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HDTV

Postby Light » Wed, 02 Nov 2005 12:39 am

Any of you expats want to share your experience of watching regular Starhub programs on the latest Pasma or LCD hi-definition TVs?

I am considering either 42" Panasonic Viera or 40" Sony Bravia but am hesitant due to lack of confidence that I will enjoy the TV with regular broadcast programs. The showrooms always show Hi-Def demo DVDs through HDMI cable connection only and it's hard to know how these TVs really work at home using regular broadcast and normal DVD players.

Also, anyone having experience with Sony Bravia 40" V series at home already?

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Postby cyber_m0nkey » Wed, 02 Nov 2005 12:00 pm

My 37" Philips LCD gets delivered this week - I will let you know on the weekend.

In advance, I think the picture will be fine and you'll be ready for HD when that comes along - next year I'm guessing.

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Postby Light » Wed, 02 Nov 2005 7:21 pm

Thanks. Please keep me posted.
What made you decide to buy Philipps instead of new Sony or Panasonic LCD TVs? Just curious...
I think Singapore is at least two years away from any serious HD broadcast, which is really surprising given how advanced they are with telecommunication and broadband service. It's a pity.

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Postby Light » Sat, 05 Nov 2005 9:03 pm

My brother in the States just bought a Sony 34XBR960 HDTV, which is a great CRT-based HDTV with the best screen quality- bar none. Even the price is relatively inexpensive at around S$2,500, when compared to other HDTVs. Its weight, 196 lbs, and screen size, 34", are the only drawbacks.

I can't seem to find that TV in Singapore.
Does anyone know where I can get one here in Singapore?
Don't you expats own a HDTV at home? If so, please share your experience and opinions!

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Postby Bremen » Tue, 08 Nov 2005 10:39 am

HDTV CRT TVs here are mainly from Samsung. The SG market is too small, and too budget-concious for expensive brands like Sony to ship here in significant volume.

BenQ makes great LCD TVs.
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Postby Light » Wed, 09 Nov 2005 10:46 pm

After careful consideration of several choices, I have finally decided to purchase the latest Pioneer PDP-436HDG plasma TV. It has the best bright colors and deep black color performance compared to any other plasma and LCD TVs on the market right now. Having a separate console box with a wonderful array of connectivity options also was a big plus. Unlike Sony Bravia line of LCD TVs, which disappointingly supports only VGA display (640x480) with its 1336x768 screen, this unit supports full 1024x768 PC display resolution. Having a good discount to make this relatively expensive unit rather more competitive in pricing also helped my decision. I will post my review after receiving the unit and watching it for a few days first.

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HDTV????

Postby buttermaker » Thu, 10 Nov 2005 9:46 pm

I had Starhub out to my place to connect the "Digital Cable" today. I just purchased a new Samsung 42" Plasma TV and was looking forward to watching sports and HBO, but the signal is downright AWFUL! The video out on the cable box is one of those wimpy yellow analog cables going into my TV. Heck, I paid $60 for the component (RGB) cable going from my DVD player to the TV. Where exactly is the DIGITAL in the Digital Cable? Am I missing something here?

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Re: HDTV????

Postby Bremen » Thu, 10 Nov 2005 10:59 pm

buttermaker wrote:I had Starhub out to my place to connect the "Digital Cable" today. I just purchased a new Samsung 42" Plasma TV and was looking forward to watching sports and HBO, but the signal is downright AWFUL! The video out on the cable box is one of those wimpy yellow analog cables going into my TV. Heck, I paid $60 for the component (RGB) cable going from my DVD player to the TV. Where exactly is the DIGITAL in the Digital Cable? Am I missing something here?



Yes. The channel assignment and signal is sent to the Digital set-top box digitally. It then CONVERTS it into a standard analog signal. Digital cable IS NOT HDTV.
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Postby Light » Fri, 11 Nov 2005 9:55 pm

Until it switches to HDTV broadcasting sometime within next two years, I hope sooner than later, you will not get high quality TV programs through Starhub digital cable. Since your TV is larger than most CRT TVs, you will see the noise much more so than on your CRT TVs. It's better that you enable high noise reduction setting on your TV when watching regular TV programs. I have Pioneer 43" TV and the regular programs look pretty normal from some distance away from the TV. If you sit close to the TV, you will see all sorts of noise that you would also see on regular CRT TV from one foot away from the screen.

I strongly recommend that you get HDMI-enabled DVD player if your TV has HDMI input, although component cables help to certain degree. I compared playing a DVD and VCD on a regular DVD player with component cables and on a HDMI-enabled DVD player through HDMI cable, and I could certainly see additional quality improvement on HDMI option.

I think we need to voice our opinions to Starhub to accelerate their conversion process to HDTV. I have seen HDTV programs in the USA and they look fantastic, especially for sports programs.

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Postby Genesis » Sat, 12 Nov 2005 10:11 am

Light, I'm also thinking of getting the exact same 43" Pioneer plasma. Would you say that sitting about 10 to 12 feet away is too close wrt the noise from standard cable that you mention? However, my primary objective is to use the plasma as a video monitor for my pc (in addition to TV via cable and hooked up to DVD player via component output for movies). What's your opinion of the Pioneer unit?

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Postby Light » Sun, 13 Nov 2005 9:20 am

I have used this TV now for several days, and I really like it.

FYI, I have PDP-436HDG with two side-mounted optional speakers and a Pioneer XV-DV333 home theatre-in-a-box system, connected via component cables, for much better sound experience. Although the side-mounted speakers provide fairly nice sound, the additional 600W speakers really help enhancing the overall movie watching experience. I also use this system to listen to the music CDs with the TV turned off. It makes for a great replacement for my old stereo system.

I also have a Toshiba E350 HDMI DVD player connected to the TV using the HDMI cable. The sound output is connected to the DV333 receiver unit so that I can listen to through the surround sound system. This HDMI connection does offer slightly better DVD/VCD viewing experience than the DVD player on the DV333 unit.

Starhub cable box is connected to the TV via normal composite cables. (:<) :???:

Based on your question, I finally tried my laptop PC connection to the Pioneer TV, and I am quite satisfied. It's so much better (XGA) than Sony Bravia V40" which supports only VGA resolution. The optimal viewing distance away from the screen for PC operation seems to be around 8-10 ft, to be able to read small text display clearly. I can still web browse from 10 to 12 ft away though.
In fact, I am writing this looking at the TV screen!

My sofas are placed about 14 ft away from the display for good normal TV viewing. If you sit at least 10 ft away from TV, the normal Starhub channel viewing is acceptable, though not great. It's similar to, if not better than, watching a VCD disk on a DVD player. However, the viewing experience varies from channel to channel. Some channels are clearer than the others. So there seems to be some signal quality difference amongst different channels as well.

In summary, I would highly recommend this Pioneer PDP-436HDG TV to you over any other Plasma or LCD TVs currently available in the market place. Unless you intend to sit farther than 14 ft away from the TV, I would not recommend a TV offering larger than 43 " display screen, as you will see the noise even more so on a larger display set.

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Postby Genesis » Sun, 13 Nov 2005 11:41 am

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. I was out looking at the 436 yesterday, but the shops never hook up standard cable TV to the units (for obvious reasons :roll: ) so it's not possible to gauge the quality across the units with low rez signals. I understand that the 436 has noise reduction to compensate, any good?

Then I saw this LG 42" LCD (model RT-42LZ30) that looked stunning beside the same size plasmas. Stunning at least with text which was sharp as nails and a screen that doesn't produce a drop of glare. So I thought this unit would be perfect for high rez pc hookup, but then I asked the salesguy to throw on a DVD. The image was nice and bright, but there was a "graininess" to the picture that wasn't present on the plasmas. The plasmas looked much warmer and pleasing to the eye.

I gather that large screen LCD technology still has a bit further to go to compete with plasma for movies, but for high rez web surfing it reigns. Now I just need to decide where I want the trade-off.....movies or pc? It's not a price issue, both the LG and Pioneer about the same price.

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Postby Light » Sun, 13 Nov 2005 11:58 am

Genesis,

Originally, I was leaning toward LCD TV due to much less glare on screen and higher display resolution for potential PC use. You will find out, however, the large units don't support PC with the same high resolution as they are capable of displaying DVD/TV signal. Unless you get a 65" LCD with 1920X1024 resolution or higher, using a large TV screen as a computer monitor is not as practical as you think.

Also, if you are going to spend much time using computer, you are better off getting a 19" or 21" LCD monitor for that at a fraction of cost and much better viewing at closer distance. You should think of PC display capability as a bonus for this kind of large TV units, not as a primary function. The idea of using a wireless keyboard and mouse to see the computer screen on a 42" screen from your sofa sounds good but not as practical as mentioned above. The optimal viewing distance for PC use and TV viewing are quite different. Therefore, unless you don't mind moving your sofa back and forth bewteen PC and TV modes, I think you are going to be more satisfied putting more focus on movie/TV viewing in considering a large display unit purchase.

Personally, I like using my laptop on a sofa at the same time watching a movie or TV on my plasma screen- the best of both worlds!

Ah, one more thing that I discovered during my TV searching experience... LCD TVs, though visible at wide angle as some claim up to 170 degree, the colors fade out, or washed out, considerably at wide angles. The picture quality is simply better with plasma TVs. LCD TVs also have more problems with motions than plasma TVs, even with 8 ms response time.

I hope this helps.

p.s.: What happened to the promise of review of Philipps 37" LCD TV by CyberMonkey, I wonder... He may be able to present a different view on this subject based on his experience of using his 37" LCD TV.

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Postby Bremen » Sun, 13 Nov 2005 1:56 pm

Also, please remember that LCD TVS have only 20-30% the power consumption of Plasma...

And the gases in Plasma TVs have a half-life. So no matter what, year after year, it'll get a little dimmer and dimmer...
"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."

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Postby Light » Tue, 15 Nov 2005 12:01 am

Bremen,

The issue of dimming or half-life of plasma panels is a non-issue for most people. With my Pioneer TV rated for 60,000 hours before its brightness or contrast reduces to the half level that you metioned, it will take f you watch the TV for 4 hours a day, it will take at least 16 years even if I watch the TV 10 hours every day. More likely scenario is that most people will average 4 hours or less per day, and therefore, it will take 41 years to reach that level. I bet you that I will end up getting another TV well within next 7 to 8 years due to changing technology even if the TV works well at that time.
That is, we will likely to have a 3D TV within next ten years that will make current TV technology look so dull by comparison, as an example.
Therefore, I wouldn't worry much about the dimming issue.

Regarding the power consumption issue, many PDP makers are now showing power saving panels that consume typically less power than LCDs of the same size. You must compare apple to apple and compare LCT TVS of the same size to that of Plasma TVs.

In the future, though, I expect LCD TVs will get better and better. Sharp has recently announced LCD TVs that have 4ms response time, for example. Such response time will help LCD TVs to display motions much better indeed. Their sizes are getting bigger while getting cheaper as well. However, the competition will be stiff from other technologies such as OLED (organic light-emitting diode) and PDP, and from newer technologies like Canon and Toshiba's SED (surface-conduction electron-emitter display)

For now, I still argue that Plasma TVs offer the best value for money for panel size of 40"+.


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