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TH-42PHD8: dilemma - analogue or digital?

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by cham32, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. cham32

    cham32
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    Guys,

    I'm in the market for a quality plasma solution (display, rather than TV) and need some help/views. I'm familiar with the Panny 7 series and am more a Panny man, as opposed to a Pio. one, so.. am looking closely at 42" PHD8 + scaler (50" is not a runner due to room constaints)

    I'm in a bit of dilemma as to the best way forwards, though. Now that Panny looks to have got the 50Hz 720p HDMI input sorted for the 8 series, digital all the way from DVD to the screen via HDMI seems the most logical way. HOWEVER, to do this I'll need an HDMI upgrade to the 800 (analogue only in the v3) - this is not cheap at around £700 (!) on top of the scaler and the Panny HDMI input card.

    A more cost-effective solution would be to stay analogue from the DVD/scaler and use the VGA input in component mode that's standard in the PHD8 - this would save me £800+, which would give me more options on a scaler (thinking Vision HDP-ish at the moment).

    I'm not particularly hung-up on 'needing' all digital for DVD (and it'll be while before I go Sky HD), just want to get the best from the PHD8.

    Is digital plainly better than analogue for the Panny's, or can I save a chunk of cash (to spend elsewhere in the system)? Any views or experiences most appreciated.

    Aid.
     
  2. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    The Panasonic has a superb analogue input, I would go in YUV with a BNC board from the 800, the digital input on the Panasonics although good is not as good as the analogue, there is more noise in the dark areas.

    So save yourself £700 and stick it towards scaler budget! :)
     
  3. AndoverRed

    AndoverRed
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    I have a similar issue. I'm contemplating buying a PWD/PHD8 panel and using the integrated VGA port to connect to my Arcam DV27a DVD player component output.

    I was going to replace the DV27a with a DV79 as it has a HDMI port. However, the component output on the DV27a is apparently very good.

    The main problem is connecting my legacy ntl Pace set-top box. This only has two SCARTs. :mad: No s-video, component or otherwise.
     
  4. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    from what I've read (I'm in a similar position in that I'm looking at buying one of these plasmas), the HDMI input at 50Hz is not native resolution, only 720p so using a scaler and going in at native res would seem preferrable if the analogue input is as good as its meant to be.
     
  5. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    I use a crystalio and everything goes out RGBhv into the 5 bnc board on the PHD6, I can also go out DVI but the analogue is miles better quality wise so I don't bother, in fact I sold the DVI board.

    The only reason I you would want to use dvi is if you have a device that is hdcp compliant and do not have a way to get round it, if you have RGBhv or even YUV is going to give you the best image, silky smooth and very crt like.
     
  6. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    HDMI upgrade to the Meridian you would consider if you *didn't* want the scaler. But it will be progressive so running this to a scaler would be quite wasteful. Cheapest option for scaler connection is interlaced, analogue component from the Meridian to the VisionHDP. Best option is to modify the Meridian for SDI (better than HDMI, cheaper than £800!) to run the best possible signal into the scaler. Then analogue or digital to the screen.

    [SDI info http://www.progressive-av.co.uk/dvd_players/SDI-DVD.htm]

    Analogue is likely to be better than digital yet again on the Panny, and gives you the ability to have native res at 50Hz. However, when you go HDTV or HD-DVD these may require a digital only connection to overcome HDCP issues....

    What I would do:

    - Lumagen VisionHDP (with SDI inputs - £200 extra)
    - SDI modify the Meridian player (should be less than £400)
    - Digital TV connects using scart-4RCA cable (RGBcvS) to scaler (cable can be had for £40-50)
    - Panasonic plasma with VGA at native resolution 50Hz and 60Hz

    However with HD in mind it may be better to do to put HDMI onto the Panasonic to get the HDCP requirement. You can set the Lumagen up to run everything HDMI at WXGA 60Hz with a manual button to flick it over to 720p 50Hz if the 50-60Hz conversion bothers on things like football (you likely won't notice on movies). Or you can do it the other way round and have the Lumagen automatically run 720p 50Hz for PAL and WXGA 60Hz for NTSC. Or something I've tried is to have the DVD input always output 60Hz WXGA, but for the Sky input always run 720p 50Hz as there is more material on Sky that would show a judder. Basically with the Lumagen in there you can do just about anything and with HDMI connection to plasma you will be able to use the Lumagen's superior HD rescaling.

    Andover - I would imagine you'll do very well with the DV27s component connection. NTL can be served by throwing a scart board into the Panasonic, but I would recommend using a JS Technology RGB to plasma VGA converter.
     
  7. AndoverRed

    AndoverRed
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    Thanks for the advice Liam.

    Do you think there is any leverage having an SDI mod on my DV27a (£300) and either utilising the SDI board on the Panny panel or buying a scaler?
     
  8. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    Personally I would rather go the whole route (SDI into good scaler) or just stick with progressive component to the plasma using the DV27s Sil504 based deinterlacng. SDI direct to the screen is a clean connection, but relies on Panasonic deinterlacing which I think is inferior to Arcam.

    The SDI mod may cost you nearer £500 if you have an older Version III based MPEG board on the Arcam. Not many do but I've been unlucky enough to have to upgrade two clients players before even carrying out the SDI mod!!! Not too sure how to tell, serial number should do it (need to contact Arcam to find out).

    As to whether it's worth it I think so for DVD even on a plasma, just not so sure for Sky TV. With all the inherent mess in a Sky TV signal you don't get quite the gains as you do from a DVD player with a good MPEG decoder to mod.
     
  9. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    As Liam says, sdi to a decent scaler is the way forward, you could then go out DVI from the scaler and into a transcoder to convert to RGBhv, this would allow all native resolutions at both 50 and 60Hz.
    The transcoders loose nothing if you get a good one.

    This would also mean you could get a 6 or 7 series panel too and save a few hundred quid.
     

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