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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings Fellow members,


- Some comments about a trip to Magnolia Hi-fi yesterday in Palo Alto, Ca. This post may be a bit lengthy for some, but I think others may find interest in my observations. Two of which have significance to posts recently submitted here regarding Fujitsu panels.


- Incidentally, I’ve owned a few plasma displays since 1999. My first was a Pioneer 501MX1 fifty inch and my last was a NEC61MP1. By no means am I an expert videophile, but do have what I consider to be a reasonable eye for detail and quality. My plasma use consists mainly of computer display (connected to my PC or Macintosh) work related items and a DVD or game here & there. To me, having a screen 6 or 8’ away that I could view multiple spreadsheets on, edit photos – well, just about anything one would do normally with a 19 or 20†screen, made perfect sense. Yes, they were terribly expensive back then (and still are to a degree) but when you’re making a living off that screen, having a good ‘tool’ can prove to be an indispensable asset.


- You guys remember when Quake III Arena came out? The first thing I did was grab that game and get it up on the Pioneer 50â€. Unbelievable. Called my best friend to come over and ‘see this’. Didn’t tell him what the visit was for – just get your ass over here. He was stunned. He didn’t care how much it cost, just ‘I want one’. They were $20k back then. Of course, keep in mind that was 6 years ago. 50†is commonplace now and some of the awe has given way to expectation as plasma and other competing technologies make larger sets more the norm than the exception.



Products viewed:


Sony KDEXBR950 (61†plasma display)


Pioneer Elite PDP-1410 (61†plasma display)


Fujitsu P55XHA40US (55†plasma display)


Fujitsu P63XHA40US (63†plasma display)


- With the exception of the Fujitsu 55†display, all other plasmas were in the main floor area, awash in overhead halogen and/or incandescent lighting and indirect daylight exposure through the front store glass. The Fujitsu 55†was in a dedicated viewing room.


- The Pioneer Elite PDP-1410 is the first display you see when entering the store. It is almost completely washed out from indirect light and would present to an otherwise uninformed potential customer, an immediate departure to another set. Of course, this type of display is not sold by the dozen and the ‘shock’ value of seeing such a large screen is great advertisement for the medium itself, but it would be better to see a panel of this caliber ‘displayed’ in a more appropriate manner – like in one of the dedicated viewing rooms.


- The Sony KDEXBR950 was next to the Pioneer. Most of the larger displays (the ones that I was interested in) were all wired in with the same HDnet loop of the recent space shuttle mission – of which I’ll get into later. Sony looked much better than the Pioneer primarily I believe, due to less ambient light ‘leakage’ onto the screen.


- Right around the corner I’d say about 6 steps, was the new Fujitsu P63XHA40US 63†plasma. Now, I’ve been lamenting the fact lately that nobody – and I mean nobody has this unit on display. I’ve even had an honest salesman at a competing hi-fi dealer tell me over the phone that ‘we can get the display, but it’s too expensive to have it hanging on the wall…’ And to a degree, I can respect that.


- Thankfully though Magnolia decided to present, albeit in a very compromised setting for a display of this caliber, the Fujitsu 63†plasma. This unit was facing away from the front window so it was in not in contact with the indirect daylight. Fear not however, the overhead incandescents took care of this oversight. Still, with that handicap, the Fujitsu 63 looked very nice indeed.


Impressions:


- First up was the Fujitsu P55XHA40US. The familiar Toy Story II beginning into about 10 minutes of the film. Most impressive. I’ll get to one of my key points mentioned at the beginning of this post regarding Fujitsu displays right now. In a post a couple of days ago, a gentleman who owned this exact display commented something to the effect of ‘The 900:1 contrast ratio can be deceiving, I don’t notice it at all’. I want to say that after seeing this display for myself, I concur with his statement.


- Granted, the dedicated viewing room is set up nice – soffited ceilings with hidden subdued lighting – I surmise has much the same effect as the ambient back lights one can purchase for home. Still, you couldn’t ask for a much better picture – in every regard, than this Fujitsu presented.

The color palette was outstanding and the smoothness and detail of the picture commanded attention. This no less, from DVD. My opinion – the picture this panel displayed was as close to high definition coming off a DVD that I’d ever seen. The Fujitsu 55†makes a powerful statement. Sharp, no edginess and colors like a gumball machine in motion.



Next were the mega-displays:


- As mentioned earlier, none of the 60â€+ panels were displayed in a viewing room. Why this is I don’t know. I even made a courteous suggestion to one of the salesmen that they might consider placing at least the Fujitsu 63†in a dedicated room. His comment: “Nobody ever goes in those rooms…†Hmmm. He’s got a point – at least from an up-front, reel in the $$$ point of view. Sometimes I have to remind myself that not everyone – matter of fact, most aren’t into the stratosphere of high-end. Bread & butter to keep the doors open comes not from $$$$$ displays. ‘Nuff said.


- Also, as mentioned earlier in the post, the loop they had going was the HDnet broadcast of the recent space shuttle – launch, orbit, in-flight interior filming, descent, landing and post-op interviews of the crew and staff. My 2nd point regarding a recent comment on this board from a member who claimed to see odd facial movements on his Fujitsu panel to which a few other members chimed in to agree.

Well, I saw it yesterday (and so did my Son who was standing right next to me). They were interviewing a NASA staff member. The backdrop was a steel-blue curtain and him, by himself dead-center screen. While he was talking, his head was moving in the normal gesturing fashion one would have during a dialogue. Now, while he’s speaking his forehead is moving – like a 10ms delay, behind his head movements. Does this make sense? Are you getting the ‘picture’? I didn’t even have to mention this to my Son – he quipped in before I made a comment about it. It’s an odd thing to see. But hold on… Before any condemnation of the Fujitsu panel ensues – while I’m looking at the Fujitsu taking this in, I spy a 50†Samsung immediately to my right – about 4 steps away, easily within viewing distance. Hey, what’s going on at the same time? You guessed it: The guy’s forehead was doing the same thing on the Samsung 50 inch. It was kinda funny – we’re both standing there, our heads darting back & forth from center (right in front of the Fujitsu P63XHA40US) to immediate right at the Samsung. It worked though. There was definitely the same ‘artifact’ going on from both sets.

Now, I don’t know if it was the feed or the screen, but I can safely say that it was not exclusive to the Fujitsu panel. Unfortunately, I was not able to capture what was going on with the Sony and Pioneer at the same time. Taking in/processing the anomaly from the Fujitsu and Samsung panels simultaneously was my limitation. I'm sure it's quite possible they could have displayed the same 'defect' as well however.


- While this particular HD feed was absent some colors (mainly greens) there was enough other colors combined with bright scenes and dark, to render a subjective opinion. While I was dismayed at the fact none of these panels were in a dedicated room, the silver lining of the story is that they were all (except the Fujitsu 55â€) within viewing proximity of each other and all being fed the same content. So for comparison sake, I couldn’t have asked for better.


- Ok, so I’ve got the facial anomaly out of the way. Just like the Samsung 50†was immediately to my right, another Sony KDEXBR950 and Pioneer Elite 1410 are to my left (This particular Pioneer Elite was facing opposite the front window so the picture wasn’t washed out). The Fujitsu is commanding center stage with a couple of chairs to simulate a viewing environment and we’re standing behind the chairs – roughly 10 feet out. Nice distance for me. I can’t detect any grid pattern (screen door) and the ‘experience’ factor is there. So while the HDnet feed is going on, I’m comparing back & forth to the aforementioned displays. I’m looking for the normal things – detail, jagged edges, harshness, color palette, motion, etc. Keep in mind, none of these sets is in its ‘element’. Which is Ok – as long as they’re all on a level playing field – and they were pretty much, here.


- Now, this is my subjective opinion only. Once again I’m by no means a definitive voice on comparative picture quality of flat panel displays. However… I found painfully little difference in the overall picture quality of these screens, given the viewing environment they were in.

All of the screens displayed motion, text, color – even contrast, excellently. They also all displayed ‘edginess’ around lips certain clothing and larger text from this HDnet feed. I did not view nor ask to view, any other material so that should be taken into consideration.


- I wanted the Fujitsu 63†to present a commanding (even overwhelming) presence, since I have this particular set in my crosshairs as a prime candidate. And it still is. The comparative viewing experience for the displays mentioned here has simply brought things back into perspective – for me. Everyone’s different. I guess one could say it is a feather for Pioneer and Sony (NEC panel) that they compare this well next to the standard bearer. Incidentally, I saw no external processors or any other adjuncts next to the Pioneer or Sony displays. I suspect any/all processing of the HDnet feed was their own.


- So there you have it. One guys casual observation of a few plasma panels - nothing more than that. Take it for what it’s worth and $1.50 for coffee… When I drop the hammer on a replacement 60+ here soon, will post photos and commentary. Finally, I would like to say thanks to Mr. Rubin and E.J. for their help in answering my questions regarding Fujitsu plasma displays and their experience with them.


Kind regards,


The Mochi –
 

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Thanks for reporting your impressions.


Hmmmmm... Is it just me? I've now reread your text twice, but I'm still not sure which panel you liked more and which less. At least I don't feel any wiser after having read it all twice. I was searching for a paragraph like "now here's the story: the xxx looked much better than the yyy, while the zzz looks okay, but not as...". Did I miss that paragraph, or was it just not there?


:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Madshi,


The sets were too close to call a clear winner. And that is why I purposely did not call one. Sorry if there was confusion as that was not my intent. I think to definitively call a winner, one would have to get these displays in a better environment and rigorously view many different content feeds - HD and DVD. Such was not the case on this particular occasion.


The Mochi -
 

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I enjoyed reading that Mochi, thanks.


I agree. Plasmas have gotten so good that their performance is quite similar across the board these days. (That is, for a good name brand plasma).
 
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