NEC new plasma thread!!! - 42xr4, 50xr5, 61xr4 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 4648 Old 12-27-2005, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I know some of you have started receiving your new NEC plasmas and many more have them on order (myself included). Please share any reviews, knowledge, experiences, pics, or comparisons that you may have. Many of us are looking forward to what you have to say!

Here's some pics of the new NEC's...

http://www.nec.se/upload/bilder/prod...splay%20_2.jpg

http://www.nec.se/upload/bilder/prod...splay%20_1.jpg

http://www.nec.se/upload/bilder/prod...splay%20_3.jpg

Here's an early review from Tony17 to get us going...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony17 View Post

Okay, I have tried to do as comprehensive of a review I could on my new NEC 50XR5. I've tried to hit all of the topics that interested me, or those that have been posed as an interest by others. However, please let me know if I've left out anything that someone would like a review on.

Overview - As a quick overview, here is a list of my equipment for a reference point to what I am reviewing;

-NEC 50XR5
-Harman Kardon AVR 235
-HR10-250 hooked up via HDMI (DirecTV HDTIVO for those that don't know the model number)
-VERY CHEAP Toshiba SD-3890 DVD player hooked up direct with component cables. (I tried all the upconverting ones with my old TV and found the NEC scaler to be superior so I stuck with the old 480i). Plus that was an EDTV and any difference may not have been able to be seen (that's another debate). Maybe someone else can do a test of upconverting players with this panel, but I'm gonna put my money on the NEC scaler for now.
-Gamecube hooked up through my AVR via component cables

Asthetics- I am going to start with the aesthetics of the panel, because this is the first thing that caught my eye when removing this thing from the box. I must say that this is one sexy looking panel, even the wife was impressed. It has a mostly a matte black finish, however it is set off nicely with a subtle silver trim around the entire outside and very nice chrome/silver across the bottom. In my opinion, the best looking commercial plasma out there right now - I'm very pleased with the look in my living room. P.S. - anyone with the space for a 50" and is considering getting a 42"...DON'T, the extra real estate is well worth it!

Calibration - Before I go into my review of different sources, the only calibrations I have done so far are to adjust the contrast and brightness on the HDTIVO using the HDNET test pattern and on the DVD using the AVIA calibration disk. The colors were right on out of the box according to those tests.

Standard Definition - Well, I'm starting the review with the SD pic quality, but this is by far the weakest link of this panel. I am coming from a 42VR5 for which the SD pic quality was very good. That was a 42" EDTV, so I was expecting the SD picture on the 50" HDTV to be much less desirable. So, I powered up the panel and put on FX (usually pretty decent quality for SD) and was pleasantly surprised - just as good as my VR5. "Let me turn to one of my local DirecTV channels I thought to myself" (as these are usually the most compressed channels DTV sends), but wow this looked decent as well - and this time it may have edged my VR5. NEC definitely uses a good scaler in these new panels, as I must say SD on this TV is VERY good for a 50" HD plasma. Of course, I have no reference point to other 50" panels, but I can tell you when I was searching in March for my 42VR5, the only panel I had found with a better scaler was the Fujitsu (and that was a marginal difference at best). Definitely have to give kudos to the panel on this one! I'm gonna put it on par if not better than the Fujitsu here. Stretch modes: This is another one of the advantages I give NEC over any other panel. Stadium stretch on 4:3 material is great. I don't know how they do it, but you really do forget your watching stretched material when using Stadium. Zoom mode on a letterboxed 4:3 channel fills the screen perfectly as well. Lastly, the ability to stretch HD (720p and 1080i) is priceless. There are many shows that I record on HD channels that are broadcast in SD because the picture quality on them is better then the SD channels. Being able to stretch these is priceless to me, I don't think I could have a panel which I couldn't do that on.

Gaming
- I'll have to admit I don't have much to add in this area. I don't have XBOX or PS2, just a measly Gamecube that was given to my son for xmas last year. I have it hooked up with component cables through my Harman Kardon AVR. I popped in Frogger and MarioKart. Not to my surprise, it did very well with the 480i signal here as well. I'm sure feeding this panel 720p or higher games would look exceptional, but again I don't have these systems.

DVD - Again, all that I have is a measly $50 Toshiba player. I've found the best results were feeding the TV a 480i signal. Again, the NEC has a great scaler so I am not surprised it was better then the Toshiba's. Color reproduction and details were exceptional. When viewing animated movies like Incredibles or Madagascar on this panel I was amazed. These movies looked GREAT on my VR5, but that was no surprise at it was the native resolution of the TV, but I think they look just as good if not better on the XR5 (a little more 3 dimensional maybe). Un-animated (probably not even a real word, but what the heck) movies look great as well. Popped in War of the Worlds and Collateral and was impressed by the details in most scenes of Collateral. This is a very dark movie, but the NEC handled it very well, no macroblocking or any other noticeable noise. War of the Worlds looked great too. Scenes like the robots coming out of the ground were awesome and it handled the dark scenes very well in this movie as well. Unfortunately that is all the time I had to review for the DVD's but will try to test some others out when I get more time. Most of my viewing is HD, so I'll move onto that;

HD - Well, unlike the SD not being the weakest part of the panel as the first part of my review, I definitely saved the best for last here. I am just taken back by how well this panel displays details in images on HD material. The only channel I have from DirecTV in HD is HBO (their HD offering is not worth $10.95 in my opinion), so most of my analysis is done from OTA material. There is just something about this panel (and other NEC's for that matter) that seem to just give it an edge in my opinion. When I am watching shows on friends Panasonic's and even Pioneer's sometimes I find myself saying "wow...that is just an awesome picture from a television". However, many times when watching shows on my NEC I find myself so involved in the show and simply lifelike colors/skin tones that I forget I'm even watching a television. I guess with the Panny I can always just see that I am looking at glass with an image behind it, whereas here I just feel like I'm looking at the people. Hard to explain, hopefully that made some sense.

Image Retention - I've not noticed anything significant in this area to be worried about. If something is on the screen for a few minutes and you change to a black screen you see a faint outline of it....but as soon as you change the channel and come back it is gone. I remember my VR5 was like this for the first couple of weeks and now I never get any retention. I think this is been exaggerated as well....I don't think it is really an issue if it goes away with the next screen. Now, if previous models had problems where you could see it over top of new images, then that would be a problem, and I can confirm this has never happened to me.

Overall Pic Quality (Black Level, and Color) - I think most who've seen an NEC can agree that there is nothing left to be desired when it comes to colors and color reproduction. I think that NEC's produce the most lifelike colors and skin tones compared to the Panasonic and Pioneer. Some say Pioneer isn't really lifelike and some say Panny can be a bit too soft, but I really feel that NEC strikes the perfect balance. If possible, I think this panel does even better than the previous models with the color reproduction. When talking to one of the NEC customer service reps a while back I think I recall him saying that they have done some enhancement to the color filter on the glass, and I think it shows, not only with the colors, but with the black level as well. I have tried to evaluate the black levels on this panel as much as possible over the past day, as I know this is a topic that many would like to hear about (a bit overrated in my opinion) but nonetheless very relevant. The absolute black level is definitely improved (at least over my VR5, as I've never seen an XR4). I would definitely put it in the same league as the Panasonic and new Pioneer. I really think you would need to put them side by side to see an absolute black level difference in the panels (but my gut is the Panny would still barely edge it out). However, where I see the advantage, and I see this as a huge advantage, is in the shadow details. To me the Panasonic may have the ability to show an absolute black level that is closer to true black, but you lose many of the details in the picture. To me, I'd rather have a panel with a black level that is 98% as black as the Panasonic, while showing 10% more of the details. I watch a lot of OTA HD, which may be one of the reasons I didn't hinge my whole plasma purchase on an absolute black level, as most of the primetime shows don't have that many dark scenes. However, even with shows like "Lost" (which I had previously recorded) where almost entire episodes are shot in the dark, I did not feel that there were any inadequacies.

Overall I am going to put this panel at the top of the list for those I've seen in person. I think the picture quality/scaling is up to par (if not better) with the Fujitsu and I think the aesthetics are second to none (NEC did a great job here). Two HDMI's, PIP, direct input settings, stretch modes and various other features make this an exceptional panel. They say it is designed for ISF calibration too, but after watching this thing for a day now I can't see it getting much better .....WELL DONE NEC!

Issues - I have to say that I don't have many issues yet. One thing that did annoy me was the fact you need to have an ISF calibration done in order to activate the night and day picture settings. That was really lame on NEC's part in my opinion. They trust the consumer a lot by allowing the myriad of picture setting changes available on the this tv, and then they take that away. Hopefully someone will figure it out in the future.

Disclaimer - Please remember this is only one man's opinion. Please don't base your decision on my eyes, trust your own...I know this is something that is hard to do with the NEC's because there so hard to find in person, but maybe after more people have had a chance to review these new panels, they can confirm what I see. Also, I was basing all of my comparisons off of viewing I have done in peoples homes and in A/V shops, I was not able to do side by side comparisons.

Pictures - will post some when I get a chance to borrow a friend's camera. Chris at Clevelandplasma offered to host them for meso hopefully I can get them to him soon.

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post #2 of 4648 Old 12-27-2005, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I had the Panny 50phd8uk on order, but I ultimately decided to cancel it and placed an order for the NEC 50xr5 instead. I don't know how likely it would be for somebody to do a side by side comparison of the two, but I'd love to see a review like that.

Both plasmas turned out to be very close in price (NEC seems to have a thing about their resellers only showing the msrp for their plasmas so I had to "add the item to cart" in order to see the actual price at the websites I went to).

I made my decision mostly on the notions that NEC is often regarded as having better video processing than Panasonic and the NEC comes with better connections for sure. Also, the NEC comes with a better warranty. The NEC bezel looks more attractive to me as well, but isn't something that matters a great deal to me. My biggest concern is if the NEC glass is on par with the Panasonic glass though? I'd love to know how the side by side PQ is between the two (sd, hd, dvd, and computer).

NEC 50xr5 specs
http://www.necvisualsystems.com/Prod...4-61e01e59df43
Panasonic 50phd8uk
http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp...K&displayTab=O
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post #3 of 4648 Old 12-27-2005, 12:31 PM
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My 50XR5 was supposed to be here tomorrow but I guess the holiday has delayed it. It should be here on Thursday and I hope to have it up that night (mount and wiring is already in place). I hope to have a rather comprehensive review done by the weekend.
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post #4 of 4648 Old 12-27-2005, 02:19 PM
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Mine should be here with in this week. Holidays delayed the delivery date.
Many of us purchased it with out seeing one, or even reading a review the specifications are impressive.

.Price wise it is only couple of hundreds dollars more than other brands in circuit city .My neighbor got a Panasonic Plasma that is the only one I can compare with. I do hope I made a good decision.

My primary interest is SD TV.
Every day I am looking for a review.
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post #5 of 4648 Old 12-27-2005, 06:16 PM
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In my opinion the 50xr5 may end up being the best 50" plasma bar none. The minimalistic looks are understated. Matte black frame with silver surround. No tuner, no speakers, who cares. Most Home Theater buffs don't need or want that stuff. Put the money in the processing and display. This plasma has HD aspect control, 2 HDMI and 1 PC inputs, PIP, native resolution support, direct input select, designed for ISF, advanced color adjustment, 3 year standard warranty, WOW! I was told from NEC that the contrast was increased to 3000:1 and they are a very conservative company, you won't even see this spec published. They are also considered one of the best in video processing, on par or better than Fujitsu, but this panel lists for thousands less and can be bought over the internet.

This could end up being one on the most popular threads on the forum. Bring on the reviews...

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post #6 of 4648 Old 12-27-2005, 06:28 PM
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I agree. NEC is on the move!!

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post #7 of 4648 Old 12-27-2005, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhfnet View Post

I was told from NEC that the contrast was increased to 3000:1 and they are a very conservative company, you won't even see this spec published. This plasma has HD scaling, 2 HDMI and PC inputs, PIP, native resolution support, direct input select, designed for ISF, advanced color adjustment, 2 year standard warranty, WOW!

I think they actually have a 3yr parts/labor warranty for everything but panel replacement which is 1 yr. This is according to their website.

My 50XR5 should be here soon.

I have a Panny TH-50PX50U currently so I should be able to give a good comparison.
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post #8 of 4648 Old 12-27-2005, 08:15 PM
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This thing is going to be hot product. People are busy with panasonic and pioneer and don't know what they are missing.
I like the minimalistic design.
Mine should be here within a week or so .
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post #9 of 4648 Old 12-27-2005, 08:38 PM
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Wow cpcat, thats one comparison I'll be anxiously waiting for. Mike
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post #10 of 4648 Old 12-27-2005, 08:57 PM
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Does it have Cable Card & TV Guide?
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post #11 of 4648 Old 12-27-2005, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ld100 View Post

Does it have Cable Card & TV Guide?

These do not have cable card or TV Guide. They are monitors, no tuners QAM or otherwise.

What a great set of inputs. When you early buyers get your sets, please give us the reviews.
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post #12 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 11:20 AM
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I received the 50XR5 on Friday, the 23rd, and got it mounted late Christmas Eve. While I am not a techie, I have been researching and analyzing displays for the last three years. Since I decided to go plasma in early '05, my intensity in finding the right plasma increased several times over. NEC's 50XR5 just seemed right, so I went for it.

Watching it now for 2-3 days, I can say that this display delivers!!! It is a spectacular display. But, to be honest, I was concerned about two potential issues: image retention and black levels.

Rendition of both color and gray scale is so beautifully accomplished. I was afraid though that the Panasonic blacks were not available. However, when black is in the source, true deep black, this display produces it, and very well I would add. And it is very dynamic in contrast to the full spectrum of color and grays that it does so well.

Everything good that I had heard about SD and HD is accurate. Connections, pricing, visual design of display, processing, warranty, colors/gray scale. It's all there.

If you are like me, waiting for the right one to come along, this display is it!!! (Unless you want to wait further for 1080P.) Also, I wouldn't hesitate to refer anyone to Chris at Cleveland Plasma to discuss a possible purchase. The service was as it is supposed to be.
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post #13 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 12:22 PM
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cpcat - You are correct on the 3 year warranty.

NTO - Congrats on your new NEC. I think you will get over your 2 concerns. ENJOY! Consider running the full white screen for a half hour or so in the middle of the night a few times a week. You can find this in the advanced OSD under Long life. This also helps get your first 100 hours under your belt faster.

My 50XM3S has over a thousand hours on it now and umr ISFed it and it looks fantastic! Now that Pany is into their 8th gen glass did the go with the 12 bit 4096 shades of gray? NEC has been there for 3 years.

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post #14 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoTimeOut View Post

I received the 50XR5 on Friday, the 23rd, and got it mounted late Christmas Eve. While I am not a techie, I have been researching and analyzing displays for the last three years. Since I decided to go plasma in early '05, my intensity in finding the right plasma increased several times over. NEC's 50XR5 just seemed right, so I went for it.

Watching it now for 2-3 days, I can say that this display delivers!!! It is a spectacular display. But, to be honest, I was concerned about two potential issues: image retention and black levels.

Rendition of both color and gray scale is so beautifully accomplished. I was afraid though that the Panasonic blacks were not available. However, when black is in the source, true deep black, this display produces it, and very well I would add. And it is very dynamic in contrast to the full spectrum of color and grays that it does so well.

Everything good that I had heard about SD and HD is accurate. Connections, pricing, visual design of display, processing, warranty, colors/gray scale. It's all there.

If you are like me, waiting for the right one to come along, this display is it!!! (Unless you want to wait further for 1080P.) Also, I wouldn't hesitate to refer anyone to Chris at Cleveland Plasma to discuss a possible purchase. The service was as it is supposed to be.

My drool "pool" just got larger. I'll probably make my decision after the January CES report.

Keep those reviews/reports coming. Thanks.

Ken

Ken
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post #15 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrybud View Post

cpcat - You are correct on the 3 year warranty.

NTO - Congrats on your new NEC. I think you will get over your 2 concerns. ENJOY! Consider running the full white screen for a half hour or so in the middle of the night a few times a week. You can find this in the advanced OSD under Long life. This also helps get your first 100 hours under your belt faster.

My 50XM3S has over a thousand hours on it now and umr ISFed it and it looks fantastic! Now that Pany is into their 8th gen glass did the go with the 12 bit 4096 shades of gray? NEC has been there for 3 years.


Sorry for the misstatement. I didn't mean to imply that these two concerns were worthy to be concerned about. No concern about the blacks whatsoever. Watching two DVD's last night convinced me that when the picture is intended to show deep black, the XR5 will display every bit of it! Arizona State and Rutgers was also a phenomenal picture on Dish HD.

I didn't expound on the image retention subject in my last post because I no longer think it is an issue, contrary to my concerns. I saw a couple of seconds on one occasion so far. That won't be any problem for me. And you're right, the white screen technique is there if I need it.

By the way, I have yet to change any color settings. Operating it as it came out of the box as I read another poster to have done. I am almost afraid I might muck it up when it already looks phenomenal.
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post #16 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrybud View Post

Consider running the full white screen for a half hour or so in the middle of the night a few times a week. You can find this in the advanced OSD under Long life. This also helps get your first 100 hours under your belt faster.

I'm expecting my 50xr5 to arrive a few days before me and my gf go on our Caribbean cruise . Based on what I've read, I am planning to do the following to break the plasma in...

1. Turn down the contrast and brightness to 50%.
2. Turn on MTV (recommended channel for lack of static images).
3. Stretch the image to fill the entire screen.
4. Go on vacation and come back 9 days later (around 216 hours).
5. Have friend periodically check to see that everything is running smoothly.

Do you think it's really important to run the full white screen? If so, I can also have my friend do that when he comes by to check on things.
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post #17 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by GamerGuy View Post

I'm expecting my 50xr5 to arrive a few days before me and my gf go on our Caribbean cruise . Based on what I've read, I am planning to do the following to break the plasma in...

1. Turn down the contrast and brightness to 50%.
2. Turn on MTV (recommended channel for lack of static images).
3. Stretch the image to fill the entire screen.
4. Go on vacation and come back 9 days later (around 216 hours).
5. Have friend periodically check to see that everything is running smoothly.

Do you think it's really important to run the full white screen? If so, I can also have my friend do that when he comes by to check on things.

I don't know what Barrybud will say, but I wouldn't leave it on unattended for that long. I'm planning to set it to optimum settings for my taste right away and then simply keep any static images to a minimum for the first couple of months. Discovery HD is good for break-in if you have it as there aren't any logos. I'll probably run Discovery HD overnight for a few nights after I get it.
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post #18 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 03:13 PM
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Last night I put Discovery HD on (via DishNetwork) and let it run all night. When I looked at it this morning, a DishNetwork "standby" logo was on the screen. Luckily, it was moving. I don't know what happened, but I'll go back to my looped DVD I created for the break-in period. I would be careful putting any OTA/Satellite/Cable source on overnight, unattended. You really don't know what is going to happen during that time. I've played looped DVDs for weeks, months, with no problems (corporate environments).

Rod W.

(I'm breaking in my 5060...watching this NEC thread because I actually had one on order, and decided I couldnt' wait any longer. BTW, the aforementioned ASU/Rutgers game looked fabulous on the Pio...ESPN had a particularly good "look" going in that game. Today's HD bowl games don't look quite as good.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by cpcat View Post

I don't know what Barrybud will say, but I wouldn't leave it on unattended for that long. I'm planning to set it to optimum settings for my taste right away and then simply keep any static images to a minimum for the first couple of months. Discovery HD is good for break-in if you have it as there aren't any logos. I'll probably run Discovery HD overnight for a few nights after I get it.

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post #19 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 04:20 PM
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Where'd you guys snare the 50XR5's?...check on internet dealers didn't find any in stock. Closest was Cleveland Plasma...he said he had several "spoken for" - enroute to his shipping locations arriving within a couple days. Everybody else said midJan. Guess I'll see what CES has to offer.
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post #20 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 06:07 PM
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This thread is becoming exciting .
Mine will be delivered next week .
What 's a good DVD player for XR5 ? I ordered OPPO .
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post #21 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 07:15 PM
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How long have these been out?

Daniel
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post #22 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vdmai View Post

How long have these been out?

The 50xr5 became available ealier this month. I placed my order for the xr5 on the 9th and they were already sold out at all the places I looked at then. Projector Point told me that mine should arrive and ship out by the end of the month (soon theoretically).
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post #23 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 08:00 PM
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Why does the 42" has some extra features that the 50" doesn't?
Also, what does it mean when it says it accepts 1080p?
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post #24 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 08:17 PM
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hey, i have a question. i was almost ready to get the pioneer 5060, but wanted to wait and see about the 50xr5. but, i am new to this HT stuff, so my question, is does the 50xr5 come with any tuner or speakers. i dont have any external speakers or receiver or tuner or anything (right now i just have an old crt tv). so, if i get the 50xr5, would i also need to buy a sound system and ota tuner? thanks for the replies. also if anyone can post pics of their new nec, that would be cool.
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post #25 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 08:49 PM
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Generally a good review with some issues:
http://www.ecoustics.com/avrev/NECPlasmaSync/
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post #26 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 08:59 PM
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I'm expecting my 50xr5 to arrive a few days before me and my gf go on our Caribbean cruise . Based on what I've read, I am planning to do the following to break the plasma in...

1. Turn down the contrast and brightness to 50%.
2. Turn on MTV (recommended channel for lack of static images).
3. Stretch the image to fill the entire screen.
4. Go on vacation and come back 9 days later (around 216 hours).
5. Have friend periodically check to see that everything is running smoothly.

Do you think it's really important to run the full white screen? If so, I can also have my friend do that when he comes by to check on things.

Man ! what a bad idea ... leave on for so long. What are you achieving exactly ??
I think you are a bit too worried man. Just be reasonably careful with burn in at the beginning (which really is not a big deal).

Now that I think about it, you must have been kidding right ?????
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post #27 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post

This thread is becoming exciting .
Mine will be delivered next week .
What 's a good DVD player for XR5 ? I ordered OPPO .

Oppo works great with my projector and worked great with my NEC (but did not use it as much with the latter). In general I love the player, really.
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post #28 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by windwaves View Post

Man ! what a bad idea ... leave on for so long. What are you achieving exactly ??
I think you are a bit too worried man. Just be reasonably careful with burn in at the beginning (which really is not a big deal).

Now that I think about it, you must have been kidding right ?????

Actually, I was serious . Do you think initially leaving it on so long will hurt it or something?

I thought the sooner I get past the 100-->1000 hours, the sooner I won't have to worry about image retention when I use it with my pc and whatnot? I would rather not have to be mindful of such a thing for a long period of time if I can get past that break-in period quickly and not need to be concerned with it again.
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post #29 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw7a View Post

hey, i have a question. i was almost ready to get the pioneer 5060, but wanted to wait and see about the 50xr5. but, i am new to this HT stuff, so my question, is does the 50xr5 come with any tuner or speakers. i dont have any external speakers or receiver or tuner or anything (right now i just have an old crt tv). so, if i get the 50xr5, would i also need to buy a sound system and ota tuner? thanks for the replies. also if anyone can post pics of their new nec, that would be cool.

The 50xr5 has an internal amplifier (9wx2), but no speakers come with it. NEC offers speakers seperately (px-sp2u/s) if you wanted to go that route. It has no tuner so you would definitely need another device that you can use to change channels (cable box, dvd-recorder, VCR, etc.)
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post #30 of 4648 Old 12-28-2005, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by lipcrkr View Post

Generally a good review with some issues:
http://www.ecoustics.com/avrev/NECPlasmaSync/

Ummm.... That's a review of the 50XR4. We are talking about the next generation, XR5. One hopes it will be even better.
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