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Panasonic PZ80 vs PZ85 - is the digital audio out connection worth having?

Bruce Morrison

Established Member
I've been checking the comparison between the new Panasonic PZ80 and PZ85 plasmas. I know the PZ85 range has the 24p "Real Cinema" and "Intelligent Frame Creation" feature, but after reading views on this forum, I've decided that I'm not particularly interested in paying extra for that.

However, another difference is that the PZ85 range includes a Dolby Digital decoder and a digital audio output (in addition to the standard analogue stereo output). I'm wondering exactly what use that would be to me, given that all my disc-based sources will be using my receiver and external speaker setup anyway.

I think the only area that I could benefit from this would be Freeview TV broadcasts. Are any UK Freeview broadcasts currently in Dolby Digital rather than good old-fashioned stereo? Or are there any firm plans to start Freeview broadcasts in Dolby Digital?
 

stiben

Established Member
I don't know about current Freeview but if you are interested in Freeview HD coming out between 2009 and 2012, you'll need a set-top box making the optical out pointless :)
 

Bruce Morrison

Established Member
I don't know about current Freeview but if you are interested in Freeview HD coming out between 2009 and 2012, you'll need a set-top box making the optical out pointless :)

Having just got rid of one set-top box by buying a digital TV, you're telling me I'll soon need another one?! I've heard about the BBC starting HD broadcasts on Freeview in 2009, but I'd assumed a normal digital Freeview tuner would be able to deal with HD broadcasts as well. Is that not the case?
 

Jim Barry

Established Member
As I understand it, current Freeview tuners are not HD capable so an upgrade will be required. Terrestrial HDTV will use DVB-T2 and MPEG-4.

As for the digital audio output from the PZ85, I imagine this is needed because the Intelligent Frame Creation feature introduces a significant enough delay to mess up lip-sync. To use IFC with an external speaker setup, you would need to take the delayed audio output from the PZ85 instead of connecting the external source directly to the AV amp.
 

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