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Newbie not wanting to buy wrong Plasma!

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by lintonmac, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. lintonmac

    lintonmac
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    Hi all
    I've been lurking here for a few days seeing all the opinions and advice. I would be grateful for your honest advice to me (and corrections of my ignorance) as well. Here goes:

    I wish to replace my 17 year old faithful and brilliant 25" Sony Trinitron with a 42" plasma. Mostly I want the plasma for watching rented DVD's (region 2 usually). I also watch a minor amount of TV each week via a Pace Twin Freeview PVR, which can serve as a tuner.

    As I don't watch huge amounts of TV (or replace my equipment often!), I figured I should go for something that is capable of supporting HD for the future. Also, I would like to use it for displaying stuff (eg photos) off my Apple Mac equipment (which has DVI). Indeed I can imagine using the Mac as a DVD player with the DVI connection too. I have considered so far most strongly the following:

    1. Hitachi 42PD5100 - allows me to connect by DVI and lots more (though only one DVI input). Seems to support higher res than SD Panny's though this whole ALIS thing confuses me. I saw one on display and do confess to it looking the best of the ones there. I'm also confused about how 1024 x 768 for instance can be widescreen as surely it needs something like 1280 x 720 to be proper widescreen for HD? Current prices are in £1900 region which seems great.

    2. Panny 6D series. Seen the great prices and heard the reviews, but somehow I think that I'm getting outdated kit - not high enough resolution for instance. Great prices though, but I need to add boards I believe.

    3. Panny HD series. More interesting, though more expensive than Hitachi. Again, the 1024 x 768 doesn't strike me as exactly widescreen HD?

    4. Pioneer 435series or thereabouts. But now we're getting expensive and I'm not sure I want a media receiver etc

    On the sound side, I'm already sorted via a Meridian system (which can also switch composite and s-video sources)

    So, anyone have any useful advice here (I know there's not a lot of love towards the Hitachi around here!)

    Cheers
    Ian
     
  2. johndon

    johndon
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    Ian,

    I've got a Hitachi and love it!

    As for the resolution of the panels, a lot of plasmas have rectangular pixels hence the resolution doesn't equate to 16:9. For example my Hitachi has a resolution of 1024*1024. As for the difference it makes to picture quality probably not much as the panels have a scaler that fits the picture to the resolution. If you are going to connect a computer the panel (for example sending 1024*768 to a panel with a resolution of 1024*768) then the picture can look a bit odd as it gets stretched to be 16:9 rahter than 4:3.

    I'd try to get a demo of the panels you are interested a good AV dealer rather than a high street shop and take the Mac along to connect to see what you think.

    HTH

    John
     
  3. lintonmac

    lintonmac
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    Thanks Johndon - nicely re-assuring.

    Out of interest, I notice you have the Arcam DVD player. If this is the one with DVI out, do you use that, and if so, how does it look?

    Of course, I might have got this wrong, as the Hitachi you have also has a media receiver which might take up the DVI port into the PDP.

    Thanks
    Ian
     
  4. MAW

    MAW
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    Ian, I'd demo the Panasonic HD and the Pioneer MXE-1. The XGA thing is not a big problem, your icons look fat, but all decent DVD software can take account of rectangular pixels. Scaling wise, the Hitachi takes XGA which is not native, then separates it into 2 1024x512 fiels for display. I can promise you a Pioneer or panasonic looks better with a computer image! IMHO with any image, but then I'm chief ALIS basher round here, and it's your eyes and your money. I have other more serious gripes with Hitachi though, and refuse to sell them. The Pioneer is the most popular with HCPC users, looks fab with DVI
     
  5. johndon

    johndon
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    Ian,

    Tha Arcam has HDMI out but I've got it connected via component - picture quality is fantastic.

    John
     
  6. lintonmac

    lintonmac
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    Thanks again Johndon and Maw

    I checked out the Pioneer - I guess this is a more commercial offering/monitor style? I notice though that the 43" is still 1024 x768, and not the resolution of the 50". I can sort of see this as ok for watching movies, but what if I connect my computer? Surely 1024x768 will be a widescreen version of a 4:3 computer screen. So, for instance if I am showing photos, won't they look stretched?

    I have had some experience connecting my Powerbook via DVI to a Sanyo 1280x720 projector, and it just basically worked first time (no drivers, etc). I got given an option for 1280x720 in my computers display settings, and took that, and wow! Whether I show movies or photos, everything is in the right proportion.

    With the Pioneer, I notice there are special Windows drivers (not much good for me!). Is that one of the functions they perform? Or do you have to go to the monitor to "squish" the image back to 4:3 (presumably losing some of the horizontal detail along the way)?

    Perhaps I should be looking at LCD displays at my size range, if I wish to have these sorts of resolutions with accurate aspect ratios?

    Cheers
    Ian
     
  7. MAW

    MAW
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    LCD is viable, you must buy a MONITOR though, or a sharp 37" or you will not be able to address native res of panel. Sharp do a 37" 1366/768, true 16:9 panel that would do very nicely.
     
  8. lintonmac

    lintonmac
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    Hi Maw

    You say LCD Monitor. So the Philips 37PF9986 which claims 1366x768 won't do?

    How is this obvious from the information? And, why do the Sharp ones work? Will Monitors work well with normal inputs, such as from DVD players and Freeview tuners?

    Thanks again, and sorry to be a burden - I see you're quite the helpful type around these pages!

    Ian
     
  9. MAW

    MAW
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    My fingers weary, drop me an email with your phone number and I'll take you through it. Basically, most TV's will not accept native panel resolution through the DVD or VGA port. This might sound daft, and it is, but believe me it's true.
     

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