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I want a plasma, but I have a million questions first

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by TeresaTT, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT
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    I've wanted a plasma for ages and now it looks like I'll be able to afford one soon (budget of about 3k). However, I'm worried about the picture quality that I might get from my Telewest cable box via TiVo. The picture can be quite bad on some of the very compressed channels on my Loewe Xelos 32" crt. Would a plasma make these unwatchable?

    I understand that the normal thing to do for better quality is to connect via a rgb to vga converter. However that will lose widescreen switching. I am one of those people who cannot bear to watch a stretched or chopped picture. It absolutely has to be in the correct aspect ratio. Watching digital TV there is a lot of aspect changing and I don't want to have to keep setting it manually. I know that AV sales do an aspect ratio switching box, but will this degrade the quality of the picture so that it negates any benefits of the rgb to vga converter?

    I'm interested in the Panasonic PW6 (or probably PW7 by the time I've sorted myself out). It's a shame that there are no discreet remote codes for the screen aspect ratios. It would drive me made having to toggle through all the modes every time. Are the panny scart boards really that bad? Would there be a big difference between one of these and a rgb to scart/aspect ratio switcher combination.

    I want to change my Yamaha DSP-A2 amp as it suffers from dropout. I see that some amps now do conversion to component. Would this be a good idea for connecting my DVD, S-VHS VCR, and XBox. My DVD does PAL progressive scan, so is it best to connect it directly to the plasma via a component board, rather than through an amp?

    It's frustrating that I won't be able to see a TiVo picture on a plasma until I get one. I'm worried that I might regret spending all that money on a plasma and all it's associated bits if the TiVo picture is unacceptable to me. I don't expect a brilliant picture, I just don't want it to be much worse than what I get on my crt.

    Thanks

    Teresa
     
  2. TonyPrince

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    I believe there are discrete codes for aspect setting. I use a Philips Pronto remote control (self programmed) for my Panasonic PW3 plasma. I press one button for 16/9 and another for stretched 4/3 ie no cycling.
     
  3. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT
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    TonyPrince, I searched the forum and found a post which said that this was a problem with the PW6. There is a lack of discrete codes for aspect ratio and inputs. I hope that the PW7 will have them.
     
  4. rubberducker

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    someone help this man, as i have all the same questions.....
     
  5. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT
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    Excuse me please, but I'm a woman.

    Teresa
     
  6. Brogan

    Brogan
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    You will be inundated with replies now.... ;)
     
  7. zedzed

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    Esp. if TeresaTT is woman who drives a TT (?) and is into "technology" stuff ;)


    ZedZed
     
  8. SteveRSF

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    Not sure about the tivo/codes..............but as far as spending the money...DO IT!

    i had the same reservations about how good it would be and how much money they are but...........you will be blown away,if you can afford to get one, then get one lol............i am well chuffed with mine every day

    Oh BTW try the pio434...........may be a little over 3K but well worth it! :D
     
  9. TonyPrince

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    I would be surpised if the Panasonic pw3 codes for aspect & possibly for input switching (PC/SVid/Component Vid) don't work on the pw6. If anyone has a Philips Pronto (& pw6) then I would be happy to send them my ccf & or pcf incorporating these discrete codes. They could test it & report back.
     
  10. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT
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    I would certainly be interested to see if the Pronto can control the aspect ratio and inputs. I'd be lost trying to control my home cinema without my Pronto.
     
  11. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT
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    I had a demo of a Panny PW6 and when it was put into 4:3 mode, the vertical bars at the side were lilac. This is all well and good if you have matching curtains but it was very distracting from the main picture and according to the dealer it couldn't be changed. What settings are there for the side bars? I realise that some colour is needed to reduce screen burn when watching 4:3 material, but why lilac?
     
  12. TonyPrince

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    Which Pronto do you have?
     
  13. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT
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    I have the ProntoNG RU950. I used to have the RU890, but upgraded because I wanted the hard cursor pad and extra hard buttons. Using TiVo involves a lot of list navigation which is much easier with hard buttons as opposed to buttons on a touchscreen. I'd love the colour version but couldn't justify the huge extra cost just for that.
     
  14. zygote

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    I just set up my shiny new PWD6 today so can give you my first impressions. I haven't changed the picture settings from factory so my impression might change. I also have Telewest. All my sources go through a scart switcher then into a JS Tech RGB2VGA to the panel.

    PQ from the STB varies from channel to channel e.g. BBC1 at the moment looks pretty darn good, others look awful (BBC3 seems particularly bad) although not a fault of the plasma. Having spoken to a tech recently it's alleged that TW are trying to push too many channels down the wire and something has to give. That something is compression. They're compressing the video more and more to accomodate the extra channels which results in more of the typical mpeg artefacts becoming visible on large screens. Sky is going the same way allegedly as they seem to be pushing more and more sport channels :boring: into the line up.

    PQ from my Sony DVD player is nothing short of breathtaking. As I have quite a dark taste in films, my collection is full of gloomy scenes and night shots. The PWD6 handles these admirably, the clarity and detail level is really quite stunning. So far I haven't seen any of the usual plasma suspects like colour banding or detail lost in a muggy cloud of pixels.

    This tradeoff between poor TV picture and stunning DVD picture is acceptable for me as I rarely watch telly anyway, too much imported programming. I've never found the PQ on TV so bad as to be unwatchable, neither has my girlfriend (who watches much more telly than me) so not convinced that it would be a huge problem for you.

    Not sure about the aspect switching as I've never felt the need to change the aspect in the 8 years or so I've had Telewest. Pretty sure my previous TV's weren't switching automatically as you can usually notice the changeover. Is there really that much that isn't broadcast in 16:9 nowadays?

    Hope this helps some. Oh, you can change the colour of the sidebars in 4:3 in the Screensaver section of the setup menu. It lets you choose 3 levels of grey and black.
     
  15. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT
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    Thanks for the feedback zygote. Did you have a CRT before and do you notice much difference between Telewest on your plasma and CRT? I certainly notice a big difference in quality between channels on my CRT and want to know if the worst ones will be watchable.

    Our TV is a family TV and so Telewest is watched often, with DVD's being watched at weekends when we have more time. Only a few channels are in anamorphic widescreen, with the majority still in 4:3. Besides, all older programmes are in 4:3 and I would rather they were broadcast as they were originally shown in 4:3. I watch a lot of Paramount Comedy and SciFi which are not widescreen (though SciFi shows the odd letterbox widescreen movie). Sky One only recently started showing widescreen programmes, but most of their stuff is still 4:3. When watching TV I find that there are a lot of aspect ratio changes and it would drive me bonkers manually changing the aspect all the time, especially if I have to toggle through half a dozen remote presses each time. I don't think I could get used to setting my display into wide mode permanently as there is too much 4:3 stuff still shown. Also when some of the poor quality 4:3 stuff is then stretched into wide mode, it looks really awful on my CRT, never mind on a plasma. I don't want to spend thousands of pounds on a plasma setup and have to watch distorted pictures.
     
  16. ianh64

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    Hi Teresa

    As a current Loewe owner, have you by any chance had a look at their Xelos SL range of 32" and 37" LCD displays and see how it compares with the Xelos CRT? It would be interesting to know your thoughts.

    -Ian
     
  17. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT
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    ianh64, I haven't really looked at the Loewe LCD panels. I'm going into Rackhams in Birmingham today and they usually have quite a bit of Loewe stuff, so I'll have a look. However, all their screens usually look pretty bad as I don't think they set them up very well. I don't think I'll be able to do a fair comparison. Besides, what I'm really after is a 'big' screen.
     
  18. NaTT

    NaTT
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    dreadful, someone using a naff login id made up for another forum :rotfl: !!
    welcome.
     
  19. rubberducker

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    i have telewest and it aspect switches all the frickin time (on my phillips widescreen). it would also drive me nuts to manuelly switch each time. so does the scart-to-vga actually translate this to screen? surely someone must know......
     
  20. ReHaBWales

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    They should be gray or black. If they are lilac I would say some colour settings are wrong and all grays will look lilac :laugh:
     
  21. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    Teresa - can you not take your TIVO box with you to a demo with some material stored on the hard drive that are of varying record qualities??

    Regarding the side-bars there is an option in the setup menu to change the colour anywhere from proper jet black, all the way up to severely bright grey!

    Aspect ratio swithing will be lost if you go any way but scart, however I would also argue that the negative effects of the scart board are possibly greater than the negative effects of using a JS VGA box and Aspect Ratio switcher...

    And I am sure I've programmed a pronto with discrete aspect ratio codes for a Panasonic. IIRC it was a six series. Oh, here we go:

    http://www.remotecentral.com/cgi-bi...lasma&fc=--&area=prontong&db=&br=&dv=&dt=&so=

    Ianh64 - Loewe LCDs are based on new Sharp glass, not sure how much of the processing is new or OEMd but saw both @ CEDIA UK and both are very impressive LCDs (wasn't opportunity to do proper comparisons fed with high quality source though).
     
  22. AML

    AML
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    Remember that plasmas, even newer models, still suffer from burning.

    If your watching a TV program for a long period of time, the bars at the top or side may burn in.
    Also the TV channel loggo (ie BBC1) may burn in over time and youl have the channels logo etched permenantly.
    I had this problem with my old plasma. With my newer one it doesnt seem to be as bad.
    I advise you to strech the picture so that the black borders do not appear. this is advice to save your plasma from burning.

    Games are big no, no. Specialy RPGs that have character stats in the same part of the screen for long periods of time. (Phantasy Star Online destroyed my last plasma!)

    Please consider this before you buy a plasma. It may be wiser to buy LCD. Depends on how you plan to use the TV.
     
  23. zygote

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    Yes, it was a 28" Widescreen. Funny thing is that I didn't think there was a problem with Telewest before I got the first plasma, then when it went back and I set up the 28" in leu of my PWD6, I started noticing exactly the artefacts that were present on the plasma, so my conclusion was that Telewest are either trying to push too much across the wire (cue for a song :D ) and sacrificing quality for quantity or that Telewest is simply an inferior service to other digital formats.

    AML: I sympathise with you to have suffered so much screen burn, it must be soul destroying on such expensive equipment, I assume your old plasma was an early model. I believe that the risk is now overrated with newer panels. As an example, when I knew that my previous panel was going back to the shop and had agreed a refund with them I stopped caring about what I fed into it :devil: . Channel logos IMHO shouldn't cause a problem as long as they turn them off during the adverts (bad bad disovery channel) but I could play GT4 Prologue for hours without permanently burning the speedo into the screen. Sure there was a residual image of the speedo or lap counter but that would dissappear after half an hours TV watching. Same for any other game, my girlfriend would play Bust-a-Move for hours on end which has really bright borders around each play area and still wouldn't burn into the screen.

    :lesson: I generally take the view now that this thing is a telly at the end of the day and if I'm going to tiptoe around it and molly coddle it then I'm really not going to enjoy it... and 2K is a lot to spend on something you won't let yourself enjoy.!!!
     
  24. TeresaTT

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    ReHaBWales, I saw another Panny PW6 today and the sidebars looked lilac to me again, but I suppose they could be classed as a type of grey. The colours in the picture looked fine.

    Liam@ProgAV, I hadn't thought of taking my TiVo to a demo. It's a very good idea and I will probably try it. Thanks for your opinion about the JS VGA board and auto switcher. Are the Panny scart boards really that bad? Also thanks for the discrete codes. I'll have to put them into my Pronto and try them in a demo.

    AML, I'm aware of the problem with burning on plasmas, but I hope that it won't be too bad in practise. I watch quite a mixture of 4:3, 16:9 and 2.35:1 and channel logos tend to vary in position between different channels. I'll also make sure I use coloured side bars rather than black, even though I find thm distracting.

    Zygote, I'm still reserving final judgment as to whether I will go the plasma route. I desperately want one to watch my DVD's on, but it must also be watchable for general TV viewing. This morning I saw a PW6 with a sky+ box connected via the Panny tuner box using RGB and I was pleasantly surprised. The quality was no where near as bad as I expected, even on the poorer channels. I realise that Telewest PQ isn't quite as good as Sky, but it might be sufficient. I have also seen a freeview box connected via composite to a PW6 and the PQ was awful, but I realise that composite is not the best connection.

    I also saw the panny 50" version next to the 42" one and it has really wet my appetite for an even bigger screen. But it's over a grand more, so it's not really feasable. One place had the 42" PW6 at 4.2k. That's a heck of a difference from AV Sales price of 2.2k.
     
  25. Liam @ Prog AV

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    The scart board isn't that bad, it introduces a softness to the picture that is more noticeable from DVD than it is from the already artefact ridden digiTV signal. But if you have no other reason to buy a scart board it costs the same to go the converter route (albeit with extra for the aspect ratio switcher if you go that route). Remember the converter is only for RGB signals...

    Go 50" :) It's a great picture, higher resolution and it's frickin huuuuge :D
     
  26. TeresaTT

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    Liam@ProgAV, Ideally I'd like to be able to try both a scart and converter route, but I don't want to have to buy both to do so.

    I want to buy a new amp and connect most of the rest of my stuff through that. Something like the Yamaha RX V1400. I would like to connect my SVHS VCR and XBox to that and output via component to the plasma. My DVD I'd like to connect directly via component to the plasma. Can I have two component boards on the PW6?
     

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