I am new to HDTV - today is my first day.
Having a heavy background in photography, I loathed the picture quality in almost all the floor models HDTVs I viewed - so expensive and so "not there" in image quality. The lack of a "clean" image in the plasma's and the pixelization/compression interaction in the LCD's combined with those high prices made me want to throw up.
Last year, when I was in the Sony building in Tokyo (Ginza), I saw the first 50+ inch 1080p Bravas and thought we might be making some progress finally.
Just recently, I noticed prices fell through the floor ($500 in one week), so I went looking around. Some of the 1080i's are dirt cheap in comparison to what they had been selling. I noticed recent discussions on a 1080p Panasonic 50" Plasma. It seemed to be something I should check out. Compared to the 2006 models, it's 25% brighter, 2x more pixels (1920 wide), energy star, anti-glare, QAM tuner for cable.
Nobody had them in stock. But I got lucky at our nearby, non-glamorous humble department store at the "teenager hangout" mall. They just received a 1080p TH-50PZ700U, but it was to be the floor model. I wanted to see it on display, but if they opened it up and displayed it, the store mgr would not want to sell. We agreed for my sales rep to sell it to me "by accident", but this meant we could not open it up and see it in the store and tip off his manager. I decided to take a chance and purchase it after negotiating a discount similar to the best online/delivered rates. His sales manager actually signed off on the discount without knowing it's the destined floor model. I loaded it and left the store premises before the boss could figure out what just happened, like I can't wait to see Casino Royale or any other films with chase scenes like this.
But, I'm sending that sales rep a fruitcake.
At home, I sat it up front of my fireplace and went to work.
I hooked it up to SD Cable. Oh my!
It looks very good, that horrible analog snowy signal never looked so good! CNN, Fox, MSNBC might worth watching now, even with endless re-runs of Paris-goes-to-jail, not to mention "24" action scenes (but not the storyline.)
I played VHS (no high Def).
Woooah Nelly! Even better. All my wife's exercise video's I never watched - now I just want to jump and shout ! I think I don't need to spend any more money on anything else now - I am happy as is and I'll loose weight. Who needs more than this?
......but I needed to try my older DVD player. I hooked it up, carefully. S-Video cable, interlaced. I switched it on. .........Shazaaaam! I called my family, neighbors, friends, old school buddies, Aunt Norma wake-the-kids! This was so good! When I got close, I saw a few compresion artifacts, like poor JPG photo's with speckles around small objects, but from 5 or more feet back, I can't see 'em.
.......wait, my DVD is progressive scan - I've never used that feature on my old 32" CRT. I hooked up the component cables, made sure I made all the micro adjustments on the DVD player to optimize it to Plasma, aspect ratios, blacks, etc. When I felt safe, I flipped the input over to Component 1 input. OMG! (Jaw dropping twice, speechless - wish they had this motion icon). Now, this is so good, I'm calling my local newspaper, TV stations, The History Channel, and internet forums like this one. This image is like constant moving artwork and "we are not worthy!" I really have a hard time seeing any defects in 480p. For audio, I have it hooked up to a properly powered set of 901's as the front speakers. Finally, a big quality picture that goes with the big quality sound! And I'm just watching Chocolat! It's film theatre in my opinion. Okay, I did see some Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon scenes for motion and really noticed both the smooth motions and the quality in all the dark shadows which I like very much.
This is the big cigar I've desired, an artwork machine, and I have not even seen a 1080i video image on it yet, let alone a 1080p, so 2 more levels of "shock and awe" to go. Seriously, I think the large number of pixels is really helping it display all the older formats so well and smoothly. I'm used to SD Cable snow blizzards, so anything is a giant leap for mankind for me, but this is much better than what I've seen displayed in stores.
In my sleepy, backward small town on the central California coast (I may be the first one to have an HDTV here let alone a recent model PC), there is no sign of Blue Ray players for sale. I'll need to drive to the Bay area tomorrow to get a Blue Ray to see 1080p, but in the meantime, I am getting phone numbers for the White House, Presidential Candidates, Foreign Heads of State, Ben Bernanke, and even the still almighty Alan Greenspan - this thing may be so good, so influential *others will no doubt follow* with spinoffs and related infrastructure, that this could all just change the world economy!