NEC 42XM2 - Initial impressions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm going to keep this relatively short for now - I have to get back in there and ENJOY some more DVDs.

This panel is AMAZING.

I have not seen ANYTHING like this from any other plasma display. Blacks are pure, rich and.... well, BLACK! JET BLACK!!! Shadow detail is not on par with my CRT projector, but is definitely better than any other plasma I've seen - I can see black buttons on a black suit *in shadow* on Seabiscuit. And somebody watch the beginning of The Matrix - where Trinity is being chased across the rooftops by the agent... can YOU tell that her leather undershirt has vertical lines in it??? I can! And I've never noticed that before. Black levels and shadow detail are better than any LCD or DLP projector I've seen with the exception of the latest offering from Marantz. Detail is scarcely to be believed - my wife and I keep pointing out things that we've never noticed before! (She is absolutely THRILLED!)

All the lousy artifacts that I've grown so accustomed to are simply non-existent on this panel. Posterization is non-existent and text is crisp with no edge noise. Even the halos around Marlin and Coral (in the beginning of Finding Nemo) are so subtle that you actually have to LOOk for them. (In fact, after watching that scene, I stopped and said, "HEY! What happened to the halos?! I had to rewind and watch very closely in order to see them at all.) Flesh tones are VERY realistic and lifelike and overall, the color on this thing has to be seen to be believed. In I've just been sitting there, watching scene after scene with a big, sloppy grin on my face and saying, "DID YOU *SEE* THAT?!?!"

Thus far, we've sampled several DVDs, all via a JVC prog-scan DVD player, and I'm happy to pay this panel the ultimate compliment - it has made the source media the weak link in the chain. We're now watching Seabiscuit - the best looking DVD we own (or that I have ever seen) and the picture is SO rich, SO detailed, SO wonderful that it makes apaprent the shortcomings in so many of our other DVDs. Oh, well... all in all, not a bad problem to have! :)

All in all, this is one of the most satisfying, rewarding audio/video purchases I've ever made. I'm going back to enjoy it some more. I'll post back later after I've connected a different sourec (probably DirecTiVo - can't wait to see how SD looks!)
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post #2 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 06:19 PM
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Thanks for the review! Sounds like you're having a lot of fun with your new "toy".

Curious to know what DVD player you have and how it's connected to the NEC?
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post #3 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 06:25 PM
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cool -cough pictures- i'm glad that -cough pictures- you're enjoying -cough pictures- the new plasm -cough pictures- a!!!

i can see you just -cough pictures- watching dvd's on -cough pictures- it all night long!!!

it is -cough pictures- the weekend, after all :) enjoy! whee! someday.. i too will have a high quality plasma set.. :cool:

-+ I heard mono with my ears, stereo with my heart, but I heard surround with my soul - Unnamed
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post #4 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 06:32 PM
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You have just made me loving my NEC even more. Enjoy.
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post #5 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 06:44 PM
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Welcome to the Dark Side.:D
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post #6 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 06:44 PM
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Man, you aren't making it easy for me to save money and wait a little while longer to pick up my 42MX2/S! My credit card is melting! My home theater is sitting loneley since I returned my samsung 50" DLP.....MUST CONTINUE TO SAVE MONEY! :o

Chris
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post #7 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 08:49 PM
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What about standard TV viewing? Yeah, I realize that most all HDTVs, regardless of type, don't display cable TV as well as a direct view CRT. I was just curious if the 42MX2 did a decent job with typical, non-HD cable channels.
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post #8 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 08:49 PM
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googly is right we need pictures of this, i am interested in the 50mx3 so please show me what yours can do, i guess the 12 bit processing is not hype or rumor, but true!! good job NEC and congratulations on your TV.

-robert
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post #9 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 09:05 PM
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robmarti@tampa
I don't see why you get the impression that GooglyBear wants to see pictures. It does sound like he needs to take some NyQuil tonight for that nasty cough, though. Get well, dude.
:-)

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It doesn't sound like you'll be leaving the building any time soon. Congratulations and happy plasma watching!

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post #10 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 09:15 PM
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Elvis,

Glad to see a "BIG Plasma Smile" on your face. Please do feed us more when you get the chance.

The moral of the story is - Yes you can get a entry Plasma alot cheaper, but for the best picture possible, it is going to cost you a bit more.

Happy Plasma-ing!:)

Dave

"Appeasment only makes the Aggressor more Aggressive"
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post #11 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 09:54 PM
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try Gladiator ! just saw it tonight and guess what, I continue to be amazed, after now more than a month. Don't worry about SD, you will be disappointed, but that is at least what I expected.
Enjoy! glad you to hear you are happy.

Edit: I mean, disappointed is a relative idea here, that is, compared to dvd's and hd broadcast (the real one like Discovery, not the half HD that I get on ABC, CBS with those f****g nightmare bars !)
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post #12 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, after sampling our way through Pirates of the Caribbean, Finding Nemo, The Matrix, LOTR 1, Seabiscuit (extended sample - GORGEOUS!), Shrek, Alien (AWESOME remaster) and Monsters, Inc., we settled in to watch Pearl Harbor. (We've owned this for months but have never gotten around to watching the whole thing... and we *still* haven't!) We made it through the 1st disc, then my wife went to bed while I fired up the HTPC to check out HD. It was OUTSTANDING! Once again, no plasma I've yet seen has looked quite this good. There's something about the way this thing handles color... Colors are so rich and vibrant and TRUE - but without being oversaturated; it's really something to see!

Well, I need some sleep. Will respond to questions & comments in the morning.
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post #13 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 11:36 PM
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Elvis...

I know you're waiting before having it properly calibrated. I was just wondering if you did any preliminary calibration, or were you watching with factory presets.
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post #14 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 11:39 PM
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I'm unclear, do you like the plasma? :)

There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working.
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post #15 of 285 Old 02-06-2004, 11:51 PM
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Reading your comments, I threw the Matrix in to check out the vertical lines in Trinity's shirt. The Panny 6UY shows the detail as we expect, but the Matrix is otherwise almost unwatchable. The amount of noise in the background of these dark scenes is ridiculous. All through the opening, the background is a swimming mass of pixels. In scene 7 where Keanu is awoken from his nightmare and then answers the phone cal from Morpheus, the enlarged phone is a mess of dancing pixes. Do you see this? Admittedly, I'm up close, but the lack of a noise suppression setting on the Panny is really bothering me. I've been swapping cables, inputs, DVD players and the noise is still there and rather annoying. How's the NEC in this regard? The Pio was far better (of course not so in terms of blacks).

Bill

[Edit after post: I just watched the Matrix on my PC and it is a noisy DVD. Although the noise is less evident on the PC's CRT, it is there and the plasma brings it out. It's amazing how clean some DVD transfers, like North by NorthWest, are while others are real grainy. ]
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post #16 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 02:06 AM
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I was going to suggest Pearl Harbor.

Also try Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
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post #17 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 07:10 AM
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Elvis - Would you give us a review on the aspect mode choices?

Thanks,

Lee
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post #18 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 08:31 AM
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regarding how this display handles sd, I've been very impressed. it's far better than I expected and, using a digital cable tuner outputting 720p through dvi, is more detailed than my old crt. this depends on the broadcast, but 480i movies are often better than many displays I've seen showing dvds--this despite the fact that the image is zoomed to fill the screen. I've discussed this on other threads, but I'm now hooked on the dvi input, even though it limits my control over color. (note: non-hdcp display hooked to a compliant tuner--the /S version of this display, which is compliant, has more adjustment control through dvi. the tuner's scaling seems to be part of the benefit.)

regarding the noisy Matrix dvd, try lowering the brightness and see if the noise gets reduced.
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post #19 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 08:42 AM
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I've not found anything that lowers the noise in the Matrix DVD I have (early pressing). Turning down brightness just hides it a little. It's so prevalent I doubt the even a noise reduction circuit would help that much. When Keanu meets and is sitting with Morpheus a few scenes later, I had to turn it off. As I said, North by Northwest is stunningly clear. Same for Indian Jones Last Crusade. My Panny 6UY does not handle noisy sources well. I suspect Elvis will find the NEC does a better job. It includes a noise reduction setting, like the Pio and Fuji, which I found to be VERY effective on a Pio I had. I'm getting the impression that the NEC may be a nice compromise (sweet spot) between the clarity and noise resistance of the Pio and Fuji and the deep blacks of the Panny.

Bill
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post #20 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 08:55 AM
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Yahooo!
Validation for NEC owners. I don't claim to have the experience or the eye yet to do a truly critical comparison from memory (as owning an NEC dictates), but I'm glad to hear you reflect many of the same perceptions I have on my 42VP4. I'm interested in your report on the blacks. I know mine are good, and detailed, and totally without color hue, but they are a tad grey in a dark room. I tend to turn my brightness down a couple clicks below cal and give up a skosh of detail. But if you, as a CRT projector owner, are happy with them they must be good indeed. Curious to see what you make of SD, cuz I heard all the cautions from "unwatchable" to "well, what did you expect?" The quality of my analog cable channels varies wildly, but with the better ones I get a pic superior to my 30 in Panasonic CRT.

Bill Ball--I'm glad I'm not crazy, I saw the same thing on Matrix. It was one of the first DVD's I plopped in when I got my plasma and it was AWFUL! The noise in the dark scenes as you said. It was recommended as a demo disk and I thought maybe something was wrong with mine. "Hulk" is my showoff disk.

BTW, I don't know if you NEC owners saw it, but Kris Deering of Secrets fame (and an NEC owner) put his set through the Secrets de-interlacing tests and it passed them all. I still find mine looks slightly better with my denon 1600 faroudja in progressive scan mode.
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post #21 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
I'm unclear, do you like the plasma? :)
Yeah, I found his remarks very non-committal. ;)
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post #22 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Ball
I'm getting the impression that the NEC may be a nice compromise (sweet spot) between the clarity and noise resistance of the Pio and Fuji and the deep blacks of the Panny.

Bill
Keep in mind that the Fujitsu HAS the deep blacks of the Panny since it is Panny glass (42"ED & 50HD).
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post #23 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by bitbrain
Curious to know what DVD player you have and how it's connected to the NEC?
It's a JVC XV-S500. I've never thought it was anything special, though it is fairly well regarded, plays virtually any format of disc you throw in it, and does not have the chroma bug. My DVD player of preference is my HTPC, using a MyHD card to up-scale to 720p. I found out definitively (while tweaking the Akai panel) just how superior this is (relative to the JVC), but thus far I haven't tried it with the NEC.
Quote:
Originally posted by GooglyBear -cough pictures-
That's quite a cough you have there... You feeling OK, buddy?

You know, I was thinking that some of you might like to see some pictures... (Don't know what made me think of this. ;)) Problem is, I can't seem to take any decent ones that are even *remotely* representative of what I'm seeing. I don't know if this is due to the camera, the technique, or the photographer; I've previously posted a thread asking for the 4D on how to take decent pix of a screen, but I never got any useful instructions.
Quote:
Originally posted by quad user
Welcome to the Dark Side.:D
I should probably warn you that you're infringing on a phrase that's been copyrighted by members of the CRT forum. ;) (For whom this is truly and totally accurate!)
Quote:
Originally posted by Michael Mohrmann
What about standard TV viewing? Yeah, I realize that most all HDTVs, regardless of type, don't display cable TV as well as a direct view CRT. I was just curious if the 42MX2 did a decent job with typical, non-HD cable channels.
Having heard good things about the NEC WRT SD, it was my original intention to start there. Unfortunately, due to the location of the NEC's inputs and the length of my S-vid and composite cables, I was initially unable to make a go of this, so I got started with DVDs instead. After going through several of those and connecting and firing up the HTPC to check out HD content, I changed channels to one that was broadcasting an SD signal... PQ was excellent - clearly a step down from HD, but nevertheless very, very acceptable (very nearly as good as DVDs played via the HTPC on the Akai panel and far better than non-HTPC DVDs on same.) Mind you that although this is SD, it is still a 480p digital broadcast being transmitted (AFAIK) with little or no compression, received by my rooftop antenna and up-scaled to 720p. I was very pleased with the results, and after watching the news, I decided that I simply *had* to get the DirecTiVo hooked up to see how it looked...

It's really unfortunate that DirecTV has to have such low standards for SD broadcast quality. The difference between OTA SD and D-TV SD was quite significant, and, as windwaves notes, it is indeed disappointing. *** I'd be remiss, however, if I did not mention that relative to the Akai panel, D-TV SD PQ on the NEC is far, far better. *** It is certainly acceptable/watchable, and I am truly happy about how much better it looks than the Akai. (I'll let everyone know what my wife's reaction is once she's had a chance to see it; she watches far more D-TV than I do, so her opinion should be interesting.)

As I pointed out earlier, one of the best things I can say about this panel is that it's so revealing of limitations in the source (which, of course, is a double-edged sword) and this makes me really wish that D-TV would use a little less compression and offer better PQ. I suspect this is all about bandwidth, and I suspect that I'm not alone (nor even in the minority) in my willingness to "sacrifice" shopping channels, religious channels and alternate language channels in order to have better PQ on the more mainstream/popular channels.

Soon, I may be sending this message via my bank account - I don't currently subscribe to/receive any D-TV HD (too much invested in the upgraded D-TiVo + lifetime subscription) but I'm *very* eager to receive more HD content, so an upgrade is imminent. Aside from D-TV's crappy SD PQ, I also have a problem w/the fact that TiVo wants me to REpurchase my "lifetime" subscription. This makes me lean toward VOOM (once they begin offering DVR), but I need to investigate further to determine whether their SD is less compressed/better looking. (Anyone out there made the comparison or know definitively one way or the other?)
Quote:
Originally posted by cheridave
The moral of the story is - Yes you can get a entry Plasma alot cheaper, but for the best picture possible, it is going to cost you a bit more.
This is SO true, but I'd put it like this: Yes, you can save a few hundred bucks by getting an entry-level plasma, but if you want a picture that is truly satisfying, spend the extra money and don't look back! :)
Quote:
Originally posted by windwaves
try Gladiator !
Yeah, that was also in the "eval" stack (along with Braveheart, Legends of the Fall and The Fifth Element SB... we just didn't get that far.
Quote:
I mean, disappointed is a relative idea here, that is, compared to dvd's and hd broadcast
Precisely so, but relative to the Akai, it looks great. It's ALL relative... My wife says this is the best picture she's ever seen on a TV, but relative to last year's Super Bowl (in 720p on a 110" screen) on our CRT projector, or relative to the Marantz DLP we saw in Long Beach a couple of months ago, there's no comparison. (She doesn't count those when she says "on a TV".)
Quote:
Originally posted by PJO1966
I was just wondering if you did any preliminary calibration, or were you watching with factory presets.
I watched the factory presets at first (for about 5 minutes) then eye-balled the settings (and watched for another 15 or 20 minutes) then ran through a quick THX Optimizer setup, watched some more, was still dissatisfied, made adjustments to the picture mode (preferred "Bright") and gamma level (1) then sat back an ENJOYED.
Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
I'm unclear, do you like the plasma? :)
The jury is still out on that, but I'm leaning toward keeping it. ;)
Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Ball
Reading your comments, I threw the Matrix in to check out the vertical lines in Trinity's shirt. The Panny 6UY shows the detail as we expect, but the Matrix is otherwise almost unwatchable. The amount of noise in the background of these dark scenes is ridiculous. All through the opening, the background is a swimming mass of pxiels. In scene 7 where Keanu is awoken from his nightmare and then answers the phone cal from Morpheus, the enlarged phone is a mess of dancing pixes. Do you see this?
I'll have to go back and check on that (and the NR setting I'm using.) Will post back later.
Quote:
Originally posted by leebobob
Elvis - Would you give us a review on the aspect mode choices?
Much better than the Akai/Samsung - will elaborate later.

Gotta run!
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post #24 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ElvisIncognito
You know, I was thinking that some of you might like to see some pictures... (Don't know what made me think of this. ;)) Problem is, I can't seem to take any decent ones that are even *remotely* representative of what I'm seeing. I don't know if this is due to the camera, the technique, or the photographer; I've previously posted a thread asking for the 4D on how to take decent pix of a screen, but I never got any useful instructions.I should probably warn you that you're infringing on a phrase that's been copyrighted by members of the CRT forum. ;) (For whom this is truly and totally accurate!)

Gotta run!
what kinda weak excuse is this! -.- k, i'm no photographer but i'll give you tips..
1. if you don't have a tripod, it's ok.. stabilize that digital camera by placing it on a small table or something
2. focus-control.. i don't know what camera you have if it auto-focuses or any of that but usually digital camera's now have a focus finder-setter or something.. i know mine does, i press the shutter button and hold it for a few seconds and it "locks" on the focus of the image telling me it's ready to be taken..
3. this is very important... keep the flash on, but put 3,4 or 5 strips of scotch tape over it.. this is to make the flash effect more subtle and hopefully not overpower your shot
4. when pausing the material.. do the "closeup" trick.. wait for a closeup on the film so it looks clearer and more detailed :P
5. man we just want pics!!! -.- look at the member gallery forums, none of those guys are professionals and i'd even say more than half those pictures suck in there but hey :) it's still drool-worthy

pfft, im going to post pics of my setup maybe by the end of the week.. depends how fast i get my tv and my speakers and set everything up.. 'temporarily'

-+ I heard mono with my ears, stereo with my heart, but I heard surround with my soul - Unnamed
-+ My tastes are simple -- I am always satisfied with the best
-+ You ainÂt gotta like me, you just mad 'cause I tell it how it is, and you tell it how it might be!
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post #25 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 03:36 PM
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"this is very important... keep the flash on, but put 3,4 or 5 strips of scotch tape over it.. "

No. Don't. Leave the flash off for goodness sakes (why would you leave the flash on at all if you want a decent screen shot?). A tripod allows you to take the image exactly as you want it.
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post #26 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by R Harkness
"this is very important... keep the flash on, but put 3,4 or 5 strips of scotch tape over it.. "

No. Don't. Leave the flash off for goodness sakes (why would you leave the flash on at all if you want a decent screen shot?). A tripod allows you to take the image exactly as you want it.
i dunno about everyone but on my digicam :( if i turn flash off.. it won't focus.. not sure why, it always blinks that the camera is shaking even if it's sitting on a table

:D besides, that tip is from a friend of mine, he goes to an art school fer crikes sake and when he use shis digicam, he said something about the tape dulls the harshness of the flash and brings it closer to natural daylight as possible.. or something like that -.-

:P but i like your pictures so any tips/etc you can give elvis or hell just convince him to post sumthin -.-

-+ I heard mono with my ears, stereo with my heart, but I heard surround with my soul - Unnamed
-+ My tastes are simple -- I am always satisfied with the best
-+ You ainÂt gotta like me, you just mad 'cause I tell it how it is, and you tell it how it might be!
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post #27 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ed2day
Bill Ball--I'm glad I'm not crazy, I saw the same thing on Matrix. It was one of the first DVD's I plopped in when I got my plasma and it was AWFUL! The noise in the dark scenes as you said. It was recommended as a demo disk and I thought maybe something was wrong with mine. "Hulk" is my showoff disk.
I think all the Indiana Jones series discs are very good , as well, at least the boxed set I got look terrific on my Panny. Fifth Element, just about any Pixar animation, MIB II all are stunning. The original Matrix is ghastly. It's also striking how much HDTV PQ varies. On KQED (PBS) virtually every show they run is flat out georgeous and noise-free. It's equipment, lighting and engineering. On the other hand ED on NBC last night was poorly lit and gawdy - turning the color way down helped. Leno always looks good.

Anyway, look forward to more from Elvis when he gets off the boat later. The NEC looks like a winner and possibly the best buy right now in 42" HD sets. If the Panny had a noise reduction setting it would probably stay the best value, IMHO.

Bill
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post #28 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ElvisIncognito
It's really unfortunate that DirecTV has to have such low standards for SD broadcast quality. The difference between OTA SD and D-TV SD was quite significant, and, as windwaves notes, it is indeed disappointing. *** I'd be remiss, however, if I did not mention that relative to the Akai panel, D-TV SD PQ on the NEC is far, far better. *** It is certainly acceptable/watchable, and I am truly happy about how much better it looks than the Akai. (I'll let everyone know what my wife's reaction is once she's had a chance to see it; she watches far more D-TV than I do, so her opinion should be interesting.)
Elvis,

Thanks for the detailed answer. The above represents just a portion of a long response you wrote, but when I showed the above quote to my wife, she gave a thumbs up. Your description of the NEC sounds similar to the Fujitsu HD 42" plasma both my wife and I like a lot. But at $7000 MSRP and little chance for a discount, the NEC 42XM2 is starting to sound like a wonderful alternative.

Thanks for taking the time describing your SD experience with the NEC. It is an unfortunate reality of some of our TV viewing.

Michael
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post #29 of 285 Old 02-07-2004, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by GooglyBear
i dunno about everyone but on my digicam :( if i turn flash off.. it won't focus.. not sure why, it always blinks that the camera is shaking even if it's sitting on a table

The flash serves absolutely no purpose when taking a picture of a plasma's picture. The available light for the exposure comes from the plasma not the flash. The only thing the flash can do is cause reflections off the plasma's glass. There should be enough available light from the plasma to allow the camera's auto focus to work fine. In a worst case scenario, you should put use your camera's manual override.

This kind of reminds me of people that use a flash to take a picture from the top of the Empire State Building thinking that their flash's light output will light up all of N.Y.C. Not exactly the same thing, but you get the "picture". Ooo, did he say that?
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post #30 of 285 Old 02-08-2004, 12:39 AM
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Here's another question...

Does the NEC pass 480p through the component cables?
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