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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had finally decided on a plasma HDTV ready TV and went to 2 brick and mortar stores to see the ones I was considering (Panasonic and Hitachi) . Both looked great with the sample DVD inputs in the stores, but when I asked to see how the sets would look with input from a cable TV source ( I have AT&T Broadband's so called digital cable now) I was shown programming that was so blurry that I would not want to watch anything with such a terrible picture This was the case in both stores. The salesperson in one store told me that this was what I could expect unless I went to a satellite dish with an extra cost box.
IS THIS TRUE?

Or is it just bad set up at the stores and bad advice?

I want to get a set that's ready for HDTV when there's more of it but I can't consider buying a set I wouldn't use for broadcast programs now.
 

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I have a Panasonic plasma, and the PQ from analog cable is a little better than it was from my previous tube set. I don't know about "digital" cable (and be aware that most "digital" cable channels numbered
 

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probably somewhere in the middle.


It's not a pretty picture (Digital Cable, that is), but it might not be as bad as they made it out to be.


It might be a good idea to find out what they were using (material, STB, channel, and connection format between the STB and plasma). If they were using awful material driven through a VCR (on an RF channel) and then through the composite output into the plasma, then there are only very few ways to produce a worst looking picture...
 

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Well, for the most part, you'll probably get crappy video like you saw in the store, unless you have a friendly cable provider who can equip you with a CATV box with component or SVIDEO out - which does improve things over plain old composite.


I say this because it took me countless phone calls to Comcast where I live to get them to swap out their RF only out converter to one that had composite out- and that after agreeing to upgrade to Digital cable (which I wanted to do anyway).

The funny thing now is that their old Analog service was better than their Digital service!! And now I am in the fight to get a box that has Svideo out(I won't even try to explain to them what component video is!)


It has been said here and elsewhere that channels 1-30, or 1-100 on digital cable may be analog. I am here to say it's probably more than that because I am seeing plenty of good old Analog Static on channels above 100 - with the exception of premium services such as HBO - which are clearly digital.


Thanks for the opportunity to Rant :)
 

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Unwatchable is a word overused here -- including by myself. On the worst DirecTV channels, my plasma can look pretty darned bad. But it's still watchable, just with bad picture quality. It's not like the thing is so godawful that I'd want to shut it off.
 

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rogo,


Agreed. Actually, I have yet to encounter a truly unwatchable picture with my Panny 4UY/cable set-up. (Actually, I think I did see a digital channel or two look close to unwatchable).


Hank42,


I have Rogers "Digital" cable in Toronto, and yest the channels from at least 1-100 are analogue (although, it seems to me a few digital channels are slipped in somewhere within that 100). Beyond that it's digital.


I too find that, on the whole, the analogue stations look better. The best digital signals (i.e. lowest compression) can look fabulous. However, many of them have enough compression to significantly soften the image. That digital smudginess, which cannot be adjusted out of the picture, drives my eyes a bit batty. I'll take a bit of analog noise or snow in the channel in exchange for a generally sharper picture. With some analog distortion, I still have the feeling I'm viewing a human being through the signal. With digital distortion, people start to look fake, like digital creations. And man, when it gets bad an actor will move his head and it takes a while for his eyes and lips to catch up to the rest of him. No acid necessary.


Rich H.
 

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Yes Im heading down the same road of non-digital cable coming straight off the coaxial with no box into my panny vcr and out to a composite in on my future pioneer 433cmx.Im in plasma for the dvd but I dont want to shut down all my tv options since its over 40 bucks a month from attbroadband. I dont have a box since its 6 bucks extra and i dont need it without premium channels.Am I in for a shock when I first fire up my cable connected plasma as compared to my old sony 32 wega?
 

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We got a Panny 42" last Feb. We have analog basic cable and DTV and BEV sat. services.


A plasma will magnify any defects. As a whole, the cable is pretty good. The sat. services can range from very good to poor to the point where you really don't want to watch. Most DTV channels, most of the time, are good. Some BEV channels are poor - others are consistently quite good. Overall, I much prefer watching our plasma than our old high-end Sony pro series 25" monitor.


...mike


P.S. Several years ago when digital cable was first announced the mgr. of our local TCI system said that quality would be better than analog, and would be equal to VHS tapes. He said that since people spend money to reent VHS tapes, that's all we need to provide. (I paraphrased his quote) This was before DVDs existed.
 

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Is there anything you can do to get a great picture from DirecTV? I am interested in buying the Panasonic TH-42PWD5UY, But I do not want to suffer from watching Sat tv. A bad pic is not going to make me or the wife happy. Is there a new set top box that I can buy to improve the pic? What about a hdtv box from Directv?


What does anyone think about the prices after the new year? Will they drop?


Any help please.
 

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billnut,

My panny plasma and hd stb via directv always look really good.I would stay away from the hd stb directv offers.There are much better ones out there ....sony hd200 or zenith 520.You can't go wrong with either one of those hd boxes.BM
 

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I have a 503CMX, in my opinion basic cable (through my VCR tuner) as well as my Dish Network SD signal are both slightly better than with my previous 60" Elite RPTV.
 

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Billnut,


Except buy DirecTV out and have them transmit their channels at lossless compression, nothing...


The problem is that companies like DirecTV get paid per channel, not per high-quality channel. They are looking to squeeze in as many channels as possible using the limited bandwidth they own.


The worst are local channels.


I suffer from the same calamity - as everything has changed over to digital down here (in Israel) and companies are competing against eachother in the quantity arena. Obviously, quality suffers and I've seen a terrible deterioration in PQ over the last couple of years, as more and more channels are squeezed through the same pipe.
 

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I am in the same boat with sekagle -

1)90% of my watching is "regular" TV

2)I have Cox 'digital' cable and my box has S video out.

3) I'm not getting a satellite dish

4)I don't want to spend ~ 3.6k to get a picture that's ANY worse than my currrent Sony DTV

5) You can't watch "regular" cable in any store :( to compare monitors

SO... I read here daily and have concluded that...

1)I want to get the Panny TH-42PWD5UY- best monitor for regular cable?

2) Some poor PQ signals may look worse because I'll see it better, but overall picture is much better?

3) This is a hard decision !!?
 

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I am on the same boat as Schex.

1) 40% of watching DVD through component signal (I know will be very nice on Plasma)

2) 30% watching non-HD Direct TV tuner through composite signal

3) 30% watching VCR Tapes/Local channel through VCR Coax/VCD/ through composite signal


I like to get the Panny TH-42PWD5UY but i am afraid it may get even worst PQ than watching regular TV like SONY WEGA if i watch like non-HD DTV, VCR Tapes,Local channels etc. I went to many store like Good Guys, Anderson, Sears but they all playing HDTV channels through high end componet cable signal so i have no way to tell what is going to look like if i watch VCR Tapes,Local channel through composite signal.
 

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My only experience with seeing a TV broadcast on a Plasma was at a local retail store (The Great Indoors in Gaithersburg, MD). They were playing Discovery HD on a 50" Panny and it, of course, looked beautiful. But I wanted to see what the Simpsons and CNN would look like, so I asked them to hook up their DirecTV (I THINK that's what they had) box straight into the Panny 50" 4UY (last year's model) via the component input.


I hated it.


I hated it.


I could never live with it. That's why when I get my plasma (whatever it ends up being) it will be accompanied by either a Home Theater PC with a Holo3Dgraph input/processing card or the Immersive Inc. Asimmilator unit (depending on how it performs. Hopefully I'll see it a CES!).


Once everything is being broadcast in HD life will be a bowl of cherries, but until then, it takes some good video processing to make "crappy" analog, Standard Definition video signals look "watchable" on a 50" digital display.


That's just my (very humble) opinion based on my (very limited) experience.


-THEO-
 

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Have any of you guys buying plasma's, etc and hooking up cable and or STB consider the quality of the cable wiring (NEED RG6 quad shield), connectors, splitters etc.

Is the first connection at the house grounded properly?

Are you using home runs from first splitter to set?

Are there open (not capped) active ports in the house?

Does the cable runs parallel AC wiring?

Are all of the jumpers RG6?

I see many people skip the basics!
 

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s236, Interesting thread. So, SDTV is designed for 19" monitors and anything bigger just emphasizes the poor PQ ? I'm sure that most folks with 36"-60" screens are primarily watching "regular" cable aren't they? Is there something about plasmas that makes the PQ worse than say a 50" RPTV? And fasteddie, I for one don't know all the answers to those "basic" questions. The cable was installed before I moved in, when I upgraded to digital cable the company did come out and change all the splitters and made sure I had a stong enoug signal but that's about it. How do you cap an unused cable? Thanks
 

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most plasmas look stellar with an HD signal: slowly more HD content is starting to appear- check out :


OTA digital (antenna/stb)

cable HD (cable HD is new here- excellent but still limited)

DSS HD (the DSS HD is excellent- I dislike SD compression )

and there is a lot more to come-


if you buy a $5000.00 HD plasma you want to use it at its best: with HD sources when you can


Mark
 

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schex; To cap an unused coax run, use a 75 ohm coax F connector available at Rat Shack and many other outlets, if the distribution is not amplified. IF amplified, there is a version for that as well. The Devil is in the details.


Regards
 
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