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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey people,

My wife has decided that we want a wall-mountable flat display. Well, I hinted that "it sure would be nice to have that thing on the wall, all neat and flush-mounted like that" and she bought in. She was also impressed by the picture quality of the HD-DVD demo at Best Buy. So, in an effort to keep her happy, I'm appealing to those that know more about current video display technology than I.

Let me start by telling you what we're currently using: a 52" Mitsubishi 720p DLP (WD-52725). A good display, no doubt, and we've had no problems with it whatsoever. It's about 2 years old. Just looking for something a little more sleek. Does anyone have an idea what something like this would be worth on the used market? Anyone in the Denver/Front Range area interested?

We use the display as our "normal" TV and for movies. It's connected to an HD Dish DVR, a Denon upscaling DVD player and an HTPC, so currently all signals are 720p, 1080i or SD.

I don't think I need a built-in tuner unless someone has a good reason that I'm not considering. I've never used the built-in tuner in the Mitsubishi, and I just took down my HD over-the-air antenna this afternoon (that was used in conjunction with the Dish box's external input tuner). On the other hand, if it has it, it just becomes a don't-care.

I don't require speakers in the display; never once used the ones in the Mitsubishi.

I want 1080p, and at least a couple HDMI inputs (although, in general, I can switch HDMI through an external switcher). Of course, I want top-notch picture quality!

I'd like it to run quietly -- minimal fan noise. I'd like it to not get terribly warm, either, but that may just be the nature of the beast. I think I'll take "warm" over "noisy."

It's gotta be wall-mountable; that's the whole point of the exchange.

We have some ambient light, but it's not terrible. Still, the less sensitive to glare, the better -- I hate the glare!

Since our current set is 52", and mounting it on the wall will actually move it further from the seating position, I'd like to go a little bigger -- the 58" and 60" models are looking nice, and I'd even go bigger than that if it doesn't get crazy expensive.

I'm not terribly sensitive to cost, but I'm not made of money, either. From what I'm seeing in my cursory pass through Best Buy, prices are higher than I would have guessed. I suppose I'd set my budget at no more than $5k, but would prefer to keep it around $3k or less. I won't sacrifice quality, reliabilty and performance to save some $$$. I'd like to keep this set longer than two years...

So, that's it. I'm going to go out and do some research, but I figured I'd ask here first. I'm really more of an "audio" guy, and the TV we have has worked well, and I don't have to think about it much. I want something like that -- good picture, no hassle, high quality. As far as I can tell, the options are LCD and plasma. I've heard some rumblings of SED-TV or something like that. Should I wait? What are the real differences between the competing technologies?

Please help me keep my wife happy!

Thanks for reading; let me know what you think.
 

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I've yet to see a plasma I would actually want to own - the screen glare, pixelation, and lack of "pop" to color are things I can't look past....especially the glare. For LCD, I don't believe any are available larger than 52" right now, and the 52" models available are from Samsung, Sharp, Sony, and Toshiba, with an LG and Westinghouse to come out in the Fall I believe. It also looks like Sony will have their new XBR 52" models out this Fall as well.

I've heard a lot of quality complaints about the Sharp, and during my own comparing, I didn't care for the Aquos line too much. The Samsungs aren't bad but I always see a digital edge to their picture, like there is some artificial sharpness feature you can't turn off. It's there even when I turn the sharpness all the way down. There were also isses about PC compatability and whether the screen could truely display 1920x1080, as I believe it always cropped it by 3%. I don't know if Samsung resolved these issues yet.

PQ wise I don't have much to complain about with the Sony's, they typically look great, but I have read about clouded screens due to their screen assembly techniques. That would be either a hit or miss quality issue. I honestly haven't even seen a Toshiba LCD, guess I must have always passed them by, but I know the new 52" is supposed to be a big deal. Though the name and price makes it seem like a bargain bin set, the previous LVM line of Westinghouse monitors were truely top notch, and I went with one myself. No cropping, 6 1080p inputs, and a great chipset. Unfortunately, reviews of the new line of 1080p displays point to them taking a slight setup backward. Haven't heard anything concrete on the yet to be released 52". LG is another brand that I haven't given much viewing time or consideration to, but they may very well be great, I just don't know.

Without having seen the Toshiba yet, if you needed to buy one right now, I'd probably lean toward the Sony XBR. Ideally though, you'd be able to hold off until the Fall when the 52" 1080p LCD screen market will be much more competitive with several new displays having been released.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Excellent discussion. Exactly the type of thing I'm looking for. Thanks, Steve.
 

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The 52" Sony has been out for a while. We had one come through the shop that I had a chance to pull out of the box and get a look at and it was quite good. It uses the Samsung panel, as do all the Sonys. I am pretty sure that Samsung is on their second generation of these sets in this size. The Sony sets have been very good. I have had exactly one service call (bad panel with a line of pixels misbehaving) on all of the Sony LCD sets that we have sold and we have sold dozens. Can't say about the Samsung sets, but if the other products they make are an indication, I would stick with the Sony.

We just got the first of the Mitsubishi sets in from their new line. They have apparently shifted suppliers for their panels, as the sets look very different than last years. I had thought that they were using LG in last years sets but the sizes did not macth up. This year they do, so I think that that is the new source. I have not had a chance to calibrate one yet but will try to get to it this week. My initial impression was that the sets are blazing OOB, so much so that it is hard to tell what they will do when I try to calibrate for accuracy.
 

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LG's plasmas and LCDs are nice. Plus you can get them cable card ready with a built in DVR. But I am a fan of DLP and LCOS. I think there are some thin design rear projection DLP's that you can hang on the wall. Check out the Samsung models.
 

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While I am a DLP fan myself, I do not think the idea of a unit thin enough to hang on the wall is a very good one. Think about how far you would have to push the optics to get that to work. IMO, the largest of the RPTV systems are already pushing it too far at typical depths.

Flat panel displays have a different look that you dont get with RPTV of any sort. If you likel that look, or you need the wall mounting, they are a very good choice. They have come a long way in the last few years, particualrly the LCD sets.
 

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I'm impressed with the Toshiba new LX177 series. So a 52LX177 would do nicely for you. The big deal with this display is the advantage that its 120 Hz video refresh provides for both 60 or 30 fps video and also for 24 fps movie (film) sources. It seems it has different modes for video or film and does do a proper (simple) direct 5:5 pulldown of a 1080p24 HDMI input to 120 Hz display. This reduces the jerky judder we used to get with 3:2 pulldown (inverse telecine) for a 60 Hz display. The LX177 version is their top-of-the-line model for this size (premium price).
http://www.tacp.com/televisions/lcd/product.asp?model=52lx177
 

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I've gone through lots of gyrations and debates with myself about a wall mounted HDTV that I plan to buy within the next six months and have lately come to decide on the Panasonic Plasma TH-58PZ700u. It's a 1080p model that looks pretty good.

I like sports and I'm afraid that LCD just doesn't cut it. The response time is simply too slow. Makes hockey look like a big blur. That's where plasma really shines (at least in my viewing experience).

Anyway, LCD and plasma are the two types I'm looking at for sure. Simply not interested in fans and hot bulbs. I want to mount it on my wall for sure, although the big ones sure seem heavy...

brucek
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah, brucek, I think that was the same Panasonic plasma I saw yesterday. Very nice.

My wife liked the plasma for its color presentation and detail -- they seemed better than the LCDs. Or is that just the way they have the brightness/color/contrast jacked up in Best Buy?

While in Best Buy, I ended up talking with a sales guy. He didn't seem like a stereotyped BB employee, so we chatted for a bit. He told me that plasma is susceptible to glare because they require the use of glass as the physical "front" of the TV. LCD does not require that, and can use anti-reflective plastics. (Is this accurate?) We turned off a few of the TVs, and the difference between the plasma and LCDs reflectivity was quite pronounced.

I see that the Panasonic website indicates that their display has some "anti-glare technology". And I see that the Toshiba LCD lists its set as having "anti-blur technology". Are these the main tradeoffs?

I have some ambient light, and I deal with it when using my semi-reflective DLP. I'd like to have less glare, but not necessarily at the expense of picture quality!
 

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Yeah, I guess both types have trade offs. I tend to watch TV at night, so as long as a light isn't directly reflected in the screen, I'm OK. The anti-glare coatings are better now, but still not as good as LCD.

I think plasma has better off-axis viewing and they certainly display black better than LCD. My understanding is that they have solved the burn-in problems with plasma.

I wasn't really interested in plasma until they came out with the 1080p, but now I am preferring it - it just looks more film like to me. And the speed issue has always been huge. I just can't watch an LCD for long.

I guess if you have a bright viewing room and you aren't a big sports guy, maybe LCD would be the way to go... hard to decide eh?

brucek
 

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Screens are such a personal choice! My wife was dead against a big screen but changed her mind when we started watching.

If you are going to get a new screen get the next size up from the one you like.

At first they look huge but you will very quickly adjust to the size.

If you are watching lots of films the screen will begin to shrink over time.

I agree with Steve C on plasma. I wouldn't give any plasma house room because of the obvious pixelation at any viewing distance up to 100 feet to my eyes!

It took me at least 2 years of standing in front of hundreds of screens in dozens of dealers before we finally saw the one we really liked! I believe in doing my homework! :dumbcrazy:

The 100Hz model was head and shoulders above the standard model on horizontal movement in both SD and HD.

No other make came close on SD as far as I was concerned and we knew it would be a very long time before HD took off in Europe. It still hasn't!

We were a bit upset that our choice had a shiny piano black frame when the shop display model was mat black. The frame (not the screen) reflected our movements when watching TV. So we just tipped the screen back very slightly. End of problem.

Does anybody else agree that LCD screens improve with use? :scratch:

Good luck in your choice! :)
 

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...snip
It's gotta be wall-mountable; that's the whole point of the exchange.

We have some ambient light, but it's not terrible. Still, the less sensitive to glare, the better -- I hate the glare!

Since our current set is 52", and mounting it on the wall will actually move it further from the seating position, I'd like to go a little bigger -- the 58" and 60" models are looking nice, and I'd even go bigger than that if it doesn't get crazy expensive. ...snip
I know you're looking for an LCD or plasma, but have you thought about a 1080p projector and a screen like a HoloVega ambient light screen? It's a tad more than your $3K price, but not by much- you can bring in a projector like the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1080 for $2499 and an 80" diagonal screen for $1100, or a 90" one for $1383. Light at the screen for an 80" diagonal image would be around 18fL of light, which is very bright and something you could watch even during the day. If you used the 4.8 high gain side (without hot spotting) you would have an unbelievable amount of light at the screen. Plus it's very sleek and sexy.

Cables, always the hidden cost.. not a bank breaker there either. RiteAV has a 50' HDMI cable for $46 and you can get an HDMI amplifier for $26 if you're concerned about signal loss on a longer run like that.

This doesn't sound like what you were initially asking about, but at least you can say you now have food for thought and if you go another route you'll know you checked out all options. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the comments, Bill. Are you going to make me into a screen DIYer?!?!?!? :bigsmile:

Well, a projector is something we've thought of, but I kinda nixed it because of potential ambient light problems. It sounds like that might not be too much of a problem. I'll have to look into the stuff you're recommending. Could I DIY a screen that would work in these conditions? If so, and if I could save the $1,100, that would be an interesting consideration. I have actually have a good location to place a projector -- it could be almost hidden. Part of this project is aimed at getting rid of the big black box in the room, so it would definitely take care of that. I've also considered some type of roll-down screen to put in front of the plasma/LCD when it's not in use, just so I don't have to look it its bigness, so a projector could help with that, too (I think, anyway).

I'm already using a 50' HDMI cable, so I'm covered there.

How about fan noise, heat, bulb life, bulb price? I'm thinking these are comparable to the things I deal with in my current DLP, which aren't deal breakers (I'd prefer it to be silent, but I can only ask for so much!).

I'm open to the idea!

Thanks!
 

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How about fan noise, heat, bulb life, bulb price?
Those are things that bug me about the projector route also. And besides the fact that not every thing I have has an HDMI output, so I'd have to run a bunch of cables through the ceiling...

And I got to thinking about my usage too. Am I going to want to light a projector up every time I want to flop down and watch the news for a few minutes. With a 'TV' I don't mind doing that, but a projector seems more like an 'event'.

Thoughts on that Otto?

brucek
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, my current connections from AV rack to TV are a 50' HDMI cable and a 50' VGA cable. I have plenty of slack there, so I could make the run. If I'm lucky, the new display will be compatible with my video card's DVI output (my Mitsubishi doesn't like it for some reason). If I have to run both, I'm OK with it. I'm not using any other inputs to the TV, and don't anticipate it, but it is something to keep in mind.

You're absolutely right about usage. Currently, the DLP we have takes about one minute to warm up and display an image, so I'm somewhat used to that delay. We don't do a lot of on/off cycles in a day, but I suppose usage could change (especially as my daughter gets older). What's a reasonable time for the projector to come ready?

Thanks!
 

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Thanks for the comments, Bill. Are you going to make me into a screen DIYer?!?!?!? :bigsmile:

Well, a projector is something we've thought of, but I kinda nixed it because of potential ambient light problems. It sounds like that might not be too much of a problem. I'll have to look into the stuff you're recommending. Could I DIY a screen that would work in these conditions? If so, and if I could save the $1,100, that would be an interesting consideration. I have actually have a good location to place a projector -- it could be almost hidden. Part of this project is aimed at getting rid of the big black box in the room, so it would definitely take care of that. I've also considered some type of roll-down screen to put in front of the plasma/LCD when it's not in use, just so I don't have to look it its bigness, so a projector could help with that, too (I think, anyway).

I'm already using a 50' HDMI cable, so I'm covered there.

How about fan noise, heat, bulb life, bulb price? I'm thinking these are comparable to the things I deal with in my current DLP, which aren't deal breakers (I'd prefer it to be silent, but I can only ask for so much!).

I'm open to the idea!

Thanks!
nah wasn't even thinking DIY on this one. There is one though that held it's own against the HoloVega and the price difference would be around $1000. I'm also getting ready to test two more screens as well as nine commercial screens.

I know Mitsubishi sold a 73" TV that could be mounted in a wall, but I can't find the model number anymore.

As Steve said the Westinghouse is one helluva set and has a ton of inputs to boot.
 

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wasn't even thinking DIY on this one
Why is that? Are you saying the whole 'paint a wall' route is not too good?

Bill, what are your comments with regard to a projector being used as an every day TV, in a room without too much light control?

Hopefully I'm not off-thread Otto.... this seems of interest to you also?

brucek
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hopefully I'm not off-thread Otto.... this seems of interest to you also?
Although it wasn't really on my radar in my original post, I'm definitely open to the idea! You're definitely not going off-topic from my point of view. I'll be happy to hear more about projectors or any other technologies that I've missed.

Anyone know anything about this SED TV?
 
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