Best TV for $2500

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Brandon Pop, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. Brandon Pop

    Brandon Pop Stunt Coordinator

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    Time to upgrade to HD!

    Don't kow too much about what is better, plasma, LCD or DLP. Any help, advice or opinions would be a great help. I am considering projectors as well, but would need a combo w. screen to be under 2500.

    I do not want a Reverse projection set and even some of the DLP sets are a little too large for my taste. If you guys were buying today what would you get?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Ok

    First thing you have to decide is FP or direct view. Is light control an issue for you? If so, FP is probably not good. If light control is not an issue, FP will give you a huge image.

    Since you seem pretty sure you want HD, that limits you as far as plasma. LCD loses vs. plasma in flat screen. By the end of the year you should be able to get a good 42 inch HD plasma for $2,500.

    If I was buying today with a $2,500 budget, I would get a Sony KE-42M1 before they disappear, and pocket $500. This is an ED plasma that from 8 feet or more looks as good as an HD plasma, and the KE-42M1 is the best. They are disappearing fast.
     
  3. Brandon Pop

    Brandon Pop Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry for the noob question, it's been a while for me around here, but what is ED? I am guessing Enhanced Definition, but I could be completely off.
     
  4. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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  5. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    If you can live with a somewhat lower quality picture, Costco will be having a 50 inch Akai HD plasma for $2,700 in August. You would have to join and ask customer service for a coupon booklet. I don't think they have the TV in stock yet but I'm not sure about that.
     
  6. Brandon Pop

    Brandon Pop Stunt Coordinator

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    So most of you think that a low end plasma is better than LCD and DLP?
     
  7. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Brandon

    The 42 inch Sony KE-42M1 is not a low end plasma. It is the best ED plasma available. At a viewing distance of 8 feet or more, it will look as good as the best HD plasma.

    But, if 42 inch sounds small to you, the 50 inch Vizio at Costco will certainly deliver more bang. However, the Vizio is more of a low end plasma.

    LCD and DLP both have several issues. LCD is lacking in contrast. DLP can suffer from the rainbow effect.

    There are tradeoffs with each technology. Bottom line for me: the Sony KE-42M1 delivers a stunning picture and while they are clearing them out for $2K, I would jump on it.
     
  8. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    And so does Plasma, LCoS and CRT. The fact is there is yet a single display technology that does not come without any compromises.

    Plasmas have the highest pixel gap of all of these technologies, which is only highlighted by its inherent excessive brightness. The only way to try and compensate for this is by sitting about four screen widths away - compare that to LCoS, and DLP where you can, (although I wouldn't necessarily recommend it) one screen width away before you start to notice any pixel gap. CRT has no pixel gap, while LCD depends largely on the manufacturer. Panasonic owns a technology they call SmoothScreen, which uses a prism technique that splits and squeezes the pixels making the gap half the size of other LCD models.

    Another serious issue with Plasma is its extreme susceptibility to burn-in - which in many cases is worse than most CRTs. This is important if you plan on watching a lot of unstretched 4:3 TV shows or material with static images like CNN, video games, etc.

    My company leased a 40" Runco Plasma (CW-42) for a week to be used in a designer showcase home and when we got it back their was a distinct shadow bar that ran along the bottom of the screen. What had happened is that the builder had been displaying CNN's Headline News during the whole show and it burned-in the 'headline bar'. Even CRT does not burn-in as fast as that!

    With LCoS, DLP, and LCD there is no risk of traditional burn-in. LCDs panels are effected by excessive heat, so it is important to clean their filters at least every 1000 hours of use.

    Longevity is another serious issue with Plasma. Due to their high power consumption and heat, Plasmas have the shortest effective lifespan of all display technologies. The industry average last year was about 10,000 hours. Most CRTs have over 20,000 hours, while lamp based technologies (LCoS, LCD, DLP) consumers can simply replace the lamp (~$400). Some of these displays can run over 5,000 hours before having to replace a lamp.

    Longevity is one of the reasons why Plasmas depreciate much faster than other displays and thus I would not expect to get much for a Plasma after more than two years of use.

    While not a huge issue, Plasmas also weigh significantly more than equivalently sized LCoS, DLP, and LCD. Therefore, if you are planning to hang it on a wall you should expect installation to be more difficult and expensive.

    I’m not saying Plasmas are a bad choice, but rather it is critical to understand their weaknesses just as any other technology and then you will be able to select the best choice for your particular needs.

    There are some very interesting new display technologies in the works. A couple of which may finally provide a form of Nirvana for consumers. Especially for those who argue over the various compromises inherent in each of the current display technologies. These new technologies are still many years away from real world production, and even then, there is no guarantee they too wont come with their own set of problems. [​IMG]
     
  9. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    >>>> Then you should not be considering any ED display as they are not HD. They will downscale all HD display to 480P which is a huge loss of detail. ED displays are great for those who rarely or ever watch HD and primarily watch DVDs.
     
  10. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    Arthur,

    I appreciate your obvious enthusiasm for Plasma displays, but your figures are based on manufacturer’s specs, which have not come close to real world application.

    I've been selling, installing, and calibrating plasmas from almost every manufacturer (including Sony) for nearly five years and have seen first hand their performance and longevity issues.

    I would also urge you to research the difference between watching HD sources on ED displays versus watching them on displays with native resolutions of 720p or greater.

    Sitting farther away does not simply make the extra detail disappear - despite what some salesmen and manufacturer sponsored reviews might have you believe. On the other hand, sitting farther away is a necessity when using a plasma, even with 720p plasmas if you are bothered by plasma pixel gap - aka SDE (screen door effect).

    The fact is that ED displays have less than half the number of pixels than 720p displays (410K vs 922K) and with HD material, each pixel from the source is unique. Take away half the pixels and it should be easy to understand that you are losing a great deal of detail. Even from only eight feet away, you most certainly can see the difference! (or else it may be time to visit the optometrist) [​IMG]

    The difference will be even more noticeable with 1080i and 1080p sources when comparing a 1080p display (2.1 million pixels) vs a 480p display. In that case, you are now losing 80% of the detail from the original source!
     
  11. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    Sony KD34XBR960. Direct View. New MSRP: $1899.

    If you can adjust your viewing distance accordingly, you'd be hard pressed to find better picture quality than this without spending an asinine amount of momey.
     
  12. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    Excellent suggestion Eric.

    Sony's XBR960 is truly a reference monitor if ever there was one. It also has 1400 lines of horizontal resolution which is even better than a 1280x720 FPD and certainly much better than any ED display - thus HD material looks amazing on this set. I only wish Sony would have considered bringing back their 40" DV-CRT design.

    Regardless the 960 is one of, if not the best TV in regards to picture quality and would be on the top of my list for anyone considering a display ~40".

    In fact, if you get the chance, put the 960 next to any plasma (HD or ED) and you'll very quickly realize how insufficient plasma displays are by comparison. Even 480p material looks far superior on this and other DV-CRT monitors than any plasma.

    Unfortunately, the original poster did mention that size (at least in regards to the depth of the unit) is an issue, which would probably prevent him from considering this superb set.
     
  13. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    If it were me, I'd go with a JVC HD-ILA. I can only imagine how good one would look in a home properly calibrated because I have only seen them in the store and they still look great. Complaints I have heard are about black levels and minor shimmer.
     
  14. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Nils

    I realize that there is more detail to be had in a DV-CRT, but that doesn't help the OP. Since he wants a thin profile display, what is out there for under 2.5K that is going to display 720P or greater?

    And, what part of this quote by the video engineers do you disagree with?

    "This ED set scored as well as the best HD plasma for picture quality of all types despite a native resolution of 852X480 pixels. Sit closer than about 8 feet and you may see the pixels forming the image."

    I don't have a plasma. I have a 65 inch CRT-RPTV. However, I have had Improved Definition DV-CRTs since 1990.

    I'm all for 1080P. That isn't going to help the OP find something that meets his needs. I have provided the OP with a real world TV model that fits his budget and that he might find very pleasing to watch.

    What do you have to offer in the way of actual recommendations given the shortcomings of every technology in his price range? [​IMG]
     
  15. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    These are some nice looking sets. Other complaints I've heard, at AVS for starters...is a seeningly high amount of complaints, defects, and returns. Quality control appears to be questionable on these sets. I would recommend to anyone to really research them VERY thoroughly first.

    Although...can you even get a DILA for $2500 or less, like the author of the thread is looking for?

    If he wants a thin display, I'll tell you what's really hot right now: The Optoma rd50A (or H) RPTV.

    Optoma's RPTV's are already ISF calibrated right out of the box and I've had no less than 6 people that I personally now, all installers or techies of some kind, rave about the Optoma brand.

    Optoma is more well known in front projection, but just about anyone I run across on forums, who has bought an Optoma product, couldn't be more pleased. AVS has at least one fairly healthy thread going for this set right now.

    Optoma's customer and product support are about as good as you could hope for.

    The best legit deals I know of for the Optoma RD50a are Coscto or at www.visualapex.com Simply hit "rear projection TV" from the left most column and you'll see the really shocking price for a REALLY good RPTV. Under 2 grand.

    If space weren't an issue, or you could find a way to negoitate it...I'd sure try hard to consider that Sony KD34XBR960, though! [​IMG]
     
  16. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    The first of the two sentences. It is a singular subjective opinion with no explanation or data to support it, and that goes against common sense and real world performance standards. If it were me, I would question either their motives or their qualifications instead of simply passing it on as if it was unquestionable fact.

    I suppose this also answers my second question as to why you made that whole "KE-42M1 ED is as good as the best HD plasma" claim - which it appears you took from this source with the understanding that the statement was true. I am sure we have all been guilty of that from time to time so I certainly can understand the mistake.


    Perhaps the best advice for Brandon, if he truly wants to upgrade to HD, doesn't want anything deeper than a plasma, and has a total budget of $2,500 is to focus on a front projection system. There are quite a few 720p HD projectors for under $2,500 some even as low as $1,500.

    The following are four new models that I would personally recommend:
    • BenQ PE7700 DLP HD2+ 5x6sCW
    • Toshiba MT700 DLP HD2+ 5x6sCW
    • Panasonic AE700 LCD w/SmoothScreen
    • Sanyo PLV-Z3 LCD
    In addition, you might want to consider both the Sharp Z2000 DLP and the Sony HS51 LCD projectors. I did not include them on my list as I feel they are over-priced and the other four offer a much better value.

    There are also some great deals on late model closeouts, and used projectors which you also might want to consider. here are some models I've seen for under $2,500:
    • Marantz 12S2
    • SIM2 HT300
    • Studio Experience 50HD
    • Immersive HT720
    • Sharp Z9000
    • InFocus 7200
    There is no need to buy an expensive screen as long as you are not considering an ultra high gain screen. In fact, there are some excellent DIY screen designs that can be made for under $100 as well as some very nice manufactured 1.3 gain screens for under $500.
     
  17. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Nils

    On behalf of the OP, thanks. Since he said he was open to FP you have now given him a lot of recommendations to work with.

    With regard to the quote you find so preposterous, it comes from Consumer Reports, March 05 issue in which they tested 82 different TVs including DV-CRT, LCD, Plasma, RP-CRT, DLP, LCD-RP, and LCoS.

    They tested 22 different 42 inch consumer plasmas. 10 HD and 12 ED. The quote comes from their Recommendations section and is quoted verbatim.

    Obviously you have a lot of experience with displays, however, you are just one person. CR has extensive video labs and video engineers. All 22 plasmas were tested under controlled uniform conditions and judged by a panel of trained viewers.

    Gregg Loewen, ISF Tech, and HTF Moderator did an ISF for CR and was very impressed with their labs and staff. He has said that based on his experience at CR he believes their ratings of all types of TVs are valid.

    CR found the 34XBR960 the top DV-CRT. Some people who can't help but agree with that rating then want to argue that they can't possibly be correct in their ratings of plasmas. For the sake of discussion let's say you are willing to grant that the Sony KE-42M1 is as good as CR says it is. Now we are left with the statement I have quoted before.

    I take that statement to mean that when they put the top rated HD plasma, the Sony KDE-42XS955 next to the top rated ED plasma, the Sony KE-42M1, trained viewers could see no difference on HD, DVD, or SD at distances of 8 feet or more.

    So, for me, I guess it comes down to: instinctively, who would I tend to put more weight on, an organization that tested 22 plasma panels at the same time, under controlled conditions, or 1 person who has a lot of experience with many different displays under widely different conditions, spread over a period of several years, who very likely has not even seen the models in question? Is it possible that the best ED can actually do what CR said? If you have never seen the KE-42M1, you can only speculate.

    On the surface, there should be no question that a higher resolution display would look better than a lower resolution display. Apparently, when it comes to 42 inch plasma at a distance of 8 feet or more, that is not the case. Please note: the key here is the distance from the screen. Clearly, pixels can be seen on the ED from closer than 8 feet.

    A lot of people want to bash CR. Now that Gregg Loewen has seen their labs, met with their video engineers and seen the quality of their work, it is not quite so easy to dismiss their findings.

    You are a sincere guy with a lot more experience than most. My comments are made with all due respect.
     
  18. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    All I know is: If you're going to spend $2000 or more...at least have a full HD product to show for your efforts. [​IMG]
     
  19. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    As someone who has been a fond subscriber to CR for nearly twenty years, and who looked forward to reading his folks CR magazines every month since I was in Jr. High School - I can say with all confidence that I have a great deal of respect for the value and service CR provides.

    However, they do have a tendency towards boosting the reviews towards value minded choices. In addition, their rating system is extremely abbreviated and barely scratches the surface in distinguishing one display from another. CR reviews are seriously watered down, and diluted further by being restricted to only five rating categories (Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor).
    I appreciate that, and please understand that in no way did I infer that you meant any disrespect. My participation was intended simply to point out that there is a noticeable difference between watching HD on HD and ED displays. While it is one thing for salesmen to make such misleading remarks, it troubles me more that CR would encourage such thinking.

    I know when 720p and 1080p DVDs start rolling out at the end of this year and next, there will be a lot of owners of ED displays upgrading to 720p and 1080p models once they see the difference.
     
  20. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    The hd-ila can be had for under $2500. You are correct that there have been some quality control problems - there was even a recall a little while back because a wire was too close to a lamp or something and could start a fire. If you get a warantee though, I've heard their customer service is pretty good.

    But it is because of those reasons and the fact that I want a true 1080p set that keeps me holding out, probably for another two years to buy one. I'm not a fan of plasma or lcd. It's either going to be jvc hd-ila or a samsung dlp for me.
     

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