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I received my 507 three weeks ago. The short story is the source is everything with this set and I am keeping it for sure.


I have all the latest SM tweaks applied. My sources are as follows:

- E* PVR 501 via s-vid

- Xbox via component 1

- Zenith HDV420 via component 2


The 507 has many unique advantages:

- price / performance ratio

- compact size

- very light weight

- no burn in

- computer display capability

- Truly great PQ (with a good source)


The last one is clearly the most controversial in the forum. Here are my thoughts. The set is its own worst enemy. It has such good resolution, color, contrast, and brightness that when feed a sub par signal, it magnifies signal problems not seen on most other sets. Until recently I thought the E* signal was the same as or very close to dvd quality - not correct.


When fed very good sources, the set always impresses. When fed a dvd signal from my Xbox, it's PQ is great. Xbox games, I may begin to lose contact with the outside world - unbelievable. When feed an OTA HD signal from the HDV420, I was blown away - spectacular. As Tom Roper has stated before, it has a very "movie screen" quality to the picture - not the glassy effect of a plasma. This, to me, is very addictive and I love watching HD content.


I think the PQ issues discussed in the forum are suffering from a bit of semantics. When feed a dvd or hd signal, the set is great (obviously not perfect but always impressive) - therefore no major inherent PQ issue in my opinion. When fed my E* (PVR501) via s-video, it is not great. You can clearly see the compression of E*. I never noticed on my 32" Tosh until I knew what to look for because of the 507. Now when I look very close at my tosh, I see all (and I mean all) the PQ issues I see on the 507. The difference is that on the Tosh they are irrelevant because they are only visible from within a foot. But my point is they are there - and the 507 is doing a very accurate job of showing it to you - much more accurate (and larger) than a CRT. If you want to imagine what the E* signal looks like, imagine a .jpeg blown up in size (not too much, but just enough to see blotches of color in large areas of gently changing shades). The compression is slightly exaggerated when stretched to wide screen as well. I now realize that the E* (and DirectTV, digital cable, etc.) is sending a very compressed signal that is great for 32" and under CRT sets, but falls short for todays best HD digital sets (DLP, LCD, Plasma).


All this makes for a very watchable signal - but not for your primary content. In my opinion, if you buy a set like this you want WOW - not watchable. Other signals give you WOW! As secondary content, E* is fine.


I also know this is not an SD vs. HD issue now because the SD digital signal from my HDV420 blows away the same SD signal from my PVR501. You can clearly see most of the problem with the E* signal is the compression. The PVR501 signal also suffers from some color blooming but I think this is related to the s-vid vs. component hookup. The 507 does a fine job with the SD signal from the HDV420.


As to a few other forum issues:

- Pin Cushioning: I have it - but very slight (1/8th of an inch or less).

- Internal Reflections: Have not noticed.

- Rainbows: Don't see them. Or anyone who has viewed my set (20 people).


As I stated in another post, the SD signal from E* is currently 90% of my viewing. With the 507, however, I will be changing:

- more dvds

- NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, FOX, UPN via OTA E* HD receiver

- HBO, Showtime, Discovery via E* HD receiver

This will now make up 80% of my viewing (I am lucky I live in Chicago where digital broadcasts from the Sears tower are excellent) - and it is all very good to spectacular on the 507. The other 20% will still be via SD E* (MSNBC, HGTV, History, etc.) - and it is watchable for this content.


In Q2 I plan on buying the E* PVR 921. It is fully integrated E* HD, E* SD, OTA HD, and OTA SD/ED digital STB. DVI output. 200GB HD good for 18 hours HD / 180+ hours SD. The perfect set top box for the 507 in my opinion - as long as it does not stay vaporware.


As all other members say, it is subjective and you need to evaluate what you are going to be watching. IMHO - If the majority of your viewing is going to be SD E* (and I can only assume Directv as well) for the next few years, you should stay away from the 507. If you have a chance to get clean signals (less compression), such as HD, OTA digital ED / SD, or dvd as your primary viewing (with occasional Sat viewing) the 507 is awesome and it is a keeper.
 

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I think this agrees with what I have surmised from the mass of reviews and opinions on this set: The primary problem is the source. Now, I wouldn't leave the Samsung out of some blame for processing of the SD signal via S-Video, or a quality problem here or there, but clearly a lot of what people are seeing is bad source material.


Since I already have a NTSC 16:9 widescreen that has a wonderful picture (not HD, but very nice on HD and DVD sources) I am in a tight spot. I can definitely see better and worse pictures from my DirecTV with TiVo box. (In fact the FOX game yesterday from D* looked a level of magnitude better than the CBS game), but I think in general my set does a good job at smoothing out much of this. I would hate (and my wife would very much hate) me spending a lot of money on a new set that looked like crap on 80% of what we watch.


So, my current position is: Wait for better source. This could come in the form of a new "TiVo-like" box like RMarch mentions above, that could do HD/SD from satellite or OTA over a DVI connection. That would pretty much do it for me.
 

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Great review. Basically exactly how I feel after having my 507 for 3 weeks. I still can't get over how incredible the picture is on HD sources!
 

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What is E* ?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Quattro
What is E* ?
E* = EchoStar = Dish Network Satellite TV
 

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I spent a good 1/2 hour today at Magnolia Hi-Fi looking at analog cable on their 507 in 'Normal' mode. Right now I have a 41" 4:3 Sony rear projector, so considering that the 507 in 4:3 Normal mode shows a 41" picture, I'm in a fair position to compare apples to apples w.r.t. cable quality at a distance. I noticed the following:


- Cable channels with strong signals look fine on both the 507 and my current TV.


- Crappy cable channels look like crap on both the 507 and my current TV.


Now, I'd like to be able to say that I rarely watch cable and only watch DVDs and HDTV, but the truth of the matter is I still spend 2/3 of my 'display hours' watching cable. I didn't see anything that would dissuade me from choosing the 507 for cable viewing.
 

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BTDT writes:

"So, my current position is: Wait for better source. This could come in the form of a new "TiVo-like" box like RMarch mentions above, that could do HD/SD from satellite or OTA over a DVI connection. That would pretty much do it for me."


Alas, having a TIVO-like E* box with DVI will only get the lowly digital signal to the TV w/out going thru the analog step. It'll still be garbage-in-garbage-out until the content is HD - or at least not compressed so much by E* et. al.


The SAT folks are in a pickle, though. Being required to carry local stations is killing us all. It would be far better to have them carry only the network feeds (in both SD & HD) for FOX, ABC, NBC, and CBS, for instance, rather than carrying each and every local affiliate broadcasting the same content roughly simultaneously. There's only so much room on those SAT transponders...


For me, I'm holding out (little) hope for the Digital Cable to carry HD for the local affiliates. I can't receive OTA from where I live - and they are moving the antennas even further away & behind more hills :-(
 

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edmc,


My biggest problem in being a "slave to TiVo" is that it doesn't fit well with watching OTA HD. The TiVo-like box I am looking for would be able to record from D* AND OTA. I would simply use OTA for my local station viewing, making most of what my family watches HD, or at least pristine upconverted NTSC.


Yes, I could go to an HTPC to get some of this today, but that would require actual effort :).
 
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