SME-34WHD5 owners... what do you think? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 02-23-2002, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking at this TV, but haven't been able to find one locally. For those of you that have it what is your opinion? Also is the new model a Toshiba tube or the Panasonic? What about the line doubler?

Thanks,
Matthew
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post #2 of 26 Old 02-23-2002, 10:07 PM
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I missed your post and posted a question about Sampo 34WHD5 myself just afterwards (http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=120337). A search here for "34WHD5" has some good informaiton.

In searching this board and others I have only seen great things about this monitor. It almost seems to good to be true.

I figured I would never find up close in the Boston area so I looked at Tweater to get a sense for the size, picture and quality by looking at the Toshiba 34HF81. I assume you have looked at http://www.discounts-n-deals.com/aca...4WHD5_181.html for this model. They have it with free shipping for $2K.

Ken
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post #3 of 26 Old 02-24-2002, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I agree it seems too good to be true :).. You might check buy.com. They have it for 1800 + 90 shipping.

I have read tons of good info on it, with a few issues as well... Still torn on wich way to go.
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post #4 of 26 Old 02-24-2002, 07:52 PM
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I don't know about "too good to be true"... I'm happy with mine, but there could be some improvements.

Overall, I am satisfied. It does a good job with HD content. DVD's also look good (a progressive DVD player is a must).

Having the VGA connector is nice for HTPC use, and connects directly to the DTC-100.


Some things could be better:

No line doubler: NTSC material does not look good. I watch almost no analog NTSC, so it's not a big deal for me.

Only one progressive component video input. (but it does have the progressive RGB - VGA input). Progressive input does not handle 480i interlaced signals. But, it also has a 480i component input. (can be problematic for some inputs, like video game units that switch between progressive & interlaced).

Remote control is pretty basic. Does not have the ability to switch directly to an input, you must cycle between all the inputs. I bought a Philips Pronto universal remote to overcome this.

The only picture quality complaint I have is a slight 'shadow' near the sides of the screen. It shows up in light scenes, or in certain types of motion. Reports here in the forum say that this is a problem in manufacturing the 16:9 tubes.
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post #5 of 26 Old 03-04-2002, 12:33 AM
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I found a very good deal with this TV ($1600 include shipping) and could not resist. I knew about the short coming of this TV but I think the Zenith DTV 1080 will solve most of its short coming.

1) One HD component input. Zenith has VGA output which will left you with the HD component for progressive DVD.

2) No line doubling or digital comb filter. The Zenith have both and seems to do a great job according to other posts.

3) No good zoom, fill mode for 4:3 materials. Zenith have 5 different zoom modes.

Am I right? Should I spent $800 on the Zenith or should I go with the panasonic. Any input will be helpful. Thank you.
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post #6 of 26 Old 03-04-2002, 08:00 AM
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There is another thread ( http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=120337 ) that has some good info on the Sampo including the upcoming 34WHD6. It has a line doubler, a second HD input and a better remote. I have not found any information about the zoom modes but with the other enhancements this seems likely. "sawyer" added a very helpful post from a trip to CES 2002.

I have followed up with a Sampo rep and it looks like the 34WHD6 will be out in early to mid April. Even though I will be using a HTPC I really need a simple "family mode" that this new model should support.

The price on the 34WHD5 is dropping and the 34WHD6 will surely be at a premium for a while so it does make an external processor look pretty attractive if it does not add to the complexity.

I am still holding out for the 34WHD6.

Good luck

Ken
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post #7 of 26 Old 03-04-2002, 08:40 AM
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I have had this set (34WHD5) for 2 months now and I have mixed feelings about it. I am connecting it to my HTPC via RGB and Dish 6000 (for HD) via Component. These are the only two inputs that I use.

If you do decide to buy this set, go to discounts-n-deals.com , they gave me excellent service (and even paid for the extra help needed when the trucking company was having a fit about moving this 200lb TV from curb upstairs to my apt).

First the negatives :

There are some serious issues with the tube.

1. Convergence on both sides is way off. When in 1280x720 mode (through HTPC), I find it difficult to read the text on left and right side. The text seems out of focus. This phenomenon is more present on the right side than on the left (supposedely done so
by Sampo so as to make those who use it as Computer monitor happy ?!?). It is very evident even on 1080i or 720p HDTV through component.

2. The sides (both left and right) are significantly brighter than the center. It is almost impossible to get uniform black.

3. Geometry problems. The most annoying thing that I find with picture tube is that on each side there is 1 inch vertical bar where everything seems compressed. So, in the scenes where a camera is moving slowly and scanning the surrounding, one can see things going (or coming) at the edges which gets compressed.

4. The whites have an afterglow. For example, if there is a dark room, and a well lit face which is moving around in the room, one can easily see a afterglow left behind the path of the face (e.g. in the opening scene of Godfather where brandon is visiting the favor-askers). I have noticed that this has reduced since I got
the TV - my guess is that it is due to burn-in. However, it still
bothers me.


Now, the positives.

1. Colors are really good. When I see only the center of the pic (and ignore the side problems) - it seems very lifelike.

2. supports both 1080i and 720p - has RGB connection. Flat screen.

3. In spite of all of the above, I really enjoyed watching the winter olympics and various DVD movies/HBOHD/SHOWHD on it.

Overall, I would suggest wait until 34WHD6 comes out. From the rumors I have heard, it won't have the Toshiba tube (which causes a lot of problems) - it is gonna have a panasonic tube.

Osho
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post #8 of 26 Old 03-04-2002, 09:57 AM
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Thank you for the infos. However, I already bought the TV and is coming. I figured for the price I paid for it I can live with the problems. It seem like all flat screen TVs has one problem or the other. I had a Philips that had serious problems and there are threads below mention about geometry problem in Toshiba, uneven brightness in panasonic, etc. The prefect TV is not here yet and I don't want to wait. For Sampo owners out there, what STB do you guys have. I am thinking real hard to get the Zenith. Except the switch in the back, is it a prefect match for Sampo?
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post #9 of 26 Old 03-14-2002, 10:26 PM
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Vic Y-

People have mentioned discounts-n-deals as a place to get the set at a good price. But your $1600 price with shipping seems to beat that price. Where did you get your deal if I may ask.

- Phil
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post #10 of 26 Old 03-15-2002, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by osho_gg
I have had this set (34WHD5) for 2 months now and I have mixed feelings about it. I am connecting it to my HTPC via RGB and Dish 6000 (for HD) via Component. These are the only two inputs that I use.

Osho
I find essentially identical problems with my Sampo, in addition to a color purity problem on the left center part of the screen. I also find the scan velocity modulation circuit unacceptable on the HD component inputs, so I use an external RGB switchbox. If you do a comparison of an HD signal through the component vs RGB input, you'll find the RGB much cleaner with fewer artifacts. I find it hard to believe Gary Merson, when giving this set a rave review, overlooked the large number of obvious design defects.
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post #11 of 26 Old 03-15-2002, 10:06 AM
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I got mine from U-bid. It is a new not refurbished unit. They have 3 for sale couple weeks ago and I bought mine for $1402. The buy it now price was $1429 and the shipping is $195. The lowest bid price that won was $1359. The only catch is 15% restocking fee.

The price is too good for me to pass up and the money I save was used to purchase the DTV1080. The TV should be here today and I will post later.
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post #12 of 26 Old 03-15-2002, 12:46 PM
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Vic Y-

I noticed the Ubid auctions too. They have, however, jacked up the U-buy price up to $1629 and shipping to $265. They had a reserve price somewhere between $1429 and $1289. They kept rerunning the auction generally with no one winning as they were unwilling to meet the (undisclosed) reserve price. Finally 2 of 4 sets sold at the U-buy function yesterday afternoon. So they still have sets available but they have not run an auction since yesterday afternoon. I am hoping they will drop the reserve price for future auctions.

Let me know about your set.

- Phil

P.S.- buy.com has the set for $1729 plus $95 shipping
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post #13 of 26 Old 03-17-2002, 11:00 AM
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Dynadirect.com is selling it now for $1649 . It seem to me that the price on the SME-WHD5 is coming down fast. They gotta be getting ready for the WHD6. I'm holding out for the new model, release date seems to be around the corner. I can't wait!:)
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post #14 of 26 Old 03-18-2002, 11:15 AM
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I just ordered this set too (Sampo SME-34WHD5).

I wanted to know if others here had a recommendation for a good (<$1000 or so) line doubler with the appropriate connectors for this TV. Has not arrived yet, so I don't want to commit until I can visually verify how I will connect the line doubler. I assume an iScan is the best at this price point, but I am not sure about connectors.

Also, what is a good HDTV receiver for this set? Again, I want to make sure I have the same connectors for this set.

Thanks,

H. Brown
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post #15 of 26 Old 03-18-2002, 11:20 AM
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Hi,

Also I need to know where I can obtain a service manual, and service remote for calibrating this TV. (Or how to enter service mode otherwise?)

Any good recommendations for someone who can tweak this set in the D.C. metro area (Maryland)?

H. Brown
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post #16 of 26 Old 03-18-2002, 12:15 PM
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hbrown, my sampo arrived today and I will try to set it up tonight. Please look at my post, Zenith DTV 1080 seems to be a prefect fit for sampo. Some of the DTV1080 users in this forum actually think DTV1080 did a better job unconvert the picture than i-scan pro. However the Zenith only has RF input, no composite or s-video input.

Also, I read somewhere(theaterspot) that there's a secret code to enter service menu through the existing remote.
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post #17 of 26 Old 03-18-2002, 12:38 PM
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Vic

My Sampo was ISF calibrated, & everything was done outside of the service menu. The service remote was not needed on my set. If you need one, you can borrow mine.

Jeff
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post #18 of 26 Old 03-18-2002, 05:18 PM
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I have 2 of these sets and I love them. All current sets ship with a new chassie that has better geometry and a remote with direct
input access via the remote as well as svhs input on the back.
Give us a call at AVS or drop me an email for pricing!!
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post #19 of 26 Old 03-18-2002, 11:25 PM
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I opended the TV box and to my suprise, the color of the sampo I got is black not silver. It is actually look pretty cool to me because all the other 34" set out there is silver. The black actually blend into the picture better. The geometry setting of my set is way off, the picture is bowing on both sides and the HD demo channel on ABC is not filling the width of the TV. Luckily the sampo give you complete control (like a computer monitor) of any geometry setting that you can think of. A few twist here and there solve the problem pretty quick.

I have set up theTV with Zenith DTVv 1080 and Radio Shack antenna VU120XR and I got good signal all OTA digital channel in DFW. The direct TV installer will come this saturday to complete my setup. So far I am more than happy with the TV. To my eyes, the HD picture is a lot sharper than what I seen in CC or BB. How can I not be happy, this is the first time HDTV is in the house!!!
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post #20 of 26 Old 03-19-2002, 08:23 AM
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Vic Y-

Did you get one of the updated sets- S video connector in back, more functional remote?

- Phil
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post #21 of 26 Old 03-19-2002, 09:28 AM
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Yes, I do get the updated model. Also I've never seen online or heard there's a black/grey color model and I have done a lot of research on this TV. I used jggar's geometry and color setting on my set and it is looking great. DVD and HD looked awesome. Thanks jggar.

I know the new model of this TV is coming out but can they really further improve the quality of this picture. I heard the new model will have line doubler, digital comb filter, etc but with progressive scan DVD player and DTV1080 doing the upconvert of Sat signal. The line doubler and the comb filter will get by-pass anyway. Take advantage of the discount of the soon to be discontinued model when you can.
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post #22 of 26 Old 03-19-2002, 12:12 PM
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Does the new remote work with the older sets? If so where can I get one? Thanks!

Petteri Leone
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post #23 of 26 Old 03-20-2002, 12:48 PM
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Vic Y-

Any more comments on the picture (sorry, I am just about to make a decision and any more input would be appreciated).

I spoke to Sampo US today. First, they said the black/grey version was a special version for Costco and only that model had an updated remote, S video input in back. But that seems to contradict Alan's post that he too has the updated version- is it black also?

Second, regarding the 34WHD6, they mentioned several changes from the 5 model:

1. Internal Line doubler
2. Two sets of component inputs that each accept either interlaced or progressive inputs (i.e., double the effective number of component inputs in the 5)
3. Upgraded speakers with SRS capability. I believe this is a surround sound feature.
4. Better remote (not sure if this is the remote in the refreshed/Costco model)
5. S Video in bakc
6. Picture in Picture capability (also Picture along side Picture?)
7. Replace Toshiba tube with Panasonic tube.

So the rumors of a Panny tube are correct. I was told that the new tube will also be a data grade tube (he said H3 grade) like the Toshiba, unlike the other TV's which use a lower grade tube, an H2 grade. He claims the tube is only used in the Panasonic TV's in Japan and is not otherwise imported into the US.

I heard from others that the 6 will not be shipping until June.

Gotta make a decision- go will the good price on the 5 model, wait for the 6 or some other HDTV direct view model. Anybody know about the status of the Princeton AS3.0HDW (the replacement for the AF3.0HD)?

- Phil
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post #24 of 26 Old 03-20-2002, 12:57 PM
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That is great news Phil, thanks for calling and getting the information on the tube. I was thinking about getting a 34 or 38" prima (if I could find one i know it exists somwhere) but now I am going to get a new Sampo when they come out.
Still wondering if the panasonic tube does pal, doesn't matter for me but hey the more features/capabilites the better.
I'm really also excited about the 2 sets of component that will do interlaced/progressive... my current sampo is a pain in the butt having seperate component inputs...
PIP will rock too!
Bob C
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post #25 of 26 Old 03-20-2002, 01:24 PM
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Philip, I am very happy with the picture so far. The Zenith upconvert the cable signal to 1080i and it looks great. I watched the Marverick/Laker game last night in Zenith zoom mode and my wife cannot even tell the difference. The HD picture is crystal clear, the DVD's picture is also very good.
1) Line doubler - I have the Zenith and P-DVD. I don't really need the line doubler except for my LDs.
2) Two component inputs - I am using RGB output of the Zenith to connect to the sampo so I free up the component input for the progressive DVD player.
3) Surround Sound - The sound of the TV can be better and so is 90% of the TVs. I am going to upgrade to surround by the end of the year anyway.
4) PIP - The PIP feature is very difficult & confuse to use with HDTV mainly because one STB can only display 1 channel each time. It's not that's important to me.
5 & 6) I already have these two things with my sets.
7) The picture quality is already very good and there are no guarantee the panasonic tube is better than the toshiba.

That's why I ended up decided to buy now rather waiting for the new model.
c
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post #26 of 26 Old 04-17-2002, 06:38 PM
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KTF,

I just spoke with a Sampo rep and the new unit will in fact have zoom modes for 4:3 material. Still not going to materialize until at least June :(

- Jeff
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