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PLASMAS & CABLE TV

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by piphead, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. piphead

    piphead
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    Hi All
    Loking for a plasma around £2500 have noticed that on a friends plasma when on cable tv the picture is not very good looks a bit lika a game being played on a P.C where the graphics card cant cope with the data. friend said it is the cable tv and not the plasma at fault. is this true if not then what do you look for when buying a plasma. because i would sooner keep my money in my pocket as it will be used mainly for ntl cable.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Leigh_1973

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    depends on how the cable TV is connected to the plasma, there are various ways to improve upon the picture depending on what inputs the plasma has
     
  3. RJW2

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    Piphead - Good quesiton imo as I have become quite frustrated with all the reviews and raving about plasmas and lcds - I bought an Hitachi 32pd3000 last year after reading several five star reviews but after much frustration sent it back as the picture quality from Sky was far worse than our old 28" wide screen. I spent a fair amount on cabling as well, not wanting to skimp and waste my money, but this didn't really help.

    Has anyone got any opinions on which plasmas or lcd's are best for general sky/cabel viewing? I have read that you are best off getting a unit with an integrated digital tuner as this improves the signal strength, or as one magazine said just wait a couple of years until High Definition TV becomes available. I would really love a big screen but I think I will make sure I get a good look at a genuine broadcast through one before I buy it.

    The Hitachi as with most screens will give impressive DVD playback once connected properly but if like me your majority of tv viewing is Sky then is it worth it? Hope this doesn't confuse things more!
     
  4. Leigh_1973

    Leigh_1973
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    Something like the JS technology RGB to YUV convertor would help (about £120) but there are other options as well, including scalers. someone with experience of this will help, there are also a few topics on this already, try a search :)
     
  5. piphead

    piphead
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    Will the JS technology RGB to YUV convertor make that much difference on the cable tv. anyone with one of these working on ntl does it really make a big difference? could now be tempted to part with my cash.
     
  6. Piers

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    Yes it will, but some plasmas work better on the VGA input than the YUV input. I have both JS converters in stock :)

    Piers
    www.homecinemaengineering.com
     
  7. Andy C

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    The only downside is I'm guessing you loose widescreen switching?

    One of my biggest gripes about the Viera is the VGA port being on the front. If I wanted to keep component for DVD, having a wire hanging out the front would seriously put me off using a JS converter.


    Andy.
     
  8. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello all

    A word of caution! - no Two or Three words of caution!!!

    1. Not all sources are created equal. Freeview, NTL, SKY etc do not all operate at the same bit rate.

    2. Not all broadcasters use all of the bit rate available to them - I use SKY+ at home and some channels are excellent and some are far from excellent.

    3. Not all Plasma Display Panels (PDP's) are created equal - and Integrated Plasma TV's are not better with a low bit rate signal; they may soften the image to hide a few artefacts but they do the same with your high bit rate signals too!

    4. Don't assume every HD15 (VGA) port on every brand of display works the same - even on same brand models you have to look carefully at the spec sheet for every Input to ensure its compatible with the signal your thinking of sending that Input socket.

    5. Once you choose your NEW PDP, hooked it to your system and ensured you have all the wires in the correct holes and menu's set accordingly you sit down to watch a movie - NO; you go make a coffee and get out you tune up DVD (see AVIA or DVE in the Power Buy forum) and you now spend a bit of time working out how your PDP and sources interact and how to set the PDP to best optimises its abilities.

    6. Or you phone Piers or Gordon (see banner adds) and book an ISF Calibration and sit with your feet up sipping coffee while the boys get to work in the service menu of your PDP and bamboozle you with 3 letter acronyms.

    Best regards

    Joe

    PS Piphead - do you have an AV Receiver in your planned set up?
     
  9. MAW

    MAW
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    Cable TV covers a multitude of sins too, it could be analogue into the RF of a tuner box, in which case it's certainly awful. He could easily have failed to enable RGB and even widescreen format if it's digital. About 1/2 the installs I go to have this problem. So it's best to go back to basics, (not with Edwina Curry though) and get it right at the set top box and it's connection, then move on to JS converters etc. I'll bet a decent scart lead that's what his trouble is, unless of course it's a Techwood plasma from Currys.
     
  10. Hicksy

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    i have telewest and know exactly what you are talking about!

    A simple question probably but why shouldn't the sharpness be set to 100% as does't that mean it will be clearer!? Or should it!

    John
     
  11. Steve_P

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    I agree 100% with MAW, I find that alot of my friends and acquaintances haven't 'gone through all the hoops' and then wonder why they have crap picture quality on their shiney new TV.

    I have my Viera hooked upto my NTL cable box via a SCART (AV2S) but the most important aspect of the setup is that I have my set top box set to S-Video output and 16:9 Widescreen. Unless my eyes are totally pants I reckon I have very good picture quality on most channels, infact superb quality on the main channels like BBC/ITV/CH4/CH5/ SkyOne etc. However, if I view via the RF aerial or if I set my digibox to composite output the PQ is woefully bad and the big screen just magnifies the problems.

    S.
     
  12. Hicksy

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    Sorry Steve, a little confused. So you have a cable box and a set top box as in freeview?
     
  13. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    Regarding the JS converters, while they definitely provide the best connectivity options for your plasma screen but they are still converters and not *improvers*. As an added bonus almost the picture will likely be stronger through these than not, but full on improvement of a signal requires a dedicated video processor.

    Digi cable is a dodgy one because someone round the corner might get a much better picture than you from the same NTL service purely because less people on his street have cable. I've found PQ to differ wildley from street to street.

    Also see above regarding proper setup and calibration (including all the nasty options within the plasma that can make or break a picture such as noise reduction etc). But don't expect ALL compression artefacts to go away, digital TV is compressed and uses varying (but almost always low) bitrates. I find Sky running via a JS VGA box direct into a 5 series panel fine to watch from 6ft+ viewing distance on most channels but if you look close artefacts are there...
     
  14. Hicksy

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    the reason i ask is a) you have put an idea into my head and b) i am not the only one thinking about it.

    While my cable is crap (and i can't have sky), i was thoinking of buying a freeview box so i can get the choice of better connection for some main channels i watch i.e. 1/2/3/4 and sky sports news.
     
  15. Steve_P

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    I just have a ntl digital cable box, no separate freeview box, although my Viera has integrated freeview I don't make use of it because I use the cable instead.

    I guess I must be one of the lucky ones then :thumbsup: :D I always put my good PQ down to the fact that I have one of the first release digiboxes so it outputs S-Video as opposed to RGB and it also has dedicated stereo audio out phonos whereas the modern cable digiboxes don't. Damn cost cutting. :rolleyes:

    S.
     
  16. lei179

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    Hicksy,im about to take the plunge on a pw6,i have telewest digital,how do you find the pq ??

    cheers
     
  17. Hicksy

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    ok but it fluctuates. I would prefer to have sky or +. it does get blocky sometimes.

    Basically it just isn't that great. Not horrendous though.

    Hence i might get a freeview box too.
     
  18. RJW2

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    SteveP - interesting that you get a good STB picture from an S-video out. Are you saying that this feed is proving better with your setup and cable/digital braodcast conditions than an RGB feed (I know you say you don't have one presently but wonder if you ever had)? Has anyone else found this to help as I work a lot with computers and I know that sometimes what is said to be the best in theory doesn't always apply!? I agree that the old boxes seem better equiped - no audio out on my Telewest box!

    Cheers.
     
  19. Steve_P

    Steve_P
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    Generally I find RGB to be better than S-Video, I certainly found that on my PS2. The S-video picture seemed washed out and had less vivid colours when compared to the RGB picture, both for games and DVD, RGB was better by a mile when closely compared against S-Video. I used S-Video originally to watch DVD's on my PS2 before I bought a nifty gadget that removed the green screen effect when watching DVD's on a PS2 via RGB. All of the above was in relation to my previous TV, a very old Panasonic TX-24T1.

    I can't really comment about comparisons on my cable digibox as I have never had a newer RGB version to compare against. What I can say is that the S-video picture from my cable digibox is very good with nice definition and saturated colours, all with little noise, both on my previous TV and my current TV. To be honest I had put this down to the quality of the electronics used in my early box as opposed to whatever is used in the modern boxes rather than thinking the S-Video was better than RGB persay. However, reading Liam's post above, it could be that I am lucky to live in a street with a clean TV cable signal rather than another street with loads of noise. [​IMG]

    S.
     
  20. curious_george

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    I have a slightly different question. Just got myself a panny 42PHW6 (HD) plasma display and got both a PT600 Tuner box and DVD Recorder (Panny E55) thrown in. Where I live, the cable box output comes in on an antenna feed(horrors!).

    My first intuition is to use the PT600 tuner as the input source to the display, and route the antenna signal through the E55 as follows:
    OPTION A
    Antenna->E55(Component out)->(Component in)PT600(tuner terminal out)->(Tuner Terminal in)42PHW6EX
    The question is, the E55 can act as a tuner as well, and has progressive scan output for both PAL/NTSC. I could potentially bypass the tuner box altogether and get
    OPTION B
    Antenna->E55 (Progressive Scan Component out)->(Component in)42PHW6EX
    The only difference would be that the E55 does not allow access to Teletext, but that is a small loss to me.

    Does OPTION B give a superior picture to OPTION A, or is it all the same?
     
  21. NaTT

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    My stuff:
    NTL: Digital box. Set to RGB out.
    43MXE1-s (that's S Joe :smashin: )
    JS RGB to component convertor (half decent scart here)
    Bleedin thick Belden Component cable
    Cheepo DVi cable
    PC with Sweetspot capture card, Dscaler DVI out

    So glad I've got the PC. The chain directly from the NTL box to the component in, on my screen cost an arm and a leg and is bordering on unwatchable (only back up for wife not wanting to switch PC on)!
    Via PC the picture is very nice and I'm really pleased. But here you get into what settings I've got on dscaler for deinterlacing etc (my preference is "adaptive" never try a "simple weave" on CNN :eek: )

    So if possible if I'd trial the JS convertor to see if it helps in your system.

    On another note, my HD component XBOX out, looks better converted to VGA and then in on the HD15 input than going directly in to component via the JS convertor. Perhaps the component input on this screen isn't as good as the others.
     
  22. RJW2

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    Does anyone know if you can ge a piece of kit to measure the bit rate and if so what would be considered good? I guess that if you could measure this over a period of time you might get an idea of whether it is more likely you will get a strong signal for a plasma (obviously all other things taken into account!)

    Also, I now live very close to the main junction box for Telewest and wonder if this means the rate is likely to be good or is it unlikely to make a difference.

    Cheers
     
  23. piphead

    piphead
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    Joe
    Why do you ask have i got an av reicever.
    I have got the panasonic SC-HT900 home thearter system
     
  24. Joe Fernand

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    Hello piphead

    Often these days a decent AV Receiver can act as your Video and Audio hub and if your considering a Plasma Display (with optional Input boards) the choice of AV Receiver can reduce the outlay on the Display.

    So far you've indicated a budget of £2.5K for your new PDP and said you have a DVD/Home Theatre system with Interlaced Component YUV out and a Cable box with SCART RGB out - any other video sources or a PC to be connected to the PDP?

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  25. MAW

    MAW
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    Curious George, I'd ditch the PT600, stick it on ebay, some mug will buy it who's lost with his monitor plasma. You won't even need a video board, just a 3 phono to 15pin cable, joe above will sell you one. The system will be simpler, better picture, and 'av amp ready', for video switching. I daresay there'll be just the one remote too, you can turn on the plasma with the E55 remote?
     
  26. curious_george

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    Dear MAW,

    That is what I thought. Who uses teletext anyway, these days?

    The E55 remote doesn't turn the plasma on, and as you rightly suspect, the tuner does. But again, I can live with that for the sake of simplicity in routing and a better picture.
     
  27. Andy C

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    Are you guys saying that routing your TV source through a progressive scan DVD player/recorder will give the picture a decent boost?

    One way of solving the problem of having just one component input for both DVDs and TV viewing I guess. How would it compare to using a JS Tech RGB->Component converter?


    Andy.
     
  28. MAW

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    A different thing. Horses for courses and all that. George needs an analogue tuner in his setup, this is the best way for him. The panasonic tuner is not that special, as they say. If you have a digital set top box, you could indeed use the E55 to convert to progressive component, in this case I wouldn't promise it to be better than a direct connection with a JS converter. It might be good, probably good enough. The VGA converter is the best way usually, component is convenient for switching with an AV amp.
     
  29. piphead

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    Hi joe
    The plasma screen i have my eye on is the JVC PD-42V31. Have seen this set up in sound and vision in Bolton and was really impressed. i already have the panasonic SC-HT900 home theater sound system and already have NTL Digital cable. like i said in my first post, after seeing my freinds Plasma on NTL Digital was just a bit shocked at how poor the picture was, even when harry pottter was on one of the movie channels in dark seens the banding was really bad, and know that i would really not be happy at all if i had to watch that quality of picture.
    As someone guessed in a earlier post it is a Techwood plasma and he as got his NTL box connected to his plasma by RGB Scart, i know people have slated this plasma but i have seen it on DVD'S and it is quite impressive.
    As i said in a earlier post i just wanted to know weather this poor picture on NTL Digital was like this on all plasma's or was there someway of rectifying this as if i get the plasma i have been looking at i would not be happy as most of the plasma's use would be with Ntl Digital.
    Thanks all For the reply's so far.
     
  30. curious_george

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    Well - have it all set up now and here's my verdict.

    I have turned the contrast and brightness and even sharpness WAYYY down and will retain it that way for the first couple of hundred hours of viewing at least. Despite that, the picture is amazingly crisp on the DVDs I tried (Indy and the last Crusade, Jurassic Park III, Batman and Robin) and the black levels have to be seen to be believed. Also ran my son's Baby Einstein DVD on the screen and I'm seeing all these flaws on the baby toys that I never noticed on my CRT!

    I had both the PT600 and the E55 set up. As I had suspected, once the PT600 was hooked up and switched on, only PT600 connections were active, and I suspect that most people route their DVD players through that anyway.

    Turning the PT600 off reactivated all other inputs on the display, and I was able to test the E55 on the component input board directly on the display.

    a) The analog signal going into my boxes must be really rubbish - fuzzy picture, though reasonable sound quality on the E55. All this even when I enable progressive scan on the E55. Surprisingly, the TV picture coming out of the PT600 looked far smoother.

    b) To my untrained eye, routing DVD output from the E55 directly into the component board (with progressive scan enabled) definitely yielded a better picture than routing through the PT600. Movies looked great!

    c) The E55 remote WAS able to turn the display on and off and allow AV input selection.

    Of course, I don't have access to an Avia disk (they don't deliver to Singapore!) and could not calibrate the PT600 and E55 properly before each test, so I can't say that these are the final results. I'll see if I can get my hands on one, and re-do the tests.

    Now, I'm using the E55 as both the tuner and player. Keeping the PT600 hooked up, just in case I hear complaints about TV quality, but may eventually remove that as MAW suggested, if I find that I can live with the TV picture, or if it improves after burn-in and proper calibration.
     

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