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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After being very tempted to acquire a 42" plasma, based on a lot of reading here and elsewhere, I am seriously wondering why someone would buy a new non-HD plasma display _now_ given all the things that are happening in the consumer HT space. For example,


* There are limited HD channels currently available, and all widely available PVRs are non-HD, so most broadcast content available is only in 4:3 format (thus risking the dreaded burn-in), yet the availability of both (HD channels and HD PVRs) is likely to be much greater within 12 months.


* DVI+HDCP (and alternatives) is still up-in-the air and most current displays do not offer even plain DVI, yet it's a common opinion that DVI will be standard next season.


* Prices are dropping dramatically and display quality is increasing substantially on almost a monthly basis, making any display purchased today look potentially mediocre in comparison to something able to be purchased at a lower price in less than a year.


* LCD looks like it might present a viable competing technology with different strengths (note I didn't say "better"...just different).


So, unless someone either (a) has money to burn, or (b) desperately needs a new TV *now*, doesn't it seem to make sense to wait till September or so of 2003 before ponying up for a flat-panel display?

- Craig

p.s. I'm not trying to pick a fight with this thread, and I am truly interested in hearing both sides of this issue (i.e., why you bought now or why you have decided to wait).
 

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I'll accept for the time being you are not a troll.


(1) I watch 4:3 in stretech mode 95% of the time. It is not a problem at all. I was certain it would be a problem. It just plain isn't.


(2) A 480p plasma doesn't need DVI/HDCP as it falls below the resolution threshold for down--rezzing anyway.


(3) Anything you buy in a year will be here in a year. If you want to have a plasma now, you will pay 25% more for the same size and pixel count as a guy who buys it next year. I waited a year and got an upgrade from a 42" to a 50" for about $500 or what I would've paid. But I had no plasma for a year.


(4) LCD is a very mature technology with no apparent advantage over plasma other than lack of burn-in risk and pixel count. It is currently far more expensive and the pixels really don't buy you anything useful (certainly not on the Samsung 40"). I don't consider either of those "advantages" important or useful. I once did, but I really think that's a newbie/uneducated opinion. It certainly was in my case and I now feel like I know better.


So I just don't see what September 2003 is so special for. If you want HDCP (and you should at 50" or with an HD 43") you can get a Pioneer today or a Fujitsu real soon now or a Toshiba and perhaps others. If you want a TV next September, you can buy one then. I am delighted that instead of waiting, I've enjoyed my new TV for months already.


Mark
 

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Personally, I never felt I was missing out on the whole big screen TV thing with my 27" tube I've had for years. Then DVD's hit mainstream! All my life, I've been a widescreen addict, and it's a crappy addiction when laserdiscs were out of my price range and LBX VHS were few and far between. Then came dvd and everything changed! It's like a dream come true, but now I feel limited by the ol' tube and the Panny plasma SD looks like the way to go. I only watch a handfull of network TV shows (most I wouldn't miss) and haven't access to HD cable yet so SD isn't an issue for me. It's hard enough to get my woman to sit and watch movies, much less have to watch them again if I wait another year! I've got new DVD's on the shelf I'm waiting to watch until I get the plasma. Going to order it first week of January along with receiver and dvd player.
 

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cmf, Your right on the money! I was ready buy until I did my homework like you.


1: I'm in the NY/NJ area since 911, OTA HDTV channels are 1 maybe 2, my DirecTV 3, and the rest I'll be watching blurry SD channels.


2: You have to crazy to buy a plasma today without DVI+HDCP.


3: I'm waiting for Fall 2003 for the 42" Panasonic with DVI+HDCP and hope for more HD channels by then.


4: LCD is too slow today. Try playing a fast paced video game on your PC with an LCD monitor lots of lag. I think 2 years away maybe.


I'm not rich and for me I just can't see investing $6000 on a plasma today!


Tony
 

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Quote:
You have to crazy to buy a plasma today without DVI+HDCP
Call me crazy. I'm buying it for watching DVD's, and the Panny 42" SD is a perfect match for that function.

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I'm waiting for Fall 2003 for the 42" Panasonic with DVI+HDCP and hope for more HD channels by then
Welcome to the technology trap, it will never end.....besides, I'm more likely to watch TVLand reruns than King of Queens in HDTV!

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I'm not rich and for me I just can't see investing $6000 on a plasma today!
I'm not rich either, and I said the same thing 1 year ago. Now, very nice 42" SD plamas can be had for around $3500.


:D
 

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Go to best buy- look at their 11 grand pioneer plasma-Get weak in the knees and realize this is the best thing since color tv came along and then realize using this forum you can buy a better model for less than half what beast buy charges.--and I do mean beast buy
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
After reading your replies (thanks), I think it comes down to three concerns for me personally:


A) Burn-in. We'll watch mostly (~60% of total hours) 4:3 format stuff. Another 20% of the time will be PC display. Both of these uses seem to create a high-risk situation for burn-in. While I'd love to believe Rogo that it's not a problem, I have read some very scary stuff about what our type of viewing habits (and I doubt I can train the wife to cycle through media, use stretch mode, and run de-burn-in utilities) essentially destroying a plasma in short order. I hope this will become less problematic with better tech, but right now, it seems like a big risk.


B) PC use. Beyond the burn-in issue above, I'd need to be able to read the display from 14-15' away. Most here who have HTPC hooked up to 42" HD plasmas seem to indicate that 10' is about the max distance that text (e.g., email, web, etc.) is comfortably viewed, and less on EDTV (480p) screens. Maybe this is a screen size issue, but maybe LCD would address this better...I don't know (yet)...perhaps more reading and/or seeing this setup in a store will help.


C) Future compatibility. While I've gotten very much used to cycling through technologies every 3-4 years on my PC, doing so on HT componentry is another matter. While upgrading a CD-RW drive might cost $79 every couple years, upgrading an HT display costs now 40-100 times that. So, I need whatever display I get to last 6-8 years as my primary display. PQ will always improve, and I can live with not having the sharpest or brightest image available. But, if entire formats become unavailable to me (e.g., due to HDCP) because my display didn't come equipped with it, then upgrading becomes a necessity. I'd like to mitigate that risk as much as possible.


So, there are my basic reasons for waiting till next year, when it seems that many of these issues will be much closer to resolution, if not entirely resolved. While I know the tech march continues never-ending, there _are_ optimal adoption points from a value/risk perspective. I guess I just don't think right now is very close to one of those optimal points based on *my* personal usage patterns and HT budget. Let me reiterate that this is a _personal_ assessment and *not* a global statement that anyone is stupid for buying today. Believe me, if someone could demonstrate that a display was available that alleviated concerns 1, 2 and 3, and fit my budget and space constraints, I'd jump on it with both feet.

- Craig
 

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#1) *Most* people who have been concerned about stretching their 4:3 material have found that fear to not be justified. I was very concerned too, but I thought I may as well suffer now for the future 16:9 material. But now I stretch everything also, and even friends who rarely watch the TV (and aren't used to the stretch) agree that it is a more enjoyable viewing experience when I use one of my stretch modes. Of course, the wife factor is a complicating matter that I don't have to deal with.


**But consider: I don't believe that your concern about this issue will be diminished considerably by next September. Unfortunately we are more than 12 months away from having a great % of 16:9 material. So I think you will have to address it at some point anyways. New panels may be better, but the current ones aren't bad. They just require care. I don't think that they will get to the point where you can run completely care-free in a single year.


#2) Actually, a 480P screen will be acceptable at a further distance than the HD models. This is essentially because the pixels are bigger, and thus so is your text. But keep in mind that you would need to run a 852x480 res desktop which is obviously very small. But I find it still works good for surfing, word processing, and email due to a half-decent width. Games, not so much.


#3) If you buy the SD model you probably need not worry as per Rogo's reasoning about it having too low of a resolution anyway. I think the HDCP is over-blown. There are other threads about this, check one of them out to get the HDCP argument. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=192113


Well, that's my $0.02. Try hard to leave behind any preconceptions, and perhaps you'll find yourself leaning toward getting one. Trust me, I don't think you'll regret it.


And oh, don't forget that when wondering why people are buying all these displays, that not everyone is even concerned about $4000. I am not one of them, nor is Tony, but many simply have the cash to spare. They can probably afford a THX sound system too, instead of the mini-stereo speakers I have attached to my TV. :(
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by cmf
After being very tempted to acquire a 42" plasma, based on a lot of reading here and elsewhere, I am seriously wondering why someone would buy a new non-HD plasma display _now_ given all the things that are happening in the consumer HT space. For example,


* There are limited HD channels currently available, and all widely available PVRs are non-HD, so most broadcast content available is only in 4:3 format (thus risking the dreaded burn-in), yet the availability of both (HD channels and HD PVRs) is likely to be much greater within 12 months.
I don't use a PVR. There is plenty of HD content in the LA market where I live.
Quote:


* DVI+HDCP (and alternatives) is still up-in-the air and most current displays do not offer even plain DVI, yet it's a common opinion that DVI will be standard next season.
Could care less about HDCP. Its irrelevent if you use a ED plasma. Plus, I only use my plasma for casual tv viewing. Movies are watched on a FP. To my understanding, broadcast (network) HDTV will not use encryption, only PPV, HBO and such. If you want a bigger plamsa, HDCP is available.
Quote:


* Prices are dropping dramatically and display quality is increasing substantially on almost a monthly basis, making any display purchased today look potentially mediocre in comparison to something able to be purchased at a lower price in less than a year.
Well, my 16:9 CRT blew up and I needed a new set. I was all set to get another 16:9 CRT until I saw the 42" Panny which killed them. I figured do I want to spend $2000 to $3500 on a CRT I wont be happy with which also has no HDCP ect, or do I want to spend $4200 (you can get the same one for about $3300 now) and have something I will enjoy? I think the answer is obvious. If I didn't need to replace my old set, I'm sure I would not own a plasma right now.
Quote:


* LCD looks like it might present a viable competing technology with different strengths (note I didn't say "better"...just different).
Possibly but what good does that do me at the moment. If you keep on waiting for the next technology, you will never buy and enjoy anything. This exact same thing goes on in the FP market as well. FP PQ is rapidly increasing and price is dropping. Only you can decide when the time is right for YOU. None of us are "crazy" because we bought something we enjoy.
Quote:


So, unless someone either (a) has money to burn, or (b) desperately needs a new TV *now*, doesn't it seem to make sense to wait till September or so of 2003 before ponying up for a flat-panel display?
(b) was my case. Or unless someone really wants one. A ED plasma isn't that much more expensive than a CRT, has better PQ and it looks a hell of a lot better in the living room. Plus, I didn't have to carry a 250 pound beast up a flight of stairs. If one is happy with there current display, then you are probably not in the market anyway so wait. But for how long? And based on what? There will always be better, cheaper, bigger, higher resolution, ect. HDCP is available now (to rich for my blood though) although not needed since this thread is about ED panels. Yes it will be cheaper in a year. And it will cheaper the year after that...
 

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I checked out the ED vs the HD models of the 42" panny. I wasn't able to see any real difference. They had DirctTV HD hooked up with Monster 3 component cables on both. The picture was just as incredible on both sets. More discerning eyes claim a 10 to 15% better picture on the HD model, but I couldn't see it. Not work the extra 3k for me.


I also compared the ED panny vs. Samsung HD model and the panny was sooo much better while viewing HD content. The Samsung was also using the same equipment as the panny. Mind you that I'm sure neither set was optimized.


I think getting hung up on the native resolution is a mistake. You need to see how the sets actually look. That's why I chose the Panny ED now instead of waiting a year or 2. Besides, I have the cash now. I may not have it in a year or 2. As far as the connectors go, there will always be ways to make it work.
 

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Mattg: People are buying a comparable model at Dell for $5000!!!!!!!!!!


Cmf: Your fears are just wrong. I watch my 4:3 stuff in Wide mode and I barely even care anymore. I was CERTAIN this wouldn't work for me. It does.


Finally, you are not going to trash the plasma in 2-3 years. And besides, the prices are falling so rapidly. By 2005, it will be $1500 for 42" and $3000 for 50". Honestly, I just bought and if I want to replace in 3 years, I will. I'll move the existing unit to another room. It'll be "too big" but somehow I'll survive that :).


No, I am not rich.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
OK, OK...so I need to go take a peek at some retail shop what stretched/wide mode looks like for 4:3 signals. Taking the wife along is a must as well, it seems, as she watches more TV than I do by a far margin (but to her, our 27" Trinitron is "just fine"). Sheesh.


I guess I also need to tote a PC along so I can see how far away the text is readable. Damn...I so wish "experiencing" these sets was easier pre-purchase.

- Craig
 

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Quote:
Damn...I so wish "experiencing" these sets was easier pre-purchase.
If you get it at Dell, they have a 30 day no restocking fee return policy. You won't get original shipping refunded (usually free anyway) and you do have to pay return shipping (but not on defective items.)
 

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Carrying along a PC won't help much, because you won't get an accurate picture unless you're mapping exactly 1:1 pixels. And that requires a certain amount of tinkering to get the mapping working correctly.


For the SD models, each pixel is 0.0429166" high, meaning that the font for most programs' file menu is .38625" high because that font is 9 pitch. So you can test how you can read that by getting your real PC monitor to show characters that big. Microsoft Sans Serif is the menu font. If you go into word and condense the spacing by 0.5 pixels you will get a font very close to the menus. Now, depending on the size of your mon, and the res you are running, just specify a font size that makes it .38625" high. On a 17" monitor that makes it about 27 or so. Now step back and see how visible it is.


FWIW, I use 7-pitch font for all my default windows font to save room, and I have no problem at all reading it on my SD plasma from 10'. And I don't have the greatest eyesight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Felgar
Carrying along a PC won't help much, because you won't get an accurate picture unless you're mapping exactly 1:1 pixels. And that requires a certain amount of tinkering to get the mapping working correctly.
I have Powerstrip loaded on a laptop, and my local CC salesdroid said it'd be OK with him if I tried, so I might as well give it a shot. Would be interesting to also see the PQ difference between RGB out and S-video out when it comes to displaying the PC.

Quote:
For the SD models, each pixel is 0.0429166" high, meaning that the font for most programs' file menu is .38625" high because that font is 9 pitch. So you can test how you can read that by getting your real PC monitor to show characters that big. Microsoft Sans Serif is the menu font. If you go into word and condense the spacing by 0.5 pixels you will get a font very close to the menus. Now, depending on the size of your mon, and the res you are running, just specify a font size that makes it .38625" high. On a 17" monitor that makes it about 27 or so. Now step back and see how visible it is.
Hmmm...thanks, I'll try that. While it won't give me a completely accurate idea, it might answer the "big enough" question to start. Thanks.

- Craig
 

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You will be absolutely AMAZED at how much better VGA is over s-video. When you see a PC desktop in s-video you will marvel at how DVD through s-video looks as good as it does.


It's great that you have someone at the store who will be patient with you. I highly recommend the test pattern by Marc Rejhon to use as a background when adjusting the set to map 1:1. The pattern works great, and it's quite obvious when the correct mapping is achieved.
 
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