AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been lurking about this forum since early April, when I received spousal approval to buy a plasma. The more I read the more indecisive I become.


I currently have a Mitsubishi 40" Direct view TV, Phillips TIVO/Directv 35 hour with 2 lines, Sony 5 Disc DVD player, Panasonic RP91 DVD, Panasonic SVHS recorder. and a Bose Lifestyle series 12 upgraded to Dolby Digital.


I am not allowed to play loud, so I use my Sony MDR DS5100 wireless headphones, if anyone is around. In addition, I have another Mitsu 40", 3 other Directv receivers and a Phillips Tivo upgraded to 63 hours, etc. in other viewing locations, so my other family members don't usually watch with me.


I am interested in upgrading to HD even though there is little HD to watch on Directv and I receive my local channels through them since 9/11. My problem is that I watch a lot of sorts and regular satellite channels and record a lot off the west coast feeds. I rarely watch movies, since I prefer DVDs. I, therefore, need a plasma with excellent ability to show clear regular channels.


I have viewed enough Plasmas to know that I like the Panny 40" and also the Pioneer PRO 1000 50". I prefer the Panasonic, but I worry that it is not truly HD. I had been leaning toward ordering the Pioneer 43" from Dell as my wall is not much larger than 50", but I hesitate for several reasons, I don't know how this Plasma performs on regular Directv and over the air. Also, it appears that a new generation of Plasmas are coming out and I would like to see what Panasonic will come out with. Adding to this is a local inability to find any HD Directv receivers except the RCA, probably due to the impending arrival of HD DVI receivers. All of this tells me to continue to wait, perhaps until the fall. On the other hand my spouse wants me to get this done now.


Am I being foolish as there is always new technology about to come out or is there still a lot to be gained by waiting until after the summer?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
860 Posts
I will let others more knowledgeable about the specific models you have mentioned comment. I will only offer the following general observation.


I am in the same situation as you. I have been lurking here since early April and have demoed many plasmas, including all the ones you mention. One problem with demoing them in stores is that it is difficult to replicate all the sources and conditions which you will use in your own home.


After reviewing prices, feature sets, picture quality, and expected market trends, I feel that it is absolutely in any consumer's best interests to hold off on buying plasma right now, unless you are very well heeled financially. This isn't like computers where the processors keep getting faster but it is mostly overkill from the standpoint of practical use. Plasma technology is getting much more mature, but it has plenty of advancement to go, and those advancements will matter to you as a consumer. Case in point is the dramatic improvement in picture quality over the past 12 months alone in plasma displays. Expect similar advancements over the next 12, while at the same time prices will drop by an estimated 25%. That's a lot of savings for an item that runs $4-12K right now. Similarly, features will improve, problems will be ironed-out, and good, afforable upgradeability will eventually be available for all models.


With the exception of the big gray-scale issue, plasma PQ has gotten to be quite good, with the best plasmas possibly close to some of the better projection systems. Plasmas also have the huge advantage of not requiring a dark room to look their best. But the plasmas IMO are not there yet in terms of what you get for what you pay. I have my heart set on plasma, but will most likely wait 12-18 months. Then again, if I had 500K in the bank, I'd buy a 50 incher right now. Depends on your sensibilities and limitations. I recommend waiting until Christmas, if you can wait that long. Christmas time is popular for price reductions and the release of new models for all kinds of electronics.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,301 Posts
Welcome Puff- Wow - you ought to hear all the stories about what people go thru to obtain spousal approval. Only you know whether or not that will last. I like to recommend the several write-ups done by forum member R Harkness, if you click on the search function and enter his name in the userid box, then be sure the click on 'list by posts' option. That should lead you to his reviews.


Regards, Bruce
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
710 Posts
I'll ad my $0.02 worth -- I've been lurking here as well for a couple months, some interesting discussions. I've certainly learned what NOT to buy, but so far, my decision has been to hold off a BIT longer. I fully intend/hope to buy before the end of the year, however.


Here's a quick summary of what I hope/expect to be able to get by that time, basically the criteria which I've decided will force me to pull the trigger:


* Inclusion of a DVI connector with some promise of compatibility with, or future upgrade to, whichever copy protection standard wins out. I realize copy protection is always going to be a risk with these, but I think with at least support for current DVI standards, that risk is much lower


* True resolution of at least around 800 lines. I'd like more, but will settle for something that can get close to full 1080. I think the 480p panels look great today, but I want to feel like I can get long service life from a purchase of this size


* 42" size with a street price of less than $5k.


* Black level/contrast equal to or better than today's Panasonics


* A decent number of component and DVI inputs so I don't need an external switcher


* A built-in scaler that is capable enough to not necessitate an add-on scaler.


I think these are fairly small steps that should be achievable with the next generation of sets..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
860 Posts
That's a good list of practical and realistic expectations. The copy protection issue is holding me back a bit as well. As to the issue of blacks, I'd like to see at least Panny blacks without an attendant sacrifice in black detail. However, I suspect that this addresses a fundamental issue with plasma technology that could take a bit longer to tackle, but who knows? As to price, you can already get certain 42" displays for downwards of $3500, but those displays won't come close to meeting these requirements. I'd like to see a set with good PQ that meets those criteria streeting for $3500, or a 50" that meets them for about $5500. That's where I'm in. I am guessing a year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,376 Posts
Very practical thoughts all around, of course.


I went through the same "should I wait" thing. It took me a year of research, and therefore I went through a generation of plasmas.

Funny thing is after all that, and having waited a year to see the latest, greatest plasmas I've ended up buying the Panasonic 4UY, which really is essentially "last year's model" with few real updates, picture quality-wise.


I bought now because:


1. I already tortured myself for a year. The pain needed to be stopped.

2. The Panny 4U added some additional burn-in reduction features which added to my (perceived) sense of control over the scary burn-in issue.

3. For me, the picture the Panny puts out provided all the incentive I needed to dump a load of dough. I paid a lot of money, but I have a picture that blows my mind and I have it NOW! I can forget about the "Someday....." wishing scenario; every time I light up this sucker and flick on a DVD, I melt into the chair with a big "gee wiz" shaped silly grin - the type that gets rarer and rarer as you get older. It's worth every penny to me. (Or, uh, it will be when I finally get the darned thing off my rug and actually installed).


I waited to see the Pioneer 433, which many would consider a generation ahead of the Panny in several ways (increased resolution, for one). But the Pio 433 wasn't enough to sway me from the Panny. For me it seems to be the excellent black performance of the Panny (among other attributes) that allowed me to part with my money. Other plasmas look wonderful on some material, but as soon as a dark scene occurs I feel like I'm missing something. Too many years being spoiled by CRT blacks have made washed-out night scenes too hard to accept in an expensive display (especially for this horror movie fan). For watching my DVD collection, the Panny has given me the plasma's strengths, and has minimized the weaknesses to the degree that I am blissfully unaware of them. Thus....it was time to buy.


One can get very geeky about buying these things...."features," "upgrades" and "future proof"..."Oh My!" (and I'm not above such techno paranoia). But, honestly, if you're buying for watching movies what do you really need? DVI/Firewire/TrueHDres? Psshhaa! Just plug a friggin' decent DVD player - a-n-a-l-o-g - into one of the good plasmas and you'll have a picture to marvel at.


If you need to/want to wait, there are some good incentives to do so. But if you wish you could be watching plasmas now, dive in. The water's great.


Rich H.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,100 Posts
Hey,


Personally, I think you'll always be waiting for the next best thing.


HDCP will not be resolved in the near future. Prices will not drop significantly over the coming year, but gradually over the next 2-3 years.


Quality will not improve as dramatically as it has last year, but incrementally.


Personally, I think this is not such a bad time to buy a plasma. I don't think people who buy HDTV today will suffer in the future, because HDTV producers will need an audience to sned their content to. If they block HDTV high-res, they'll have no audience, it's as simple as that.


No HDTV is future proof now, because of the uncertainty of HDCP. Therefor, for the reasons I listed above, I doubt that high-res blocking will become an issue in the next few years (by which time, there will be a workaround, I'm sure).


Regarding size, you should make sure you have enough distance between you and the plasma for a 50" model.


I'm not sure about the pioneer 43", it's a bit new & there's not alot of info on PQ for it yet.


The Panasonic, NEC and Fujitsu 42" and 50" models (latest ones only!) have been around for a while and are pretty good. I'm partial to Panasonic and NEC, myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,500 Posts
I'm waiting for Joshy to comment on the resolution, but I'll add my 2 cents...


I don't think the HD resolution on a 42" is worth waiting all that long for. If you really want HD res, then take a look at the 50", provided that your room is equipped for one. Of course, the extra res would certainly help, especially for use as a computer monitor, but in terms of PQ I think the 42" Panny is exceptional. Also note that Rich had the opportunity to get the extra res Poineer, but opted in the end for the lower res Panny. I think that speaks to the impact (or lack thereof) of the extra resolution.


All told I don't think it's PQ where you would miss the HD res. The Panny looks incredible on DVD, and people who have HD feeds are usually blown away by the PQ, despite the low res. Where I think you miss the extra res is when using it as a computer monitor. It also becomes a very slight concern when you need to sit quite close to the screen. At about 5', maybe 6', if you are scrutinizing you can become aware of the presence of the pixels. Not to say that you can see individual pixels, but rather, the picture is not quite 'solid', if that makes any sense. But sitting at about 8' the res if fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
733 Posts
Puff and Davidw--"lurking since April"? Come on, that is nothing. I have been lurking, and posting, since last August. I am a shining example of paralysis by over-analysis.


I started out ready to buy and just wanting to be sure about the "best" model and "best" price. Simple--it appeared the Panny 42 was the one to get (my room wouldn't fit a 50" and I didn't want to spend the extra $$).


Then it started happening:


The Panny has a buzzing problem--better wait to see if they fix it


(several weeks later)


Buzzing fixed, but now there is this VGA lines problem. Don't really understand it, but I better wait to see if the experts on the site rule this as a disqualifying feature


(a few weeks later)


Ok, this VGA thing probably isn't an issue for me, but I think I will wait for another Dell 20% off deal before I buy


(a month or two later)


Gosh, maybe I can fit a 50" model in my room, especially with the prices coming down on the 50" models. Anyway, the new models are coming so I better wait just to be certain


(another month or two)


Yes, I am definitely getting the Panny 42...or maybe the NEC, or that new Fujitsu 4233 that already has a DVI input. What? Pioneer is coming out with a higher resolution, upgradeable 43" model. OK, that is definitely the one I want, so I will wait for it


(another month or two or three)


Saw the consumer Pioneer 43", and it may not be as great as I had hoped, and now the wife is thinking we should put a plasma in the bedroom (hmmm...the Panny 42 would be a great bedroom TV...) I think I will just make sure the commercial version of the Pioneer isn't a little better.



And so, here I am several months later, still stuck. Do as I say and not as I do--get the d*mn plasma. Then again, the new models really may be a step up...;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
860 Posts
Yeah I've been through that, though only for a couple months so far. I suspect I have at least a year more to go with the "paralysis by over analysis" phenomenon. But look at it this way. The fact that every other week there is a new problem to be fixed, or a possibly better model available, is a function of the particular state that the plasma market is in right now. This is not a perpetutal condition. Ten years ago, you could justify waiting almost indefinitely to buy a computer, because the hardware was getting better in truly meaningful ways. These days, the progress is actually faster, but it is less meaningful to the end user. If you buy comp with a 2 ghz CPU today, you probably won't need to upgrade for many years unless you are just fanatical about doing so. But that is not the curent state of plasma. Plasma is where computers were many years ago. Even if we assume that PQ will improve in much smaller quantums over the next two years, and feature improvement will be modest, there is a projected *26%* per year cumulative price decrease, and that's a load of bux when you consider current pricing. That alone can justify the wait. Eventually the PQ, features and price will settle down and you won't have such important new developments every other week. That's why I don't agree that it is a case of always waiting for the next best thing.


A year ago, it was a truly iffy proposition to buy plasma given the PQ. Now you can buy some really nice stuff. But if you do, just be ready to accept the fact that as soon as 12 months later, people will be paying substantially less for stuff that is at least somewhat superior. If that is something you can be philisophical about, more power to you and enjoy your purchase!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,500 Posts
I didn't realize poor Joshy was gone... I guess I don't keep quite up to date every day on this forum, despite the fact that I know I'd cringe if I had an hour counter for this site, like I have for my plasma. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32,172 Posts
I tend to think most everything Ofer has to say is pretty smart. But I disagree about HDCP. While there are still open issues about recording and about how projecters are going to be fed using DVI, the fact is that for the typical consumer display and set top (which don't involve a projector in all but a few households), the DVI/HDCP combo is locked and loaded. The only thing missing are displays with the connector.


It seems to me the upgradeable displays are pretty likely to get upgrades (especially the Pioneers, where third parties could step in even if Pioneer doesn't). It also seems to me it is fairly irrelevant for the 480p displays one way or the other so long as you buy an HD box that has component outs (I think down-resing is much more likely than disabling).


I would expect that at CES 2003 or maybe even CEDIA 2002 we'll see manufacturers announce DVI/HDCP solutions for plasma.


Mark
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,166 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Dixon



Ok, this VGA thing probably isn't an issue for me, but I think I will wait for another Dell 20% off deal before I buy

Hey, I am waiting for Dell to pull the NEC LT150 PJ stunt on the Panny 42" plasma...


That would be Panny 42"-er for about $2,500...


Dare to dream...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all the thoughtful replies. I measured the wall space I have and it is 54" in the middle of a 20' wall in a 16' X 20' room. I probably can just squeeze in a 50", but not without moving a thermostat. I have windows and french doors on all the other walls and sliding doors and an archway into the hall on either side of the proposed site. I added this room to the house and it is quite open to the outdoors, altough I did add shades on the outside exposures. Even with the shades down it is bright during the day and I rarely use them until evening. By chance there should be no direct sun on the wall where the plasma will reside. I believe that a 12 to 15 foot viewing distance would be far enough to justify a 50" Plasma.


I need to clarify my previous message in that I have been schmoozing salesmen in stores since I first saw Plasma in J&R and Harvey Radio, so I have been looking a lot longer than since April and I have read the plasma section of this forum for a long time before my wife said I could go ahead and get one. I have waited through several generations already, because i have always seen this move as coinciding with an upgrade to HDTV. As a Directv and Tivo fanatic, I'd prefer a box that incorporated HD with them. That doesn't seem to be on the horizon. I would also like to get the HD feeds of MSG and Fox Sports NY on Directv, along with the local channels. That isn't happening any time soon. I have all the premium movie channels, but I rarely watch as I have a very bad DVD addiction. I stopped counting at 300 and have hidden many in drawers, but it is a rare Tuesday that goes by without additions. Therefore, SHO HD in addition to HBO HD doesn't thrill me. I very much want to find a compelling reason to upgrade now, but I can't, a 42" is not going to give me even as large a picture as my current 40" in 4X3 mode and not a significant advantage in letterbox. A 50" might and could give HD (720P) in addition. It may also be closer to future proof than the 42" models. I don't want to have to spend thousands on an external scaler to achieve watchable regular satellite, as I have no problems now and I can live without HD for the present.


My wife is happy with the Tivo remotes for controlling our TVs and the fancy ones are in the drawers, I know that a more complex system will be met with protest from my experience with touch screen remotes. I have to keep things simple as I have already gotten calls when I am out of town and we have a power outage to walk my family through the sytems. If I add more than a Plasma, it will not be welcome. Even Tivo took a lot of time for acceptance, although now I am always warned not to use her Tivo for my shows.


I look at the potential downside of putting in a new system before it is clearly a vast improvement, and weigh that against the thrill of being amongst the first of our friends to have one. (I'm already a year too late to be first, but the first is used only for DVDs and I don't want to devote my main viewing room to only that.) Having permission to buy something does not mean I will not get significant grief if it doesn't work properly. I'm treading very carefully and waiting for the summer will not make any significant problems as we go away anyway.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top