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RCA/Thomson Plasma Questions

390 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  eelton
Hi There,

I have taken delivery of Thomson 42" plasma screen a few weeks ago here in London, and I am not totally convinced that plasma is the way to go.

The reason I have the Thomson (RCA), based on the NEC, is that it was recommended to me by my installer, the prices was competitive with a three year onsite warranty. Also, the document states, new "totally silent" fans.

The first issue I have with the screen is the noise. OK I know what a fan sounds like and I was expecting some sound, "like a laptop". However the buzzing is driving me around the bend. On listen to the Panny as a comparison, which everyone on this site loves, I found it to be much buzzier. The Thomson rep brought a new screen to me and it sounded exactly the same as mine. He could not here the sound but my installer could. The Thomson chap recommended boxing the screen in, with air vents. I am in the processes of doing this now, with his blessing.

The second issue I have, a more annoying problem, is what I presume are artefacts. My screen is connected via s-video to my Arcam AV amp. It is fed via s-video from my Sky Digital satellite box and pioneer 636D DVD player. All broadcast I watch are there for either via DVD, which has no picture problems, or from the Sky Digital box. The problems I am having with the Sky box picture are nearly all related to non "Sky Movies" channels. The most noticeable problem is when the camera is still and a person or image moves across the screen. All I see is a blur for the moving image while the still images are perfect. The other problem is the "jagged" line in the skin tones, especially if they are moving slowly. If they move fast they become the above mentioned blur. The problem probably also occurs with the DVD player but I am so far happy with the picture and haven’t noticed it.

From what I have read on this site, which is the best source of info I have found, is that the Thomson’s internal de-interlacer is not doing a very good job. But why is it more noticeable on the non movie sources? Is the Sky broadcast more highly compressed and hence a poorer quality? All the cables are very good quality and they have been checked.

Since I only have one resolution, 480, would the iScan Pro be the solution?

A different plasma screen?

Your advice dearly sought

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From your description, I would agree the problem is the quality of the deinterlacer in the Thomson plasma. It's not surprising that you're seeing more artifacts with video-based material than with film-based (DVD and satellite movie channels) material.

Deinterlacing video-based material is quite different (and much more difficult) than deinterlacing film-based material. I would think of it this way--with film-based material, there is an original complete frame which can be reconstructed. For video, though, there is no original; the deinterlacer has to create a new frame from two interlaced half-frames which approximates what a single full frame would look like. Although people on this forum tend to concentrate on what scalers/deinterlacers look like with DVDs (which are generally film-based), video-based material is the real torture test.

I suppose your possible solutions are to use an external scaler, or to get a plasma with a better built-in deinterlacer. The Panasonic's is generally good, although you'll still see quite a bit of artifacts on video-based material. I'm not familiar with the Thomson, so I can't really say how the Panasonic compares to it.

As for the sound, no fan can be "totally silent." I guess different people have different levels of acceptance of noise. As for the Panasonic being buzzier, some units have had a defect which leads to a buzzing noise. The 42 inch Panasonics have no fans, and should be very quiet if they're free of the defect.
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Thanks eelton,

It sounds like I should investigate an external de-interlacer. Do you have any personal experiences with the iScan on video based material? Money is an issue. The iScan is £600-£700 in the UK, compared to $600-$700 in the US. I don't think my other half would allow me to spend any more money on this project of mine!

With regard to the Panasonic and the buzzing, I was with one of the distributors of the Panasonic last week and they knew nothing of a fault with the screen. Compared to the NEC and Hitachi sitting next to it, they were all quieter, even with their fans!! I do believe the UK get ripped off all the time.


I don't have any personal experience with the iScan, but you can find plenty of information about it in the video processors forum. In general, it's highly regarded, particularly in terms of performance vs. price. Ideally, you could get it from a dealer who will let you return it if you're not happy.
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