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Hi, This is a repost from Homtheaterforum, and while I got a few good answers, they directed me here, so here go.


I am looking to purchase a new television, preferrable 32 inches or larger, but all the crt's that size weigh more than some of my ex girlfriends. Also, they take up more space than a refridgerator. Are there any plasma or lcd screens that have black levels comparable to crt or rear projection screens? I would like to do some of my viewing with the lights on, and I would also like to have the convenience of a flas screen (less space, less energy, less weight). I have been looking at some tv's in the $6k-7K range, like the new Sony Wega plasma and some of the panasonic offerings, but reviews for these sets never really compare them to regular CRT's or rear projections.

Thanks for your help
 

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BLACK LEVELS = more or less, yes - though some people will ignite their flamethrowers on me. if you want to watch with the lights on, then basically, yes. search the archives here. panasonic generally seems to win that battle. specifically note ericbee's thread on 50" features and benefits and comparisons. some of that translates to the 42" PDPs.


LESS SPACE = absolutely. i replaced a 53" RPTV with a 50" PDP. wonderfully more intelligent use of space.


LESS ENERGY = almost certainly NOT. do the research on this. i could be wrong, but the PDPs are by no means "energy efficient" devices.


LESS WEIGHT = maybe not. my 53" RPTV wasn't that heavy. it was bulky as all hell. PDPs are hardly light whatsoever. though why do you care how much it weighs? do you live on a lightweight boat or a plane? :)


doody.
 

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No, there are no plasma/lcds that have good video quality. Sorry.


Mark
 

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Currently, few plasma TVs have good video quality. The Panasonic / NEC has good black levels, but only 8 bit signal processing. This makes the image computer like and non-realistic looking.


The Pioneers (433HD/5030HD/433CMX/503CMX) has 10 bit signal processing, thereby creating a MUCH better image. The problem is black level performance. I have the 433cmx, and have had some issues with the black level.


My solution was to put four lights on each side of the screen, directed behind the screen. This is a common method of increasing perceived contrast and black level on other projection methods. The black levels "increased" dramatically using this method. Of course it will not beat my present Barco Graphics 808s CRT HiEnd projector, but the lights really don't bother me that much.


The problem is the absolute black level, which is too high. The lights really improve this issue to an extent that I could recommend this screen (or the 50") if you can accept watching a movie with the lights on. Actually, I always go to sleep in the pitch darkness of my CRT projection setup, so this fits me just fine.


PS! The light output on these models 900 and 1000 cd/m provides enough lights to use the lights and still have a wonderful picture. This would not apply to lower output models, like the above mentioned Panasonic etc, but they have acceptable black levels, so no problem.


The 8 bit processing gives a REALLY sucky picture though! Please watch a REAL movie (not Bugs etc) before you decide for such a screen. I think also the new XGA MP4 Nec has 8 bit processing... To bad, because in opposite case, it would probably make a good screen.


The external box with tuner etc. on the Pioneers is REALLY good! You can connect everything to the box without putting a bunch of cables up your wall.


All in all, after "solving" the black level issue, I am pretty pleased with this screen... Given the alternates (huge, 8 bit, noise on CRT projectors, handling, setup on CRT projectors and on and on)...
 

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I'm not sure what bit processing the Fujitsu's have, but having seen the 5002, I would have to say whatever it is it produces exceptionally good video with both HD & DVD material.
 

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Quote


"The Panasonic / NEC has good black levels, but only 8 bit signal processing. This makes the image computer like and non-realistic looking."



I must have gotten a defective 50" Panasonic because it has 9 bit signal processing instead of 8. But it does have good black levels.


Dave
 

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cheridave: better return that then to get the downgrade ;-)


rogo: play nice :)


doody.
 

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Doody,


One more thing the picture to the left (my photo) is through the eyes of a Plasma, and you know what?


Looking at it now does make the image computer like and non-realistic looking- go figure!;)


Dave
 

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Quote:
Currently, few plasma TVs have good video quality. The Panasonic / NEC has good black levels, but only 8 bit signal processing. This makes the image computer like and non-realistic looking.
This is an overly pessimistic view. In fact, the SGHT review of the Fujitsu PDS-5002 (with 8-bit processing, by the way) concluded that it was "our benchmark for plasma displays. For that matter, it's my benchmark for a display of this size using any technology. It's that good." You can argue about whether other brands of plasma are better or worse, but there are several in the same league, and overall they don't give up anything to direct-view CRTs, rear projection systems, or whatever.

Quote:
The 8 bit processing gives a REALLY sucky picture though
Let's just say that "REALLY sucky" is way off the mark.
 

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eelton,


Thanks for your input. I'm happy when folks get a plasma that they really like. I like it when they also give us a review.


But when the review turns from un-biased to biased, I'm sorry but the credibility goes at the window.


Dave
 

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Maybe the "really sucky" remark was a bit too pessimistic guys... I have only seen the Panasonic, Nec and Sony 42", and found the image very non-film like... This specially applied to transitions, in etc. a face, where the color "layers" were very clear. It kind of looks like a bit like a 256 color computer screen (naturally not THAT bad, but only to state my point.)


I understand that some of you want to defend the purchase of your expensive screens, and I may also be wrong in what I have observed. I am just stating my opinion though, and as a long time video enthusiast I believe I have some ability to perceive the differences in the screens and solutions I have witnessed.


The Panasonic gives a nice picture, but the 8 (9?) bit processing is a feature I personally would have preferred to have increased. The Pioneer has a much smoother image, without the clear transitions that were apparent on the two models Nec, Panasonic, Sony 42" I have seen.


The Pioneer is far from perfect either, with its grey blacks etc.


I nonetheless feel that some people may be a bit too defensive in regards to their personal purchase. This is a forum where quality and technical solutions is discussed, not a place to defend your private purchase.


Is there no sign of transitions on your 50" Panasonic, Cheridave and Eelton? Have you compared 10 and 8(9) bit? Can you please give a netural assessment if so (i am very interested, as I seek to increase my knowledge, not defend my purchase)?
 

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Jon Eivind Lygren,


What you're describing is called "banding" and it sounds like you were looking at either a really bad source (over-compression on digital sources tends to cause banding), or a set of badly tuned screens.


On digital satellite, I can see banding everywhere, but that's the problem with the source material. My NEC shows very nice DVD images (RP56 DVD player) that show no banding that I can see. There is some slight false contouring (i.e., banding in the lower ends of the dark colors), however that's an inherent problem with plasma technology and has reached a point to where almost no one can see this effect.
 

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oferlaor, you might be correct. The problem is that I have seen this issue on several occasions, with many different movies (Gladiator/Outbreak etc).

The only similarity on the setups were that they were using normal SVHS with a DVD player. Maybe a HTPC setup using VGA would have been a better solution?


I saw this "banding" also in bright scenes, for example the chapter 9 arena battle on Gladiator... The faces were full of false false contouring even though the image was not that dark (the shadow part of the face)...


Well, I guess we all can agree that as long as we are pleased with our current setups, all is fine! I do, however, not like the defensive positioning some people seem to inherent on this forum. This naturally also applies to the CRT front projector guys, where one often can spot the LP vs. CD syndrome repeating itself.


Honest and non-defensive reports are what I seek. I realize that my presentation of the Pioneer seemed just as subjective due to me not mentioning, or at least underlining, that there also are negative aspects on this model. I do not seek to communicate that I have found my nirvana of imagery!


If just have seen bad material, my apologies! I do not want to spread false information, leaving people with a wrong basis of decision!
 

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Jon,


I have re-read the post here and I did not detect anybody taking a defensive position other than you. I see that a little humor was injected based on a couple of things that you posted, but thats about it.


I personally had experience with the PIO-503CMX, although it offered a lot more features than the Panasonic, it just did not work out for me. Most of us believe that the differences we see between these two models have more to do with the "Cell Structure" and not the video processing. Most of us look at the whole package and our needs when researching/shopping for one of these babies.


Sometimes we all take a hit or two from our fellow posters on something we said, just part of the experience. Its just how we take it and what we do with it. Some of us have been lurking around here for a long time and have fought many fights- This "Video Processing" thing is one of them.


Please take a look- I have provided a link for you-

10 Bit vs. 8 Bit



I assure you that no offense was intended. Do enjoy your holiday.


Dave
 

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Jon,


Interesting how our experience seems to differ with these plasmas. I've had the good fortune to have seen the Pioneer 50" and 43"/ Panasonic/ Fujitsu models many times, in side by side comparisons.


My experience does not support the categorical statements you've made regarding the superiority of the Pioneer picture processing (10 etc.).


I've seen HD feeds on the Pio 50" beside the the Panny 50," and the Panny seems to render a decidedly more realistic, natural picture to my eyes (this is after very picky inspection of detail/color info/processing artifacts on both units). Both seem to have equivalent amount of detail and color detail to play with, but I prefer what I perceive as the smoother, cleaner picture from the panny - more window-like. The Pioneer looks more "hyped," has more "dither noise" in the picture, particularly in large areas of color. That said the Panny is more "muted" and less bright overall. To me the Panny reminds me of looking at "real life" through a window that has a subtle layer of ND filter over it - whereas the Pio, which is as bright and vivid as life, also has more discernible artifacting, which constantly reminds my eye that I'm looking at a video image.

(And the Fuji 5002 I just saw again with the same HD feeds probably trumps them both by combining brightness/blacks, and smoothness in one panel).


I think that stating "go for a panel with 10 bit - it produces a better picture" is misleading. It seems obvious to me that there is more contributing to image quality than 10 bit vs 9 bit vs 8 bit systems.

(As if this hasn't been re-iterated over and over on this forum).


Glad you like the Pioneer plasmas. My subjective nit-picking aside, the Pioneers are obviously among the best pictures the world currently has to offer (at their size).


Rich.
 

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Just a quick word of support for Cheridave here and the other "defensive" posters. I have been reading this forum since the early days and have appreciated the very kind of posts that Jon seems to think are missing. I.e. some very insightful, honest and technically savvy responses based on viewings of plasmas.

There is very little defending of buying decisions here - even the Eric B and Cineramax duels are worth reading for the information contained within, as both pros and cons of the three main 50 inchers are invariably posted by them (OK by Eric). I gather that this must be a rarity but it is true.


I have not purchased a plasma yet but have seen some of the best DVD and HD images on the panny 42" so when someone questions what you saw (as in - your adjective was a bit strong - or - the source may have been lacking) I am pretty certain it is to do with the variance of your observations with many others' here. Thus, maybe a contrary view is required to prevent someone from going away with the opinion that some sets are sucky, a POV that you do see now :)
 

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Divvy,


Thanks for the vote of confidence.


Dave
 

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Jon,


You also have to realize that in some cases, some of these stores are specifically making an effort to make one plasma stand out. If they feed SD onto most displays and HD to one particular one, it'll jump out at you immediately & if you didn't catch it, that'll be the one you'd buy.


I often see big stores with 100s of TVs all playing the same noisy image (some of these TVs are off-station or totally miscalibrated). There's always one or two models that are much better looking than others. You'll find those are the ones that this particular store has the highest profit margin on.


I'm not saying that this is always the case, but if someone hooked up these plasmas to a DVD player using svideo, then either they're really stupid (i.e., don't know any better) or they're trying to give you the appearance of choice, just like a magician forces you to pick the ace of spades...
 
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