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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to replace my current set with an HDTV-ready set. Various concerns, including budget and space are leading me to move from my current 55" set to a smaller direct-view set. I like the Sampo set, but it is a bit out of the price range I am looking for, so I am looking at the RCA MM36110 and the upcoming Sony KV-36XBR450. But I have a few concerns and questions.


On the RCA:


1. I have heard that getting into the service menu to hack a 16x9 aspect ratio is not hard, but it locates the picture at the top of the screen. Given that this is not a flat screen, doesn't this lead to a distorted picture?


2. Is there any chance that RCA will be coming out with a new version of this set anytime soon? I don't want to pick up this set only to find one that solves the two problems I have with it coming out just a few months later.


On the Sony (since it is not out yet, I am asking these questions about the current model under the assumption that the new model will either be the same or improved):


1. I keep hearing that the Wegas are absolutely terrible until tweaked properly, and then are astounding. Unless Sony makes some major changes, my guess would be that the new models will need some or all of the same tweaks. How dificult is this tweaking?


2. I have heard a lot of complaints about the built-in line doubler in this line, enough that I have almost begun to regard it as a negative. How bad is this "feature" and is it possible to disable it and use an external one of your own choosing?


About both and other sets:


1. I have heard many talk about in-store comparisons showing the RCA to have a much better picture. My question is, has anyone out there compared these two sets properly adjusted and configured?


2. Are there any other sets in the same class as these that I should consider? I am looking at sets under $240, prefer flat screen if possible, and would like an easy 16X9 squeeze feature or hack.


I will initially be using this set wilh my Dish 3000 receiver and a non-progressive DVD player as well as my LD player and VCR, but will quickly upgrade to a Dish 6000 receiver and a progressive scan player. The RCA would seem the perfect choice for me if only was flat screened or had a 16X9 setting instead of a hack that places the image at the top of the screen. The second is the more annoying issue for me. I swore to myself that my next TV would be able to display anamorphic DVDs in their full glory, but the price and quality in other areas make the set really tempting for me. All advice and input will be greatly appreciated.


Many Thanks,


C.E. Tekell
 

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Quote:
1. I keep hearing that the Wegas are absolutely terrible until tweaked properly, and then are astounding. Unless Sony makes some major changes, my guess would be that the new models will need some or all of the same tweaks. How dificult is this tweaking?


2. I have heard a lot of complaints about the built-in line doubler in this line, enough that I have almost begun to regard it as a negative. How bad is this "feature" and is it possible to disable it and use an external one of your own choosing?
I have the 36" XBR400 and, out of the box, it does need tweaking. I ordered the service manual online (for around $15), dug up tweak info on the net and tweaked it with Avia and the picture is great. I have no complaints when this box is given a good input signal. The color is spectacular.


As for DRC, you cannot disable it when the box is fed a 480i signal on video 1 through 4. DRC is automatically disabled on video 5 and 6 if fed a 480p (or higher) or 1080i signal. When fed a garbage signal (like some crummy Directv overcompressed channels) it can look bad. But then so do other sets with doublers that are fed a poor signal or overcompressed mpeg.


On the other hand with a good input the DRC performs quite well in my opinion. As the saying goes, garbage-in, garbage out. I prefer the interlaced DRC setting (960i) over the progressive setting for most NTSC viewing.


As for DVD, I feed mine with a Toshiba SD6200 progressive and the picture is great. Also, I run HD from a DTC-100 and the picture is quite nice. However, keep in mind that this set only resolves about 710 pixels horizontally due to its mask. Direct view sets have a resolution limitation because if the mask was finer then the picture would be too dark.


If you don't like the DRC then an option would be to get an external doubler and hook it to inputs 5 or 6 (component).


I would suppose the new 450's would have similar, but improved features. Check out this TWICE article for additional info on Sony's upcoming sets...

http://www.twice.com/html/pagebeta.cfm?InputKey=3284


Good luck!
 

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The cool thing about the RCA MM36110 is that you don't need no steenkin' squeeze! Well, you do for 1080i, so just permanently squeeze the set for 1080i mode. But for 480i/480p mode, don't squeeze. The set lacks a line doubler, so add a HTPC and use the DTV program as your line doubler for things like satellite. Pump in 600p to your MM36110 from your PC. Using a program like WinDVD, your PC will read an anamorphic DVD and convert it to 600p, using 450 lines for the image and the rest for the black letterbox bars. So, that's very close to using 480p squeezed lines for the image, and in fact the PC-generated 450p image will be better than almost any progressive DVD player's 480p image for reasons that I don't entirely understand. Your other alternative with the MM36110 is to use 480p, which the set will do at 72 Hz, letting you do film at its proper rate; the increase in frame rate and smoothness should more than offset the decrease in resolution, I think.


If you do squeeze the MM36110, like for 480p anamorphic at 72 Hz yum-yum, I can't believe that you'd be stuck with an image at the top. You should be able to move it into the middle, right?


I've never seen a 36110, mind you, but from what I've read on the net, a 36110+HTPC will blow away a Sony Wega XBR400 for everything: regular TV, satellite, DVD, and HDTV. It sounds like the MM36110 has a bit higher resolution for HDTV.



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Abdul

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Abdul said:

>I've never seen a 36110, mind you, but from what I've read on the net, a >36110+HTPC will blow away a Sony Wega XBR400 for everything: regular TV, >satellite, DVD, and HDTV. It sounds like the MM36110 has a bit higher >resolution for HDTV.


Gosh, I didn't realize that the 36110 came with that big a fan!!


My experience with the Sony has been excellent. it only took minor tweaking to adjust the settings using video Essentials; the picture is excellent; I did look at the RCA when shopping; I did not like the curved tube versus the Sony, and The sony picture was better on the satellite signal on at that time. My suggestion is just go look at them yourself; you get way too many biases on these forums.


just my opinion

Mike


 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Originally posted by MonkeyMafia:

If you spring for it, get a 16:9.



The problem with that is, is there a 16:9 set in my price range? If I could afford more, I would throw my space problems to the wind and get the Hitachi 53" widescreen Ultravision set,or at least the Sampo tube set, but right now, even $2500 is going to be a stretch. I really wish that Hitachi would make a 40-46" 16:9 RPTV in their Ultravision line. I would look at some of the other brands, but none of them have the automatic digital convergence and, while I can see well enough to still enjoy an HDTV set, I cannot see well enough to do convergence manually.


Anyway, unless there are some models out there that I have not heard of in my price range, there do not seem to be any 16:9 choices out there and the RCA and Sony sets seem to stand out above other 4:3 sets in the price range. I certainly welcome any suggestions of other models to look at.


Thanks,


C.E. Tekell
 

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Have you looked at Toshiba 34" (CW34X92). It is close to your price range, and is 16:9. I am happy with mine (hooked up to DST3000).

Glenn
 

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See the April Issue of the magazine "Sound and Vision" for a fairly complete listing of direct view HD receivers and monitors. I'm not sure why, but the Toshiba CN36X81 is not listed there. The article says that the listings were provided by the manufacturers. As usual, most every set listed can be purchased for considerably less than the manufacturer's suggested price shown in the article.
 

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From the CNET article the RCA MM361OO is only EDTV, not HDTV ready:


The next step up would be enhanced-definition televisions (EDTV) and EDTV monitors. These sets can display a 480p picture and can be traditional 4:3 sets or wide screen. The televisions must be able to receive the signal, convert HDTV down to 480p, and output Dolby Digital audio. A number of sets sold as "digital-ready" and even "HDTV-ready," including the RCA's MM36100, meet the EDTV-monitor definition.


At the top of the heap are HDTVs and HDTV monitors, which are available as direct-view sets, rear or front projectors, or plasma panels. The CEA's definition for HDTV is that it must have at least 720 progressive or 1,080 interlaced active scanning lines in a 16:9 window. For example, Sony's KV-32XBR400 meets the HDTV-monitor definition because it scans up to 1,080 lines in the "letterboxed" 16:9 area of the screen, with black bars above and below the picture.

www.cnet.com


[This message has been edited by tombarry (edited 03-27-2001).]



[This message has been edited by tombarry (edited 03-27-2001).]


[This message has been edited by tombarry (edited 03-27-2001).]
 

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I realize that thist is a tad above your budget, and not completely compatible with your current equipment, but...


The RCA 38" wide-screen direct view set starts selling for $2999 in April. One person reported already seeing it at a BestBuy for that price. RCA is also giving a free progressive scan DVD player with the purchase of this and other HDTVs through the end of this month (3/31). Possible great deal.


The 38" RCA has the DTC-100 built in (or equivalent), a real HDTV, not just "HD-ready". The built-in sat receiver is DirectTV, not Dish. Built-in line doubler. The menu structure is also improved so that you can see most of the screen while making picture adjustments. The screen is curved, but not that much.


A year ago I bought the 'little brother' of the RCA 36" set you are considering, a Proscan 32". I must say that there is a bit of a letdown when switching from 'large' 4x3 to letterboxed 16x9. Size does make a difference. Also a loss of vertical resolution ('large' 480i vs 'small' 1080i). No such problem with a 19x6 set, of course.


BTW, when viewing HD signals on any of the RCA/Proscan sets, use the 'fast forward' button to change aspect ratios. Not well documented.


Frank
 

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A comment about Sony's DRC.


I generally like Sony products BUT I really don't like DRC. Even on very good inputs it looks fake. On poor inputs, e.g. VHS, it looks really pasty and unwatchable. IMHO.


I understand that Sony is coming out with an improved DRC that offers 3:2 pulldown on at least one new set. I have not seen it yet or any spec sheets for it.


I would certainly recommend that you take a careful look at DRC before you buy it. Some people do like it, some don't.


On the other hand, after years of berating RCA, I am very impressed with their current models.

 

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The RCA MM36110 accepts VGA input, so actually, that TV is perfect for someone doing HTPC stuff. The only thing I didn't understand was, I couldn't find the progressive component inputs. I guess the TV auto-switched. The VGA input is cool, but its a shame it only does 640 x 480 at 72 hz and 800 x 600 at only 60 hz. I don't think I could handle watching a TV with a progressive 60 hz flicker! I imagine 640 x 480 at 72 HZ would be pretty amazing though. One other thing, I saw an RCA MM36110 and its so funny that it had the geometry distortion that EVERYONE on the audioreview or consumerreview website whines about. There I was in Future Shop and they had a brand new (for them) RCA MM36110, and the upper right hand corner had a weird bendy bend in the picture edge. Nothing is perfect, and for movies and TV, frankly I wouldn't notice or worry too much. Still not a good sign though.
 

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CPC,


60hz progressive for video is very acceptable. it's still a big step up from watching 480i on an interlaced set.


72hz (which most direct view sets don't do, like the Sony which is why it needs 3:2 pulldown) is icing on the cake.


I don't mind watching DVDs at 60hz (1280x720p) on my Sampo 34" (meaning, it's not enough of a difference from 72hz that I would pause and switch refresh if I had inadvertently started playing at 60hz). But for desktop use and surfing, 85hz is what I run, albeit at a slightly lower resolution. text is a different story.


MMAfia


[This message has been edited by MonkeyMafia (edited 03-27-2001).]
 

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99.99999% of all TV's in the U.S. run at 60 Hz only, and only half the screen gets draw every 60 Hz (interlaced) on most of those.


The reason that the MM36110 + HTPC blows away the Sony 36XBR400 is that with the HTPC you get a line doubler superior to Sony's DRC. If you compare a MM36110 to a 36XBR400 on the showroom floor, the MM36110 has no line doubler at all, and so of course the MM36110 loses there, big time. But the MM36110 costs so much less than a 36XBR400 that you can add a HTPC for the difference, and the MM36110's SVGA input makes this easy to do. Also, the MM36110 has much higher resolution than the 36XBR400. My educated guess is that the MM36110 has over double the resolution (effective number of pixels) of the 36XBR400 for HDTV.


And you don't need no steekin' 16:9 set, not if it's going to cost you more per inch of 16:9 picture than getting a 4:3 set with a 16:9 squeeze. Granted, the MM36110 has no user menu squeeze, and that makes it scary, but research it and I think you'll find that it will rock anyway, if used with an HTPC. I have nothing against 16:9 sets, but most of the direct view 16:9 sets are outrageously priced.


The reason that the MM36110 is not an HD-ready TV per se is that out-of-the-box it shows 1080i cropped or distorted: full screen 4:3. Again, it doesn't come pre-squeezed or with a user menu squeeze. But you can force a squeeze for 1080i mode via the service menu and then just leave it that way. A MM36110 so modified is a HD-ready TV in the technical sense. It will have higher resolution than some HD-ready RPTV's and almost all other HD-ready direct view sets. Why they don't just pre-squeeze 1080i mode in the factory, I dunno. Again, I've never even seen one of these, so don't trust me, but find some owners on the net and see what they say.



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I agree that the RCA+HTPC will blow away an XBR400+prog dvd player.


Heck, watching 1280x720p DVDs on my Sampo gives me, IMHO, a better picture than the XBR4000 showing 1080i at a local Cambridge Soundworks store!!! Hard to believe, but true!


MMafia
 

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I looked at several direct view sets at Best Buy today. The Panasonic CT32HX40 and the RCA MM36110 were side by side displaying an HDTV demo - not sure exactly what inputs were used. The HX40 had serious geometry problems that have been discussed in this forumn before. The picture was tilted quite a bit and the top of the widescreen picture was noticibly bowed. There was also a problem that I don't think I've seen discussed here before. On vertical edges, there was a slight shadow preceding the edge. On an RPTV, I'd say it was misconvergence - can direct view sets be misconverged? The RCA geometry was perfect to my eyes and the edge transitions looked much better than the panasonic. To my eyes it also appeared to have better resolution than the panasonic, but it was difficult to tell for sure with a constantly changing image. I wish that they wouldn't use such a fast moving demo - it makes it difficult to compare sets.


The also had the RCA 38310, but it was showing a different signal - OTA PBS, so it was difficult to compare. The picture looked good to me. There was one problem I noticed, though - the top of the picture did not quite reach the top of the screen, so there was a small letterbox type bar at the top of the screen. And the bar was noticibly wider on the right side of the screen than the left. I'm not sure if the whole picture was tilted, though - the bottom of the picture went all the way to the bottom of the screen. Whether it was tilt or a trapezoid type distortion, the error was far smaller than the Panasonic.
 
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