No pictures today (maybe tomorrow) but don't count on them looking pretty since they're coming from an analog Mini-DV video camera with a light aperture that's total s***. Today I'll just share with you my first few hours with my new 747i LCD, the second-best thing that happened to me today (first was those uber-losers Rob and Amber getting eliminated from "Amazing Race: All-Stars"
My building super finally came Sunday at noon and brought the stand for my 27" SD Sony, which means it was time to unpack the Olevia 747i to put it where the SD TV used to be. Ran into a problem early on though: with the stand and bottom-mounted speakers the screen of the 747i is much higher than the eye-level view I had with the 27" Sony, kind-of like sitting in one of the first rows of a movie theater looking up at the screen. This might work with plasma but not with LCD's and their optimal dead-center issues. So temporarily the 747i is sitting on the stand built for the 27" Sony, which can support up to 176 pounds (the 747i weighs 142) and gives me a dead-center view of the screen. Even though the plastic base doesn't inspire confidence so far the 747i doesn't appear to be in any danger of tipping over. Maybe if I get the speaker kit to mount the speakers on the side I will lower the TV on its pedestal and move it on top of my twin Bell'Oggatti stands, which are currently holding a bunch of disconncted components and the old SD TV (which I'm keeping for old lightgun games like "Time Crisis" and "House of the Dead").
I've had the TV on since 2PM Sunday afternoon (still on as of 2:06 AM Monday
) and its official: I HAVE "EGGS" AND BIG TIME LIGHT LEAKAGE ON ALL FOUR CORNERS OF THE SCREEN
, just like RunOff's and S!TH's TV sets. The light leakage is confined to the corners of the screen and look a little like the infamous "clouds" from Sony and Samsung fame, although nowhere near as noticeable. I can only see the "eggs" and leaked light when there's a black screen without an input, and they stand out in a brightly lit room as much as a dark one (tried with both). But before you panic listen to this: whenever there's any signal on the screen (even dark movies like the end of Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi
when Luke and Darth go at it with the lightsabers) the presence of the "eggs" and leaked light is minimal to non-existent. When the picture is normal non-dark stuff the "eggs" and light leakage disappear and are not an issue or distraction whatsoever. No "banding" whatsoever, and the set's assembly date dates back to December of '06 (not listed on the outside of the panel but it appears when you set the clock and/or check the TV's OS version).
Another thing is that despite not being listed this set has the equivalent of a QAM tuner. My 747i can pick HD and SD channels if you feed it the coaxial cable that carries cable signals. Most of the 409 digital channels the tuner picked were dead/blank but a few were HD. The ATSC tuner picked up quite a few local HD stations here in NYC; the first HD my virgin eyes ever saw were CBS' coverage of the Arkansas NCAA game (ATSC tuner) and NBC Golf (QAM) with PIP. Other than a lot of audio skips and a slight lip-synch delay on the basketball game (the 747i offers an option under audio to adjust lip-synch) they were both eye-opening. BTW, you can swap audio/change source in a PIP window without having to swap to the "hot" primary screen
. Press the side arrows on the circle at the center of the remote while in PIP or Split-Screen; by changing the "pink" surrounding edge you can determine which screen gets the audio, which input and (if the selected input is a tuner) what channel is on. This is a similar feature that the Mitsubishi LT-46131/231 1080p LCD's offer. Too bad that, unlike the Mitsu's awesome size variations for the Split-Screen windows, the Split-Screen screens are nearly identical in size. The only screens that you can increase in size are the PIP screens. Also, if you chooe Aspect for one source and that source becomes PIP/Split then the window will be deformed to keep the entire picture within the aspect ratio; choose Full Screen when using PIP/Split-Scren, and the screen will not be deformed and look excellent
My apartment was flooded with light from its single window, yet the LCD picture was clear and not the least bit reflective. The bezel around the 747i looks like its going to be a hall of mirrors when the TV is off, but once the picture's on the all-black surrounding bezel does its thing. What wasn't eye-opening was the off-viewing angle when watching the 747i from beyond just a few angles off-center. Stand up and walk a little to the side or in front of it so you're looking down on the screen and it ain't pretty. This is an universal weakness of most LCD's, and the 747i is no exception.
Black levels are OK compared with other 1,600:1 contrast ratio LCD's or SD tube, neither terrible or excellent. The settings on the 747i for brightness and contrat are very low and high, respectively. Increasing the brightness even just a little results in a freaking lighthouse in my apartment, with contrast only doing so much. To be perfectly honest if black and contrast ratio is important to you then the Sharp D92U (provided you can find one without banding) or the upcoming Toshiba and Samsung LCD's for later in '07 will probably be better at rendering blacks. Its not that the 747i has Westinghouse or Toshiba-caliber bad black/contrast (it doesn't) but its definitely aimed at HDTV customers that are satisfied with the blacks of the current models, not fence-sitters waiting for a quantum leap in contrast ratios. I've tweaked the TV around here and there but not much because every setting is pretty much OK right out of the box. Make sure you select Dark, Medium or Bright Room lighting before tweaking, or you may get a misguided or incorrect setting that will mess with other inputs. And yes, not having numbers to signal what settings we're all coming with (only bars that increase/decrease without numbers) makes the sharing of personal preferences with colors/temperature/brightness/etc. a royal pain in the derriere.
Next thing I hooked an HD-DVR (component) with an HD recording of the Klitschko fight on HBO over the weekend. For the life of me I cannot get the HD box to allow for "native" signal to pass through. The box "upscales" everything to 1080i, which worked well with the boxing match but makes me question whether I'm feeding the 747i the optimal feed to watch SD. For what's its worth SD digital cable looks excellent on this TV. Golf Channel, local stations, Game Show Network, Comedy Central... they all looked a little worse than my SD TV but most definitely watchable.OK classic videogame and Picture-in-Picture whores
, the next two paragraphs all for you. I spent a number of hours randomly testing older videogame systems to see if I could split signals on PIP. I'll post pictures tomorrow and I didn't get to test the XBox 360 or the HD-DVD (that's for Monday) but so far the TV has displayed games from: Turbo Duo, Genesis, SNES, 3DO, Saturn and Nintendo 64 (the TV has problems with games enhanced with the 4MB RAM Pak for high definition I think; games like "Resident Evil 2" that were using it went nuts after a few minutes). There's a catch though: some systems (mainly SNES and Nintendo 64) will not be displayed by themselves on the screen; you have to activate PIP or Split-Screen for the game to be displayed
. Example: "Mario Kart" on N64 would not appear on composite 1 input even though I could hear it (although "Road Rash" for 3DO gave both picture and sound). I had to go to PIP/Split and Swap with another input (like Tuner 1) so the primary signal isn't from the videogame system anymore. Once on PIP/Split the videogame picture will appear, and using the pointer circle in the remote you can switch audio from one source to the next. This sadly means that, unless its just my TV or some fluke code fluke, you won't be able to use all 47" of the screen on some older videogame systems. Do not think of getting a videogame on the bigger of the two screens (i.e. the primary) when playing in either PIP or Split-Screen with other sources. The TV will just lose the picture and keep the sound when you do that. Also with some videogame systems/games (like 3DO) and SD sources the 1:1 pixel mapping of the game will result in a much smaller screen than 47" (like 15"-20") that doesn't distort the picture; you can blow it up to Full Screen to fill the screen, which looks better but its nice to have an option to see an older videogame/SD signal in a reduced but not distorted space that I haven't seen on many HDTV's. The Final Cut Pro Apple Cinema computer monitor at the place I work offers it, but that's a professional editing monitor.
For what it's worth the 8m response time with older games was pretty good: 3DO "Road Rash," Turbo Duo "Castlevania X," N64 "Mario Kart 64" & "Goldeneye 007," Genesis "Sonic"... I played them all and my rustiness with the games was more dangerous than any delay from the inputs. There's an option to activate "Game Mode" that supposedly improves on the response time and PQ of games, for for the life of me I didn't sense a noticeable improvement versus the regular modes (and remember: Game Mode disables PIP, which you need to get some older games to be displayed on the secondary input of the 747i's PIP. Or you could just say "the hell with it" and hook the older games to older tube TV's and not bother with the PIP trick.
: I re-tested older games/systems on the system and it turns out I was dead wrong. You can play older consoles on the 747i full screen if you follow a certain protocol when hooking up the system. Click here for more details: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...4#post13725634
then keep reading the next five or so pages for more posts with pictures proving the 747i's dexterity handling older game consoles].
Pictures backing all of this up will be posted tomorrow IF
they don't look as bad as I think they will. So far I'm 90% satisfied with my purchase and intend to keep it. The PIP flexibility is second only to the Mitsu (and in some instances it matches or surpasses it), the speakers are L-O-U-D (not surround system loud but better than the tinny speakers in Samsung HDTV's) and 47" look much bigger than I thought in the privacy of my own home. Part of me is glad I didn't go to 52" without losing the Realta HQV alliance; SD at 52" without Realta de-interlacing = gouging one's own eyes out. Later with more hands-on details.