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post #1 of 1302
Thread Starter 
In DLP, Thomson said it would offer two RCA Scenium models based on TI's HD-2 'Mustang' high-definition DLP chips with 1280 by 720p resolution. Both include integrated ATSC tuners with QAM cable demodulation capability, built-in Web browsers, advanced picture and sound performance, DVI-HDCP digital input for uncompressed signals and a pair of two-way IEEE-1394 digital interfaces for compressed signals.

The DLP models include the 50W-inch 16:9 HDLP50W151 ($3,999 suggested retail, shipping in August), which was previously unveiled at January's CES, and the new 61W-inch 16:9 HDLP61W151 ($4,499, shipping in October), which Thomson bills as the industry's largest DLP rear projection set

The suggested retail prices suggest the prices of DLP's should be dropping.

post #2 of 1302
How will this match up to Sammy HLN617? Would you wait before you buy the Sammy? Thanks, Mikesan1
post #3 of 1302
Thread Starter 
Based upon the RCA previous reliability track record I would rather have a Sammy.
post #4 of 1302
It has so many more features than the 50" Sammy at the same price point that the Sammy virtually costs twice as much. It has an embedded ATSC/unencrypted-QAM tuner, 1394 connections with a Mitsubishi-NetCommand-like ability to control devices with standard interfaces, as well as DVI; it has Gemstar's Guide Plus. They are coming out with an 80 GB HD PVR which list for $450 (w/o tuner) which can be controlled by this set and programmed via it's builtin Guide, which is not based on poorly supported PSIP. It even has an RJ45 jack with an embedded web browser--a bell and a whistle, but potentially handy for quickly looking up things without having to run upstair to my office.

You have more than anecdotal evidence of the relative reliability of RCA versus Samsung?

-- Mike Scott
post #5 of 1302
Consumer Reports consistently rates RCA as being one of the worst brands of television for reliability.
post #6 of 1302
Thread Starter 
Ever since Thomson (a French Company) bought RCA and GE brands of electronics from GE corporation about twelve years ago the quality has been quite bad. My friend had an RCA TV that had a faulty power supply - it went back for service so many times that finally Circuit City (he had a performance warranty) gave him a new set. I have read many similar stories and confirmed it with the ratings in Consumer Reports. It appears Thomson in the past has cut corners to be competitive. Hopefully this is not the case with their new products, but I would not buy an RCA or GE television until I see a turnaround in the frequency of repair ratings in Consumer Reports.
post #7 of 1302
I don't get Consumer Reports magazine, but subscribe to their online service (which I may stop doing). They're coverage of televisions is extremely poor. Of HDTVs, they rated a Zenith model best, and commented that it's HD performance wasn't as good as some of the others. Help me.

I found a graph from a March 2003 review of HD RPTVs of reliability, and they only showed results for four brands, not including either Samsung, RCA or Panasonic (they were Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Sony and Toshiba; Hitachis and Mitsubishis were greatly in the lead, with Hitachi edging Mitsubishi out, and Toshiba far in the rear).

I've read many of their reviews and as far as I'm concerned their opinion of electronics is useless. The review criteria are bizarre. It's almost they don't use these things. Also, they rarely have many peices of high- or near-high-end equipment in their reviews.

(There are some things I do respect their opinions of--among them, appliances, automobiles and automotive equipment).

Anything less plebeian?

It's not reliability testing, but their high-end sets have been well reviewed on features and performance. I've read very favorable reviews of a 50" XWX Scenium (same feature-set) in both Home Theater and Sound and Vision.

-- Mike Scott
post #8 of 1302
Thread Starter 
The reliability rating are from subscribers responding to the annual survey. I have read in newsgroups horror stories about some of their sets, based upon a faulty design. It is quite possible they produce an excellent RPTV, but for an investment of this size I would not take the chance. Especially since this is new technology to them and they may need to work out the bugs.
post #9 of 1302
Yeah, I know that CU's reliabity ratings are from user reports, which I think are probably quite accurate. I just can't find any in their online database for RCA (or Pioneer, or Panasonic, or Samsung, etc).

I hate to harp on this, but can someone, with a stack of the past few years woth of paper CU HD RPTV reviews tell me where RCA ranked in reliability? Not from memory--looking at the charts. I'm very interested in this product and I'd really like to know.
post #10 of 1302
Another approach would be to plan on getting the extended service plan and not worry so much about the reliability. Not a bad idea for a purchase this large in any case.
post #11 of 1302
Does anyone know the dimensions of this set? In particular, will it be tabletop and will the speakers be on the sides or bottom?
post #12 of 1302
Thread Starter 
Michael, I did a search on Google newsgroups for the words "RCA RPTV PROBLEMS" from January 1 2000 to the present it found 226 hits. I did not have time to read them but it is safe to assume RCA has its share of problems. I suggest you read the results for the types and severity and judge if you think RCA is just as good as the other RPTVs. The following quote from one newsgroup may help you.

To be honest, I have not seen a single Thomson chassis for years that when it first came out was not plagued with engineering defects that had to be fixed with service bulletin after bulletin.

1993 Thomson introduces ctc175,176,177 series of chassis with on board tuner. They deny to servicers that the tuner grounds are a real problem for almost 1 year after reports start flowing in as every one is failing within 1.5 years. They later admit to knowingly selling a "inferior" reliability product and do cover almost all repair costs up until about 1999. Problem persisted through several "engineering" and "manufacturing" fixes through the life of the chassis. Latest ctc187 series chassis from 1997 are just now having a few solder connection problems.

1993/94 they came out with the infamous ctc170/ptk171 chassis which had so many problems they quickly dropped production. This was an exclusive Proscan chassis. Currently the BMOSD module is failing in mass and is on backorder an average of 18 months. They are offering about a 1/5th prorated amount if you call them, even on a really old tv set.

1997 They introduce the ctc195/197 series of chassis. Initial production units are plagued with bad flybacks. Bad software in the micro. Multiple "fixes" for engineering defects are issued on service bulletins. Most sets made before July 1998 must at least 5 of these service bulletins performed if they come in for service. Same year ctc185, super el-cheapo chassis design. Has power supply mod kit, early power supplies would self destruct at random, very expensive to repair on a now $149 19" tv set. Early units also had a very high flyback failure problem. Seems Thomson bought these off the same vendor as the early ctc195/197 chassis. While the flyback failure is not a good thing, at least the cost was around $45 for the part as most Sony flybacks are $130.

Current ctc195/197/203 chassis has a software bug in the tv-guide plus module which when it receives a certain code, locks out the audio until it is unplugged. No fix is planned as it only happens a couple of times a month at worst. They also are having a glue problem with the glue they are using on all the surface mount components (hundreds) where especially in humid environments the glue becomes conductive usually causing all kinds off oddball intermittent failures. Most of these cannot be repaired as they are too intermittent.

Thomson/GE/RCA/Proscan are these any worse than almost everything else? Probably not as several other manufactures for several years have had some really serious engineering oversights and manufacturing problems. Thomson does have on average the lowest priced repair parts, except for picture tube prices which runs about 1.5 times what you paid for the tv set new. Thomson does have one of the easiest to pull in RPTV units as the light box comes out and can be taken out of the tv set, making for an on average lower labor repair cost. Thomson does REQUIRE the use of a special computer interface in order to do almost every adjustment on all new chassis lines, making the service menu pretty well worthless as it is just a pass code to hook up the interface.

With the exception of the sound lockout problem and the chance of having a "lemon" intermittent failure that really is not repairable due to the excessive time between intermittent failures. They are not the worst tv you could buy.

It is likely that the picture blanking out problem will be resolved, typically 6 to 8 months for them to find the cause and issue a fix. But this is not going to help you right now.
post #13 of 1302
I don't see much information about the dimensions, except that it's 16" deep and weighs less than 100 lbs. I believe that it is a table-top, given the picture on the right side of this page. (It's got the DLP logo on the front on it, so I assume that its this set).

What drives my interest in this monitor is that it has 1394 connections and the capability to control and feed video to RCA's upcoming inexpensive (because it has no internal tuner) PVR and probably other AV/C compliant devices. From the manual for the current integrated Scenium sets:

DTVLink® (Digital Television Link) Connectors

DTVLink is a compressed digital video input offering an IEEE-1394 type video connection from consumer devices such as satellite receivers, cable receivers, and digital recorders that meet the CEA specifications for DTVLink. DTVLink is better known to some as 1394 or FireWire for digital televisions.
If your 1394 device has the DTVLink logo on it, it should work with this TV. Audio and video information is carried on a single wire. You can use either or both connectors to link your devices.

Since I want a DLP set, and I want 1394 A/V connectivity, this would seem to be my only choice at present. Samsung doesn't fit the bill, Mitsubishi doesn't seem interested in fielding a reasonably priced (or even reasonably sized) integrated DLP and it looks like Hitachi dropped 1394 from their offerings this year.

PaulGo --

I did a Google newsgroup search for the exact phrase "rca rptv" and got only 55 hits. There are no hits on the exact phrase "rca rptv problems" or "rca rptv problem". The shotgun search that you did was nearly meaningless--it matches all posts that contain all of the terms "rca", "rptv" and "problems", in any order. In many of these, the RCA device in question isn't the RPTV being referred to. In 21 of them, the word "problem" is preceded by the word "no" or "without" (search "rca rptv no-problems"). A search for "rca-rptv problem" (no quotes--means exact phrase "rca rptv" and the word "problem" in any order) turns up 15 matches and "rca-rptv problems" turns up an additional 4--these are quite probably reports of problems with RCA RPTVs.

Just for kicks, I did a search of "mitsubishi-rptv problem" and "mitsubishi-rptv problems" and got 55 and 39 hits, respectively. That's 94 altogether, 75 more than the equivalent search phrases with "rca-rptv". Thus for the Consumer Union's reliability leader. (Your search--"mitsubishi rptv problems"--turned up 329 hits). To Samsung's credit, my more specific searches turned up only 5 hits; Sony got 310; Pioneer, 124; Toshiba, 370 and Panasonic, 43.

I didn't have time to read them all, but I think it's safe to assume that pretty much every manufacturer has its share of problems .

If we're going to judge by newgroup chatter having a much higher probability of being discussions of problems with various RPTVs, RCA's not doing too badly compared to most other brands. Only Samsung seems is beating them, by this crude metric. But then, just how long has Samsung been a serious contender in the US RPTV market? As I recall, no more than 5 years ago, they were pretty de classe.

-- Mike Scott
post #14 of 1302

Originally posted by PaulGo

......which Thomson bills as the industry's largest DLP rear projection set


The Mits WD-65100 & 65000 are 65" DLP's.

The replacement TV that Mits gave me (WD-65100 with reported new light box design) is stunning, if pricey. I have not seen a rainbow yet


post #15 of 1302


go to the direct view forum and do a search for rca,just about every 38310 model has a problem and needs to go to the shop for service

post #16 of 1302






"SONY RPTV PROBLEMS" 642 hits (!!).


Please--make a valid point or save it. And I don't much care about a direct-view set released 3 or 4 years ago. It was, after all, one of the first direct-view HDTVs ever made. The quality of one product from years back hardly predicts quality of upcoming ones. (If it did, all companies who screw up a single product might as well hang it up).

-- Mike Scott
post #17 of 1302
I just did a search with Samsung + HDTV + problems and got 11,300 hits. The only problem is that only one of the first ten hits had anything to do with HDTV problems. Most of the ten first hits were for STB's and Internet retailers.

The one hit was a retailer who offers their customers a chance to review their purchases. The item was a Samsung HCM4215WX 42" HDTV-Ready Projection TV. One person loved the set and three others had total failure with strange smells of burning electronics.

This kind of search doesn't prove anything to me. I'm going to rely on a good dealer, the lemon law and voodoo. I'll take a pass on volunteering to do "beta" work for RCA.
post #18 of 1302
Thread Starter 
My point was not to reach a judgment about Thomson (RCA) but to give Michael enough information to reach his own conclusion. I think the article I quoted speaks for itself in terms of RCA reliability. The conclusion I reached is I currently would not buy an RCA product since it appears they do not do enough quality testing before they release a product. But its your money take your choice. I found given the same set of facts people can reach different conclusions.
post #19 of 1302
Please, Paul--lets restrict our discussion to the incident of problems found in their high-end RPTVs. No one has harped on those--just relatively old direct-views. The R&D for these product groups is almost certainly done by different divisions within the company. (For instance, I don't think that Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America makes Mitsubishi's direct-views).

It hasn't been proven to me that RCA high-end RPTVs are particularly worse than most other manufacturers'. I'll take what you've said into consideration, but the feature set of their high-end sets is uniquely rich, and they've been well reviewed (on performance, at least) by sources that I trust (Home Theater, Sound & Vision).

It's four or five months before I'll be seriously looking to buy. Who knows whether they'll even get this product to market on time? Who knows what other companies may come up with in the meantime? (For instance, it's unclear what features may or may not be in that 50" Panasonic LCD RPTV).

-- Mike Scott
post #20 of 1302
Thread Starter 
Mike your correct in stating a case has not been made against specifically RCA RPTV's. I have nothing against RCA, in fact I almost bought the 38" RCA HDTV tube set. However I saw that about half the time I was looking at the set in Best Buy over a period of six months it was not working because it needed repairs. To me this indicated a lack of quality and before I buy another RCA product I would want to see some positive feedback from other users. RCA produced a LCOS TV (about a thousand units) but abandoned it. Panasonic may be stopping production on their DLP. Samsung had problems with their HLM model DLPs. I just would be hesitant buying a new product from a company like RCA until they worked out the bugs.
post #21 of 1302

Originally posted by PaulGo

I just would be hesitant buying a new product from a company like RCA until they worked out the bugs.

I "try" not to buy a new product from "any company" until they have worked out the bugs.

I have a "like-new" Syquest One Gig drive with ten cartridges as my personal albatross. While still under it's one year warranty the drive was replaced two times. Syquest couldn't get the drives to work in the field and went bankrupt while I still had six months left on the warranty. Their competition bought them for pennies just to kill the technology.

I probably could have recovered some of my investment by selling it on E-Bay. I didn't, so now I'm thinking of having it bronzed and incorporated into my tomb stone. I keep it where I can always see it when ever I get ready to jump into the latest or greatest pond.

After all, it was the "best available on paper" at the time -- before CD-R took off.
post #22 of 1302
Thread Starter 
An RCA press release on their DLP line.

post #23 of 1302
I'm glad Thomspson and SVA and others are pushing Sammy with new DLP models - this can only help all of us. And I've had RCA AV products (TV and VCR) in the past that were fine, but that was pre Thompson.

Here's what gives me pause (and I agree that google hit #s don't mean much here): Having followed the ill fated Thompson/RCA 38" Scenium direct view model for a bit - which was the first to tempt me into HDTV, I am not encouraged by the level of committment to product. That one was clearly rolled out with some problems and despite universal appeal to many based on the general characteristics (a good direct view size, great price point etc - see John Dvoraks HDTV column forum where he was ready to bite on that model), they pulled the model from the market. No one since has offered a direct view 38" widescreen HDTV. If they had a really good product there at that price point, they would be selling like hotcakes today.

I note the Sammy DLP's are beginning to sell big time (DVDOC on EBay has sold out the June allotment and is now taking orders on mid July deliveries). By comparison, the Thomspon unit's features, price, and gamma performance sound too good to be true. And of course, Thompson is introducing new models in just about every HDTV technology. That's a lot to keep track of. But with the features and price, a lot of people will probably buy them, and then we shall see, but I'm betting - like the 38" direct view - they are too good to be true. If you can wait, you may get a better deal from RCA or Sammy - if not, be wary of a brand new Scenium.
post #24 of 1302
Why no sets in the 42-46 inch range? All the other manufacturers offer something in that range, wonder why RCA isn't yet.
post #25 of 1302
There were tons of problems -- here alone -- with the Samsung DLPs initially. In most cases, they made them right. I would be very hesitant to extrapolate from Thomson's relatively bad record with CRTs to assume their DLPs will be problematic. They might be, but they might not be. Perhaps the late entry was to ensure clean product? Let's wait and see.

As for why there are no small ones, it's because they are less profitable. The engines are essentially the same from 40" to 60" and yet you can add thousands of dollars in retail to the latter vs. the former. Samsung has that 43" model for quite some time now. If RCA is successful, they might follow suit. But perhaps they'll wait until the DMD and chipset are lower in price.

post #26 of 1302
Bummer. Samsung has both the 43 and 46 inch models, but is missing a few key features (like a tuner).

I'll still be very interested to see the RCA's when they come out to see what the PQ is like. If they have strong PQ and don't run into a ton of problems then this ought to push Samsung and the others to add tuners, firewire, etc sooner rather than later.

On a related note I was also disappointed that Sony seems to be leaving the HD tuners out of their smaller GW3's -- only putting them in the 60 and 70's.
post #27 of 1302
Everyone is working "big down" on the tuners. It has to do with the FCC mandate after all. You will eventually see tuners on all these sets, it's just going to take a few years.

post #28 of 1302
What confuses me is that a few of the manufacturers seem to be adding the tuners to their CRT rear projection sets before their DLP/LCOS/LCD sets.

In the plasma realm, seems like the EDTV sets will have them before the HDTV sets.

You would think the more expensive sets would get them first.
post #29 of 1302
I think ATSC tuners are coming to the HD sets in plasma first, not the ED sets.
post #30 of 1302
Rogo, I think your points support the notion that one should be careful of any manufacturer's first effort at a new technology. Samsung is transitioning to a second/third generation of DLP, while this is RCA/Thompsons' first cut. Actually, I hope it is fabulous. But Samsung is clearly committed to moving forward on DLP and has the resources to do it, I would still like to see evidence that RCA will stick with it and fix problems that may arise - the CRT track record doesn't prove they won't, but it is not a good sign either.

On the issue of built in tuners, I note one of the web sellers now has advertised yet another new 61" Samsung DLP up (third or fourth quarter 2003) that has a built in tuner. But the retailer's price looks like more than the sum of an HLN 61 inch model plus a 160 or 165 STB. That doesn't sound like a great marketing ploy. I wonder if there's anything else there.
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