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plasma questions

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by valongi, Feb 3, 2003.

  1. valongi

    valongi
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    hey folks... new to this board, from new york. i am real keen on the panasonic plasmas, and want some feedback from all owners here.

    seems some people are steering me away from the plasmas, telling me they're too new. i don't want an RP television, but i don't want to drop US$5K on something that may give me buyer's remorse--- so here we go...

    1) how is the definition with digital cable (i realize most/all of you being from the u.k. may be scratching your heads right about now...)

    2) burn-in- any?

    3) aside from the obvious (space, etc), what are the benefits?

    4) drawbacks.

    5) any advice to me as i ponder which brand/model- i have a couple of months before i buy, so i'm going to be hitting the stores for demonstration.
     
  2. StooMonster

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    Only scratching head at your post! :devil:

    Digital cable has been available in UK for years, and UK had the world's first digital television satellite service. Also, almost all programme content (on main five channels, and a many others) is broadcast in anamorphic 16:9 widescreen. Also, most iTV (interactive televison) content available anywhere; and most commercially successul. A lot of "international" television companies (including American ones) use UK as reference for these type of television services.

    (Scratching your head in NY right about now? :clown:)

    StooMonster
     
  3. PVR

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    Hey Stoo, it is still early there, give him a break ...:nono:

    Screen burn - plenty on this forum on that, general rule, as long as you are careful, no probs.

    Main advantage : size (or lack of derriere at least ! :D ), amazing picture quality, viewing angle.

    Regards,

    PVR
     
  4. valongi

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    stoo, i was apprehensive with our differing lingo actually; i work with a slew of brits and we are always trading terms.

    you mention digital television satellite service.... if you're talking satellite receivers in-home, that would be different... my term digital cable refers to the digital signal transmitted in via actual cable hookup through the converter box. sorry for the confusion if i'm causing any- reading your board, i'm seeing a lot of good stuff about your "kit" as opposed to our "equipment". lol. thanks again, keep the advice flowing!
     
  5. RedRose

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    Ding ding. Ok Ok break it up. :clap:

    You both have a point. We did have the world's first digital satellite system (moans about prices charged notwithstanding) and we have had digital cable for maybe ten years.

    The Americans have had cable for much longer. Probably something to do with their lack of a national network, so each state or county had its own customer base and had to control reception down to individual houses. I was there as a young lad in 1973 and couldn't understand the concept of TV coming to the house through a cable. "But where's the ariel?" I would ask in my cute prospective engineer's way :)

    But this was Analogue cable and it was true cable i.e. copper co-ax as opposed to the fibre that we usually get. Our cable started out as digital; we never had analogue cable so I guess we were on the bleeding edge of thie technology.

    Quality of our digital services? Varies enourmously, and depends mainly on the allocated bandwidth and quality of the MPEG2 process used. I'm afraid I haven't compared, say, BBC1 on Sky with BBC1 on Telewest cable or NTL cable. Since they all carry the same BBC feed I would guess they're all the same.
     
  6. valongi

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    redrose,

    hey, i come in peace...not arguing quality of cable, etc, between uk and us. i'm just asking the quality of a picture on the plasma... as i've heard on satellite the panny should get a good image.

    as for the u.s. cable system, i shake my head. we're WAY to big a country to have one national service, and there are some areas that have good companies and some with bad. the satellite customers rave; there are some like me who make due with digital cable.

    my questions aren't for the past but the future, since plasma is indeed the future of television! long live the plasma gases!
     
  7. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    You original post reads like you are implying that we haven't heard of digital cable. ;)

    Just 'aving a laugh mate. :clown:

    Hope you find the information you need on this board!

    Plasmas have that "wow" factor, people walk in the room and can't help but comment on your top quality piece of kit.

    StooMonster
     
  8. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Talking of cable / satellite in the USA, during one of my visits over the pond last year I was in a trendy AV store (full of huge square 4:3 tvs, not many 16:9 widescreens around) and overheard this salesman talking to a couple. They'd just bought a new tv, and he was desperately trying to sell them analogue cable when they wanted satellite (guess he got better commission).

    He told them not to get satellite because "if a cloud gets in the way of dish, you will lose your picture". I nearly laughed out loud. I was thinking, well SkyDigital would never work in UK if that were the case, and global communication would stop working on rainy days. :rotfl:

    StooMonster
     
  9. valongi

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    thanks, "stoogotz"....lol

    "scratching your heads"- i kind of assumed you'd have digital cable, i just didn't know how you referred to it as, i.e., kit = equipment; broadband = cable modem, tele = phone, etc.

    i did some searching around on this site into the archives, and now i've got another question for you folks. i can get a really tempting price (corp. discount) on the 4-series, but it's resolution (852 x 480) isn't that of the 5-series unit my mouth is watering over (1024 x 768). i know enough not to buy based on a "good deal".... since hdtv is going to be rolling out within the next year i'd like to know if it's wise to hold out for a "relatively" lower price in the coming months (if that), or to snatch up the 852 x 840.

    now, that being said i guess the hidden question: for the panny plasmas, is it going to make THAT much of a difference to hold out for a hdtv-compatible unit - pricing aside? to jump the gun on a unit that's going to last me over 10 years would be a poor decision if that is the case. is the resolution THAT much of an improvement moving from the 852 to 1024?

    your opinions are respectfully appreciated!
     
  10. datanet

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    Hi Valongi,

    First...buy a plasma. The only regret I have is that I couldn't afford a bigger one!!! ;-)
    I'm by no means one of the more experienced here...but I think if I was in the US I'd be seriously thinking about a 1024 glass...but that's partly because of the amount I use it for PC.
    I do believe from what I've gleaned so far tho that these will also scale/ pass through 1080 HDTV pictures better (I'd be interested in any comments with a better understanding).
    Have you looked at Pioneer/ Hitachi/ Fujitsu 1024 options?

    Chris
     
  11. valongi

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    data,

    definitely going to pick up a plasma- no if's, and's or but's about it!

    since i won't use it for a pc, 1024 is not going to be a factor in that decision, but more the signal i will be picking up in the future regarding hdtv. link to this article to see what i'm referring to more or less, as i'd seen this before and was just linked in another thread:

    panasonic resolution

    as for checking out the Pioneer/ Hitachi/ Fujitsu options you've mentioned, i haven't yet. seems i've been reading WAY too much on the superiority of panasonic so far, but of course i will not rule out any model until i see all of them first-hand.

    i do have a question (as i'm doing more research, i'm coming up with new ones...apologies): while the 853 x 480 is non-HD, will it be HD-capable in the future if i pick up a tuner? i haven't been able to get a hold of a panasonic support person on the phone yet.

    many thanks, hopefully this discussion will benefit other plasma newbies aside from myself.
     
  12. Andrew_B

    Andrew_B
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    There's no way that we've had digital cable in the UK for ten years! Sky Digital had at least a year on the cable companies before they were brave/foolish enough to invest yet more money in converting their network and slowly replacing convertor boxes with the Pace digital ones that are now available. The UK cable service was analogue right from the start - can you imagine the price of MPEG2 decoder chips ten years ago! I doubt if Pace could have produced a working decoder for under £1000.

    No. We did not get digital cable in the UK until the last 2-3 years, and in my area, served by Telewest, the picture is nowhere near as good as Sky Digital.

    Hopefully, when the good folk the US start actually buying 16:9 TV sets to take advantage of their new (superior) HD system, we might start to see more of their exported programme material in the glorius format

    Andrew_B
     
  13. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Almost every programe from US that we see in UK (from 24 to Enterprise to ER to West Wing to Six Feet Under to etc.) is currently produced in 16:9 format, and shown that way by BBC, Channel Four, etc. but still not by Sky One. ;)

    It does amaze me when I visit the US how stores are still full of 4:3 televisions (albeit giants ones) and there are very few 16:9 sets, whereas here in Europe 4:3 are the minority, and have been for ages. Before my plasma purchase, I've had widescreen television for seven (?) years; but perhaps I'm an "early adopter".

    StooMonster
     
  14. datanet

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    not sure of the life your expecting from the screen, but it's worth thinking about the PC connectivity (I gave mine 5 - 10yr with possible reallocation as secondary within 3 - 5) ;-).
    I'm looking at building a PVR/ TIVO type PC. The number of home 'AV Appliances' with serial/ ethernet/VGA/ USB/ firewire/ SDI grows by the day. Digital TV cards are out for a few systems meaning that you can directly record the digital mpeg to hard disk (sometimes just now!)...beat that for quality! The decoding still needs good attention tho. , MP3/ media servers/ ReplayTV all 'converging'...
    Finally, Microsoft has released their XP Media Centre Edition... (Is Rupert Murdoch Bill Gates's uncle?)

    The point, I think, is that the boundary between home appliances (hifi/ AV) and PC really is blurring much more quickly now and convergance really is coming to the home.
    Dots and frequency matter...as do contrast and brightness/ colour separation...but htese are much more personal. Then the question comes to image processing. A good PC can already produce a standard which some would say was superior to a TV or even a HDTV...an exceptional one could quite definately surpass (don't ask for a build or spec!).

    Anyway, too long...for me I went for a monitor (Hitachi 42PMA400E)...it does RGB in, etc so I didn't put money on non-optimum inbuilt tuner cards (we can get about 20 - 30 channels free here, the tuner boxes only give you 5). This is a 1024 x 1024 glass with good electronics behind it (usually similar to Philps and Futistsu). The inbuilt I2 processing chip gives me good results and you can get it here for less than £3,000. The Fujitsu 50" might also be within your price range (or Hitachi, not seen)...

    Of course, as with those who still hold onto their vinyl and decks that cost more than a plasma because they sound better than CD or DVD-A ;-) ...I think that's where some of the plasmas are.... :-o
    Get the dots in 'n make sure you've got good connectivity (DVI a must soon, bad on Hitachi)...and, most importantly...do you like it? There are an almost unlimited number of 'image processing' options available to you with 'the glass'...some in the plasma itself, some outwith...of the latter some are software and some are hardware. All are hoping to meet our needs...

    I'm going into post denial mode now...I do rabbit on... ;-)

    Whatever...enjoy
     
  15. Costas

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    Just a correction here. In UK we did NOT have the world's first digital satellite service. Do not listen to everything that Sky tells us! I was working in France 1995 and I was watching digital satellite TV from two competing packages. This was long before Sky started here!
     
  16. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    European Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) standards were defined in Q1-1995. Canal Satellite (France) and D+ (Italy) launched their first digital services in 1996. Perhaps UK was first mainstream or "fully featured" or successful (i.e. has many customers or is profitable) service? ;) but generally accepted as most dynamic (once it got off the ground). Perhaps it was first working iTV on digital satellite?

    World's first digital terrestrial service then?

    StooMonster
     
  17. Dutch

    Dutch
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    hi valongi,

    As you are in the U.S. and are considering a plasma purchase, you should definitely make sure you get one with a DVI-HDCP input to enable you to see future copy-protected HD broadcasts. I believe the new Panasonic range will include this input, while the current Toshiba range already have one. Hope this helps.

    Steve
     
  18. valongi

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    thanks, dutch.

    i fully intend to wait for at least the july release of the panasonic models. with ridiculous prices and the lack of true hdtv capability, i don't see the logic of spending US$ 3,700 (i can get a corp. discount) on the current 42" model.

    i'm going to redirect some of my plasma budget into the audio side of my new home theatre... i just returned from the store and i'm pretty well set on what i'm going to walk home with come next month.

    on a side note, out with the better half the other night... after dinner in a circuit city, i just wanted to show her what i'd been drooling over. they had a pioneer 50" set up (and actually calibrated to a degree). i was telling her--- "but not this big, just the 42"". she came back with, "you HAVE to get the 50", it looks great...".

    well, from her mouth to God's ears, i told her it's going to be some time as i'd like the technology to improve while the costs level out. but we both dig the plasmas and perhaps a year from now we'll be reviewing "saving private ryan" in paradigm/rotel home theatre on a 50" plasma.
     
  19. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Hey Valongi

    Good news. My wife always though 50" plasma looked too big in the stores; but once one was up above the fireplace, she thought it was just right and also loved the added benefit of getting the bay window back once the big black box was removed. She wouldn't want to be with out it now. :)

    Everytime my parents visit, my mum tells my dad that she wants a plasma in a years time.

    So, girls can love plasmas as much as boys love their toys.

    StooMonster
     
  20. valongi

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    stoo, you have no idea how her reaction evaporated the guilt factor!

    honestly, the 42" would've been fine for me... realize i'm still watching a 27" (though very reliable) tube. gaining fifteen inches is a step-up in any event.

    i marveled at the quality of the pio set; though at US$10K that's way out of range right now... as i stated before, i'll wait perhaps a year for next generation, more players on the manufacturing side and i'll get a quote from my corporate distributer (lower price and zero delivery costs! ):clap:

    that said, with the new sound system in the next month, i'll have that to keep me busy for awhile. i read this and another forum; the information and knowledge that is traded here is priceless and has been factored in every hifi decision i make. i thank all of you greatly.
     

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