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Just bought a Magnavox 42MF230A/37 Plasma... Good or no? Relationship to Philips...

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 
Well, in the fervor of "Black Friday," I managed to purchase a Magnavox 42MF230A/37 display from Best Buy. I got a price match against a local retailer, bringing the total cost down to [deleted]

I got a great deal I think, but can't find any info on the display online. Heck, the only things I really came across were people asking about the TV thanks to BF ads.

So, some questions:
1. What is the relationship between this display, and Philips-branded Plasmas? Are there any similarities other than the size of the display?

2. The model numbers are very similar: My "42MF230A/37" sounds very much like the Philips "42PF7320A/37." How do you read these model numbers? I can get the "42" is the size, the "M" vs the "P" might be the brand... and then what?

3. The display looked good as I started fiddling with its menus. They ran short movie clips, which let me fiddle with black levels, contrast, etc. What do you folks think of it? I saw a thread asking similar questions, (thread 608011 since I can't post URLs yet ) that didn't really speak to the Magnavox display, but did recommend just about every *other* display mentioned. I also just saw a thread asking about vertical banding... hopefully I won't see that.

4. Was it a good deal at that price? I think so... but at the time I was shopping for a LCD projection TV, and made a little bit of an impulse buy after they actually accepted the price match... of course, the plasma was actually cheaper than the LCD projection unit I was looking to purchase at the time.

If you can answer any of these questions, I'd appreciate it (and I'm sure others that may be in my situation would as well).

I forgot to say that part of the reason I got the thing was that I was able to purchase it at a BB in Memphis, TN (where my folks live) for delivery in Austin, TX (where I live). Apparently the BB sales system is integrated enough that a store in TN can sell out of a warehouse in TX. Thanks to this happy coincidence, the TV's not being delivered until Wednesday the 30th, so I have until then to get this thing canceled if I need to... should I?

G'day,
~ Mike Hollinger
post #2 of 86
I called Magnavox about this unit and the tech support guy knew very little about it. I had some reward zone certificates so I bought one. We are going to use it as our everyday television for news and network offerings so I wasn't looking to spend a bunch. It is suppose to be here tomorrow (27th) so I will see how it looks after a proper setup. I will try to get a glimpse at the back of the glass and anything else I can. If it is so bad that everyone complains about the picture then it will be easy enough to take it back.
post #3 of 86
Thread Starter 
Yep. I imagine there will be more posts regarding this TV for the next few weeks as folks like us who bought the TV at Best Buy filter in.

At least I'm not the only one who thought it was worth a gamble...
post #4 of 86
This Magnavox Plasma is made by Phillips. Phillips traditionally uses the Magnavox line to compete against lower priced competition by providing value priced products based on tried, proven technology.

In essence, what I believe that to mean is that while this TV isn't the latest and greatest newest technology - it is based on previous Phillips designs and products

You can find out more info online on the Phillips site but it was hard to track down. I would post the URL but since I can't post URLs yet this is a bit harder to do - but go to

Hopefully that helps
post #5 of 86
well so much for trying to post some info just to the manufacturer's web site - the info was edited out of my last post.

Anyway, while I haven't explored this in full detail yet, I suspect based on a cursury review that this may be based on a scaled down version of the discontinued Philips 42PF9976
post #6 of 86
"I forgot to say that part of the reason I got the thing was that I was able to purchase it at a BB in Memphis, TN (where my folks live) for delivery in Austin, TX (where I live). Apparently the BB sales system is integrated enough that a store in TN can sell out of a warehouse in TX. Thanks to this happy coincidence, the TV's not being delivered until Wednesday the 30th, so I have until then to get this thing canceled if I need to... should I?"



This impresses me about BB--I ordered a Zenith plasma on Saturday in Kansas and it was delivered the next day to my son in Chicago--they even waived the delivery fee.
post #7 of 86
I am also very interested to hear about the PQ of this set. In my local BB the set looked terrible. The picture was all fuzzy in fact the Maxent Ed-TV looked much better. The salesman assured me this was not the signal and that "Magnavox does not make the greatest TV" So I'm thinking it was just a bad floor model. Let me know how the picture turns out.
post #8 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vtwinguy View Post

I am also very interested to hear about the PQ of this set. In my local BB the set looked terrible. The picture was all fuzzy in fact the Maxent Ed-TV looked much better. The salesman assured me this was not the signal and that "Magnavox does not make the greatest TV" So I'm thinking it was just a bad floor model. Let me know how the picture turns out.


The set looked clear and was sharp when showing text. Their demo loop looked fine on movie clips, and the set looked clear and bright on the text / graphics screens. I was able to clearly see the mpeg compression artifacts around the text up close, so I'd say it was sharp.

I didn't buy the Best Buy warranty plan, so we will definitely have it set up before the delivery folks walk out the door. I'll roll through a quick series of tests off the DVI port of my PC. Hrm. Now that I think about it, I need to get a DVI cable... I'm more concerned about stuck / dead pixels, or bad columns in the display. The actual overall picture quality I'm sure will be good. I mean, compared to my 27" POS with no working tuner that requires a cable box, anything will look good.
post #9 of 86
Was able to set mine up today. But I am waiting for my Digital Cable box for HDTV from Comcast - so could only run it on my old basic cable.

Running on basic cable - standard TV PQ was fair - but my guess is part of that is due to running it in wide screen instead of normal mode (trying not to use 4:3 picture during the first 100 hrs) and part due to the basic cable.

I did try out a couple DVD players I have hooked up to it - one via Component and one via S-video. Excellent PQ on both. Watched Star Wars Episode III and it was amazing PQ.
post #10 of 86
I too talked my fiance into this plasma while waiting in line for black friday. Actually I really wanted the 46" DLP. Unfortunately it was rainbow city for us when we looked at it. I never really wanted a plasma before, and always research everything (it took months on avs to choose my lcd projector) but at 5am with no sleep you'd be surprised at what you will buy. I was very pleased to be watching football and greys anatomy today in beautiful hidef. SD digital satellite is ok in 4:3 mode. once you zoom or stretch it it becomes quite blurry,fuzzy,etc but turning up sharpness seems to help some. ota hidef is something to behold, although I am not accustomed to watching hidef yet. I just bought it for hidef football and as a downstairs non dvd main tv. i was mesmerized watching leno and conan in hd. the richness of color and detail is spectacular. they were also showing star wars ep ii in hd ota and thats when i knew i wouldn't have to fight off impulse buyers remorse.

i actually think it will look better once broken in some (about 12 hrs on it so far maybe) but i havent gotten out video essentials yet to adjust things. i am following the so called "break in" guidelines, mostly forcing myself to watch everything in fat mode, but gave that up and just switch to watching sd in cinema. the set seems to have only the most basic video controls and i havent seen any way to adjust the brightness of the side bars when watching sd content. i'm also not sure what anti burnin features it may have or anything like that. the remote is laughably bad but who cares it gets the job done. sound isnt too good but acceptable if somewhat muddy; best to have a set of speakers for it.


i can't wait to get a hidef directivo and find out more about it and see what others think who can make a more educated judgement about this set. bottom line is for the price i paid i am very happy. worst case i can get a big$ set later on and stick this in another room.
post #11 of 86
Thread Starter 
I tend to agree with you on the sharpness, having spent an hour in BB here in Austin tinkering with the set some more. They had a panasonic above it which I was comparing against. The Panasonic's sharpness and vividness was noticeably better than the Magnavox. However, when I poked at the Pan's display settings, someone had tinkered with it, put it in "vivid" mode, and a few other things. I disabled that, and put it back in a more realistic PQ mode, and got the Magnavox to look very close to the Panasonic. I walked away, and about 5 minutes later came back and they looked nearly identical to my eye.

I think the TV can't do the "sharpness" or create the visual "pop" of some other sets, but for hundreds of dollars less, on normal TV, I won't mind. My only concern is standard definition video feeds -- BB didn't have any way to pipe a SD signal to it.
post #12 of 86
Can anyone recommend a HD antenna for this TV?
post #13 of 86
Go on over to the HDTV Hardware threads or to your local area reception thread for the best responses to that question.
post #14 of 86
I picked this up early Friday as well. After seeing no reviews on the net I just winged it for the price.

So far I am generally pleased with the set, slightly disapointed and not overwhelmed at the same time.

The image quality seems to vary distinctly between DVD's. This is my first HD TV of any kind so I'm not sure if that's standard. So far I seem to adjust the picture a bit for each different movie but am deciding to set EP. 3 as the benchmark.

The sharpness setting is locked on all component feeds, odd.

The menu's aren't extensive but provide enough basic options.

The blacks seem adequate but do seem to fade a bit in extreme darkness. Switching between modes and channels takes a while, there's a definite pause of a second or two. Not sure if this is standard with Plasma's though.

Oddly enough the HD signal coming from my rabbit ears through broadcast tv seems the most impressive so far. Colors are very vibrant and detail is the most crisp, unlike DVD's which seem very soft and film-like.

I'm curious to see what other's think of this set who have more experience.

Also, my PS2 seems to fail to recognize this set as Progressive when I try to adjust the settings.
post #15 of 86
Bought my BB Magnavox at the sale this weekend. The sound was tinny and sounded like it came from an old radio. It didn't matter how I adjusted it, it sounded bad. I called the BB salesman and he said since I didnt buy thier extra warranty I would have to put it back in the box and bring it back. The salesman on the phone sounded like he didnt want to mess with me and started making excuses for the sound. ( Oh, Plasmas are just like that/ Did you buy the display?(no)/Oh, you didnt have US deliver it (like I broke it)/ etc. ) So I was ready for a fight.
Once I got it to the store the GEEK squad saw I brought it back in the box and said I should find a salesman and see if they had anymore.(I knew I had bought the last one Saturday) I did as he said,and the salesman (not the one I talked to on the phone) said there were 5 in the warehouse and he would have one sent to the store. Then the store manager suggested we just have it delivered to our home since it had be delivered somewhere, even though we did not pay to have it delivered the first time. No fight, no hastle! I should have my new one delivered on Thursday. I sure hope the sound is better and there aren't any new issues. I would hate to have to bring it back again and look like I can't be pleased. They treated me much better than I expected. Thanks Best Buy!
post #16 of 86
The sound is not very good anyway. I turned my bass and treble settings all the way up. It sounds muddled as a result of the speakers facing rearward of the set, and they are small. It has a headphone out on the side that I've hooked up to a set of powered computer speakers with sub and that works well. You can disable the internal speakers and still control the volume with the remote. I noticed the lack of distinction in the dark blacks as well. I believe this will improve once the brightness of the set dims as it gets used and you can turn the settings up.

That different DVD's would look different doesn't surprise me, especially if some of them are of older films. The transfer process comes out different, higher resolution sets unfortunately make it easier to see the defects as well, and until the set is properly calibrated it may make some look good and others look terrible. I'm not positive but I believe on the hidef inputs the sharpness is disabled altogether. Also note that each set of inputs has its own video settings so you will need to set them for each input.

To be honest I haven't checked DVD's, my DVD player is upstairs with the projector but they have to look better than the old TV and as good as anything comparable for the money.
post #17 of 86
This too is my very first HD set. It looked very comparable to the higher end models at the store when watching it side by side. Over all I am pleased with the set. Only problem that I have is that I am not able to get any sound out of the set. I am not sure if it is defective or if it is my wiring. Curently I am running my sound from my HD Cable Box to my receiver and listening to the sound through the receiver, which I believe will be much better than the set, but it still bothers me that I am not able to get sound through the set itself.

Any suggestions?
post #18 of 86
Ambrosiu, stupid question but did you disable the TV speakers or is this just an issue with the set itself...?

I finally got to hook up my game systems, makes them all look crappy, even the Xbox. I guess this is a good thing....? Proving that the set's display is so good that current gen systems end up showig all their sore spots and looking like PS1 games, ick.

Curious. To enable progressive scan on the PS2 with the triangle, X trick, do you have to have it hooked up via component cables? This could be my problem.
post #19 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sachse View Post

Bought my BB Magnavox at the sale this weekend. The sound was tinny and sounded like it came from an old radio. It didn't matter how I adjusted it, it sounded bad. I called the BB salesman and he said since I didnt buy thier extra warranty I would have to put it back in the box and bring it back. The salesman on the phone sounded like he didnt want to mess with me and started making excuses for the sound. ( Oh, Plasmas are just like that/ Did you buy the display?(no)/Oh, you didnt have US deliver it (like I broke it)/ etc. ) So I was ready for a fight.
Once I got it to the store the GEEK squad saw I brought it back in the box and said I should find a salesman and see if they had anymore.(I knew I had bought the last one Saturday) I did as he said,and the salesman (not the one I talked to on the phone) said there were 5 in the warehouse and he would have one sent to the store. Then the store manager suggested we just have it delivered to our home since it had be delivered somewhere, even though we did not pay to have it delivered the first time. No fight, no hastle! I should have my new one delivered on Thursday. I sure hope the sound is better and there aren't any new issues. I would hate to have to bring it back again and look like I can't be pleased. They treated me much better than I expected. Thanks Best Buy!

I think the sound is horrid on this TV! The picture quality is good. It is a smidge soft. It looks great for 35 mm HD footage though. I haven't tried ESPN HD or similar channels since I didn't order the HD pack from Time Warner.

The sound is simply... bad... its hollow. The speakers must be tiny. I guess I'll have to accelerate my plans for a new receiver. It looks great on DVI, though from my cable box. :-)

Oh, by the way, I got a HDMI -> DVI cable for $8.50 or so including shipping and tax... the joys of the internet. The HDMI -> DVI I got from BB will go back as soon as I get the new one in the mail.

G'luck with everything... I'd take a picture or two, but I'm not sure how to get my camera to capture a good picture of the thing in action.


Also, I plugged in some PC speakers to the headphone jack on the TV... the sound was wretched! I got a great 60 cycle hum... to the poster that plugged in PC speakers, were they powered? If so, did you have to do anything special?
post #20 of 86
I have a hum as well but it doesn't seem to be that bad with my speaker set. You have to adjust the volume of the speakers and the volume of the tv independantly until you reduce it. ie you probably would have to turn the tv volume way down and the speakers all the way up or vice versa until you reduce the humming. I have to do the same thing when using a tape adapter to input sound from my laptop in my car.

Ambrosiu, I would go over that wiring again. Try to get sound by plugging the cable box or an ipod or something into the side inputs and set the video to side inputs and see if you get sound, just to elimate hardware failure. If you get sound then just recheck to make sure the video and audio are going into the same set of inputs.

Still enjoying the TV. Monday Night Football looked great. Still hate SD stretching but I've gotten used to using cinema mode on regular TV and it isn't that bad.
post #21 of 86
I too just purchased this tv, overall I am very pleased so far, a big step up from my previous samsung projection tv, that would only do 480p and 1080i, I have mine hooked up via hdmi to dvi, and the picture is outstanding, xbox 1 looks great in 480p also, I tried hooking my pc up to it via vga, and 1024x768 was as high as I could go using powerstrip, is that normal? I'm assuming thats the tv's native resolution, but either way I'm happy with my purchase so far
post #22 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrosiu View Post

This too is my very first HD set. It looked very comparable to the higher end models at the store when watching it side by side. Over all I am pleased with the set. Only problem that I have is that I am not able to get any sound out of the set. I am not sure if it is defective or if it is my wiring. Curently I am running my sound from my HD Cable Box to my receiver and listening to the sound through the receiver, which I believe will be much better than the set, but it still bothers me that I am not able to get sound through the set itself.

Any suggestions?

Did you make sure in the Audio set-up the speakers are turned on and not turned off?

In any case - like everyone else says, the sound from the TV itself is crappy - you are better off running them thru your receiver. I think the speakers are small and point to the rear - so depending on how the set is situated, its not ideal for sound direct from the TV. Its adequate for a show here or there, but since I planned to use it with my 5.1 surround setup, its no big deal to me
post #23 of 86
OK I can't get the sound out of the TV, but from what I am reading it is not worth trying to get it to work anyway.

I think the instructions on this thing is very lacking. Does anyone know how to mount this thing on a wall?

Rico.
post #24 of 86
I too bought this because of the sale\
ebate price from BB. Picture quality is great with cable. I have to agree with the sound. It's very poor. It sounds like someone talking into a cup. I too get a hum from the headphone jack.

I do have one problem. My XBOX 1 plays back DVD's poorly. There's a faint background of blue and black vertical lines. I didn't have any problems with my other DVD player (I know longer have it by the way). And I didn't encounter it with the XBOX games. I thought it was the cheap component cables, so I decide to try out Monster from the CC website. I drove to the store and picked it up. Went home and plugged in the cables. I still encountered those lines.

Any suggestions for my XBOX?
post #25 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrosiu View Post

Does anyone know how to mount this thing on a wall?

Rico.


Check out the FAQ here:

http://www.p4c.philips.com/cgi-bin/d...20051201004723

There are instructions there if you are using Motorola's bracket
post #26 of 86
For those who hooked this up via the DVI port, what do you have it hooked up to?

I had my cable company here today, Comcast, and they installed a Digital Cable set-top box from Motorola and tried to connect using a DVI to DVI cable with no success. The TV would not recognize the connection. The tech told me he had the same problem at another house today who had purchased the same TV. I am trying to figure out what the problem is and how to remedy.

Thanks
post #27 of 86
superstein61: I have mine hooked to my sa 8300 through adelphia cable, and haven't had any problems yet, on a side note, I have the 8300 setup to passthrough and when I go from a 720p channel to a 1080i channel I get a pink line or sometimes multiple lines on the screen where I have to turn the tv off and back on and the lines are gone, this doesnt happen all the time, but it does it quite abit, anyone else expirencing this?
post #28 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tacob View Post

superstein61: I have mine hooked to my sa 8300 through adelphia cable, and haven't had any problems yet, on a side note, I have the 8300 setup to passthrough and when I go from a 720p channel to a 1080i channel I get a pink line or sometimes multiple lines on the screen where I have to turn the tv off and back on and the lines are gone, this doesnt happen all the time, but it does it quite abit, anyone else expirencing this?

I have the 8300HD as well. I have an HDMI -> DVI cable connected. I set up the box so that all channels, regardless of their true type, are pulled up or pushed down to 720p. I also set the HD format type to "fixed." Was this a bad idea for this panel?

I haven't seen any flickering or lines like you described.

I have, however, randomly seen the picture go black for a half-second or so and come right back. If I instant replay that section of footage, I don't see the blackout. It might do this two or three times in a three hour period.
post #29 of 86
I also bought the same tv during the black friday madness at bb. I have mine hooked up to a comcast Motorola set top box. I have it connected with component cables and also have the problems with the pink lines when switching from a normal channel to a HD channel or vise versa.

I have also noticed that the top of the tv seems to get very hot, hotter than I would expect any home electronic device to get. Is this normal, and has anyone else noticed this? ( not the very top where the plastic piece is but the top of the back where the vents are, if that makes sense)
post #30 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by broncofan View Post

I also bought the same tv during the black friday madness at bb. I have mine hooked up to a comcast Motorola set top box. I have it connected with component cables and also have the problems with the pink lines when switching from a normal channel to a HD channel or vise versa.

I have also noticed that the top of the tv seems to get very hot, hotter than I would expect any home electronic device to get. Is this normal, and has anyone else noticed this? ( not the very top where the plastic piece is but the top of the back where the vents are, if that makes sense)

Mine gets hot too. I checked a friend's plasma, and after a few hours of use his was warm at best. I guess this TV just gets hot.

I'm 50/50 on whether this thing's going back to Best Buy... it just seems so... "rough around the edges."
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