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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. This is going to be a long post. Sorry about that. I have already tried out Usenet and it's just not that active.


I have recently been set the task of narrowing down choices for the hypothetical near-future purchase of a HDTV (or HD monitor; I'm just saying "HDTV" generally). Probable price range is up to $5k, though there should be no need to take that into specific consideration if any answers are available for my various questions.


First, let me point you to the Home Theater Magazine "Face Off" article I recently discovered:

http://www.hometheatermag.com/showarchives.cgi?110:0


On several occasions, the article mentions the 3:2 pulldown process, which I have familiarized myself with. The article specifically states that all of the HDTVs failed the "Video Essentials 3:2 zone-plate test." Considering that one could buy a nice used car for the price of any of the HDTVs in question, I found this revelation disturbing.


Question #1: Have any HDTVs "passed" the aforementioned Video Essentials 3:2 test? What model(s)? I can research the models myself after I know which passed this test (if any), but I'm mainly interested in getting an idea of whether this lack of capability is to be expected from TVs that are "only" $5000.00 or if some manufacturer has managed to nail down what should be a fairly elementary algorithm for a less than insulting price.


Referencing the article again, the discussions of each HDTV culminated with some specifications, including estimations of vertical lines of resolutions. It was also mentioned that none of the HDTVs could display 720p in its native format. This seems to be information that the manufacturers don't openly divulge, leaving the (hopefully ignorant) consumer to (hopefully never) figure it out for himself.


Question #2: Is there any online resource where one can get hard data, or at least generally accepted estimates, about resolution and HDTV compatibilities among the various so-called HDTVs? Alternately, would anyone be able to name some models which do in fact support 720p natively?


One concern that recently came to my attention is that of internal reflection, which, according to one source, is a problem which plagues just about every rear-projection TV in existence. I'm not too clear on what the consequences of this drawback are, but the implication was that it isn't something one would get with other forms of display (direct view, plasma or lcd).


Question #3: Are there any HDTVs which do not suffer from this issue? Or at least, have any been designed so as to minimize it?


In my continuing quest for information on HDTVs (rear-projection being the only reasonable option for me, in terms of multi-usage and bang for buck), it has become painfully apparent that the only way I'm going to nail down certain types of info is by asking in newsgroups and forums. Research only works when the information is available.


Pioneer seems to have gotten the best reviews for their HDTVs, at least for the image quality. Of particular note is the issue of "hue shifting" (blue on the left, red on the right), which is reportedly a problem that affects all RPTVs except Pioneer's. The fix ("lens striping") is supposed to be easy enough for Joe Average to perform, and Pioneer models reportedly already have the fix in place, which explains why they don't suffer from the problem. So far, I have heard of five Pioneer models which manage to exceed 60 inches: SD-641HD5, SD-643HD5, PRO700HD, PRO710HD, and PRO720HD, the latter three apparently having the official group name of "Elite".


I have managed to dig up a few bits of useful information. For example, the PRO700HD reportedly has issues with noise, introduced by a faulty line-doubler. This problem was reportedly fixed in the 710 model (by replacing the line-doubler outright). There was talk that using an external line-doubler (something called a dvdo V3) with any of the Elite models produced more or less the best possible video, in the opinion of some observers. Also, Pioneer's older models (710 and 641) reportedly lock "full" in 480p. I think this means they only display a 16:9 image when using 480p. That would certainly be problematic.


The only other difference between the 720 and 710 that I've been able to figure out so far is that the 720 uses "Pure Cinema II" for its 3:2 pulldown process, and the 710 uses the "Pure Cinema" hardware/algorithm/whatever which is also used by the 641 and 643 models. The implication is that "Pure Cinema II" is better, or at least newer.


I thought I'd hit on the primary difference between the "Elite" models and the 641 & 643 models when I read the specifications regarding the lenticular screen. The 720 and 710 both featured "0.52mm Ultra Fine Pitch Lenticular Screen", and the 643 model listed "0.72mm Fine Pitch Lenticular Screen". Different pitch and different category of significance. But the 641 model, at least according to the online store I visited, listed the same 0.52mm pitch as the Elite models. Without necessarily having perfect comprehension of what the pitch implies, I do at least understand that smaller means superior clarity.


The Mitsubishi WS65869 65" was recently recommended to me, as a HDTV-with-tuner solution. A little research revealed that it has the same pitch (0.72mm) as the non-Elite Pioneer model. But I am still a little concerned about the revelation that Pioneer is the only manufacturer which performs the "lens striping" process to eliminate hue shifting. I certainly would not find a left-to-right blue-to-red color shift to be acceptable from a $3000+ TV.


Well, that's what I've gathered so far on the Pioneer models. I don't know what the main differences are between the 710 and 720, or the 641 and 643, and most of all I don't know what it is about the "Elite" models that justifies them being half-again as expensive as their 64x cousins, aside from the no-brainer probability that Pioneer is cornering the "most expensive TV you can buy" market with a vengeance.


If anyone wants to recommend other models, please do. Try to include reasons why :). A large picture is important to me (64"+), but so is the capacity for multiuse (so no front projection). Picture quality and accuracy is very important, so I guess this means smaller pitch. And again, reportedly all models but Pioneer's have the hue-shifting problem, though the fix is "easy". Little hidden problems like the older PRO700HD noise.. I'd like to avoid. Don't bother mentioning Sony models, as I am avoiding them outright.


Oh yes, last but not least, what are some of the cheapest online resources for this type of hardware? Best I've been able to locate is "Let's Go Digital" and "Now On Special". I have seen people mention CostCo's a lot, but it would seem that CostCo's is a hardware retailer chain and we don't have one anywhere near where I live (we have Best Buy).


Thanks in advance!
 

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Greetings


I think you have lost sight of the forest for the trees. You are over analyzing the situation without fully grasping each of the issues involved. Take a deep breath and move along ... no one ever said these things were perfect. I don't recall any ads saying that. So why are you expecting that?


Every technology has its positives and negatives. Your task is to weigh these and determine what they actually are and if they really matter that much to you.


Let's take on your three main questions.


1. The item is probably the zone plate test. Well, here is something for you to ponder, we do not spend our time watching test patterns. We watch real live material. Test patterns reveal the general weaknesses, but once we move beyond that, in real life material, you simply cannot tell the difference ... unless you know specifically what it is to look for in real life. And even then, these weaknesses may manifest themselves in 0.01% of the material you see.


Second ... the HT magazine shoot out is not exactly the most accurate of evaluations as there are at least a couple of big holes/errors in their evaluation process that could draw into question the validity of any of their results.


The article also talks about the horizontal resolution of the various sets. They don't really talk about the TV's inability to accept 720P. Horizontal resolution and discussions of scanning frequencies are completely unrelated items.


Another point ... 720P was so popular this year that pretty much no manufacturer has a set that accepts that. And it isn't like there is so much 720P material out there flooding the airwaves for one to care about this anyway.


Q2. Internal reflections. These are a fact of life with RPTV's The only way to get rid of it is to cover the mirror or remove the mirror completely. Obviously not the thing to do. Things like duvetyne and lens hoods may improve the situation a bit, but their overall effectiveness is not proven. There are just as many that swear they see a difference as those that say it does little to nothing.


It's a fact of life stuff ... and all owners of RPTV's simply don't let things like this bother them. Reflections off a direct view surface are far more distracting.


Q3. Colour shift ... these are a fact of life in crt based projection systems especially when you demand that the cabinet depth be as narrow as possible. Extend out the back of the RPTV cabinet by 10 feet and you will see this colour shift go down. While the colour shift is real, it also varies in intensity from set to set. It is always there to some degree, but while Pioneer has already implemented the lens striping in their CRT design ... (Toshiba uses it in some models too.) any one not owning a pioneer can also implement the same tweak. All that is needed are three strips of 1/2" black electrical tape about 7 inches long placed strategically over the offending crt's.


The fix for this issue takes about 1 to 2 minutes to implement and the people here on the forum and help talk you through it. This is a non-issue. (It has been mentioned that Pioneers tend not to need this, but every so often, there will be one that needs just a bit more.)


Final comment ... screen dot pitch ... once more a red herring of sorts. The screen dot pitch would be of importance only if this was the weakest link in the television in the delivery of the image to your eyes. Only then, would you see the advantage of the lower dot pitch.


Well, surprise, surprise ... the weak link is not the screen at all. Both the Pioneer Elites and the Regular line cannot display more than about 1200 TV lines of resolution. That's 1200 of the 1920 lines available in the 1080i signal. Roughly 62% of the resolution can be displayed.


Since the sets are limited to only 1200 lines (regardless of what their spec says.) the dot pitch on the screen makes no difference. On both types of screens, you will still only see 1200 lines.


The difference in the screen pitch may only become apparent if the TV were actually capable of displaying 1600 lines ... but this is not the case.


As a result, this screen pitch stuff is also a non-issue so don't worry about it.


Don't get too obsessed about the delivery system. Just sit back and enjoy the wonderful images that they can deliver.


Regards
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
> Don't get too obsessed about the delivery system. Just sit back and enjoy the wonderful images that they can deliver.


Well, you can hardly blame me for "over-analyzing." It's a well-established fact that the local retailer is probably the worst place to go to get an idea of what model looks nice. What does that leave, option wise?


One could theoretically take each model home, calibrate it, and judge, then pay the restocking fee for each. Pardon me while I skip that option.


Secondhand information is the only thing left. Some people are satisfied with asking, "Hey, what looks good?" and having Fred answer, "teh sony wega looks dope" and Ralph say, "Buy a front projector." For me, when it comes to spending thousands of dollars on a single item, I'm a little more particular. I do as much homework as possible.


Fortunately, I'm still learning new things every day. Pity the complications inherent with front projection systems really do discount them utterly. If I can't watch TV in broad daylight, it's not TV.
 

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Agree with your extensive research approach, Colmino. Spent nearly 2 years browsing before buying my Philips 64PH9905, a 9-in-CRT model, about 2 years ago. If you're willing to spend that much, might be useful looking into Philips/Marantz models, now being discounted, with a few threads here now about them. One feature you might avoid, which adversely affects buyers of some new models, it appears, is automatic upscaling (overscaling, it seems in some cases) of all inputs. Elaborated a bit on this here this morning. Not pushing any brand or model myself. There seem to be lots of happy Pioneer owners. But, as you might glean from threads on 9-in.-CRT models, you might expect to achieve higher resolution with some of these older sets compared to most 7-in.-CRT models. -- John
 
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