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Pioneer, Panasonic and Hitachi demo.

Discussion in 'Panasonic TVs Forum' started by Dave777, Jan 12, 2003.

  1. Dave777

    Dave777
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    I have just been lucky enough to be able to pop along to Horsham to see a demo of the above screens (and a Samsung) in 42".

    First thanks to Russ at Nexnix for coming in on Sunday, 11/10 for customer service.

    Second thanks to the forum members for arranging it, it really was worth it.

    I only had a one hour pass from my wife so I couldn't stay as long as I would have liked!

    I will let the other members who stayed for more exhaustive testing and comparing comment more and will not steal their thunder...... But I think Hitachi will be getting some business!

    Thanks guys again. I will add more comments after you!:D
     
  2. swarrans

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    said...Hmmmmm! (or at least I did!).
    As one of those present (Simon) I found it a very interesting and useful day - the only trouble is I think that I'm further from buying a plasma than when I went! The good news is that I think James, Giorgio and Jonathan are better decision makers than me and so will be placing orders soon!
    The problem is this....I think we all agreed that the picture quality playing DVDs was in this order (highest first):-
    1. Hitachi
    2. Pioneer
    3. Panasonic
    Comments: when you froze some pictures (eg night scene in Paris on Moulin Rouge) the detail level on the Hitachi and Pioneer was significantly better.
    Unfortunately, we also all agreed that the PQ when fed Sky was (highest first):-
    1. Panasonic
    2. Pioneer
    3. Hitachi
    -- ie exactly the other way round!
    I won't comment on the laptop performance, cos I'm not going to use that, but it was tested by Giorgio so I'm sure he'll comment.
    Other aspects are that the Panasonic looked flickery to me (not to everyone though) and we all thought the Hitachi's fans were noisy.
    All were connected by RGB expect the Pioneer which woudn't sync on composite, so was connected by S Video.
    I have to say that as I'm going to be watching 90% Sky and only 10% DVD I don't know what to do now, expect I think I'm going to delay purchase and see what happens to the technology (or quality of Sky signal!)

    Some other (strange) observations/questions -- we couldn't work out how to make a Denon DVD output component (or the Pioneer accept it), couldn't see how to change the colour of the 4:3 vertical bands from grey to black (surely you can?!) and the amount of image each screen showed varied a lot - Hitachi most, then Panasonic then Pioneer (which was so different it looked almost "zoomed".

    On well, I'll stop now and let the others write something, but we all want to say many thanks to Russ from Nexnix and if we can make our minds up we will buy from him after all his efforts!

    Simon
     
  3. datanet

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    I'd also recommend Nexnix, predominantly based on the time and knowledge which Russ afforded when I was looking around. I have now purchased the Hitachi 42PMA400E from them, predominantly as I want high quality PC as well as video- it really doesn't disappoint.
    One small point, I spoke to JS re using his plasma VGA to RGB convertor with it and this is not practical as the horizonal frequency doesn't go low enough- use the RGB - component convertor instead.
    The fan noise is a bit disapointing on a new screen however I think I'm immune due to being locked in equipment rooms most of my life.

    The Gyration cordless desktop may also of interest for those who want to use the PC from the couch- (http://www.gyration.com/ultrasuite_uk.htm)- wireless with 8M or 30M range, very small light keyboard and a gyroscopic "in the air" mouse that you don't need a surface for (can use as a std optical as well tho!)- works a treat
    . From http://www.kustompcs.co.uk/

    Chris
     
  4. JimmyMc

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    Yes.. many thanks to Russ.. certainly an outstanding pre-sales service and can highly recommend Nexnix on that front - he was more than happy to let us fiddle, plug in whatever we liked, and play with the pic settings etc..

    There were 5 of us in total - Jonathan, Swarrans (Simon), Saggio (Georgio), Dave777 and myself..

    As we left it seems each of us wanted something different from the panels so I don't think there's a clear cut winner between them.

    I think we were all agreed that the Pioneer and the Hitachi outshone the Panny on terms of DVD performance.. there was so much detail lost on the Panny! - we paused a scene from Moulin Rouge with the Eiffel Tower in the foreground and some buildings in the background. On the buildings you could clearly see the pillars on the front of the buildings but on the Panny there was nothing there to see - we did fiddle with brightness and contrast but to no great effect. Maybe this is due to the higher resolution on the Pio/Hitachi? Also noticeable on the detail front were a few scenes from Star Wars - the individual strands of hair on the heads of Yoda etc were far more clear.

    For me, with DVD.. the Hitachi easily has it.. loads of detail and the blacks/darks are very good.. The Pioneer, whilst the detail was great.. seemed a tad 'grey' to me, almost like a very very thin sheet of tracing paper had been placed over the screen (this is of course an exaggeration but I can't think of another way to describe it) - the picture was also a tad too soft for my liking.

    When it came to viewing on-air pics (Sky Digital specifically for this dem) it was a different story - a complete reversal infact.

    The bit-rate and encoding on Sky really isn't up to scratch on some channels and the Hitachi and Pioneer really showed the faults whilst the Panny was easily the best - it was much more forgiving - we found it also depends a lot on which channels you watch more as some channels aren't encoded very well whereas others are fine.

    The Panny WAS the better performer with Sky but the difference on DVD material makes me perfectly happy to compromise on pic quality and go for the Hitachi.. (which I made as being on an even par with the Pio - hey, they weren't THAT bad! :)

    We also noticed (whilst watching Grandstand) that the Pioneer cut about a centimetre off the top of the picture - the top bar of the score results logo wasn't there whereas the Panny and Hitachi displayed the full pic.

    Along the same lines, it was interesting to note that the Panny has about 1.5/2cm cut off from each side of the picture - this wasn't seen on the Pio or Hitachi - this won't of course matter to most as film-makers aren't so worried about what goes on at the edges but I thought I should mention it.

    Another decider for me was the resolution - has to be 1024x768 as I'll be using my PC a lot with it.

    One thing I'll say on the downside for Hitachi is the fan noise - it was noticable as soon as you enter the room. Apparently Hitachi are going to fix this by applying a lower voltage to the fans or something - Russ is going to find out if there'll be a retro-fix for a small sum of money available in the future. There's also a more consumer friendly version coming out with the vid-processing chip in an external tuner box (this is the chip that needs cooling!) so the fans won't need to be so fast/loud.. (this will come with speakers etc as well)..

    Well that's all I can think of for the moment but I'm sure the others will be adding comments/reviews etc..

    Thanks to all in attendance once again and a cheer to Jonathan for arranging the dem.. and to Simon for making sure we had a Sky feed (well worth checking this as it changed 2 viewers minds completely when looking at on-air material!!)

    Bear in mind that we all wanted different things from the panels, some watched 95% on-air whilst some of us watched more DVD material, and some also wanted decent PC performance.

    Well, it was never going to be easy!

    Cheers, James

    PS - I new I'd be back to edit! - the Panny has a definate flicker to it.. we saw only one pic on the Hitachi which flickered (a horizontal red line as part of an advert or something), and the Pio showed no signs of any kind of flicker the whole way through the dem..
     
  5. Dave777

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    Swarrens as I had to leave before the Sky demo, how were the screens connected composite or RGB. Like you I will be 90% Sky and 10% DVD. So the Sky quality is very important to me.
    Ta
     
  6. swarrans

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    Dave - I was just about to reply that all the plasmas were connected to Sky in the same way as when they were playing DVDs when I thought "hang on, were they?" The reason I'm not sure now is that as we couldn't get the Pioneer to use RGB with sync on composite it was running S Video with DVD - I think Nexnix's Sky digibox (Grundig) has S Video output, but I'm not sure - know my Sony doesn't.
    If the Grundig doesn't, then the pio must have been driven by composite which would rather invalidate the conclusions somewhat!! (however, I suspect it was running S Video as the PQ concern wasn't the yucky mushy image you get from composite, but more of a blurring during fast motion (and hence suspected to be processing artifacts).
    However, I think Jonathan is planning to go back with one of Dr John's RGB to VGA converters (Chris - I presume you mean Dr John said it wouldn't be suitable for the Hitachi only?). it will be interesting to see if it performs better then...

    Simon
     
  7. jonathan

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    To all on the forum.....cannot recommend Russell at Nexnix highly enough. If you want to really research your purchase before you commit (& are interesed in the panels we specifically went to demo side by side) then you can do a lot worse. No pressure. No rush. Nice atmosphere. Tea & biscuits. Impartial advice. Competitive pricing. Overrall an excellent pre-purchase excercise.
    As already posted the conclusive findings of those present:

    For DVD reproduction: Champ: Hitachi
    Runner up: Pioneer
    Third: Panasonic

    For Skybox broadcast: Champ: Panasonic
    Runner up: Pioneer
    Crap: Hitachi

    For me whose Sky viewing would make up 95% of viewing time - based on todays demos - it would have to be the Panny. For James, who is far more concerned with the PQ from DVD than Sky it is the Hitachi. To James, Giorgio and myself the Hitachi, from the Sky feed was all blurry round the edges, lacking totally in the definition stakes and to these eyes at least would be virtually unwatchable. (Dave before he departed early was erring toward the Hitachi, but hadn't seen it with a Sky feed. I suspect that if he returns to have a second viewing from Sky may change his mind).
    Before making my final decision between the Pioneer & the Panny I feel I will have to give the panels a go with an RGB-VGA convertor so as they can be viewed absolutely like for like.

    All in all a really interesting day, even though it has not totally made up my mind...................yet!
     
  8. saggio

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    Well, no much to add after all the above...but,

    quoting Simons's
    "..I think Nexnix's Sky digibox (Grundig) has S Video output, but I'm not sure - know my Sony doesn't...."

    I am sure that the PIO had S-Video connection from both the DVD and the Sky Box thoughtout the entire session, as I took it on/off a few times.

    Also I have tested both the PIO and the HITACHI with a laptop running at 1024x768 and (after fine tuning frequency) they were both absolutely stunning and could not appreciate any difference.

    Notwithstanding so many attempts, we could not make work the Denon 3800 Component output. The very unfriendly remote control did not help.....

    Thanks again to Russ and NexNix for the superb hospitality.

    Giorgio
     
  9. datanet

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    Simon, yes...the Hitachi lowest horizontal frequency is around 26kHz, Dr John said that the converter works at 15kHz so no good for the Hitachi or a few others...check the lower limit for the horizontal freq (and check with the man himself if in doubt!)
    I'm still trying to work out best connectivity for my needs...I really want to be able to split screen 50% between PC and TV, the only way to do this is to use the two RGB inputs.
    There is a menu option to change the RGB/ VGA input to component tho, then a sub menu with various options for the type of component...(YbCbCr, YPbPr, MUSE), so not sure if I can use these with a component converter and appropriate cable.
    Bit outwith my simple skills so I think it's time for me to get someone who knows what there talking about to "finish" the system and calibrate it properly...

    Chris
     
  10. TP2K

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    - so how was the Samsung if it was demoed? Any good, guys?
     
  11. swarrans

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    TP2K - the Samsung was truely horrible in this exhaulted company when used for DVD - I mean REALLY bad with blurring, total lack of detail etc.
    When used for Sky it was probably not the worst (although to be honest we really didn't look at it too much after it's DVD performance!). It wasn't even tried for PC input.
    It's all going to be personal choice, but although it's significantly cheaper than the others I wouldn't even think about buying one (after all, it's still a LOT of money!)

    Simon
     
  12. zAndy1

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    How about using a Pro-V to feed Sky via that and into the VGA input on the display? If Sky looks good on the Hitachi via that and is the best with DVD then the Hitachi would be an all round winner (apart from the fan noise!)

    Andy
     
  13. sbelo

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    I have the latest Hitachi panel as demonstrated at Nexnix.

    I have found that on Sky digital that some of the channels that are not that well encoded, show better on composite than they do on the RGB input This was possible as I bought a special scart to 6 phono cable from Nexnix.

    All I have to do is to press the Video 1 button again on the Plasma remote & it reverts from RGB to composite.

    The Hitachi Plasma seems to be more forgiving with the lack of signal quality under composite making the program more watchable. Under RGB the Hitachi has the ability to show all defects within Sky. This is not a bad thing as DVD is displayed superbly, so you can have the best of both worlds. Also PC useage is great.

    1 word of warning. Some people do not like the fan noise from the Hitachi. I, however am not bothered by it.

    :)
     
  14. zAndy1

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    But isn't the fan noise being fixed? I wish we could get a definitive answer on this as it's the only thing stopping me getting one of these at the moment. If a fixed version is coming out then I'll wait..

    Andy
     
  15. MikeE

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    Just when I'd decided on the Panasonic/Toshiba I read this thread :confused:

    Were all the DVD's tried, region 2 or were any region 1 disks also tried. I ask, because I would have expected the panasonic to have looked the most detailed with a region 1 disk as no scaling would have been necessary. With region 2 all the panels would of had to scale the image and I can imagine the higher res panels maybe having the edge. I've been buying region 1 disks with the aim of getting a standard res. plasma one day and won't be connecting my PC, so depending on your answers this may not necessarily change my plans.

    Anyway, thanks for the opinions it's certainly got me thinking. Again. :(
     
  16. sbelo

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    This is being fixed by Hitachi soon, just wanted to point it out as some people may not be able to live with the fan's
     
  17. Dave777

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    AFAIK the information we were given re Hitachi fan noise was:

    The current model will hopefully be modded to reduce the voltage on the fan to decrease noise, but don't know when or how it will be implemented. The fan cools the scaler/interlacer chip.

    The consumer model will use the same glass but will move the scaler/interlacer chip to the multimedia box where as it is away from the warm screen/power supply it will not need a fan. So the 42PD3000 should be silent.

    This was my understanding of it. I hope one of the other guys will correct any errors for me.

    As I didn't see the screens on Sky only DVD I need to think and maybe demo the 42PD3000 with Sky through its tuner box.

    I did like the Pioneer alot and there have been rumours of lots of new video boards for it come Easter with Scarts/Tuners etc. Any one know any more?

    The Panasonic on DVD did appear to lack detail and was too black (if that makes sense) with greyscales merging at the black end. I think the DVD's played were Region 2 but I'm not sure.


    Hope this helps.
     
  18. benmc

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    Hello all

    I was also at NexNix on Sunday for a demo of the Sony HS10 Projector.

    Most of my watching will be Sky Sports and a good display shows sky digital up to be fairly useless.

    I have since been back to NexNix also watched Sky fed via composite and the image did seem slightly better and easier to watch.

    So this begs one question, how do I take one RGB SCART feed from Sky and get 1 RGB SCART (for telly) and 1 composite for the Projector.

    Any ideas?

    As a side note NexNix are wonderful and a great place to go and have a demo and the prices are very competitive.

    Cheers

    ben
     
  19. swarrans

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    It's a bugger this decision making isn't it Mike?!
    I was really going to buy one, but now i'm not sure I will - yet.
    In answer to your question - they were all R2 discs I believe. I understand your technical point, but I'm not sure how much difference it would make in practice (see the 1000's of threads on the subject!).

    Good luck with that decision!

    Simon
     
  20. cerebros

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    re lack of DVD detail on the Panny

    This is probabaly a silly question guys, but did you check that the screen's sharpening wasn't turned right down or something daft like that so that it was in effect softening the picture? That might explain why it seemd to lose detail on DVD, but managed to hide the artifacts from Sky.
     
  21. saggio

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    We have kept as much as possible all Plasma settings to neutral positions. Maybe something can be gained by individually tweaking each screen, but the lack of detail of the Panny seemed to be something beyond tweaking.

    On a brighter note:...I have decided and bought the Pioneer from Russ. Mostly due to its versatility and upgreadability. It may not be the star performer on DVD like the Hitachi (but it is very close) and will not loose too much with off-air stuff. With PC is superb. Also there are half a dozen cards coming out, so if HDTV comes along will be ready.

    Gee, it is coming in tomorrow....I better go home, tell the wife and start moving some furniture to the garden, to make space....
     
  22. swarrans

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    Brilliant, well done Giorgio, please keep in touch and let me know what it's like "Real World" If it ends up easier to live with than we feared during the demo, then I may follow suit.
    Did you clarify the component bit, or are you going for RGB to VGA plus switching box?

    Simon
     
  23. Dave777

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    Well done Giorgio, hope it works out well. If you hear any more about the new cards for the MXE please let us know.

    For those looking for a wall mount plasma, I thought I'd mention that Nexnix had a new wall bracket for a plasma that looked really good. It tilted to allow access to the cables and went flat or tilted down to 15 degrees.

    Regards

    Dave
     
  24. saggio

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    Simon, I spoke to Russ and he found that the cables were faulty. A new set of wires did get a proper Component image from the Denon and (says Russ) it was clearly better than S-Video.

    I will let you know how it is after I have sorted out the huge wiring mess....

    Giorgio
     
  25. steelej

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    Guys, I really need to comment, I don't think the Panny was setup too well for your demo. I've also seen the Panny(Which I bought), Pio and a Hitachi but don't think it was a very recent one so I won't comment on it. Now the Panny is definately not lacking in detail compared to the Pioneer definately not. If anything the panny should be better for DVD, like someone said earlier there is no scaling required in R1 and very little in R2 and even the scaling that is required it's downscaling, not the upscaling that is required for the Pio. Basically the Pio needs to create information that doesn't actually exist to fill the screen.
    Now I'm not Pioneer bashing here, I think it's a great display but there's really not that much in it when it comes to the two, that's what I want to get across here, there shouldn't have been as much in it as you guys claim. The reason I went for the panny was due to the better black levels.

    Another post above said that they wanted to view the screens with neutral setups if this was factory defaults then that was a bad idea, you'd be amazed at the difference half an hour with a setup disk makes. It woould have probably been a good idea for you guys to do this to each screen before the demo 'cause I really don't think you got an acurate viewing of each one. Definately the Panny should have been higher on the list.

    John.
     
  26. steve36

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    I am a novice and am wondering if anyone has tried an external line doubler with a SKY RGB signal.
    Or has anyone seen the new Fujitsu P42HHA10 with a SKY signal. I realise this a similar fujitsu screen, but apparently with a built in line doubler AVM+ etc.
    On the subject on panasonic, I have to agree it normally does appear detailed, in some ways more detailed than the Fujitsu P42HHA10 I saw at harrods the other day (with either DVD or bad transmitted analog signal). But I do believe that the fujitsu was showing more detail (even if it looked softer that the panasonic).
     
  27. sbelo

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    Will confirm with Hitachi on Tuesday
     
  28. datanet

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    for those still looking a small point maybe worth thinking about, 3 yr onsite extension for the Hitachi was £300 from Nexnix. I know these can be expensive and I thought that was not bad
    Russ did say plasmas are generally pretty reliable, but £3K....

    Did I see another paranoid android around here? ;-)

    Chris
     
  29. datanet

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    for those still looking a small point maybe worth thinking about, 3 yr onsite extension for the Hitachi was £300 from Nexnix. I know these can be expensive and I thought that was not bad
    Russ did say plasmas are generally pretty reliable, but £3K....

    Did I see another paranoid android around here? ;-)

    Chris
     
  30. zAndy1

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    The Hitachi plasma I'm considering is the 32PD3000 (not really got room for a 42" screen), I presume since this is a consumer model with tuner box that the fan will be in the tuner box and hence the display should be quiet? Still leaves the noise from the tuner box though!

    Andy
     

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