I thought I wanted a F38310 until... - AVS Forum
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Old 06-05-2002, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
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My first post:
I had my heart set on the F38310 for the following reasons:
1. Widescreen for DVD watching with no or minimal black bars.
2. The raves this set has received on this forum.
3. Its good value.
4. Widescreen is the future, etc.

However, in Best Buy yesterday, a 32XBR450 was sitting right next to a F38310. Both were receiving the same in house HD feed.
In terms of sheer picture quality, the Sony was far superior to the RCA – at least to this newbie. I did my best to adjust the RCA picture to match the Sony and was disappointed.
The Sony seemed richer, clearer, more detailed, more 3-D, etc.
The RCA just seemed foggier, more opaque, less alive, etc.

To the F38310 and Sony experts:
Ignoring, the 16x9 vs. 4x3 issue, and just concentrating on picture quality, is the Sony PQ really better? Or was I unable to correctly adjust the RCA?

In other words, for me picture quality is paramount: do I buy the RCA now or wait more long, long, long months until the new Sonys come out? (Alas, I can’t afford a plasma.)

BTW: Thanks to everyone on this forum. I’ve been reading here for months. At Tweeter the other day, I was discussing some issues I’d read here with a salesman/manager and he offered me a job! (Of course, it could have been a sly, buttering-me-up sales ploy - he really wanted to sell me a plasma!)

Thanks,
- Scott

Panasonic RP56
Yamaha RXV2200
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TV: saving for a plasma!
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Old 06-05-2002, 10:40 AM
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I like the picture of the Sonys a little more then the RCA ... but in general I find them very comparable so if there are dramatic differences something probably wasn't set up right.

Keep in mind, the Sony you were looking at is a smaller screen ... all things being equal, a smaller screen is going to appear to have a slightly better picture quality ... comapre the Sony 32XBR with a Sony 36XBR and Sony 40XBR ... and of course, the widescreen 34XBR.

And, if you like the widescreens ... Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, Philips (and several others) make a 34 inch widescreen. Make sure to compare those side-by-side with the RCA.

Some things to check:
1. (Obviously) Make sure it's actually a HD feed ... if not you could be seeing line doubling / scaling differences. Feed them both a DVD source (480i and 480p). Make sure to see the differences in all these modes (most of my TV watching is still from 480i or 480p sources ... I want a TV that handles them well).
2. What inputs are being used on the TV. Component to the Sony and RGB to the RCA could certainly make a big difference.
3. Make sure the picture isn't being stretched/cropped/etc. in any way. My local Best Buy gets a 480p 4:3 feed and puts all the 16:9 TVs on a "fill" mode so that the picture is stretched to fill the TV, and there are no black bars. As a result ALL the 4:3 TVs look way better then the 16:9 TVs ... stretch modes are nice but they realy hurt picture quality
4. Then of course you get into finer issues ... one may have brightness all the way ... the other all the way down ... etc.

I'd really suggest trying to find some place where the sales people are knowledgeable and can show you some of these TVs side-by-side in a truly comparable way.
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Old 06-05-2002, 11:57 AM
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I have owned the F-38310 for over 1 year and I did compare a number of HDTV at Tweeeter my day out in the world other than my apartment. I also took the advice the AVS forum members were e saying while I was a lurker here at AVS in May-July 2001, it was their influence that I bought the F-38310. 1 happy troble free later I am watching digital cable, an using a 525P progressive DVD player just 15P short of of 540P which is 1080i Digital.


I have learned how to calibrate using the best knowledge in the world, the AVS forum search for everything I needed to know. If I had to chose a set back in 2001 or 2002 I would have chose the F-38310.


One thing I wanted to add to previous poster things, did you look to see what kind of cables they were using on both sets? Why because the Radio Shack Component didn't come close to the PQ pure silver plated oxygen free copper used by www.bettercables.com


The experts will tell you if you don't have PQ cables to connect you get what you don't pay for in a lousier picture. I use them for my 3 DVD players, VCR, and www.sectv.com digial choice cable TV.
Good luck with your decision. :)
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Old 06-05-2002, 12:34 PM
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how much better is PQ going to be with the RCA 38" tv when you use the Silver Serpent compnent cables as opposed to $30 acoustic research cables?
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Old 06-05-2002, 05:29 PM
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Was it truly in HD? I have seen countless setups where sets are displaying an HD signal, via the stupid S-Video input! In other words, 1080i down to 480i.

The 38" RCA has an outstanding picture. One of the best, when calibrated.

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Old 06-05-2002, 08:16 PM
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I have had my F38310 since last fall and am very happy with it. I always had Sonys before and thought that I would be getting an another one, but I just kept going back to the RCA.

Use the Search Engine here and in another Forum www.***************.com, search for "F38310", you will find a lot of information.

I agree with the others, check the cable feeds.

Good Luck

"just another Joe"
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Old 06-05-2002, 09:50 PM
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Don't ever trust the displays on Best Buy. Those guys are idiots. Go to a high end store that sells the F38310, one who has HDnet or the PBS loop connected, then you can see the true potential of this TV, as well as other TV's.
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Old 06-05-2002, 11:42 PM
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Well you'd better go to a few other stores to see if you can find an RCA set that looked as good as the Sony.

Look at it this way. You know you should at least be able to get the picture at home to look as good as it did in the store. If you liked the way the Sony looked, you're taking a chance with the RCA. There is that expensive uncertainty principle which is going to gnaw away at you.
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Old 06-06-2002, 07:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Matt_Stevens
Was it truly in HD? I have seen countless setups where sets are displaying an HD signal, via the stupid S-Video input! In other words, 1080i down to 480i.

The 38" RCA has an outstanding picture. One of the best, when calibrated.
No way Matt
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Old 06-06-2002, 08:07 AM
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It has a great picture, but you'd better be prepared to deal with edge compression/side squeeze when using progressive mode. There is NO way around this.
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Old 06-06-2002, 09:57 AM
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The RCA does look nice with a real HDTV input but:
1) when using zoom mode for letterboxed 4:3 material there is major overscan, at least on the top and bottom.
2) no 3:2 pulldown, and the doubler doesn't seem to make as clear a picture as my Toshiba. A progressive scan DVD is a must, which cancels half of the cost savings from having internal tuners.
3) no flat screen. The curved screens pick up too many reflections.
4) I've heard of many complaints about noise from the fan - but you can't hear it in noisy stores.

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Old 06-06-2002, 11:50 AM
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The RCA, when compared to other direct view 16X9 tubes, can look sensational. It's larger size helps. I stand by my statement above.

My opinion, of course.

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Old 06-06-2002, 12:02 PM
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I'm sure there is some reason why a $200 progressive scan DVD -- which most people would want with the Sony -- cancels out half the advantage of not having to buy a $500-800 HDTV tuner and not having to have another huge box in your setup, but how it's actually true is escaping me efball.

Seems to me the RCA is kind of a steal right now, especially given the outstanding picture quality. It has way fewer geometry problems that the "superior" flat screens with Toshiba and Panasonic and gets rid of Sony's DRC, which can make DSS almost unwatchable.

Mark

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. (Oh, and plasma didn't die because of logistics problems, nor does OLED ship in big boxes because it comes from Korea.)
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Old 06-06-2002, 03:17 PM
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When I went to look at sets the picture quality of the RCA set was clearly inferior to both the Toshiba and the Panasonic sets. Not a great surprise, though, because of the $700+ price difference. The electronics in the other two sets are of higher quality.

I thought the Panny had the slight edge on picture quality but the Toshiba had great built-in sound. The Tosh would undoubtedly be my pick for a room without a speaker setup.

I've heard numerous stories of reliability issues with the inexpensive parts that RCA used in that set. In fact, 2 of the 4 stores that I visited had major problems with their demo units. One wouldn't turn on and the other had very noticeable pixelization problems.
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Old 06-07-2002, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
Seems to me the RCA is kind of a steal right now, especially given the outstanding picture quality. It has way fewer geometry problems that the "superior" flat screens with Toshiba and Panasonic and gets rid of Sony's DRC, which can make DSS almost unwatchable.
Do you own the Sony? I do, and DirecTV's picture looks great! Your "unwatchable" statement doesnt appear to come from someone who owns the set. I dont have any geometry problems. I only heard this second hand, but I did hear that most of the geometry problems are associated with the older non-XBR versions.
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Old 06-07-2002, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
I'm sure there is some reason why a $200 progressive scan DVD -- which most people would want with the Sony -- cancels out half the advantage of not having to buy a $500-800 HDTV tuner and not having to have another huge box in your setup, but how it's actually true is escaping me efball.
I can get a tuner for $400 (Samsung, or $450 for a Hughes), a progressive scan DVD is about $200, but my Toshiba doesn't need it, the internal doubler with 3:2 pulldown works fine. $200 is half of $400.

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Old 06-07-2002, 12:45 PM
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OK, frank, but the Samsung doesn't decode DirecTV. And, either way, an extra tuner means an extra box and putting that somewhere and having another remote (possibly). And, I really doubt the Toshiba does as well with a cheap, interlaced DVD player as the RCA does with one of the $200 Panasonic DVD progressive players, but it might.

Also, the RCA is a widescreen 38" set for $2000, which really no one comes close to offering. The $400 step up to someone else's 34" widescreen is not comparable, unless flatness means more to you than size.

Mark

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. (Oh, and plasma didn't die because of logistics problems, nor does OLED ship in big boxes because it comes from Korea.)
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Old 06-07-2002, 01:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo

Also, the RCA is a widescreen 38" set for $2000, which really no one comes close to offering. The $400 step up to someone else's 34" widescreen is not comparable, unless flatness means more to you than size.

Mark
Think about it Mark, do you think RCA is giving you some kind of great deal on that set ?Do you think they are making less profit than Sony on their tv's? Really ? You’ll be damn lucky if you get what you pay for these days from either company, nothing more. Picture quality means things to certain people, have you ever seen an 34XBR2 or Phillips next to a 38 Rca ? I have and the Sony absolutely kills it in PQ. There are two rca 38's as floor models in our local PcRichards at 1100 each if anyone's interested, aren’t they discontinued now anyway ? Why ?
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Old 06-07-2002, 01:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
OK, frank, but the Samsung doesn't decode DirecTV. And, either way, an extra tuner means an extra box and putting that somewhere and having another remote (possibly). And, I really doubt the Toshiba does as well with a cheap, interlaced DVD player as the RCA does with one of the $200 Panasonic DVD progressive players, but it might.

Mark
You might be wrong there too, I cant tell the difference between the DRC on the sony & with my old 570d and my newer progressive. Also, doesnt the Rca basically come with the DTC100 which is one of the less desirable HD receivers?What happens if it goes on the fritz(i love that word)lol ? Have to do open heart surgery on the set to fix it ? What if you want to go with dish networks ?
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Old 06-07-2002, 07:14 PM
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Rick: I don't own the set because it is unwatchable with DirecTV. Perhaps you don't watch the networks and only get the decent-looking channels and that's why you think it's OK. It sucks big time for sports. I've seen it, I can't stand it. If you don't see the problems, you are lucky and I won't try to damage your experience any further.

Shaun: RCA does make less profit per set that Sony. Absolutely they do. Why you don't know that I don't know. Sony has premium margins because they can overcharge for the Sony name. It's their strategy in certain categories, like TVs.

I have the supposedly inferior DTC-100. All it does it work. It just displays beautiful HD pictures from all my local stations that are on UHF (NBC is on VHF here and our roof antenna is UHF only). It also doubles as a DirecTV receiver and can get HBO-HD, SHO-HD and HDNet. Why this is bad escapes me.

Mark

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. (Oh, and plasma didn't die because of logistics problems, nor does OLED ship in big boxes because it comes from Korea.)
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Old 06-07-2002, 10:45 PM
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If reference to the original post in the thread:

One year ago, I was deciding between a Sony 36XBR400 and the RCA F38310, they were about the same price including the STB with the Sony. When my wife saw a DVD played on the Sony she said, “It’s too small, I can’t see it.†I pointed out the great picture to no avail. There is a big difference in the size of a wide screen picture between these a 38†and a 36†set and; naturally a smaller image usually looks better. The RCA also had a great picture on regular channels and the Sony looked like crap in MHO. I also may be alone, but I don’t like flat screens. The reflections are too big. The old curved screens have smaller reflections. I chose the RCA.

Today, I compared the F38310 to a Tosh 34†that was next to it at Best Buy. The Tosh had more contrast and looked better. I did not try to adjust the RCA, but I think I could have matched the Toshes contrast. I could not find any fine detail in the Best Buy loop the really see a difference in detail. In MHO all direct view HD sets have great pictures and I would not care to quibble about which is better. I love my big 38†set and would rather have it than any 34†because of the size difference. If I could afford the $5000, I would get a Loewe 38â€. And if Sony ever has the gonads to make a 38†set, maybe I will buy one.
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Old 06-07-2002, 11:25 PM
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Oleus I don't know squat about your research companies cables but our owner has them in his The Nate Home Theatre set up if you ever bothered to read his HT up in the chair section of Home Theatres.

Shaun you are thinking too cheap, devide the money you spend by 10 or more years you will own the HDTV. I suppose you would say I spent to much getting a $625 top end product off of Inlineinc to convert to a 4 to 1 component switcher for $60 more(bnc to gold plated phono jacks). Shaun I have a completly pass thru for 3 DVD players all with silver serpents, plus one more for a HTPC when and if I want to.

I have military grade hardware, and I will stand by the F-38310 with Matt_Stevens any day of the week. Your Sony made a big error on both of my changers, putting them both on the same remote control frequency. I have them both on ratshack remote controls to turn the power off on one while I view the other.


If I don't use power off remote controls, your Sony remote will operate both changers at the same time. I have them I am ready to give one away, same frequency on the CX-860 and CX-850D check it out. I don't lie or make false claims! :mad:
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Old 06-08-2002, 05:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
Rick: I don't own the set because it is unwatchable with DirecTV. Perhaps you don't watch the networks and only get the decent-looking channels and that's why you think it's OK. It sucks big time for sports. I've seen it, I can't stand it. If you don't see the problems, you are lucky and I won't try to damage your experience any further.
Clearly you are one of those anti-Sony folk who cant be argued with ... so I wont.
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Old 06-08-2002, 10:25 AM
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I was at the local Circuit City this morning. They have the RCA for $1999 now. What was strange was the floor model,m which looked great a month ago, looked terrible today. It was hooked up via component, but had massive, thick ghosting around objects. It was terrible. After fiddling for ten minuts, I gave up trying to figure out why.

The 40" Sony next to the RCA had no ghosting with the same signal. Oh well. It's all in the setup.

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Old 06-08-2002, 10:48 AM
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Matt,
You need to be very cautious about the feeds and cabling that BB and CC use for displays. Also, as you stated, the TV setup has a lot to do with how a picture will appear.

The easiest side by side comparison is to get the salesdroid to hook up a DVD player to the component inputs of each set and 'YOU' need to try to adjust the settings on each set accordingly. I know it's easier said than done, but I would never base my sole decision on a salesroom demo.

Oh... and BTW, the component input should not show 'ghosting'.
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Old 06-08-2002, 11:50 AM
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yeah, i don't see why the DTC100 is a less desirable receiver. I'm getting beautifull HD with a small antenna, all of my local digitals. The beauty of true 1080p on the F38310 proves what this set is CAPABLE of producing.....which i think is perfectionin HD...even if it handles other sources (DirecTV, etc) less than stellar.
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Old 06-09-2002, 09:15 AM
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Don't you mean 1080i, the set IMO can't produce a 1080P! I have a DVD prg Scn with 525P it a great image, just 30 lines below Digital at 1080i.;)
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Old 06-09-2002, 10:23 AM
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Hob,

Don't you mean 480P? DVD gets upconverted to 480P and all other non-HD signals get upconverted to 540P. All HD upconverts to 1080I.
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Old 06-09-2002, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by RScogland


Clearly you are one of those anti-Sony folk who cant be argued with ... so I wont.
Yeah, that must be me, one of those anti-Sony folk who can't be argued with. As a result of my delayed recognition of this, I am discarding the following today:

* My Sony DVD player
* My Sony PDA
* My Sony Playstation 2
* My Sony Walkmans (2 of them)

I also believe I have a Sony DVD drive built into one of my computers, so I am prying that out with a crowbar (sp?).

I am not anti-Sony. I am anti-DRC. They built a moronic line-doubling technology that was obviously never tested on low-bandwidth MPEG-compressed signals. People who use DRC-equipped sets with such signals and do not see how incredibly bad the picture is are either visually impaired on blissfully ignorant.

Mark

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. (Oh, and plasma didn't die because of logistics problems, nor does OLED ship in big boxes because it comes from Korea.)
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Old 06-09-2002, 03:48 PM
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Rogo: I never said the RCA didn't have any strong points, I just pointed out what I thought some of the weak points are.

The Sony is way overpriced, it goes for $4000 locally. The RCA, Philips, and Toshiba made my short list. I found the Toshiba on sale for $2000, which was less than the RCA, and yes I do think the flat screen is very important. The big decision in the end for me was 34" flat screen or 38" curved screen and I chose the flatscreen.

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