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Hitachi 42 Plasma? And futureproof?

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by David, Aug 9, 2003.

  1. David

    David
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    I've just had a look at the Hitachi 42PMA400E Plasma TV in Richer Sounds. They had it next to a 42 inch LG model, and it looked soooo much better. Is it?

    Also, how long will it be before HDTV makes us throw out all our old equipment, and will this monitor play a high definition signal? Need to be able to justify spending 2,500 quid on a telly!!

    David
     
  2. Darren Blake

    Darren Blake
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    I think the Hitachi's PQ is better than the LG one (I too saw them both at my local RS) but then again I am biased because I own a PMA.

    There may be some issues with the Hitachi and HDTV, however, because the Hitachi glass uses ALIS (interlacing) technology.
     
  3. tbrar

    tbrar
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    David,

    I dont know how much you know, so if I am going over stuff youre knowledgable on I apologise.

    As previous poster said the panel is an ALiS panel (Alternative Lighting of Surfaces).

    In a nut shell it displays an interlaced picture, not progressive. The difference is the panel (simalr to a CRT) displays two feilds to make up a single frame. It does this very quickly however so as the eye does not notice (ie, in PAL it displays half the frame ,called a feild, in the 1st 50th second and the second feild in the second 1/50th second. Thereby showing a full frame in 1/25th second. A progressive panel shows all the picture information in one go, ie one frame every 1/50th second.

    With respect to HD, currently there are two formats being used:- 1080i (1080 lines displayed in interlaced manner, that is 540 in the first 1/50th second and 540 in the second 1/50th second. The second is 720p, whereby the 'p' stands for progressive and means that all of the lines of picture are displayed in one go, ie 720 lines displayed in 1/50th second.

    Both these are the HD formats broadcast in the States.

    Regarding the panels HD suitability, although the panel will display both, it is better suited to displaying one over the other.

    As stated the panel is interlaced. It has a resolution of 1024 x 1024i. With the 'i' standing for interlaced. The way the panel works is it receives an incoming signal, lets say a 576i PAL Video source. The panel internally converts this to a progressive signal, 576p, upscales to its native resolution making it 1024p, then finally converts back to an interlaced 1024i signal prior to display. It therfore displays two feilds of 512. This is how the panel displays all formats put into it, apart from a 1080i source.

    The panel is very well suited to the 1080i HD format with the 'i' standing for interlaced. This is because the panel will display 1024i (its resolution is 1024x1024i), it does this by chopping 28 lines (540-512) of information from each feild (not downscaling), hence displays 512 lines for each feild as opposed to 540. This is excellent as it is nearly displaying the entire 1080i signal as intended (which is two feilds of 540).

    With a 720p signal however, although the panel will display it, it will do so by downscaling the signal to match its resolution and will display a progressive source in an interlaced manner.

    So to summarise its excellent for one of the current HD formats (1080i) not so good for the other (720p).

    Thats just a breif summary, there is a lot more to consider in displaying HD content (especially for the future), in the main HDCP copy protected DVI inputs which I do not think this panel has made allowances for. The copy proteced DVI input is a way to guard against HD sources being copied. Its major pushers as a standard were the big Hollwood studios obviously trying to protect their profits. It is envisaged that in order to view HD material in the future your source and display must both have HDCP DVI compatabilty (though there other factors, input options, to consider.......).

    To aid your research a really good Plasma FAQ is located at www.avsforum.com, depending on what you know this may be a good starting point to establishing whats important to you in making a dicision for a display.


    Cheers


    Tony
     
  4. WIRY

    WIRY
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    yo David

    Look at it like this for a sec, buy the 400e and save 750 on the panny 6 (once got cards) and a 1000 on the pio mxe,which are the only real contenders in the plasma market, put that money you saved in a high intrest back account and give it two years , say when hdtv comes out in the uk (we hope) your money u saved will then buy you a brand new plasma, specally if you flog your old one, but saying that the way the prices are falling you could still keep your old one and wack it in the bathroom lol



    tbrar
    You seem to be a knowledgeable chap, could you please tell me if normal region 2 dvd`s would show up a better picture on alis screens than pro scan, are regon 2 dvd`s interlaced to begin with i mean
    which in theroy would mean that alis screens where better for region 2 etc


    David good luck with your purchase


    best regards
    wiry
    :smoke:

    P.S The 400E is also perfect for the JVC HDTV player/recorder
    but it has no digi ports, and has a fan, but what a saving tho
    decisions decisions, that was me two weeks ago aswell
    feel free to ask away about the 400e etc
     
  5. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Wiry,

    I see what your getting at.

    Yes DVD content is usually always encoded as interlaced, two feilds making a frame.

    However its not as simple as that.. Film material for the cinema is shot in a frame by frame, progressive nature, have a look at the following :-

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_7_4/dvd-benchmark-part-5-progressive-10-2000.html
    [size=0.5](This will explain how film sources are recorded, how it is then encoded on DVD, how interlaced / progressive displays cope with it etc. Hopefully it will prove of use.)[/size]

    In a nut shell the answer to your question is it doesnt mean that ALiS panels are better suited & the article will go some way to explain why that is. With ALiS panel everything interlaced put into the panel (apart from 1080i) is internally converted to progressive first, scaled, then converted back to interlaced before display.

    In any case enjoy your panel and the JVC Digital VHS, I may well join you in that DVHS purchase. Do you know what formats the software comes in, ie 1080i, 720p etc?? also if the range of software is quite large:- ie loads of good movies?

    Cheers


    Tony
     
  6. David

    David
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    Thanks guys for some really comprehensive replies. I think on the strength of them I'm going to go for the Hitachi. Now £2,500 is a good price, but does anyone know anywhere even cheaper?

    David
     
  7. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Hi David,

    That was quick !!

    What makes you want to leap in straight away? There are good points to the Hitachi, one of which is its price also the way it deals with a 1080i source. But you do need to be aware of some of its limitations.

    One as has been mentioned is the lack of flexible, future proof, inputs. The second drawback (for me) is it is an ALIS panel. As stated it will show an interlaced picture, (although its is good for a 1080i source). However for all other sources; feeding its progressive or otherwise, it will converted to an interlaced picture before display. Also its resolution, although stated as 1024 x 1024. You have to remember the way ALiS works. At any given refresh rate (1/50th Second for PAL) the number of pixels in use will be 1024 x 512, in fact that is the maximum number of pixels that can be used. Compare this to a progressive HD set, where at any given refresh rate 1024 x 768 pixels are used, ie all of them.

    I think before you spend some cash a good viewing against the respected progressive panels; such as Pioneer & Panasonic is essential. Contact a respected knowledgable Home Cinema dealer as opposed a high street retailer. I fully recommend Joe from The Media Factory (www.tmfsolutions.co.uk) an excellent guy in the know.

    If after that you feel the same way, then go ahead & spend the dosh !!. As stated you want a future proof panel, why rush into spending that sort of cash on the face of a few threads on a forum and one dodgy viewing comparison.

    Good Luck


    Tony
     
  8. Easy2BCheesy

    Easy2BCheesy
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    I agree entirely - when spending thousands of pounds on what is at the end of the day, only a TV, you really need to be 100% happy with your decision. The only way to do that is to roadtest each of the screens until you're happy.

    I saw the Hitachi 400e and it was impressive. Then I saw the Pioneer 433 MXE and to my eyes, it blew the Hitachi away in terms of detail. It might well be different for you, but you won't know until you've checked all the contenders out!
     
  9. David

    David
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    Thanks for the further replies. I know what you mean, but actually the other screens are so much more expensive as to really be beyond my price range. Also I don't know enough about the technicalities to know what would be a serious test. I could certainly arrange to compare them with a standard DVD input in somewhere like John Lewis or Selfridges, but if I've understood your points correctly, this is the very material at which it will excel. Where would I test it with high definition material to compare with progressive scan monitors? Also I don't know enough about progressive scan Vs interlaced to know in what circumstances its better and how I can see this in a demonstration. Any salesman would be able to put one over on me on these points.

    How much lower quality would it be if the screen had to interlace the material first? How much do we know about the likely HD system that will come to Britain? When is all this likely to be (or more to the point be affordable)? If we are talking about 4-5 years I'm willing to take the risk. If its more like 2-3 years I suppose I would have to think more carefully about the Hitachi. Although if the quality loss is not enourmous, it could always be relegated to the bedroom at that point.

    Sorry, this has got a bit rambling. I hope you're able to make some sense of it.

    David
     
  10. tbrar

    tbrar
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    HD is here, now if you want it. You can by HD Movies on 1080i encoded DVD's and DVHS tapes. From the 1st January 2004 you will, should you wish, be able to subscribe to Europes first ever HD broadcast service. Granted this is not BBC1 type programming availabe any time soon, but if you want it its there. TBH all this expense on my part is not so that GMTV looks the business in the morning, or indeed to watch a football match in as much detail as possible !, its the Movies that are my passion. And as said you can freely get HD material now.

    How much better is progressive than interlaced, for me there is a huge difference looking at a Hitachi and say the Pioneer 433MXE feeding them both a DVD, it very noticable. I owned a Hitachi 42PD3000 prior to my Pioneer. To me there was a big difference in PQ. I fed them both by my current Arcam - both interlaced & progressive. But this is a personal opinion - you need to view yourself really.

    You have got quite a lot that needs clarifying, quite rightly take your time to do so. I mean do you really want to spend £2.5 - £3k every couple of years on a display if you can help it. I certainly wouldn't and dont.

    Honest, you really would benefit from talking to a Home Cinema Specialist, try Joe from The Media Factory, he will not try to sell you anything (he hasn't me). Basically he outlines it as it is and leaves you to make a decision.

    http://www.tmfsolutions.co.uk.

    There really is only so much that one can put down in a forum response ! :)

    Good Luck

    Cheers


    Tony
     
  11. WIRY

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    hi geezer


    go do your self an eyeball test, i did a few before my purchase, i had enough to buy ether the pio, panny6 or the hitachi`s, and after my eyeball tests, running a fav dvd, the hitachi won out the pio was worse of all, (but in all honsetly there was`nt much init atall)- so you see it is a very personal thing, and the above threads, saw the opersit to me, do as tbar says
    thats some cool advice he has for ya:)



    good luck with what ever you end up with, you cant really go wrong with ether make, just stay away from the LG`s:)



    best regards
    wiry


    :smoke:
     
  12. David

    David
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    Thanks again. Ok I'll do some homework first. I'm probably a bit over-keen to get my hands on one of those beauties and kind of hoped that the answer would be simple (eg go and buy X).

    I'll contact the firm you mentioned and have a bit of a read first.

    Does anyone know if there are even better entry level models headed for the market in the near future?

    Thanks again for all your help. Seriously good answers on this forum.
    David
     

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