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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just the other day I made the reluctant leap to a 50" HD 720 Plasma. The 'few' HD channels look nice, but other than that my prior 35" tube Toshiba rocked



I moved the trusty 1993 35" Toshiba (tube) and the VCR to the spare room > and, from the looks of it > my ole Panasonic sd-DVD player isn't doing much good on this 50" as, my movies look like poo too!


Sooooo, now what do I need to...

1) make recordings of TV programs, like I did with my VCR.


2) make my DVD movie collection look good on this 50" 780P Plasma > cause my ole Panasonic DVD player now looks like poo on this 50"


3) these are some of the reasons I didn't want change >



4) ohhhh, and there's a chance I may dump my cable Co./Comcast and just use a digital antenna > so, I'm guessing the DVD/whatever will need a digital tuner???


BTW > would using component cables help the playback quality on my SD-DVD player vs the composite cables I was using?


My head hurts, but thanks for any advice/direction.
 

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First of all, don't get rid of the Toshiba. You may find you prefer to fall back on that for the bulk of your SD viewing, after all is said and done (at least with TV programming).


A DVD recorder with a digital tuner will only output in SD (even the HD channels), so that still won't look all that great on a 50", HD-resolution display. Not if you're that discriminating, anyway.


If you don't do the bulk of your viewing off of an SD, digital recorder, and you split the signal (or pass it through the recorder) to the TV's true HD tuner for your live viewing, that'd be the best solution when using one. Otherwise, you might want to consider something like the DTVPal/Channel Master Pal ATSC HD DVR.


You could also consider a TiVo, for either cable or OTA-only, and that can also stream Netflix and free Pandora radio. You can buy Tivo with a pre-paid lifetime (of the unit) fee, if you want to avoid monthly charges. (The Pal DVR has two-tuners like the TiVo, and also a free OTA guide, and is quite a bit cheaper. But you are giving up something in overall quality, reliability and support, not to mention features.)


As far as the DVD player, a component hookup will definitely be an improvement over composite. You'd want to try the Panny player at different upscaled resolutions, too, not just 480i like you had it at with the Toshiba (Panny players usually have good upscalers).


Otherwise, you're going to have to upgrade all your sources to HD, and it will (continually) cost you more (HD programming usually costs more per month, and Blu-ray's usually cost more than DVD's, and there also isn't as wide of a programming/movie selection available in them. Mostly the more popular and mainstream stuff).


If you do want to upgrade the player to a Blu-Ray (HD) one, you'll likely want one that can upscale SD-DVD's well, too (especially since you sound like you have a certain level of standards). And those tend to not be the cheapest ones, because SD-DVD playback is often treated as an afterthought with those (same with CD playback). An Oppo would be a good choice. Or maybe you can still find one of those Pioneer BDP-320's that Best Buy are selling (often display models, occasionally new-in-box) for $250.00 or less. Some of the cheaper models are said to be "good" with SD-DVD, but I'm pretty discriminating about that sort of thing myself, and I wouldn't settle for anything that wasn't at least as good as the SD-DVD player I've currently got (an Elite DV-79 AVi) - especially since I don't really have any interest in Blu-ray at this point.


Many Blu-Ray players also do streaming, too (the most basic Netflix is something like $8-$10 a month, and many also do free, internet radio streaming).


You'd want to check out the "DVD Recorders" forum here for info on those (you really only have two decent choices there - the Magnavox HDD/DVD recorder, and the Panasonic EZ-28, non-hard drive DVD recorder, which has a bit better PQ from it's internal digital tuner - that won't be as evident on a 35" CRT, but on the 50" plasma you should notice the difference), the "HDTV Recorders" forum for info on the HD DVR's (only two, real choices there, too - the Pal and the TiVo), and the "Blu-ray Players" forum for info on those.


You also could just give in and rent the cable company's DVR. That is often (usually, really, if you're going to keep cable) the most economically sensible solution for many.


I will say that at least you made the right choice in going with plasma over LCD, because SD is generally better on those.
 

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Most likely your current disappointment with SD on the plasma is that your 17 year old CRT has convergence issues and considerably softens the picture. With that, and the bigger screen without the induced softness, is showing the natural "flaws" of SD material. SD on a 50" plasma can look very good given a good source and proper calibration.


Get a BD player with good SD DVD performance and calibrate your display. You also need a couple weeks to get used to the new "picture".


larry
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Such detailed and prompt feedback > Thank You!



First...no way I'm getting rid of my trusty, reliable CRT 35" Toshiba. If anything, it's getting a well deserved, easier life in the spare bed room/computer room



I purchased some $12.00 Phillips component cables...and it has IMPROVED SD-DVD viewing quality through my older DVD-S29 Panasonic unit. I went through my Panny DVD-S29 instruction booklet yet didn't see anything that offered the ability to change the resolutions.

Biggest thing with me, I refuse to have a 50" TV and be subject to top or side black bars making the picture smaller so > I zoom or "fit to screen" the picture. Of course I know this deteriorates the picture quality.


TIVO...that would solve the "recording of TV shows" problem however > I'm not wanting to dish out more monthly payments for TV > and, this is another reason I 'may' dump the Cable subscription and consider a over-the-air digital antenna.


So...it appears a DVR with a built in up-converter AND tuner 'may' be the option. Suggested > "Magnavox HDD/DVD recorder, and the Panasonic EZ-28"


I visited my local BIG BOX electronics store (Best Buy) just to see what they offered. They had a Panasonic DVR with a tuner/up-converter but it also had a VCR built in.

Not sure of the quality of that $300 combo unit?


Blu-Ray >well, my 50" plasma is only 720P plus I'll never replace my DVD collection with Blu-Ray dvd's so no Blu-Ray players for me.


Again, thanks for the suggestions.
 

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If you want HD and no monthly bills then you'll want to look at the Tivo w/lifetime ~$600 or the Channel Master Rammitinski spoke of. I don't think you'd be satisfied with a SD DVDR. The Panasonic you saw at BB, EZ-48v is quite buggy and not at all inexpensive.

Check out this comparison chart.

You might also want to think about a upconverting DVD player. I've had good luck with the Sonys or Pioneer makes some relatively inexpensive models with better than average picture quality. Component is a good connection but I notice slightly better contrast ratio using HDMI. You'll only really see upconverting on models with HDMI output.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/19622763


If you want HD and no monthly bills then you'll want to look at the Tivo w/lifetime ~$600 or the Channel Master Rammitinski spoke of. I don't think you'd be satisfied with a SD DVDR. The Panasonic you saw at BB, EZ-48v is quite buggy and not at all inexpensive.

Check out this comparison chart.

You might also want to think about a upconverting DVD player. I've had good luck with the Sonys or Pioneer makes some relatively inexpensive models with better than average picture quality. Component is a good connection but I notice slightly better contrast ratio using HDMI. You'll only really see upconverting on models with HDMI output.

Thank you for the advice > if I dump the cable company and do antenna only this certainly looks very promising for program recording > Channel Master CM-7000PAL
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamerdown
I visited my local BIG BOX electronics store (Best Buy) just to see what they offered. They had a Panasonic DVR with a tuner/up-converter but it also had a VCR built in.

Not sure of the quality of that $300 combo unit?

.
Was the model number DMR-EZ48 or something? If so, STAY AWAY.
 

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If you can afford the TiVo, I'd say get it. It's reliable, has features galore, and you don't have pay a monthly fee if you have the lifetime fee paid.

It works with an antenna.


The Channel Master is a good fallback if you're on a budget, but that's about all it has over TiVo.
 

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A lot of variables at play here.


Last year we bought a 60in 1080p TV and it does a very good job taking component input from our VERY old SD DirecTV receiver and up converting the image. This TV obviously has a VERY GOOD up converting image processor built in.


We have a nice outdoor antenna and OTA HD programming, of course, looks very good on our TV cause source is uncompressed OTA HD.


Regarding SD DVD content I guess a solution for you depends on the standards of who is doing the watching and recommending.


I continue to use a Sony "regular" DVD player with Up Conversion with HDMI output and, just my humble opinion, the Up Converted images are very, very good and very near acceptable HiDef - this is true on our 60in TV and also true with that image stretched across a 120in diagonal via our older 720p front projector. Key here is Up Conversion HDMI output from the player to the HDMI input of the display.


This continues to be true even with content that has been back up copied and "shrunk" to fit on a single layer DVD disc.


Sounds like your Plasma doesn't have a particularly good Up Conversion capability so buying a stand alone Up Conversion processor like the DVDO Edge would give you a good image from SD television cable or sat programming.


ANY up converting standard or BD player connected to your TV via HDMI cable should give you a nice and near HD image of your old SD DVDS - specially on the relatively small display area like the 50 inch Plasma.


If we can watch a "shrunk" SD format movie on a 120in screen using a $80 Sony SD player with Up Conversion and everyone goes "WOW" then you should have no problem with that Plasma unless that particular brand and model's image processor is either bad or crummy.


So, SD DVD movies + Up Converting player + HDMI connection to small TV should = a pretty near HD viewing experience.

Good Luck!!
 
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