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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I've spent about a day now with my new 503CMX and am seriously thinking of returning it. First, the good things: 1) Excellent price (~27% off MSRP); 2) No dead/stuck pixels; 3) Excellent picture quality; 4) Daytime viewing; and 5) Plasma wow factor.


Now, the bad things: 1) Humming is a problem -- one that Pioneer is fully aware of since the plasma had about 7 inserted sheets on top of it explaining how humming was a fact of life with all plasmas and shouldn't necessitate a return; 2) Image Size -- 50" is simply a tremendous step-back from my existing/potentially former front projection setup. It's difficult for me to get excited watching the plasma since it feels like "I'm just watching TV" instead of "Going to the movies"; 3) Price -- $5k, while an excellent price for the unit, is still about $1,000 more than an relatively high-end FP unit, such as the NEC HT1000. Factor in a new HDCP card and the price difference goes up another $500-$1,000 (the bulb replacement factor on FPs sort of mitigates this though).


So, I'm torn about what to do. I already have a Panasonic 42" plasma in the bedroom that I'm very happy with (no dead pixels/no humming). I guess what's really holding me back is the image size. Price is a fluid variable that I don't put too much weight on and the humming I can overlook much as I overlooked the (much worse) noise that my old NEC LT-150 front projector emitted.


Has anyone else downsized from a FP setup to a plasma display? Any thoughts would be appreciated. My current thought is to return the 503CMX, buy an NEC HT1000, and then buy another 42" plasma when the price drops another $500-$1000 in a year or two (purely for daytime viewing).


Thanks all.
 

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if you were purchasing the pioneer to replace an existing fp system then you should have known you cant go smaller. send it back and get the fp system and buy another panasonic around christmas when the ed version will almost certainly be below 3000. you might be able to scarf up one of the discontinued models once the new ones come out in july. really a no brainer... BTW when i was in the Colorado Springs all of the plasmas I heard hummed loudly except the pioneers. seems pioneer has adjusted thier plasmas to high elevation but panasonic and the like have not.
 

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Daniel,


Many people have gone from bigger RPTVs to better smaller RPTVs, or to plasmas, and after a while have adjusted to the smaller size and preferred the better picture quality over their former beast.


However, you are making quite a jump down in size. If you really value a cinematic, enveloping experience, it seems to me you won't be happy with the plasma, but I'd give it a little longer.


What's funny about this is that I went from a 27" CRT to a 42" Panny plasma and the plasma feels like "being at the movies" compared to it.


BTW, I just experienced a $300,000 Front Projector home theater and, although it was much like being at the movies, I still preferred certain aspects of my plasma's image over that FP system; namely the better contrast, richer more vivid and palpable picture...the plasma image is smaller, but I find it more realistic and gorgeous.


Takes all kinds, of course.
 

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Hehe, I just went from a 90" diagonal with a panny ae300 to a 17.4" direct view lcd. Sounds extreme, but the novelty of the FP largeness had just worn off and I really enjoy the image quality of a small, bright, hi-res lcd (IMO direct view lcd's are prefect for anime, which is the majority of my viewing). Get real close and my retinas don't know it's not really large. Actually it's kind of cozy this way with my nice leather chair and high end headphones. Not to mention the no hassles maintanence of a direct view.


So yes, some people definately can go from a FP to a smaller display and be happy. And no, I'm not insane...yet.


Mike U.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by mulveling
Hehe, I just went from a 90" diagonal with a panny ae300 to a 17.4" direct view lcd.
Wow. That should be a Guiness record. Biggest change in size ever for a home theater display. I wish I could be happy with a 17.4" display. My wallet would really appreciate that.
 

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Daniel, I have both the 503CMX and a 8' screen FP system. The reason I got the Pio is because I don't have light control, so I can't use the FP in the daytime. The Plasma is for casual tv viewing, HDTV, and DVD's in the daytime. The FP is for when I want that real theatre experience.


I find the plasma to be sharper than my DWIN FP. But that being said, there's nothing like having a big screen with the lights off and a killer surround system. I actually prefer my projector to many commercial theatres I've been in. I don't have to worry about an out of focus projector, I don't have people's cell phones ringing or loud talking and coughing, and I have all the food I want readily at hand.


IMO the NEC HT1000 would give you a superior home theatre experience. But I would also add that for the price you pay for that fancy state of the art digital projector, you could purchase a very nice refurbished 8" CRT projector that will give you REAL black levels. There a number of places you can get refurbed CRT's from. Curt Palme is a good resource. He normally sells Barco 808's for example, for less than $3k. This is for a retubed projector which will last for 10,000 or more hours. That's a lot of movie watching. Pair that with a used video processor, or build your own Home Theater PC, and you'd have a state of the art killer video presentation that betters most commercial movie theatres.
 

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Oh, but you can use the projector in the daytime. You just need the right miracle screen, video1.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
Oh, but you can use the projector in the daytime. You just need the right miracle screen, video1.
Miracle is right because there simply are no screens out there that will give you decent contrast in full daylight, Mocom's marketing hype notwithstanding.


I saw a small Mocom hi-gain screen in daylight action.


All I can say is ugh...
 

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rogo, I am by no means suggesting that the FP can be used during daylight. That's why I have the plasma. But in my case, I bought the plasma because of a space limitation. My home has a prebuilt "media alcove" designed by someone with absolutely no knowledge of home theatre. It's not deep enough for much more than a 27" tv, so the plasma was the only acceptable alternative. If Daniel has the room, I'd get the Sony 34xbr800 16x9 set for all around viewing and go with the FP for the ultimate home theatre experience. Our needs are all different. It's great to have so many choices!
 

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OK, wojtek, I'll take your word for it. Until I see for myself that is. I am hopefully going to see the Mocom this week.


Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, I packed up the 503CMX this morning and will call Dell later on in the day to schedule a pickup. In the end, I concluded that I would probably wind up with both a 50" plasma and a FP setup in the long term. So, I had to decide where I thought the most amount of technological progression and price cutting would occur. I concluded that, over the next two years, advancements in plasma technology will dwarf that of FP in terms of cost and PQ. For a frame of reference, I compared the NEC LT-150 I bought two years ago to the NEC HT1000 that I will be buying and the 503CMX to plasmas that I had looked at two years ago. Improvements and price cuts with plasma displays far outpaced that of front projectors.


So, until the 50" plasma hits the $3,000 price point (2-3 years maybe), I will have to be content with my 42" Panasonic (which is terrific).


Thanks to everyone for their support!


-Dan
 

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Dan,


Your decision is logical and sound indeed. Good luck and don't go away.


Dave
 

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Especially since you are a "Friendly Member". :)
 

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Well, I wouldn't have done that. I also have the Panasonic 42 and the 50-inch 503CMX and there's no comparison between the two. Don't get me wrong, the Panasonic is nice, but the 503CMX is true high end video -- small high end video, but super nonetheless. 50 inches is the sweet spot for plasmas and once you've seen one displaying HDTV, you can never go back or be satisfied with smaller plasmas (in my opinion).


So, I would have kept the 503CMX and sold the 42 inch Panasonic privately.


Now, yes, for movies, I usually prefer a projector (not always for cartoon movies, though). But the 503CMX is very, very satisfying in its own terms.


I'll be very interested to see if you find the NEC HT1000 satisfying after experiencing the brightness and sharpness of the 503CMX (and yours wasn't even broken in!), or if you find that it's merely bigger, and that you need more refined picture quality to satisfy you (necessitating the purchase of an HD2 or CRT projector).


Please keep us posted.



P.S. Incidentally, I too went from a big screen front projector -- a Kloss Novabeam -- to one of those first Sony 25 inch XBRs with the foot pedal stands, and didn't look back for years. The Novabeam served me very well for a while, but I grew tired of it in time and a change of scenery to a smaller, brighter venue didn't help much. The sharpness and "pop" of the XBR kept me thrilled for years, and I still have it 15 years later (or I should say, my 10-year old does -- Sponge Bob looks just fine on it, thank you very much).
 

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Daniel,


I'll also be interested to hear your experience with the HT1000. I have one with a 92" wide screen in my theater room, but I've been considering a 42" plasma for my master bedroom, since I have a perfect place where I could angle it for lazy watching from bed. However, I'm also considering getting a 2nd ceiling mount (the Chief mount makes moving very easy) and then putting a small screen in my bedroom. Maybe about the size of the plasma. Then I would still have my high CR, 1024x768 pixels with 16x9 material (I have a Panamorph on it) and should have a pretty bright image, even if not as bright as these plasmas. I would keep my 36" 800x600 directview HD-ready set in there if I do that for when all the lights are on. The biggest problem I see is running cables, which would be easier with the plasma.


After trying this out I may still decide to get a 42" plasma, partially for the ease of use and brightness. I'm not sure about this falling asleep and ruining the plasma thing, though. I never worry about that with my projectors or direct view set, and since this would be setup for watching from bed I'm wondering if the plasma is a good idea.


--Darin
 

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darinp:


I think I have the setup you're thinking about. I have a FP (Sony HS-10, 106 " screen) in the family room and a 43" plasma in the bedroom (Pioneer PDP-433CMX). Viewing distance to the 433 is about 12 feet. Works great for us.


Pretty much watch mostly DVDs and special sporting events on the FP, and some DVDs and HDTV on the plasma.


One neat feature the 433CMX has is a display timer function where you can set the time the display is on in one hour increments. For example, if you were watching a 2 hour DVD and you set the timer to 2 HR, it would go to stand by status 2 hours after you set the timer.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by darinp
Daniel,


However, I'm also considering getting a 2nd ceiling mount (the Chief mount makes moving very easy) and then putting a small screen in my bedroom. Maybe about the size of the plasma. Then I would still have my high CR, 1024x768 pixels with 16x9 material (I have a Panamorph on it) and should have a pretty bright image, even if not as bright as these plasmas.

--Darin
What an interesting, creative idea.
 

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I doubt falling asleep with the TV once or twice would ruin the plasma. Also, they all have sleep timers I believe.


But that said, I have seriously considered the projector+small screen as a long-term bedroom solution. You figure a lamp would last many, many years in the bedroom, light control is not likely to be an issue, your setup is very lightweight and therefore easy to mount, etc. etc.


The Sanyo Z1 I have is likely to wind up in the bedroom for me at some point.
 
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