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Greetings All,


Am I nervous posting this? You bet. With all the heavy weights out there, I feel like the 'world is a black tuxedo and I'm a pair of brown shoes' (apologies to comedian George Gobels). Here goes.

My wife wants a bigger TV. She watches cable and DVDs about 50/50. I will not have some big black behemoth dominating our living room like our friends have, who have nicknamed their TVs the "jumbotron". So, I have a wife who would go with a plasma and reading this group for a long time, I pretty much decided how to go. But.... in ya'll's opinion, what is the best way, PQ wise to, receive and output cable NTSC, to a plasma like the Panny or NEC?

I know this is a basic question, but you guys would know best. Thanks.
 

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Welcome!!


Others may have more creative solutions, but the first thing you should do is contact your cable company and see if they can provide you with a cable box that has an s-video output (assuming your current box does not). In my experience you have to push them to get it, but they usually have it. They may require an upgrade to digital cable service if you don't already have it in order to get the better box. If your cable provider carries HD content, they may even have a box with component output, which would be even better. You then can run the s-video, or component, connect directly to the plasma.


If you can't get an s-video capable cable box, I believe you can run your cable signal into a good svhs vcr, and then run an s-video connect from the vcr to the plasma. I have directv so I don't know if using the vcr as a tuner requires any additional hookups to make it coordinate with your cable box.


Hopefully others will respond, but I didn't want to leave you hanging;)
 

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Welcome. Here are a few issues to consider.


1. If you receive digital cable TV via a cable box right now, you may be able to get into High Definition at little or no cost beyond the purchase of your new Plasma. Check with your Cable company and see if they provide a High Definition cable box. I get HBO-HD and Showtime-HD using the TimeWarner cable box provided me. If you can't get an HD box then certainly at least try to get one with SVIDEO.


2. If at all possible, look at a display model showing the regular NTSC (standard definition signal) on a widescreen plasma. Widescreen is really fantastic for both DVD and HD, but you want to choose a Plasma monitor that either stretches or crops the standard picture in such a way that you won't have to worry about burn-in because of the black bars on the left and right side of the display. I usually stretch my 4:3 picture and am used to it now. Widescreen is really great, but if you watch a lot of 4:3 material, get a display that you can live with.


3. If you don't already have a DVD player that can output a progressive signal, consider getting one. You an update your picture quality quite a bit this way. It doesn't make sense to not leverage this capability in a multi-thousand dollar display when a progressive DVD players start at only $270 or so.


4. Go through a reputable dealer that provides good service. You'll pay a few hundred dollars more, but with an item like a plasma that requires special shipping and is potentially very delicate, it *really* pays to go with someone with good service after the sale. I had to swap out my Panny 42" plasma and it was all arranged and paid for by Panasonic, but I didn't have to arrange for anything. Paul Gilmore ([email protected]) is such a rep. Do a search on the Plasma forum for his name if you need more references.


5. One last consideration is DVI. I really doubt it will be a serious issue for several years down the road, but it pays to be informed. Do a search for dvi/HDCP if you need more information.


--Karl
 

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I know it's not the question you asked, but have you considered switching to satellite? I know there are some good cable systems out there, but our local AT&T broadband isn't one of them. If my "regular TV" watching on my 42" Panny were off this cable, I'd be VERY unhappy with the PQ, even though it looks (barely) OK on a small screen set. The unfortunate truth about plasma is that it sort of acts like a magnifying glass for PQ. If it's really good, like a good DVD, the plasma makes it look great. But if the signal is semi-crappy to start with, the plasma will make it look worse.


I signed up with Direct TV the same time I got my plasma. I initially did it for the HD signals, but the PQ on almost everything was orders of magnitude better than AT&T cable. The standard definition movie channels like HBO often look almost as good as DVD (and the HD channels are spectacular.) If you have the choice, I would seriously look at satellite as the ultimate answer to your question.
 

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Your first step, as everyone here suggested is to move to a good video source. Consider an HT capable one. Digital cable or satellite should be OK.


Once you move, you have to prepare, audio wise. Make sure you have a good receiver (I recommend Onkyo, Denon is also very good). Make sure it's hooked up through the cable/sat receiver & that all your speakers are hooked up well. The plasma will not have audio capabilities, so you don't want to hang around trying to lip read...


On the DVD front, your best bet is to get a good Panasonic DVD player RP56 is recommended (the Philips Q50 is also quite good).


The Panasonic and NEC units you mentioned are quite good - you won't go wrong with either one.
 

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Satellite in the U.S. as well as most digital cable systems are horrific, actually. You are better off with the good quality analog cable where you can find it -- certainly not everywhere. The overcompressed MPEG of satellite and digital cable is magnified like crazy.


If you really want to do it right, take the digital OTA feeds (if you have them). Even when non-HD, they are about the best regular picture going.


Mark
 
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