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Discussion Starter #1

Okay, I don't know much about the ins and outs of high def, so maybe you guys can clue me in.

I've been half-heartedly shopping for a decent used 50" plasma TV and have noticed that the prices on 1080p's have come way down.

The question: Which would be a better buy: A used Pioneer PDP-5070HD (top rated by C-Net and other reviewers) with 720p resolution for $900-1000, or a new Samsung PN50B550T2F 1080p for about the same price? Or maybe a Samsung 720p model for a few hundred less?

We'll be using it with a DirecTV HD-DVR, if that makes a difference.

Also - how do these TVs do with standard rez programming? Most of the flat screens I've seen, it's practically unwatchable - looks like VHS. Why can't they do standard def at least as good as a standard def display? :huh: At least that's watchable.

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Personally, I would go with a display that can do 1080p particularly if you plan to watch allot of HD material.
The main reason the new displays dont do well with SD material is simply they have one native resolution. CRT displays had the advantage of simply changing the resolution to fit the incoming signal LCD, DLP, and Plasma can only do one resolution and have to "upconvert" the signal to fit the amount of lines that are available and some do an ok job and others fail badly. The one thing to do particularly with SD material is do not run the sharpness above 35% and keep all the noise reduction and other filters off as this usually just makes the picture look even more blockey and un-natural.
How far back do you plan on sitting from the display also plays a big part in how good (or bad) the SD material looks. If you sit close (less than 8' a 50") is not going to look all that great with SD video.
 

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I just recently purchased a Samsung ps50b550 1080p 50" plasma and it displays sd material good but not if you sit to close, but with full hd material its exceptional. I still think that large lcd are a better allrounder for any material, pc, sd and hd. But still very happy with my 50" Plasma.
 

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Discussion Starter #5

We're sitting 10 ft. away. My son, who's a professional installer, also says the 1080p would be better for the money, so I guess I'm leaning that way. He has a 720p that looks just fine to me with DirecTV. I think he said that that 1080i and 720p look about the same? I think DirecTV is mostly one of those...

However, the reviews I've seen of a few $1000 50" plasmas say they don't do blacks that well. So I dunno...

This also concerns me:
CRT displays had the advantage of simply changing the resolution to fit the incoming signal LCD, DLP, and Plasma can only do one resolution and have to "upconvert" the signal to fit the amount of lines that are available and some do an ok job and others fail badly.
Does that mean that 720p programming from satellite on a 1080p TV will look worse than it would on a 720p TV?

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Does that mean that 720p programming from satellite on a 1080p TV will look worse than it would on a 720p TV?

Regards,
Wayne
I am fairly sure that all HD programing is in 1080i. I dont think Dish or any other satt provider does 720p anymore.
 

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I'd go with the new Samsung - 1080 over 720 is nice, but more important to me would be that I'd have a newer set with more HD inputs, better processing, and a warranty.

Used is great for audio equipment and media, but I have and will always go new with display equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter #8

Another concern:
CRT displays had the advantage of simply changing the resolution to fit the incoming signal LCD, DLP, and Plasma can only do one resolution and have to "upconvert" the signal to fit the amount of lines that are available and some do an ok job and others fail badly.
Does that mean that regular (non-blu ray) DVDs will look better on a 720p set than a 1080p?

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Does that mean that regular (non-blu ray) DVDs will look better on a 720p set than a 1080p?

Regards,
Wayne
No, DVDs will look great on a 1080p display just as good as a 720p display. The big problem is that SD material is not even as good as a DVD movie. Most SD shows are 250 lines of resolution blown up to 50" is bound to show allot of imperfections where as DVDs are 480 lines with little compression and much better quality to start with. It does not really matter how much the image has to be upconverted the process just makes the quality look poor on large displays.
 

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I have a CRT RPTV in our livingroom thats equivalent to a 48" 16x9 image it does 1080i and I sit 12' away and it looks great. I would not go larger than 50" at 10' but personally I think your ok with that distance.
 

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I am fairly sure that all HD programing is in 1080i. I dont think Dish or any other satt provider does 720p anymore.
That would be incorrect information.
 

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K - thanks for all the info!

Next question (with any luck, the last :D): Is 50" to large for a 10-ft distance?

Regards,
Wayne
Absolutely not too large. I have been selling, installing, and servicing sets for nearly 30 years and very rarely do people want to go smaller rather than larger. My suggestion is get the largest set that you can afford and fit into your location. Also, get the higher resolution. Remember, with movies, you will be using only part of the screen if you watch in OAR, and the same for 4:3 material.

The Samsung PDPs that I have seen recently have been quite good, though I still have questions about Samsung and build quality in general. I would probably get the Samsung 1080 set and shop for an extended warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #15

Wayne, I have a 52" and I sit 6.5' back. Definitely not too large....if anything, a 65" would hit the spot.

I'd say a 50" at 10' is too small :no:
LOL – love it! However, we would like to be able to see out the back window!

I am fairly sure that all HD programing is in 1080i. I dont think Dish or any other satt provider does 720p anymore.
That would be incorrect information.
LOL –don’t leave us hanging, Leonard! IIR when I was poking around on the Web some months back on this topic, 1080i for cable and sat is what I was seeing. So what is the right answer then?

Plus, that leave my original question begging for an answer:
CRT displays had the advantage of simply changing the resolution to fit the incoming signal LCD, DLP, and Plasma can only do one resolution and have to "upconvert" the signal to fit the amount of lines that are available and some do an ok job and others fail badly.
So - does that mean that 720p programming from satellite on a 1080p TV will look worse than it would on the “correct” 720p TV?

Regards,
Wayne
 

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The correct answer is, as usual, it depends. Some networks broadcast 720p and some 1080i. Of course, lots of stuff is still upconverted HTSC, which is usually 480p. Some movies may be broadcast on the sats as 1080p.

You can set nearly all satellite receivers and cable boxes to upconvert and output everything at 1080i, but this is often inferior to the scaling in most displays.

With a 50" at your distance, you may not see the difference b/w 1080 and 720, but I would still get the higher resolution set. At that distance I think the difference is still enough to matter, though for many it would make no difference.
 

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Right, I'd opt for the Samsung 450, a 720p panel which should save you a hundred or two. Bought my dad the A450 (replaced by the B) for last Christmas at $900 and have been very happy with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wow, great article Marshall - thanks a million!

In addition, I came across this discussion thread on the 720-1080 topic. Here are a few teaser quotes:

” I pretty much had the same experience in Best Buy... was set to buy a 1080P Panasonic rated #1 by Consumer Reports... UNTIL I saw the Pioneer 5080HD's picture side by side with the Panasonic's. Both were displaying feed from a Blu-Ray HD-DVD player. NO comparison far as I was concerned....Pioneer had the better picture by far...”

“Do not be overly concerned with contrast ratio numbers. They are not standard government numbers, but generated by each maker & subject to being abused or misrepresented. When the Pioneer just looks more impressive, that is what counts. 720 done extremely well can be nicer than average, so-so 1080.”


Between this and the size/distance factor you guys brought up, I’m leaning real heavy towards that used high-end 720p Pioneer vs. the cheap 1080p Samsung. It's only a year old...

Regards,
Wayne
 
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