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High Definition

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by Hodman, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. Hodman

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    Admiring Comet's impressive Hi-Def demo of the Sagem Axium reminded me that I've yet to see any working Hi-Def demo of any plasma screens.
    In fact, Hi-Def ready panels are not exactly promoted in the popular electrical stores (and most online outlets).

    No attempts are made at feeding them with a Hi-Def signal of any kind.
    It's difficult to convince potential buyers of the benefits of spending 50% more on a HD panel which sometimes struggles to reproduce standard definition images as well as SD panels.

    Are Comet/Sagem stealing the show in preparing Joe public for hi-def. ?

    Are there many HD Plasma owners out there who routinely watch hi-def material ?
     
  2. DeadMan3000

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    Not until Sky launch their promised HDTV services and Blu-Ray or HD-DVD make their way over here will we see it start to creep in. In fact I believe it won't be until the BBC start to broadcast HDTV signals that we will see any significant move towards HDTV. The government is also to blame for not stepping in like the US and Japan. Instead we rely on 'competition' and have to suffer 'more' ****ty channels instead of better quality digital signals.
     
  3. grahamtriggs

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    If you go down Tottenham Court Road or Harrods in London, then you will see HDTV demos of plasmas.

    It's actually quite good that there are few demonstrations of HD panels using HD sources - because far too many of them only accept high resolutions at 50hz over the component inputs, and not over DVI-HDCP / HDMI.

    This makes a number of high definition panels that are currently on the UK market incompatible with future HD services.

    Unfortunately, the SAGEM is also in the same boat at the moment, as they did not implement HDCP on the DVI connection. Although SAGEM have said that they are working on a solution - but anyone buying it now on the strength of a HD demo will find that they can't use HD without having their set modified/upgraded.
     
  4. theo cupier

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    is there any point in buying sets with higher than normal resolution - eg 1024 x 1024 like the Hitachi 42PD5200 or LG RZ42PX12 (although this is only 1024 x 768) as being more 'HDTV-ready' than sets like the Pannys which are at much lower resolutions?

    My theory was that if they are higher res they will be able to take better advantage of HDTV - at least at first and hence might be better long-term buys than lower res screens.

    Is this fair, or is it better to go for screens that look good now on the grounds that they wont suddenly look bad when HD arrives, in fact the HD signal - if they can receive it - will make some improvement to their display?

    I'm hoping to demo the Hit, LG and probably the PW6/7 - is it more sensible to buy the one which looks best now, rather than on the basis of what might be (which looks like being the lower res Panny)? Or am I setting myself up with a screen which will be a poor cousin in only a couple of years?
     
  5. MAW

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    Though it pains me to say it, the LG and the Pioneer FDE/XDE are the ONLY true hi def ready plasmas, all the rest have issues either about HDCP or about 50Hz signals. You might be lucky and add an NEC model to the list, but it's iffy, nobody is quite sure.
     
  6. grahamtriggs

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    There is no doubt that you can get excellent results with a high res screen now. Depending on the model, the internal scaling may not be great, and you may get significantly better results with a dedicated scaler.

    An SD display can outperform an HD display with SD material if the scaling for the HD display is poor.

    If you want to think about the future, first and foremost you need to make sure that the display has a HDCP compatible DVI port, or HDMI, and that it can accept 720p and 1080i signals at 50hz over it. That is fundamentally more important than screen resolution, as HD content is still an improvement, even on an SD display. AFAIK, the Hitachi does not accept 720p@50hz digitally. The PW6 doesn't. The PW7 doesn't (yet - a new HDMI board might correct that).

    But this is the important point - ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU. If you ask for opinions about HD material, you will get a wide range of responses, none of which relate to your circumstances.

    How much are you prepared to spend now? How soon will you be able to replace that screen if you need to for HDTV? HD will be available in 2 years, but how quickly do you want to buy in to it?

    Bottom line is you know what is required to be compatible with the future. If you don't buy something with that compatability, you will need to replace it before buying into HD. You have to decide how it relates to you and your budget(s).

    SD or HD screen - you can get good results with either. If you think the PQ is good, then it is good (for you). Any screen you buy now that is good and is compatible with future HD services will be better with HD content. If it happens to have high resolution, then it will be better still (if you see what I mean).
     
  7. theo cupier

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    Graham, thanks, a very balanced view. Maw, worrying comments about the lack of HD-ready screens, I didn't realise they were that thin on the ground.

    The short answer to your points above is that I've not got a huge budget, probably £2K and that will need to cover any extras like mounts (and boards etc for the Panny). Equally, I doubt that I'm going to get clearance from Mrs Cupier to spend this much if she thinks I'm going to start agitating to replace it within a couple of years (or mourning the perceived obsolesence of it), so longevity needs to be a consideration.

    I think the point you are making is that I have to choose whether that longevity is achieved by buying a great SD screen (which sounds like it will be the Panny, from the comments here) and living with that in the HD world, or buying a 'more HD' screen like the LG, which may prove to be a slight compromise in PQ in today's SD world, but should come in to its own in a couple of years.

    Looks like the HD-ready Pioneers are out of my price range at 42/43 in (unless someone knows different), so it seems to come down to the Panny for great SD or the LG for HD readiness. Pannys seem to be fairly omnipresent, whereas I've only found 247electricals who even stock the LG and I've not seen anywhere with one to demo. Anyone know different?

    Graham - you mentioned that the PW7 was waiting on a HDMI input being available to make it a good 'best of both worlds' screen (HD ready and good PQ for now). Is this input likely to be built? I've seen some threads suggesting that Pannys are not going to be HD ready because the inputs aren't going to happen, am I reading this right?
     
  8. grahamtriggs

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    The LG is still great for SD, but it does need some work in the setup. No, I haven't seen anywhere else that has the 42PX12X. As I've said before, Harrods has the 42PY10 on display - which is technically the same screen in a shinier box. Make sure you look at the 42PX11 as well - it is an SD screen, but it is compatible with forthcoming HDTV.

    There is already a HDMI board, BUT it is not compatible with the necessary signals (720p/1080i @ 50hz). It has been mentioned on this forum that Panasonic are working on a new revision of the board that fixes this, but as to how likely that is, there has only been one source to say that.

    The other question is how important is it that you do this now? If you wait 1 - possibly 2 - years, there will be more choice of screens that have full HDTV compatability. And you may have a bit more budget to spend.
     
  9. Sheks

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    An interesting thread. I too am considering a Plasma to replace our aging (but still great picture) 29" 4:3 Sony CRT.

    We no longer have $ky - just freeview.

    The idea of mounting a flat screen on the wall and gaining some space back from the existing TV is very appealing. Just got a (cheap) 17" widescreen LCD for the dining room, not a bad picture, ok for "casual" viewing - but takes up very little space and looks very stylish (WAF).

    The whole hi-def thing tho has me confused, is freeview (or terrestrial digital) likely to go hi-def in the near (5 years) future. If I was to spend upto 2K (max present budget) on a screen I would expect it to last 5-10 years. Are "decent" plasma's likely to hit the magic £1k barrier in 2005?, or are the likes of Panasonice gonna maintain circa £2k and just improve image quality for the same money?

    I did see a hi-def demo 3-4 years back in Florida, if memory serves it was on a large rear-pro screen and was an American football game. The picture was breathtaking, I would liken it to looking out of a window; soooo much detail.

    Another consideration would be the possible arrival over the next 18 months or so of the next generation of consoles, Xbox2 and PS3 with the possiblity of these sporting HD-DVD (Xbox) and blueray (PS3) hi-def might be a better "long-term" bet.

    Confused

    Sheks
     
  10. Lizzard

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    But you can scale the incoming signal to 1024x768/60Hz or 1366x768/60Hz from a 1280x720/50Hz or 1920x1080/50Hz signal with a Lumagen or similar scaler to your plasma.

    You will get some judder but most people doesn't even notice it.
     
  11. jwramsay

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    Wot about the 434-HDE?
     
  12. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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    434hde works...

    Incidentally if you go to Pioneer dealers you may well find that many have been provided JVC DTheater HD decks and/or Quali1080HDTV satellite boxes for the very purpose of demonstrating their superior pixel count......

    Gordon
     
  13. Ross_R

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    ...a quick note from across the pond....

    Although we've got terrestrial HD in Toronto (only a few stations) beamed off the CN Tower as well as some "leakage" from the 'States across Lake Ontario, the choice is very limited.

    Instead, I'm renting an HD set-top box from my local cable company (Rogers) for $15 Canadian per month. With this I have 12 HD stations -- six from the US and six Canadian. For another $5 / month, I can get six more HD stations (which I'm not doing...) We also have HD pay-per-view and will soon have HD-on-demand (we already have SD-on-demand). Interesting, the public-funded CBC (Canadian version of BBC, of course) is not available in HD, but both of the major Canadian private broadcasters (Global and CTV) are already available in HD.

    The only station that I receive that deliveres HD 24/7 is the American PBS from Detroit. The other statoins still use a lot of SD material. Almost all the weekend football games from the 'States are in HD now.

    As for SD quality -- our entire analog cable service (channels 2 through 78) has been mirrored in digital SD on channels 802 through 878. The SD quality over the digital mirrors is awfully darned good on my 50" Pio 1110HD (North American version of the 504HDE).

    I'm using HDMI for both SD/HD as well as DVD. I've done A/B tests between HDMI and both component and S-video. If you have the opportunity to do a similar A/B test, you might be suprised by the improvement delivered by HDMI. Not mind-blowingly better, but a modest improvement nonetheless.

    Ross
     
  14. Ekko Star

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    Yes totally agree and those that will start, will only start to *creep* in, in 2 years time.

    I'm still waiting for the promised widescreen programming, analogue switch off and 5.1 DD..... :rolleyes:

    What does it mean to your choice of plasma/display now ? Depends really on your viewing habits and what you demand and to how dissapointed you may be. Clearly manufacturers are not quite sure as to what the future holds and what it doesn't, even now, to be able to equip there equipment suitably so.

    If they don't quite know where it's quite going at the moment, I wouldn't get hung up on it if I were you. If it does bother you, then don't buy until it comes along and you will have the choice of buying a lot better equipment than what's available now to do the job.
     
  15. grahamtriggs

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    You could possibly - just about possibly - excuse manufacturers for having a DVI port that does not implement HDCP.

    But there is no excuse for not implementing 720p and 1080i @50hz over DVI - and especially - HDMI interfaces. They are absolute no-brainers for the European market.
     
  16. Ymegod

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    I have already seen Blu-Ray working, in the U.K., and it is mightily impressive. Sadly this was in the worst of all environments, a S**y shop. Sorry to swear on the Forum. For all S**y owners this is irony, as nobody is allowed to mention any other plasmas other than those that begin with the letter P.
    This may well have been mentioned before but will the advent of HDTV in the U.K. just increase the monopoly of Sky in digital television. There will undoubtedly be an extra subscription for the set top box as well. Will it all be worth it ? Having read a lot of the bumph on HDTV and also scoured the Forum for info I am beginning to doubt it but I dare say there are those who cannot wait.
    If MAW can only think of a two high definition ready plasma manufacturers, one beginning with P and one that seems to attract regular scorn on the forum, then there are going to be an awful lot of disappointed people come the onset of HDTV.
     
  17. Ekko Star

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    Ymegod, once it's here in a settled format I don't think many will be disappointed.

    If you are restricting your choice of panel purely on the terms of HDTV, then it really is best to wait. Why limit yourself to the limited choice that's available now ? Better to wait for the real choice to become available and buy at that time when manufacturers, broadcasters and consumers know where it's all headed for sure.
     
  18. Ymegod

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    Ekko Star,
    I did not mean that people will be disappointed with HDTV. I meant that all of the people who have recently bought plasmas having been assured they were high definition ready will now find, following the Sky announcement, that they are nothing of the sort. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
    The people who have been fortunate and bought the correct plasma whether by good luck or sound judgment will, I am sure, be faced with an extra subscription fee. I am not quite sure how much more Sky believe they can squeeze out of their customers.
    Neither am I sure of the programme content when HDTV starts up. I can only hope it is better than the dross currently being served up.
     
  19. Ekko Star

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    Totally agree with you. It will be the same dross but better resolution, more fool those if you wish to be the guinea pigs to pay premium rate for it, early on.

    No ones got the *right* plasma now. Being HD capable does not mean it's any good or that someone else will like the image from it. Better to wait if HD is your primary aim at this moment in time.
     
  20. Joe Fernand

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    Hello all

    Ymegod - I suspect Sony dealers (and Tottenham Court Road) will be the first places to have Blu-ray 'on demonstration' in the UK.

    Hodman - as Gordon (Convergent-AV) points out Pioneer dealers are already in on the HD demo act.

    What you have to be clear on is that HD is (or will be) available in a any number of formats - these include Pre Recorded Blue Laser discs (HD DVD and Blu-ray from Japan), Pre Recorded Red Laser discs (HDV, EVD and FVD from China and East Asia), Pre Recorded Tape (D-Theatre from JVC), PC (WM9 from Microsoft) and finally from Digital broadcasters.

    In the UK only SKY have said what they are planning and the 'problem' is that the majority of Display's and TV's currently on the market are not compatible with the 720P(50) and 1080i(25) signal SKY have said they are offering broadcasters/program makers on the SKY network.

    Choose very carefully if you want your next TV to be compliant with a wide range of HD formats.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  21. Igwiz

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    Hello all,

    A long time lurker, first time poster. Given what everybody is saying about paying a premium for early adopoption and the limited range available, if you had to choose one of the following and space wasn't an issue, would you

    a) Buy a HD compliant plasma ca£3000?
    b) Buy a "better" current plasma ca£2500?
    c) Buy a 36" CRT top of the range eg Toshiba 36zp48 ca£1000

    My logic being that you can get away with spending a grand now on the best picture quality (CRT) and then in a couple of years' time prices on the plasmas will have come done, standards will be set and you can upgrade accordingly then. I appreciate you are giving up some screen size and perhaps some style but I would be interested in other people's views. For what it's worth, the plasmas I am considering are the Panny 42 Viera and the Hitachi 42PD5?00 and the CRT is the Toshiba 36zp48.

    Many Thanks,

    Ig
     
  22. MAW

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    And nobody is excusing Panasonic, and it seems neither are they. They are certainly well aware of the shortcomings of the digital inputs, and the fact that it does not meet HDMI 1.1 spec. Terrible shame, for otherwise a tour de force on the plasma market. I'm looking into NEC as an alternative, but have yet to physically verify what they will take, and I still have misgivings about PQ, though most of my clients wouldn't notice, it would still be wounding if someone did, and I always feel a bit shabby for a 2nd rate job, even if not my fault.
     
  23. Oblomov

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    MAW

    I don't understand why you are so dubious about the NEC HD plasmas.

    With regard to Sky HD compatibility the screens are high resolution, Liam has successfully inputted a 720p/50 signal via DVI and I have had an e-mail from NEC stating that the DVI input will accept both 720p/50 and 1080i/50. It is also HDCP compliant. What more do you want? Admittedly, it unfortunately does not accept 1024x768/50 which is a pain because I want to use a HCPC but the MXE1 is the one and only plasma that will accept this.

    With regard to picture quality there is little evidence compared to Panasonic and Pioneer maybe but all the European reviews and American forum comments have been extremely favourable. Also, Liam gave a very comprehensive review to a forum member which was posted on a NEC thread. I know that he sells them but his positive findings are supported by the other evidence.

    I am not looking for an argument, I just want to find out as much as I can before I buy an XR3.
     
  24. MAW

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    I can sell NEC just as easily as Liam, and from the same source I daresay, but I'm just not quite so confident as him and them to blithely state that everything will work. Some models definitely do not work, so it's necessary to be very specific. You take the one Liam has tested and I'm sure you are safe, of course. He's a reliable chap, shame about the car. (Alfas, who'd have them?) I've recently installed a SD NEC panel, and whilst the client was very pleased, and so was the technician who did the job, it had so many inputs it made his life very easy, I was less than impressed with dithering and solarisation, it was not as good as a PW6, there was one of those in the house too, with the same source. Doubtless it's possible to improve on the 'out of the box' picture, but this was a like for like comparison. I'm not saying the thing is junk (you know I'm not afraid to) but before giving it a serious thumbs up I'd want to see better out of it than that.
     
  25. Oblomov

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    Thanks for your comments MAW

    I believe that these NEC plasmas are set up at the factory for PC inputs and not video motion pictures. Liam admitted that the initial picture was not good heart and a fair amount of tinkering was required.

    I just hope that the wiring on his plasmas is better than Alfa wiring.......
     
  26. Ymegod

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    Joe,
    Without wishing to be pedantic Sony dealers already have Blu-Ray on demonstration as I have seen it locally.
    Having read, probably too much, re ; HDTV I was also aware that there are/will be several formats in which HD is to be made available. However unlike Igwiz who may wait until "Standards have been set" I prefer to take the plunge and, maybe, worry about that which may happen in eighteen months time at that time.
    Otherwise I may wait forever for the ideal. Why not enjoy whatever one considers the best now and worry about HDTV when it actually surfaces. This may sound like the rantings of a wealthy person, who can afford a plasma at the drop of a hat, but this is not the case. I believe that most companies have already developed the next generation of "Tempters" so that by the time a plasma will/should cost about a grand there will be little extras added that will convince the consumer that they should spend a bit more for the ultimate cinematic ? experience.
    Having been convinced by the people in the know, on this forum, that Panasonic was the way to go I now find, from these same people, that they are far from future-proof. I may well still go down the Panasonic path and worry about the future when it arrives. That sounds Irish doesn`t it ? The arrival of the future !
     
  27. Big Adam

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    Ok, I can accept that many have written off the Panny 42PHD7 for it's HDMI 50Hz problems...

    But can someone confirm whether or not this model will accept Hi-Def signals via component??

    If it DOES, are there any disadvantages sticking with this tried and tested connection?
     
  28. grahamtriggs

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    The disadvantage is that no current upscaling DVD player (AFAIK) or any future high definition device will officially support sending a high resolution signal via component connection.

    *If* you are lucky, there might be a device in the future that makes such a conversion - but the industry is very much behind copy protection, and that means DVI-HDCP, or HDMI.

    So the basic point is - you don't get to make that choice.
     
  29. Andrew_P_S

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    Maybe, maybe not. Having just bought a TH50PHD7 (fantastic kit) and weighing up the pros and cons I agree with the comment made earlier - i.e. I'll take that risk thanks! No, I am not wealthy enough to buy a new plasma every year, but it is a measured risk well worth taking IMHO.

    There are many comments on here from people who have decided to wait 2-3 years until the industry has settled down. Fine, no problem, go ahead, they are probably still marvelling at the colour they can get from their current sets following the recent upgrade from Black & White. THREE YEARS? I cannot wait that long, I want today's technology TODAY, without being reckless about the risk involved.

    Too many posts on here look for future problems, bitch about relative machinery and rubbish other people's choice of kit. Bog off, I'll have you a £100 bet I will be able to get SKY HD on my Panny plasma. As a worse case I will buy a frequency converter. Already watching Tomb Raider in High Definition, through WMV9 with more titles on the way

    Jam today I say!! ...who wants to wait forever?

    Whilst you procrastinate....... the world speeds by.....
     
  30. theo cupier

    theo cupier
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    Interesting you say that Andrew_P_S, I wouldn't call the mood that way.

    I've been posting daft questions about the types of plasma screen to look at for a little while and I get far more people saying 'move to the best plasma you can get now' than I have had people saying 'don't do it yet'.

    I think the advice on this board has been very measured (not that you're suggesting otherwise!). My issue is that £2K or so is not the sort of outlay I can afford on a television every few years let alone every 18 months to keep my set leading edge. I would imagine I am not alone here. A lot of people have told me to get on and upgrade because it will be a significant improvement on my current screen and stand me in good stead for many years.

    Having looked quite hard I think there are a few screens around which offer good SD performance (jam) today and will cope better than average with HD when it arrives (jam tomorrow).

    all I have to do now is find someone who will demo them to me!
     

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