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Panny PHD7 and HD TV facts verus speculation

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs Forum' started by gslater, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. gslater

    gslater
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    ok...after much sifting through of information on this forum (and other forums), speaking to people selling plasmas and some other research I have finally come to the conclusion that I am thoroughly and utterly confused.

    I have decided to put what I have learned into three distinct categories:
    a) hard facts
    b) opinions
    c) "half thruths" which may be facts or opinions

    After initially thinking I had the answer I tried to purchase a PHD7 frm av sales this morning but they ran out of stock between 10am and 11:30am (good business it seems!), so I consulted www.ivojo.co.uk where I spoke to someone who convinced me that the inability of the PHD7 was a major issue and hence I should delay my purchase....this finally led me to believe I am still unable to fully distinguish between the facts, opinions and half truths...hence this post.....I will lay out all three categories and my request is for you....the informed public....to help me correctly categorise so that I am able o make my decision (ie form my own opinion) on the facts alone:

    Facts on HDTV

    (1) HDTV (High Definition Television) is a high resolution standard for television and DVD formats. There are 2 resolutions which can be defined as high definition, 1280*720 progressive (p) and 1920*1080 interlaced (i), both in 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.

    (2) In order to be defined as high definition ready, a display device (eg plasma) must meet the following criteria:

    i. The device must physically have a minimum of 720 lines in wide aspect ratio.
    ii. The device must be able to accept the following video formats:
    - 1280 x 720p at 50 and 60Hz, and
    - 1920 x 1080i at 50 and 60Hz
    iii. The DVI or HDMI input must support content protection - High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP)

    (3) HDTV ready will be required to display will display the logo "HD-ready" to ensure that the are fully compatible with the European standard for HD TV broadcasting....i.e. the the HDMI specification agreed by the EICTA (European Consumer Electronics Association) in October 2004

    Facts on broadcast signals

    (1) Broadcast signals can be interlaced or progressive and often only the vertical resolution is quoted (often referred toas the "number of lines" i.e. the number of horizontal lines of pixels).

    (2) The current British standard definition (SD) broadcast signal is 576i at 50Hz ie 576 interlaced lines....that's 288 lines per 50th of a second....then it will be scaled up to 768 lines to match the native resolution.

    (3) The proposed Sky HDTV broadcast and HDTV receiver will support two HDTV formats: 720p at 50Hz and 1080i at 50Hz ie 25 frames per second interlaced.

    (4) Broadcasters planning on launching HD services on the Sky digital satellite
    platform will be able to choose whether to broadcast content in 720p at 50Hz
    or 1080i at 50Hz...this will differ according to the nature of the programming (eg sports verus movies)

    Facts on panny PHD7

    (1) The PHD7 has a native resolution of 1024x768

    (2) if you have a resolution of 1024*768 (such as the PHD7), the high definition source will need to be scaled up vertically to 768 lines and scaled down horizontally to 1024 columns, so information will be lost.

    (3) A Plasma TV such as the PHD7 will have a built-in scaler to cope with the scaling of the resolution, but sometimes a stand-alone scaler box can do a better job (eg the isan hd+ or lumegen models)

    (4) There is currently no support for 720p @ 50Hz from Panasonic...quote from Panasonic...

    "the HDMI specification. Version 1.1 of HDMI was published it in May 2004, however EICTA (the European consumer electronics association) agreed the standards for High Definition in October 2004 and BSkyB issued their statement of intent in December 2004. The design of both the 7 series plasma display panels and the TY-FB7HM Input card (HDMI input card) predate both these announcements. As manufactured, Panasonic Commercial 7 series screens do not support either of standard definition video signals (625/50Hz or 525/60Hz...sometimes known as 575/576P and 480P respectively) or of any actual or proposed high definition video signals via the analogue input. The analogue input (via a 15 pin high density D connector) is restricted to PC inputs RGB H+V (or Red Green and Blue signals {low impedance 75R}, plus separate Horizontal and Vertical synchronising signals {High Impedance TTL level}). No current video standard supports this format."

    (5) The current panasonic panels (PHD7 and PW7) require an input card (blade) to support DVI/HDMI, and since Sky have stated they will mainly output their HDTV via HDMI encrypted signals, very probably at a frame rate of 50Hz. The current Panasonic DVI/HDMI cards can not accept 720p@50Hz, only at 60Hz

    It is on the frame rate point that the PHD7 fails the HD TV requirements. Although they support a native resolution of 1280*720 or more, they cannot accept a 720p or 1080i signal at 50Hz frane rate and require that the frequency be increased to 60Hz, which usually involves using a scaler.

    Opinion

    There is lots of mixture of fact and opinion based around the differences between the panny which is not fully HD ready and the pio which is...I summarize some of this from another thread...

    Pioneer:
    + Good picture when fed high quality DVD image
    + HDTV Ready
    + Has a wow factor when on the lounge wall
    + External media box makes it very plug and play
    + More natural picture from my demo
    - Not as good with Sky as others (not a concern for me at the moment)
    - Blacks not as good as Panasonic from my demo
    - Panning problems

    Panasonic PHD7:
    + Good picture when fed high quality and some lower quality feeds
    + Very good blacks
    + Costs less so allows some budget towards a scaler (improving the picture even further) and this would get around the HDTV issue (I believe)
    + Bolder picture from my demo
    - Does not support 720 @ 50 Hz
    - Some image instabilty

    "Half Truths"

    Finally, the half truths.....these can be summarised as follows:

    (1) You should buy the PHD7 now as it is an awesome panel which can will give a very good TV display right now and in the future it will be able to disply the necessary HD TV signals with the use of an external scaler

    (2) You should rather wait for a another 3 months to get the fully HD ready panny version since:
    a) this will be at a similar price point to the current 7 series
    b) if you need to purchase an external scaler to do the frame rate conversion, this will set you back another minimum of £800...but more likely around £1250.

    (3) If you have an external scaler this will not give you as good a quality as you get from the equipment being fully HD ready


    As you can see there is a lot to take in.....please help me to either:

    1) correct my facts (where they may be wrong) and
    2) filter the half truths into either hard facts or simply opions

    That way I will be in better shape to form my own opion based on these facts. :lease:
     
  2. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    You have covered alot in that post nothing is blindingly wrong......
    The EICTA HD ready logo, is a nice idea.AImed at TV's
    a PLasma Display aka PDP like the PHD7 is part of a larger system building a system is different to buying a TV (which is it you are trying to do????)
     
  3. Piers

    Piers
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    gslater,

    Your research has been impeccable! Now for the half truths:


    The PHD7 is awesome and will display SD input brilliantly. HDTV from Euro 1080 is very good but you cannot input either 720p 0r 1080i @ 50 Hz, it has to be frame rate converted to 60Hz via a scaler - I don't like the results, others will disagree! When Sky start doing HD the same will apply.

    Panasonic plus scaler is the solution today - new panels about to be released may change that advice, but the ability to "tweak" the grayscale / gamma in the Lumagens make them a calibrator's dream!
     
  4. gslater

    gslater
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    HD...you are right, I need to specify my exact requirements in the following order of priority:

    Primary purpose is to watch TV...in particular sports with occasional movie thrown in, hence the focus on broadcasting...in particular the impending Sky HD (I already have sky +)

    Seconday purpose is to watch DVDs, but this is as a "casual viewer" rather than "hardened movie buff"

    Finally, third purpose is to hook up to Home Theatre PC (HTPC) running Windows Media Centre Edition (MCE) which will ultimately take over from an ageing panny A360 DVD player and to allow me to surf the web from my living room using the plasma screen.

    Piers...on the subject of the scaler, you will see from the above that I am not a hardened movie buff hence I have less interest in "living the calibrators dream" in order to "tweak" the grayscale / gamma.

    Sothe nub of my problem appears to come down to the issue of the scaler.

    Therefore I would like to try and clarify one of the half truths on the subject of the scaler (ie move it up to the "facts" box)...

    The scaler is trying to do two primary things in order to get HD TV (I know it does a whole lot more but bear with me for now), these are:
    - Resolution scaling, and
    - Frame Rate conversion
    The resolution scaling can be handled reasobaly well by the scaler (I'm sure there is a technical explanation why but I dont know it), but the frame rate conversion is more tricky (again technical, but perhaps something to do with converting 60Hz to 50Hz but 6 doesent go well into 5)....it is this Piers that causes you to say "I dont like the results"

    As always....comments welcomed.
     
  5. andyatkins

    andyatkins
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    One further point to bear in mind is the alleged forthcoming availablity of HDCP 'stripping' devices that will convert an HDMI 50Hz signal to analogue for input into the Panny's VGA port. If you search this forum you should find a thread on it a few days ago. One device is from a US manufacturer called Dtronics, the other is apparently from Korea.

    I'm a PHD 6 owner & am hopeful that this route will provide a solution but until we see it proven - IE converting an HDCP flagged signal - then I remain somewhat sceptical.

    I can certainly vouch for The SD picture on the Panny's, I'm dead chuffed with mine but with the knowledge of forthcoming Sky HD requirements my advice would be to wait a few months for the Panny V8 to be certain you;re fully HPCP/50Hz compliant.
     
  6. richgtfc

    richgtfc
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    gslater,

    Great post, after reading hundreds of post and getting extremely confused, I think I finally understand :thumbsup:

    Rich
     
  7. newbiebie

    newbiebie
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    In order to fully answer gslater's Opinion section, I would think we need to confirm whether the Pioneer media box displays an incoming 50Hz signal 'as is' on the panel or also (like the HD7) converts it to a higher frequency.
    If it does FRC and the higher frequency is 60Hz, this would kill the XDE as no better than the Pany once and for all. :eek:
    If it converts up to 75 or 100Hz, then I'd say it keeps its edge for the HDTV world. :clap:
    Have been looking for an answer on this but only found info on the Pio MXE series.
     
  8. Piers

    Piers
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    gslater,

    HDTV is going to be 720p @ 50 Hz and / or 1080i @ 50 Hz. The PHD7 cannot display either of these resolutions via DVI. It can do both 720p and 1080i @ 60 Hz via DVI. The scaler converts the 50 Hz output from the HDTV receiver (Euro 1080 for now, Sky in future) to 60 Hz, but does introduce some judder - some people seem to see it more clearly than others.

    Calibration is not just for the hardened movie buff! It improves the picture quality across the board.
     
  9. bluevortex

    bluevortex
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    apolagies for complete lack of understanding over this issue but would i be right in saying the PW7 even with a scaler will never be able to display HD broadcasts?

    blue :rolleyes:
     
  10. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    PW7 will display HD just downscaled to fit, actually 720p is the ideal signal to drive a PW7 letting it downscale to native......(may not need a scaler just an HDMI>VGA converter)
     
  11. MAW

    MAW
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    A PW7 has exactly the same capabilities as a PHD, but lacks the higher pixel count. It can still display, and benefit from and HD signal. The Pioneer XDE runs at 72Hz internally, I find this just as irritating as 60Hz on the panasonic, so go for panasonic for the black levels and nicer SD capabilities. Others are entitled to their own opinions in the Pioeer/panasonic debate, they look fairly different given the same signal. Bollywood fans should like the bright bright colours of the Pioneer, and star wars fans might enjoy the Panasonic's smoothness.
     
  12. bluevortex

    bluevortex
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    Star wars mate, definately star wars!
    Can't say im to bothered about HD broadcasts at the moment mainly because happy with SD, but then ive never really seen the capabilities of HD material. feel happy owning a PW7, knowing i can still bennefit from HD materials to some degree when it finally becomes available.

    Personally didnt like the look of pioneer screen for the price difference over the panny and not sure it looks any better on the wall than my panasonic,

    The panny definately has the "wow" factor. I witnessed it again yesterday when an insurance agent came into my sitting room. I believe his exact words were:

    "god damn that looks crazy" - to say i was chuffed is an understatement.

    Sorry for going off topic

    blue
     
  13. gslater

    gslater
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    Has anyone got an opinion (or even better some facts) on the ability of an external scaler to handle:

    a) scaling of picture to meet the right resolution
    b) scaling of the frame rate to operate at 50Hz

    Which one causes the most problems....and what is it exactly that makes it different from being able to receive 720p or 1080i natively?

    Also,....do you need a £1200 scaler or will a cheaper one do?
     
  14. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    depends on if the panel can accept true native feed or if some jiggery pokey still goes on........ £800 Lumagen DVi will do all you need £900 IscanHD+ adds audio delay feature (who said you needed to spend £1200?) dont get bogged down in the price point aspect, you NEED to SEE this stuff in action
     
  15. gslater

    gslater
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    I agree I need to see it in action, that is the final decider after all.

    On the pricing point this needs to be of concern since my choice looks likely to be:

    1) PHD7 plus scaler...(£2300 + 800 = £3100), or
    2) PV500...cost not final but prob around £2700
     
  16. MAW

    MAW
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    The optionj 1 best for PQ I'd bet, but otion 2 is judder free, we'd hope.... You also need to budget for a DVI board don't forget.
     
  17. gslater

    gslater
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    maw

    are you saying that the HD7 plus scaler will give a better PQ than waiting for the HD Ready PV500 version?....what would be the basis for this assessment?
     
  18. MAW

    MAW
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    Native res from a scaler will beat panel scaling every time. The PV500 will accept 720p/50Hz on hdmi, but not 1024/768 at any frequency on hdmi.
     
  19. Roohster

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    You can bet that the PDH8 is just around the corner if the new Viera is HD ready...now that WILL be interesting.
     
  20. gslater

    gslater
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    anyone have any guesses on when the PHD8 will be around?
     
  21. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    8 series panel scheduled for UK luanch September (October for stock)
     
  22. gslater

    gslater
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    Why would the panel be so long after the tuner version?
     
  23. Davidgilmour

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    yeah , but what if they make a Bollywood Star Wars with Luke dancing and singing, what then !?!??!??!?!?!
    :hiya:
     
  24. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    because of 3 reasons
    1) panny want you to buy a TV not a panel
    2) the market demands a competitor to the 435XDE/FDE HD ready sets
    3) Commercial (panel market) arent to bothered by HDCP and HD over digital
     
  25. stuartam_81

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    is there any information yet about the 8 series panels?
     
  26. MAW

    MAW
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    Not really, no. Just educated speculation. Just add HDMI that works, and a 10% brightness increase to the current spec, and you will be close. I don't see them revising the DVI board, most likely just the HDMI.
     
  27. newbiebie

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    MAW,

    Are you saying they probably wont revise the internal frequency rate of the screen but just make the HDMI compatible with 50Hz and then FRC to 60Hz internally??? :(
     
  28. MAW

    MAW
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    Pannys run at input frequency anyway, this is not an issue. The current card only accepts 60Hz, so you have to FRC externally. This is what causes the issue with skyHD
     
  29. gslater

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    maw

    could you explain a little more on this....

    1) what card are you talkking about?
    2) sky will broadcast at 50Hz....so the issue you are talking about is the fatc that the current pannys only operate at 60Hz...correct?
     
  30. nicke20

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    no, the panny will run at 50hz but the required boards for sky hd ie dvi or hdmi will only run at 60hz for the outputs sky is talking about so you will not be able to view sky hd broadcasts with a phd7 with any current board, unless you use a scaler £££ to frc (frame rate convert)
     

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