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Newbie - Plasma vs LCD - PIO435??

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by workshy, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. workshy

    workshy
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    I have been considering taking the plunge on a big plasma for a whiloe and finally have approval for a 42"/43" screen from SWMBO!

    I had been considering the PIO434, but note that it is vanishing fast and so turned my attention to the 435XDE.

    I am going to be using it mainly for: watching TV (mainly through Sky), DVDs and playing XBox/PS2. TV viewing will include a lot of sport (football).

    I have looked at quite a few screens and thought the 434 kicked ass, but must confess I have not seen it with football from Sky on it.

    Read some comments on this forum that has made me question whether this is the right screen.

    Should I be buying a plasma for what I want to use it for? Would an LCD be better?

    I currently have a 32" Sony CRT (4:3) (that SWMBO has said must be sold if buy big screen) and don't want to suffer any significant loss in quality.

    HELP!!!
     
  2. MAW

    MAW
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    Picture on scart on the 435 is questionable, yes. It's certainly possible to do better on picture, and not necessarily with more money, what you need to ask yourself is do you need any other TV tuning, what about recording, and most important what about sound. All plasmas can run side speakers, but with a 42/43 screen stereo is a bit underwhelming, do you have, and would SWMBO approve surround sound? This may involve the odd girlie movie to keep her happy, but you know it makes sense. It also gives you a sensible option of a monitor only type screen. Just like old fashioned Hi Fi, the best quality is obtained with separates, not with integrated components, and the 435 is a TV, not just a display. Chew that over for a bit.
     
  3. workshy

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    Thanks for reply MAW.

    I take your point re separates. Am probably going to upgrade current audio system soon as well - looking at the Pio ax3 or 5. Current receiver can handle surround anyway and have 5.1 sound set up currently.

    Was planning to replace centre with the speakers under the plasma, but options are open.

    Really focussed on best quality (future-proof) screen I can afford and not looking to spend much over £3,500 if possible

    Any suggestions?
     
  4. MAW

    MAW
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    I'd deffo head down the panel only route ten, and with the prospective power on tap you'll need a proper centre channel, no pratting about with the mounted speakers, you could blow them to bits and they'll always be second rate. I'm personally not a big pioneer amp fan, prefer Denon and Onkyo products, or Yamaha if it's a budget issue. But nothing spectacularly wrong with them. Screen wise, you could look at the Pioneer 43MXE-1 or the Panasonic 42PHD7, both well within the 3.5k, and both well sexy. If you don't like the bezel, and wanted the XDE for the gloss black, you can get either of these painted for maximum WAF, allow £200 for that inc carriage.
     
  5. workshy

    workshy
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    One thing I like about the Pioneer screens is the media box meaning only one cable heading to the screen and everything else running to the box. I also like the pcmcia card that can take jpegs (SWMBO particularly likes that feature - aka "buy one that does this or something similar or approval withdrawn")

    I note that the panny screen need extra cards for additional inputs...? Pioneer media box seems pretty well up together?

    Am I missing a trick here?

    Also LCD or Plasma? Especially having noted the problems with artifacts for 100hz screens where sport is concerned
     
  6. MAW

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    Plasma all the way at this size. The picture card thingy is fraught with ifs, buts and difficulties, you'll be fed up in 5 minutes, and her in 30 secs. A 1 cable solution is easily possible, it's one reason why I asked about AV amps, and why I favour denon and Onkyo. It's a feature called video upconversion. Basically you plug all in to the amp with the best available signal, and it converts it all into component video, which you pipe to the screen down 1 cable. Simple innit? Pioneer media box is why the picture is compromised, it's plasma for idiots. Smart people can do better, but even a Currys customer can get a picture with the Pioneer XDE. Panels are not so plug and play, but reward with better picture and more funcionality, abeit at a cost of greater complexity. The fix for that is a funky touch screen LCD remote control.
     
  7. workshy

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    Right so you're thinking pure display screen with something like the Denon AVR2805 with everything connected??

    In principle I can see the benefits but SWMBO may not like having to always run it through the amp - she likes to be able to turn on the sky box and tv and just watch - I am the one that is more focussed on the sound quality (she happily watches TV with sound through speakers).

    Guess I need a sort of halfway house (although loving the fact that the PDP43MXE1 is listed for around £2,700 - which means even with the amp it comes in under my £3,500 budget)

    Any further thoughts? A tuner card in the screen (won't solve the sound issue though, I know)

    PS Thanks for your help with this - as a newbie with more money than sense, need a little guidance
     
  8. MAW

    MAW
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    Some speakers run from the plasma would solve this, but make things more complex possibly. I'll be chatting to Joe later or tomorrow, I'll see if he's on the case.
     
  9. workshy

    workshy
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    Thanks, appreciate it.

    So now got used to the idea of maybe moving away from the 435 and considering a screen + amp set up. Reading up on the AVR2805 (which I have looked at before) has sold me even more - can replace a lot of existing system with it. Think SWMBO could even get used to the idea.

    I guess my only reluctance is moving to be wholly reliant on the amp for sound for the system and on sky box for tv reception.

    Also still have concerns around watching footy on the plasma and whether it will stand up to the sky premiership coverage.

    Does anyone know about this?

    If I can get some comfort on this then am almost ready to move (subject to bonus from work arriving) and start the whole buying process!!! Can't wait!
     
  10. MAW

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    Dodgy footie coverage, yes that's an issue. You need to see some to be convinced. The hi def plasmas do it pretty well these days, but it still tends to look a bit like the greengrocers, LOL! How about the Onkyo TS XR602, that does upconversion, 2 zones, etc, and is £450, that must be less than the Denon. Onkyo a bit keen on their pricing as they are trying to re-establish their brand. They are one of the biggest hi fi brands worldwide, just not in UK.
     
  11. hddvdman

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    i have a pioneer 434 and ax5 and 868 dvd player the whole setup is awesome - i have a sky + box and pictutes on movies and tv are great!!!
     
  12. MAW

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    As good as your spelling?
     
  13. workshy

    workshy
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    Cpadams

    What's it like for watching sport? Am concerned about artifacts with coverage of fast moving sports like football. It is the one thing holding me back really (other than finding the cash).

    Do you use the speakers under the screen (SR206s or something like that)??

    Have also heard that the 435 is not actually an improvement on the 434 and that the Panny TH-42PE30B is a better screen - but I hate the massive surround - Pioneers look much neater screens - and I think it lacks HDMI input so that kills it for me really.

    Who'd have thought buying a :censored: screen would be so difficult??? :confused:
     
  14. stevekale

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    Stick with the commercial model plasma (not the home version). The better resolution (1024x768 vs 852x480) will leave you in better stead over time and I suspect you will not really need all the garbage that gets packed into the "home" versions such as tuner and speakers. Also the commercial models are black.
     
  15. sjb

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    Stevekale - the 435XDE is 1024 x 768.
     
  16. MAW

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    This is true, it's the processing in the MXE that's better. Pioneer sell the HDE/XDE model on the back of HDMI, a sort of scart connector for the 21st century. They look quite impressive with DVD, it's true, but there are lots of ways of achieving that with other screens, with this one Pioneer get to flog you an overpriced DVD player as well as a screen, they are a matched pair. Consider also how good it could have been if they'd really got it right. HDMI has great potential, but the manufacturers, the Japanese in general, don't seem to 'get' high end video. If you are really after picture perfection as far as it can be obtained, (plasma being a lifestyle product really, not a true high end display) then you need to go separate, export the scaling function from the screen and most certainly the DVD player, get a Lumagen or DVDO scaler. This will perform it's magic with sky, DVD and any other video source we connect to it, and scale in 1 hit to the panel resolution. It cannot be done with the XDE, it is IMPOSSIBLE to send the screen native resolution via the digital connection, many grown men have tried and wept. A scaler can be added later, if you have started in the right place,with that classic line, I've seen it in a signature, 'no dear, I've had it for ages'.
     
  17. workshy

    workshy
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    Ok, so let me get this clear. The MXE is a better screen than the XDE because it ignores the HDMI lead but I can acheive the same result in the future by buying more kit?

    Will the MXE cope with HD broadcasts from sky that are due in the next year or so without the extra kit, i.e. through connection through the Denon receiver and fed by the output from the Sky box?

    As I have said, I want a set up that gives me a big screen for watching TV, DVDs and using XBox/PS2. It must be able to stand up well when showing football and not lose quality versus my existing Sony 4:3 32" CRT.

    Will the MXE connected via the Denon do this? Will the BNC version of the screen with the PDP-S13-LR speakers get around the problem SWMBO may have with always running it through the amp?

    Also I thought you could get the MXE in silver as well as black?
     
  18. MAW

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    Yes to all questions, except footy always looks a bit 'digital' on any plasma, the scaler is the way through this, upgrade path is there if you need it. Only drawback of this one is the lack of HDCP support. The panasonic has this, if you think it's important. Personally it's not a deal breaker for me, I still think top analogue and a digital scaler has the edge.
     
  19. workshy

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    I am being thick here I think.

    How does the digital scaler work, and how does it solve the digital football problem? How much does one cost? And what is HDCP?

    Sorry to ask what are probably stupid questions
     
  20. MAW

    MAW
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    Not at all, it's complicated. Feel free to move this to phone or email if you like, I don't bite. HDCP = high definition copy protection. A digital handshaking protocol which enables a digital source to check the status of the recieving equipment. This way it knows if the material can be copied. A hollywood initiative, naturally. A screen tells the dvd it's just a screen and incapable of copying, so the dvd says 'fine, here's the picture the' kind of thing. If it found a DVD recorder on the end of the cable, it would say the electronic equivalent of 'go forth and multiply'.

    Scalers, you really need a demo of with and without to see if it will do what you want. All the HD screens have excellent internal processing, but still not as good as a top notch scaler. They take the 576 interlaced lines of sky TV and turn it into a progressively scanned picture at your panel's native resolution, with far better algorithms than the plasma has internally. Clear as mud? Go see one, let the scaler do the maths, you just check out the picture.
     
  21. workshy

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    Let’s take a step back. I have been looking around for a while to make the move from a) 4:3 screens, and b) up in terms of size.

    I currently have a Sony 32”CRT 4:3. I have a sky box, video, dvd player, xbox and PS2 all connected to the tv, with a video sender bouncing sky up to our bedroom.

    The first 3 of those are all linked to an old Aiwa hifi I have (I know it’s not great and yes I am in the process of considering upgrading – hence having looked at the Pioneer, Denon and Onkyo receivers before). They are not digitally connected - due to the age of the amp - using RCAs instead for most.

    Hence my main goals are:
    1) Widescreen
    2) Big enough not to lose the scale of the picture from the 32” 4:3 – I have looked at 32” and 36” widescreen screens and due to the change in format they appear much smaller – you just don’t get the impact.
    3) Flat screen – with the step up in size and not wanting the screen to encroach on the room, it is not really feasible to buy a big CRT and I don’t think they get to the sort of size I’m after anyway
    4) Maintain picture quality
    5) Future-proof – don’t want to find myself having to spend money in next 2-3 years to deal with any changes in broadcasts etc that are currently known about e.g. HDTV
    6) Not exceed approx £3,500 for the lot (big ask)

    I have waited a while and finances are now in a position (hopefully, bonus allowing) that I can make the upgrade I want.

    I will probably get rid of the hi-fi and replace with an AV receiver, DAB tuner and CD player (all separates), plus upgrade from sky to sky+

    Is Plasma the right move for me?

    I have looked at scalers and note they are circa £500+ and so it’s not a real option for me now and I don’t want to lose quality as I have said.

    This was why I was drawn to the 435XDE – it seemed to cover the bases, I have seen them running and they seem to cope well with LOTR and Star Wars, much better than some other screens I have seen.

    Help!? :lease:
     
  22. MAW

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    I have the gravest misgivings about your TV picture on the XDE, I have never left one installed that I have been totally happy with. Picture noise, and over bright colours are typical. Yes, if you've seen them with a HDMI dvd player it looks nice, but not as nice as a scaler fed MXE1 will, and this option will blow the XDE out of the water on TV. As the scaler, more typically £800-£1000, is outsude the current budget, you would need a JS Tech RGBscart to VGA converter, you will find this works brilliantly with either of my screen suggestions, and costs £120. Basically it adds the very highest quality scart connection to the screen, using the VGA port. As I have asid, the XDE is all things to all men, including as it must, the seriously stupid. It does a great job for something so easy to set up, but not as good as can be achieved, even with just that little converter box, let alone a scaler. It will tax your brain slightly more with setup, sure. That's why Currys don't sell such things, there's nowhere to stick the RF feed.
     
  23. workshy

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    okay

    so I think I'm getting there. I need the screen (e.g. MXE), the js tech converter and an av receiver. I connect the inputs to the amp, the amp to the converter (it upconverts the signal) and the converter to the screen? This should help remove the artifacts on the footy and give me a nice clean crisp picture?

    Ok, so the amp is circa £450 (Denon AVR-2105), the converter is £120, the screen is £2,500-2,700(??). Anything else needed? Those speakers I noted (PDP-S13-LR??) are approx £180.

    I think that gets me there under budget, but can I run the screen (with sound) without the amp being on e.g. for SWMBO to watch sky?
     
  24. MAW

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    You are so nearly there. You actually miss out the amp with the sky signal, and yes you can also make a line level audio connection to the screen so 'er indoors can watch eastenders without the amp, but you can mute the plasma speakers and turn on the amp for decent TV sound and DVD and any other mischief you may care for. She'll get used to the amp and probably prefer it soon enough, but your setup will work as described.
     
  25. workshy

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    Oh my god - I understand!!?? Fluke!

    So if I bypass the amp with the sky connection, will I not be able to use the amp for sky if there's a film I want to enjoy the full 5.1 impact of? Or is it a case of one connection to the amp and one to the screen and away we go? Can I do the same with the XBox and PS2 so that I can listen to music/radio at the same time as playing?
     
  26. MAW

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    You may certainly connect audio from sky to both amp and screen, the screen needs a 3,5mm jack. I think I would not recommend the same with PS2 etc, you will end in a terribly complicated tangle, though as they both have a digital output it could be worse! Digital to amp, analogue to plasma. Don't know how you'd connect audio from both to the screen without a manual switch, pain in the butt really. Unless you go up a grade in amp, cheapest 2 zone amp is the Onkyo 602, £450 from your nearest Onkyo dealer, :D will allow 2 zones of audio switching, and with a bit of effort could allow picture in picture switching. Hmm, maybe later!
     
  27. workshy

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    So with the current planned set up, would I not be able to use the P-I-P feature? How do I address that? Also, having read some of the other threads, a lot of people correctly point out that they don't own a single piece of equipment that will utilise the HD features, so barring sky's launch of HDTV in 2006 as a free service, am I paying for something I'm not going to use?

    Maybe I need to rethink...?
     
  28. MAW

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    Ha, you've done that several times. Tis lot would all directly translate to a SD panel, so your call there, nothing else changes. You do get a hell of a lot more with the HD though, and you were banging on about your 32" CRT, so excuse the misunderstanding if I've overreached on quality! I can assure you this is the route if that is what you want to achieve, I do this for a living you know! PIP works with any 2 inputs, so if you have sky on one, and everything else on the other, you can have 'anything' and sky, but not 'anything' and 'anything'. Does that follow? With a 2 zone amp and some lateral thinking you can switch all, 1 set of pictures would be less good, but you don't have to watch that set in full screen ever if you didn't want to. Obviously, by throwing a bucket load of cash at it, even this can be overcome, I am a custom installer, don't get me started for God's sake!
     
  29. workshy

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    ah you've noticed my changeable nature!!

    Thanks for your patience with this and help! I think I understand now and guess you are right - would be a bit of a false economy if I start trying to match CRT quality and then backtrack to SD!

    So I wouldn't be able to do picture in picture from two sky channels (just realised that sky only has a single tuner anyway, so how could I?), but sky plus anything else would work - god SWMBO would love it to find me watching footy through sky and playing Halo at the same time!! With Halo blasting out of the amp and sky through the plasma speakers!

    SWMBO has now cottoned on to the size of these and has mentioned that maybe 37" might be big enough - no, I cried - but just in case, are there any options there?

    Where would I source an Onkyo amp? Nowhere seems to sell them. What about the Denon AVR-2805 - that does 2 zone set-up although was hoping to pipe the second zone into the kitchen or dining room so there's no escape during parties!

    Also where would you recommend sourcing the screen, speakers and convertor from? I've noticed a massive variation in prices across the web, but am conscious of long delivery times and changes to spec etc. Also are there any replacements to the PDP433MXE in the wings that may drive price down soon?

    Last question (for the moment) - is the convertor a false economy as well? If is £120 but I can get something that will cope much better for longer for £400 or £500 (i.e. a scaler) then am I better off waiting a little bit longer and getting that?

    Wish there was a real basic idiots guide out there....and before you say it, don't tell me that's what the 435XDE is for!!
     
  30. bobbypunk

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    The 435 seems to give a much clearer and more detailed picture than the Pe30 but it is an improvement over the 434 all be it a small one. Pictures through scart on the 435 are a little on the dissapointing side, but HDMI, DVB, and Component picture quality easily makes up for this, especially if you are planning for the future.
    I agree about you're best bet being the commercial screens but if you do go for a standard consumer model it should definately be the 435XDE!
    As far as the amp goes, if budget pushes higher check out the two Arcam Diva models.
     

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