New to HiDef, and looking for advice

sploo

Banned
I'm considering a purchase of a HiDef TV, but I'm a bit out of the loop as to the state of the tech, and was hoping that someone could offer advice.

I've been running a 32" Sony Wega CRT for about 6 years, and I'm very happy with it. Unfortunately, due to a room layout change the TV is now against a flat wall (instead of a corner), so its 60cm depth is a bit intrusive.

The change also means I'll be sitting 3-4m away, instead of 2-3m, so I'm tempted by a 40-42" set.

I'd like to go for a Full HD unit, as it would be nice to be able to use it as a monitor on occasion, and eventually I'd like to set up a PC with a Blu-Ray drive, and use it as a hidef player (and possibly recorder).

For the moment, I'd mainly be feeding it SD DVD images (probably via HDMI) and Freeview (via RGB SCART from a Topfield PVR).

I've seen a lot of discussion about the Panasonic TH-42PZ85B, almost all of it very positive - particularly noting that it does a good job of SD material. Given that I'll be sitting a good distance from the screen, how could I expect it to compare to the Sony? Is it just a case that the larger screen shows the Freeview artifacts more obviously, or is the resolution scaling an issue?

Also recommended to me have been the 40" Samsung LE40A656A and the Toshiba 40ZF355DB. Both are LCD (vs Plasma for the Panasonic). Does anyone have experience of these sets, and how they may compare with the Pana?

Many thanks!
 

YellowSphere

Novice Member
Out of those three the Panasonic would easily give the best overall picture quality. If it's only going to be used for PC use occasionally you're unlikely to run into any problems. The main thing to consider is if you need the 85 model or it the 80 would suffice. The only differences are the styling, the sound quality (which is surprisingly good on the 85, if you're not going to be running a separate setup) and a motion interpolation mode called "Intelligent Frame Creation" which many find unnatural and unrequired.
 

toodeep

Member
@sploo,

At that distance you're better off with the simpler and cheaper and cheaper to run 42PX80. Put the money saved towards an audio system, even a one-box sound projector.
 

RODCULL

Novice Member
I was in a very similar position to you a month or so ago. I had a Sony Wega 32" CRT sat in the corner of the room which I've replaced with the Panasonic 42PZ85B, flat against a wall, although the viewing distance has remained the same at ~3m. In terms of the SD picture quality between the two, I've found the Plasma to be variable, very much dependent on the quality of the original material (or the compression used when broadcasting it, I use a Virgin Media cable box). Some SD programs look better on the Plasma, almost comparable to the BBC HD stuff at first glance, whilst others look worse with any artefacts magnified (in physical size) and perhaps clearer to see. I've certainly no regrets though as the HD stuff looks fantastic, offsetting any slight backwards step with SD material.
In terms of Plasma v LCD, both seem to have their advantages and disadvantages. In the end I went with a Plasma though as most of the 'drawbacks' seem easy to overcome. For example, an potential image retention or screen burn issues can be prevented by observing some common sense rules. I haven't been anal with mine, but I do zoom the picture a few times during the couse of a movie to remove any black bars, normally when I'm popping to the toilet. By contrast, the 'drawbacks' of certain LCDs such as handling movement poorly or muddy blacks seem impossible to overcome and will last the lifetime of the TV.
 

audiphile76

Well-known Member
At 3-4 meters you definitely need a screen bigger than 42". I sit a little less than 3 meters and with 42PX80, it now seems small :(. At this big distance its better not to go for a 1080p panel. Panasonic TH-50PX8 is a good option if you dont need too many connections(major difference from PX80)
 

sploo

Banned
Out of those three the Panasonic would easily give the best overall picture quality.

Good to hear - and it's the impression I'm getting from a few other sources too.

If it's only going to be used for PC use occasionally you're unlikely to run into any problems.

Yea, it would largely be for viewing video delivered by the PC. Games and other apps wouldn't be run that much, so that should be OK with regard to burn in.

Is there anything I need to be aware of if I want to connect the PC to the telly? I presume any DVI capable card (with a DVI to HDMI lead) should be OK? I believe HDCP is only an issue if the source outputs it and the display doesn't accept it.


The main thing to consider is if you need the 85 model or it the 80 would suffice. The only differences are the styling, the sound quality (which is surprisingly good on the 85, if you're not going to be running a separate setup) and a motion interpolation mode called "Intelligent Frame Creation" which many find unnatural and unrequired.

Good point - and one I hadn't considered. I have a surround setup, so sound is less of an issue. The difference in price seems to be about 100 quid, so I'm thinking it might be worth the step up on the offchance the IFC is useful in some situations.


Go for a good plasma only for the moment

Thanks. Is this because the LCDs have particular problems, or just because the plasmas are slightly better in image quality?


@sploo,
At that distance you're better off with the simpler and cheaper and cheaper to run 42PX80. Put the money saved towards an audio system, even a one-box sound projector.

Interesting. I've already got a beast of a sound system, as that was my 'first love' ;). The PX is the 720p version IRC? I was considering the Full HD version for future proofing and for the times I would use the panel as a monitor. With a set the size of that (42") I was also thinking that the extra lines would be well worth it (if just for PC work alone).


I was in a very similar position to you a month or so ago. I had a Sony Wega 32" CRT sat in the corner of the room which I've replaced with the Panasonic 42PZ85B...

Lots of useful info, thanks. It also confirms some of my assumptions. I hear what you say about source quality - watching F1 races on ITV Freeview is macroblock central!


At 3-4 meters you definitely need a screen bigger than 42". I sit a little less than 3 meters and with 42PX80, it now seems small :(. At this big distance its better not to go for a 1080p panel. Panasonic TH-50PX8 is a good option if you dont need too many connections(major difference from PX80)

That's something I'm hearing on another forum (going for bigger than 42"). I'll be taking a look at a 46" tomorrow (haven't found a place with the 42" yet). My budget probably won't stretch that far though!

Why would it be better to not go for the 1080p at that distance? Is it just because the large distance means you won't see the dots?
 

catch'em1

Novice Member
Good to hear - and it's the impression I'm getting from a few other sources too.



Yea, it would largely be for viewing video delivered by the PC. Games and other apps wouldn't be run that much, so that should be OK with regard to burn in.

Is there anything I need to be aware of if I want to connect the PC to the telly? I presume any DVI capable card (with a DVI to HDMI lead) should be OK? I believe HDCP is only an issue if the source outputs it and the display doesn't accept it.




Good point - and one I hadn't considered. I have a surround setup, so sound is less of an issue. The difference in price seems to be about 100 quid, so I'm thinking it might be worth the step up on the offchance the IFC is useful in some situations.




Thanks. Is this because the LCDs have particular problems, or just because the plasmas are slightly better in image quality?




Interesting. I've already got a beast of a sound system, as that was my 'first love' ;). The PX is the 720p version IRC? I was considering the Full HD version for future proofing and for the times I would use the panel as a monitor. With a set the size of that (42") I was also thinking that the extra lines would be well worth it (if just for PC work alone).




Lots of useful info, thanks. It also confirms some of my assumptions. I hear what you say about source quality - watching F1 races on ITV Freeview is macroblock central!




That's something I'm hearing on another forum (going for bigger than 42"). I'll be taking a look at a 46" tomorrow (haven't found a place with the 42" yet). My budget probably won't stretch that far though!

Why would it be better to not go for the 1080p at that distance? Is it just because the large distance means you won't see the dots?

Could i just ask what is your budget?
 

Lin3ar

Distinguished Member
At 3-4 meters you definitely need a screen bigger than 42". I sit a little less than 3 meters and with 42PX80, it now seems small :(. At this big distance its better not to go for a 1080p panel. Panasonic TH-50PX8 is a good option if you dont need too many connections(major difference from PX80)


Couldn't agree more with this.You very rarely here people moaning that their new TV is too big but I here people saying they should have bought a bigger panel all the time (including myself........twice:rolleyes:)
 

sploo

Banned
Could i just ask what is your budget?

Sure. I'd like to keep it around the grand mark if I could. I've just seen that the 46" is usually £1300+, and that might be a bit too rich right now. Unless I see it and fall in love, obviously ;)
 

sploo

Banned
Well, I've just been to a few shops, and seen the TH-42PZ85B (plus some of the other PX and/or 80 variants) in Comet and Currys.

I also went to a better regarded local electrical retailer, and saw the TH-46PZ85B. Comet and Currys didn't have the 46", and my local place didn't have any of the 42".

I'm now slightly confused/worried. At both Comet and Currys I wasn't at all impressed with the TH-42PZ85B. Freeview pictures were terrible - really soft and muddy (from various channels). Upscaled DVD was almost worse - any fine text was blocky, but smeared. Images from Blu-Ray were better, but within about 3 feet of the set I could see lots of 'crawling' - a bit like dithering images down (thinking back to when computers could only display 16 or 256 colours).

Not only were they not impressive, they were generally worse than many of the sets around them - softer, and with less pleasant colours.

When I saw the TH-46PZ85B, the difference was massive. Freeview images were very watchable, and even at just a couple of feet away the image was acceptable, if obviously a little soft given the size of the screen.

I didn't see an upscaled DVD image on this set, but a 1080i source through component was superb. The 'dither' and crawling was evident, but much less so, and only close up.

Everything I know about the TH-42PZ85B and TH-46PZ85B indicates that they are identical, bar the screen size. I'm quite willing to accept the source and aerial reception in Comet and Currys was poor, but at Comet they did say a guy from Panasonic had come and set up the TVs.

Can anyone shed any light on this? The 46" is a bit big for both my room and budget, but if I went for the 42" right now it would purely be on the hope it was as good as the 46" with the same source quality.

BTW I saw the TH-58PZ700B in Comet (with a 1080p source). There was almost no sign of 'dither' or crawling, and the picture was superb. Shame it's 3 grand!
 

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