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newbie needs help with 42" plasma buying


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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   kahlilJ

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Posted October 04 2004 - 12:47 PM

i am fairly new to the landscape of new tv's (beyond CRT). i want to purchase a 42" plasma to mount on a wall above our (very little used) fireplace. however i am kinda overwhelmed with the plethora of terms/issues surrounding my decision.

for starters: i do not have cable nor satellite & we intend to put off subscribing to such for as long as possible. because of this i need a plasma with a built in tuner (or rather prefer to have one instead of using VCR as tuner & connecting); but i understand that analog signals (NTSC) will go away within the next few years?? and only HD signals will be broadcast. here's where my questions begin:

if HD signals will be the only broadcast, then will ATSC tuner receive this signal? or will i still have to buy an external HD tuner?

i understand some sets (HD ready) can either take external HD tuner or have a slot for an HD card to be installed on-board eliminating the need for an external HD tuner. is this true? if so, is there a difference in quality?

& since i will likely have to replace the tv or at the very least buy an HD tuner when this mandated switch occurs, it doesn't make sense to me to spend the crazy bucks that is being asked for these tvs. given that, i do see that $2K for a 42" unit is reasonable. any suggestions on manufacturers to avoid or buy?

any features that i should pay particular attention to? i notice that most tv's of seemingly good quality have contrast ratios close to 1000:1 or more, and native resolutions >= 852x480. but beyond that i really don't know what kind of specs/features are needed/desirable or comparable. any suggestions??

i am sooo confused by the abundance of info going on & upcoming/expected changes that it makes the purchase decision challenging.

thanks for all/any help & sorry for the lengthy message
kgj

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   SimiA

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Posted October 04 2004 - 09:23 PM

Welcome to the Forum.
I would think it would be a high price to pay for a Tv, if all you're going to do is watch off the air programing. You can by a good quality tube set for much less money, and enjoy the savings to put into a good surround sound system.
However, if you must go with a plasma, take a look at the ED Panasonics. The PQ is hard to beat in the price range, and the internal electronics & contrast ratios (3000:1) are some of the best in the industry.
DVD's will look great on this set
When you do get into a subscription service, you'll be ready with a great set.
Vb
37 & 42" PWD6UY's
Mits HC 3000 FP
30" Apple Cinema LCD

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   MarcusKeyser

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Posted October 04 2004 - 10:59 PM

I've heard that Plasma Screen warranties may be voided if you hang them over a fireplace ... you should check on that before buying. I know that I've forgotten to open the chimney flu at least once and had smoke billowing out the front and up the wall ... it sucked trying to clean that up - imagine your Plasma is hanging there ???

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   KenWong

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Posted October 07 2004 - 05:12 AM

For$2k... your choices are pretty limited... and there isn't really much you can get. The only ones I can think of, is the Viewsonic ones... and the Gateway, both ED plasmas. The quality on them are okay.. not spectacular.. but the Gatgeway does okay with a progressive scan DVD player, while the budget Viewsonic just sucked in general... (gateway has almost twice the contrast ratio with better color). If I can make a suggestion, take a look at the new ED plasma from zenith-AKA LG. It's ED as well, and retails at I believe 2299... but seeing it right next to a $4K HD one... You can see a difference of course, but I don't think it's a difference justified by the $2K difference. Also, $2,000 is a pretty limited budget considering you still need to pay tax, as well as the mounting brackets for the plasma.

By the way.. The Akai or Sampo brand from Costco did not impress me....


#5 of 14 OFFLINE   kahlilJ

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Posted October 07 2004 - 06:56 AM

thanks folks.. while my goal is to stay near $2K it is not absolute. so i can be open to more cost if it is worth it.

btw marcus, fireplace mount is not a real issue. we rarely use it - if at all.

my questions are:
can ATSC tuners receive HD signals from broadcast TV (like FOX, ABC, NBC,...)? or will i still have to buy an external HD tuner?

i also want to reduce cable clutter. i're read that hdmi carries both a/v signals. so can i use this one cable to the plasma tv? is sound or picture quality reduced from carrying signal on different cables??

thanks for suggestions thus far guys!

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Mort Corey

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Posted October 07 2004 - 10:59 AM

I wouldn't base any decision on what the FCC may or may not mandate at some future time. They just recently pushed back their suggested all digital start up date from 2006 to 2009 and mandated HD isn't going to be in the picture (sorry, bad pun) till well past that time.....if ever.

You're going to need cabling coming into the display for power and video (minimum)...at least one of each....so mounting the display and hiding the wiring is not going to be easy, especially if brick is involved.

Mort

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   kahlilJ

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Posted October 08 2004 - 02:44 AM

thanks mort. i feel that HD is inevitable and whether it happens in 3 years of 5 years, i wanna make sure that i will not need anything else (external HD tuner) to watch broadcast tv.

so can someone please confirm or correct me in thinking that a tv with an ATSC tuner will receive HD signals (from broadcast tv) without the use of added equipment??

yeah almost forgot about the power cord. it will not be mounted to a brick fireplace -just wood surroundings.

but to get the audio AND video signal is HMI all that is needed? & is this the same as HDCP??

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   John S

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Posted October 08 2004 - 03:00 AM

Yes, a TV with an ATSC tuner will get current Over the air broadcasts, and yes that is all you need for that, well an antenna, and maybe even a powered / amplified antenna.

Your going to use a display that has speakers? And your going to use those speakers? HDMI should work, but of course not all sources offer this...

HDCP can be passed via HDMI connections.

I highly suggest getting a basic AVR and speakers for handling your sound. I don't know of anybody using plasma that is using the displays speakers is all.

What external sources will you be hooking up? Most people wire everything possible up to the display..

So aside from the Antenna. (coax) also wire.....
HDMI, DVI, Component Video, Svideo, Composite. I suggest you wire every input the display has back to where your sources will sit. Makes it 10 times easier to grow / add sources down the road.

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Mort Corey

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Posted October 08 2004 - 04:31 AM

Quote:
I don't know of anybody using plasma that is using the displays speakers is all.


I had to for about a six month stretch Posted Image Actually, the speakers on my HD JVC plasma are surprisingly good...IIRC, there's six of them in there somewhere. The media receiver unit has a sub out jack and I ran my powered sub from it in conjunction with the displays' speakers. You'd be amazed at how good things sounded...concerts, DVD, etc.

Now that the rest of the system is in place, I still use the TV's built in speakers for casual viewing. Not saying that they compare in any way with a dedicated HT surround system, but they're the best speakers I've ever heard in a TV....maybe even better than Bose Posted Image

Mort

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   John S

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Posted October 08 2004 - 04:59 AM

That is good to know... I just don't know one person that has done it. Should be encouraging for him, if that is the route he is going with it.

I'm sure the sub helped a ton....

#11 of 14 OFFLINE   kahlilJ

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Posted October 08 2004 - 08:34 AM

thanks fellas. i already have an A/V receiver and full surround system to connect tv to, but i would like to have tv speakers as well in case i just want to watch it without the stereo.

the only external sources connected will be VCR & DVD player (& of course an external, powered antenna). & obviously i plan to run audio out to my AVR.

here are some models i'm considering all are between $1700 & $2400:

PPM42S2 (Samsung)
TH-42PD25U (Panasonic)
P42W46X (Zenith)
SPN-4235 (Samsung)
PDP-42BK (Planar)
PD42V475 (JVC)
PDP4290 (Akai Electric Co)
TH42PWD7UY (Panasonic)
PFM-42V1 (Sony)
PlasmaSync 42VP4 (NEC)
KE-42M1 42" Plasma TV (Sony)

any thoughts? suggestions? recommendations?

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Mort Corey

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Posted October 08 2004 - 09:58 AM

Well, since I purchased a JVC unit I guess I'd obviously prefer its PQ over the others. I'm not sure if their recent models still utilize a media receiver unit. That may or not affect your choice when it comes to mounting the display. I'd shy away from any of the others except the Panasonic(s)...the new 7Uy model looks pretty good on paper.

Mort

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   kahlilJ

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Posted October 10 2004 - 05:39 PM

well folks, from that list i then looked for the features i felt were of further importantance: PIP&POP, HDMI, & possibly twin tuner?

that boiled down to only the jvc, panny pd25u & sony ke42mi. i'm kinda torn between the jvc & the panny. i already own a jvc 27" tv and it is an excellent unit & have never had any problems with it. but i have all sony audio/stereo equipment. (not that that would really matter in terms of connectivity)

i like the concept (or at least what i understand to be) of hdmi - audio & video on common cable. any suggestions on which of these 3 to go with?

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Mort Corey

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Posted October 11 2004 - 10:28 AM

Kind of a toss up if you like the PQ and features on each equally. FWIW, I've never read or heard of any complaints about JVC's QC or problems dealing with warranty/repair issues (that could be from their limited presence in the marketplace or ?) I have read mostly good reviews on people having to deal with Panasonic. There 20U early models had some QC issues that seem were resolved to peoples satisfaction. I have NEVER read anything from anyone who found dealing with Sony a pleasant experience, most all were pretty negative.

Mort