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I've been thrilled with my 36" XBR wega for 4 years. I'm now considering making the 16x9 plunge in the sub $4,000 price range. Growing up in the 80's left me with deeply ingrained bias against rear-projection. I now see things have come along way from the sets that required a 0 degree viewing angle and near-dark ambient lighting.


But I digress. The front-runner at this point is the 50" or 60" Grand Wega. Can someone please explain, in laymen's terms, how this unit stacks up with high-end direct view sets (e.g. my Wega). I'm kinda looking for common metrics, but I only see lumens and contrast ratio used to describe front projection. Yes I'll do my own taste test in a showroom, but I'd like some technical context for the comparison.


1) Under typical daytime lighting conditions, can the GW stack up with direct-view, and is viewing angle an issue at all?


2) What's the bottom line justification for spending 75% more on a 42" Sony plasma display vs. a 60" rear-proj LCD?


3) Can someone point me to some professional reviews of the GW XBR on the web?


Thanks in advance!
 

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Coyote Waits
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Quote:
Originally posted by bigcpa
1) Under typical daytime lighting conditions, can the GW stack up with direct-view, and is viewing angle an issue at all?
If you ignore the image size advantage of any RPTV then it's NO and NO but a lot of people like the GW II anyway.


With the GW you will be disappointed if you expect the blacks to look as good as your current set. Have you seen the 38" direct view Leuwe? It is regarded as the best picture quality available and is now selling for under $4,000. Again, it is not big. Some of us want the biggest screen size we can manage.
Quote:


2) What's the bottom line justification for spending 75% more on a 42" Sony plasma display vs. a 60" rear-proj LCD?
None for me.
Quote:



3) Can someone point me to some professional reviews of the GW XBR on the web?
Don't neglect to read about the GW II here in the RPTV forum.
 

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I started in that field for fear of no jobs in a recessive Texas economy after the Oil moves east game in 89, but I long ago made the move with no regrets from tube to RPTV, and I did so because screen size just makes so much difference on sports and movies that I felt it a must.

I say that to clarify that it has been a long time since I left it, but I do still see the tube sets, and must also point out that I went from a much better tube set than you are switching from, and went to a 55 inch with no problem. I switched from a Sony XBR squared, a rare production set that was 32 inches and was 2900 back in the early 90's. This isn't anything like the XBR2 that they recently used with no quality reason to share names with what I owned, but to this day, I have not seen any tubes by Sony that were better on regular broadcasts.


You may have to adjust a little to move over, but most people after 3 days to a week are so impressed by the size of the set on movies and sports, that you adjust fine. This was the result when 480i with only 480p on DVD, but with 1080i which the regular tubes have an impossible time to fully display, I think you will find it even easier.


All that said, I have to chime in on your choice of what RPTV you are looking at, and I am wondering if you are making the same mistake I almost made, in looking at Sony because of your tube experience, and assuming they will do as well in big screens? I almost did, but quickly realized that Sony is not only at the top of this type, but way down the food chain. I wouldn't own a Sony Bigscreen unless I was sentenced to.

They have a huge flickering problem and even when they don't flicker, they don't look very good.


The sets you should consider are:


1) Hitachi SWX/TWX- 57 inch or smaller- great HD, absolute best analog

2) Mitsubishi Diamond- All sizes- great HD- poor analog

3) Pioneer Elite- Great HD- great skin tones- ok in analog


You are going to find that most sets don't do analog well, and the Sony does that ok also, but the HD is so what and overpriced.


I hope that helps, and be your own judge, but I got a flashback when I read your premise, and went through the same brand and issue in the early 90's, and couldn't help but feel your position.


I would also seriously consider having your new set calibrated.
 

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Random thoughts:


1) Ignore any "specifications". Manufacturs measure things differently, and flat out lie, so you can't trust them. Go see for yourself.


2) The justrification for plasmas is that they are cool. If you ask in the plasma forum, they may have other answers, but that's the big one. They may even point you to nicely priced plamas that don't have such a premium.


3) I've never seen a "professional" review that had as honest or useful information as the reviews posted here.


4) No technology can match direct view for brightness and viewing angles. However, I bet the current generation of RPTV - especially the DLP's and LCD's - will be plenty good enough for your needs.
 

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bigcpa,


I recently moved from a 32" tube to the GWII (50") and I couldn't be happier. Before making the move, I spent ALOT of time in this forum (4-5 months) doing research and reading the information posted here. The forum is incredible. I also spent time haunting the CC, Best Buy and a couple of locals looking at the RPTV choices.


I mention this because it sounds as though you are pretty early in the game. Given the incredible amount of detail here, I'd urge you to do a variety of things:


1) search on "GWII" and "umr" to get a perspective on the GWII. umr's input has been pretty detailed and one of his threads provides a list of plusses/minuses. The list may be in the thread titled "umr does GWII".


2) set aside some time and simply read the threads that are available. They will walk you through a litany of information for the various types of RPTVs.


3) Take your knowledge to the various stores and see what moves you.


Once you decide to move beyond a picture tube, you are faced with trade-offs. At the end of the day, I chose the GWII for a variety of reasons:


1) No burn in, better viewing angle than floor model RPTVs


2) No matter where I viewed the TV, the PQ stood out.


3) More expensive than the floor model RPTVs, but much less expensive than plasma (which does have burn in capability)


4) Much less bulk (size, weight and depth) than the floor model RPTVs.


5) The information on this site from users, both GWII and others. The GWII users were unanimous in their pleasure of owning the TV. (Apparently very popular as well from the size of the back order problem Sony had/has).


6) Some of the features I liked (Memory stick slot, DVI connection, a zoom mode that looks pretty natural, the ability to "skip" Video inputs that aren't being used to name a few)


7) I alos boiled it down to a choice between the GWII and a DLP. GWII has no rainbows, no one complains of nausea, Sony uses/has available discrete codes for the remote control.


8) Samsung (3 blinking light problem) / Panasonic (their 52" DLP just halted production for some set of issues) don't appear to be quite as mature in their DLP quality as I'd like.



The list can go on, but you get the idea. Roll around in the info and audition the TVs. Ultimately, you will find the set that you want. For me, it was the GWII and I am extremely pleased. Just be careful to glean the facts and not be overwhelmed by the rhetoric. Those who choose a particular TV, including myself, often feel that they have purchased the best choice there is to be had.


On a final note, enjoy the exercise. I had almost as much fun researching/shopping as I am having watching the TV.
 
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