I just saw a 57HX81 (same guts, etc. as the 65HX) and a Pioneer (non-Elite) side-by-side today. I have to tell you, it is a real crap-shoot. I mean, they both looked GREAT in 1080I. I kept thinking that unless I knew what kind of wires each had running to them, if one was "tweaked" and the other was "out of the box", etc. etc....it is not fair to compare even s-b-s. If I could have had free reign and about two hours in the store to do my own tweaking and investigating wires, then I would feel confident. I have to say that I am not excited about the Tosh non-HX screen (glare).. The HX screen was much better than the non HX. But HX and Pioneer were real nice. I can tell you that in the Tosh HX, I was surprised to note in 1080I/OTA, motion artifacts were quite evident on structures (brick). I kinda thought that the P would have taken more of that out!
I am a Tosh fan, but I swear that I have not seen any NTSC material look as good as w/ Pioneer, espec. Elite!
Good luck to you...one solution for you is to wait a bit for those HD gurus like Gary Merson to do an objective eval- that is what I like to consider.
[This message has been edited by WOLVERNOLE (edited 09-30-2001).]
On the motion artifacts, the one thing you want to make sure is that the Toshiba is in the correct mode. If you are watching a movie, you want to make sure it is the movie or cinema mode (not sure which, I just ordered my 57HX81). That will turn on the 2-3 pulldown. which may eliminate the artifacts you saw. I was watching Toy Story on the Toshiba and Hitachi set side by side, and one looked great and the other did not. When I set the bad one to the correct video mode, it looked great also, eliminating artifacts and smoothed diagonal lines...a major improvement. Often stores do not have the units set correctly. Just a thought.
Please help me decide; I live in Vermont so I can't see one live.
I have been looking at the Tosh 57" vs. the 53" Pioneer, so I know what you have been going through. So far I have only been able to find 1 SD-533 to look at and that was at Best Buy, with only 2 inputs. I have seen a number of 50H81 and 50HX81 sets and a 57H81 set.The 50H81s and the 57H81 looed very good, although there was some glare that was not apparent on the HX models. 2 of the 50HX81 sets appeared to have problems, they looked very grainy and there were artifacts on my test scenes from the forest battle at the beginning of _Gladiator_.
OTOH, the 3rd 50HX81 I saw was superb and IMO looked better than the Mits Diamond 55908 it was sitting next to when fed the same video from a Denon 2800 PS DVD player, an HD loop and an analog cable signal. The differences were particularly notable when fed an interlaced or NTSC signal, the poor quality of the Mits line doubler becomes painfully apparent. Another point in favor of the Tosh, it has excellent stretch modes, far superior to Mits.
But IMO, the Pioneer I saw looked even better. The "Natural Wide" mode on the Pioneer is so good that I didn't even realize that I was looking at a stretched 4:3 image until I grabbed the remote and tried to change inputs. The display on the Pioneer seems more 'film-like' or smoother and it displays 480p natively, while the Tosh upconverts 480i/p to 540p. Tosh does a good job, but it has a slight graininess that I think might be attributed to the up conversion. The Pioneer seems to handle color a little better, while the Tosh might have somewhat better resolution and contrast.
All in all, I think both the Tosh and the Pioneer are very good sets, although I am concerned that 2 of the 3 50HX81s I saw had very noticable problems. However, the 3 50H81s and the 57H81 looked fine and that 1 50HX81 was excellent. I did see a difference between the H and HX models and yes, I do think it is worth the addtional $200-$300. Just the better anti-glare screen on the HX may be worth that, but I also think the better optics on the HX do improve the PQ.
Assuming everything scales up, which it should, I would consider either set to be a good choice. The Pioneer has somewhat better PQ, particularly with interlaced and NTSC sources, but the Pioneer cost quite a bit more than the HX Toshiba. So what it really come down to are the known issues of the Tosh sets (e.g. ghost lines) vs. the higher purchase price of the Pioneer, for what some people might consider only a marginal increase in PQ. Either way, I don't think you will be unhappy, whichever choice you make.
BTW, does anyone know of a store other than Best Buy in the SF Bay Area that carries the Pioneer SD-553?
[This message has been edited by Dan Driscoll (edited 10-01-2001).]
Tough questions, but I think both the HX and the Pioneer had good non-glare screens, compared to that non HX. In terms of the 4:3 stretch, it was darn close, and we would be splitting hairs. They may have had the Pioneer "set" a bit darker--Tosh HX looked a little "brighter and sharper" w/ 1080i/OTA, but I want to be fair to the Pioneer and say that the store may not have done justice here. As said before, even eye-balling in the store side-by-side is less than objective.
Dan I think you said it very well here- these sets are very nice and have their particular strengths. I am gonna go with the less erxpensive Tosh, as IMHO there is not any overall quality difference meriting $$$ diff.
I own the new Pioneer non-elite 64 inch. The protective screen is not anti-glare but I think Pioneer tints the plastic some and does a good job of fitting the screen to reduce glare. So far I have been very pleased with my TV. Have not had the opportunity to view 1080i yet, but NTSC looks very smooth in all viewing modes. The natural wide seems to be my favorite for most NTSC. I most also add that the corner focus is excellent on this set. Supposedly the new 4-element lens is part of this improvement.
Laser City in South San Francisco carries Toshiba and both regular Pioneer and the Elites. Last time I was there a couple of weeks ago I do not think they had the new Pioneers yet, and they only had the H model Toshiba's. I think they will deal on price also. For Toshiba's, it is hard to beat Video Only, though.
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