AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 51 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
190 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am extremely interested in this HDTV:
http://www.dealmountain.com/sme34whd5.html


BUT, I have heard of the picture tube being screwed up from the factory. Does anyone have ANY up to date info as to what the issue is w/ this HDTV?? I have seen people retruning them because of some line problem with the television.


I am in the market right now!!


chef423


Thanks to anyone with some facts. A link would be good to...


------------------

MTFBWY!


Get the X-Box, you wont be dissapointed!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
I saw the Sampo at Fry's Electronics yesterday in North Hollywood. They wanted $2500 for it with an optional $100 extended service warranty.


I checked for the distorted bars on each side of the screen, but didn't see any. I selected a non-used input to get a solid blue background. Everything looked okay.


The set itself is cosmetically appealing.


It was next to a Panasonic 34 inch 16x9 (for $4000). Fry's had everything hooked up to NTSC so I couldn't compare the two in high definition. The Panasonic image was vastly superior in NTSC mode.


The salespeople at Fry's are fairly non-helpful, so I didn't even ask to have a digital feed connected.


I put both televisions in 4:3 aspect to see how everything looked with the NTSC material. I noticed on the Sampo that the right side of the picture bowed in. This had a tendency to distract while watching the picture. The Panasonic looked pretty straight. I saw this same phenomenon on a Daewoo as well. (The left side of the picture appeared fairly straight on all 3 models.)


I saw the same Panasonic model at Best Buy (for $3500). I checked that picture for bowing in 4:3 aspect mode. It was okay.


I don't know if this bowing in can be adjusted out, or if its something you're stuck with in 4:3 aspect mode.


The 4:3 picture didn't look too distorted on the Panasonic when it was expanded to 16x9. On the Sampo you could really notice a horizontal stretching.

 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,019 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by alchymie:
I put both televisions in 4:3 aspect to see how everything looked with the NTSC material. I noticed on the Sampo that the right side of the picture bowed in. This had a tendency to distract while watching the picture. The Panasonic looked pretty straight.


The 4:3 picture didn't look too distorted on the Panasonic when it was expanded to 16x9. On the Sampo you could really notice a horizontal stretching.

I don't use NTSC on my Sampo. I simply use its AV1 (RCA),

AV2 (S-VHS), and YPbPr (Panasonic DST50/Sony DVP-9000ES).

The AV1 and AV2 inputs come through VCRs, from a Dish 5000.

I don't use the TV tuner in the set.


And I can report that the picture in all modes is really

excellent... especially 1080i HDTV from HBOHD, or the

occasional HDTV broadcasts from off-air stations here in

Dallas. "The Sopranos" was startling... how it should be.


The AV1 and AV2 4:3 picture is also brilliant... bright,

colorful, super contrast, terrific clarity, etc. You just

have to play with the adjustments. And then write down each

of the settings... they're numeric, from 1-256. You'll be

able to reproduce your setup on the off-chance you somehow

have to start from scratch.


One thing that's quite important, though. Place an order

for the "service remote". It'll cost $30-$45, depending on

who knows what. They quoted me $45, but the bill was for

$30 when I finally received it. But you need it to adjust

geometry for the AV inputs.


Whatever its cost... it's important. The "user remote"

that comes with the TV has geometry controls only for the

component video inputs (YPbPr, YCbCr, RGB). The AV inputs

only have the usual brightness/tint/color/contrast etc.


But I felt strongly that the "shape" of my 4:3 picture was

poor (bowed, tilted, pin-cushioned, trapezoided, etc.) and

really needed my "touch" on straightening it out. This can

only be done for the AV inputs with the service remote

along with all the other geometry adjustments that become

available.


Also, the black 4:3 bars on the left and right sides can be

moved left/right, and the picture image stretched to be

a wider or narrower within the raster, using the service

remote. I didn't realize my 4:3 image was too small,

until I pulled the black bars out toward the edges of the

TV, and widened the image to fit perfectly without any

edge artifacts. I didn't realize the networks were

broadcasting that large an image, since it doesn't show up

on a regular 4:3.


Despite Sampo's feeling that the factory settings for the

AV inputs should be perfect, I disagree strongly. Now that

I've adjusted things to my own satisfaction, I can report

that this is the best direct-view TV I've ever watched.

Its S-VHS input picture quality is just spectacular.


Best color, best brightness, best contrast, best sharpness,

best tint,... just the best. But then I'm feeding it from

my Dish satellite. I don't use off-air VHF and the tuner

within the TV.


One annoying design feature... there's only one settings

memory for AV1 and AV2. So even though the characteristics

of S-VHS and RCA inputs are noticeably different, you'll

have to be satisfied with one set of presets for both. This

isn't super-critical, and I've maximized my enjoyment for

S-VHS... with RCA slightly less glorious as a result. But

I wish Sampo had built a separate settings memory for EACH

of its five inputs.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,166 Posts
dsperber, excellent report. If everything checks out when I get my set I'll be one happy camper.


My Sampo is due to arrive this week.


How do I order the service remote - from Sampo?


How about the service manual?


thx
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
I notice you're in L.A.


Where did you get your set and how much did it cost?


Does it suffer from the side bars that has been mentioned elsewhere in this forum?


I agree, there is no logical reason to use the NTSC tuner that comes with the set. I think the manufacturer realized that most people are going to buy an external tuner anyway, so why bother putting a good one in.


So you're saying that the 4:3 picture curvature can be adjusted away without ruining the rest of the image? That's good news. Its kinda cheesy looking for a state of the art set. (Although I suppose once you start tuning those DTV stations in there will be no use for 4:3.)


Its almost impossible to compare it to other sets in the showroom. I guess you have to take the word of those who have purchased and "tuned" it up. The sad thing is, just about anything this expensive should be "ready to go" right out of the box. This is what the average consumer has come to expect. Why do I have to go through some big rigamarole to make the picture look great, much less acceptable.


 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,019 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by wojtek:
How do I order the service remote - from Sampo?

How about the service manual?
Call Sampo: 626-856-3348, ask for Jim (x122)


They'll fax you a parts order form, which you'll fill out

(for shipping address, credit card number, etc.) and fax

back to them.


There's also a sentence on the agreement which says that

you agree not to hold Sampo responsible for any undesirable

effects resulting from the use of the service remote,

either by you or by anybody else you ask to help out and

that uses the remote. They really don't think you should

have it.


They instruct you quite explicitly to ONLY use option 1 in

the main menu (White Balance), or option 2 (Geometry).


They boldly underline DO NOT USE THE OTHER OPTIONS IN THE

MAIN MENU.



As it turns out, I only needed to use the geometry tools.

The rest of the picture adjustments with the user remote

are perfectly acceptable. It's only the geometry with

AV inputs that's missing. That was why I ordered the

service remote since the component inputs already support

geometry adjustments through the user remote.


After lots of playing, I finally squared up the 4:3 picture using a combination of pin-cushion, trapezoid, rotation,

parallelogram, etc., the most dramatic surprise was

my discovery about L-BLK and R-BLK. These grew/shrunk the

left and right black bars which produced the 4:3 image,

much like the black screen frame in a movie theater growing

or shrinking to properly frame varied projected image sizes.


Turns out there's lots more video data on the left and right

sides that's transmitted but that we never see on a regular

4:3 TV. I was thrilled to "widen" my picture so that I

could see everything that was being broadcast. Makes

everything look so much better, even if not HDTV 16:9.



The remote (which looks cheesy) has one button removed.

You use a pencil or paper clip to push a small micro-button

that's on the PCB board below the open hole. They don't

want you to accidentally get into controls menu mode unless

you really want to.


The menu appears in red on the TV. Then you use the MENU

+/- and ADJ +/- buttons as you'd intuitively expect.


Also, there's a "recall" button that actually resets

EVERYTHING to factory defaults!!!! You do NOT want to

press this one, after having gone through all of your

adjustments. Unless, of course, you've written down all of

the original factory numeric value settings along with

all of your adjusted values... in which case you're immune

to accidental reset. You'll be able to put your TV back

to EXACTLY where it was, with these great numeric tools.



There is no service manual. You don't need it (at least

not to adjust geometry). The icons and English titles

are perfectly understandable. And if you've ever adjusted

a computer monitor, you'll know exactly what to do.


Just be sure you run through all the settings, for all of

the inputs, and write down the factory values. Then begin

adjusting, and write down what you settle on. Don't forget

to update your current list when you make minor tweaks

at a later date.


I'll be glad to send you my own value set, but that would

be based on my Dish satellite input and my own preferences.

Nevertheless... if you want...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,019 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by alchymie:
I notice you're in L.A.
Actually, me and my HDTV live in Dallas. I also spend

around 1/3 of my time in LA (Marina Del Rey). I happened

to register when I was out there.

Quote:


Where did you get your set and how much did it cost?
I bought it direct from Sampo. $2759. They agreed to do

a "factory calibration" for me since I'd heard it was

worthwhile and didn't trust myself, so it was in excellent

condition when it arrived. I still had to play with things

but it was very good to start from.


I had to pay extra for residential delivery, including

lots of hassle to get it handled by a trucking company

here in Dallas which would take it off the truck properly

and walk it up the stairs into my apartment. It's heavy,

and it's big. The box is 46x35x35 and weighs 210 lbs.

The delivery guys had to take the TV out of the box so

that they could carry it upstairs and in my front doorway.

Quote:


Does it suffer from the side bars that has been mentioned elsewhere in this forum?
I honestly don't know what this symptom is. I have no

problems whatsoever... either in component input or AV.

It just needed "squaring up" and "widening" in 4:3 AV mode,

which was accomplished with the service remote.

Quote:


I agree, there is no logical reason to use the NTSC tuner that comes with the set. I think the manufacturer realized that most people are going to buy an external tuner anyway, so why bother putting a good one in.
This wasn't a deal-breaker for me. S-VHS from the satellite

into the AV2 of the Sampo is just how I watch regular TV.

And DTV (HBOHD and off-air DTV) comes from the HDTV

modulator out of my Dish 5000 receiver.

Quote:


So you're saying that the 4:3 picture curvature can be adjusted away without ruining the rest of the image? That's good news. Its kinda cheesy looking for a state of the art set. (Although I suppose once you start tuning those DTV stations in there will be no use for 4:3.)


Its almost impossible to compare it to other sets in the showroom. I guess you have to take the word of those who have purchased and "tuned" it up. The sad thing is, just about anything this expensive should be "ready to go" right out of the box. This is what the average consumer has come to expect. Why do I have to go through some big rigamarole to make the picture look great, much less acceptable.
Everything that I found offensive with the AV picture shape

was corrected using the service remote geometry controls.

It's now perfect. I honestly feel Sampo should not have

sliced off the geometry adjustments from the user remote.

The artifacts are simply there, and they need to be

corrected.


You're right, if you can't see a perfect setup in the store

you'll just have to trust the rest of us. This set is

absolutely remarkable. And it really doesn't take much

beyond what you'd do anyway, to adjust brightness, color,

tint, etc. as you would with a new computer monitor you just

bought.


Once adjusted, and with a top-notch source (like HBOHD or

off-air DTV), you won't be able to stop watching TV. It is

so real you'd think you're looking through a window.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,019 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Grosse Fatigue:
Hi, Do you know guys if the Sampo would fit on a 24X48 table top? Thanks. GF.
The TV is 39Wx25Dx27H, and weighs around 190 lbs.


That's 27" DEEP (front to back)! So if you leave some room

between you 24x48 table top and the wall behind it, it will

be perfect. But that 27" includes the picture tube. The

actual base of the TV that sits on the table is only 21".


My table is only 20" deep, with a big window and sill

behind it, so I have the table around 7" from the wall.

The table top is 24" off the carpet.


The back of my TV tube projects back slightly over the

sill (since it's 27" deep). The base of the TV overhangs

the back edge of my table by 1", but it's fully supported.


This gives me plenty of room from underneath or from the

back to connect cables and screw around with the other

A/V equipment in the shelves.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,019 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by DSperber:
The TV is 39Wx25Dx27H.


That's 27" DEEP (front to back.
Sorry... that dimension was wrong, but the following

sentence was right. It is 27" deep.


Should have been 39Wx27Dx25H.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
772 Posts
My Sampo 34" is still my current champ in terms of picture quality, screen size not being a factor (except of course for my SGI 1600SW, but at 17.3", it's a little too small).


Only the Panny PD 40" plasma (the one that is still the benchmark in light of the newer 50" plasmas) has a more stunning picture. But that costs $$$ compared to the Sampo.


I just loooove being able to hook my HTPC up to it, just like a computer monitor and pump out 1920x1080i via RGB. Absolutely stunning!


MMAfia
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
190 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So what are you saying Darian? I shouldnt get this TV? Do you have one?


Thanks to all that have replied. I am going to call Sampo direct to see if I can get some answers to the "line" prob. that these sets have. This is my ONLY choice for an HDTV, if I dont get this one, I straight up wont gte one.


chef423


------------------

MTFBWY!


Get the X-Box, you wont be dissapointed!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
787 Posts
Hmmm... I guess I put a lot of weight into the complaints that cropped up here. they seem pretty grave compared to the run of the mill problems most sets have. I still want to get this set....


Anywho, what do you guys make of the awful review in the home theater mag? I don't put a whole lot of weight into these, but I found this one espeically disparaging of the set. The writer even complained of seeing the aperature grill/ shadow mask patterns on this set. (I forget what kind of mask this set uses). He claims to have been bothered by this on the superbowl hd broadcast! I would imagine a live broadcast of this event on a bright direct view set like this would be incredible!


The review itself was one of the worst written Ive seen.(imho) The writer didn't seem to have put much effort in tweaking the set. I don't remeber if he actually set the grayscale, for most reviews they do a whole isf workup. (the issue is at home in the bathroom).

So im not sure how much I weight I would give this one.


What did you guys think of this review? did the reviewer just get a bum set? or was it something else???


K
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
190 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Why? Are there other reviews that say other wise? Many of them, or just one or two?


chef423


------------------

MTFBWY!


Get the X-Box, you wont be dissapointed!!
 
1 - 20 of 51 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top