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Good advice needed

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by old-Bill, Dec 15, 2003.

  1. old-Bill

    old-Bill
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    :confused:

    Perhaps I'm just too old but I'm completely new to home cinema and the more I read the worse it becomes, my short term memory is fcuked which is no help at all.

    Anyway, I,m looking for a home cinema and Television, I have looked at complete systems in the hope that I would have less chance of bollocking things up and came up with the Jamo DVR 50/A305PDD; as for televisions I dont have a clue, something around 32" 16:9 totally flat crt was in mind that would complement the Jamo. I play games on the computer and have cable TV.

    To be completely honest I was thinking of spending around £2000-£2500 absolute max or less on the whole lot but as I am retired its likely I will keep it for a long time (Whichever one of us goes first!) so upgrading is not an issue but making a mistake is as I will live with it.

    My living room is 18'x12' but the stairway is open plan allowing heat and sound to escape.

    I am not looking for complex technical details , simply a suggestion for a cinema setup and Tele from a knowledgeable expert and not my local shops salesperson trying to unload his stock on an old duffer.

    Thanking you all for replies in advance.

    Bill Gordon:zonked:
     
  2. daviedee

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    hi there, i was in the same position as yourself not so long ago, i got the what hi-fi mag and read all the reviews and the system that suited my needs (wifes really) was the toshiba 32zd26p which has won best buy, and the panasonic scht900. the tv was £819 and dvd was £409, shop around using www.dealtime.co.uk or www.pricerunner.co.uk
    the pic isnt that clear but it gives u an idea of what it is like, if you have a bit of money spare i would think about investing in a 36inch tele.
    best of luck in your quest.....
    cant upload a duplicate pic so if you look at my other thread all in one system?? which one is the best?? page 2 at the bottom
     
  3. old-Bill

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    Come on people don't be shy, are you afraid to take the responsibility or are you worried about your peers opinion of your choice.

    I will look at everyones opinion with respect and try to form a common trend if possible, I have already discovered that I probably don't need a system with progressive scan as few crt tele's support or require it under 36". I have been told to look at a 36" screen which I will now seriously consider if I can afford it.

    Perhaps the people who have been looking at my thread are in the same position and are also in need of advice! but don't want to look stupid. Remember when you were at school.

    Please, where are the experts who run the site they will know a great deal more than 95% of the public, I'm not being facetious I want to be able to share in your knowledge.

    Bill
     

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  4. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    What exactly do you want out of the system?

    Lets say your a typical dvd watcher who just buys region 2 dvds and wants a good convenient system then something like the jamo and perhaps a pixelplus philips set would do you proud.

    However lets say your really into films and want the biggest buzz for your pounds then you might want a projector instead of a tv.

    Then perhaps you could be the type of user who is more interested in music and wants dvd audio and sacd compatibility.

    Perhaps you want vcd/svcd and divx compatiblity because you download them from the web.

    You might want to buy region 1 dvds and need a multiregion system.

    Tell us exactly what your planning to do with the system and then we can have a go at suggesting your ideal system.
     
  5. old-Bill

    old-Bill
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    Thanks,

    I already have a hi-fi system for music but being able to play music cd's would be very usefull.

    I do wish a system to play downloaded web content, films, music and MP3. Also do Jpeg for my digital camera.
    I would like it to be multi-regional I think.

    The projector system is out of the question as I don't have a specific room to use for films only.

    My house has a living/dining open plan layout and 2 small bedrooms.
    At present I have a 24" 14-year old television, non Nicam with the tube losing its colour etc, cable and a new VCR.

    I dont need top of the range home cinema but would like to have a system that created ambience and drew me into the film.

    I would be dissapointed if the system had poor surround sound, colour bleeding and a grainey picture. I would like vivid colour with little interference. I cant afford a plasma screen and am not keen on the fuzzy focus of back projection machines. So CRT!

    I want the television to handle the usual day to day programs as well as home cinema. I dont want the system to be too large as I dont have a great deal of room.

    I want the system to be reliable and easy to use when set up, you may feel I don't require more than a Dolby Digital or Pro-logic II tele, but I was thinking of a 5.1 system.

    If the home cinema provides surround then I was thinking of a Nicam 32"-36"CRT to avoid duplication.

    Your help and everyone else is most appreciated.

    Bill
     
  6. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    Well from what you've said I would recommend this;

    http://www.whatvideotv.com/testbenc...v.com/cgi-bin/displayreview.php?reviewid=2898

    Then you'd need a dvd player with the versatility your after I'd suggest this;

    http://www.kiss-technology.com/?p=dp508&v=press

    A bit controversial I know as some people don't rate the Kiss players but ultimately they give a great picture and sound (via digital) and this particular model is very versatile indeed and even has its own hard drive for storing divx films, mp3s etc.

    Not sure if this is available yet but looks very nice;

    http://www.kiss-technology.com/?p=dp558&v=press

    Anyway its food for thought.
     
  7. nabby

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    Hi Old-Bill,

    Good luck in your quest for home-cinema nirvana! Looking at what has been posted so far, I'd agree with comments on going for a 36" screen if possible as this will give you the most cinematic feel. The Toshiba picture frame 2 is worth a look, as is the Panasonic PD30, and the alternatives from Philips and Sony are pretty good as well. It may come down to what you like aesthetically and the Tosh is definitely the least "imposing" in terms of looks. If you're near a John Lewis, pop in and have a browse. My brother bought a Toshiba 32zd26p from Allders a few months back and it is pretty impressive.

    He then got a Sony DAV550 home cinema and the progressive scan on NTSC dvds is excellent. The sound quality from the Sony ain't too bad either, as far as my ears can tell anyway and I've got a separates system.

    Of course, you could go down the route of separates and go for a tv for about a grand, some KEF KHT2005.2 speakers for about £650 and that would leave you £800-odd for a dvd player, surround sound amplifier (the new Yamaha's are meant to be good), cables and speaker stands/wall brackets.

    Nabby
     
  8. Yandros

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    If your room will take it, I'd go for a 36" TV. We've got the 32" 100Hz Sony Wega, and we sit about 11ft from the screen. It's good, but not particularly immersive (we're now considering a projector). If I had to choose a 36" unit today, it would probably be the Toshiba (though I'd take a look and Sony and Philips). Just remember that it looks a lot bigger in your house than in the shop!

    I don't feel qualified enough to comment much on the high end all-in-one systems, but a semi-laymans opinion of the Jamo is that it looks like a very nice bit of kit (and is apparently very easy to use, which you rate as very important).
     
  9. old-Bill

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    Thanks for your replies,

    I am looking at a Toshiba36ZP38B Television £1380
    with a Panasonic SCHT 900 home cinema kit. £390

    The above tele without the kit, using its own speakers £1380

    Panasonic TX 32PSI 23 with the SCHT 900 - £1324

    I can also get the Toshiba in Currys shop at £1460 with a Toshiba DVD player thrown in, but the DVD player does not have component video output or progressive scan, how important are these two?

    I am not adverse to buying separate items its just I would not know what to buy. Any advice on separates and the above would be greatly appreciated.Thanks for your reply Martin,,
    I am looking at a Toshiba36ZP38B Television £1380
    with a Panasonic SCHT 900 home cinema kit. £390

    The above tele without the kit, using its own speakers £1380

    Panasonic TX 32PSI 23 with the SCHT 900 - £1324

    I can also get the Toshiba in Currys shop at £1460 with a Toshiba DVD player thrown in, but the DVD player does not have component video output or progressive scan, how important are these two?

    I am not adverse to buying separate items its just I would not know what to buy. Any advice on separates and the above would be greatly appreciated.

    Bill

    PS I watch only cable, through NTL
     
  10. nabby

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    Hi there!

    Is your NTL cable set-up a digital one?

    I would say that if you're buying the tosh then a dvd player or all-in-one with component output for prog scan is important as it will improve the quality of picture you'll get from dvds. Having said that, do you
    a) watch many dvds?
    b) watch many region 1 dvds (i.e. American NTSC discs)?
    The reason I ask is that the tosh will only do prod scan on NTSC dvds so if you're not watching these, then prog scan is less of an issue for you.

    Also are you sure you got the panasonic tv code correct as I can't see that model anywhere on-line? I can see a 32PS12 on this website and was wondering if that's the one you've been looking at?

    As for separates, if you do a search in this forum for KEF KHT 2005.2 speakers you'll see a lot of good stuff written about them. Regarding a dvd player and amp, I'd suggest you do a quick scan through those particular parts of the forum to pick up a few tips and maybe ask a few questions.

    I have seen a Pioneer DV565A (multi-region dvd) / VSXC501 (Receiver) system at Superfi.co.uk for £529.95 and that's a well rated set-up.

    Neil :)
     
  11. bonzobanana

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    The Toshiba televisions own amp and speakers are quite good and you could probably get away without buying another 5.1 setup. So all you would need is a dvd player. You might also benefit from a seperate subwoofer hidden away in your living room somewhere.
     
  12. old-Bill

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    Thanks again everyone,

    I don't have NTL digital but its avalible, does this make big differences?

    I dont have a DVD collection, so I suppose I will not be watching a great deal of them at first although I could visit the video shop weekly, in between purchases.

    I also hope to download from the web in the long term, using broadband, music and video.

    You are correct about theTV Panasonic 32PS12

    Finally are you saying that component video output is only for use with progressive scan and that is only for the American region 1 market ?

    Bill
     
  13. nabby

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    Well I switched from Telewest analogue to Telewest Digital about 2 years ago and it was definitely a smart move as you get way more channels and better picture and sound quality. Alternatively you could go for Sky+ if you are able to put up a satellite dish where you live (I can't, worse luck, otherwise I'd switch to Sky+ immediately to get the hard disk recording and other extra functionality that cable doesn't yet have, plus it's a bit cheaper!).

    Well everyone has to start somewhere and at least you're coming in at the point when prices for dvd discs are quite a lot lower than when they first came out! Therefore you'll be able to buy a lot more for the same money:D

    A wise move - I just got an Ipod and it is is brilliant! And i don't know how I ever lived without broadband - I'm on PIPEX and they're pretty good value, although you can, of course, go down the NTL route very easily. Just remember they offer a 128Mbps service which is not real broadband. Go for the 512 mbps service.

    It looks pretty good value at that price, however I would still recommend you look at the 36" options from Panasonic, Tosh, Philips and Sony. I bought a 28" 4 years ago and wished within 6 months I'd gone for the 32" screen :(

    Basically, component video is a form of video signal, in the same way as composite and scart both are. Component splits the video signal into 3 distinct signals thus keeping more of it intact for reproduction when it reaches the display, hence better quality. Progressive scan is a technology that enhances a picture on a video display by adding information to the scanned lines to make it smoother/clearer/sharper. Composite and scart will not perform progressive scan duties whereas component will. Other people on this forum are better qualified than me to explain this but I think I've got the general idea anyway! :D

    Therefore if you have the option of buying a tv which will display progressive scan (and to do this it must have component video inputs on the back) and if you have the option of also buying a dvd player with progressive scan (and likewise it must have component video outputs on the back) then that's the best way to go for the highest quality picture.

    However, progressive scan comes in both NTSC and PAL form. NTSC is the tv system they use in North America (i.e. Region 1 dvds) and PAL is the system we use in Europe (i.e. Region 2 dvds). Now what you have to watch for is whether the tv you buy can display prog scan and if so, whether it does just NTSC or both NTSC and PAL. The same will the apply to the DVD player you buy. So if you get a tv that only does NTSC prog scan you will not get prog scan pictures from any PAL (Region 2) dvds, only from NTSC (Region 1) dvds. Whereas any tv that does both NTSC and PAL prog scan will allow you to get prog scan pictures from a suitable NTSC & PAL prog scan dvd player with both Region 1 and 2 dvds.

    I hope this hasn't confused you too much, Bill! Reading over it again I think I've got it right but it's been a long day :D

    Neil
     
  14. old-Bill

    old-Bill
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    Neil,

    You are very kind and your knowledge is most appreciated, I was reaching the stage that the more I learned the less I understood.

    What TV and Home cinema system/DVD player can I get that does component video input/output for both Pal and NTSC progressive scan?

    Even pointing me in the right direction without having to wade through masses of previous discussion would be most appreciated.

    Bill
     
  15. balders

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    Bill,

    I agree with bonzobanana.

    I'd recommend the Tosh TVs - I've got a 36zp18 myself, and the picture is great, especially when connected using the component connection to the DVD player (Tosh, again).

    The surround sound system that comes with the larger Tosh's is 'OK', and provides 5.1 Dolby Digital surround. The sound quality was actually quite suprising given the tiny speakers. I've been using them for about 18 months now, and have only just been taken by the urge to upgrade to a 'proper' home cinema system.

    I'm not sure how much better than these the Panasonic Home Cinema kit would be (someone mentioned once that the Tosh speakers cost £250 if bought seperately from Toshiba). If I was you I'd consider saving the £390 and putting it towards a better surround system (if that's what you want). You may find that the standard Tosh speakers do the job for now though.

    The new Tosh 330 DVD player is supposed to be very good, and can be had for about £90. Couple this with a 36" Tosh, and you should be looking at about £1300 for the package (eg, www.empiredirect.co.uk).

    Good luck,

    Balders.
     
  16. old-Bill

    old-Bill
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    Thanks Balders, thats what I will do.

    The only thing I now need to find is a DVD player with component output and progressive scan in Pal and NTSC, does anyone have an opinion or knowledge of what to go for.

    Can upgrade sound later if necessary.

    Bill
     
  17. nabby

    nabby
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    Well I'm on the verge of buying a Sony DVPNS930 from www.digital-point.co.uk which costs £222 including postage and that has the outputs you'd need. It has been well rated in reviews. Alternatively, the Harmon Kardon (HK) DVD506 or DVD25 will aslo do but they come in at about £30-£60 more expensive. Have a look at www.av-sales.com for the HK DVD506 LE. HK also do excellent surround sound amps/receivers which could provide a good future upgrade.

    Neil
     
  18. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    I reckon the Yamaha DVDS540 for £110 multi-region at richer sounds is probably the best of the bunch for this kind of price!!!

    It does pal and ntsc prog scan.

    Many happy owners on the dvd department here I think.

    Wasabi
     
  19. nabby

    nabby
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    Good point, Wasabi! Does it play DVD R/RW plus and minus as well?

    Neil
     
  20. old-Bill

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    Thanks folks,

    been looking up the internet, scanning Richer Sounds, its really a minefield for the uninitiated.

    Talked to the salesmen in various shops; beginning to realise they know a lot less than me in the short time I have been browsing. (1-week)

    Its fortunate that I found a forum with truthfull and knowledgible people in it.

    In Currys they demonstrated the Toshiba 36ZP38B with free! DVD player, but the DVD player connected was not the free one advertised in the display, as it had component video output and was the model above the one they were going to provide, as I found out later.

    Next day when I was clarifying what they were really selling:

    The security guy, in disguise, was following me as I kept looking at the back of the items to see what connections were avalible , suspicious behaviour!.

    I said hello and asked him a few technical questions; as he kept standing behind me, he did not answer but moved off in a Secret Agent sort of way.( Well Hollywood Secret Agent)

    Also it turns out, after being told the DVD player had progressive scan! ie the one that was not going to be supplied, it turns out only in NTSC, unknown to the salesman.

    Went to Comet, they had the one connected in Curries but also supplied this for free. (MY arse!, sorry but not even it's for free).

    Thankfully the secret agent had gone for his lunch or knew his job

    Buyer beware!- cant remember the Latin!
     

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  21. Wasabi

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    old-bill & nabby,

    According to www.dvdrhelp.com it reads both R/RW + and -, and it plays mp3 recorded on both formats and jpegs as well. Finally, it has a high average score there and I stress again, many happy owners here. Already when it was sold at £140, it was considered a true bargain but now at £110 it is a super bargain, for people who only needs component inputs.

    I dare to say, no other player (excluding dvi players) give as much performance/pound as the Yamaha.

    I hope you choose the Yam :clap:


    Just to guide you more into TV's and whats out there.
    The brands at the moment that can receive pal prog scan signals via component inputs are JVC, Panasonic and Toshiba. Not Philips or Sony or others. Loewe can accept pal prog scan via vga input.

    JVC HV36P38SJ is a very new model (the 32inch has been out for 2-3months) and it is the only tv that is HDTV (High Definition Signals) ready, and a few members are trying to make their htpc work with it and it looks promising. If people are not too interested with analog broadcast and will mainly use dvd and htpc, it is probably the best bargain tv on the market.

    Best deals at this moment on JVC 36" with stand
    http://www.riptonsdirect.com/more_info.asp?id=HV-36P38SJEC&main=Televisions (£1218 new retailer)

    http://www.hiwayhifi.com/site/product.asp?section=2&cat=37&sub=173&prod=21193 (£1230 retailer score 4.1/5)

    You can check the all the rest of retailers and prices here
    http://uk.pricerunner.com/sound-and-vision/vision/tv/185461/prices


    Panasonic TX36-PD30C has got on this forum quite a high dissatisfied owners ratio at the moment with many having changed 2-3sets already (mainly the 32inch owners), but that might change as it seems to concern the early production batch, maybe the January ones are much better, and many members are using the service menu to correct most of the faults. Those who got a good unit, are extreme happy with it, and says its got the best picture ever seen. The question is still out there.

    Best deals at this moment on Panasonic 36" with stand
    http://www.digital-point.co.uk/model.asp?ID=350 (£1349 retailer score 4.2/5)

    PRCdirect 3.7/5, digitaldirect 4/5 and robertsons 3.6/5 are £50 cheaper but their average score is a bit lower.

    You can check the all the rest of retailers and prices here http://uk.pricerunner.com/sound-and-vision/vision/tv/152325/prices


    Toshiba ZP38is the eldest of the 3, but that probably means that most errors are rectified (and yes it did have quite few problems). It is quite quiet now on the tv department, it seems that not many new owners at the moment as Panasonic and JVC has entered, but still quite a few totals very happy owners here. I think it gives very good pictures with both analog and dvd, and it is the slimmest of them all.

    Best deals at this moment on Toshiba 36" with stand
    http://www.digitaldirectuk.com/products_moreinfo3/index.asp?product_id=2613 (£1246 retailer score 4/5)

    You can check the all the rest of retailers and prices here
    http://uk.pricerunner.com/sound-and-vision/vision/tv/152325/prices

    I hope I haven't consfused you now. Basically you have 3 sets to choose from. With the £110 for dvd player and tv ranging from £1218 to £1349, you are up on between £1328 to £1459. Allow £100-£120 for component cables, digital coax interconnect and speaker cables. which gives you a budget for your surround sound system of between £1050 to £800 if you want to stretch to £2500, or maybe you realise that with the savings you make by maybe taking our advice, you want to lower your budget to £2000 (no probs) that gives a budget of £570 to £420 depending on your choice (or it could be another price as well). The budget allows for a separate units systems, which we also can give advice whenever you say the word go :p


    Wasabi
     
  22. old-Bill

    old-Bill
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    My God! Wasabi,,

    What a comprehensive answer, you know your stuff!

    Yes please GO! GO! GO! on separates.

    Bill

    ps what is the dvi you mention?
     
  23. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    DVI means digital video interface I think.

    It is using pure digital signals between the sources. These days only projectors, plasmas or tft pc monitors that have that kind of connections. I doubt it will ever come to a CRT tv. And yes it is giving much better picture including higher resolutions compared with component signals.

    Please do search on the TV models we have mentioned in the TV department, so you can find the answers yourself, or if you trust us to give you a summary of what they say.

    We will start recommending separates as soon as you have decided on the TV and DVD player.

    So are you keen on the yamaha?

    Wasabi
     
  24. nabby

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    You can get the Yamaha DVDs540 with a Yamaha RXV740RDS receiver fior £399.99 at www.superfi.co.uk

    I'm not sure if this is a goood deal or not though?

    Neil
     
  25. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    That is a good deal nabby, a saving of £47 compared with separate purchasing. £110 at Richers for 540 and £337 at empire for 740.

    Wasabi
     
  26. nikpartou

    nikpartou
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    Apologies for interrupting this thread, but i too am looking at the Toshiba 32 (or 36) ZP38 or alternatively the Panasonic 32/36 PD30. i have a couple of questions that perhaps someone can answer for me:-

    1) my investigations into the above two TV's led me to understand that they both supported PAL and NTSC progressive scan. Can anybody confirm this?

    2) If i opt for the toshiba, will the speakers that are supplied with it become surplus to requirements when i purchase my Home Cinema system (the new Denon 770SD)

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated
     
  27. old-Bill

    old-Bill
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    Keep writing lads I'm learning all the time,

    I will probably wait until after Christmas to make a purchase for obvious reasons.

    Merry Christmas.
     

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  28. balders

    balders
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    2) Probably - the supplied Tosh speakers aren't really good enough for use within a full home cinema setup. They're ok, but you'll probably want to replace them with somethine better if you're getting a new amp anyway.

    Balders.
     
  29. nikpartou

    nikpartou
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    Thankyou Balders, can you confirm that the Tosh and Panasonics are both compatable with PAL and NTSC progressive scan?
     
  30. old-Bill

    old-Bill
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    Hi,
    I was also wondering what 36" CRT, TV's had Progressive scan in PAL and NTSC. (Is the Toshiba NTSC and PAL as I read earlier in this thread?).

    If I purchase the Toshiba it seems that some of the price must go to the included speakers and 5.1 surround decoder; which will be duplicated if I purchase a receiver and speakers separately?

    What is is the common sense approach and what suitable 36" CRT TV's are avalible with progressive scan in PAL & NTSC without duplication of above?

    Bill
     

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