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Mega plasma test results

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by hornydragon, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    Well we are here the Mega Plasma test results, some surprises and some interesting results. Well after the 190mile drive I arrived in Kent at AV-sales who had kindly set this test up and given my self and piers free reign of the main demo room for the whole day.


    Mega plasma comparison
    Models involved
    Panasonic PHD7
    Panasonic PWD7
    Nec VR5
    Nec XR3G
    Pioneer 435XDE
    All are 42” screens except the 43” Pioneer…..
    Fujitsu unable to provide demo unit due to launch of new 40 series at Bristol HiFi show (very much looking forward to seeing this)
    Analogue cables used are Van Damme Red series throughout and Wirewold digital cables HDMI and DVi in various flavours and lengths (up to a 20m HDMI was used)
    First test is Master and Commander played on a Denon 2900 DVD player via component video YUV with progressive scan set to on. Fed to all screens simultaneously via an Extron and Keene DA units.
    All screens were set-up by Piers from www.homecinemaengineering.com using user control menus only due to time allowed and set all screens to as close as possible to 6500K as possible. For the YUV input only.
    This allows for a comparison of the screens ability not its factory settings.
    DVD test PHD7: Deep rich colours and very good black level as expected no signs of image blurring or retention.
    DVD test XR3G: Much lighter picture lacking in contrast and worse detail level basically washed with grey blacks. However the NEC did exhibit horrible image retention during the set-up procedure this was scary…
    DVD test VR5: Very similar to its bigger brother but with better contrast and less image retention, but the picture depth was lost, still very disappointing for £1600 screen.
    DVD test PWD7: Beautifully smooth with deep blacks and good colour image was very nice if a little flat.
    DVD test 435XDE: The most 3D image here with good colours but poor contrast and more visible noise than the other screens in the test. Very nice but the most expensive screen here.

    Now for the part everyone is on tender hooks over.
    720 progressive Digital Feed from Iscan HD+ feed was 50Hz native 576i from Sky BBC1 and CNN via JS RGB>YUV to DA system into Iscan HD+ (also tried on RGBS input to scaler)
    60Hz 50Hz Via
    Panasonic PHD7 YES N/T HDMI board
    Panasonic PWD7 YES NO DVi board
    Nec VR5 N/T N/T DVi Socket
    Nec XR3G YES NO DVi Socket
    Pioneer 435XDE YES YES HDMI Socket


    Side by side the 435XDE and PHD7 fed by 720 at 60Hz sky from Iscan HD+ PHD7 has the edge with not a hint of judder during normal viewing, was present in closing credits. Pioneer picture was richer but looked cartoonish, (this may be due to default settings, only component inputs were set-up with Sencore CP5000 Colour analyser by Piers)
    With set-up of the digital input it was much better but there was a lot of background flicker. Later piers corrected this with his kit and the improvement was vast. Panasonic still looked the better picture to the naked eye.

    The buzz test each plasma in turn doing near peak white from a film (Spiderman 2 title 1, chapter 28) not a test pattern. No other sound in test room
    Panasonic PHD7 barely audible
    Panasonic PWD7 barely audible (lower frequency to PHD7)
    Nec VR5 much louder constantly noticeable and changes with white level
    Nec XR3G loud whoosh for fans but not as loud as VR5 higher pitch
    Pioneer 435XDE audible but higher pitch, sounded like a standard CRT set


    Football recorded broad cast form freeview and stored on a HTPC out put via component Everton v Bolton.
    Nec VR5 Lots of jaggies on white lines, no comet trails on ball buts lots of Haloing on players and ball
    Nec XR3G Still some jaggies on fast pans and same haloing grass looked worse than the Pio/PHD
    Panasonic PHD7 Virtually no jaggies and much better fine detail, still lots of Haloing
    Panasonic PWD7 A few more jaggies that the PHD7 but very, very good. Sam Haloing as PHD7
    Pioneer 435XDE No jaggies but lots of moving noise and Haloing

    Haloing is attributed to the source as it appeared on all plasmas tested.

    One big difference that a Wireworld Chroma cable makes to the Pioneer XDE range, replacing the standard umbilical cable with a Wireworld cable does give a very nice improvement. www.wireworldaudio.co.uk

    Round up, NEC are far behind the performance of both Panasonic and Pioneer, the PHD7 and Iscan HD+ is the best combination for picture quality over both the Pioneer and NEC. With and without the scaler, best VFM was the PWD7 which performed brilliantly on its own and with the Iscan HD+. Biggest surprised of the DAY was the difference made by proper set-up, £250 may seem like a lot to spend on a £1500 plasma, but there is no better way to improve your picture, as long as you have reasonable cables and normal source material. This is the best way to spend £250; the potential improvement was incredible for only 20 minutes spent on each panel. I can only imagine what sort of results a full ISF Calibration can yield.

    So there you have it after nearly 12 hours of testing and watching. I can find no good reason to buy an NEC on the basis of picture quality. The only reason is for 720p 50Hz support (which we couldn’t get working) so I am casting serious doubt whether it will work with a Hi-Def set top box when we finally get one.

    A big thank you to Alistair, Andrew, Ben and Hayes at AV-sales for their patience and time. A big thank you to OWL video for loan of both an Iscan HD and HD+ and to piers for doing such a wonderful job on the screens. This was the comprehensive test ever run on multiple plasma displays side by side to my knowledge, and I am pretty sure that no one has had them all calibrated to a level playing field.

    Well I hope it was worth 380 mile round trip and 2 days of my time.
    Regards HD


    PS pictures now added just to prove they were all in the same room Panasonic PHD7 on far left Wall mounted NEC VR5 on table second from left Panasonic PWD7 on wall appears in both shots (someone want to stitch them for me?) then second from right on a table the NEC XR3 and finally on stands unique cabinet the Pio 435XDE
     

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  2. Pauldepmanager

    Pauldepmanager
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    I have got my NEC VR5 to work with 720p 50Hz via its DVI port using my Iscan HD
     
  3. MAW

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    OK you are a better man than me Paul, would you share your settings? The iscan dvi output settings? It would be good to know if the XM3 is different in this respect, and trying your settings with my screen is the only way to find out.
     
  4. Pauldepmanager

    Pauldepmanager
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    I will post my settings for you tonight when I get home. I can't remember off the top of my head what they were. I will have to look at my menus. It did take me a couple of hours to get the right settings to get both working together without the picture going completly weird.

    I will also try to take some photo's of the settings menu of both what the NEC is detecting and what the settings are on the Iscan HD
     
  5. cibulnz

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    Thanks HD and the others for all this feedback.

    I still plan on heading to the NEC demonstration in Islington on the Tuesday.
    However what I thought was going to be my front running plasma choice, may now not be the case from this feedback.

    Do you have a possible date as to when one could buy a Fujitsu? Just wondering whether I can hold out a few extra weeks for what might be the right plasma.
     
  6. kron

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    Well i had narrowed my decsion down to either a pw7 or vm5 so on the basis of your test i am going to go with the former (it was the only panel i've had a decent demo of anyway).

    Thanks HD and Piers ,excellent work :smashin:
     
  7. Audionyx

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    Many thanks gents for taking the time and effort for everyone's benefit!

    I am still waiting on the HDMI board for my PW7B so will post findings as and when.

    Take it easy

    Darren
     
  8. peezee

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    :eek: Wow. Thanks Horny for the hassle. Astounding results, indeed.

    I take it then that, after your 12 hours of testing and comparing, you consider the NEC VR5 (and XM3) as the worst plasma of the lot. And the Panny PHD7 (and PWD7) on the top. Right?

    Very, very surprising indeed esp. wrt the NEC's (we already know about Panny's being top quality - though not w/o weak areas of course). Goes totally against what another retailer (Liam @ Convergent I think?) posted (or mp'ed to a forum user) here few weeks ago, with a clear appraisal of the NEC XM3/XM4 (in particular against the Panny's). And against what a bunch of owners posted here too (with pictures of both screens)... :confused:

    If anything, this goes to show that it's nearly impossible to have common judgement on the same piece of equipment... Heck, we can't even agree as to whether 720p50 works or not on the NECs - let alone picture quality!! :rolleyes:


    Well, d'you happen to have taken any pics of your long trip and demo day by any chance?

    Thanks a great deal again! :)
     
  9. MAW

    MAW
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    Hiya Peezee, Horny's looking over my shoulder now, we've just repeated his results with my XM3 and PHD7. Got some photos if you want them. You need to consider the 'owner effect' with some of this, and also remember that HD is not affiliated to any retailer, nor does he wish to buy any of these screens. He will be on the road for a while now, so I daresay he will answer your Q's later, in greater detail than this. Suffice to say, that with another forum member here, we were able to duplicate his test results, except I could get 1/2 a picture from the iscan @50Hz, and he could get none. Mine was different again to my previous results, with no settings changed, I just don't know what to make of it. One thing I am totally certain of, I would not give the NEC house room myself.
     
  10. Bonzodogdick

    Bonzodogdick
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    Thanks HD. Im sure many people will appreciate your experienced comments. Panny may well sell a few more displays on the back of your report. :clap:
     
  11. BALLISTIX

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    Very interesting and sure to be a fine starting point for a long debate :D

    Many thanks to Hornydragon and those involved in this epic, well done all :clap:

    I'll be adding my 3 cents later :laugh:

    Regards
    Andy.
     
  12. M.A.S

    M.A.S
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    Yeah MAW post your comparison pics, would be interesting to see.

    HornyD, is there any photos from your mega test, im sure everyone interested would love a photo essay to accompany your written one!!! by the way nice work, im sure i speak for everyone when i say it's greatly appreciated.

    (by the way new member hi!)
     
  13. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    I was the one that posted the pictures and the comments, in the most neutral manner I could, I beleive people took that information and twisted it to what they wanted to hear.
    The fact that I said I was keeping te PW6 and selling the NEC should have really summed up which screen I personally prefer out of the two.
    Others who are not so critical and anal as me who saw it running came to a different conclusion.

    I was the only person who was giving info based on owning both screens and now HornyD and Piers have done the same comparisons and come to the same conclusions.

    I only had the two screens to compare, and the only other plasma I have spent time with is a Pioneer, and for me on SD tv that is worse than the NEC and this is the display I would use for TV viewing.

    The Panasonic does everything, and bloddy well, but you will need to add expensive scalers etc. to get it to work with HDTV in the future so the price differnce is quite high, nearly as much again.
    £1600 for the NEC.
    £1750 for the Panny and another £1000 for a scaler to convert the 50Hz to 60Hz, bring the total to £2750.

    You pays your money you takes your choice!


    Well done HD and Piers for taking the time out to do this. :smashin:
     
  14. phillfyspoon

    phillfyspoon
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    Is the HD panny any better at displaying SD then the SD panny? or would u need the scaler?
     
  15. peezee

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    Hi MAW,
    appreciate yr comments, I don't doubt for a second the "neutral" perspective HornyD must have tried to keep during the comparative demo. And yes, I'm aware of the "owner effect". :)

    Which is why I did mention the report from a reknown retailer on this very forum, which expresses a very, very differing opinion on the NEC XM3 plasma screen. I don't know that this retailer has any special interest in advertising the NEC's (what's more he didn't post his opinion himself, it's in fact a forum user who decided to post a PM he got from that retailer - pretty wise decision if you ask me :D ).

    I'll pm you for the pics, very interested to see how it looks like (though I know this kind of digital camera shots can be deceptive, and don't show e.g. possible motion artefact issues).

    I've recently switched my choice to NEC, feeling that _finally_ I had made up my mind, after months and months of searching and comparing etc... Have one on pre-order in fact (can still decide to cancel), so needless to say Horny's report has a bit of a "rain on the parade" effect for me. Still, I sure haven't given up on NEC's yet (by far), and I'll continue to do what I regulary suggest other people should do in the same situation:

    please take any reports and opinions on any forum, even from the most experienced person around, with a large grain of salt - and go CHECK FOR YOURSELF. Because it's your eyes, your situation, your wishes, constraints and limitations - and ultimately, it's YOUR money. :)
     
  16. peezee

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    gizlaroc, thank a lot for "stepping up to the plate" here, it's good that you put a little perspective on this.

    The only thing I'd want to comment on maybe is that your report, while leaning towards the Panny vs the NEC, was more subtle in terms of the differences b/w the two, sometimes in favour of the NEC, other times pro the Panny.

    HD's report in contrast (pun intended :D ) delivers a very differentiated message, it's like the Panny is day and the NEC is night, if you see what I mean. And that's what has me puzzled...

    I was prepared to give up on darker blacks and maybe higher contrast on the Panny, but this:
    ... I must admit I was not expecting that type of comment at all, not from my own experience (NEC VP4 I demo'ed few months back), and certainly not from your report (not to mention the pics) comparing the PHD7 and XM3!

    P.S. MAW, tried to PM you (to get the pics) but yr Inbox is full - thanks. BTW I'd me more than happy to put these pics on a perso. Web site such that anyone could view them.
     
  17. BIGMAX

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    Hi all,
    I'm a bit of a novice so excuse me, but when HD mentions an improvement on pq using a wireworld cable to replace the umbilical cable to the XDE - what exact cable would you need so i can check out costs etc.
     
  18. Pauldepmanager

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    i think it all boils down to personal prefrence and what you have to spend. I am very happy with my NEC VR5 + Iscan HD combo. I find the picture great and I have not even tweaked with the display settings properly yet.

    But this is my own opinion. Another person may totally disagree. We all view things differently.

    Compared to the Tiny Focus 4200 I had, it is the dogs to me. I am very happy with my purchase. It comes down to what you want and not others. The best way as said before is to look at them and make a decision for yourself.

    The forums guided me to which group of plasama's to look at, I then made a decision myself which one to get.
     
  19. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    That is the problem with pics, or rather viewing them, on my Vaio the differnece in black levels were perfectly clear, the NEC being alot lighter, but when I just viewed them on my Ibook earlier there was very little in it.
    Same with the pic of Dustin hoffman and the background detail.

    The pics were of a PW6, not an HD7 by the way.
     
  20. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    Exactly!!!
     
  21. MAW

    MAW
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    My pics are not specific comparisons, though I could very easily do that, in fact, give me 24 hours. Emptied my inbox a bit now, but my email is public, so feel free to use that.
     
  22. cucuz

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    " Everyone has the prettiest wife at home " is the phrase that sums up this debate ! As has been said before 1. seek advice . 2. knowledgeable chaps on here will point you in the direction you need to go . 3. have as many demo's as possible . 4 . let your eyes decide and make your own purchase . And finally don't blame anyone else if you don't like your final choice ! Buying a plasma today is like choosing a wife - only you will know which is right one for you . :thumbsup:
     
  23. BIGMAX

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    Problem is, they look great initially but when you get them home - they dissappoint !!

    only joking darling.
     
  24. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    :rotfl: :rotfl:

    And everyones elses always looks better after a while!!
     
  25. cucuz

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    That's the solution then ...... DRINK LOADS OF BEER , then even a Tiny will look good ! :clap:
     
  26. NicolasB

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    Well, this is all very well, Horny D, but where's your review of all the 50" screens? :devil:
     
  27. rscott4563

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    I was thinking the exact same thing.......After all who'd want a 42" t.v, you'll be needing a magnifying glass..... :devil: :laugh:

    Ryan ;)
     
  28. philthyanimal

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    now i'm well and truly confused :confused: . Anyone know where i can demo an NEC vr5 and a panasonic pw7 in Leeds. I think i need to look for my self.
    just a quick extra question. Will an iscan hd allow the panasonic pw7 to take a sky hd signal
     
  29. Pauldepmanager

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    i have attached some menu photo's of my nec vr5 running at 720p @ 50hz

    hope this helps maw.

    Sorry for the bad pics, had to do them before her in doors had my dinner ready.
     

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  30. bstonehouse

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    I didn't think that it was possible to get the Panasonics to work with SKYHD because of the screen resolution or am I wrong (I'm struggling to understand it all !!)
     

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