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What is the state of the art in Plasma TVs?

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by Orangelo, May 6, 2005.

  1. Orangelo

    Orangelo
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    HD ready, 42" and 50" (I'm still undecided). What do you consider the best in terms of sheer picture quality for TV broadcast & DVDs, as supplied (no external scalers)?

    I will appreciate any opinion.

    I have had an XDE at home for a couple of weeks and found it too edgy and noisy. And in the shops they do not seem too bright either. The Fujitsus I have seen in the stores look soft and pleasant with broadcast, but they flatten the image too much, a lot of fine detail is lost. From what I have seen, I think that the Wegas and the Vieras were the most balanced. The Vieras seemed to have the edge in color gradation and contrast, while the Wegas seemed a little sharper and brighter. I don't know, what do you think? I would like to concentrate on 3 or four models, the XDE and the TV500 (when available) are in the list. Any additions?
     
  2. NicolasB

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    The Fujitsu P50XHA40US seems to be the flavour of the month.
     
  3. Orangelo

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    Thanks. Is that a US model or is it the same as the ES variety that I have seen elsewhere?
     
  4. NicolasB

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    The US is the one you want (and is the only one you're likely to find in the UK): the ES model isn't compatible with 50Hz high-definition signals.
     
  5. dilsher

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    go over to the Fuji owners thread for al the details mate...
     
  6. Orangelo

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    I've been looking at some plasmas today and I am extremely disappointed. My early conclusion is that plasmas have very serious issues with motion. Every time there is a camera pan, they pixellate to a greater or lesser extent.

    Another thing that has amazed me is the poor job they do with scaling. I spend a lot of time comparing upscaled DVDs with their original HD versions and when the scaling algorythm is good, SD and HD are hard to tell apart. Fellowship of the Rings is my favourite for that, very few people in a blind test really tell the difference between the 720p original and the upscaled SD PAL with that film (with others, like Shrek2 it's a different story :), I admit). The thing is that the Plasmas that I have seen today looked much better with HD, it was not just the resolution, it was the lack of scaling IMHO.

    The thing is that I am pretty disappointed, I am even considering quitting the whole thing and buying a CRT.
     
  7. FaxFan2002

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    Orangelo,

    I've found IMO that you really need to feed very hight quality into plasma's to get the best out of them, I would say as a minimum that you need to push everything upto component. I've been looking to move to HD but I'd give it another 12 - 18months so it's reasonably priced and the technology is more refined. - Thats not to say what you have been viewing is not component as minimum....
     
  8. MAW

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    Orangelo, you looking in UK? It's probable that unless you've been to a high grade specialist, you have not seen anything like what you can achieve at home, you being that kind of guy. Setup in most shops is nothing less than appalling. Perhaps your location might trigger someone to suggest where you could go to get a decent demo, connect what you want to see how you want to see it.
     
  9. Orangelo

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    Thank you all, but as you might have guessed from my poor English, I live in Spain (Madrid) and it is not a setup issue. I have visisted department stores, enthusiast department stores (Fnac) and high-end retailers.

    I have been promised a demo of the MXE1 for next tuesday. They will theoretically be closing the shop for me, and I will be bringing my HTPC over to view some of the best material on earth.

    But I have seen plety of HD with Plasmas already and while the extra detail does of course help, the motion issue is still there. The thing is, if you had to buy a PlasmaTV for your family, what would you go for?
     
  10. Llanowar

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    Orangelo > I actually agree with you on the motion bit: pixelation all over the place, the same with edges sometimes.... every plasma has it unfortunately, but at a normal viewing distance and a good dvd it's hard to see!
     
  11. MAW

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    The MXE1 ticks all the boxes but HDCP. That might well be added very soon, so maybe it's the new Daddy. There is no solarization, the weak point is the black level. You get used to it, it's the same on an XDE. It will be the best with the PC, no room for doubt. Don't forget to go to the integrator menu and enable FRC mode 2, for 100Hz processing with 50Hz signals.
     
  12. Orangelo

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    Llanowar, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one. I think manufacturers are well aware of it as all official demo DVDs have very few motion, some look like slideshows.

    MAW, thanks again for your advice. I supporse the menu is easily accessible, or at least that the retailer will know how to access it. I will be viewing the MXE1 but I don't think I will ever get it, as it's a computer monitor. No tuner, no scart, no HDCP... the HDCP is a very serious issue IMHO. The retailer I will be visiting only carries the Pioneer pro line and he says that it is virtually impossible to sell those plasmas. He has a very hard time explaining customers that they cannot hook their Pioneer 868s or Denon 3910s digitally to the display.
     
  13. MAW

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    If the retailer doesn't know where the menu is, he's no right to be selling the pro gear. IMHO the MXE is not the best on analogue inputs, so yes, HDCP is an issue, a card is on the horizon to sort this out. No scart is simply not a drawback. S scart to 4 phono lead sorts it out, or a JS RGB to VGA converter. If your dealer finds it 'impossible' to sell MXE1's he's trying to sell them to the wrong customers. They account for 10-15% of my sales.
     
  14. Orangelo

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    That's probably the point, it's a consumer oriented retailer but due to "policy reasons" (whatever that means) they do not carry Pioneer's consumer line, so he may be selling the right product to the wrong people. That's probably why he was so keen on offering a demo and letting me hook the HTPC to it. He was releived to see that I understood what kind of product the MXE1 was.

    But what really matters, they will let me play around with it :clap:
     
  15. MAW

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    Good news, it will be fun anyway. to set FRC mode 2, press and hold the 'display' button on the remote. input info appears, keep pressing. After about 8 seconds, a blue overlay appears with a load of info, now press 'menu', and the engineers menu appears. Last tab, options, and press the 'up' cursor key, and there it is. enter to set, engage mode 2, menu to exit. XGA at 50Hz is now processed at 100Hz internally, for judder free DVD playback.
     
  16. Orangelo

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    BTW I saw yesterday, for the first time, a plasma setup which I found appealing. It was a Pio 505XDE hooked to an Arcan DV79 player. It was not breathtaking, the image was a bit soft, but it was sure pleasant to the eye at the appropriate viewing distance, I did not notice the severe artifacts I have seen elsewhere. I am quite puzzled with the Arcam, since it is not a brand that I like at all, and certainly not one of my references in the video department. Most puzzling of all, it used a Scart connection, but I sure preferred that to the 435XDE+Denon2910 combo I had at home (using HDMI)
     
  17. richiecas

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    Is the 435FDE and XDE the same in terms of performance and picture quality. I know the FDE doesn't have a tuner or PC connection but how does everything else compare
     
  18. dilsher

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    like i said the Pio 5095XDE does not even get near the Fujitsu 50XHA40US performance wise. Yu must audition that too
     
  19. Orangelo

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    Thanx dilsher,

    But in the meantine I have seen the MXE1 (50"). As MAW stated, the panel will happily take 50hz 1:1 1280x768. You just need to select WXGA resolution, dot by dot aspect, FRC Mode 2 in the Integrator Menu and there you are :clap: 1:1 mapping was tested with one of the numerous "pixel perfect" patterns available, fluid motion was tested with Reclock's tearing test (it's obvious anyway)

    I saw mainly Shrek2 (HD 720p) and LOTR Fellowship of the Rings (SD 576p). The SD was scaled using Lanczos4. The video renderer for both was, of course, VMR9. Decoding courtesy of DivX 5 for HD, Elecard for SD. Progressive RGB output. I shall not bore you with any more details on my config.

    Assuming that I was seeing the panel at its best and that the panel is representative of the state of the art, my conclusion is that Plasmas are not as sharp as other display technologies, have issues with motion and a limited contrast and black level.

    Shrek 2 in HD will literally blow you away if you see it on a CRT or a high-end DLP projector, and this was not the case with the MXE1. Of course the guys in the shop were swearing up and down that it was totally fabulous, but all the HD they had seen was a bunch of imported D-Theater tapes and the Euro1080 promotional channel, so go figure.

    As for upscaled SD, well, let's just say I did not like it. I think a quality DVD player would have rendered the same performance. The HTPC superiority that I appreciate in my PJ was simply not there.

    Huge difference between HD and upscaled SD on a plasma. More than there should be, in my opinion. I even run some Bikini 1080i just to have a go at real life HD footage, just to be sure I was not misled by the sharpness and saturation of an animation feature like Shrek2, but even then HD was clearly superior to any scaling you could think of.

    And, in any event, these displays rely way too much on the quality of the signal being fed. They remind me of LCD projectors some years ago. The HTPC compatibility is no longer an issue, it does not pay dividends from what I saw.

    Anyway, that's my opinion, for what it's worth :boring:
     
  20. Leerock

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    Orangelo
    In a post above you said that you saw Pio 505XDE hooked to an Arcan DV79 player.
    Was the picture in your opinion worse or betten than the mxe1 with the scaler?
     
  21. MAW

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    If that 50MXis brand new, it might account for it, for some reason,they need to be run in before you see the best. However, end of poor excuses, you should note that personally I run a Panasonic and put up with the FRC judder. HTPC can and should be as good as a top scaler, when matched to the right panel. I'll be investigating further with the Fujitsu XHA40US. Theoretically this has the best of both worlds, 720/50 on HDMI and native at 75Hz on DVI, we shall see.
     
  22. hornydragon

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    What were the ambient conditions? and when you say "not as sharp as other display techs" Are youreffering to Front Projection?
     
  23. Orangelo

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    I understand that the 505 and the 50" MXE1 share the same panel, and I don't believe in sinergies or magical stuff (no disrespect to those who do, it's just that there has to be a reason for everything, whether it's apparent or not), so I guess the Arcam is a good player. I could not say the MXE1+HTPC combo was clearly superior playing upscaled SD, and I though it would be, if only for the scaling and the digital connection. In any event, it's very hard to compare two different setups with different materials, conditions and dates etc... you have to rely on your memory and I don't have such good memory.

    Different expectations also, I bumped into the 505 with very low expectations and was pleased not to see the artifacts I had seen elsewhere. It was a "this is not bad" kind of thing, sufficient quality to watch a film and forget about the image. The problem is that I immediately raised my expectations regarding the MXE1+HTPC combo. I know I'm not really answering your question, I am insecure because I realise I have so little experience with plasmas. I understand that MAW thinks that the MXE1 coupled with a scaler ouperforms and XDE and he sees them every day. You should take his word. I spent 10 minutes seeing the 505+Arcam combo.
     
  24. Orangelo

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    DLP front projection, I would say. LCOS projectors (D-ILA or any other variations) are blurry, due to their inability to properly control light reflection and the resulting neighbouring effect (advocates on the technology say that this is and advantage, since screendoor is reduced :D ). LCD projectors can look pretty sharp, but it is mostly due to the screendoor.
     
  25. Abit

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    There is something seriously wrong with the particular screen you are using or comparing with if you feel upscaled SD when done well looks like HD. As with a static image upscaling can never look as good as a larger orginal image. I've yet to see an upscaled DVD look as good as HD. The difference is obvious, at least to me. Keep in mind also the variables between good, mediorce, and bad HD and SD samples that you may be dealing with.

    Pixellate with motion? You sure it isn't the source itself?

    Finally I think the best of the plasmas out there do a really good job, probably the best, showing SD material.

    Great plasmas out there if you have the money and if they are available there.
     
  26. Orangelo

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    I don't know if it was new or not, really. I have no doubts that the MXE1 performs as a plasma if you say so. I am the kind of guy that trusts other people's eyes. I have no experience with plasmas and I don't know what to expect and that is probably the problem. Anyway, I was initally pretty disappointed seeing all that posterizarion, smearing and pixellation. I am very glad to have seen the MXE1 and the 505XDE. They are quality displays and at least I know I am buying a plasma now. I was thinking of forgetting the whole thing a few days ago, really.
     
  27. Orangelo

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    Abit, it is fair if you think that our standards are different. The only reason I joined this forum was to get some advice regarding an acquisition I have to make. I would appreaciate some indication as to which plasmas are currently the best.
     
  28. Abit

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    Just sharing my experience Orangelo. HD, even 720, is readily distinctive from SD.

    As for models to recommend I really couldn't say as I would think many, if not most?, wouldn't be available there, or may not work there to some important degree.

    The best I see over here are from brands like Sony, Pioneer, Fujitsu?, LG. Basically, the top of the line of all the well known brands put out some nice displays. Many are comparable in quality though I really like Sony and Pioneer.

    Buena suerte (si?) with your search. :)
     
  29. Bernard Barnett

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    Orangelo, I wonder if you should be looking at LCD screens rather than plasmas. You speak of sharpness quite a lot and it's undeniable, I think, that LCD looks sharper than plasma. Personally I prefer the slightly softer, more cinematic appearance of plasma but it's possible that you might like LCD better. I have no owner experience of LCD but the larger Sharp models are said to be among the best performers - might be worth having a look at the LCD forum.
     
  30. Orangelo

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    I quit LCD front projection some time ago. They are sharp and, some minor issues aside, artifact free, but have no contrast and no black level. With LCD TVs you could forgive the low black level, since they are used under relatively high ambient light conidtions and the eye will be easily persuaded that the blacks do look pretty black. But the contrast issue is still there. Thanks for the advice, anyway.
     

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