I thought I would update from my previous post above.
I was at my local walmart trying to compare how plasmas look compared to LCD since many have said a lot of the decision is personal preference. Unfortunately, any Sears/BB/CC or anywhere else that carries them is almost an hour away, so walmart was it, plus they had the same feed going to all the TVs so I hoped it would make it easier. I think both my wife and I liked the LCD's picture a little better- they seemed clearer and sharper.
While looking, a walmart Assistant Manager was talking to another customer contemplating a sale, telling him about a Hitachi in the back that was a 42" plasma that they had gotten in a few months ago with limited quantities and couldn't put it on display for space reasons, but it was discounted to $699 and they only had 4 left. I checked walmart's return policy- 90 days, no exlusions for HDTVs, and took it home because of the awesome price.
Upon investigation, it is the Hitachi 42HDF39
. I haven't been able to find very much online about it at all. This is from Hitachi's website
but again not a whole lot, and it doesn't say what the contrast ratio is.
It's 1024 x 1024, that seemed quite odd to me. I hooked it up, and since we just moved I don't have a lot out. We don't have cable hooked up yet, and all I have is a Cyberhome Pscan DVD player. All I had at the moment were Svideo cables.
1) The picture seemed OK, at times very good, at times not so good. We put on Season 1 of LOST into the DVD player. I thought it was true 16x9 and would fill the entire screen. It automatically was "16x9 standard" aspect and still had black bars. Most other options just zoomed in and cut out picture. 16x9 zoom, 4x3 zoom1, 2, and 3.. all except 4:3 standard, with bars on top and sides. That was a little baffling. I tried another movie, Major League 2, same thing.
2) After a while, I got out the Component cables, hooked them up. Except the TV would search for video signal, first Y/Pr/Pb, then Y/Cr/Cb, then it would say no signal and go to sleep. I know the cables work, I had them hooked up to cable box at our old place to our TV, and I had just driven there to get them. No matter what I did, I couldn't get the TV to recognize the video signal and had to use Svideo. I found it odd that it only had 1 HDMI connection given that it was only manufactured a year ago, according to the date stamp on the TV.
3) After a while, gray lines appeared. Maybe .5cm wide, it would appear on two sides at the same time. For example, it would run completely along the bottom and left side, then after 10 minutes go away. The they would come back, and be along the very top and right side. It was always either top or bottom AND left or right. The lines weren't over the picture b/c when they came and disappeared you could see the screen shift as it got "pushed away" a little bit by the lines. After a while, after playing with some contrast/brightness warm/cool/natural settings, they completely stopped coming and going. After that (maybe 2-3 hours of viewing) they completely stopped. This weekend we watched the whole season of LOST and since that 3rd or 4th episode, we didn't see those gray bars again.
4) A lot of times the picture was good, sometimes not soo good. Sometimes very clear and focused, sometimes it was jagged, like seeing small color blockes in pictures eges. I know these are the same thing you see when looking close up on tube TVs, but a 42" TV from 12 feet away? Of course, it was especially evident during action/fast motion scenes, especially on people. We could also see ghosting effects when Jack for example was running around on the beach in the pilot and other action scenes. I couldn't tell if it was just because it was LOST (filmed outside, in the jungle, lots of dark scenes, etc) but there seemed to be an awful lot of black. I'm not 100% if I was missing some shadows or if it really was that dark, especially at night around fires and torches, etc. People either had a very very red/orange tint, or a very cool bluish tint in other scenes like at the caves. I know it's not an HD picture, but I would have expected it to be a little better coming from a DVD player. I don't know if I had to 'enable' progressive scan from the DVD player's manu, I didn't even have the remote yet, I just played all. Or if I had to have the components hooked up for prog scan (I never could get the TV to recognize video signal from them), but I thought jaggies and ghosting would be much rarer occurance than they were watching LOST.
Any thoughts? Can any experienced HD gurus offer anything?