AVS Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 49 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay....hold the flames untl you read through this.


I am beginning to question the wisdom of buying an HD plasma at this time.


I bought one about four weeks ago (Pana 50" HD). The price was very competitive, so no complaints there.


My reasons for buying were twofold: My previous RPTV was unglamorous sitting at the end of my living room, and it intruded too far into the living space, and also - secondly - that I sort of enjoy new technology.


Okay. I've had it for a month now. All up, this thing is going to cost about $11,500.


Plasma + freight + wall mount $7,800

HDTV satellite receiver 600

A/V receiver to switch all the components 500

New DVD progressive scan unit 300

New furniture console to hide all the components 2,000

New outside antenna and rotator for OTA reception 300


I am disappointed. Despite FCC requirements, I am finding that HDTV broadcasts are less than 10% of the material on the air. The rest of the stuff is either fuzzy or does not fit the wide-screen format, or both. In any case, the available material is less than expected.


Getting HD over the airwaves presents a "Back-to-the-Future" conundrum. In the location of my residence, it is not possible to pick up the OTA broadcasts without an outside antenna. I'm about forty miles from the antennas, and they are clumped together in two principal areas - about sixty-five degrees apart. I am forced to install a monster antenna - and a rotator - to make this thing work. This is truly 1950 again.


Additionaly....I find that operating an HD sat receiver - in conjunction with a plasma tv - is not unlike operating a computer. Each one of them has its own set of rules and peculiarities.


The plasma has a lot of wires that attach to it. There are peculiarities that follow...... if you have the S-video attached, then the component video will not work (or is it the reverse? Or does it even matter). And if you are receiving a 1080 signal, then the aspect ratio control on the plasma will not work? Or can you control it with the sat receiver? Or does it matter?


The manufacturer's magazine ads for the plasma overlook the small fact that there are between four and eleven wires hanging off the bottom of it. Is this not something that is important to someone that is trying to create a neat look on their living room wall?


I did not expect to find this when I bought this mess. All the ads show a very neat installation on the wall...some of them are even free- mounted on pipe hangers. I suppose that it is possible to cut the appropriate holes in the walls - or the pipes - but it ought to be mentioned in the ads that "MANY WIRES NEED TO BE ATTACHED".


You can count me as among the "disillusioned". I consider a TV set as something that should entertain me, and not challenge me.


Let the flames begin.......
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,023 Posts
You should have gone with a Pioneer plasma if you wanted more flexible video inputs. There are also models that have only one cable from the plasma display going to a media box if that is your primary complaint.

Also your complaints about HD program availabality are not the plasma technology's fault - that would apply to RPTV or DirectView HDTVs as well. Sounds like you didn't research the products well enough in advance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Hey,


Before the flames start, accept a supporting one from me. I think you have some very valid points and I appreciate your frankness and courage. Lot of people simply do not want to voice the kind of opinion you have after spending in upwards of 10k.


I am also looking at buying a plasma screen but frankly do feel that the technology still does not give you the same kind of comfort and assurance a consumer electronic product costing more than 5k should give. It may be the best of the lot available in the flat screen space but it still is not mature enough for common people to use as a TV display screen.


Cheers,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
925 Posts
it sounds like you probably should have done a bit more research before you made your decision to purchase. much of that data would have come to light if you'd poked around a bit. picking up a PDP isn't just like "buying a TV" used to be.


my advice: take a step back and re-evaluate. i bet you can make things more user friendly and more attractive and more functional with just a bit of effort.


good luck. don't give up yet.


doody.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,021 Posts
I have to agree with the general opinion here. Most of the problems you describe would be obvious if you used a little common sense. Every issue you mention could have been addressed (or at least understood) before hand with information easily found on the web. Manuals can be downloaded, there are numerous sites on HDTV information, and sites like AVS have VOLUMES of opinions and information on all these topics.


Yes, even mid-range quality home theater systems can be complex and all will have LOTS of cables running from the back, it's just the nature of the beast.


Kind of reminds me of those lame I-mac commercials talking about how "complicated" hooking up a PC is vs how easy the I-mac was....


I do agree on a few counts though. I personally will be getting the SD Panny because I think the HD is overkill at this time. I may pick up an OTA HD receiver to try it with an Indoor antenna, if it doesn't work, I'll take it back. I'm not willing to set up an outdoor antenna at this time (rental house) so it's worth a test at least.


Maybe you should have hired a consultant to help you fit your needs and then pay them to install everything too.


I don't mean to be an ass, but I'm not sure if you understand where the fault really lies.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,185 Posts
I am not sure that a plasma has that many more wires than any other set up. We have two VCRs, 2 sat. recvrs., a switch box, and the plasma. Even w.o. a plasma, that set up generates a huge number of wires. Getting a DVD will add even more. I don't see where having a plasma has really added anything except the HDTV (component) connection from the HDTV capable sat. recvr. to the plasma.


I agree that we are now in the beginning stages of all this. Switching from watching std. TV and HDTV on the BEV (DISH) recvr. is not seemless. You have to change the setting on the sat. box and change the input on the plasma. This whole business is quite complicated for the average consumer. Sort of like when computers first came out.


...mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
jimrat: I appreciate your efforts in bravely writing what you did here. You obviously put some effort into your post, and also in your installation. The dollar figures you put up are not wasted. I think as others mentioned, with a few deep breaths and exhales, you can sort it out. Don't dwell with buyer's remorse. Get the best of what you can now, and deal with the future when it comes. (Easy for me to say who hasn't yet taken the plunge.)


Sanjiva: Hi. It's nice to see you weighing in.


DonBerg: I have seen many of your posts across the board in different areas and I have to say You Have Helped Me Out Tremendously. Your wealth of knowledge in this arena is very very much appreciated. Having said that, please don't mind if I tap you for some more info in the next few days/weeks to help me push myself to buy the 433CMX and 5002 card.


And.. Howdy! Doody! ( I just couldn't resist that one.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well.....no shortage of opinions so far. Thanks for keeping the flames low.


FYI: I really did do a lot of due diligence before this purchase. Many thanks to this forum and its intelligent discourse for keeping me from making some bad decisions. I bought what I considered to be the very best unit based upon member's input. I do not waver from that choice.


I was then and am now aware that there was not a whole lot of HDTV source material available for viewing.


I would ask how anyone can determine the amount of complexity one could reasonably pre-determine when mating a Hughes HIRD E-86 to a Panasonic TH-50PHD5UY?


The Hughes manual is ninety pages. The Panasonic manual is forty pages.


I think it is not reasonable to expect someone to read - in advance - a 90- or a 40- page manual and expect to absorb its complexity - and how these units inter-relate to each other.


When you spend some nine-thousand-dollars plus for a television set and a tuner, you do not expect it to be a major hassle.


Usually, the guys are the techno-lovers.

Usually, the wives tolerate it as long as they can figure it out.


If you guys in the high-end TV business cannot figure out how to simplify this, you will have a harder and harder time in selling these units.


The situation around here has gotten to be that we are spending more time reading the technical manuals trying to correct the most recent aberration than we are enjoying the program material.


And then we are trying to figure out how to tune in the local stations so that we can receive the digital local channels. Looks like it takes a giant antenna and and an antenna rotator.......DSS does not provide a local digital signal.


At this point, I should point out that I do not work for the local cable company. I hate them, and have lost several thousand dollars on owning their stock.


Maybe this is a typical front-end learning curve?


But---for an eleven grand investment, I expected better.


I am not here to destroy anyone's livelihood, but I would expect that this is a reasonable place to display a contrary opinion.


Flames may now continue.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Jimrat,


I'm considering a plasma right now and reading your post gives me flashbacks. Two years ago I spent 6K for ah 16x9 HD RPTV + Progressive DVD & HD-Sat. two years later, the DVD looks awesome but I still struggle to get decent HD material even with a satallite feed and a 10 foot antenna in the attic, in Southern California of all markets. This plus the fact that 99% of on-the-air programming is not widescreen, leaves me solidly believing that HD is not for the average consumer, but still strictly & ideally suited for videophiles. Although the cost alone should make that obvious.


Beyond the lack of HD source, my only complaint is that we consumers are forced to cope with component video + audio cables for each source. It's rediculous.


Enough said.


Get some good DVDs, sit back and enjoy what many of the readers here wish we had.


-RJ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,500 Posts
You're concerns are partially justified, but not completely as far as I am concerned. You are right that there is a terrible shortage of HD material. It's worse for me up here in Canada; I don't have any!


But, the TV is not to be blamed. I would say that there's no better 50" image that can be made that's better than the 50" Panny, regardless of the technology. (I expect some arguments there) Just because there's not enough programming that takes full advantage of the display does not in my opinion, justify getting a lesser unit. Also, don't get caught up on the resolution. A DVD will look almost as good on this TV as it will on an SD (which caps out at 42") unit; and miles better than it would on any other 50" setup. So just enjoy it; don't worry too much about what is beyond your control. And there's certainly no shortage of DVD material nowadays.


As far as the setup complications go, I agree with what most others have said. The mass of wires is not the display's fault; it's inherent with any HT setup. Hence the reason for wire rooms, etc. And also, there are others that (like Pioneer) that do make an effort to combat this. Check out some of the pics of member's setups and you'll see that the beautiful clean-wall look can be had with a little effort. I wouldn't say that the ads are misleading...


Complications from aspect ratio are also inherent in any 16:9 setup. But I feel that plasmas provide with you the best tools to combat this via the numerous size/pos setting capabilities that they have.


As a final note, I would point out that for another couple hundred you could greatly reduce the complexity of your general use by buying a good learning remote. Do some research here on AVS for Pronto and you can learn how other's have made their systems simple enough that their children

Being honest I really don't think that you want to go back your RPTV monster hooking everything up with coax. With a little more effort you can reach where you set out to go. Your monetary expenditure is nearly complete, just some time investment and I think you'll have it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
388 Posts
I agree with most of what's been said. Jim, I understand that it seems daunting at first. You gotta realize that plasmas and HD are the cutting edge, and the kind of people who buy them are either rich guys who hire a consultant, or the techno-lovers that make up this forum. We're in it for the thrill of being on the cutting edge, and I'd be willing to put up with a lot more complexity that I do to get HD. To me, it's worth it. To Joe Sixpack, it may not be. You know, when a phone system was first being developped, hooking up a phone was as difficult as hooking up an HD receiver. And the more time and effort we have to put into getting our setups to work, the more enjoyable they are in the end.


Still, you don't seem to enjoy the technology for the sake of it. But it can be simplified with some effort. Just get a programmable remote - my parents can just press watch TV and everything comes on - right inputs on TV and amp, right aspect ratio, etc. Of course, programming a home theater into a remote is arguably harder than learning to use the separate remotes. But most people here are computer-literate, and this is just another part of the puzzle, the challenge.


As for the wires, yes, it's true. Ads have an annoying tendency to omit wires. Look at any computer ad - can you see any wires? I'm reminded of that one Time Warner ad that ran in Time. It had a plasma with an HD receiver in the middle of a room, with no wires connecting the two or powering them. But honestly, what were you thinking... you seem to know enough about HT to realize how many cables are needed for your kind of setup. And I hate to be repeating myself, but if you break your wall, reroute the cables, make a nice rack, your system will be all the nicer and you'll be prouder of it. Just last weekend, I spend 2 hours hiding two 6-inch strips of thin white wire that were running across a wall.


Whenever you find it complex, just remember: at least you're not using an HTPC!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,493 Posts
Jim


great post really- makes one reflect on the lengths we go to enjoy our plasmas


still I would never go back, and according to this poll, most of us agree:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=198067



about the wires- makes me think we should add something to FAQ about the extent of it necessary to connect up a plasma-


and Jim did not even mention DVI/HDCP: something that was supposed to make a stb and an HD display connect like plug and play is more like "plug and pray" these days



This thread should be required reading for anyone about to take the plunge- just so you know what to expect


but one look at HD on a plasma and you are hooked! and there certainly will be more and more HD available in the future- hang in there and enjoy your investment


Mark:)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,098 Posts
Cutting edge is definitely not for the feint of heart.


1. If HD is such a headache, why not go with SD?

2. You can always get a 37" 4:3 TV and continue watching SD sources the way you were before.


No one is forcing you to go HD. It's your choice. It's the bleeding edge, so your pocketbook & head are bleeding from this excercise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,948 Posts
for what its worth: i have had two 50 pioneers (the last one a keeper), the iscan 1 and 2, rock, vigatech, native rate, Leeza, and now no external scalers; two sony sat receivers, an RCA HD sat rec, two zenith HD sat receivers (the 520 i'm keeping). I have tried four dvd players (two progressive). Many, many cabling solutions and found this:


use an AV receiver that can switch component;


I watch HD from cable and sat because it is so damn good. Limited programming notwithstanding, there are enough good thngs out there to keep me satisfied. I f you hate cable and can't get sat, then I agree HD ota is very limited, depending on location specifics.


The external scaler adds considerable complexity. I am satisfied using the zenith 520 to up-convert sd to 1080i with component outs. While the plas cannot change the image size (for 1080i) , the 520 can. So you can zoom out the 4:3 material (with cropping) or panorama it (if you don't mind asymetric stretching)


a quality progressive dvd player will work very well; if you watch a high pq dvd, there is little to complain about; Netflix can deliver rentals to your door in a couple of days using internet ordering; very convenient.


All the above can be accomplished with a single set of component cables (going to one plasma input) from your AV receiver, perhaps adding S-video for on-screen menus, and doing all your source switching with the receiver. That is 3 or 4 wires plus power hanging off the plasma


It took me a couple of years to get to this point -gasp, with a lot of fiddling around (just noted I have 1700+ posts!), and not everyone would agree with my solution, but it can be done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
At 40 miles, digital reception should be excellent and there is nothing better than OTA transmission of digital/HD signals. You need no giant antenna either just a Televes DAT75..about 6 feet long and light weight and build to last for many years. And OTA will always be 'free'..once you have purchased the equipment. By the way, I believe about 4 years from now is time to venture forth with purchase of a 'flat display'..still staying with direct view for best value these days..(my opinion)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
Hi,


I bought the Panny 42 non-HDTV unit less than 2 weeks ago. My total cost to date, including mounting brackets, cables, and a new peice of furniture is $4350. I'm sure that many will disagree, but I don't feel that the additional dollars for HDTV are justified at this time. To add significant cost to purchase a set top box, new dish, antenna, etc, for limited programming just doesn't make it in my book.


I am no techie, but I had direct tv and component dvd running within 1 hour of hanging my plasma on my wall. I had to get a switcher box to connect the kids vcr ($35 at radio shack). My buddy and I cut two small holes in my wall and completely hid the 5 cables exiting the plasma. I must admit that there is a birdsnest of cabling behind my new credenza, but what the heck.


By the way, I love the unit, the buying experience was a breeze (Visual Apex), and there is a significant wow factor in my family room these days.

Maybe i'll mess with hdtv is 2007 or something, but for now I'm more than satisfied.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,133 Posts
Plasma: not ready for prime time yet?


You don't say anything about the Plasma PQ, you only address the additional components required and lack of programming. Maybe the title of this thread should be-


Home Theater: not ready for prime time yet?


Planning, research, planning, research and more planning and research is the secret to Home Theater.


Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,238 Posts
I think Dave has put it well. Especially in areas where the OTA stuff is hard to come by. I enjoy it because it offers some challenges and it is interesting when the OTA stations don't work right. But then I like many on this board are techno-junkies.


I would agree with the comments about a good learning remote. The bottom line is that it really doesn't matter how many cables you have to hook up as long as you can operate everything easily. My wife is finally satisfied now that there are buttons on the remote that do what she wants to do. She rarely wakes me up to turn the TV on for her :).


I am less sure about the Pronto, that to me is kind of a techno-junkie remote. I have an MX-500 and I feel its a bit friendlier. However, I don't like touch screens so to each his own. Before you buy a remote, be sure to do planning, research and more planning and research.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
569 Posts
Hi Jimrat - Your post is excellent and will help other newbies, since these are the very things everyone should consider when making the leap to a home theater. Why don't you post your location. Perhaps someone nearby can help you make your setup more enjoyable. Local people are generally helpful. Heck, I'm even willing to help Don Berg when he finally decides to get a plasma :) :)


Some simple things -

1) Running wires through the drywall is usually a pretty small project. This is essential to make the install look good.

2) I use a rotor on my antenna, but some people have had good luck orienting two small 4 bay Channel Masters in different directions and combining signals. This usually works fine if you are in a rural area and don't have to worry about multipath from the big city.

3) Record the prime time OTA HD stuff to tape or HD PVR card for on-demand viewing. I realize this makes the setup even more complex, but allows you to enjoy HD anytime. Now I really enjoy my plasma anytime I use it.

4) Set up a good remote like the Home Theater Master MX500 to make switching a no-brainer.


Your equipment lists looks great. Heck, if you still don't enjoy it, I bet someone would take your plasma off your hands for minimal $$ loss. Howard
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,201 Posts
Quote:
The manufacturer's magazine ads for the plasma overlook the small fact that there are between four and eleven wires hanging off the bottom of it. Is this not something that is important to someone that is trying to create a neat look on their living room wall?
Have you ever seen manufacturer's ads showing Receivers such as Denon AVR-5803

(back panel's photo here ) - Pioneer Elite VSX-49TXi - Marantz SR9200 - Yamaha RX-Z1 or any other model with cables attached ???


C'mon... gimme a break !
 
1 - 20 of 49 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top