will look great (xbox, ps3 etc) They also do a pretty good job of upscaling normal sky stuff.
 

RMCF

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the reply Jazz Monkey.

I forgot to mention what my use would be !!

I watch a lot of football. Also rent a lot of DVDs. Plus usual TV watching.
I would not be using it for any gaming - not into it, so no PS3, XBox etc.

I see myself going for one around 37" - 40" - budget would be around £700, which will buy me more TVs come the end of the summer than it will now as the prices seem to be falling on a daily basis.

To be honest I think I will be SkySD for at least another 2 or 3 years until the HD service really takes off. But I am afraid of buying an SD panel and it being redundant in a few years.

I have never seen it, but are the stories of SkySD on an HD panel being poor slightly exaggerated? I take it that it would depend on the panel itself - I am sure some are better than others at displaying SD stuff.
 

dan1979

Member
Apart from cheap plasmas (still more expensive than an equivalent size LCD) and very small LCD's there aren't many non-HD panels around anyway so it's not like there's much of a decision to make.
 

RMCF

Distinguished Member
Apart from cheap plasmas (still more expensive than an equivalent size LCD) and very small LCD's there aren't many non-HD panels around anyway so it's not like there's much of a decision to make.

Yeah I suppose you have a point. I have bought a few of those glossy plasma/LCD mags over the last few months to research, and I have read advice about buying an SD panel if you intend to watch SkySD, but I suppose it isn't in manufacturers interests to produce SD panels as people aren't going to be buying many of them.

Might be a stupid question, but do any panels have any sort of option where you can select settings that are better suited to SD signals?
 

dan1979

Member
Not specifically, broadly speaking the better the TV the better its scaler will be. The likes of LG and JVC screens should wipe the floor on SD signals with the no-name Woolworths sets.
 

MattZani

Banned
you can get a 40" HD TV for £900 now anyway, so its not really worth spending money on an SD TV.

Matt
 

RMCF

Distinguished Member
you can get a 40" HD TV for £900 now anyway, so its not really worth spending money on an SD TV.

Matt

Its not about the money, because the prices are tumbling.

My original question was about the quality of SD TV signals on a HD panel, as I often read that they can be poor.
 

pantages

Member
Hmmmm. I understand your dilemma. I have a plasma panel and a projector, both HD 'ready' but achieving great SD pictures. There seems to be little growth in HD programming and until BBC, ITV, C4 and five start a true HD service there is little to justify the cost - at present. I refuse to pay Sky's extortionate fees and I am hoping terrestrial tv will eventually go HD. In the meantime though I think I will wait and see what happens in the BD v HD DVD camp. The next year should sort that one out and then I will purchase the appropriate player and buy or rent HD DVD's.
 

RMCF

Distinguished Member
Hmmmm. I understand your dilemma. I have a plasma panel and a projector, both HD 'ready' but achieving great SD pictures. There seems to be little growth in HD programming and until BBC, ITV, C4 and five start a true HD service there is little to justify the cost - at present. I refuse to pay Sky's extortionate fees and I am hoping terrestrial tv will eventually go HD. In the meantime though I think I will wait and see what happens in the BD v HD DVD camp. The next year should sort that one out and then I will purchase the appropriate player and buy or rent HD DVD's.

Hello again there orpheum!! Jez, you get about.

What panel do you have that is getting great SD pictures?
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
I was very disappointed when I saw SD pictures displayed on Plasmas and LCDs in shops - all HD Ready models.

HOWEVER - when you spend a while tweaking them - you can MASSIVELY improve the picture quality.

Almost universally the default settings on most displays absolutely destroy SD pictures by applying far too much sharpness, digitally processing the sources to bits, and doing all sorts of odd things to the gamma and saturation.

BY switching most digital processing (particularly noise reduction) off, setting the picture settings to custom (VIVID on Sony Bravia displays is the default and particularly vile) and reducing the sharpness to as low a level as you consider acceptable (I have it at minimum for HD sources and not much more for SD) and then decently setting the contrast, brightness, colour/saturation and backlight (if your LCD allows) can make a HUGE difference. It is amazing how much better SD pictures can look than they ever do in the shops.
 

henry1234

Active Member
I was in a similiar position.

Just SKY + can't see myself getting SKY HD for a year or so.

Rent loads of DVD's via Tesco's and have a big store of .iso's to get through.

Not enough HD-DVD's and can't afford to buy them and collect anyhow.

Needed a flat panel for space.

I bought a s/h Pansonic PWD4 for £330, it's great for SD material and even better for SD DVD's when feed a well de-interlaced progressive input.

I would say it is possibly better or at least equal than a lot of modern HD displays when it comes to standard def material. Especially LCD models.

In reality the fact that the panel is only 852x480 makes it very easy to scale a 576i signal and look great. However panel resolution is only a small part of image quality, panel quality, colour balance, black level, response times, internal sclaer etc all pplay a much more important part.

I am thinking of getting a scaler to improve the sky picture although it's still very good using the Pansonic's internal deinterlacer/scaler. It does a very good job of deinterlacing sky and DVD's but that can still be improved.

For £600 you should be able to pick up a PWD4 AND a quality scaler (iscan HD or better) and you would have a near unbeatable SD picture for a flat panel.

You just need to make sure the HD bug won't niggle at you, I'm finding that difficult now you can add HD DVD's to the rental list from Tesco's. (that said a Hi Def image scaled down to 852x480 looks dam good and difficult to tell apart from a 720p image on a 42inch from 10ft away)
 

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