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Taking the plunge with 50" Sammy DLP

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17 replies to this topic

#1 of 18 OFFLINE   James Dion

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Posted July 22 2003 - 11:43 AM

Well, after months of deliberation (and lurking on the boards) I've finally made a final decision on which rediculously expensive Tv I'm going to buy. Sometime in the next month I'm going to head down to the local BB and pick up a Samsung HLN507W. After seeing it in action, I can't deny that DLP owns my heart. Now the only problems I have is deciding on what to hook up to it.

My eye is on one of the Sammy 931s, since I've heard quite a few people remark on how wonderful the DVI output is on these. I've heard some mention of a player from Bravo as well, but have yet to see one in a store. At the moment which player would be the better choice for a 50" DLP? Also, am I tough out of luck with the single DVI input if I want to get a HD set hookuped up at the same time as the DVD player? I doubt there is any sort of splitter or switcher in existance, but I thought I'd ask since it will be a pain to unplug one and plug in the other every time I want to switch from TV to movies.

I also have a PS2 and XBox to hook up and I'm curious as to the cables to buy. I of course have heard about the amazing quality of Monster cables, but seeing as I used to sell the things I know they are at least in part horribly over priced. Are there cheaper alternatives to these that have roughly the same quality?

Also, anyone that has one of these TVs already, I would love to hear feedback on them. Any calibration tips, hardware that is especially good to pickup for one, or even just what you think of the set in general.

Thanks folks Posted Image

#2 of 18 OFFLINE   Ron Etaylor

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Posted July 22 2003 - 12:12 PM

James I too lurk and long for a Sammy DLP. I can't help with your question, but please let us know your experiences with the unit. I hope to add this to my home by the end of the year.

#3 of 18 OFFLINE   John Geelan

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Posted July 22 2003 - 05:37 PM

The Sammy HLN507 is a gorgeous TV. Definetely try a DVI output DVD player with that TV.

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#4 of 18 OFFLINE   James Lee

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Posted July 22 2003 - 07:02 PM

I've had an HLN507W for just over a month now and I love it. I also have the Samsung HD931 DVD player, as well as a Denon 910. Hands down the picture quality from the HD931 via the DVI connection is nothing short of amazing. DVI is definitely the way to go. However, the player does have some quirks. One, non-anamorphic DVDs are forced into widescreen mode and you can't change it, so you'll get the stretched look. Two, the menu transitions are pretty slow. Really slow in fact. Three, the remote control is pretty cheap and flimsy. Despite these quirks, I love it.

The Samsung HD931 and the Bravo D1 are the only two DVI DVD players on the market. The Bravo is only available online direct from the manufacturer. I don't recall the website link though. Sorry. The D1 is cheaper ($199 vs. $299?) and it doesn't have the forced widescreen limitation that the Samsung does. The Bravo seems to have a lockup problem judging from some of the posts I've read over at the AVS Forums.

Here is my setup so far with the TV. I have a Gamecube on composite video 1, Playstation2 on s-video 1, Denon 910 DVD player on component video 1 (480i/480p ONLY), Xbox on component video 2 (480p/720p/1080i) and the Samsung HD931 on DVI. You will be out of luck with the single DVI connector if you intent to have multiple DVI devices. One of the big advantages with he HLN507W is that you can't get burn-in, which is more of a problem with video games on plasma screens. For my DVD players, I'm using Monster cables. I'm sure there are cheaper alternatives that are of equal quality. I like the illusion of peace of mind Monster cables give me. Guess I'm just funny that way.

As for general things about the TV, there are a few potential issues that may or may not bug you. There is a color rainbow phenomenon that bothers some people when watching DVDs. It's a bit tricky to explain, but essentially if you make rapid eye movements from edge to edge, you can see red-green-blue color rainbows. It seems to vary in prominence from DVD to DVD. Some people never notice, other people can't help but always see it. Me, I can see it occasionally, but it doesn't bother me. The other issue with the set is that if you watch something that has a black background with bright objects, like credit titles for example, you'll see a faint mirror reflection opposite of where the bright object it positioned. Again, kind of hard to explain unless you see it. It's not a big deal though in my opinion. It's usually very faint, but nevertheless it is noticeable. Finally, the remote control is incredibly cheap looking and feeling. It boggles my mind that Samsung can make such a nice high end TV, yet completely lame out on the quality of the remote.

Don't let these "issues" deter you from getting the TV though. In researching the 507, I was really worried about the issues I described above, but I figured what the heck. I'm glad I took the plunge because it is an incredible TV. It weighs a mere 77 lbs, which is nothing compared to the 238 lbs behemoth Sony XBR set I replaced. I was really surprised at the picture quality from plain analog cable TV. My friend has a Sony rear projection TV and digital cable and for the most part, the picture quality is not that great. I was expecting something similar and was mildly shocked at how good it looked. Just keep in mind that with the 507, it's garbage-in/garbage-out when it comes to whatever you hook up. Avoid composite or even s-video signal sources if you can. Component and DVI are the way to go.

Some of the things I tested when I first got the TV:

HD931 DVI DVD player- Disney's Beauty and the Beast was simply mind-blowing. The picture quality was near plasma quality in my opinion. Lord of the Rings was equally as mind-blowing.

Xbox- Sega World Series Baseball was almost like watching a real baseball game. It's one of a handful of games encoded in 720p and 16:9 widescreen. Simply incredible. Same with MotoGP 2. Video gaming goes to a whole new level when it looks this good. One thing to be aware of when hooking up the Xbox. If you hook it up to component 2 or 3, which allow 480p/720p/1080i, you will not be able to see the Xbox dashboard at all. The reason why is that the dashboard is ONLY in 480i. You'll need to hook up to component 1, which is 480i/480p, in order to see the dashboard. It's more of an inconvenience than anything. Typically you don't access the dashboard too often.

So there you have it. My somewhat detailed experience with the Samsung HLN507W. It's been one of the best investments I've ever made. That, and marrying my wife. Posted Image

#5 of 18 OFFLINE   James Dion

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Posted July 23 2003 - 12:56 AM

Hmm, yeah I heard about the problem you mentioned with the Samsung 931 and forcing stuff into widescreen. Can anyone give me an idea of how much it screws around with the picture? And is there anyone out there that has the Bravo player and can compare image quality? I watch alot of TV series on DVD (Anime series, Sopranos, Babylon 5, ect...) so that kind of worries me.

#6 of 18 OFFLINE   Shane Morales

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Posted July 23 2003 - 02:35 AM

Yeah, me too. Wondering about the forced widescreen thing cause I also watch a lot of tv stuff on DVD. Anyone?

#7 of 18 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted July 23 2003 - 03:45 AM

There is a site called Extreme Tech where one of the guys went through 5 different HDTV's before deciding on the Samsung DLP. Lots of good, real-world information in the article.

#8 of 18 OFFLINE   James Lee

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Posted July 23 2003 - 04:49 AM

Unfortunately, when you watch 4:3 programming on DVD (TV shows, anime) or non-anamorphic widescreen DVDs, it will stretch the image to fit the screen. Normally, the aspect control of the TV would allow you to adjust this. So, for TV shows you can display the 4:3 image with bars on the left and right sides. With non-anamorphic DVDs, you can watch with bars on the top, bottom, left and right, or set to the Zoom 1 mode which will fill out the left and right sides.

However, with the HD931 connected via DVI you lose all control of this. You are forced to widescreen only, so everything is stretched to fill the screen. Everything will look distorted, which to me, is just not an enjoyable experience. That's why I also have a second progressive scan DVD player. It kind of blows but I have a huge anime DVD collection so I needed the ability to watch them in their correct aspect ratio.

The Bravo player does not have this problem from what I understand, and it's cheaper than the HD931. If I recall correctly, the image quality is very similar to the HD931. Still, I went with the Samsung player because I didn't want to go with a brand I've never heard of before. Because I have that second DVD player, the aspect control limitations don't bother me. I'm sure that will be a deal breaker for a lot of people. Aside from that though, the DVI image quality is outstanding.

If you want impressions on the Bravo player, there are multiple threads going on about it over at the AVSForum.com.

#9 of 18 OFFLINE   HC Glick

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Posted July 24 2003 - 01:44 AM

If I read some other posts correctly, Samsung is supposed to be correcting the aspect control problem with the HD931 DVI output. I am trying to confirm this with Samsung.

Anyone else heard about this?

#10 of 18 OFFLINE   MikewL



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Posted July 24 2003 - 05:34 AM

Does the 931 also have component outputs? If so, couldn't you run those to another input on the DLP for watching those non-anamorphic DVD's? Then you could use the DLP aspect ratio control to keep it in 4:3. It's a waste of an input, but at least you don't need another DVD player/remote/etc.

I plan to buy this combination of TV and DVD player next month, so I'd be very interested if anyone has tried this approach. I can't stand stretched pictures.


#11 of 18 OFFLINE   Cowl



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Posted July 24 2003 - 05:34 AM

Does the Xbox stretch your TV show DVD's when playing them? Just wondering, because I'm considering a similar set-up:

Samsung HLN507W
HD931 DVI DVD player


#12 of 18 OFFLINE   RichardJ


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Posted July 24 2003 - 07:09 AM

I have to chime in, as I have just spent about two happy weeks with my HLN507. I was coming from a 27" tube TV, and this is my first high end TV (really my first high end anything, except computer hardware). It's fabulous! I run out of superlatives trying to describe this TV.

However, my experience is somewhat atypical, because I run movies only through a DVI equiped HTPC. DVI is surely the way to go for your primary viewing method (be it movies or TV via a DVI capable STB). I have heard the Bravo is great at DVI picutre output, but little else. That's ok, because all you need is something to send the video to the TV via DVI and output the encoded sound to your receiver/pro-pro/whatever for decoding.

My Xbox looks great, though it has required some tweaking to get rid of persistent darkness problems. Knights of the Old Republic, for example, looked only ok until I turned up the in game brightness (gamma, right?). Turning up the brightness on the tv did nothing for dark scene detail, except wash out the whole picture, but the in game gamma adjustment worked wonders. Because some games lack that adjustment, I have played with the service menu adjustments on the TV, and it has helped the picture look great! 720P games are still the way to go, though Tony Hawk is the only one I have tried - and it's incredible how much of a difference you see over widescreen 480P.

Enjoy your set - it's a great display!

#13 of 18 OFFLINE   Leo_P


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Posted July 24 2003 - 08:50 AM

couldn't you run those to another input on the DLP for watching those non-anamorphic DVD's?
I don't believe so.
When I got my HD-931, I hooked it up to my present TV via component outputs. At the same time I was back there fiddling around with the component cables, I decided it'd be a good time to hook up the DVI cable I bought from bettercables.com. Now, this was in anticipation of me getting a Samsung DLP set, but I figured I'd just leave the end of the DVI cable hanging around, so that when I get my TV I wouldn't have to mess around with the back of the DVD player.
Anyway, I fired up the player and I couldn't get a picture. Nothing. I was ready to start crying :b when I decided to trying unplugging the DVI cable and, voila!, I had a picture.
Maybe it's just my unit, but I suspect that hooking up the DVI means none of the other outputs will work.
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#14 of 18 OFFLINE   sam wilson

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Posted July 24 2003 - 01:00 PM

Have you tried controling the output with the progressive scan button on the unit? The manual indicates that when the progressive scan is turned on the DVI port is disabled and when the progressive scan is turned off the DVI is enabled. I'd also like to know if this works. It is my intention to get the HLN567 as soon as it is available. I already have the HD931 on order.

#15 of 18 OFFLINE   James Dion

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Posted July 24 2003 - 01:19 PM

Just got back from Best Buy, found out that the only local cable company that has HD does not have HD boxes with DVI out so I guess I dont really have to worry about the splitter. I also managed to talk down the price of the 50" to $3,499 so it looks like it's definatly a go for buying the thing in the next few weeks.

Is there anyone out there that has the Bravo player and can tell what they think of it? I'm not too concerned with sound at the moment because where I live I dont really have the opportunity to set up a decent speaker system, so I'm mainly just trying to get the best possible picture quality.

#16 of 18 OFFLINE   James Lee

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Posted July 25 2003 - 09:25 AM

HC Glick: You're the first person to mention Samsung possibly correcting the aspect ratio control when connected via DVI. I haven't heard that. That would correct the only major fault with the HD931 and truly make it the player to get.

MikewL: Leo_P confirmed it basically, but you can't have component and DVI cables connected at the same time. From what I recall, having cables connected to one set out inputs will disable the other one.

Cowl: When playing DVDs on the Xbox, you should be able to control the image aspect using the aspect control of the Samsung TV.

James Dion: $3499 is an incredible price! I thought I was doing well when I talked the salesperson down to $3699. Is Best Buy giving you a free leather chair as well? I remember them having that deal for quite some time. Buy any large screen TV and get a free leather recliner.

#17 of 18 OFFLINE   Bert D

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Posted July 25 2003 - 10:41 AM

WWW.Plasmabay.com has them for $3349 plus shipping, no tax most States, may be cheaper that way or have BB price match that.
I am looking at the 61" for $3999 from Plasmabay, anyone else found for lower than that ?

#18 of 18 OFFLINE   James Dion

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Posted July 25 2003 - 01:22 PM

Actually the only reason I managed to get them down to that is because someone across the street at Circuit City had screwed up and put the pricetag for the 43" on the 50" model and so they originally offered me that price, so I just went over to BB and told them CC would do $3,499 and they agreed to as well. I've got the whole thing in writing so I'm all set when I go back Posted Image

PlasmaBay does have some great prices but with the shipping it would probably just be the same price, plus I dont feel like waiting a couple weeks to get the TV after I order it. On top of that, BB will not match online prices under any circumstance.