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Panasonic TH-50PHD6BX - First Impressions!

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by Joe Fernand, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello all

    Just in case it gets overlooked there are other new plasmas on the block this month!

    Our first Panasonic TH-50PHD6BX arrived on Friday (1 week early) and very good it is too.

    Like the PWD6 42" model other than an additional button on the front face of the bezel you'll not spot a Series 6 from a Series 4 or 5 with ease.

    Power up the panel and one 'audible' change is obvious - after a brief spin up the TWO cooling fans go into a reduced output mode and are then pretty much inaudible; in fact from very close up (0.5m) there is more noise from the power board which is bottom left as you look at the screen from the front.

    Like the other Series 6 models the HD15 input can accept RGBHV (video or data rates) or YUV Component (Interlaced and Progressive) and there are three card slots you can populate with a variety of Analogue and Digital inputs.

    Inputting a SKY+ signal as YUV via a JS Technology converter produces a fairly 3D image - more so on the Movie Channels where switching on the Cinema Reality circuitry helps with all Interlaced PAL and NTSC sources when displaying Movies originated on Film.

    As ever no matter what circuitry is built into the Plasma the poorer channels look very blocky and digitised - though adding an external processor can make the most of these bad signals.

    Using a Progressive DVD Player (Arcam FMJ DV27) is a good measure of the Panasonic video processing - using the DV27 to send the Plasma an Interlaced signal with Cinema Reality switched Off and then On shows marked improvements in the usual 'torture' disc scenes.

    Switching the DVD to its SIL504 progressive output makes for a more stable and much more 3D image with greater contrast and virtual lack of line twitter.

    The 50" HD (like the 42" HD) retains Panasonics Dual Scan processing (unlike the Series 5 and 6 SD models) and I dont see the occasional 'Solarisation' I see on the PWD6 when you have a slow dissolve from two frames of very different brightness (mostly on PAL sources).

    Like previous Panasonic models the PHD6 retains the ability to resolve very dark blacks - which makes for a very appealing image; though you have to be aware they are not as punchy as some panels in a brightly lit room.

    Using the factory pre sets (as I did) you'll want to switch to 'Cinema' mode for most of your viewing and using a set up disc you'll want to tame the reds (especially with SKY which always seems to push Red way too high).

    The on screen menu system is pretty intuitive - once you remember which settings are in the 'Picture' or 'Set up' menu and the familiar Remote is very straightforward to use.

    I've not had a chance to test the screen side by side with a Pioneer MXE, 03 HDE or the 04 HDE to see if Panasonic matches the Pioneer for stability of image - not something I expect to be a problem on the HD units.

    For Panasonic lovers its pretty much more of the same with the PHD6 with the much quieter operating noise levels and basic Deinterlacing for PAL and NTSC an added bonus - though I expect most customers spending this sort of money will want to add an iScan Ultra or Lumagen Vision to take care of Deinterlacing, Line Doubling and other processing duties for all Interlaced signals.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  2. SimonO

    SimonO
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    Joe, thanks for the report... I agree that most people who spend £5000 on a monitor can probably afford another £500-1000 on a processor... But should they really have to.!?
     
  3. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello Simon

    Ask anyone who's spent £20K + on a high quality CRT the same question.

    External processors spawned from the lack of processing power inherent in CRT projectors where in the main the Display product manufacturers excelled at the display technology and others excelled in the video processing technology.

    I see a Plasma as a component in a system and to achieve the best image that system will inevitably include an external processor - otherwise all displays would cost another £1k if the Plasma manufacturers were to include the processing technology (see Pioneer MXE vs. HDE - Fujitsu AVM vs. AVM+).

    Plus its more fun getting to choose a Plasma and a Processor to best suit your requirements.

    Regards

    Joe
     
  4. SimonO

    SimonO
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    Something else to hide from the wife..!
     
  5. Jasonjo

    Jasonjo
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  6. kaspj

    kaspj
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    Joe,

    Thanks for the post. Could you please follow this up with the same observations on the 42PHD? (you've been curiously quiet on this one!).

    I've got an Arcam DV27+ (which I bought with an eventual Plasma in mind) so I'm particularly keen on your comments re PAL/NTSC prog scan performance (and Sky+) on the 42PHD. I'm looking at buying either the 42PHD or 434 HDE in the new year (when the readies are in place). Either XGA panel will be a step-up from my 32" Toshiba CRT! Have you tried the Scart board yet?

    Would very much welcome your input on 434 vs 42PHD!

    Kind regards

    JP:smashin:
     
  7. kaspj

    kaspj
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    Joe,

    Any comments?

    Thanks
    JP.
     
  8. howies

    howies
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    i too would like to know about these 2 as i cant decide either
     
  9. steve36

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    I use JSim Scart to component convertor with my Panasonic HD.
    It's very good, better than I could have imagined.
    There's nothing wrong with the scart board, but I have compared both and found the scart slightly softer.

    Steve
     
  10. kaspj

    kaspj
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    Steve36,

    Thanks for that. Other than a slight softness to the image, do you recall any other differences? (e.g. richer colours with YUV etc etc) Was the image quality the same otherwise?

    Joe are you out there? Still hoping for some feedback on the 42PHD:)
     
  11. steve36

    steve36
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    kaspj
    Unfortunately it was difficult to tell any other differences as during the demo I had the scart board produced a much darker picture, but that may be due to the scart input being set up differently.
    I'm sure that the scart input will produce an acceptable picture, I just thought at the price of the plasma it was worth the extra cables/power lead/box for the slight improvement.

    Steve
     
  12. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello all

    Bit of a hectic week so not as much time as normal to visit the Forums - hopefully things will 'normalise' again after Event2 this weekend.

    Steve36 - so its soft and dark but OK :) I'm with you on the JS Converter as a better option than the SCART board.

    kaspj and howies - its very close to call between the TH-42PWD6BX and the TH-42PHD6BX on Standard Definition sources and no competition with higher resolution and High Definition sources; If you have the budget I'd go for the HD unit as for me it looks a better long term proposition.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  13. joys_R_us

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    and how about comparing the 42HD vs. Pio 434 ???

    :rolleyes:
     
  14. Jasonjo

    Jasonjo
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    let u know after Event II!!! ;)

    JJ
     
  15. kaspj

    kaspj
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    Please do. I hope you'll get a chance to observe black level performance on the 434 in a darkened environment. Whilst it's generally accepted that pannys are superior on this issue, perhaps the latest generation 434 will be 'okay' at least?

    JP.
     
  16. steve36

    steve36
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    I'll be interested to see how the pioneer 434 handles different quality inputs.
    I admit I'm biased (who is'nt one way or another !).
    But I have seen the 434 looking superb, and with a little noise on some lower quality inputs.
    I thought the Panasonic handled the lower quality input's slightly better, but I'm sure event-II will prove me wrong.

    Steve
     
  17. rscott4563

    rscott4563
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    Joe having just bought a Lumagen Vision and considering a TH-50PWD6BX I would really appreciate any further views you had on this setup, how would you say it compares to a Lumagen and Pio503MXE setup, a Lumagen and 5 series 50PWD (if you have had the opportunity to see these) or possibly a Lumagen and Pio 504HDE, my viewing is probably a 65%/35% NTL/DVD split and the viewing distance is about 10 feet?? Also I've read quite a bit about the issues the Panny's have with the DVI input, does the VGA/Component input suffer from any of the limited accepted resolution issues?? :smashin: :hiya:

    [Edit]
    I've been informed that with the lumagen the best output to use is RGBHV though I'm not really sure of which would be best HD15 to HD15 on the plasma or HD15 to BNC RGBHV, I'm also not really sure of the add in cards for the Panasonic, is there a card with Component&RGBHV BNC? What inputs come as standard, is it just the HD15 PC input (what inputs can it accept?) or does it come with a card already installed?
     

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