Replacement for VT30

fluxo

Distinguished Member
[ Long Post Alert! ]

I'm struggling to decide what should replace a faulty VT30. The shortlist:

Sony HX923
Sony HX853
Panasonic GT50

The VT50 is ruled out because the smallest size is still 4" larger than the
already large-ish HX923. Moreover, I have sworn to never get a television with
cooling fans again.

Here is my current thinking. The VT30 was too dim. The 2012 models from
Panasonic are still, arguably, too dim (hence the lumagen interest), but are a
modest improvement over last year's effort. But still, I would be concerned that
the GT50 would be too washed out on sunny summer evenings. If you look through
Panasonic's submitted patents, you will see that a lot of them relate to
inventions designed to improve luminosity. So this aspect of performance is
clearly something that Panasonic would like to improve, too.

Comparing the GT50 against the HX853 in the store, I could still spot some of
the same traits evident in the VT30. Skin tones, whilst lifted slightly from the
VT30/GT30, remained overly dark and saturated. Skin tones on the HX853 appeared
far more natural and less jaundiced. I would hope this could be improved
somewhat with calibration, but it is a concern.

Moreover, there was some muddying of textures on the GT50. Watching Wimbledon
tennis, there was a tendency for the GT50 to look slightly murky compared to the
sparkling clarity of the HX853. And on close inspection it is clear that the
GT50 is using significant spatial dithering (you can see the rapid subpixel
alternation in some areas). Clearly, if you need to use more than one pixel to
achieve a given tone, then you are losing resolution. However, this dithering
can mask encoding artifacts in the broadcast signal, which were more obvious on
the HX853, so all is not bad.

The GT50 suffers from obvious gradient banding in some scenes. The LCD display
next to it was clearly able to display smoother gradients and the banding really
stood out in the side-by-side comparison. I'm not suggesting it is any worse
than last year, and may indeed be better, but it is still disappointing to see.
Although one will not always see clearly defined bands, it must be that there is
some subtle loss in accuracy of fine textures because the GT50 is not able to
display enough colours.

The HX853 was suffering from noticeable clouding and flashlighting. This was
particularly clear on the black bars of 2.35:1 content. This and the blooming of
the HX923 are a real concern. I love being able to watch Wonders of the Universe
on the VT30 and see a nicely defined starry sky. It has occurred to me that the
spacecraft in 2001: A Space Odyssey may have blooming around the edges (in those
scenes where blooming was not in the source), and that would be a
disappointment. And I think it must follow that if blooming can be seen in black
areas, that it must also be more subtly present in lighter areas. In other
words, there will be a loss of contrast and detail.

The motion of all the sets on the shortlist was good enough for me.

Finally, build quality. This may not be of the utmost importance for some
people, but I do like a thing nicely made. I believe in the use of authentic
sturdy materials and I detest plastic. I will say that none of the shortlisted
TVs even approaches my Apple gear for build quality. But then I've seen much
worse in TVs in the past.

Over all, my impression is that the GT50 has the upper hand when it comes to
build quality. The stand is not inspiring, but the rest seems sturdily enough
made. I do have some concerns over the bezel. The outer bezel has what appears
to be a chrome finish (seen also on the VT50), which is pretty cheap looking in
my opinion. And is the inner bezel plastic? I could not say.

I suspect the GT50's screen would be more resistant to scratches (is it actually
glass?). But I take so much care of my stuff that I doubt I would ever scratch
either screen. Still, accidents can happen.

Anyway, I've been rambling on. Your thoughts are appreciated.
 

El1te

Well-known Member
I've gone from a GT50 to a VT30, it's superior in every single way. Better filter, more brighter, better blacks and an amazing picture quality. I've also had a HX853 and the GT50 beats it easily imo.
 

Insanity202

Distinguished Member
@fluxo
Quick question was you happy with the ar coating on the vt30? I ask as the st50 uses the same filter.
Also imo the whole 50 range has a cleaner image than the 30. The 30s imo were full of dither. The 50s in thx/true cinema/pro are cleaner. There going to have some dither after all there plasma ;)
 

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
My feelings about LCD was reinforced at the TPS meet. A fully calibrated Panasonic LCD looked amazing, but next to the plasmas you could see the LCD just looked flatter, motion wasn't as good colours still looked too saturated, issues with shadow detail and it just looked too fake to me. The GT50 was stunning with great depth, natural pallet and such a clean looking picture.

Plasmas will always have dithering and Panasonics do have issues with DFC on SD and light output wise may not be great for a very bright room. Always going to be pros and cons though. IMO The Sony sets have worse issues I just couldn't live with. Ideally you need to demo in a demo room where you have full control.
 
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fluxo

Distinguished Member
I've gone from a GT50 to a VT30, it's superior in every single way. Better filter, more brighter, better blacks and an amazing picture quality. I've also had a HX853 and the GT50 beats it easily imo.

(I think you mean from VT30 to GT50.)

Thanks for your opinion. The GT50 does sound like an improvement over
the VT30. I think I read that the GT50 is approximately 30% brighter
for some images, which, as I mentioned, is a modest improvement.

However the pro modes are still capped at the same peak output used for
the VT30, which sounds problematic. For the life of me I cannot understand
why Panasonic don't offer more calibration controls in the brighter modes.

For reference, on full-field whites, the VT50 is capable of about 71cd/m^2
tops, whereas the HX923 can put out 400cd/m^2, which is obviously a lot
more, and more than is probably ever necessary. But you can lower the light
output of the Sony to an acceptable level. What's not clear is whether you can
raise the output of the GT50 to an acceptable level (I don't mean a level only
pleasing in a cave!).

Regarding the filter: might I ask, isn't the filter of the GT50 the same one
used in the VT30 (infinite black pro)?
 

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
(I think you mean from VT30 to GT50.)

Thanks for your opinion. The GT50 does sound like an improvement over
the VT30. I think I read that the GT50 is approximately 30% brighter
for some images, which, as I mentioned, is a modest improvement.

However the pro modes are still capped at the same peak output used for
the VT30, which sounds problematic. For the life of me I cannot understand
why Panasonic don't offer more calibration controls in the brighter modes.

For reference, on full-field whites, the VT50 is capable of about 71cd/m^2
tops, whereas the HX923 can put out 400cd/m^2, which is obviously a lot
more, and more than is probably ever necessary. But you can lower the light
output of the Sony to an acceptable level. What's not clear is whether you can
raise the output of the GT50 to an acceptable level (I don't mean a level only
pleasing in a cave!).

Regarding the filter: might I ask, isn't the filter of the GT50 the same one
used in the VT30 (infinite black pro)?

The light cap is a limitation of the set, they went for picture quality over brightness. Too bright an image will lose you depth, detail and effect the colours...will also give you a fair amount of eye strain.
 

El1te

Well-known Member
Yeah sorry from a VT30 to a GT50 :laugh:

I think it's a different revised filter as it's doing a better job of blocking sunlight
 

fluxo

Distinguished Member
@fluxo Quick question was you happy with the ar
coating on the vt30? I ask as the st50 uses the same filter.

I'm not sure if you mean AR coating or louvre filter, but let's simply say its
ability to reject ambient light.

I would say the VT30 is not ideal in this respect. When there is any significant
amount of ambient light, and the TV is turned off, the screen is a much lighter
shade of grey than the bezel. Clearly, there will be no improvement when the TV
is turned on. Hence, it will not be able to produce a deeper shade than that.

The filter seems designed to reject light from high up or low down. And
rejecting some light is better than rejecting none at all. But the fact is that
light gets bounced around most rooms and will fall on the screen from many
angles, not just from those for which the filter works best. I believe that is
why it looks so grey.

Ideally, you'd want a filter that reflects no light from outside the tv, but
allows all light from the inside to pass through and out. That must be difficult
to achieve or Panasonic would already have done it.

Also imo the whole 50 range has a cleaner image than the 30. The 30s imo
were full of dither.
That's good to hear.

The 50s in thx/true cinema/pro are cleaner. There going to have some
dither after all there plasma
Yes, it seems so. I'm sort of in two frames of mind regarding the dither. As
I've mentioned before, it does have some beneficial side-effects.
 

Insanity202

Distinguished Member
I call the ar coating a filter. Both one and the same in my book ;)
The 50 range is very nice indeed. The main bug of the vt30 last year was the motion dither for me. It took some getting use too.
The 50 range motion is far better. Blacks are stunning, colours are great and the image is stable eg no floating blacks or flucs in contrast.
 

fluxo

Distinguished Member
The light cap is a limitation of the set, they went
for picture quality over brightness. Too bright an image will lose you depth,
detail and effect the colours...will also give you a fair amount of eye
strain.

I'm sort of semi-inclined to agree with that. However, I do wonder sometimes.

I was at my parents' house and watching their LCD and I noticed how bright the
image was. But then I looked out of the window into their garden and it was a
lot lot brighter outside! The sun kicks out an awful lot of photons.

So I might ask: what range of brightness levels do we see in real life? E.g., on
a sunny day, on a cloudy day, inside and outside? Surely, if an image is to look
natural and real, it must be able to replicate what we see in real life?

On occasion I think we plasma-heads are in denial somewhat about what light
levels are ideal. I remember last year when people were claiming the VT30 was
not too dull, but had instead a natural image. And now people say the 2012
models have more "pop" and seem happier with the brighter levels. If next year's
models are brighter still, and I suspect they will be, will people not be
happier still?
 

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
A sunny day out the window, was it a sunny day on the set? I've thought the same many times but if you look at a normal average days sky and look on the set at a film or program with the same sort of day it's not far off. It also depends on your environment your eyes are easily fooled, bumptious at the TPS meet had some great points on this, maybe chat with him. End of the day you get what you want, Im watching my D6900 plasma though and if anything Im thinking it's too bright.
 

fluxo

Distinguished Member
A sunny day out the window, was it a sunny day on the set?

I can see why you'd ask as the sun is almost unheard of in this country :)

It was actually sunny on both, surprisingly. Sunny at Wimbledon, on the TV,
and sunny near me.

I've thought the same many times but if you look at a normal average days sky
and look on the set at a film or program with the same sort of day it's not far off.
It also depends on your environment your eyes are easily fooled, bumptious at the TPS
meet had some great points on this, maybe chat with him. End of the day you get what
you want, Im watching my D6900 plasma though and if anything Im thinking it's too
bright.
I think it's probably a bit brighter than the VT30. And you had the GT30 before that
which is also a bit brighter.

Well, I guess the summer is only so long and as the days shorten it won't be an
issue. But still, I'd like to know how bright a summer's day really is. I will do a
little Googling and report back if I find the answer.
 

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