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HDTV disappointment


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#1 of 38 OFFLINE   Matt Hobbes

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Posted August 21 2003 - 02:03 PM

I recently purchased a Sony KP51WS500 51" WS television from Circuit City along a panasonic 35S progessive scan dvd player.

I'm used to viewing movies on my 32" JVC tv (with component video cables). As I undertood it, WS HD Tv's were supposed to have a better "clearer picture"... Well, the picture had digital grain (could see motion in static backgrounds, especially lighter colored backgrounds) in the background when viewing any dvd...even Lord of the Rings, and Fight Club. In American Beauty, at the beginning with the white fence and the zooming in the the town... showed jaggedness especially when panning. I noticed if I turned the sharpness all the way down, the grain went away on dvds such as Lord of the Rings, Spiderman... stayed for lower picture quality movies, but the picture became very blurry if not in a closeup of an actor. Progressive scan was enable on the dvd player and the tv, and I was using Monster component cables... I tried switching out the Panasonic for a more expensive sony dvd player, and the picture got worse. I thought maybe I set it up wrong but the dvd player showed progressive enabled (both places) and the tv was set to progressive/sony cinemotion.

Is it normal to see the digital grain (don't know what else to call it) on a WS tv? It made dvds like the Friends sets nearly unwatchable... My 32" JVC has a much cleaner picture... I ended up returning everyting.
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#2 of 38 OFFLINE   SeanA

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Posted August 21 2003 - 02:19 PM

Matt,

My guess is the TV is too big for your viewing distance, or in other words, you are sitting too close to the TV. I think most rear projection sets can do 1080 horizontal lines in HD, but the bigger the set the thicker and more noticeable these lines will be . This is why viewing distance is so important. Did you notice that up-close the 42" RPTV's looked sharper ? That's because the 1080 horizontal lines are squeazed into a smaller space. But now keep in mind that progressive scan DVD players will give you only 480 horizontal lines.

Hopefully someone else can chime in on the appropriate viewing distance for a 51" widescreen set.
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#3 of 38 OFFLINE   Chris Sherman

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Posted August 21 2003 - 04:27 PM

I have a Sony 46WT510 with the Panasonic S35 dvd player. You must not only set the player to enable progressive scan under the set up menu, but you must also go into the picture menu and change the setting from the default 480i to 480p, otherwise you are not getting the progressive scan . You should then see it on the players front panel display. I initially did not have it set correctly and also thought something must be wrong, after changing the player setting from 480i to 480p there was quite a difference! to say the least.

#4 of 38 OFFLINE   Chris Sherman

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Posted August 21 2003 - 04:39 PM

On a side note the Circuit City by me is selling those 51WS500's for $1500 new. They are decent sets but are famous for the flicker bug and will usually require having the CRT's replaced, not worth the hassle to me even at a discount price. It's covered under warranty and Sony is even extending the warranty on these sets in the event of this problem . You probably did the right thing to return it but I would not give up on HD sets altogether, you might want to look at a smaller set or try one of the newer 510 series. The picture on my new Sony is awesome and blows away that of my 4 year old Sony Kp43t70 and that was a great analog set , audio review hall of fame.

#5 of 38 OFFLINE   Matt Hobbes

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Posted August 21 2003 - 05:01 PM

I did have progressive enabled on the dvd player... the dvd lcd displayed "prog". I was sitting about 8 feet away from the screen... and honestly, to tell you the truth, I didn't see much of a difference between 480i and 480p... I figured that that there was supposed to be... Like I said , except for the best dvd quality video (LOTR, Toy Story (still there, but tolerable...I tested a lot of dvds) the screen was full of digital noise in the background that was much less noticable on my 32" analog set...
I'll probably try again with a front projection lcd screen after they've been out for a while longer... I guess the problem was the tv itself, but it did discourage me enough to hold off for a while... projection tv's are supposed to look smoother and sharper than analog sets, not the other way around!

thanks
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#6 of 38 OFFLINE   Kent Wo

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Posted August 21 2003 - 05:46 PM

I've had the same problem with my 36HF72 Toshiba. Not a RPTV, but still I expected perfect picture. I've gotten the DVDs to come out great. At frist I didn't realize there was a little switch on the back of the DVD player to turn on Progressive mode, then another on screen menu option I had to go through to turn it on (again?). Seems a little redundent...

But anyway the picture finally came out great. I'm still trying to get digital cable to come out good. I've been using the HD ready set from the cable company and watching the HD broadcast, but they are a little fuzzy. I'm thinking I may be too close. What's the proper distance for a 36" set?

#7 of 38 OFFLINE   chris_jh_moses

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Posted August 22 2003 - 12:30 AM

I believe the general viewing distance rule is approx 1.5xScreen size ( myself probably sit about 8-10 feet back from a 46 in set and am perfectly happy even though some would say that is too far back to sit for my screen size)

#8 of 38 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted August 22 2003 - 12:57 AM

I've had my KP57WV700 set for a whopping 2 days now and just last night calibrated the picture with Avia. I, too, was a little upset at the amount of grain present out of the box, but after calibrating the image (and setting picture and sharpness down to proper levels), the grain was dramatically reduced.

My viewing distance is about 12 feet and that's about as close as I'd want to get. A lot of people quote the 1.5X rule of thumb, but IMO that is often too close - especially when watching standard-def material that will reveal it's inherent flaws on a large display. Even when watching progressive video, sitting much closer would give me a headache if there was a lot of fast action and camera movement.

As for the "flicker" bug - I've done a lot of research on that, and unless your set has been sitting on store shelves for many months, the problem has been corrected and is no longer an issue. Also, with Sony in the process of releasing new models, you can get a great deal on the "older" models - I got my set for $2600 and couldn't be happier.

Sorry you had such a lousy experience. I might suggest that the next time you go shopping, try and find a local "high-end" store (i.e. not CC, Best Buy, etc.) where the salesmen will let you bring in your own DVDs to watch, hook up a standard-def signal, let you fiddle with stretch modes, picture settings, all that stuff (I shopped at Tweeter and would recommend them to ANYONE - and their prices were even better than CC). An rptv (or fp if that's the way you go) is a huge investment, and you know how painful it can be if you end up taking the wrong set home. The more fiddling you can do at the store, the better off you'll be.

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#9 of 38 OFFLINE   Mika-H

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Posted August 22 2003 - 01:16 AM

You're right Matt. All this talk about HDTV, DVD etc. is a scam. It really is no better than standard TV. Circuit City will really do anything to make a buck! You were correct in taking all that stuff back before coming here to ask questions about it. One of these people would have probably fed you some propoganda about Avia or ISF calibration and other such bunk, causing you to keep the items. I wish I would have done what you did. Instead I did my research before I bought and asked questions while I still had the equipment to fool around with. Now I'm stuck with not only a terrific looking HD-RPTV , but also an incredible looking 8' wide HD front projection setup as well. What a waste! I feel so violated Posted Image

#10 of 38 OFFLINE   Michael TLV

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Posted August 22 2003 - 01:32 AM

Greetings

Of course a $90 DVD player does not represent the pinnacle of progressive scan images. Kinda like saying all cars have the same performance.

You should have researched it a bit more and tried a few calibration discs to boot.

The Sony unit really shines when properly set up.

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#11 of 38 OFFLINE   Chris Sherman

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Posted August 22 2003 - 04:04 AM

I agree that the Panasonis s35 is certainly not the finest progressive dvd player out there. I do think it is ,however, probably one of the better entry level players and I can't believe the dvd player was the culprit in Matt's case. I am saying this based on my experience with the s35 and my Sony 46WT510. I read all the reviews I could find, most helpful were those at Cnet , where there are nice reviews of Matts' set as well as last years model of my set . There are also many user reviews posted on both tv's as well as the S35 dvd player. I also found the user reviews on the circuit city website usefull . To their credit they post the reviews whether someone loves a product or thinks it sucks. I can think of a couple of reasons for Matts' dissapointment , less than optimal setup, too high expectations , lastly and unlikely faulty equipment. I just hope he doesn't get completly soured on HDTV . Those of us that have found good combos know that a good dvd transfer can look fantastic through the progressive output of their dvd player.

#12 of 38 OFFLINE   Sean Romo

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Posted August 22 2003 - 04:59 AM

The easiest (yet hardest for some people to do) is take down the contrast. I was not a believer at first because it reduces the brightness, but it really helps to bring out color and clarity. I have a 46" Mitsubishi and the picture with a toshiba Prog DVD is awesome at 6' away. (and HD is awesome up to 3' away but I would never sit that close


A friend of mine just bought a 61" sammy and only sits about 8' away and the picture was very "digital" until I convinced him to drop contrast. RPTV's should be at about 30% and DLP's look nice over 50%. (His DLP shipped at 100% contrast default setting, looked awful)

#13 of 38 OFFLINE   Doug_H

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Posted August 22 2003 - 05:37 AM

Calibration is your friend Posted Image

cabling could be a culprit here as well. A cheap or defective cable, running to close to power cords ETC. can bring all of the symptoms described. Just another place to look.

Once you see a good, calibrated HD set you will understand how big a difference there is. A big set that isn't working right, isn't calibrated or is being fed a poor signal will make things look much worse though.
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#14 of 38 OFFLINE   Matt Hobbes

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Posted August 22 2003 - 06:29 AM

I didn't mean to offend anyone... I do realize that HD is the way to go, and I will buy eventually...didn't expect the sarcasm...

I also did research here at theis forum and I checked cnet reviews and circuit city and best buy... for what I wanted to spend, they were from the reviews I read and someone else above mentioned, pretty good buys. If I had thought Avia and HD was a scam, do you think I would have asked a question here? I never meant to imply that... The tv had been in storage at the store for about a year...

Starting fromt the default picture setting of "movie", I had contrast setting down to about 40%...sharpness was down to 10%... all other setup categories were at 50%... color temp was set to "warm". On the dvd progressive 480p was enabled..."prog" showed on the dvd lcd, and the sony tv was set to either progressive or cinemotion (couldn't tell the difference between the two. I tested 2 diff sets of HD monster component video cables.

Dvds like Toy Story and LOTR looked pretty good, but distant objects looked blurry... if I turned the sharpness up, then the digital grain was visible from my viewing distance: about 8 feet)... The friends dvd sets looked really bad... even if the the sharpness was all the way down to 0% it looked really digital.

The dvd player wasn't the culprit... I tested two of the same model (S35) and a more expensive sony prog dvd player... the sony picture was noticably worse. Either my expectations of the sony 51ws500 were too high for the price range, or the tv had a problem... I couldn't tell the diff between 480i and 480p.

I know this equipment wasn't the best... as I gather it is lowend HD... which is why I decided to return it... what are some good models to take a look at that reduce the digital grain?
hobbes

#15 of 38 OFFLINE   anthony_b

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Posted August 22 2003 - 06:39 AM

Mika-H, the guy is a little frustrated with what happened to him, there is no need for your sarcasm. The forum is to learn and share experiences...cool out next time..Posted Image
Think before you speak....Peace always

#16 of 38 OFFLINE   John Royster

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Posted August 22 2003 - 08:06 AM

Actually sony's are kinda known for being "grainy". That is just how they come out of the box. I've had to come over and "fix" this on many of my buddies sets.

A little bit of work with a calibration disk, lowering contrast to acceptible limits, lowering sharpness and tweaking the DRC should yield good results.

Also, try pro mode instead of movie. The artifacts you saw might be from down 3:2 pulldown twice.

If you've already returned it mitsubishi, pioneer, toshiba, hitachi, samsung all make fine sets as well.

So does sony. Posted Image

#17 of 38 OFFLINE   Michael TLV

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Posted August 22 2003 - 08:11 AM

Greetings

And don't forget, certain Sony dvd players are also known for producing excessively noisy/grainy images.

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#18 of 38 OFFLINE   LaMarcus

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Posted August 22 2003 - 08:59 AM

You should have calibrated the set first then made your determination. When I first bought my set I thought the picture was just ok, once it was calibrated I thought it was awesome. But there were still some dvd's that were grainy and just didnt look so good. After research on the HTF I found that it wasn't my tv but the actual dvd's that had bad transfers. And some movies actually have intentional grain.

Another thing to consider is, now since you have a display that is much bigger than a analog tv, it's just going to make artifacts and the like that were very small and unnoticeable, big and abundant. That small and unnoticeable grain and artifacts are now magnified.

#19 of 38 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted August 22 2003 - 09:16 AM

Yup, sounds like the classic non-calibrated "Contrast and Brightness at 100%" setting that Sony (and many other manufacturers) like to set their TVs to.

I have seen first-hand what DVD looks like on most commercial sets that come with their "factory-hot" or whatever you want to call it, settings. Terrible. And just as Matt described it.

It's unfortunate but an hour or so with Avia or VE would have solved quite a lot for him (and let's not even get into what an ISF calibration would do).

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#20 of 38 OFFLINE   Kent Wo

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Posted August 22 2003 - 10:15 AM

What is ISF calibration?

Also, I've used AVIA before. Would getting the new VE disk that comes out next month be worth it?