HDTV?? Expensive CRT or cheap Plasma???

Discussion in 'Displays' started by ChrisTA, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. ChrisTA

    ChrisTA Auditioning

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    I'm new to the world of home theater. We have been using an old Sony 27" CRT for 8 years now but decided to upgrade to a bigger screen.

    By story begins a few days ago when we saw a 37" Panasonic Plasma EDTV in our price range. It was a floor model for $1400 so we grabbed it. Upon getting home I found they charged us for a 37" TV but gave us a Panasonic 42" worth $2500. Problem is that the floor model had screen burn & since my receipt didn't match the model number I had no warrantee to boot. But the picture was real nice.

    So we returned it and we bought a 42" SVA Plasma EDTV for $2000. They display model they had at the store wasn't hooked up so we couldn't view it (shame on me). It was NIB with extended warrantee. Got it home, hooked it up and the picture was terrible. The transition from color to color was stepped, like a paint by number compared to the old Panasonic. Not happy with it at all.

    So I plan to take it back too.

    I noticed that the contrast ratio of the SVA was 700:1 and the Panasonic had 4000:1. I think that is what caused the difference??

    So now I am stuck looking for a bigger than 27" TV and am spoiled with the quality of the Panasonic Plasma we bought initially. $2000 was a bit out of our price range so simply ponying up an additional $500 for a new Panasonic (like we first bought) is out of the question.

    So I started looking at other options. Projection is out of the question due to the poor viewing angle. DLP is too much and apparently so is Plasma for a decent picture.

    So now I'm looking at a HDTV CRT around 34-36". I noticed Sony sells a widescreen 36" HD CRT in its WEGA line for about $1500. Granted the screen size is short of 42" but compared to our old 27" is a big difference. I have no issue with the size or weight of a CRT.

    My biggest question however is how a HD CRT stacks up against an EDTV Plasma. Will it be superior to the 4000:1 contrast ratio EDTV Panasonic or fall short??

    How do I compare the two??
     
  2. Andy Goldstein

    Andy Goldstein Stunt Coordinator

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    the crt should have the best contrast ratio going. they have the blackest blacks. notice they never tout the contrast ratio of crt sets? they are not a selling point, since they are better than the other technolgies to begin with. to get black on a digital set you need to block out a light source. to get black on a crt you just turn off the beam.

    ag.
     
  3. ChrisTA

    ChrisTA Auditioning

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    So the main factor that made the SVA screen look horrible compared to the Panasonic was the Contrast Ratio???
     
  4. John S

    John S Producer

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    That is hard to say.....

    Raw resolution and/or contrast ratio doesn't even come close to telling the whole story on any given display.

    Some displays are just poor no matter what the marketing hype says about it.
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Since you're asking for specific-model purchasing advice, I've moved your thread to here.
     
  6. Dean_S

    Dean_S Second Unit

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    I'd take the high-end CRT over the cheap flat panel any day. I have a 40" Sony CRT that's a few years old and a new 37" Sharp LCD. I'm happy with the Sharp LCD but it doesn't compare to the CRT in pic quality (both are calibrated). With a 4:3 ratio Sony the SD pics are 40" diagonal and the Letterboxed HD is about 37". On the 16:9 LCD the HD is 37" and boxed SD is about 30" (I can't stand watching 4:3 content in stretch mode). The Sony CRT pretty much does everything better then the LCD and SD content looks far better (fixed pixel displays like LCD, Plasma and DLP all only look their best in their native resolution). The downside to the Sony 40" is size and weight, it's 26" deep and weighs 300lbs but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I only purchased the LCD b/c I had a depth limitation of 20" in my bedroom due to a weird room dimension...this ruled out any current CRT over 27". Maybe when the new thin CRTs are out next year there will be something in a size I like and then I'll get rid of the LCD.
     
  7. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Chris

    Do you use this site?

    http://www.cavecreations.com/tv2.cgi

    Very, very helpful to compare picture area on 4:3 versus 16:9 in any possible size screen, and software aspect ratio.

    I don't think there is a 36 inch widescreen Sony CRT. Sony makes 36 inch 4:3 and 34 inch widescreen (16:9). Not sure which one you mean. A 36 inch tube will look a lot bigger than your 27 for a while, but you have already been spoiled by a 42 inch widescreen.

    If you decide on the 36, the Sony 36 HS420 is a very good bet. $1425 delivered at Circuit City.

    The discontinued 40 inch XBR tube that Dean has was a tempting item, but even on a good sale it ended up close to $3000 with the stand. At 300 pounds you really need the stand for that set. Also, a 2:35 DVD is not going to give a very large picture size even on a 40.

    You may be a little spoiled by the plasma sets, but CRT Rear Projection TV gives you the most bang for your buck.

    I went back and forth between the Sony 40 inch tube and a RPTV. I really wanted a big screen and when someone said "If you are going to get a big screen, get a REALLY BIG screen", it made sense. So for $2200 delivered (ONECALL) I ended up with a 65 inch Toshiba RPTV (65H84). The picture is stunning and it is large enough to hold me for a long time.

    Never the less, if you want something rather small, I would go with the Sony 36 HS 420.

    Artie
     
  8. ChrisTA

    ChrisTA Auditioning

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    Arthur, your right, the 36 is 4:3 not wide.

    I went to sears on my lunch hour to look at some sets. They had a few Plasma's a Panasonic Viera 37" for $2100 (basically a smaller size version of my first plasma experience) & SuperScan 42" plasma for $2000 (the Superscan had a nicer picture than most of the EDTV Plasmas).

    However, the Sony Wega 36HS420 had a better picture. Flanking the 36HS420 was a 36 Sony Wega SDTV and a 34" Wega HDTV Widescreen all running an HD demo.

    The SD had a horrible image. The 34" HDTV wide was nice but the 36" HD in letterbox had a viewable image about .5" smaller than the 34 wide. The 4:3 (which we watch mostly) was a much larger image than a 4:3 image on the 34 wide screen.

    I looked at the rear projection & a LCD projection too and was unhappy with the un-evenness of the color. The viewing angle is also a big factor too. Neither projection will work for me.

    Considering how the pro's for the 36" Wega are better image, true HDTV & much better price. The cons are weight, depth & small screen size. The 36" still wins out.

    I think I'm going to try to pick one up this evening at Circuit City. I'm glad I have been lifting weights for a while now. 230lbs!!!
     
  9. Mark:F

    Mark:F Stunt Coordinator

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    Good choice! I have a 34XBR910 & a 30HS420...only difference from you is I watch mostly HDTV and DVDs so widescreen made sense....in the long run you'll be very pleased with the PQ and obvious build quality of the Sony.
    Edit- also PQ on analog TV is excellent....this is a big factor!
     
  10. Dean_S

    Dean_S Second Unit

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    This TV is widely available for just under $2K. The matching stand retails for under $500 but I choose the Boltz TVXL for the same price. Salamander Synergy Twin racks can support the TV and are much nicer looking but are considerably more expensive. 2.35 content will be smaller on ANY TV including 16:9, so that is kind of a stupid thing to mention here since it's going to be the same problem on ALL currently available TV's in all current available screen ratios.
     
  11. Ryan Tsang

    Ryan Tsang Second Unit

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    Because I am not limited by size, esthetics, or WAF, I wouldn't buy ANY panel display (be it DLP, LCD, or plasma), let alone a cheap one. I prefer CRT based RPTVs because of the PQ. (but you want tube, not RP) In fact, I'm starting to resent the attention that panels get over RPTVs, when RPTVs offer bigger and better PQ for 1/2 the price. If people buy panels for space limitations, kitchens/bed/baths, or the need to play video games or view digital pictures, that's cool. But, thin is in, so everybody flocks over to the "flat screens" thinking they're better but they're not.

    if CRT tube is a 35mm slide, a cheap plasma is like a 2MP camera. Buy CRT.
     
  12. ChrisTA

    ChrisTA Auditioning

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    I bought the Wega 36" HDTV. Paid $1425 for it with a free $50 DVD player which I upgraded to a better sony one. I also bought the matching stand with 10% off.

    I am pleased with the picture quality. Now I just need to get the HDTV package from my cable co.
     
  13. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Dean

    The fact that you lose viewing area with 2:35 material doesn't change the fact that you lose an absolute ton of screen area on a 4:3 set.

    The viewing area of a 2:35 image on a 65 inch 16:9 is 1366 square inches. The viewing area of a 2:35 image on a 40 inch 4:3 is 436 square inches. It would take three 40 inch sets to equal the image area of the 65 inch 16:9.

    Artie
     
  14. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    ChrisTA

    Congrats! Nice set, good choice. The matching stand will show your set off to best advantage. It is worth the money. I hope your cable company has a good deal on HD. I have Comcast where I live and they only charge about $6 a month for HD. You have to get Digital Cable first so altogether I had to pay about $20 a month more to get HD. That is a bargain.

    Enjoy.

    Artie
     
  15. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Dont forget to calibrate!
     

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