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Today I got a nice long look at the new 61"

Marantz Plasma screen, playing scenes from Lost World, Gladiator, U-571 etc.


First of all, man what a huge screen! Amazing to see a plasma display so large. Secondly, the picture was fantastic (caveat to come). Detailed,

fairly punchy, quite good black levels and an overall "filmic" look that, more than any other home theater display I've seen, mimicked the experience of seeing a film on the big screen.


However, as seems always to the the case, the bigger picture seemed to also exacerbate the visual artifacts. There was a somewhat grainy, smudgy quality, which at first I thought was a reproduction of the film grain. However, upon more viewing it seemed to be artifacts produced by the screen, or the DVD player, or the DVD compression. So, as with every large screen I've seen, picture sharpness was comprised for the sake of a larger picture. I left with the same feeling I normally do after seeing large home theater screens: that the current software/hardware technology is, to my tastes, not quite ready for prime time - just not up to the job of displaying a large picture without obvious blurring.


Also, a plasma with an image this large had another slightly negative effect: motion sickness.

That's an exaggeration, of course. But the motion

jaggedness and blurring that I occasionally notice on many plasmas (due, I'm told, both to DVD artifacts, as well as a screen's internal scalar)

was more explicit on the Marantz. Scenes that involved much camera movement or shaking (action scenes) can be a strain enough to watch. But the motion artifacts on the Marantz added another level of jiggliness to the picture, which made action scenes something of a strain on my eyes after not too long.


After that I took a look at the Panny 42" playing Charlie's Angels and Phantom Menace. Absolutely superb! Rich, punchy, crisp, silky etc. The motion artifacts and blurred edges I saw in the Marantz were almost absent in the Panny - it was a much easier, more gratifying viewing experience.

This, for me, leads me to feel that perhaps there is currently a "sweet spot" size for plasmas, were

the advantages outweigh the negatives - i.e. and for me it's likely the 42" size. From what I've seen, it takes just the right software to make a larger plasma look acceptable. The 42" size seems more forgiving, while still providing a gorgeous viewing experience. (The 50" Marantz also looked quite soft playing that damned ubiquitous Carlos Santanna performance).


Any thoughts? Anyone?...Anyone?....


Rich H.
 

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I also saw the Marantz 61" plasma today and it looked pretty damn good. No it didn't look as good as the new Pioneer 50 but man that extra size is hard to beat. Put side by side you would notice the deficiencies of the 61 right away but you just don't realize how much bigger 11" really is. Well maybe if your a woman you might realize the difference right away but....

:D Anyhow you just have to see it.
 
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