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Philips 36PW9618, Panasonic TX-36PD30, or Toshiba 36ZP38?

Discussion in 'Televisions' started by capslock, Jan 21, 2004.

  1. capslock

    capslock
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    I want to buy a 36" widescreen CRT TV. Like many people in this situation, I'm considering the following:

    Philips 36PW9618
    Panasonic TX-36PD30
    Toshiba 36ZP38

    What Video magazine has all of these (or their 32" siblings) listed in their current "Top Five" list.

    I went to Curry's last Saturday in Cambridge. Prices are not that good, but it's a huge store with an example of almost every TV under the sun! Spend just 10 minutes reading What Video, and you already know more about widescreen TV's than the combined knowledge of all the sales staff at Curry's on a Saturday. But the great thing about Curry's was that they happened to have all 3 of these 36" TV's next to each other in a row! And the shop assistant let me have all 3 remotes and left me alone to compare them.

    As I understand it, the Toshiba has no resolution enhancement, whereas the Panasonic has Acuity, and the Philips has the latest version of Pixel Plus. Is that right so far?

    Close to the screen (say 4 feet away), the Philips picture seemed severely pixilated and really quite annoying. You couldn't make out strands of hair or texture on clothing, or any detail really. But further back (say 10 feet away or more), the picture then looked outstanding, and I could see all the detail really clearly! Wierd or what?

    The Panasonic seemed to have the same symptoms, but not quite so pixilated close up and not so amazing further away. The Toshiba had no pixilation at all. You could watch it from 4 feet away or 40 feet away, but it was not as dramatic from a distance as the other two. Presumably that's because it doesn't have any resolution enhancement.

    I know I'm not realistically going to sit 4 feet away from a 36" TV, but just knowing that if I get close to the screen I'm going to see a bad picture, worries me. This could be the difference between being delighted with my new TV, and being really pleased with it, but with reservations.

    In the Buyer's Guide section under 'Buying Tips: Television", What Video says "The first rule is to buy the largest screen size that (a) you can afford and (b) you can accommodate at home". I've got a pretty large room so I'm inclined to go for a 36" TV, but my concern is that I might have to deliberately sit far away from the screen so that I get a great picture and can't see the annoying pixilation. But buying a large screen and then deliberately sitting far away from it seems pretty ironic to me!

    All the TV's at Curry's were fed from an analogue RF source, probably via numerous splitters, so maybe that was part of the problem.

    So here are my questions:

    (1) Is the close-up pixilation something that would go away with a better source, say a Freeview box (e.g. Nokia 221T), or is this a permanent artifact of resolution enhancement that I'd have to accept and try not to think about?

    (2) Is there someone out there who owns a Philips 36PW9618 or Panasonic TX-36PD30 (or even their 32" versions) and can comment on how far away from the screen you need to be, and whether they are delighted with their purchase?

    (3) From a suitable viewing distance, are the Philips and Panasonic pictures really better than the Toshiba, or is this the power of suggestion? Perhaps it's just an illusion, but then so is the whole idea of moving pictures on a TV, so maybe perception is everything?

    Comments anyone?
     
  2. rct

    rct
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    Hi and welcome to the forums! :hiya:

    (1) Is the close-up pixilation something that would go away with a better source, say a Freeview box (e.g. Nokia 221T), or is this a permanent artifact of resolution enhancement that I'd have to accept and try not to think about?

    Any digital source will have a degree of pixellation due to the MPEG compression used. A resolution boosting TV will only enhance the effect.

    (2) Is there someone out there who owns a Philips 36PW9618 or Panasonic TX-36PD30 (or even their 32" versions) and can comment on how far away from the screen you need to be, and whether they are delighted with their purchase?

    I have a 32" 9617 (predecessor to the 9618) I am delighted (as a search will show) and I sit around 8 ft from the screen.

    (3) From a suitable viewing distance, are the Philips and Panasonic pictures really better than the Toshiba, or is this the power of suggestion? Perhaps it's just an illusion, but then so is the whole idea of moving pictures on a TV, so maybe perception is everything?

    What your brain tells you is best is what is best. I wouldn't change my Philips for any other CRT TV.

    Good luck with the purchase!



    :)
     
  3. bazzae123

    bazzae123
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    Hi capslock,

    I know what you mean about the Curry's store in Cambridge. Its not bad is it. Anyway, I have a Philips 9528 which has the same workings as the 9618 but not the sound. Its only a 32" but the picture can be stunning given a good source like Sky or DVD. Its not perfect but I've tried quite a few different TV's in the quest for the perfect one and I don't think there is such a thing. They all have their pros and cons. To me the Philips gave the most detailed picture of all the ones you mentioned, and I've tried. A Loewe is more natural on some scenes but not as detailed. To be on the safe side do what I did. Buy from the comet WEB site and you then have seven days to try it and if you don't like it you can get your money back or exchange it. I managed to this on three TV's before they said no more. I then just used the wife's credit card to start all over again. It would appear its the card number that's the issue and not the address where the TV's going.

    Good luck in your quest

    Bazza
     
  4. arthurwatt

    arthurwatt
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    capslock

    I was in a similar position to yourself a couple of months ago, I had a lot of difficulty deciding between the Philips 9618 and Panasonic PD30. I liked the sound of the resolution boosting technology so I rated these above the Toshiba. I got some excellent replies to my thread.

    Search the forum for "PD30 9618" and you'll find the thread "Panasonic 32PD30 or Philips 32PW9618"

    I would adise you to see both tvs with sources similar to ones you will be using. I opted for the 32" PD30. I don't think the DVD playback on the PD30 (even progressive) is as good as the 9618. Sky digital from my Grundig STB is excellent with the PD30 and even analogue looks great (I get a good signal). To tell you the truth I am still not sure I made the correct choice.

    There are problems with both sets but if you get a good one you will not be disapointed.

    Good luck, whatever you decide.
     
  5. capslock

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    arthurwatt,

    I found your thread - thanks.

    I preparation for whichever TV I decide to buy, I've just bought a Nokia 221T freeview box. This has made such an improvement to my crummy old 22" Hitachi TV, that I'm beginning to question whether I should fork out all that money for a new 36" TV afterall! Ok, I still want a new 36" TV.

    In your thread, you say "John Lewis were able to display some freeview on both TV's and both pictures looked pants". I hope this isn't a bad sign for me!

    At the moment, my favourite is the Philips 36PW9618, followed by the Panasonic TX-36PD30. I know opinions are subjective, but I have to admit that I'm influenced by the What Video ravings about the Philips. Also, in Curry's, the colours on the Philips looked warmer, without looking like the colour was set too high, if you know what I mean. I realise the TV's are probably not set up properly in Curry's, so this kind of difference might just be because of that.

    Initially, I thought the Panasonic was better looking (if it's that hard to choose between the two, then why not choose the one that looks best?), but now the understated silvery Philips slab is growing on me rapidly. [This reminds me of when I bought my Hi-Fi about 10 years ago. I chose a Linn Sondek LP12, which doesn't look anything special (it's slab-like too), but it's amazingly good.]
     
  6. They

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    Poor source and poor set up of the display can produce the most appalling image quality no matter what the make or price. You would not likely have seen anything of the potential of the TVs with the lighting conditions in the store and the source quality.

    It is true that below a certain source quality threshold the image processing algorithms in todays TVs can stuggle but most processes are defeatable if the situation gets too bad for you.

    The important fact to consider is that no technology is perfect and neither are the systems it may have to work within, and no matter how you feel about paying up to £2000 for a TV, your personal value expectation doesn't guarantee a correlation with the state of the art of large CRTs available in the market today.

    Although perhaps adding to your current dilemma you may nonetheless wish to know that Philips is now launching PixelPlus 2 which features many useful enhancements, but please don't forget, it still isn't perfect.

    I would say that when properly setup and with a good to excellent source quality you will for the most part achieve very enjoyable view experiences. I have a Philips 36PW9525 and sit about 5.5 to 6 feet from it when watching movies on DVD and Sky (not as good as DVD) and despite any inherent limitations produces superb viewing quality and this set and others looked poor to mediocre in the shop!
     
  7. capslock

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    They,

    The only information about PixelPlus 2 that Google could find for me was this US press release draft:

    http://www.ces2004.philips.com/downloads/press-releases/home-entertainment/Pixel Plus 2.pdf

    It says that PixelPlus 2 will be standard in 4 new TV's, but these are LCD and plasma screens. Do you know if it will be available on CRT TV's? Will it be available in existing CRT models, like the 36PW9618, or will I have to wait 6 months for a new CRT model with a £2000+ price tag?
     
  8. blindlemon

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    Having owned both P+ and Acuity sets I have to say that, from a distance the P+ does a more noticeable job at enhancing detail. Whether this is a bonus or not depends on exactly how keen you are to see the pores of everybody's skin ;) Personally, I would have liked to be able to turn down the enhancement level sometimes on the P+ set. I've not had this urge with the PD30.

    With both sets though it's perceived detail that's enhanced - up close both pictures look terrible!!

    My current set is a 36PD30 and I feel it has the following advantages over Philips sets:-

    1. Better build quality (better transformer etc.)
    2. Finer dot-pitch
    3. More "natural" detail enhancement
    4. No haloes
    5. Nicer case

    However, all PD30s suffer from an excess of green and over-contrasty presentation out of the box (both can be fixed in the service menu).

    Philips sets have the following advantages:-

    1. Better colours (if the set has a genuine Phiplips tube)
    2. Better menu
    3. Bigger sound

    As far as actual "faults" go - Philips sets suffer from black bars, haloes round moving objects etc.; PD30s suffer from dirty screen and colour purity problems.

    Both companies, IMHO, have dreadful quality control, abysmal customer service and a very arrogant attitude. Getting them to admit there's a problem - even if it's staring them in the face - is like getting blood out of a stone.

    Whatever you get, make sure you buy from a reputable store with a very good CS reputation. You may have to return your set multiple times to get one that's up to the standard you expect.

    Good luck. :)

    ps. I wouldn't sit closer than 6 feet from either of these sets - at 32" or 36".
     
  9. ddlooping

    ddlooping
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    Hi all. :)

    I am also in the same position - wanting to upgrade my Hitachi 32" 50hz to a 36" 100hz PS.
    I noted you didn't make much comments about the Toshiba.
    Is it because it's much inferior to the other two?
    Is the £300 difference really justified?

    What I'm mainly looking for is the "wow / 3d-effect" factor when watching DVDs.
    Any improvement with SKY would simply be a bonus. ;)
     
  10. topdog951

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    I have owned a TX36PD30 for just over a week now and to say that I am vey happy would be an understatment!

    I LOVE THIS TV. It gives great results and I have none of the issues reported in these forums.

    I do have a good setup(well I think so) and Very good cables to connect them altogther, not sure if this is a factor in other problems!

    As they say in IT GIGO (Garbage in Garbage out)
     
  11. arthurwatt

    arthurwatt
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    I think you will see more of this type of effect with the Philips pixel plus sets. I was torn between the PD30 and 9618, I ended up with the PD30. I am happy with the PD30, but still not 100% sure I made the correct choice. A few of the mags rate the pixel plus playback above the PD30.

    The only thing that blew me away on the PD30 was Carly Simon singing in a forrest and the end of Piglet Big Movie :laugh:

    Cheers
     

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