Replacement for Panny DLP - - Respose to RudyMeister : Hi RudyMeister, I'm responding to your inquiry regarding the type of LCD rear projection I purchased in place of my disappointing Panny DLP (noisy cooling fan).
I purchased the Sony 55 inch LCD rear projection HDTV (KDF 55WF655). What can I say, the Sony is excellent ! In fact, on some Discovery Channel HD, HBO HD, and ESPN HD broadcasts, I find myself laughing out loud at the excellence of the picture. I'm very happy with the precise and vivid picture as well as the aesthetics of this recently unveiled 55 inch Sony. There are some other threads on AVS Forum that discuss this particular Sony model and, in my opinion, all the positive posts for the Sony KDF 55WF655 reflect my personal experience and evaluation of this 55 inch LCD rear projection.
Keep in mind that I consciously tried to stay away from the Sony brand because I believe that you pay a premium for the "Sony name" without receiving a proportional increase in picture quality and useful features in comparison to other brands which have lower price-points. But the Sony fit my needs, and it easily met and generally exceeded all my criteria - - especially overall picture quality, acceptable price-performance ratio, no fan noise, good black-level performance, build quality, reasonably "future-proof", and established repair and parts network. In that order. I'm very happy with the Sony 55" LCD.
Finally, in response to your inquiry, yes I considered very carefully the Toshiba DLP. I own a Toshiba 36" direct view TV and it displays an excellent picture with no repair or maintenance problems whatsoever so my evaluation of the Toshiba DLP started off on good footing. I took a long time evaluating the Toshiba DLP at three separate BestBuys in my area, and on the Internet, and ultimately it fell short. My greatest concerns regarding the Tosh involved picture quality and build quality, as follows:
(1) In my opinion, even though the Toshiba DLP contains the more recent evolution of the Texas Instruments DLP chip compared to the Samsung DLP (model 5063) and if my memory is correct, even though the Toshiba also has more segments in its color wheel in comparison to the Samsung model 5063, the Toshiba appeared to be one or two notches below the Sammy DLP and the Sony LCD in picture quality. Let me be more specific :
The Toshiba DLP's picture quality looked (a) slightly more "grainy" than the Sony LCD and Sammy DLP, and (b) the Tosh had slightly less vivid colors than the Sony and the Sammy - - even after I adjusted the Toshiba's color, and (c) in dark scenes, the Toshiba displayed noticably less definition within the darkness in comparison to the Sammy's picture, and the Toshiba was slightly worse (by the narrowest margin) when compared against the Sony's black-level performance. Keep in mind that items (a) and (b) above are subjective. But item (c) involving black-level performamce is objective
- - the Toshiba displayed noticeably less definition within a dark scene in comparison to the Sammy DLP. You could see more objects and there was more definition within the darkness when viewing the Sammy DLP.
I used "The Last Samurai" as a reference DVD because it has excellent outdoor color scenes (winter whiteness, fall leaves in various fall colors of orange and yellow, and spring vividness of green grass and pink Japanese cherry blossoms). Most importantly, in The Last Samurai there are two excellent reference scenes which I used to test black-level performance: (1) the opening scene panning onto a drunk Tom Cruise in a darkened area of a theater, and (2) a nature scene half-way into the movie where an orange sunrise is rising over a darkened hill and valley. In both these scenes, the Sammy showed excellent black-level performance and with the Sammy I could see darkened shadows and outlines of trees on the darkened hill and valley, whereas the Toshiba merely displayed a flat black hill and valley with no definition within the shadows. The Sony LCD was only the narrowest margin better in black-level performance in comparison to the Toshiba DLP.
(2) I still watch a great deal of standard non-HD programming, and with all the networks fighting the FCC regarding the actual deadline for switching over to HD, I anticipate that extensive HD programming will remain relatively limited for at least one to two years. Moreover, there's a bunch of original first-run programming and quality re-runs on TV (both drama and comedy) that I will continue to watch but which were not originally filmed in High Definition format, and therefore I will be viewing some re-runs in standard definition or, at best, enhanced definition, for quite some time.
Accordingly, I want my HDTV to display a good non-HD signal, and on this issue, the Sony 55" LCD rear projection TV displays a much better standard non-HD picture than the Sammy DLP, Mitsubishi DLP, and the Toshiba DLP. In fact, to my eyes, the Tosh DLP was the poorest in displaying a standard definition TV signal when compared against the Sony LCD rear projection, Sammy DLP, and Mitsubishi DLP. (By the way, I stopped "testing" and evaluating the Mitsubishi DLP when I noticed that the Mits has a noticeably loud cooling fan.)
(3) Finally RudyMeister, I was a little concerned about the Tosh's build-quality. Oh, it's fine as TV's generally go. But compared to the Sony 55 inch LCD, the Sammy 50 inch DLP, and the Mitsubishi 52 inch DLP, these three other manufacturers appear to build a more robust HDTV. It just seemed to me that the Tosh cabinet materials were "thinner". I dunno. Also, and this is really just my personal preference, on the Toshiba I thought that the narrow black plastic strip that runs horizontally along the front of the cabinet about five inches above the base of the TV makes the Toshiba look kinda cheap. Why?, see below.
In the early 1990s, Magnavox had similar black plastic strips placed on their tube TVs, and these black plastic strips had pressure sensitive buttons behind the plastic to turn the TV off and on, as well as other basic functions - - just like the current Toshiba DLP. Over time, the plastic strip would start warping and separating from the TV cabinet (not because of fingers pressing the plastic, but simply because of the moderate amount of heat generated by the TV itself). Also, because the plastic was black and semi-shiny, over time, one could see warps, waviness, and indentations in the plastic, and it made the already-cheap Maganavox TVs look cheaper. I'm not saying that this would occur with the Toshiba's black plastic strip, but in general I stay away from these black plastic pressure strips because (1) they are a cheap design feature not in keeping with a premium-priced TV, and (2) I had one of those aforementioned cheap Magnavox TVs in college.
Hope some of this helps. End of Post. -Former Pan DLP Fan.