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42-47" RPTVs, down to 3 models


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#1 of 26 OFFLINE   Matt Lee

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Posted July 20 2003 - 08:42 AM

Well, I'm beginning to lean heavily towards the smaller RPTVs in my pre-purchase research. Its clearly the way to go for a great 16:9 DVD experience, and I'll find a way to keep the videogaming on it to relatively safe frequency and duration. Of course I realized I can't just stick with the one 42" set that caught my eye, I should compare similar models. So here's what its down to. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Toshiba 42h83 - 42", has DVI. Keep hearing about lines appearing from the 540p upconversion and that this model may not let you switch to 1080i to eliminate this problem? Would it be safer to get a set that does 480p natively? Without this potential problem, I'd probably have no trouble picking this set. Great stretch mode and has looked as good as it could despite various in-store problems.

Panasonic PT-47WX53 - 47", has DVI. Keep hearing this one mentioned, seems to be pretty popular. Haven't see it in person yet. Matches up in features to the 42h83, though I've heard the Tosh has a better (the best maybe) stretch mode. The size doesn't make a huge difference to me as long as I can get the right price.

Mitsubishi WT-A42 - 42", no DVI (though I've heard a new model may be on the way with DVI?). I ruled this out because of lack of DVI but if a similar model w/DVI came out I'd consider it. Saw it side by side with the Toshiba, and the Mitsu definitely looked better, but the toshiba had some serious convergence issues at that store. I would have to buy the stand for this one, though at Flanners they were offering it w/the stand for $1499. However, I may need to try to get a good deal at Best Buy because with my current income, I'm probably going to need some kind of no interest financing like BB has been offering.

So the main thing I'm looking for is known issues like the 540p upconversion problem. Things I can't necessarily tell by looking at them at a store. The Toshiba and Panny are easily in my price range, and I imagine the Mitsu could be if I either stretch my price range or wait for a good deal. Ideally I'd like to spend $1300 or less (after everything is factored in, tax/delivery), but with financing and if one model was clearly the best, I might stretch it to $1500.

Looking forward to your insights.

#2 of 26 OFFLINE   Tim Jin

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Posted July 20 2003 - 09:35 AM

I suggest that you should compare both screen size side by side and decide.

I also considered a 42', but after buying a 47' (Panny), the 42' looks very small to me. 5' does makes a difference.

Good Guys has the new Panny (47wx53) at 10% off, little over $1400. No tax and free shipping.

Good Guys

With the cost of the stand for the Mits, have you looked at something bigger, like their 48"? I've seen Mits 48" going for $1500 range at the local stores, like at Fry's.

Unless they're going to give you some kind of deal on the stand, I would invest that toward a set that doesn't requires one. Plus, you pretty much paying the same thing, but with a bigger screen.

Good luck and happy shopping. It took me months to decide on what to get. DVI wasn't an issues because this is not going to be my last HDTV. I was about to get the Tosh 42, but at the last minute, size really does matter, so I bought the Panny instead. Now, the 42' looks very small to me.

#3 of 26 OFFLINE   Dwight Amato

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Posted July 20 2003 - 01:50 PM

Take what I have to say with a grain of salt. I have not looked at sets for nearly 2 years since I bought my 47" Panny. I did all the user available tweaks, and then had it ISF'd around 6 months ago.

I love this set. And mine is nearly 2 years old with no DVI. Of course, I got it back then for $1200, which crushed what I could get the 42" Toshiba.

I do agree on size. I bought the biggest set I could fit in a set notch in my wall. I only sit 7' away and I sometimes wish my set were larger, if I had a 42" I just might have to do something about that.

#4 of 26 OFFLINE   Tim Jin

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Posted July 20 2003 - 05:20 PM

Quote:
I have not looked at sets for nearly 2 years since I bought my 47" Panny. I did all the user available tweaks, and then had it ISF'd around 6 months ago.


Can you tell a difference after ISF calibration? How many input did you have calibrated?

I am just having a hard time finding someone to calibrate my set.

#5 of 26 OFFLINE   Dwight Amato

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Posted July 21 2003 - 01:32 AM

I think the ISF calibration will depend on how well you have your TV set up now. I did all the adjustments I was able to do, 64 point, E-Focus, M-Focus, Video Essentials, EE menu. That being said, the only thing that was off was really my gray scale. Even the ISF (Eliab of Avical) said that my set was very well set up and better then nearly all sets he see's out there.

The biggest difference was on my 1080i source. I had no way to calibrate that, so colors were just horribly off. That alone was worth the price of having it done.

I also had my 480P source calibrated, and while it is better it is not very dramatic since I had it already very well set up. I also dropped an extra $100 and had the inside lined with Duvey. Not sure this was worth the money, so if I did it again I would probably not do that one.

In the end, I am very happy with how it looks now. I also have no fear of getting burn in now since the levels are down a great amount from where I had them, so that's worth peace of mind as well.

#6 of 26 OFFLINE   Tim Jin

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Posted July 21 2003 - 02:08 AM

How did you find the ISF Tech? How much did they charge?

#7 of 26 OFFLINE   Steve WC

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Posted July 21 2003 - 08:07 AM

Try searching here for ISF Calibration.


http://www.imagingsc...isf-trained.cfm
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#8 of 26 OFFLINE   Matt Lee

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Posted July 21 2003 - 08:20 AM

The whole "ISF to get the most out of your set" thing has me a bit concerned too. I plan on calibrating my set as much as I can with Digital Video Essentials when it comes out, but the service menu makes me a bit nervous, so I'm not sure if I could do 64 point convergence or whatever on my own (how hard is it?), and it would probably be months before I could afford the $400 or whatever for ISF calibration, plus I'm out in Wisconsin so I don't know how hard it would be to get a tech to come out here.

I'm a little concerned if I can't do any of the service menu stuff, especially the higher point convergence, that my set will look "good" at best, and that I'll have to wait a few months at least to get it to look "great" from ISF calibration.

Thoughts?

#9 of 26 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted July 21 2003 - 09:09 AM

Matt, ISF can help you depending on how much self-tweaking you want to / can do. If you're able to do e-focus and manual focus, geometry, 64pt convergence, etc. you can probably just get away with a straight gray scale service which is normally in the area of $200-$250. The $400 price tag is usually for the complete tune up (gray scale and some or all of those services I listed).

As far as being several months down the line, don't sweat it. They recommend at least 100 hours of use for your set to break-in. Any sooner and there's the potential that your gray scale and other settings will drift during the break-in. If you factor 2 hours of use a day, that's 50 days at least, so a few months is just being "extra careful" Posted Image

I ISF'd my set (by the great Michael Chen) and it was $400 well spent.

As far as being in Wisconsin, our very own Gregg Loewen (who trained under Michael) does tours, and going to www.keohi.com/keohihdtv will show you a whole host of good ISF'ers who also organize tours.

Best of luck to you!

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#10 of 26 OFFLINE   Josh~H

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Posted July 21 2003 - 09:43 AM

Back to the original question, I can't comment on any of the sets you've mentioned except the 42" Toshiba. I have a 42H81 (no DVI). I consider myself somewhat picky, but I haven't had a problem with the 540p upconversion artifacts I've heard about. That's not to say they don't exist; but I've watched many dozens of DVDs on this set and I'm very pleased overall. My DVD player is a Toshiba also, and apparently it "pre-upconverts" the signal to 540p, so maybe there's some benefit there. I don't know.

A couple of things I like about my set:

- It's very light and easy to move around.
- I didn't need to buy a stand.

A couple of things I don't like about it:

- Convergence needs adjusting rather often (weekly).
- Overscan clips off too much of the news/sports tickers on CNN/ESPN etc.

#11 of 26 OFFLINE   Tim Jin

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Posted July 21 2003 - 11:49 AM

Quote:
I ISF'd my set (by the great Michael Chen) and it was $400 well spent.


Shelling out that much is a lot for most people, but I see a point where you want the best picture as possible. I've been calling several ISF Tech in my area, but it seems like their business habits are very unprofessional because they don't call back or give some BS answer.

If I'm going to pay someone $400-$500 to calibrate my set, I want to know their references and feedback from people that used their services.

Is there a website where we can get information on ISF Tech, user reviews??

#12 of 26 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted July 21 2003 - 03:58 PM

Go to that keohi site I linked above in my other post.

***Not all ISF techs are equal!!!***

In fact, ISF certification requires very little (like a 2 day seminar or something like that). The people at keohi are really respected and have a huge user base with great testimonials. Gregg Loewen and Michael Chen are Moderators here at HTF.

Definitely don't just call your local ISF certified dude, he may not do a very good job. Call one (or sign up for a tour) with someone who has good word-of-mouth. I know Bob Jones in SF gets good press, I can personally vouch for Michael Chen and Gregg Loewen.

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#13 of 26 OFFLINE   jeff ha

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Posted July 26 2003 - 08:23 AM

Hi Matt - I'm new to the forum and this is my first post so bear with me.

By spending the better part of 3 days researching RPTV's locally and via internet forums, I've basically narrowed my search down to 2 of the 3 models you list as your final choices...the Panasonic and the Toshiba. Which one did you eventually choose?

For some reason I'm pretty enamored by the little 42" Toshiba (42H83). Its a cool looking set and seems to get lots of kudos here on HTF and elsewhere. I see the advantage of the Toshiba in having the built in screen protector and a slightly better reputation for quality (???) from what I can tell. I have also actually seen the Toshiba in person. Probably the biggest disadvantage to me on the Toshiba is its size. If only it were available in 46-48" it would be perfect. I'm setting the TV up in a basement and the 51" version of this TV would actually fit in the opening I have perfectly (49" wide opening) but I'm not confident I could get it down the stairs without somehow dismantling the stair railing so I've eliminated it in favor of the smaller sets.

The Panasonic seems to have a very good reputation as well but I'm at a bit of a disadvantage having never actually seen one in person. I'm relying primarily on info on this set from what I hear from retailers and read about it online. At 47", it should fit down the stairway nicely and still fill my 49" opening pretty well. It does not have a screen protector which is somewhat of a concern to me as I have 3 1/2 year old twins in the house ;-)

Anyway, I'm trying to make my final decisions and just looking for input from someone who has looked into these two sets as you have.

Thanks,
Jeff

#14 of 26 OFFLINE   Mike>Mob

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Posted July 26 2003 - 09:24 AM

Jeff,

I just bought a Panny 47" pt47wx53, and I've been quite pleased so far.

The model that I purchased has a screen protector and has DVI, so you can feel safe about the future as well if you go with this model.

I bought it at onecall.com for around $1380.00 with shipping and with tax.

Good luck with whatever you purchase! I'm sure either way, you'll be very pleased!

#15 of 26 OFFLINE   jeff ha

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Posted July 26 2003 - 09:31 AM

Mike - that's the exact price and model from Onecall that I'm looking at and they ("Matt" at Onecall) told me it doesn't have a screen protector - only the more expensive upgraded version Panny does - HMMM...I guess if you've got the TV right there and it has a screen protector, then that is pretty compelling. Thanks for the info. Jeff

#16 of 26 OFFLINE   JohnSch

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Posted July 26 2003 - 12:08 PM

all the wx53s have it. the wx49s do not, and I believe the wx52s lack the dvi port. Make sure you are getting a wx53 and you are all set (I have the big brother 53wx53)

#17 of 26 OFFLINE   Mike>Mob

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Posted July 26 2003 - 02:17 PM

John is right Jeff. I don't think the person you talked to on the phone knew exactly what was going on.

I live in Atlanta and got the TV within 5 days via motor freight. Service seemed fine and the TV is working with no problems. I would definitely vouch for it.

But this is my first HDTV so the upgrade for me was tremendous. Posted Image

#18 of 26 OFFLINE   Matt Lee

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Posted July 26 2003 - 07:04 PM

Well, I'm pretty much down to the Toshiba and Panny as well, unless a mitsu with DVI shows up real soon for less $ w/stand. I haven't bought anything yet and probably won't be able to until a week or two into september if I'm lucky.

Both seem to have a lot of happy owners around here, and I've read they both have screen protectors as well. I haven't seen the Panny yet either, but I'm going to best buy tomorrow and hoping they'll have it.

The only real differentiating factors I can see are the lingering 540p upconversion issues. The real "problem" with it was fixed, but the thing with people seeing lines that can be fixed by switching from 540p to 1080i which (I've heard) can't be done on the 42" set. That and the Toshiba is supposed to have a superior (the best?) stretch mode.

So the only thing holding me back from the Toshiba is really the concern about potential for lines showing up from 540p upconversion. And the Panasonic does native 480, so with only a $100 price difference, if the Panasonic looks good when I see it, I'm leaning towards that one right now (plus I have to make sure 47" isn't too big for my new apartment).

#19 of 26 OFFLINE   jeff ha

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Posted July 27 2003 - 01:53 PM

Matt, John, Mike - Thanks for the replies. Right now I'm leaning toward the Panny after hearing that it has a screen protector. I just don't want to be sitting in front of the 42" Tosh and be wishing I had a bigger screen. Later, Jeff

#20 of 26 OFFLINE   JohnSch

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Posted July 28 2003 - 03:08 AM

Can you go up to 53"? Physically, the 53wx53 isn't all that much bigger than the 47" (width and hight wise) but does give you a noticably bigger picture. Cost difference is only a couple hundred dollars - pennies a day over the life of the set! My wife actually talked me into going up to the 53 - we set out to buy a 47" set.

I'm glad I did.





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