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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I'm new to writing to these boards but I've been reading for a long time now and just presently have a question that you guys haven't answered for me already in all your glorious detail.

My question is, if you were to buy an HDTV-ready direct view wide screen tv right now what would you buy?

I'm interested in the Panasonic Tau 34 inch model and I've seen a lot of others that are out there but non compare to this one as of yet. Am I missing something out there? I plan on getting the Iscan pro so the line doubling quality isn't as much a problem. I don't like the fact that the panasonic doesn't have a VGA connector or firewire but I can always live without if i can still get a great picture. One of my main thoughts is should I wait for that Sony 34 inch that I've heard is coming out soon? Sony can make one hell of a picture but I don't know if its really worth the wait. Also I've heard its actually out there now, is this true? Thanks alot for everyones help.

Matt
 

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inocen1,


I know this isn't what you want to hear, and I am not trying to be negative, but direct view sets are really not very well suited to HD. Because the screen is so small, you have to sit very close (a few feet away) to be able to see the detail in current HD material. But since most direct view sets have a fairly coarse dot pitch, or stripe pitch, even if you sit that close you still can't see the detail that is inherent in an HD image because that detail is smaller than the dot/stripe pitch of the CRT.


The good news is that since the resolution is limited by the screen's dot/stripe pitch, once you get far enough back from the set so that you can't see the screen pitch, the image will look quite good because it is as detailed as the human eye can perceive at that distance. You are not seeing all the detail that HD provides, but the portion of it you can see will look excellent.


When comparing direct view HD sets, always find out what the dot/strip pitch is and compute the maximum number that can fit in the width of the screen. The manufacturers may not tell you this info, so you may have to measure it yourself on the face of the CRT - which is easy enough to do. If the number is 1000-1200 you are doing very well. If it is about 700, then that is only roughly equivalent to DVD resolution.


The same principle holds for the lenticular pitch in RPTVs, but it usually is not the limiting factor because the number is usually well over 1200 and often over 2000 measured across the width of the screen.
 

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In Taiwan, we are in an enviable position that enables us to see the TV sets that target the US and Japanese domestic markets. I found that in general there are no quality direct-view HDTV sets in the US and no quality RPTV models in Japan. The Japanese manufacturers, especially Sony, make some darn good direct-view HDTVs for domestic market only. I would suggest the US consumers urge them to export those models to the US.
 

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The 38" Loewe Aconda is no doubt the best HD-ready direct view widescreen TV. Just $5500.



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The princeton graphics set is in large part designed by Joe Kane. His standards are higher than anyone's. I saw a well calibrated one this week and the picture was awesome. Also has a lot of ability to adjust.


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The Loewe is a very good choice (big money though). Their screens, however, are not flat. Also for about %50 less consider the RCA/Proscan 38 inch. Loewe actually uses the RCA tube but throws in its own guts and wonderful fit and finish.
 

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At the NAB Convention in April they had four 16:9 direct view TV on display. In the high ambient light, and some less than favorable viewing angles there were Pioneer and Philips flat screens that really stood out followed by the Sony with the RCA (non-flat screen) at noticable lesser quality, but the tuner is built-in (which at $2,999 is a savings of about $1,200+ over the others to add a tuner).


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I like the Loewe's, too. But for what it's worth. the Sony 34HD1 was the best I was able to see -- clearly sharper and richer than all the others with which I was able to do a side by side comparison with the same HD feeds. The 30 inch Princeton was superb, too, but just too small. The 34 inch Sony is small enough as it is.


The Sony used to list for a whopping $8500, but I've seen floor models going for as little as $3500 in the last few days. You can still order it from Sony if you want a new one, even though it was supposedly discontinued (like the G90, it's always being discontinued). But be prepared to spend $5K to $6K for a new one from a merciful (!) dealer.


On the plus side, it's the single most satisfying video product I've ever owned, and I've been through quite a few. It has a great picture even on non-HD sources (and it's sensational with HD or 480P DVDs), has good input flexibility and aspect ratio control, tremendously flexible picture adjustments, a good remote, and good menus. It's also magnificently built and esthetically pleasing and will be a positive addition to any decor.


Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone,

you guys have been a really big help. I really want to look into this Loewes set as it sounds really nice. I have no idea where to find info on it though, being that I've never even heard of it before. Thanks for the other opinions. I'm gonna look into that Sampo as I've heard good things. As for the Sony, I've heard they are coming out with a new 34 inch in a very very short time, so I want to find more about that while I'm at it. You guys have been a big help and man I'd love to get a bigger rear projection set or a projector but I just don't have the space right now. One day though, one day. For now I'll just have to dream.

Matthew
 

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You need to find out the resolution of any direct view you buy if you're going to watch HD. 800 lines hardly qualifies for HD and would be little different from DVD. (The old Sony 34" only does 800 lines) The RCA 38" does 1200 lines- the bottom of HD and about where almost all HD-PRTVs start from and go up to 1920 lines.





[This message has been edited by Bill (edited 07-17-2001).]
 

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"You need to find out the resolution of any direct view you buy if you're going to watch HD. 800 lines hardly qualifies for HD and would be little different from DVD. (The old Sony 34" only does 800 lines) The RCA 38" does 1200 lines- the bottom of HD and about where almost all HD-PRTVs start from and go up to 1920 lines."


We've had this discussion many times before. Please don't be taken in by specs alone. You have to see the picture yourself -- there's lots more to it than the number of lines. I've compared the 34 inch Sony to many, many other HD sets, and it's clearly sharper. Some with better supposed specs were obviously softer on HD feeds.


There are numerous examples currently of the truism that you should see these things for yourself and never rely on numbers advertised on paper. For example, try to tell anyone that the new Pansonic 42 inch plasma that "only" does 480P isn't infinitely superior to the Sony 42 incher that does 1024 X 1024 and you'll be made fun of -- even by your wife once she's seen both!


As for the "new" 34 inch "HD2," don't hold your breath. It was supposed to be out LAST August. But the demand for the 34HD1 has been steady, if small, and it appears that Sony has decided to wait to introduce the new one. Furthermore, there's no guarantee that the newer, more competitively priced 34HD2 will be built in Japan and have the same build quality as the current unit, or include an HD tuner as the old one does. If you want a 34 inch TV, and you can pick up the 34HD1 for $4.5K or less, it's a terrific deal, in my judgment. As I said, this is one of the best electronic equipment purchases I've ever made -- and I've owned or had experience with the very best of the best stuff. You will not be disappointed with it.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Bill:
(The old Sony 34" only does 800 lines) The RCA 38" does 1200 lines....
Is there generally agreement on this? Haven't dug into direct-view specs that closely myself. If these are both widescreen sets, that means, from these numbers, that the 12-percent-wider RCA set has a potential for 50 percent more resolution than Sony's Trinitron-tube design. Has anyone conducted an actual test-pattern resolution test, or divided the pitch of the color stripes and/or dots into the widths of both CRTs? -- John


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[This message has been edited by John Mason (edited 07-18-2001).]
 

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Matt,

I've got the Panny 34" Tau and it still remains the best I've seen. I've seen the smaller Loewe model (can't recall if it was 32" or 34") but I thought without question the Panny was better (they were both in the same Harvey electronics store). However, I've never yet seen the Sampo, so I can't make a direct comparison there. I've seen the Phillips, Sony, Loewe, Toshiba and Panny and I walked away with the Panny. I do recall seeing a thread somewhere about some very bad servicing issues with Loewe. Try a search and I think you'll find it.


My NTSC sets have only been Sonys, but I really feel they've dropped the ball with HD. Their HD1 was the best set when it was released, but they've done nothing since. I'm also disenchanted with the Sony HD100 tuner that I own, due it all of its quirks. My first generation Zenith tuner outperforms the Sony.
 

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My experience with Loewe/Sensory Science has been anything but satisfactory. Frankly, Sensory Science dropped the ball big time. I have a $3500 Loewe set that has serious defects but "meets factory specs." See my post here




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If you're in the market for a Princeton Graphics AF3.0HD set, look instead at the Panasonic DT-M3050W broadcast monitor. It can be found for alot less. I'm using it to view DVD's on a Skyworth, and some PC work. You can find specs here: http://www.vidicomp.com/Monitors/Pan/dtm3050w.htm
http://www.edcom.ca told me they have one left.





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Quote:
Originally posted by Bill:
The RCA 38" does 1200 lines- the bottom of HD and about where almost all HD-PRTVs start from and go up to 1920 lines.
Okay, let's do some math here. According to the web page, the set has a dot pitch of .78mm. Multiply your 1200 lines by the dot pitch 1200*.78=936 to get that the screen must be 936mm wide. Convert to inches 936/25.4=36.85, so screen must 36.85 inches wide. Since the screen has a diagonal measurement of 38", we can use the pythagorian theorem to see how tall the screen is. Lets see: sqr(38**2 - 36.85**2), or sqr(1444-1358), or sqr(86), or 9.27. So the screen on that 38" RCA is 36.85" wide by 9.27" tall. Either someone is lying, or that TV has one heck of a strange aspect ratio.


 
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