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Plasma HDTV

778 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Hemi
I am a new member and in the final stages of deciding what to purchase.

1) I am leaning toward the NEC 50XR4, but it annoys me to have to pay an extra $800 for speakers and table stand. I have an older Denon amplifier with Prologic surround sound capability, with excellent Altec Lansing speakers. Would I be better off using the existing stereo and skipping the NEC speakers?

2) Does anyone have any ideas about a comparably priced and comparable quality "full HDTV unit", rather than purchasing just the display. The Panasonic TH50PX25 seems interesting but pricey, especially since it is the previous generation technology and has somewhat modest quality speakers.

3) Finally, I have approximately 9.5 feet from seating to screen and wondered if a 50 inch display might be overkill. If I go to the 42" display I might not be be so concerned about the price of the extras.

Thanks in advance for your replies.
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1. Yes. It is almost certain that your older separates are vastly superior to the amps/speakers built into/onto any plasma set.

2. I wouldn't. See (1) above.

3. I don't think it's overkill. We sit about 12-13' from a 50" and it seems to get smaller everyweek. ;-)

1. I doubt there are any "on-panel" speakers (any brand) that will sound as good as your A-Ls. You didn't say whether you had a tuner. That might make the difference whether you go with the NEC or the Pany.

2. The Pany is probably going to be your best buy in a consumer model right now, because it is being replaced in a couple months. But there is going to be a drop in the MSRP of the new Panys, so you might want to wait.

3. A 50-incher would give you more of an "immersed" experience, like at a theater. You will probably have to turn your head a bit to follow the action. At 9.5 feet, you are on the fine line as far as whether a 42" ED panel might work for you. Some here see SDE at that distance, some don't. If you decide on 42", it might be a good idea to view some in B&Ms at that distance to determine if you're sensitive to the SDE.
I have the Pio 1120, that came w/ speakers & stand.

1&2) If you're willing to watch all TV via your own amp & speakers, then you may get away with just the display. For me, I don't yet have a good amp and I didn't want the minor hassle of turning it on just to watch the news or something, so I wanted the included speakers. Also, the speakers match the panel well (just adds a little width overall), so I wasn't too concerned with aesthetics.

If you already have a STB w/ HD, you may not need the "full HDTV" package. For me, I haven't yet decided on a STB (still deciding on providers), so the included HD ATSC OTA tuner has been useful.

If you're planning to wall mount, save the money for a good mount.

3) I used CNET to help me determine the screen size. Go to:


I'm about 9-10' from screen, so I went with a 50" (recommended max & min viewing distance was 6.3ft & 12.5ft, respectively). The 43" I was considering would've pushed a little too close to the recommended max viewing distance. The CNET guide was helpful, & I'm sure there's plenty threads here in AVS regarding this. At 9', I'd go with a 50". Of my purchase, I'm most happy that I went with the 50" over the 43".
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Thank you both for your interest and replys.

I saw a 42" Mitsubishi ED the other day at FRY's and it looked excellent (I'm assuming this is the same panel that's in the NEC 42VR5). It was sitting between the 50" & 42" Viewsonic HD units and looked superior to either one. I didn't notice any SDE, but I was viewing it from 10 or 11 ft.

The 42" ED unit is definitely a lot cheaper, but I'm concerned that I'll save the money intitially and then develop a severe case of buyer's remorse as the newer, cheaper HD units start to appear on the market.

I believe the current Pany is being replaced by the PX50 series, but I don't know when they'll be out or what the street price will be.

I've also started exploring the Sharp 45" LCD panels, but they're obviously smaller than the 50's and also more expensive. LG makes a 42" LCD, but I'm leary of buying an off brand. I am attracted to the lack of concern about the panel life, lower operating costs and lack of heat discharge.

Another question I have is how favorably a 1024 X 1024 resolution panel compares to a 1366 x 768. They both seem to have the same amount of total pixels, but I'm confused as to which is superior.

NEC offers a three year warranty on the XR4, but the panel is only warranteed for a year. What's the point of a three year warranty, if it's not on the panel?

Also, does anyone have any recommendations as far as on-line versus brick and mortar dealers. The high-end video dealers in my area are very helpful but significantly more expensive than the internet dealers. I guess I'm not the first person wrestling with this dilemna.

P.S. When you referred to the tuner, I'm assuming you mean an HDTV video tuner. I plan on using the HDTV cable box that COX cable offers, but they don't seem to have the DVI or HDMI outputs on their boxes. Do I even need an HDMI input on the HDTV if my Denon amp doesn't have the newer type of audio outputs?
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(1) Yes

(2) No

(3) It's probably fine. Check out the size / distance ratio at a store.

(4) Use much more descriptive thread titles in the future. Please.
Originally posted by rwagner5
but I'm concerned that I'll save the money intitially and then develop a severe case of buyer's remorse as the newer, cheaper HD units start to appear on the market.
Stuff will always become newer and cheaper. You just have to judge if waiting months or even years for an incrementally better TV is worth the wait. To me, after having had my plasma for several months & with the increasing amount of HD programming, I regret not having bought sooner. Plus, since plasmas put out such a nice picture, I think you can't go wrong with buying a "last year" model of any of the major brands. Plus, you can snag some good deals.

I'd check Costco.com. They seem to have more plasmas now than in the past. Plus they have the best ever return policy. After having some problem with the 1120 'buzz', I believe a good return policy is a big thing to consider. They're not the cheapest or have the best selection, but the return policy's worth it. And, no I don't work for Costco. I just love the $1.50 hot dogs like everyone else.
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I have a 42pwd and its awesome from 9.5 ft. If you can afford, I think your upgrade should be to the 50phd. I agree with others above, that the 42" size is ok, but a little bigger would be better, and necessary from 12' or more.

As for resolution, HD is min 720x1280, so the 50phd meets this requirement, but the 42phd and 1024x1024 do not. Probably no big deal, but something to consider if you are spending more than ED money.

I am running 2 sets of component inputs, and have the sound inputs running into my Amp. You could go DVI (video only) into the panel (via optional DVI panny blade). HDMI is similar to DVI but with audio as well, which you won't take advantage of anyways with separate speakers through an old amp.

The only compelling advantage I can see to LCD over plasma, is glare/reflection. If you are in a bright room, or the opposing wall is a window or lit up, then the non-reflective surface of the LCD will be a plus.

Happy shopping.
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Be aware! I have the panasonic 42 HD plasma and you should know that you can only input 720p or its native resolution via the PC input on the FRONT of the display. Be prepared if you by the Panasonic to only be able to send it 480/480p or 1080i unless you want to have cables plugged into the front of your plasma
The Panasonic industrial versions do not have the above limitations.

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