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The state of (CRT) TVs

Discussion in 'TVs' started by Squirrel God, May 9, 2002.

  1. Squirrel God

    Squirrel God
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    Here's what I've ascertained about each manufacturer's "hidden features" in the past few weeks while browsing these forums and from personal experience .....

    Sony - scrolling bars
    Toshiba - un-uniform screen brightness (light bars), dirty patches, buzzing (?)
    Panasonic - crap at NTSC, dark bars, flat tube actually not flat, overly processed 100Hz picture, dirty patches, high pitched whining
    JVC - dark, dull and unadjustable RGB picture
    Philips - no such thing at the moment :p
    Loewe - hubba hubba
    Hitachi, Thomson, Grundig, Goodmans - huh? (or maybe hah :D)

    Anyone I've left out???

    Regarding customer service, based on the evidence in these forums, all manufacturers refused to acknowledge their "hidden features" initially and only owned up after much badgering (as we might expect). :mad:

    Quite frankly, isn't the current state of the (CRT) TV market in the UK (and Europe? worldwide?) shocking and a tad depressing??? :eek:

    For the prices charged, aren't we being ripped off left, right and centre??? Particular when even the customer service appears to be lacking!! :mad:

    Let me know if I'm talking total crap or being too pessimistic :(
     
  2. LV426

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    Yes.
     
  3. John Jennings

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    I've only recently become old enough (read "rich enough") to really enter the TV market and I've been shocked by how tough it was to choose one that was decent and without flaws. Even then it came down to a compromise in terms of 'which has the least number of flaws'.

    What I'm interested in is have things always been this way, or are things getting worse (possibly due to TVs becoming more complicated and having 'more features to be able to go wrong').

    Perhaps some old crumblies out there could comment :D

    John :clown:
     
  4. Steve1138

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    I feel the same way.

    I think that DIGITAL TV's are all fundamentally and inherently flawed, for several reasons and causes, mostly from the 'advanced features' added by the designers.:

    Generally - The Picture is softer than non-digital TV's due to the digital picture processing. It's trying to make up for some of the 'deficiencies' of analog and PAL. Look at any analogue TV, at a sharp edge such as the lettering in the pop-up blue bar on Sky digital or the BBC NEWS 24 logo... sharp enough to cut your finger on... now look at same thing on a digital TV... soft as a baby's bum. Ends of the letters are rounded

    Loss of detail during pans. Look at the detail on somebodys face (or anything with texture) while it's static it's OK, but as soon as the camera pans away you lose the detail. It 'comes back' once it stops moving. (see the grass on any football match.. not that I watch football).

    Smearing. This comes from the digital image processing which is trying to "improve" the picture for you by something like motion smoothing (see Philips Natural (ha !) Motion gimic). It's trying to estimate between two adjacent fields of interlaced video and fill in by adding new calculated lines in the intervening fields which it adds to give you 100 fields per second instead of the original transmitted 50 fields in the PAL signal. All it's doing is guessing what these new lines look like based on the difference between the two adjacent fields. It can make mistakes. It does.
    A simple 100Hz feature should just show each standard PAL field twice to give you 100 Hz instead of standard 50Hz. Main aim here is to educe flicker.

    Picture crawl. Probably one of the most annoying and disconcerting 'features', whereby an area of similar colour & brightness (I often see it on faces) seems to comprise separate pieces (forehead, cheeks, chin, nose) which jiggle about separately from each other. I see this lots on Sky Digital on my Philips, and saw it for the first time on DVD on Jeff Bridges' face, in "K-Pax" (R1) the other night (@ 101 minutes).
    The fact that I get this more on Sky makes me think it's more to do with MPEG encoding / decoding and then the TV's inability to deal with the decoded over-compressed signal.

    Jaggies. a "feature" you can enjoy on ANY TV, digital or not. Caused by the horizontal scan lines. New features like Philips Pixel plus and Loewe's DMM try to eliminate this (maybe by adding more lines or showing the lines of adjacent fields slightly off-set ??) but the digital processing used to eliminate jaggies & scan lines also introduces other nasty effects...
    Jaggies always look worse along a moving edge or anything which is not perfectly horizintal (i.e: crosses the pciture lines).
    (Watch the roof bars on the car as it pulls out of the driveway in Toy Story 2).

    Which brings us to "Heat streaking". Don't know the proper term - but that's what I call it. It's like the heat distortion or miraging you get off a hot road in summer, but around the edges of moving objects (most noticably on people). Just watch the outline of the person as they move around. Again most noticable on Sky Digital (probably again due to over compressed MPEG endoding and sub optimal decoding. (Anyone who plays around with images on the computer and has overcompressed a JPEG imageby saving it with say 50% comprssion, knows what this can do). The TV then try's to interpolate those extra fields (to get 100 Hz) from substandard signal.
    Rubbish in - Rubbish out.
    You cannot improve on the source signal, only muck it up to different degrees. (LINN owner).

    On my Philips I can reduce but not get rid of these things. They're worse with "Natural Motion" (an oxymoron) switched on.
    Loewe's DMM feature tries to eliminate scan lines (and does a pretty good job of it) but it also causes this heat streaking effect and another nasty effect noticable on fast moving objects.
    Basically it seems that you should switch all features off ona digital TV and then introduce each one, one at a time and check for the effects it has. Any which cause problems - you decide to leave them on or off.
    On the Loewe you choose between seeing the lines (more noticable on NTSC R1 DVD) or having no lines but getting unnatural effects thrown in for free.

    I just tried a new Loewe with VGA module and external de-interlacer (iScan Pro)... and it was wonderful... with NO side effects of any sort... and no internal picture processing applied (which actually caused the only problem - screen geometry).
    There were no scan lines even on NTSC material. or jaggies. or motion artefacts. The only thing was the slight flicker on PAL (50 Hz).

    Why the TV manufacturers can't wake up to this and just do the job properly with a decent de-interlacing chipset like Silicon Image or Faroudja and showing in Prog Scan mode (and doubling the frames in PAL to 100 Hz) instead of making half-hearted attempts with useless features covered up with marketing mumbo-jumbo... is quite beyond me. Don't their developers actually watch any TV ? or are they all Electronics Geeks who are so wrapped up in chasing some obscure so-called desirable features like Natural Motion, that they lose sight of what the TV is meant to do - create the illusion of real life, natural looking pictures.

    If Denon can put the Sil chipset in their DVD player, and PLUS in their 5000 Swiss Franc (2000 quid ?) DLP projector (same price as a Loewe Aconda) and Skyworth the Faroudja chipset in a 900 Franc (350 quid ?) DVD player... then WHY can't a company like Loewe use a similar chipset (instead of a Philips one) and get the most outstanding CRT TV pictures that anyone will ever see ?
    Having seen the Loewe in Prog Scan with external de-interlacer, makes we wonder what the other manufacturers have done on their Prog Scan TV's. They can't have done it right, judging by the way they get 'panned'.

    You don't have motion interpolation at the cinema... you don't even have 50 Hz - let alone 100 Hz... it's just 25 (or 24 ?) frames pre second.

    Soap box. Over and out.

    Steve
     
  5. Me

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    Everything is made to a price and limited specification. There is no such thing as perfect and anyone that thinks there is is living in fairy land. The customer effectively buys a product that is faulty or demonstrates unique characteristics within specification. It is surely up to the customer before they part with their money to fully research thier purchase. You can not expect top of the line performance from a set costing a tenth of the price as a flagship model. Products are produced in their thousands and a small percentage of poor units will be excepted by the manufacturer. Lobying a multi million dollar electronics company claiming that a few of there vast range of models are of poor quality will have no effect. Any issues must surely be focused at the dealers. This will in turn put them under pressure to use their internal channels to take up the issues with the manufacturers. Without the dealers supporting products the manufacturers sale will fall.
    Mark
     
  6. Nic Rhodes

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    well said. This tallies with my findings as well. All are flawed. Buyer beware.

    I am seriously interested in the 2500 chasis. How do you tell it apart from the 2400 based ones?
     
  7. Squirrel God

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    John -
    I'm not an old crumblie, but it definitely has NOT always been this way. In ye olden days :D , you used to go into a shop, pick a telly that had a nice picture and then it would be delivered - sorted! Now, you get all this crap - geometry errors, blurred edges, and all the other things listed above. And as for the 100hz sets, well you have the risk of getting all of the above, plus all the processing flaws that Steve was going on about.

    Mark (Me) -
    I agree with you - nothing is perfect. But what is on the market at the moment is UTTER CACK. These TVs are FAR from perfect - I sometimes feel the technology has gone backward!! Even top of the range sets are massively flawed - go and have a look at a Bang & Olufsen in a shop - same geometry errors as everything else. Yes, the customer has to research their options - but it's impossible to find out everything about a set. For example, without this forum, I would never have known about all the problems I listed above. It's not acceptable that I have to go through all this hassle in order to find a TV that is "the least flawed" of a crap selection.

    If I pay £1000 for a TV, I think that's a lot of money and I should expect a certain degree of quality for that price, not have to "make do" with more flaws than you ever used to get in electronics products. Yeah, I can go and buy a Goodmans CD player and not expect top performance, but I don't expect it to skip on US CDs, or for the sound to break up when I'm playing opera CDs ... There's a minimum performance to be expected here and I think we're far from it. Certainly most TVs on the market are not even "fit for purpose" in my opinion. Let's take Panasonic for example - how the hell do they get away with claiming NTSC playback on their TVs??? Clearly they can't do NTSC playback!!! And yet when a Panny engineer goes to someone's home, he explains to the customer "well you see, these TVs are optimised for PAL really" (I read that on a post elsewhere on this forum) :eek: So why on earth claim that these TVs are NTSC-compatible??????? Let's take flatscreen as well - when you read about this it's all about "no distortion" or "reduced distortion" - well I'm sorry, but you do get less of the "goldfish bowl" effect, but then you have all sorts of distortions caused by geometry errors because of the difficulty in stimulating electrons at disuniform distances across such a wide screen. Fair enough - but let's not advertise it as perfect.

    Browse through these TV manufacturer's catalogues and all you see is glossy adverts bestowing the wonders of their "perfect pictures". Change the phrasing please guys!! As Mark said, these TVs are FAR from perfect!!!! Isn't that false advertising????

    * Steps down from little squirrel-sized soap box and walks off * :p
     
  8. johnk

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    About three years ago, I decided to replace my ageing but trustworthy 21" 4:3 Philips set with a widescreen TV. After spending all of about two hours wandering around a few high street stores, I spent £650 on a 28" JVC because, well, it looked smart. Well, all TVs are the same inside, aren't they?

    Well, of course, that was lesson one. Excellent pictures on brightly-lit scenes over RGB, but crummy on dark scenes, iffy geometry on 4:3 and 14:9 output, disappointing S-video output...

    At least I learned that the next time I buy a TV (soon, I hope), I'd better do serious research, hence my visits to this forum. And now that I've been reading the contributions here, and scouring the web for info, I have reached the inescapable conclusion that all big TVs are a very, very long way short of perfection. And that's being kind.

    All I want is a 32" widescreen telly that gives an excellent picture on all sources. I'll happily spend what it takes, within reason. But I've yet to find a single model in these forums that gets a general all-clear. Even the Loewe sets seem to have the odd "no" vote (and I hate their styling anyway).

    And so, after all the research, I'm leaning towards the Toshiba Picture Frame because, well, it looks smart. Some people never learn their lesson......

    JohnK
     
  9. Squirrel God

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    I have a JVC AV28R25 at the moment ... this model has dull RGB pictures (i.e. really lacking contrast and, of course, JVC being JVC, you can't adjust the contrast on RGB inputs :mad:) but cracking S-Video input... So it sounds like JVC have swapped their Scart priorities in the past few years :p

    It still has iffy 4:3 and 14:9 geometry (like yours), but that never bothered me much because I always use the panoramic option (still, it *should* be right shouldn't it :mad:)

    It's not fantastic at dark scenes, but is pretty good (although not from RGB sources, obviously).

    So, if that's progress in 3 years..... sounds like we'll have to wait a very long time before we get widescreen TVs that make us as happy as our old 4:3 sets :(

    Incidentally, because of the above problems, the men from Currys are coming to take it away tomorrow morning - this will be my 2nd refund on a widescreen TV so far (tried 2 Philips before this, the second was even worse than the first)... and the next TV I purchase will be my 4th widescreen TV.

    I have heard of some people getting 9 or 10 TVs before they finally get one that they are happy with.... I only hope it doesn't take me that long because I'm sick of making up the cabinets/stands and then risking a hernia lifting 50kg onto them :(

    I feel like I will become less "fussier" and more accepting of the flaws as time goes on, simply because all this aggro is really starting to pi$$ me off. :(

    I long for the day when I can actually sit down and just WATCH television, rather than constantly observing the flaws. :(

    Here's to the 4th.. may it be a good one (whatever make it is)!! :)

    BTW, saw the Tosh picture frame in Dixon's today, John - does indeed look gorgeous... but I couldn't believe how far the back end comes out!!! (as the actress said to the bishop :p)
     
  10. mandlebrot

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    We don't actually go through 10 replacements before finding one we are happy with, what we do is go through 10 replacements before we are totally exhausted and slowly give in to the faults, we are never really happy we just tell other people we are and do our best to convince ourselves we are.

    Also our eyes are that confused from seeing so many different TV’s, faults and different setting in brightness, contrast etc that they start to see anything has good. This confused state carries on just long enough to stop us getting a replacement/refund and then we would have to settle for a repair and that would involve the TV going away for possibly months (even then they probably either won’t find the fault, pretend its fixed or deny its existence) and we couldn’t live with that so we just put up with the faults and resort to having a moan on the forum because we dare not admit to the wife or friends what idiots we were for parting with our hard earned money for this utter crap.

    Moan over, now that makes me feel better until tomorrow when I switch on the TV again:)
     
  11. Steve1138

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    and the truth is (I guess), that most people who buy TV's are fairly happy with their new purchase, AND in their ignorance.
    We're not exactly a representative bunch.
    However, having sid that, my sister & her husband just bought a 36" philips Pixel Plus and complained on the first day that the football looked like comet trails (smearing due to digital processing)... so maybe I'm wrong !!

    One "psycho-behavioural" thing I've noticed about myself as I've got into this over the past 12 months is how I'd not really questioned the picture quality of TV for so many years.
    This is strange, as I've been a avid highe end Hi Fi owner for years with a LINN active system costing more than most spend on a new car... so why (especially when playing the TV through the Hi Fi, before building a separate AV system) did I just accept (or rather not question) what I was looking at ?
    My guess is that TV is more a common part of ALL our lives (unlike high end Hi fi) and it's part of ALL our experience since childhood that we DON"T (as a whole) question it.
    (My wife says even now, that she doesn't care about the picture quality or problems.. it's not why she watches TV.... Hmmm)

    BUT. Just like when you learn how to listen to Hi Fi (as in knowing how to judge the performance of a system and not just whether "has a good tone" or sounds "dry" or "thin" or "cup-like"..) you can have some simple criteria or things to look out for when comparing the picture. (see my post on artefacts, above)
    and I think what you'll find is that there's is no digital TV that is totally devoid of all these things.

    The other things which pi$$es me off, is that the MAGAZINES NEVER talk about these things... so for me, they're just as bad as the manufacturers marketing departments, for sprading dis-information and perpetuating ignorance & confusion.
    I have never seen a TV review in a UK magazine which talks about how it handles badly encoded stuff off Sky digital or the extent of digital artefacts caused by the different processing effects and which ones are effective or ineffective, or how a "Progressive Scan" TV compares to pure Progressive Scan from a Loewe / VGA / iScan.
    Maybe it's just the UK magazines.
    If you want to read some good quality reviews, try www.hometheaterhifi.com

    I also wonder what it is that determines WHAT the R&D dept.s of the TV manufacturers should work on in development terms. Who told them that we wanted Natural motion, or digital reality creation or the other gimicks, and how do they decide whether they've implemented them well and does what they're meant to ? Well, THEY DO. The geeky electronics engineers that like to play with circuits and signals. (I've had friends who were electronics engineers, but they knew bu$$er all about decent Hi Fi and what music should sound like from one).
    The manufacturers rely on the public's ignorance to gain market acceptance, and in the end many of their boxes probably still sell on looks, feature count and dealer preference.

    having just seen how the Loewe picture looks with a pure, unba$tardi$ed Progressive Scan feed through its VGA input... I KNOW what a CRT TV can look like. But I think there's NONE out there today that DO look like that... even the "Progressive Scan" TV's.


    Steve
     
  12. Grubert

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    In my opinion, quality control and aftersales service have been thrown overboard by most TV makers. The fact that the specifications of a model are determined by the price fixed by the sales department does not help either.

    This is a real problem, not just the moaning of malcontents. The problem is, the general opinion doesn't know about this and the media either ignore it or don't want to make waves.

    I don't see any solution in sight. I really wish there was one.

    With audio equipment, I think it is very possible to attain quality and reliability. It should be possible with TV sets as well. They just don't want to.

    Regards.
     
  13. filopastry25

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    "The other things which pi$$es me off, is that the MAGAZINES NEVER talk about these things... so for me, they're just as bad as the manufacturers marketing departments, for sprading dis-information and perpetuating ignorance & confusion. "

    Too true, they're actually worse than the TV Manufacturers in my opinion, the TV manufacturers have a product to sell, so they are selective with the truth like any other manufacturer.

    The magazines are meant to be providing an independant viewpoint for the consumer, they are obviously not doing this, there are only 2 reasons I can put forward for why this is the case

    1. Incompetence
    2. Due to their dependance on advertising money they are in the manufacturer's back pocket.

    In either case why bother buying magazines and trusting their review.

    I am not overly picky with televisions, but when I trade in an old television for a new one, I expect a new one to be an improvement not a step backwards.

    If only I had found this forum before I bought my TV I could have saved myself a lot of time and trouble.

    By the way does anyone know of one 36" TV which does not have inherent problems on all models?
     
  14. Guest

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    Unfortunately, the sad truth is that TV manufacturers could give us exactly what we want, they just don't want to. They want our money and good, clean 'real' TV pictures means NO computer processing, no Natural Motion no PixelPlus, etc. and there's only so much money they can charge you for a good old fashioned 50HZ TV.

    I don't want to sound like a Marxist or anything but customer satisfaction has never played a role in the manufacturing industry. The rule of thumb is JUICE THE CUSTOMER. Added value. Give him extra features he doesn't want so that you can charge him more. Tell him he wants misty artefact-rich pictures streaking across his screen like comet tails. Even if he doesn't believe you he'll buy into it in the end because all TVs will have this feature.

    Filopastry25, you're right about the magazines. I don't trust anything they say about the big name sets. They just don't seem to look hard enough.

    Every three days or so I feel like putting my REAL Boot through the REAL FLAT screen of my phillips TV with its Uri Gellar geometry. HCC said in a review that its geometry was 'v.good' - 'slight inward bend at the bottom'.
     
  15. Me

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    The manufacturers are giving us the products we want, within specified price brackets because we keep purchasing them.

    Squirrel God:
    Does make and badge really mean anything
    anymore, or are we brainwashed by the mass media and fashion to believe we are getting a superior product when infact it is the same mass market unit with a few frills.
    I would never simply purchase a product on badge alone, only detailed research.
    I am always sceptical about the so called expert. Each of us can be an expert by asking the right people the correct question to recieve an objective answer. Magazines like Home Cinema Choice will provide some excellent reviews but how do we guage there objectivity? Do they have something to gain or lose in terms of good or bad reviews of equipment? Making a purchase of a TV based on one or two well known magazine reviews is flawed. This information should only make up part of your inital research.
    Do we sometime strive to much for perfection in products are design for a mass market. If you feel the product is to highly priced then do not purchase it.
    Mark
     
  16. shaunthedude

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    i know just how you al feel. I am now on my 7th tv in 9 months. I have had 3 sony 32 inches, 1 panasonic 36 inch, 2 panasonic 42 RP tvs and now im on a 42 Toshiba RP. This one, WH4218B seems fine but I cant relax with it as Im just waiting for a fault to occur. One thing mind, Currys have been fantastic.
     
  17. Squirrel God

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    I think you're spot on there Mr Kebab!!!


    Disagree I'm afraid. Only the ignorant masses keep purchasing them - which is good enough for them!!

    I'd agree here. You can get good models from different manufacturers, but not all models from the same manufacturer are good.

    Me either. But the more research you do, the more disappointed you get. No matter how much you pay for a TV, it will be flawed. That's not how it should be - as you pay more, you should achieve better more satisfying products IMO.

    It's not that it's too highly priced - it's that it's too highly priced for the drivel we're given!! If I had to pay £1,500 for a TV that had spot-on geometry, a clear picture across the WHOLE tube, cracking NTSC playback, flawless digital processing, and so on - AND it would last what most people would consider to be a reasonable amount of time (i.e. at least 5 years), then I would happily pay it.

    As to not purchasing, well I can't do without a TV I'm afraid and neither could most people. I'm afraid I *HAVE* to make a purchase - I have no choice :mad:
     
  18. laurel

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    But Shaun, we cannot use you as an example. You did not buy that lucky heather and you have now paid the price.

    :)
     
  19. Me

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    Squirrel God:
    Because the manufactureres know we have to make the purchase of the new TV there is no concern over perfection of product, as long as there sales figures and profits stay high. Commerce will always win over the consumer, unless the consumer finds an avenue to effect the profits.
    The question that should be asked is how do the customers effect profits so making the manufacturer listen to their views about poor products?
    Mark
     
  20. Squirrel God

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  21. groundy

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    A direct quote from What Video & TV's reply to a letter March 2002 Issue) questioning why they had not noticed or printed the Toshiba ZP18's numerous faults, or should I say "features", in their 5 Star review:

    "Close examination of this Toshiba model here showed all the defects you list, but to such a small degree that they were hard to see from a normal viewing distance."

    Well, the "defects" (notice What Video & TV call them defects, not "features") were very easy for me and a few hundred others to notice from a normal viewing distance.

    These prople are supposed to be experts and should be picking up on things that even we would find it hard to notice. Maybe they do, but they obviously don't think we have a right to know about them.

    It's clear that the magazines only print what's in their best interests to print. I have no doubt whatsover that most of them are affiliated in some way with certain manufacturer's. They have a lot to answer for.
     
  22. Squirrel God

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    That's very interesting Groundy! And, in fact, quite shocking! :eek:

    I'm sure, as well as these reasons of advertising monies and the need for magazines not to want to come down too hard on the manufacturers (after all, they probably wouldn't get sent anymore TV sets if they did that!), it's also down to copy space. They have a limited space in which to review a product, so they think it's better to tell us about the good things than warn us about the bad things.

    I think that's poor editorial decision making myself. I, like you, would like to see more space taken up with these faults. It's what we would be MOST interested in after all.

    I can't remember which magazine it was now (may have been Home Entertainment or HCC), but they recently introduced a new section in the review called "Caveat Emptor", where they would list quirky faults with a product... (e.g. not switching to widescreen, or no zoom mode)... this is a step in the right direction but still falls short of listing proper, excruciating DEFECTS :mad:

    Personally, what I now do, is read the reviews to see the potential of a set, then carefully research user experiences. I find both are necessary in order to get both sides.
     
  23. mafw

    mafw
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    I have now done this and ruled out every single set now on the market :rolleyes:

    After having two WS sets sent back for refunds I have given up for the time being and am borrowing a 20 year Sony!
     
  24. Squirrel God

    Squirrel God
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    Yes, no set is perfect mafw, unfortunately! I have toyed with going back to a 4:3 but just can't do it! I think it's a case of picking the telly that has the least amount of annoying flaws - what a sad state of affairs!

    Let's hope the situation improves before your old Sony packs in :p
     

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