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*** Official HP 1080p md5880n/md6580n discussion thread ***


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#1 of 77 OFFLINE   keith fox

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Posted December 09 2005 - 07:38 AM

Since these are one of the few TV's capable of taking a 1080p signal on their digital inputs I thought I see some discussion here but couldn't find any. Read a very good review in Sound and Vision. Was curious if anyone has seen one in person.

In case anyone is wondering there has been a raft of 1080p sets starting to hit the markets, but many (such as Sony, Toshiba) can only upconvert to 1080p but can't accept a signal.

#2 of 77 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted December 10 2005 - 05:11 AM

keith,

First of all, I believe you meant "5880n" and not "5020n" since the 5020n is a 720p, not a 1080p set. I've taken the liberty of editing the thread title in that regard.

Now to the important stuff:

Several of us saw the HP Microdisplay 1080p units in action at Cedia and were blown away by the picture. The general consensus was that the picture produced was definitely among the "Best in Show." We saw some other quite impressive (but not as good, in my opinion) 1080p sets and none of them would accept a native 1080p signal, at least not via an HDMI or DVI input. This included some otherwise nice looking units from SONY, JVC and Samsung, among others.

The usual party line on this lack of 1080p input capability was something like, "Well, there really isn't any significant 1080p source material at the moment." While that's generally true (don't tell this to HTPC people!) the situation is bound to change in the next year or so. Lots of 1080p source material is rumored to be on the way. Blu-Ray? HD-DVD? Who knows. But it is definitely coming. And since I don't make a major purchase like a large screen monitor every two years it seems reasonable to want to "future proof" my next set to include 1080p input. I fully expect at least 5-10 years out of such a set (my Pioneer Elite Pro-75 has given me 16 years of trouble free service!).

But there's another, more immediate reason to consider 1080p input on a 1080p set even if widespread 1080p source material is a bit longer that two years off (not that I think it is). Let's say you have a 1080p source available to you. Even though the 1080p set is capable of displaying a 1080p signal, if it doesn't accept the input natively then you have to downscale it to 1080i for acceptance and then the set scales it back up to 1080p. Not only does that introduce two stages of signal processing that just invites a bit of image degradation but it also limits you to relying on the internal scalar of the monitor. With 1080p input you bypass the monitor's internal scaler entirely. I'm not knocking the scalers in the current sets - they are probably pretty good by today's standards. However, we are all aware of the nature of this common affliction. Technological progress is something that comes at us in waves. If a better external scaler is introduced, or if you find one right now (there are several out there), nothing stops you from using it to generate the 1080p signal for your 1080p display - nothing, that is, as long as your set can handle 1080p input! Otherwise you are stuck with what you have.

There are those who say that the difference between the look of 1080p and 1080i, especially at the distances usually viewed in the home, probably isn't that great. After all, most of us don't watch a monitor with our noses touching the display (maybe some of our kids or grandkids do.) I tend to think that this argument, while possibly practical, still doesn't address the fact that 1080p is a higher resolution than 1080i and can look far better if all goes well.

Others have stated that they don't know if they should trust HP as a TV provider since they are relatively new to the HD home display field and don't have a proven record in this area of home entertainment. I find that a weak argument since HP has been making computers for a long time and others, like Dell, are finding the TV monitor area to be as profitable and even more so than their computer business. Besides, even though Texas Instruments has the patents on DLP (I believe) HP actually invented the "wobulation" that is used to great the 1080p DLP image so the whole argument, to me, is a bit shortsighted.

So what's the bottom line? I liked the specifications of the HP5880n so much that I've actually ordered one. It should arrive in about a week or so, in time for the holidays (barring any more early or late season storms). In fact, the stand arrived yesterday and I assembled it (easy task) and was impressed with the construction and design. It's extremely sturdy (the stand weighs 115 pounds) and is specifically designed for the monitor which weighs about the same) and if the packaging of the stand is any indication I feel that the monitor will arrive in good condition as well.

Obviously, I'm going to have a lot more to say on this unit once I have it in my HT. But for now, to answer your original question once more - yes, the HP 1080p sets with 1080p input capability are very impressive indeed.
RAF
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#3 of 77 OFFLINE   keith fox

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Posted December 11 2005 - 12:54 PM

Thanks. I'll look forward to a report when you get one.

Sincerely,
Keith

#4 of 77 OFFLINE   Chris Svensson

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Posted December 17 2005 - 05:05 PM

Thanks much for the insights.

I have some cash to burn for my business before the end of the year and a new TV to prep for PlayStation3 made some sense (I work in the videogame industry) which claims to support 1080p as an output format when it arrives in 06. Given that it's a supported output format, it seems reasonable to have a TV that can accept it.

Something I did have a question about if anyone knows the answer, one of the data points on the Crutchfield listing said that the 1080p support is limited to 24 or 30 frames/sec refresh rates. Anyone know if this is true? If so, that's a little disappointing higher refresh rates aren't supported.

That said, having been a DLP user for about 3 years now, the HP raised my eyebrow and you reinforced a lot of my own thinking on matters. I'm going to see if I can't find a unit some where to check out before I order one, but on paper, it seems like the way to go if you want to stay with DLP (and I do).

#5 of 77 OFFLINE   CarlosL

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Posted December 17 2005 - 07:06 PM

According to those over at AVS Forum (http://www.avsforum....ad.php?t=592933), it supports 24, 30, and 60 fps through HDMI.

#6 of 77 OFFLINE   John Alvarez

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Posted December 20 2005 - 07:33 AM

I just went and looked at the 6580n. Wow....and at 4k a good deal. My question is what kind of DVD player do you use with it? Progressive scan? Upconverting? Does this set automatically convert my 7 year old sony to hi def?

#7 of 77 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted December 20 2005 - 05:06 PM

Update:

My HP MD5880n arrived yesterday. Unfortunately, even though there wasn't any outward appearance of damage it's basically DOA. After waiting about 3 hours for it to reach room temperature I plugged it in and turned it on to start setting it up. I was greeted with the most annoying and loud sound. It sounded like someone had started up a leaf blower in my HT! I immediately turned it off, but the sound didn't stop for about 1 minute. Knowing a bit about DLP sets I surmised it must be a faulty cooling fan (bearings?) and the tech support person I talked to agreed. Getting through to HP tech support was a bit of a pain since I had to go through a series of menus and people who didn't even realize HP made TVs - but now that I've figured it out (you say "television" to the automated voice response router and you get through quite quickly to a tech support person for their "television" line) it wasn't quite as bad today. And I also had to jump through some hoops to get a service appointment (the guy I talked to had to get approval from a supervisor who was supposed to call me back today to arrange for a service call - he never called and I called back tonight.)

Tonight's experience was a lot better. I talked to someone knowledgeable and have now been given an e-mail contact with an HP engineer who will determine whether a field trip or a replacement unit is in order. Once I was told that putting the set on with the noisy fan for a while would not hurt any electronics but just be annoying as hell I decided to apply a signal to the set and that's where problem #2 came into play. The image was horrible. Mottled, moire-like, solarization-like, you name it. It visually reeked. Something is definitely wrong with this unit and the ball is now in HP's court to make it right. If a simple fan module replacement and some video firmware update does the trick with a reasonable assurance that the problems are taken care of then we'll see. But I have this nagging feeling that this set is either an early one (no card mentioning a firmware update was included in the box) or something worse.

Like I said, the ball is in HP's court. The engineers have a lengthy e-mail with supporting screenshots and they will let me know (hopefully by tomorrow) what's what.

The set itself physically looks great and fits in perfectly with my HT. The menu system, options, remote and all the ergonomics including jack access and wire management are well thought out. But there's that little matter of a picture that's downright ugly and a leaf blower in my HT that makes me reserve judgment until HP gets me a set that works.

I'll let you know how this all resolves itself. Things will work out eventually.


I guess it was my turn to be in the barrel.

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#8 of 77 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted January 04 2006 - 12:04 PM

Update: My personal experience with my HP5880n and HP "Support" - not a pretty story so far!

I'll be relatively brief because until this whole thing plays out I'm taking notes and then I'll post a full report. The skinny: Seventeen Days and nothing yet!!

Day One: I took delivery of an HP MD5880n on Monday, December 19th. After letting it reach room temperature for a few hours I turned it on and my HT sounded like someone had started a chain saw - literally. I immediately turned it off and contacted customer service. We determined that it was a bad cooling fan, especially since the sound kept going for a minute or so after power down. The Customer Service Representative I talked to said he couldn't make a repair decision, but would have his supervisor call back the next day with instructions.

Day Two: Naturally, no call back, but the CSR I got through to also heard the sound and asked how the picture looked. I told him I never got to that stage. He said to apply a signal since the electrical problem wouldn't impact the electronics (if I could stand the noise!). The picture was TERRIBLE (solarized, sometimes split image - totally unwatchable) from a variety of sources - HD Dish, Component DVD, Cable connection, Composite from LD's. I checked them all. I got an "Uh Oh" and a request to send digital pictures and a description to the elusive Mr. Leo Shen for evaluation. They'd get back to me.

Days Three, Four and Five: No call back (I really didn't expect one based on past performance.) A third CSR was nice enough to keep calling me back at least twice a day, sometimes more, telling me that they were still trying to "determine if service would be required." They were kidding, right? What a joke!

Days Six and Seven were Christmas Eve and Christmas but Days Eight and Nine brought no further response (even though HP service was open, I later found out.) I guess CSR #3 gave up.

Day Ten (!) finally got me a commitment that they would send out a repair person and send out a new Fan Housing and a Light Engine. The appointment was scheduled for Day Seventeen (today!). The fan shipped, but no light engine, even though I called several times to tell HP that the e-mails they sent me indicated that the light engine had not shipped as of yesterday. They assured me that the computer said it was in stock so it should be there.("Maybe it's all in the same package.") Naturally, the service tech called this morning to tell me he never received all the parts ("only the fan") so he couldn't come over. I asked if he could at least come over to see what I'm talking about (I haven't even addressed other issues discussed here like the HDMI situation and pincushioning since I can't leave the set on long enough to test this out without melting my brain). He said to me, and I quote:
Quote:
I only do parts replacements, no adjustments.
Jeez! I wasn't expecting an ISF calibration, just some evidence that my set is DOA.

Day Seventeen (today, continued): A call to HP got me a CSR who said she's tell her superior to look into the missing part situation and get back to me. After 7 hours I called back (didn't hear from them even though it was implied) and was told by another CSR (about the 10th one I've talked to) that her superior had sent off an e-mail regarding the missing light engine to corporate and should hear back "in a day or so."

This is where I came in. I'm totally disgusted with HP "support" at this point and have told them that if I don't get action by the end of the week I want a replacement unit since these are obviously available even if the parts aren't. I've sent two separate e-mails with pictures to "Leo Shen" the mysterious engineer and haven't even gotten the courtesy of a reply that he received them (Even just a "got your e-mail and am looking into it".) I know they got through since I c.c'ed several other people and they couldn't believe the contents. This is just plain inconsiderate. I don't care how busy the man is. HP requested that I take pictures and fill him in with as much detail as possible. It's not as though I was seeking him out on my own.

When I saw the HPs at CEDIA I considered them the best in show (I liked them even better than the Sonys, etc.) and decided to add one to my HT. The 5880 looks great there - until you turn it on!

In over 50 years of purchasing electronic equipment I've never been treated so shabbily and so incompetently by so many people. The HP Microdisplays may turn out to be great units, but based on their warranty support I cannot recommend them to anyone. This may all work out eventually and I may end up with a great performing set, but the bitter taste it has left in my mouth will always linger. At this point, knowing what I now know, I would have gladly forsaken "true 1080p input" for those 1080p units that scale up to 1080p from 1080i. It's not even a question of a trade off, it's a matter of treating the customer with a little respect.

If anyone reading this has a name or a phone number of someone at HP who actually has the authority to make an intelligent decision regarding my case (well documented in my case file at HP) I'd really appreciate any leads. Right now I'm getting better response from the automated answering device that greets you when you call the HP Service 800 number.
RAF
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#9 of 77 OFFLINE   Kenneth Harden

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Posted January 04 2006 - 02:26 PM

Wow, that sucks!

I will say (semi-unrelated) that JBL and Klipsch have given me AWESOME support for problems I have had (some were and some were not their fault). Canon is being good to me as well (there prosumer and professional DSLR stuff).

#10 of 77 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted January 04 2006 - 03:46 PM

Yes, a lot of companies have great support. As I mentioned, I've been purchasing electronic gear for over 50 years and, while there have been occasional bumps in the road, I've never encountered as big a pothole as "HP Service." Ironically, I'm intending to do a review of this set for the HTF and, no matter how great the set performs (assuming I ever get one that works!) I can't see myself recommending it based on my warranty experience. I wouldn't wish was happened to me so far on my worst enemy. There are far too many manufacturers who get support right to have to subject yourself this type of treatment. Whatever happened to, "The customer is always right?"

Right now, when I tell the complete story, HP looks very, very bad. Maybe someone will cut through all the red tape and resolve this issue. Fingers crossed.
RAF
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#11 of 77 OFFLINE   Steve Berger

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Posted January 05 2006 - 01:45 AM

I've been servicing TV's for over 30 years and the TV manufacrturers have decades of support experience and know that TVs have to be repaired. This requires a support network from parts distributors through repair shops and field technicians. Computer repair is completely different and relies on a replacement parts method rather than a repair method. Most outsiders give up on TVs after a few disasterous years. (NEC abandoned TV and VCR sales when they discovered they had to fix them and they wouldn't pay servicers the going rate)

TVs must have local servicers to have successfull support and to date I don't personally know of any TV repair shop that has been contacted by HP to provide warranty service. Until they contract real TV servicers, you will have very poor support (or none at all). TVs cannot be serviced like PCs. (At least anything larger than a suitcase.)

#12 of 77 OFFLINE   John S

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Posted January 05 2006 - 02:22 AM

A brand new 1080p flagship display has flopped on it's face. I cannot see why a full new replacement has not been sent to you. Just bizzar really. Me thinks HP is not ready for the home theater display game yet if they cannot get you a replacement display.

#13 of 77 OFFLINE   John Whittle

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Posted January 05 2006 - 05:36 AM

This is really troublesome. I had a problem with a little 27 inch Syntax set I bought at Fry's. Called the service line, they sent me the parts and a service man showed up to install them. All their service was subcontracted to a firm that does tv and computer repair.

When I talked to the tech, he told me horror stories of tvs and manufacturers. He remarked on another computer maker's flat screen tv sets: "No matter what the customer says is wrong, they send the same parts kit and if it doesn't fix it, then the customer is out of luck." Which I presume means they were back to D*** to get a replacement if under warranty, etc.

TV service is it's own game, and the guys who are in it and know the business can generally show up with the proper parts, but when you have to call a customer service center and then it gets re-directed--watch out.

The HP story is doubly ashame since it's the one set that claimed to have 1080p support over HDMI. While there have been reports of people outputting HTPC signals to JVC 1080p Lcos sets, JVC itself doesn't make that claim. Perhaps the lack of a Blu-ray or HD-DVD signal source is the reason they don't make the claim (since those standards are either still fluid or could change).

John

#14 of 77 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted January 05 2006 - 07:12 AM

I totally agree with all the comments here about TV "service" becoming a dinosaur. We live in a "replacement" society where these guys wouldn't know a resistor from a capacitor much less how to use rosin core solder. (My long experience building countless Heathkits rears its ugly head here ). And I completely understand that replacing rather than repairing has become a cost-effective business model which is why I am dumb-founded by HP's reluctance to send me a replacement swap out for what is obviously a defective product. Sending in replacement part hacks is not a solution for a Dead On Arrival unit. Getting the faulty unit back to their shop for "refurbishment" and resale is the only right (and cost-effective) thing to do. If they think I'm some sort of finicky consumer with phantom issues (I'm not) the least they can do is send someone over to see what's what.

Day 18 and counting with no personal contact with anyone from HP is not right. It proves they are not set up to support their products in an acceptable fashion.

I'm currently working on a couple of options that go beyond the usual HP "Customer Support" pathways. I'll let you know what transpires.
RAF
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#15 of 77 OFFLINE   John S

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Posted January 05 2006 - 07:34 AM

I don't understand them not replacing the display.


I mean, I have never had any problem getting any other HP product that came to me DOA replaced.

#16 of 77 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted January 05 2006 - 08:49 AM

Quote:
I don't understand them not replacing the display.


Me neither, John. And more puzzling than that is the fact that they won't even talk about it when I bring this up. I really need to talk to the right people. HP Customer Support apparently are not those people.
RAF
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#17 of 77 OFFLINE   Steve Berger

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Posted January 05 2006 - 12:39 PM

I don't know about HP, but most TV manufacturers won't exchange TVs because they don't have any to exchange. The market is so competetive that they can't afford to keep a stockpile in a wharehouse. While exchanging PC monitors and having them refurbished in third world countries might be a viable business model, it has never worked for large TVs. There is a possibility that they don't even have a "shop" anywhere in the USA.

I'll agree that they should swap the set out, although swapping the chassis would be a more practical solution. You could not swap a CRT based chassis but a microdisplay doesn't require the extensive realignment a CRT would. Fixing digital processing boards is not possible outside of the manufacturing process. They will have to swap boards or a complete chassis. (they might not have any)

#18 of 77 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted January 06 2006 - 03:19 AM

My thoughts exactly, Steve. Since HP obviously doesn't follow the traditional "TV" repair mode, the most logical and, to me, cost effective thing for them to do is to swap out the set. The can always take it back to the factory and resell it as a refurbished unit. HP sells lots of refurbished units (they disclose this) and I'm almost willing to bet that a refurbished unit would stand a better chance of working properly right out of the box.
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#19 of 77 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted January 06 2006 - 03:31 PM

Update:

On a hopefully positive note I think I may have received a bit of good news from HP today. In the first place, when I placed today's call to HP Service (they hadn't returned a promised call reporting on case progress yesterday) I managed to connect to a very competent "old school" tech ("Will") who shared my interest in electronics going back to the mid-50's. As he looked over my problem (and conferred with his superior) he told me that his supervisor had received word yesterday that they had "escalated" my case up to the next level. And, while we were talking on the phone word got back to him that the second level escalation had been increased to Level Three (whatever that means in HP corporate speak). In any event I think that more influential people are being exposed to my case and that should yield some tangible results next week. Will also provided a bit more information about my problem that makes a lot of sense. Even though an earlier tech had diagnosed my severe (chain saw-like) noise as coming from a cooling fan (especially since it continued for about a minute after shutting off the 5880) Will said that this could definitely be a severely misaligned color wheel. For one thing, they are capable of horrendous noise if bad. Additionally, he told me that the color wheel doesn't stop immediately when the unit is shut off because of the high speed that it is spinning at. He said it takes considerable time to come to rest and often stays on until the fan closes down. If, in fact, this is the case, then it is very possible that my noise problems and my awful picture are part of the same issue.

One of my concerns was that a noisy fan and a faulty picture were symptoms of a set that had major unrelated problems. He also said that in cases like this they usually replace both the fan and the light engine because they are the only moving parts in the unit and that this way they are relatively certain that they will nail the problem the first time around. I have no problem trying this service call as a first step (although the length of time for HP to get me the parts and the service has been a sore point). Other than the fact that I get this terrible noise and that the picture is not acceptable by any standard, I'm happy with the set (no, I'm not trying to be a wise guy.) The physical look of the set is pristine (no blemishes, no bumps, etc.) I don't think I have the speaker buzz problems, although it might be hard to notice since the (cooling fan or color wheel) noise starts up about 10-15 seconds into an ON cycle. While I am pursuing a replacement through my dealer as "Plan B" I'm still hoping that "Plan A" yields positive results.

Finally, today I received a call from HP corporate in California, thanks to a internet acquaintance who works at HP in another division and put my story out over their internal network. The gentleman who called (not HP service) said that he was going to see to it that this issue resolved itself to my satisfaction. He gave me a contact number if nothing occurs in the way of information by Monday.

So Day 19 has at least shown me some light at the end of the tunnel. I'm also hoping it shows me a light engine soon. It appears that HP is finally trying to sort things out although it took a lot of effort on my part and the intervention of the kindness of strangers. I don't want to be accused of being an HP basher. I've had several (actually more than several) good experiences with HP products over the years. That's why this course of events took me by surprise. It's been a bumpy ride but I hope that it's over sooner than later.

Naturally, I'll keep you posted regarding the next chapter.
RAF
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#20 of 77 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted January 07 2006 - 06:33 AM

In this continuing odyssey, I received an e-mail from a "Case Worker" from HP last evening. He claimed that he had been trying to call me all day and couldn't reach me. This is interesting because I was home all day and have call waiting as well. He also waited to e-mail me until office hours were conveniently over. Based on HP's performance so far I'm betting he had my phone number wrong. I'll try to call him at the number he gave me as soon as he's in the office on Monday.

This is totally unrelated to the earlier call I got from a different HP division so it's clear that there are communication problems within HP. No wonder they can seem to find the part (a light engine) they were supposed to send me.

This is frustrating.
RAF
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