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CRT vs DLP, RP HDTV, Plasma? Which is best? - Page 2  

post #31 of 189
Quote:
Originally posted by bbg280
This is not scientific (approx screen measurements) but just my opinion.
my 40xbr = 33.5w x 24.75h (approx $2500)
34xbrws = 30w x 16.75w (approx $2500)
that means a 38ws would be 33w x 18.5h (approx $2500+500)
I don't think a 38"ws makes any sense over a 34ws or the 40 for the small gain in size or the price difference. For me, anything over $2500 for a crt would push me to a plasma.

Here's some statisics that are a little more scientific taken directly from www.cavecreations.com :

40 inch 4:3 TV vs. 34 inch 16:9 TV

4:3 standard mode is 107.2% larger

16:9 (1.78:1) is 16.5% larger
post #32 of 189
I will stipulate one thing: to equal the vertical height of a 4:3 36-inch set would require a 44-inch widescreen! I don't know if the tube could be made small enough for the set to fit through the door. My whole point with the crusade for larger is just that I love CRTs and the bigger the better. I really love the 40XBR 800, but I wish someone besides Loewe did make a 38-inch set. Right now I would favor the 40XBR800 because there is so much 4:3 programming material, but this will not always be the case. Two or three years from now widescreen programming will start to dominate. I'm not worried about people who will then trade up to plasma--my worries will be for the people who can't afford plasma and will HAVE to trade up to rear projection LCD which is INFERIOR! Let me put it to you this way...if you had the choice at $2999 between a 38-inch CRT the quality of the 910, a 38-inch EDTV Plasma, or a 38-inch rear projection LCD, which would you choose?! I'm sure most people at this forum would choose the 38-inch CRT! That's why I urge everyone who loves CRTs to make their wishes known to the manufacturers. Another thing to consider is this: Maybe you trade up to a 50-inch plasma...wouldn't you also like a 38-inch CRT in the bedroom? I'm not saying that 38-inch widescreen is Nirvana and will meet everyone's wishes--I will say this though: ask 38-inch Loewe owners or Sony 40XBR800 owners how much they like their sets. After talking to them I'm sure you'll understand. The industry just wants to make money--if they think enogh people will buy larger CRTs then they will build them...so Join the International Crusade for Bigger and Better Widescreen or even 4:3 Direct-view CRTs!!!
post #33 of 189
How many ways can you spin the 4:3 vs 16:9 debate. This fall everything will become much clearer (no pun intended) when the majority of prime time programing will be HD. There are just a few 36" HD sets now and when the much more affordable new WS sets come out this fall the debate will greatly diminish. The fact is that if you watch sports and prime time television you will want a WS set. If you don't watch that programing then a 4:3 set will work just fine. The argument that it will be "years" before HD dominates is foolish. I remember people saying that about broadband internet two years ago. I bet you wouldn't recommend dial-up to anyone today would you? Networks are going to be very aggressive about HD in the next year and there is no debating that. The major cable providers are all now offering HD and it won't take long for everyone in the neighborhood to want it. Just like BB internet.
post #34 of 189
Quote:
Originally posted by Broadwings
How many ways can you spin the 4:3 vs 16:9 debate. This fall everything will become much clearer (no pun intended) when the majority of prime time programing will be HD. There are just a few 36" HD sets now and when the much more affordable new WS sets come out this fall the debate will greatly diminish. The fact is that if you watch sports and prime time television you will want a WS set. If you don't watch that programing then a 4:3 set will work just fine. The argument that it will be "years" before HD dominates is foolish. I remember people saying that about broadband internet two years ago. I bet you wouldn't recommend dial-up to anyone today would you? Networks are going to be very aggressive about HD in the next year and there is no debating that. The major cable providers are all now offering HD and it won't take long for everyone in the neighborhood to want it. Just like BB internet.
Right, but in the CRT arena (and Jet's point if I'm not mistaken) the fact remains that the 40" xbr800 is BIGGER than the 34" XBR 910/960 even with 16:9 content (that HD you were going on about). It's still able to display it in all it's glory (although I guess you'd loose some vertical resolution in 'wasted' black bars- no?) and you still don't have to stretch what SD you still watch. 4:3 content isn't going to go away any time soon, even after the DTV switch in 2006. Yes, more things will be broadcast in 16:9 HD, but see above for the way it shakes loose in CRT land where there will be no large WS (ie >38") sets ever built.
post #35 of 189
While there are other things that dictate the choice of other technologies for most of us (space, nearness to speakers generating magnetic fields, etc.), the fact remains that the single best picture you will see today is generated by a CRT. No other technology has the richness of color or can generate the pure, rich blacks like a CRT. Take a look at any store sometime; look at the Plasmas or DLP or LCD displays and then look at the direct view CRTs; the CRTs are always the winners, hands down.
post #36 of 189
I've heard broadwings arguement before, but wishing on one hand is not reality. This broadcast transition period is going to last a long time. Right now in 2004, well over 90% of cable broadcasting is STILL 4:3, and there's no big rush to change the equation. I don't watch enough DVD's in a year to make up the difference. Maybe after 2006, we'll see some huge movement in HD broadcasting, but that's a big "maybe". A 4:3 HDTV makes sense for a lot of us. Others may want the 16:9 HDTV's for their own reasons. I think the decision just became more complicated w/the upcoming 36XBR960's Super Fine Pitch Tube. Check your viewing habits & distance to the screen before you decide, but definitely get a HDTV.
post #37 of 189
When I can buy a widscreen TV at the same cost of a 4:3 TV and I can have an awesome picture regardless of content and aspect ratio, then we'll talk.

You're looking at 2006 at the earliest for this. Worst case scenario, I watch everything with letterbox bars. Those don't bother me. I'd rather watch everything in letterbox vs those vertical sidebards any day.

So..good enough! :)
post #38 of 189
I don't disagree with any of your arguments. For some viewing habits it will continue to make sense to own a 4:3 set. The future programming issue comes down to the fact that consumer demand is expanding exponentially. Very similar to the Broadband issue. Over 2 million HD sets were sold in the fourth quarter of 2003 and the latest estimates are now 9-10 million for 2004. I can't find any data that breaks down how many were 4:3 sets. Fox tried to dismiss the demand for HD programing and now can't get there fast enough. Cost is going to be a greatly reduced issue with this falls new sets. For some 4:3 will be the best solution, but that number will continue to decline. BTW I do agree that direct-view crt's produce the best picture. But due to their size limitations they will be the smaller part of the total sales. Demand has created enhanced drive for better technology and soon there will be displays that rival direct-view that will be larger, lighter, and cost less.
post #39 of 189
Thread Starter 
Hello,

Thanks a lot for all the responses. I did have a feeling this question would spark quite a debate and a good debate it has been. It has helped me a lot. Here's my recent experience: I have seen digital CRTs and LCDs, Plasmas, DLPs in a CC store at different viewing distances and at different viewing angles (spent 1 hr doing this and the salesperson really thought I was going to buy an LCD or a DLP that day. Sorry Dave, not just yet.), and in my personal opinion, the CRTs could not be beaten in terms of PQ.

According to me, the 8000$ plasma Tv in the CC store scored the worst. They were showing a ice hockey match on all these Tvs, and the entire picture was blocky due to fast moving motion and it was very easily noticeable from any distance. The blacks on the DLPs were better than those on LCDs and normal RPTVs, but the yellows and greens looked unnaturally bright. Viewing angles for the regular RPTVs were terrible. True, the big screen size overwhelmed me (everyone likes big things...big houses, big cars, and now big tvs), but in all that big screen awe, for a while I forgot about the PQ I noticed on the CRTs.

Personally, I do not do monthly installments, never have and never will (unless its a house or I decide to buy a fancy car). If I spend over 2000$ on something, it should deliver quality first, maintenance costs second, size and other things later. CRTs score here on the 1st 2 accounts.

Question of 4:3 or 16:9. To me, if I get a 4:3 Tv and the very next day all channels start 16:9 broadcasts, I can still live with it. I presume most of us are more accustomed to seeing black bars on top and bottom than on the sides - that would be plain ugly.

So my best step would be to wait for the new super fine picture tubes by Sony, widescreen or not, most likely HDTV ready monitor, and when I marry in the distant future and my wife fancies a bigger flatter Tv that looks great with the decor, I'll perhaps get that (make that: I will have to get that :) ). By then I guess there would be better and cheaper DLPs and far better technologies.

Thanks.
post #40 of 189
Quote:
Originally posted by mortenharket
Question of 4:3 or 16:9. To me, if I get a 4:3 Tv and the very next day all channels start 16:9 broadcasts, I can still live with it. I presume most of us are more accustomed to seeing black bars on top and bottom than on the sides - that would be plain ugly.

So my best step would be to wait for the new super fine picture tubes by Sony, widescreen or not, most likely HDTV ready monitor
Yeah the cold hard fact is that now with more and more HD becoming part of our TV watching future, we'll be forced to live with black bars one way or the other whether we're watching on a 4:3 or 16:9 display, and as you say i think the vast majority of us are already accustomed to black bars on top and bottom so if you couple that with the fact that even in 8 years most programming will still be 4:3 - a large 4:3 TV is the better choice overall. With the 36" set, the resultant 33" of widescreen area would be more than adequate for the times that you actually need it while still having a ton more area for the majority 4:3 content. There are a lot of nice 36" HD-ready digital sets out there :-)

Now if suddenly everything was broadcast in widescreen (like local news, documentaries, syndicated programming, Speedvision, and ALL primetime shows) then i'd advocate widescreen all the way. This is not in our future however, even though everything will be going digital soon. It'll still mostly be 4:3.

Most people that watch primarily HD and DVD are more apt to buy a large Plasma or RPTV anyway and will not settle for a little 34" widescreen tube TV. I know i sure wouldn't settle! I don't watch many DVDs, and very few of my primetime shows are shown in HD. I really wanted a nice 42" Plasma - i love the concept of a flat, widescreen TV and was willing to spend the money, i but i just didn't have the need for widescreen or the plasma technology so i bought the 32" Panny CRT - and enjoy it's perfect SD picture daily.

As for waiting for the new Super Fine Pitch 36" Sony - you might want to check the other threads where 34XBR910 owners say that digital cable and DirecTV/Dish doesn't look so great as that SFP tube seems to be optimized more for HD than SD, in which case the current 36HS510 digital model might well be more suited to your particular SD needs. Analog cable channels on my 32" HD-ready Panny look way better than on the 27" analog Sony it replaced, and the digital channels look almost DVD quality! I've seen a few 34" XBRs with DirecTV and it looked kinda blocky and jagged.
post #41 of 189
Yes, we'll have to wait & see how the 36" 960's handle SD, but remember it IS a 4:3 TV, and SD 4:3 is its native mode. Another note, according to Sony, this is "second generation" Super Fine Pitch technology, and that may or not mean noticeable tweaks & refinements to an already outatanding Tube.
post #42 of 189
It could also mean decontenting to cut costs and improve margins, ya never know...

This years Toshiba 73 series 36" models are a lot lighter than the 72 series that got some great reviews. Who knows if they decontented or not...
post #43 of 189
I say Sony should give everyone a choice and bring the 2d generation microfine technology to the 40-inch tube and also to a 38-inch widescreen tube and let everybody choose. If they did that everybody would be happy!
post #44 of 189
Darren,

I too have thought about the 960's lower price point compared to the 910's, but then again it's certainly not the first time we've seen substantial price drops in electronic gear because of market strategy or position. The Plasma's are dropping in price at an even greater margin, and at the same time improving the technology & PQ. No one is complaining that these new lower priced Plasmas that are giving an even better bang for their buck than their predecessors are made cheap by inferior materials, etc.
post #45 of 189
If you want to talk about the combination of price, performance, durability, overall satisfaction...

CRT > * for at least the next year or two, guranteed.

It's going to really take some serious steps in technological evolution on some of the other fronts for any of them to be where CRT HD is right now.

I don't see plasma getting there. It's too fragile, expensive, and flawed. I'd give LCOS, LCD, OLED, and DLP the nod easily over plasma. (re: Just about anything else.)
post #46 of 189
i think the next big thing on the horizon will be 1080p DLP followed by SED. While i do think that CRTs will be here for awhile, 4:3 CRTs days maybe numbered. There will be models in 2004 and 2005, but 2006 is iffy. I read somewhere where all cable boxes must provide DVI ouput by summer 2005. Something tells me the 2005 4:3 models maybe the last.
post #47 of 189
Quote:
Originally posted by Q of BanditZ
I couldn't endorse plasma to anyone even remotely serious about home theater for any size, any price, any situation. Just my $0.02 ;)
Well, I'm glad I didn't ask this fellow's advice :D

Since this is the direct-view forum, it makes sense people here will hold CRT quality as being supreme. Maybe we could use a plasma owner's input for some balance ;)

While I'm quite aware of the technical virtues of CRT technology, and of the vices of digital display technologies, I don't agree that "CRT is the best image quality" as has been stated several times. That's too broad a brush. Each technology has it's advantages, each has it's own look. For some the look of a big RPTV will give the most appealing viewing experience; for others a high-quality widescreen CRT or plasma. Picture quality is not entirely described by the measurements in which CRT excels.

My experience: I've demoed properly calibrated widescreen direct views such as: all the Loewes, the top Sonys including the 910, the Toshibas, Panasonics etc..and virtually every DLP/LCD out there, and properly (usually ISF) calibrated CRT RPTVs from Pioneer Elite, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Sony, Toshiba...you get the picture.
I've also seen most of the available plasmas in action, often under controlled demo conditions. In regards to CRT direct views vs plasma after a downright unhealthy number of comparisons I come down on the side of plasma.

Do I appreciate what CRTs do well? You bet I do, and it makes me damned tough on the new technologies, especially those that can't produce satisfactory black levels. But when you can find a combination of good black levels and natural-looking color along with the virtues of digital display technology I find it to be image nirvana.

I like best those plasmas based on the Panasonic glass, which produce virtual CRT-level blacks (measurable down to .2 nits). They do not distinguish the very deepest gradients of black like a CRT but that is rarely noticeable and the black depth and shadow detail is so good you'd hardly notice. Which leaves the truly impressive strengths of plasma in the forefront: perfect focus/geometry, perfect flatness, beautiful color, superb sharpness, a particularly natural light quality all in an image size that exceeds any direct view.

None of my DVDs have the same impact on a CRT direct view as they do on my 42" Panasonic plasma - it's like watching "TV" (direct-view) to having a window on the movie set sometimes (plasma). Almost everyone who has replaced a CRT direct view over on the plasma forum has felt similar: that the plasma gave the more mesmerizing viewing experience. My friends who own some top of the line direct views (widescreen too) from Sony/Toshiba/Loewe have all remarked on the quality of movies on my plasma, and that it carries more overall impact than on their crts. (Most feel a plasma will be their next upgrade after they've visited :) Funny thing is I've never felt the same way when I visit them to watch their "superior" crts technology...and by the way I also own a Panasonic Tau tube set and movies on the plasma truly whip it's butt).

So, to concentrate on the very last bits of black level that a crt direct view may do better is to ignore the amazing advantages of plasma - advantages that translate directly to picture quality.

Certainly not all plasmas are created equal; with the poorer performing plasmas I'd choose a direct view over 'em. And I wouldn't begrudge anyone their opinion that CRT direct views look better than plasma. The Sony XBR910 is one of my all-time favorite displays. What an image, especially with Hi-Def! Luckily we all have the choice to buy what we want.
Oh yeah, I'd also add that I prefer the look of emissive technologies, like tube direct views and plasmas, over Rear Projected technologies. I just don't in the end care for that "projected from behind" look, or for the shifty image quality with varying viewing positions. (I'd go front projector before rear projector for sure).

I don't mean to rankle feathers...given the thread header I just thought I'd throw one more experience and opinion into the mix.

Peace,
post #48 of 189
R. Harkness: Do you think anyone else will try to produce a 38-inch widescreen CRT like the Loewe? If they could make the tube flat and microfine they might could even wring out a little more resolution than the 34XBR 910. I'd like to see a set like that side by side with a 38-inch plasma. I only give 4:3 three more years of technological improvement--they may make them for a few years more--with prices going down I hope one day they will make a 38-inch widescreen CRT. For now I know if you want truely excellent displays go with the Panasonic for the best EDTV Plasma. Fujitsu for the best HD plasma, Sony 34XBR910--but look out for upcoming new version as best widescreen direct-view--Sony 40XBR 800 as best 4:3 and 16:9 transition TV and Mitsubishi 73713 with 9-inch guns for best CRT RPTV. I think everything else sucks, but I am looking forward to 1080p DLPs whenever they finally do come out. What are you looking forward to seeing?
post #49 of 189
Jet,

A 38 inch direct view, with flat geometry and image quality like the Sony XBR910 would be freaking awesome. But I don't see it happening, especially given size/geometry contraints of direct view technology (I think a flat CRT direct view has been impossible at that size, which is why the 30" direct views are curved).

edit: Yeah, I'm really looking forward to checking out the new DLP displays!
I can't believe how good some of the projectors already look.
post #50 of 189
Quote:
Originally posted by Jet Champion
i think the next big thing on the horizon will be 1080p DLP followed by SED. While i do think that CRTs will be here for awhile, 4:3 CRTs days maybe numbered. There will be models in 2004 and 2005, but 2006 is iffy. I read somewhere where all cable boxes must provide DVI ouput by summer 2005. Something tells me the 2005 4:3 models maybe the last.
What concerns me about this is while there will more and more widescreen HD content broadcast in the next few years, i think the majority of regular programming (news, documentaries, syndicated shows, less popular primetime shows, Speedvision etc) will still be broadcast in 4:3 (albeit 4:3 digital).

So what if we can no longer buy 4:3 CRT tube TVs after a few years? Will we be forced to watch all the 4:3 programming with black sidebars or stretched on our spiffy new widescreen Plasmas, LCDs, and RPTVs? I can't imagine Joe Sixpack (to quote the missing Thumperboy) not being able to buy a regular digital 27" or 32" TV at the local Walmart.
post #51 of 189
Rich Harkness,

I love looking at the various pictures of how movies look on your Plasma. Are those DVDs or HD? And what size/brand/model is your Plasma? In all the various stores i've gone to the only thing they show is DVDs while others (like CC or Best Buy) show a 480p recording of HD material, so i presume i'm still seeing 480p regardless. I don't think i've ever seen true HD.

Also, do you have pics of how SD programming looks on your Plasma, either stretched/zoomed and with black bars etc? Analog cable, digital cable, D* or whatever. I'd love to see what non-DVD, non-HD looks like on a Plasma.

Last summer i really wanted to get a 42" Panasonic ED Plasma but just couldn't justify it for my viewing (99% SD analog & digital cable). I still want a Plasma and i think i can live with Panny's JUST setting or even black sidebars from time to time and enjoy the window effect of the display :-)

Thanks !
post #52 of 189
They probably will let Joe Sixpack buy a 27 or a 32-inch at Wal-Mart. The sad thing will be that they will probably quit selling 36-inch 4:3 CRTs. The industry believes they can force 36-inch CRT owners into either choosing 34-inch widescreen or upgrading to EDTV plasma at 38 or 42 inches or rear projection LCD at 42-inches. That's why I'm always on the crusade for larger CRTs.With RP CRT as low as it is now, how much lower do you think it will be in 2006? By then you might can buy Sony at Wal-Mart. Electronics are cheap in Plasma and Rear Projection LCD and CRTs,but you know what does cost money? The glass CRT tube itself--you can't get that to go down much in price. That's why the Industry wants people to move to plasma or rear projection LCD--THEY CAN MAKE MORE MONEY! You think Detroit would rather sell a small car or a SUV--the profit margin is higher on an SUV. The industryisn't worried too much about high end 34-inch CRT buyers or Sony 40XBR 800 buyers--they know these people will spend whatever it takes to move up. They know that the 32-inch and 27-inch crowd can be accomodated at Wal-Mart--it's the 36-inch crowd that they want so much to move up to plasma or rear projection LCD--if you quit making 36-inch displays you FORCE them to go somewhere. That's the real reason they will not make 38-inch widescreen displays--it's not because they can't do it, but because they don't want to provide that stepping stone to 36-inch CRT owners. They want to MAKE them make the video industry MORE profitable and move to plasma or rear projection LCD. All it takes is one company to choose to make 36-inch CRTs or 38-inch widescreen CRTs in 2006 and their plan does not succeed as well. The pickup in change over to widescreen will take over faster and faster as most people will either choose to watch 4:3 stretched or in some cases won't get the choice--cable and satellite providers will stretch the programs whether they want it or not. That's why I urge people while there still is a chance to influence the Video Industry's behavior to tell them you want more and bigger widescreen direct-view CRTs and more 4:3 CRTs and choices in aspect ratio. If you don't tell them now, they will TELL YOU in the future!
post #53 of 189
Quote:
Originally posted by R Harkness

Do I appreciate what CRTs do well? You bet I do, and it makes me damned tough on the new technologies, especially those that can't produce satisfactory black levels. But when you can find a combination of good black levels and natural-looking color along with the virtues of digital display technology I find it to be image nirvana.
Unfortunately, IMHO nothing does blacks as well as CRT does - not Plasma, certainly not LCD, and DLP does black but also crushes greys into blacks horribly.

I myself am going to end up having to buy a plasma display but I really, truly recommend that anyone considering one try to find out if there's any way they can possibly buy a CRT instead.

I want a CRT, I would buy a CRT, but I'm having to settle for a plasma as it's the only thing that will work for me.

But for the videophile, anything other than CRT has a long way to go, whether direct view CRT or front projection with 9" tubes...
post #54 of 189
Hi Randy,

My screen shots are of regular DVDs, not Hi-Def.

Sorry, no shots of regular cable/SD, mainly because I can't pause the picture so it would be blurred and therefore not representative of how sharp the image really is.


I can't say what I'd do in your situation, given how heavily weighted you say your SD viewing is. But if it's any help...
While I bought the plasma primarily to watch DVDs (I also have Hi-Def cable), it's turned out the family watches a lot of regular TV on the thing.
I've been absolutely amazed by regular NTSC on this plasma. It looks like a big, smooth analog CRT image...as opposed to the blocky, smeary, pixelated, very digitized, processed look that NTSC takes on most wide-screen displays. I haven't even seen a widescreen tube set that does NTSC better.

At 42" you definitely see much more variability in image quality between channels. So you notice problems with some channels that would pass you by on the average smaller CRT. But given a half decent feed the image looks very good, and with a good feed it can look head-turning, close to DVD. Watching the animal channel - regular digital NTSC - with my kids my jaw just hangs open at the clarity, detail and sheer realism. I certainly never got close to the same kind of thrill from cable on any direct view set.

The point is the Panny ED plasma adds less obvious processing than any wide-screen display I've encountered, and retains as much quality as possible with NTSC signals. Which means that I know what I see is based on the cable feed and not on the display. And when the feed is good the plasma shows me NTSC can look better than I'd ever imagined it could.

But, again...depends on your NTSC feed.

BTW, I thought I wouldn't be able to live with a stretched image and figured I'd be watching 4:3 tv shows with the black side bars. Turns out the Panasonic's stretch mode, which leaves the middle untouched and only stretches a bit of the side, looks so good I've grown to prefer it over 4:3 with black bars by far. It makes TV so cinematic.

That said, I watch all my DVDs in their original aspect ratio.

Cheers,
post #55 of 189
kucharsk,

The following isn't to dispute your opinion of what you feel is the better image (CRT). But since you seem headed toward a plasma maybe I can bolster your spirits a bit. I'm a videophile (a little extreme at times, but comes with the territory), and if I can be smitten by plasma I'm betting you can too. ;)



"Unfortunately, IMHO nothing does blacks as well as CRT does "

What aspect of black level performance bothers you about plasma? Have you ever seen a properly calibrated Panasonic plasma? I'll quote technical reviewer Peter Putman, who has been in the forefront of putting plasma through performance tests for years now:

"Of the plasma panels I have tested, only those made by Panasonic (also used in Fujitsu's 50" product) can produce "black" levels that approach that of a CRT, and subsequently display a grayscale with CRT-like shadow detail performance. The Panasonic panels typically produce a black level of .2 nits, equivalent to my Princeton CRT monitor."

I'm very picky about black levels - picky enough that I'm not satisfied by practically any other digital display technology. But even I have found the Panasonic plasmas (and those based on Panasonic, like some Fujitsu/Runco/Bang and Olufsen) keep me more than satisfied. Even with my horror and sci-fi and black and white film collection the Panasonic thrills me with it's deep, rich crt-like contrast. I don't miss my crt for a second.
(I pasted another couple quotes from reviews of the Panasonic plasma at the bottom of this post).

I am willing to bet that if you go with a plasma like Panasonic that does good blacks, after calibrating it and putting on your first DVD, the last thing you'll feel like is that you've "settled" for anything. I've no doubt you won't be able to wipe the grin off your face once you've seen just how amazing the image can look at home - store set-ups never do them justice, as every plasma owner has found out. I've lost count of how many people on AVS, who were skeptical about switching to plasma from direct view, have become instant converts once they actually saw one perform in their home.

Best of luck whatever you choose. There's always the Sony XBR910 for direct view. (My choice for best direct view out there).

Here are some shots of The Hulk playing on my plasma:

The Hulk Screen shots on Panasonic Plasma

***************

Couple of review quotes, re Panasonic plasma black level performance:

Panasonic ED Plasma Review from Home Cinema :
"Wow. Panasonic's new image processing is nothing short of revolutionary, enabling the 42PW4 to deliver far and away the most cinematic images I've seen on a plasma screen. The contrast range is sensational, rendering black levels so true and devoid of noise that they really do rival the best CRT TVs." And..."overall the Panasonic 42PW4 is simply in a class of its own."

From Sound And Vision's recent Panasonic ED Plasma Review: "Picture contrast, color, and detail were all astonishingly good." And.."Skipping to the XXX balcony sequence—my new black-level torture test for plasma TVs—I was impressed by shadow details in this murky scene. Not only could I make out highlights in Yelena's dark-brown hair, but the nighttime sky surrounding it was a deep shade of black—something most plasma TVs have trouble achieving with dim images. Panasonic gets an enthusiastic thumbs up for delivering impressive detail with dark images." And..."With its PT-42PD3-P, Panasonic has created a stunning set that's likely to wipe out any misgivings hard-core video enthusiasts have about plasma displays."

From The Perfect Vision (whose writers until recently ignored plasma):

"Panasonic has developed plasma technology that boasts astoundingly high contrast ratios-and these increases are not a result of increased light output, but of improved black levels. Details that were submerged in the darker areas of the image by earlier plasmas with their elevated black levels, now, on the Panasonic PT-42PHD4-P, jump out of the blacks like a dancer out of a cake. As a result, images have much greater depth and are much closer to CRT quality."


Cheers,

(Skulks out of direct view forum before tomatoes are thrown...)
post #56 of 189
Unfortunately I believe ED plasma is just silly; if you're going to buy a plasma, it should be HD or nothing.

That having been said, while I admit the Panasonic's blacks are very good indeed, they also seem to crush blacks a bit. Nowhere near as bad as a DLP unit, of course, but shadows seem a bit less defined than on other plasmas. Also disturbing is the fact that Panasonic included NTSC tuners in their plasmas (I mean really, what's the point?)

Granted, the new 25 series coming next month will include an ATSC tuner, and it should be interesting to see what those displays have to offer.

And as much as I do love CRT, right now I wouldn't buy a 16:9 CRT myself unless my viewing distance was very close; IMHO the 36HS510 and 40XBR800 are the CRTs to beat and their 4:3 aspect ratio with LBX 16:9 is perfect for this transition period. The Zenith HDTV is another good choice; it's just too bad it only comes in the 32" form factor. :(

(Sorry, soapbox mode off now. ;))
post #57 of 189
ED anything is just plain silly, honestly. At this stage of the game, the prices are amenable to go HD...except when you start talking plasma and some of the other technologies.

Harkness, I don't doubt a word you are saying, but...how much did that plasma cost you, to get the quality you say you have?

That answer alone is what sets this thing apart. To get "awesome quality" with plasma, you have to pass a kidney stone to get it done.

I'd rather spend $1500 or $2K at the absolute most on a cRT that kicks ass any day. I really don't care how much room it takes up, I care about performance and value for my dollar first and foremost.

With plasma, you are paying a lot of money for the compressed technology and the "privilege" of hanging it on your wall. Big deal.

I'd rather put the money strictly towards performance first, regardless of anything else.

Tech philes have an intersting way of making room for whatever they want, so... anyways, I hope you enjoy your set. It sounds like you do, but, there's just no arugment when you start talking about prices, repairs, overall costs, maintenance, stabilty, reliabiltiy, and most especially, durability, etc.

I repeat: I think plasma will stay in a higher end niche market but...if you're really serious about home theater and have big bucks, you're going to ultimately want to go LCOS, OLED, or DLP or even stick with CRT for a few more years.

In other words, anything but plasma. It's just not a good buy when you take in the big picture and look out over several years, imho.

Here's an easy example: If you have one, fire up the Xbox on that plasma. Crank it up all the way. Get a first person shooter of your choice. Something that has several static images on it at all times.

Play that games for several hours each day. Let me know what the end results are.



Maybe I'll be wrong. That would be very nice in this case. ;)
post #58 of 189
Howdy Q of BanditZ. Nice to meet you. :)

I'd like to give some perspective on some of your comments:

"ED anything is just plain silly, honestly...."

That's not true. Honestly :) People who inhabit the AVS flat-panel forum access what is perhaps the world's premier source of flat panel/plasma info for consumers. There is constant swapping of experience with ED and HD plasmas, and most everyone there has done detailed comparisons. Yet the Panasonic ED plasma remains one of the most popular choices, even among informed people (like, I hope, myself).

Why did I choose the ED when I could easily have gotten the HD plasma or other HD display?

1. Black levels. If you want good, CRT-like black levels in a digital display there is only one game in town: Panasonic. No other plasma, no DLP, no LCD have managed to lick the black level problem like the Panasonic ED and HD models. If you are a videophile you should know that resolution is only one parameter of image quality, and that contrast and black levels are extremely important (in fact, I remember that someone posted a study done on viewer's perception of what made for good image quality, and contrast came first, followed by sharpness, resolution etc).

If I'd gone to DLP or LCD I would have settled for poor black levels in trade for more pixels. As I judge image quality, the trade isn't worth it...not one DLP or LCD-based display satisfied me in low lighting (as I like to watch) or on dark scenes. I'd have settled for what to me was poorer image quality just so I could say I had "true HD resolution." Whereas I'm thrilled by those same DVDs on the Panasonic ED plasma, with no regrets.

Further, it's been observed by many people, including myself, that the Panny ED has among the smoothest, most artifact free rendering of DVD images of any wide-screen display. It's been surmised that it's due to the display resolution closely matching DVD resolution. Whereas the Hi-Def panels and RPTVs, in upscaling DVD to their higher pixel count, suffer more visible scaling artifacts. Again, in direct comparisons the Panny ED won me over, especially as viewing my DVD collection was my main motivation.

Typically you take a hit on NTSC quality when buying a widescreen display - especially a digital one. Whereas the Panny ED is well known to handle NTSC better than the vast majority of widescreen displays, and certainly much better than any Hi-Def plasma. The last thing I'd want is my wife and kids to complain that I spent a ton of money on a display that makes 90 percent of their viewing material (cable TV channels) look WORSE than on our tube set. As it is, we are all thrilled by how gorgeous even NTSC can look on this display. Another plus for the Panny ED model.

Hi-Def? It looks so fantastic on the Panny ED you barely miss that it's not Hi-Def, as reviewers have pointed out. Over on the flat panel forum many people have done extensive comparisons of Hi-Def on the ED model vs the HD model, with many finding that at their viewing distance (8 feet or a bit more) Hi-Def looks virtually indistinguishable on the two plasmas. Or at least close enough for some people that they simply cannot justify the extra thousands of dollars on a difference they can barely detect. Check the forum and you'll find the posts from ED owners to be just as ecstatic about their Hi-Def signals as those with "true" Hi-Def displays. (I do see a difference between the Hi-Def plasmas and the ED with Hi-Def, but it is an amazingly close race...far closer than the ED panel has any right to look).Score another one for the Panny ED: Virtual Hi-Def quality for a much lower price than any Hi-Def plasma.

So, for a significantly lower price (than going for the Hi-Def plasmas) I got CRT-like richness of image and black levels that no other digital display will do, a smoother handling of DVD than the majority of Hi-Def displays, a better NTSC image than almost any Hi-Def display, and a mouthwatering image with Hi-Def images. I don't have to suffer with that RPTV, projected-from-behind look that detracts from the image for me, I have an image that remains perfect from all viewing angles, I have a larger, more cinematic image than I can get from any CRT Tube set, and...yeah...the icing on the cake is that it actually enhances, rather than detracts from the decor of the room. And every time I turn it on I feel like George Jetson :)

So, to say ED plasmas are "silly" is to seriously underestimate all the factors that go into making such a purchase.


"I'd rather put the money strictly towards performance first, regardless of anything else."

Same here.

"Tech philes have an intersting way of making room for whatever they want, so... "

Tell me about it. I've been a High-End Audio nut for years and, oh, the behemothic speakers and amplifiers that have carouselled through my little listening room....my poor wife....

"but, there's just no argument when you start talking about prices, repairs, overall costs, maintenance, stabilty, reliabiltiy, and most especially, durability, etc."

Aside from price, I'm not sure what you mean. Plasma life span now pretty much matches that of good old tube sets (latest specs from Manufacturers are up to 60,000 hours until half brightness..that's 23 years of viewing at 7 hours a day). Maintenance? Plasmas need _less_ maintenance than any other display type...no CRT-reconvergence rituals, no cleaning of RPTV guns, no replacing bulbs, mirrors etc. Reliability? Check out the RPTV forums if you want to see a constant groan fest about the reliability and manufacturing problems. As long as, like any phosphor based set, your display is used reasonably to avoid burn-in, plasma is a set-and-forget technology.

"if you're really serious about home theater..."

I'm extremely serious about Home Theater. Admittedly I don't have the additional room for a projector, but in my evaluations I'd choose a good plasma over the other technologies you mentioned. I just find the image more thrillingly believable, even if I'm giving up some image size.

"Here's an easy example: If you have one, fire up the Xbox on that plasma. Crank it up all the way. Get a first person shooter of your choice. Something that has several static images on it at all times. Play that games for several hours each day. Let me know what the end results are.
"


Done. People over on the plasma forum have been playing tons of X-Box, watching letterboxed movies, you name it. They don't have burn-in. I have had my plasma almost two years, have watched countless letter-boxed movies, have mistakenly left DVD menus on all night, and my wife and kids watch hours of shows with screaming-hard logos and news tickers: I have no hint of burn in.

"Maybe I'll be wrong. That would be very nice in this case. "

I hope I've done a little to ease your mind.

Cheers, and thanks for the chat! :)
post #59 of 189
I love reading Rich Harkness's posts. Somehow he captures exactly the right stuff in a friendly, noncombative way. His post is pretty much the summation of the entire Plasma/LCD forum consensus.

I ended up with an X1 DLP projector (budget), but the Panny ED plasma was my first choice. Now that I have 70-80" of movie screen, I don't think I could give it up, but I can see me picking up the 42" plasma as a secondary in a couple years. If I wasn't poor, that is (that is, finally graduate college).


Burn in is over-hyped. Black levels (at least for Panny) are underhyped. Geometry and convergence are always perfect. DOA sets and failure rates seem to be minimal with the better brands (no worse than other technologies). Viewing angle is CRT-level.


I just keep repeating, none of the technologies are "better" or "worse". Just different. Everyone has different needs.
Some need viewing angle, black levels, and any light level usage. And the PQ is outstanding on the good sets (don't judge by those POS cheapass plasmas). Sure, there's a bit of a price premium (not much, these days. Hell, plasma is available on the internet for the same price as DLP RPTVs).



I could use the benefits of plasma, but I am willing to sacrifice a bit of black levels and deal with having the lights out for my projector setup. I don't understand all the anti-plasma people. Proper research and facts show most of the anti-plasma feelings are due to the price premium and mis- (or not enough) information.
post #60 of 189
Rich Harkness's informative plasma ED vs HD post should be in the plasma FAQ for all to read!
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