Disappointed with Plasma Viewing Experience - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
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I recently got a Panasonic TC - P42X3, but I am really disappointed with all the artifacts I'm seeing just about all the time during motion. The image quality itself is superb, but whenever there is camera motion, parts of the screen get all pixelated and "dirty." It also happens a lot whenever a big "banner" comes swooshing onto the screen. Once I noticed it I started seeing it everywhere, and it is really ruining my viewing experience. Most of the time, except for screen size and still images (newscasts, etc.) it seems like a huge downgrade from my old CRT tv.

I went with plasma b/c I thought it was supposed to be less sensitive to this kind of artifact. I sit at about a distance of 8-10 ft. (42" screen), the room is a very dark room with no direct light on the screen (and most viewing at night anyway), I have played with the settings as much as it seems possible (can post exact settings later if anyone wants), and yet the pixelated motion blurring is still there. I compared to a family member's Vizio LCD, and while the picture isn't as rich as the plasma, there is *much* less noise of all kinds - hardly noticeable at all unless you really strain to see it, as opposed to being totally distracting.

Did I just get the wrong technology for me? I watch mostly movies & some sports and news, am really interested in good picture quality, so I thought plasma was definitely for me. I do like the better image quality of the plasma, but I don't think I can get used to all the pixelation all the time. Is it perhaps some setting that's still off, or that I'm sitting too close (no more room to back up, though), or something else I can adjust, or maybe something I can't do anything about (eye tracking, etc.)? Or should I just try to sell it and go with an LCD?
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post #2 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 10:34 AM
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What is the source? I only get pixelation when I am watching a low quality feed like cable or some crappy online feed.

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post #3 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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HD cable, thru HDMI cable. Same source as LCD that doesn't have all the pixelation, though.

I first started noticing these artifacts during the Superbowl, just for reference. Wouldn't that be a relatively high quality source? Thought they would use the latest & best cams, etc. I was really surprised to start seeing all the pixelation, esp. during the banners. Looked worse than watching on CRT for sure. I never saw anything like that at friend's for thxgiving games, etc.
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post #4 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 11:09 AM
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First off, the "X" series is the lowest end of the Panasonic plasma lineup; it's possible you are seeing something that you wouldn't see on one of Panasonic's higher end plasmas. Personally, I would never buy anything lower than the "ST" series. Secondly, cable/satellite providers typically have very low bit rates for their HD channels. A low bit rate usually means motion artifacting, so it's most likely your cable/satellite provider. Also, I'm just making guesswork here, but with plasmas superior motion resolution combined with your cable/satellite's poor bit rate might make the motion artifacting more noticeable.
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post #5 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uzername View Post

HD cable, thru HDMI cable. Same source as LCD that doesn't have all the pixelation, though.

I first started noticing these artifacts during the Superbowl, just for reference. Wouldn't that be a relatively high quality source? Thought they would use the latest & best cams, etc. I was really surprised to start seeing all the pixelation, esp. during the banners. Looked worse than watching on CRT for sure. I never saw anything like that at friend's for thxgiving games, etc.

It sounds like your cable provider is overly-compressing the signal which will cause even a good TV to display motion artifacts. It's also possible that the TV is more accurately displaying the poor quality of the signal where a lesser TV would sort of mask the defects.

What Picture mode are you using (Vivid, Custom, etc)?

What settings are you using for Contrast and Sharpness?

What output format is your cable box sending to the TV (720p and/or 1080i)?

Do DVDs also display the same motion artifacts as your cable signal?

Try this - connect an antenna to the TV and compare the quality of the signal you're getting OTA from the TV's tuner to that of the same program or game playing over your cable box (you can use the TV's Prev button to toggle between Antenna and Cable Box input).

At my SIL's house in West L.A., when i set up her new Panny 50" S2 her HD cable signal from Comcast looked like crap to me (grainy, and motion artifacts etc) but it was still better than her old rear projection TV and she was happy. Eventually she realized that the signal quality i'm getting from TWC is way better than on her Comcast network (she realized that even my 7-year-old 720p PX50 looked better than her new 1080p S2 and my G10 blew her TV away) so she had Comcast come out to check the signal but it was within their spec and they blamed the TV for the motion artifacts. I knew that was BS so i took my old set of $5 Rabbit Ears to her house, scanned for the local Los Angeles OTA channels, then demonstrated to her how good her TV looks with a proper signal. OTA was WAY better than her Comcast feed.

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post #6 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, lots of helpful replies here, thanks guys!

I have TWC, and off the top of my head, these are some of my settings, using "Custom":

Contrast: 70%
Brightness: 65%
Sharpness: 60%
Cable box: 720p
Video NR: On
Mosquito/Block NR: On

I started with lower contrast & brightness for a week or so, b/c I heard it's better to let the plasma phosphors break in more gently. Getting a really nice picture now, it's only the artifacts that are bugging me out.

As for this being lower in Panasonic's line, it still seems to me it shouldn't be worse than lower cost LCDs, should it? Plasmas I thought were supposed to be better technology in this respect anyway!
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post #7 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 12:14 PM
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Yep...basically to sum up what Randy is saying; your picture is only going to be as good as the source. Crappy in...crappy out. I've seen some mid and low end sets with Blu-ray feed that look as if they're upper end models.
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post #8 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DR.DTS View Post

Yep...basically to sum up what Randy is saying; your picture is only going to be as good as the source. Crappy in...crappy out. I've seen some mid and low end sets with Blu-ray feed that look as if they're upper end models.

Yea try a blu-ray and if you still have it there then you know it is the TV, but I am almost certain it is your cable. Is the Vizio a 120Hz model?

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post #9 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 12:24 PM
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Try dropping your sharpness. An HD source shouldn't require any sharpening.
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post #10 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Thx everyone. Had sharpness at 50, just increased it temporarily to see if it would make a difference (didn't). Vizio is 60Hz. Will test DVD tonight. I watch at least as much TV as DVD, probably 75/25 in fact, so if LCD is giving less artifact with the same source, looks like I'll just switch to LCD. Thx again, appreciate all the helpful responses.
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post #11 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uzername View Post

Thx everyone. Had sharpness at 50, just increased it temporarily to see if it would make a difference (didn't). Vizio is 60Hz. Will test DVD tonight. I watch at least as much TV as DVD, probably 75/25 in fact, so if LCD is giving less artifact with the same source, looks like I'll just switch to LCD. Thx again, appreciate all the helpful responses.

Set your sharpness to 0. If it looks too soft increase it slowly until it appears sharp again. 50% is way to high for that set. Also, try setting the cable box to native, and your player to Auto. If you don't have those settings, then if you can, check off all the settings your TV supports including 1080i, which is the most common for broadcasts. Many top boxes don't scale that well, so you may get better results and a cleaner picture if you leave the scaling up to the TV. Also, unlike Blu-Ray, when watching DVD's, which are only 480i, make sure you always set the player no higher then 720p, or you will be double scaling on that set, which can also produce artifacts. See link below for more initial setup tips.

http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-...tv...now-what/


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post #12 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uzername View Post

I watch at least as much TV as DVD, probably 75/25 in fact, so if LCD is giving less artifact with the same source,

LCD won't give you less artifacts, although it may cover up the compression artifacts with it's own motion blur artifacts.

What you are seeing is due to the revealing nature of a good hi-def display showing the overly compressed cable signal. I'd hate to think that you'd want to go back to an inferior technology (sorry, but I do consider LCD to be inferior to plasma, but it is getting better all the time) that will simply "blur up" everything, good or bad. Or you'd have to enable frame interpolation that will introduce a whole new level of artifacts of its own.
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post #13 of 30 Old 02-12-2012, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mailiang View Post

Set your sharpness to 0. If it looks too soft increase it slowly until it appears sharp again. 50% is way to high for that set.

Thanks - I set it to 0, and it looks fine. It came from factory at 50%, so I thought that was kind of baseline. Going to keep it at 0, I think it helps.

Quote:


Also, try setting the cable box to native, and your player to Auto. If you don't have those settings, then if you can, check off all the settings your TV supports including 1080i, which is the most common for broadcasts. Many top boxes don't scale that well, so you may get better results and a cleaner picture if you leave the scaling up to the TV. Also, unlike Blu-Ray, when watching DVD's, which are only 480i, make sure you always set the player no higher then 720p, or you will be double scaling on that set, which can also produce artifacts. See link below for more initial setup tips.

http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-...tv...now-what/

Turns out I had 720p & 1080i selected, but I'm not sure if TV was going to 1080i. Didn't know 1080i mattered much, b/c I thought this TV could only do 720. I set cable box to "Auto," though, and now some channels say their status is 1080i. Seems like it might have made a small difference, but might just be psychological.

DVDs look amazing, btw. :-o

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Originally Posted by BMaugans View Post

LCD won't give you less artifacts, although it may cover up the compression artifacts with it's own motion blur artifacts.

What you are seeing is due to the revealing nature of a good hi-def display showing the overly compressed cable signal. I'd hate to think that you'd want to go back to an inferior technology (sorry, but I do consider LCD to be inferior to plasma, but it is getting better all the time) that will simply "blur up" everything, good or bad. Or you'd have to enable frame interpolation that will introduce a whole new level of artifacts of its own.

Good to know, thanks. Just knowing that this is basically normal and is b/c of the cable source seems to help, strangely enough.

Silly me - I thought when cable companies advertised "hi def," they meant they were actually delivering hi def! ;-)
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post #14 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uzername View Post

Thanks - I set it to 0, and it looks fine. It came from factory at 50%, so I thought that was kind of baseline. Going to keep it at 0, I think it helps.

It definitely helps to keep the Sharpness as low as possible.


Quote:


Turns out I had 720p & 1080i selected, but I'm not sure if TV was going to 1080i. Didn't know 1080i mattered much, b/c I thought this TV could only do 720. I set cable box to "Auto," though, and now some channels say their status is 1080i. Seems like it might have made a small difference, but might just be psychological.

Try setting your box to output everything at 1080i only (disable the other formats and disable auto). On all my HDTVs and over a dozen that i've set up for others, i've found that setting HD cable boxes and HD satellite receivers to 1080i only makes the image crisper and more detailed, and also speeds up channel changes. Try it and see if you like it.


Quote:


DVDs look amazing, btw. :-o

Your HD cable signal should look a LOT better than any DVD.



Quote:


Good to know, thanks. Just knowing that this is basically normal and is b/c of the cable source seems to help, strangely enough.

Can you connect an antenna so you can compare the OTA picture quality vs the cable's picture quality? I get a very good signal from my TWC provider (about 95% as good as OTA) but in other cities (like WLA) their signal is about 75% as good and to me would be completely unacceptable.


Quote:


Silly me - I thought when cable companies advertised "hi def," they meant they were actually delivering hi def! ;-)

Well they are delivering HD content, but most cable providers compress it so much that it ruins the picture quality and they could care less. It's all about packing as many HD channels as possible into their very limited bandwidth even if it means pissing some people off. Right now the best PQ comes from FIOS TV, followed closely by DirecTV.

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post #15 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyWalters View Post

Try setting your box to output everything at 1080i only (disable the other formats and disable auto). On all my HDTVs and over a dozen that i've set up for others, i've found that setting HD cable boxes and HD satellite receivers to 1080i only makes the image crisper and more detailed, and also speeds up channel changes. Try it and see if you like it.

I'm not sure why your set looks better setting it to 1080i only, especially with 720p TV's. If you don't include the 720p setting, 720p broadcasts will be up scaled by the top box to 1080i and then down scaled by your 720p TV. This double scaling usually introduces more artifacts, due to the additional processing. I have my DVR set to native which allows just my TV's to do the scaling and de-interlacing, and the results favor any other settings. But then again, I don't have cable, I have DTV.


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post #16 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 11:34 AM
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I have a new 60ST30 and it definitely has a more difficult time with motion than the older gen panasonic plasma sitting upstairs.

Question for the OP: Do you see these artifacts mostly on white portions of the screen?

On my 60ST30, white portions of the screen look dirty (just as you describe) when they are in motion, and this is *not* compression artifacting (I know what that looks like) but rather has something to do with the pixels of the display itself.

If I sit far enough away, I don't see it.

And I've learned to live with it. But it is definitely there.
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post #17 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyWalters View Post

Your HD cable signal should look a LOT better than any DVD.

This is confusing to me, and seems contrary to what most people have said here, and contrary to common sense if the cable signal, like you said, is compressed. Can you explain further?

Quote:


Can you connect an antenna so you can compare the OTA picture quality vs the cable's picture quality? I get a very good signal from my TWC provider (about 95% as good as OTA) but in other cities (like WLA) their signal is about 75% as good and to me would be completely unacceptable.

Don't think I even have an OTA antenna anymore. Wouldn't I need a digital one anyway, or would tv convert signal?


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Originally Posted by gremmy View Post

I have a new 60ST30 and it definitely has a more difficult time with motion than the older gen panasonic plasma sitting upstairs.

Question for the OP: Do you see these artifacts mostly on white portions of the screen?

That's interesting about the newer ones having more problems!

To your other question, no, actually. I find the problem more with complex images with lots of color, like for example when the camera pans a shot of faces in a crowd at a concert. Or for example anything involving motion over a brick wall is going to be a total mess. It's like there's too much info there for it to process and it starts pixelating and breaking up. Same with a lot of banners - or the NBC nightly news thing, that kind of information timeline thing that recedes into the BG during part of the opening - don't know if anyone knows what I'm referring to, lol.

Quote:


On my 60ST30, white portions of the screen look dirty (just as you describe) when they are in motion, and this is *not* compression artifacting (I know what that looks like) but rather has something to do with the pixels of the display itself.

If I sit far enough away, I don't see it.

And I've learned to live with it. But it is definitely there.

Yeah, it might just be b/c I'm too close. 8-10ft is all I have to work with here, though - thought it would be enough, but maybe not.
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post #18 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 11:55 AM
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Premium channels like HBO/Starz should look better then any DVD.
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post #19 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MASKOAA View Post

Premium channels like HBO/Starz should look better then any DVD.

I agree. However, as Randy eluded to, HD channels should look a lot better, since they produce a resolution of anywhere from 720 to 1080. DVD's only offer a standard resolution of 480.


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post #20 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 12:18 PM
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Yup. The only DVD I own that looks even close to HD is Chronicles of Riddick.
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post #21 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 12:28 PM
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HD Premium channels are generally allotted sufficient bandwidth to display vastly superior resolution and overall image quality when compared to DVD.

A DVD contains about 345,000 pixels worth of information per frame, whereas a 1080i frame contains over 2 million pixels worth of information. Not to mention the fact that DVDs are riddled with edge enhancement and other PQ compromises.

And yes, it sounds like what you are seeing is artifacting from an overly compressed signal. If it's a horrible blocky mess, you might have signal strength issues or perhaps your provider is squeezing the signal too tight. You might want to try a different provider.
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post #22 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uzername View Post

Don't think I even have an OTA antenna anymore. Wouldn't I need a digital one anyway, or would tv convert signal?.

No! There is no such thing as a digital antenna. All broadcast signals are analog. We live in an analog world not a digital world. Digital information is encoded on an analog signal. The frequencies have not changed. Rabbit ears for VHF will work about as good as it did before. A loop antenna will work for UHF as good as it did before. The difference is the level in which the signal deteriorates to an unwatchable level. Digital becomes pixelated and breaks up at a higher signal level than the old analog signals did.
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post #23 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uzername View Post

HD cable, thru HDMI cable. Same source as LCD that doesn't have all the pixelation, though.

I first started noticing these artifacts during the Superbowl, just for reference. Wouldn't that be a relatively high quality source? Thought they would use the latest & best cams, etc. I was really surprised to start seeing all the pixelation, esp. during the banners. Looked worse than watching on CRT for sure. I never saw anything like that at friend's for thxgiving games, etc.

Hey there -- I have the the same tv you have, and after trying alot of different settings -- these are the best I have found: (form televisioninfo.com)

Calibration Settings in Picture Mode: Cinema
Setting
Contrast 100
Brightness 60
Color 50
Tint 0
Sharpness 50
Color temp Warm2
Color Mgmt Off
CATS off
Video NR Off
Block NR Off
Mosquito NR Off
Black Level Light

try these -- I bet you will like them alot. As others have said, you can also try setting sharpness to 0, but I couldnt tell a difference, so I left it at 50. Also, like others have said, make sure you have your cable box set to "native".
I also have a samsung C8000 plasma -- and while the panasonic image quality is not quite as good, its pretty close.
hope that helps
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post #24 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawnr6 View Post

Hey there -- I have the the same tv you have, and after trying alot of different settings -- these are the best I have found: (form televisioninfo.com)

Calibration Settings in Picture Mode: Cinema
Setting
Contrast 100
Brightness 60
Color 50
Tint 0
Sharpness 50
Color temp Warm2
Color Mgmt Off
CATS off
Video NR Off
Block NR Off
Mosquito NR Off
Black Level Light

try these -- I bet you will like them alot. As others have said, you can also try setting sharpness to 0, but I couldnt tell a difference, so I left it at 50. Also, like others have said, make sure you have your cable box set to "native".
I also have a samsung C8000 plasma -- and while the panasonic image quality is not quite as good, its pretty close.
hope that helps


Turn that sharpness down!


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post #25 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 01:18 PM
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I had a Panasonic i sold it due to the quality issues and got a Samsung instead
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post #26 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cwlcal View Post

I had a Panasonic i sold it due to the quality issues and got a Samsung instead






Really?



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post #27 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Just to clarify - image quality is amazing. No complaints there. The only issue I have is all the artifacts when there is motion. I didn't see that on DVD, but haven't watched enough to get a good sample. if DVD is inferior to broadcast cable, though, then this is a really crappy technology, imo. Have to believe it's some other issue, or maybe just the TV is bad?
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post #28 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Cwlcal View Post

I had a Panasonic i sold it due to the quality issues and got a Samsung instead

What kind of quality issues? And how is it relevant to this thread?

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post #29 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by gremmy View Post

HD Premium channels are generally allotted sufficient bandwidth to display vastly superior resolution and overall image quality when compared to DVD.

A DVD contains about 345,000 pixels worth of information per frame, whereas a 1080i frame contains over 2 million pixels worth of information. Not to mention the fact that DVDs are riddled with edge enhancement and other PQ compromises.


Anything else you would like to add about DVD picture quality? I get the feeling you don't watch many DVD's. That's ok, because when it comes to renting movies, it's either Blu-Ray for me or nothing!


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post #30 of 30 Old 02-13-2012, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mailiang View Post

Anything else you would like to add about DVD picture quality? I get the feeling you don't watch many DVD's. That's ok, because when it comes to renting movies, it's either Blu-Ray for me or nothing!


Ian

not really. i was unhappy with Dvd long before the hd disk formats came out and i don't believe i have watched one since.
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