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Panasonic TH-42PWD5 V Panasonic TH-42PHD5

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by DaveH, Oct 29, 2002.

  1. DaveH

    DaveH
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    Hi everyone,

    Having read through the tech sheets on the above plasmas I have determined that that the HD model is greater in that it only has a higher resolution than the PW.

    Also from the specs, PW is listed as being able to do High Definition (720p) etc, so what is the point of the HD set?

    I would have thought that the HD set would have meant High Definition version of the PW, but the PW seems to do High Def.

    Any plasma experts shed any correct information on the differences?

    Thanks,

    Dave.
     
  2. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    The non HD version will downscale 1280 X 720P and 1080i and 576P to fit it's panel structure. It can accept these just not show them at full res.

    The HD unit will accept them all and either upscale or downscale dependant on format. ie 1080I will be downscaled while 576P wil be upscaled

    It is also likely that the phosphor set in the HD unit may be different to the normal one. This would result in a different gamut of colour being available.

    Gordon
     
  3. DaveH

    DaveH
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    Thanks Gordon,

    You've basically made me realise that the HD version may be the better option.

    When you speculate about phosphor on the set, do you think the different colour available will make the picture better?
     
  4. CarlB

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    I would offer an alternative viewpoint that the HD set will be the better option only if you intend to use HD sources with the set in the near future, otherwise you are reliant upon scaling to view any image.

    The SD version at 480p is native rate for R1 DVDs so gives you the 'cleanest' image with that source, while other sources will obviously require downscaling (such as 576p PAL-Progressive). However, the HD set is native rate for no readily available material in the UK for the forseeable future. The only real advantage would be if you use the set with a PC, where the higher resolution will make a big difference.
     
  5. DaveH

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    Interesting point Carl.

    My way of thinking was that I wanted a future proof set (nevermind that HDTV will probably come here when the Plasma has packed up in many years).

    However, with scaling you mention that DVD material would not be the cleanest. This is something to consider, I would go for my DVD's over my PC. So maybe the WD is the one then.

    Many thanks.
     
  6. CarlB

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    No problem Dave. I have the model 4 Panasonic which I chose over the Pioneer 433 for that very reason. Denon engineers posted comments on the US AV forums stating that unless you output a progressive DVD signal at the panel's native rate you should use interlaced DVD and allow the panel to do all conversion. Being the kind of person that constantly upgrades my DVD players I knew I wanted to reap rewards in advancement of progressive scan which would not happen if I was only using the plasma for deinterlacing (as it's too expensive to keep changing just for the new deinterlacer).

    I am now very happy with my multiregion Denon 3800 DVD providing native 480p images to my Panasonic plasma. If you really think you will be using a 720p source in the next 3 years I would get the HD, otherwise I'd go with SD now and spend the rest on a good progressive DVD player.

    And before someone chimes in about 'blu-ray' DVD, then I don't see Hollywood ditching the current DVD cash-cow in the next few years for another format and I think it will be used mainly in the US as a Hi-Def recording source. I don't use DVD for recording as I have TiVo and don't ever keep recordings, so I have no need for a 720 DVD format in the near future. Hence 480p will do for me, and that's what my advice is based on. Your ideas may differ...
     
  7. steelej

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    Hi Dave,

    This was one of the questions I had when deciding on a Plasma. I spoke to the UK marketing manager for panasonic plasma's and he said the PH wasn't going to be released as a consumer model in the UK because of the reasons Carl mentions above. He said that we just don't have the signals in the UK for the HD set to be worthwhile and DVD's and TV will all be upscaled on the HD, and as Carl said R1 are native rate and R2 and downscaled slightly, but like anything it's always better to downscale than upscale, when you upscale you're trying to add information that just isn't there.

    I went for the Pw5 and saved some money :)

    John.
     
  8. MysT

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    Hi,

    Carl.. forgive me for chiming in but I think the HD argument needs to be put forward to this forum, in the nearish future it will have a major impact on people's decisions.

    Anyone making a 3-5k purchase should expect a certain amount of future proofing, how many people have owned a TV set for 5 or so years?

    There is already an HD option for those who are at the cutting edge, it's expensive but you can have HD right now! It's called D-VHS.

    http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articles/dvhs/
    http://www.thedigitalbits.com/reviewsdvhs/dvhsnotes.html

    Don't dismiss HD-DVD so fast either, it's almost certain to become a reality, possibly early 2004 would be my best guess, so anyone buying a plasma today has a tough decision, especially in the UK!

    You have to ask yourself what will you want in a year and a half's time, this isn't easy, currently it seems it's a no brainer to buy a native 480 screen but if you plan to still have your plasma around in 5 or so years time you're going to feel pretty silly aren't you?

    It's never an easy choice but we're not talking about a cheap purchase here, not like say a DVD player which many of us have had maybe 2 or 3 of in the last few years, I myself went for an HD set, I got the best one I could at the time, I know that when HD-DVD is available I want a piece of it and it will look stunningly superb on my current screen.

    steelej.. I don't think upconverting a 480p DVD onto an HD set is any worse than downconverting a 576 signal which is all that's broadcast on DTV like SKY, you have the same size screen to fill and downconverting is actually removing information from the signal/picture and SKY looks dire enough as it is! Watching The Fifth Element Superbit DVD at 480p is just an awesome experience and I can't imagine that I'm suffering at all from buying an HD set, I went into John Lewis recently with a mate and saw a panasonic on display, his first comment was "urgh, you can quite clearly see the pixels can't you!".. yes you can!

    Cheers... Chris.
     
  9. CarlB

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    Chris,

    I'm fully aware of D-VHS but totally uninterested in the format. I cannot see *any* tape-based format making any inroads into British households ever again. Sue there will be a few people who are interested but it's only a stop-gap technology before Hi-Def DVD becomes a reality. Personally I don't think D-VHS will ever get an official launch in the UK at all.

    And as for HD-DVD, as I said I know it will become reality but I think that will be as a recording medium. There is still far too much money to be made from current DVD for Hollywood to throw another format into the water and annoy a lot of people who have already just upgraded from VHS. I bought my first DVD player in 1998 and am a classic definition of 'early adopter', but I really do not see HD-DVD as a serious consideration in the UK for at least 3 years. By this time Plasma generations will have moved onto the next level and I will be looking for a replacement anyway.

    I agree with steelej on the upconverting / downconverting argument. Even superb computer software such as Photoshop offers the same conclusions - you can always do a better job discarding information than trying to create information that is not there. Photoshop is great at scaling down pictures but only very good at scaling them up, because it has to interpolate information that does not exist to create the image. You are effectively reducing the pixel density of the image and inventing information to fill the gaps which is never the best solution in my books.

    I'm glad that you're really happy with your display and I don't doubt it looks superb, so does mine. What I do take issue with is the proliferation of the idea that higher resolution panels somehow make current DVD look better than a native rate 480p panel. This I don't believe, and was borne out when I tested two plasmas (Pioneer and Panasonic) at purchase time. You are right that your set guarantees you will get a great true HD image when and if such material becomes available, but plasma technology has improved so much in the last two years that I know I will be replacing my panel again before the technology is a reality in the UK.

    PS. As Joe mentioned elsewhere there is still no definite standard for HD sources, it may be 720p which your unit can handle, but it may well be 1080i, which will still require downscaling on your HD panel. The HD name is a bit of a misnomer at the moment so you may look equally silly as the rest of us in a few years time. Both your panel and mine will handle these images, downconverting as necessary, but mine offers the advantage of being compatible with *current* DVD technology at native rate, which means I can get the maximum performance from my progressive DVD player *today*. I can't plan for every possibility in the future so I decided to enjoy what I have to fullest now...
     
  10. steelej

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    Here here Carl, Great expanation of the upconverting/downconverting I was about to use that myself until I read your post :) I used to work in publishing and I saw the horrible mess upconverting made to images, downconverting as you said is alot better done.

    Chris, you need to ask the question about D-VHS, whats the point? Will we be bombarded with D-VHS material or will it just be a recording medium. I can't see much D-VHS coming any time soon, so if we just use it for recording, again we're not getting any HD benefit due to the fact we don't have any HD signals to record.

    I always find it amusing when people make their judgement on plasma's when they see them in stores like dixons/curry's/John Lewis etc one of my friends was over last night to see my PW5 for the first time, he couldn't believe how good it was, massively better than he expected because he'd only ever seen a plasma in high street stores, needless to say a PW5 is now on his shopping list (He wasn't sure if he would go plasma or 36" CRT before). If I can also go back to my post a few back and remind everyone that the marketing manager for panasonic plasma's in the UK said to me personally that the HD panel would not be released in the UK because with current standards(Which will be current for some time) look better on the Standard Def panel. Can't really get a better recommendation than that :)

    John.
     
  11. sapper

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    I to am amazed at how many sets are displayed at stores in general, not just Plasma's but CRT and back projection systems to; badly set up, too much colour etc.

    About ~ 3 years ago after buying my DVD player, I puraches a set up DVD. After that, the qquality of my philips TV despite being ~8/9years old is still superb, better than many TV's in show rooms as its set up properly.

    EVen my partern critises how badly TV's are displayed in stores, and would not want to buy them!

    My tupence on the subject.

    Adrian
     
  12. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    I think you'll find it was me that mentioned there were no standards set for HD-DVD.

    D-Theatre is great. It will never be mass market. D-VHS can allow superb recordings from off air HiDef in suitable countries. Where available it's pretty nice too, even for tape.

    Phosphor: It may be more or less accuarate but it's unknown at present.
     
  13. CarlB

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    Gordon, my humblest apologies for crediting Joe with your knowledge :D
     
  14. MysT

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    I'm not sure if this is helping Dave or not but there are going to be people buying these things that expect their considerable purchase to be good for more than 3 years.

    If you except your plasma to still be with you for 2-5 years down the road which is not unreasonable for many people making an expensive purchase like this and you wish to be able to view HD sources in true native HD resolutions in the future then it seems sensible to buy an HD set today, changing your plasma in 2-3 years is just not an option for many people as current low res screens are likely to deteriorate in value considerably by then.

    I mostly agree with what has been said about D-VHS / D-theater, it's likely to go the way of laserdisk and become a niche product but if it becomes available in the UK I see plasma owners being the most interested, after all plasma is a niche all of it's own, if you have 3+ thousand pounds to spend on a plasma it may stand to reason that you also have 500 quid to spend on a D-VHS player and can cough up $40 a time for a D-VHS title.

    You'd need a crystal ball to foresee HD-DVD's future but the facts are the big names in consumer products are behind HD-DVD and it's very much in their interest to hammer out a standard and produce consumer players as well as recordable devices and studios like Lucasfilm have more or less committed to releasing the Star Wars classic trilogy on HD-DVD, these are still not available on DVD!

    I didn't mean to suggest as someone before me may have that current DVD looks better on an HD screen but rather that DVD looks damn fine on an HD screen so much so that in fact the only difference I am left looking at is I can see each individual pixel on a low res screen. Also you need to be careful with upconversion because there becomes a point where downscaling looks a lot worse because so much of the original information is missing compared with the extra detail of the higher res image.

    1080i will be displayed on my HD set by losing 28 lines from the top and 28 from the bottom giving true native HD, albeit missing 56 lines, who's going to notice? 720 on a 480 screen you lose 33% or the overall image, with 1080 it's even more, so basically if you buy a low res screen today you eliminate your option of future-proofing your purchase should you wish to take advantage of HD material should it be available.

    Cheers again... chris.
     
  15. KBDVD

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    MysT,

    I'm inclined to agree wth you!

    I'm waiting for Joe Fernand's comments on this very subject in the thread that I posted a couple of days back, so I'm not saying I can't be swayed, but for now I would have to say that:

    1. IMHO, I believe that High Definition will happen on DVD sooner rather than later, especially now that D-Theatre is a market reality, and certainly well within the life expectancy of any Plasma Screen being purchased now, so the High Definition option warrents careful consideration! ( Especially if your not rolling in it!)

    2. IMHO, anyone who thinks Hollywood won't see HD-DVD as another excellent opportunity to "re-cycle" all of their back catalogue titles again is deluding themselves! ( Some of the studios are already doing this for D-Theatre after all, and they must know that being tape based, it is NEVER going to become a mainstream format!....but their still doing it anyway!) By the way, according to the reviews that I've read, it's supposed to look fantastic on current High Definition Plasma displays!!!

    3. IMHO, HD-DVD will be "marketed" as DVD's "Big Brother" and like "Superbit", will be Film only, no extras / commentaries, & aimed at the "enthusiast" market. It will probably co-exist "Day & Date" with DVD, (which will still be the format of choice for the masses.) We could even see DTS migrate to being a HD-DVD only sound option in order to attract the DTS advocates? DVD will be marketed on the strength of it's "added value" additional material (extras) and HD-DVD will be sold on it's "Quality".

    This would of course represent an ideal situation for the Studios as any true fan of a movie with suitable equipment will want to purchase both versions of any release. I can certainly forsee myself doing exactly that, HD-DVD for optimum quality and DVD for the Documentaries & Commentary tracks etc.

    For owners of HD Plasma displays it will be a "WIN / WIN" situation, but this won't be the case for all those with a VGA resolution screen. I may of course be totaly wrong, but I'd lay odds that I'm not!...We shall see.

    Why limit yourself to simply having your cake? ( owning a DVD optimised panel ) when you can eat it as well? ( owning a future proofed HD-DVD compatible panel )

    For now, as long as Standard DVD images are not significantly "degraded" by using a HD Panel then this has to be the most common sense solution...Doesn't it?...Over to you!

    By the way, GREAT THREAD GUY'S!, this is what it's all about!

    Best Regards,
    KBDVD.
     
  16. CarlB

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    I think evryone's opinion is valid here. I will buy another *true* Hi-Def (which may not be a 768 line display) when there is a Hi-Def broadcast format which supports the panel at native rate in the UK. As has been said, plasma is still a niche 'enthusiast' product and as such an enthusiast will usually want to upgrade to the best kit at whatever cost. I would be very surprised if the vast majority of current plasma owners, early-adopters that we are, will not consider the same. For me, a current Hi-Def display is a marketing man's dream, able to wrench extra cash from the punter without offering any current tangible benefits unless you are using a source which can truly use the display such as a PC.

    As you say, in future this will mean your display may be less lossy when viewing Hi-Def sources, and if there was a guarantee that Hi-Def would be native rate for todays HD displays then this would be a no-brainer. However I will not be satisfied with 'less lossy' - I will want native rate in order to use progressive scan outputs from HD-DVD when it appears. Native rate or nothing for me, but then perhaps I'm just too anal like that... :D

    If you can't afford to upgrade then spend the extra and get HD to last you 5-7 years, but I can't imagine how antiquated that plasma will look by then. And there's always a good second hand market as the mass market drags it's feet so much. DVD has only taken off in the past two years whereas I had players for 2 yrs prior to that. Same with plasma, by the time Joe Public has caught on there'll bea perfect market to take that second-hand VGA panel to use with their new DVD player, just as all us techno-geeks are shifting to HD-DVD. ;)

    Anyway, this thread has been really cool and there are definitely two schools of opinion which have their champions. We've presented the information well, so it's down to the reader to make up their own mind now.
     
  17. DaveH

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    I must thank everyone for the valuable help in this thread.

    It's been fun reading and I am now a lot more informed. I would have bought the HD display thinking of future proofing until I read up on the scaling of images.

    Have I made up my mind? Well yes and no!

    Yes in that I believe a HD panel is a future proof solution and the way to go.

    No in that I believe a HD panel would have viewing the main source (DVD) in a resolution it is not suited for due to scaling mentioned.

    So in conclusion I believe I am going to do with plasma what I have been doing for a long long time... wait.

    Thank you all.
     
  18. CarlB

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    Dave,

    Don't forget that if you wait too long you'll be buying your Super Hi-Def plasma just as we're all upgrading to HoloDVD...

    ;)
     
  19. KBDVD

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    Dear All,

    This thread is getting better and better! It's a pleasure to be involved in such an open and frank discussion with confilcting points of view, that manages to remain civil, enjoyable, and most of all informative to all who may read it!

    I've a couple of new points to add to my comments this morning, ( now that I've had the opportunity to formulate a considered oppinion having given the subject a few hours to cristalise in my mind )

    As far as I can see there are only two questions AT THIS TIME that are relevent to the debate over the choice between these two models. ( And the Standard Panel resolution v High Definition Panel resolution debate in general. )

    1. Would the choice of the HD Panel result in a significant or even a marginal degradation of "VISIBLE" Image Quality in comparison to that which is attainable with the Standard Panel when used with todays "real world" sources, especially DVD?

    2. Is the price differential between the two models significant?

    I'm still unclear if a visible difference would/does exist, and as such, I hope that Joe Fernand or anyone else who is able to perform a side by side comparison can comment on this aspect of the screens performance.

    I can see that this could be the case as a possible result of the HD Panel's need to "scale" or "up-convert" the resolution of a DVD image to it's own "native" resolution, as opposed to the "better natural fit" of a DVD image to the native resolution of a Standard Panel. But then again, I can also see a possible benefit from the smaller Plasma cell structure of the HD Panels.

    I presently feel that if the answer "NO" can be applied to both questions then the selection of the HD Panel should be a "No Brainer" given it's obvious and undisputed future proofing and HD-DVD compatability advantage. I accept that it might not be a perfect fit for HD-DVD, but I'm sure that even if it's not a perfect fit, it will extract a lot more picture information and detail from HD-DVD than the Standard Definition screen ever could!

    So, I know which screen I would rather have in the future, but the question is which screen is the right choice for now?....if the answer is in fact "NO" to both my questions I think this must still be HD!

    One last point. An earlier thread mentioned that a Panasonic Marketing Manager had commented that there were no plans to market the High Definition model in the UK due to the lack of any HD source material to use with it.

    Fair enough, but come on guy's He's a Marketing Manager! I'm sure that there is nothing Panasonic would like better than to have everyone who's currently in the market for a Plasma Screen, buy a Standard Definition Panel only to discover in two years time that they are now going to have to buy another new HD unit to get the best from HD-DVD!

    Despite this, the HD unit option exists and is available to buy, though maybe not as widely as the Standard unit. I believe that this is because Panasonic are clever enough to know that some far sighted people are now starting to realise what's down the road and on the horizon and are already insisting on a High Definition Panel.

    Best Regards,
    KBDVD.
     
  20. steelej

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    KBDVD,

    It was me who posted about the panasonic marketing manager and I can see your point, and I've dealt with markting people before, but I don't think they would have anything to gain by admitting their more expensive panel didn't look as good as they're cheaper one, and if anything prices and markets will change over the next few years so there's really no gurantees that they'll benefit in the long run if HD does ever make it over here. Pioneer's panel is Hi-Def and one of the main competitors, if they felt that they needed an HD panel then I would have thought that it would be released, but obviously they feel they don't.

    But it has to be said that it might well be released 'cause lets face it marketing folk have a habit of talking Sh!t@ :) (No offense to any marketing people reading this :) )

    John.
     

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