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Central Scrutinizer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,


I don't hang around this end of the forum too often, as I am a FPTV owner (Marquee 9500LC :) ), but I want to get a relatively cheap RPTV for my bedroom setup, and I was hoping that the people in the know here would offer some opinions. I would like the largest size RPTV that represents the best value in the $2000 to $2500 range (street price). I will be feeding it a progressive DVD player (Panasonic DVD-RP56), "regular" DirecTV satellite, and possibly a VCR, if it doesn't look too bad.


I would like to have an RGB input, if possible, as I might want to feed it a signal from my HTPC, my DVDO line doubler, or maybe even a RCA DTC 100. I am really not too concerned about the aspect ratio, as I will be watching quite a bit of 4:3 satellite, so my usage will probably end up around 50/50 4:3 and 16:9 material. Please remember that I am used to 130" screen, so I really would like the largest size that will produce an acceptable picture. I don't want to go big bucks on it, as it is not my main viewing device. Are there any reasonably good sets for this kind of money?
 

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Without a doubt, a properly calibrated Toshiba 57HX81 could not be beat in this price range. It can be had online for $2500.
 

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I won't presume to say "without a doubt" but when you research this question in all the forums that I peruse, the majority of the time the answer comes out as Pioneer 533 for maybe a relatively few more dollars than your top line.
 

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...that we have the same equipment (and the same Zappa collection - BOING!). I also have the RP-56, and the DTC-100 which I run through a Toshiba 65H81. The only thing you would need to add is the RGB-component video converter, which is available from RCA or Audio Authority, for the DTC-100.


So, why do I bring this up? You can now get the Toshiba 65H81 at Sam's Club for $2595! I think One Call will match the price, that's where I got mine from.


It would be a nice system for the bedroom...
 

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Central Scrutinizer
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, I will check out the models listed here. A friend of mine has one of the earlier (about 3 years ago) Toshiba Theater Wide models, and his set looks very very good. I have also heard very good things about the Pioneer models, so I will be sure to check out both company's offerings. Any other contenders?

Quote:
and the same Zappa collection - BOING!
Ah, so someone finally recognized the "Penguin In Bondage" domain name :) Frank Zappa has been my hero for over 25 years. He was the finest musician/composer I have ever heard (and had the pleasure of meeting!).
 

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Central Scrutinizer
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I just read some comments from Michael TLV, and he has mentioned that the difference in picture quality between sets dimishes with tweaking, and that there are some bargains to be had for the tweaker (actually, I read between the lines and that is my interpretation). While Pioneer sets generally look pretty good out of the box, there is a premium that goes with it. I hope that Michael will drop in here and offer some opinions on the more tweakable bargains available :)
 

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Greetings Bob


Thanks for the kind words.


Above all else right now, stay away from the Toshiba sets for this model year. Too many problems with them this year. (Ghosting/Channel 5 interference/540P upconversion degradation) Wait a couple three months to see how the new 2002/03 models fair. Initial reports are promising, but wait until we actually get our mitts on them.


Pioneers pack a premium ... yes. And they are considered by many calibrators to be somewhat unstable units in the early months ... really flexible service menu though in terms of setting up grayscale offsets ...


Sony sets and Panasonic sets have a lot of potential and end up slightly ahead of the Pioneer in terms of control over colour decoder parameters.


Sony sets are better out of the box than Panasonic units (Say the 56") as Panny is generally regarded as have one really crappy image OOTB. But even one hour with the Panasonic will yield major improvements to bring it up to speed with the Sony.


The Panny has a slight edge in menu flexibility compared to the Sony as you can set up two separate grayscales ... of close to it. On the Sony, we are stuck with one grayscale fits all. Panny also has a bit more control over colour decoder parameters than the Sony.


Main problem with the Panasonics appears to be something called the Panasonic POP ... which occurs during the break in period of the TV. Seems to happen to 50% of the units. Each CRT pops ... once ... and then stabilizes. Everytime the pop happens ... grayscale goes wild ... "Red POP = suddenly too red"


After the first couple of months, the TV settles down and the post calibrated images are some of the best out there.


Additional Panny drawback is the lack of colour filters on CRT's. This means that the Sony, for instance, has a slightly larger colour palette/triangle to work with.


Kind of like 16 million colours versus 14 million colours.


I don't expect things to get easier ... but each maker has a size that fits the dollar range you have set.


Regards
 

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I asked Chuck Williams, another respected ISF-er, his opinion last fall. His recommendation -- Mitsubishi or Pioneer...
 

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I picked up a Sony KP57HW40 for $2249 at CC in Irving, TX...this set looks better to me than I was able to make the competitors look. OTA DTV looks superb with only an AVIA adjustment.
 

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Greetings


Mits are fine too, but require some work as well.

Hitachi's are also fine ...


Pioneers are okay, but always cost more ... so why spend more when you can have the same for less? (And chuck has also mentioned at one time or another that Pioneers are somewhat more unstable than some of the others talked about here.)


Regards
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Patrick G
Without a doubt, a properly calibrated Toshiba 57HX81 could not be beat in this price range.
Quote:
Originally posted by Michael TLV
Above all else right now, stay away from the Toshiba sets for this model year.
SLAM!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Patrick G



SLAM!
Hmm, I'm finding this a bit distressing. My Sony 51HW40 will be exchanged for a Toshiba 42H81 next weekend - I chose the 42H81 based on a number of seemingly informed reviews on this site and others. Now it seems like the general opinion is that 2002 Toshibas are all garbage.


If I understand this correctly, the issue revolves around the apparent ghosting around high contrast transitions. My 51HW40 also exhibits this, but I wasn't very sensitive to it and this is not the reason it is being returned. Could the significance of these problems be overstated? Is this brand loyalism, cognitive dissonance perhaps, or is the 42H81 really a huge steaming pile of dung? :)
 

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Greetings


Rest assured that if you do not know what the problems look like ... then do not be too concerned. The image in not dung ... and far from it. In some respects, it is like a 75 mph limiter on the car when all the other cars can go 80 ... 98% of the time, you won't need that extra 5 mph performance.


If I could quantify it ... I would say as follows ... image resolution is degraded by 10 to 15% ... so instead of a 100% performance, you get 85 to 90% ... which ain't bad. Problem is ... if 90% costs the same money as 100% why would you pay for 90%?


Ghosting is on both ... but believe it or not, it tends to be much more variable on the Toshiba than the Sony. Variable as in ... a wee bit ... or ghosts offset by 1/2" ... which is a whole lot ...


There is an article or two at the Keohihdtv site that talks about the 540P degradation issue on the Toshiba sets ... I recommend that you take a read of that and then decide if what you see there bothers you. (noting that the images are actually from a set with a mild case)


(Word has it that Toshiba has addressed this issue in the upcoming 2002/03 models)


Regards
 

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Central Scrutinizer
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Michael,


Thanks for the very informative reply! You have given me much to think about, and a great starting point for auditioning sets. I get the feeling from your comments that Panasonic offers a "best buy" in RPTV's, though you have not said that directly. Is this the case? Or possibly Sony (though I have never found them to be good values in the past)?


As I am terribly unfamiliar with the various models from the respective manufacturers, could you provide me with your recommended "short list" of sets that you feel I should audition? Being a person who loves to tweak his FPTV, which makes and models do you feel offer the most to satisfy my penchant for control over the quality of image attained?


Are most modern geometry, picture, and color settings software controlled and easily accessible to the end user, like they are in FPTV's? Or are the controls physical (a la trimpots, etc.), which require opening the set up to make changes? Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with opening the set, but all things being equal, I would prefer software control via the remote so that the set can be tweaked at the proper viewing distance. I guess I'm asking a lot from a set that retails for about $3500 to $4000, heh? :D


Again, a big thanks for everyone's input!
 

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Greetings


We are just around the corner for the intro of many of the new sets ... so you wait ... or get one of the 2002's for really good prices.


I won't provide you with model numbers, but suffice it to say that sony has only one 51" and two 57" units (normal + xbr).


Panny has one unit ...PT 56WX51 something or other ... (needs work, but rewarding ... one of the better looking units out there ... )


Hitachi has some there too, but the problem with Hitachi is that the physical tweaks take longer because the sets are not as friendly as others. ( Good service menu though with lots of goodies in there.)


Mits ...46" size, 55" size ...


All sets have service menus with enough stuff in there to keep you busy. Some have more stuff than the FPTV you are used to ... and often the menus may actually be more friendly ... sometimes less so ...


You should be able to get better convergence control on some of these RPTV's compared to the Marquee (or not :D ) ... YMMV.


Regards
 

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Great great thread! I'm in the hunt for a 65" HDTV rear projection TV and assumed that the Pioneer Elite was the cream of the crop. I recently joined a buyers club which allow you to purchase items at factory cost for the companies that they are associated with. For this privilege you must pay a pretty hefty fee up front. We intend on spending a lot on furniture and a big-screen setup, so it really made sense for us. Furniture savings are QUITE large while savings on electronic equipment is not as good due to less mark-up on these items. I expect to save a good deal of money anyway.


I was saddened to see that Pioneer was not one of the companies associated with this buyers club. However, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic, among others, were on the list. That means any product offered by them is available to me at factory cost. Hearing that the Sony will perform similar to the Pioneer if properly set up makes me quite pleased! I will, however, be waiting to see the new offerings before making a purchase. I hope they come out soon.


Again, thanks for such an informative post!


Ron
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Sorel
Michael,


Thanks for the very informative reply! You have given me much to think about, and a great starting point for auditioning sets. I get the feeling from your comments that Panasonic offers a "best buy" in RPTV's, though you have not said that directly. Is this the case?
I wont draw that conclusion until Michael get a chance to calibrate JVC. NO, I am not suggesting tweaked JVC is better than tweaked Panny. I played around with both in BB and liked JVC more.
 

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Central Scrutinizer
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
More great info! Ok, here's another question (in the Consumer Reports manner): Which sets are most reliable and least reliable? Or are they all pretty good these days? If I have a problem with my Ehome, most troubleshooting can be done over the phone (thank you Tim Martin!), and since the units are modular, I can perform most repairs myself. With RPTV's, I'll bet this is not the case. CU has reports on direct view sets, but I have not found any recent info on RPTV's. Do any manufacturers have significantly better records than others?
 

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Greetings


All things being equal ... RCA likely has the worst reliability ... although their product can look really nice when tweaked.


All the others are pretty much the same ... with one big depressing constant. They all seem to have really lousy CSR support when you encounter difficulties. Reliability of the big 6 or 7 is about the same.


The units are modular to a point. Many boards can be swapped out when needed. And the entire gut is usually about 6 screws away from being carted back to the shop if they cannot fix in home.


I've been trying to play with a JVC, but the two stores both lost their JVC remotes ... so I am out of luck for now ... still trying my best ...


Regards
 
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