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What 50" display would you recommend? Here are my requirements:


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#1 of 36 Brian D H

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Posted February 20 2007 - 09:10 AM

I've been on this site for years and this is my first thread. I'm relatively up on all the various display types, but I'm in information overload. Every set I look at has so many features/pros/cons, that I'm feeling overwhelmed. So I I thought I'd ask all of you for your educated opinions.

1) Looking for something in the 48" to 52" range

2) I have a room with very little light control, so I need a fairly bright picture. (Unfortunately)

3) I insist on watching everything in it's intended aspect ratio, so my 4x3 material will be pillar-boxed. Therefore, I'm thinking that plasma is a bad idea from a burn-in perspective.

4) Although most of my viewing is currently SD and DVDs. I want to be able to watch 1080P in the future - unless you think 720P is fine from a 10' viewing distance.

5) I want the set to up-convert SD and SD-DVDs pretty well so the content is at least watchable. (Or can you recommend a good up-converting DVD player?) I can't stand scaling artifacts.

6) I want very good black levels. (What types of sets do this best?) I also want good contrast.

That's about it. Thanks for your time.

One last thing. If most people recommend one type of set (DLP, LCD, etc.) please also include your second choice of another display type. That way, if I'm vulnerable to the rainbow effect or sceen-door I'll have another option.
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#2 of 36 SethH

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Posted February 20 2007 - 12:24 PM

You left out what your budget is.

Either way, I think my two choices would be:

Samsung or Mitsubishi DLP
JVC or Sony LCoS

I wouldn't place one over the other -- just read up on them and take a look at them in stores to see if you're bothered by the rainbows.

Regarding 720p vs 1080p: At 10ft from a 50" screen I really doubt you'll notice a difference. However, if you plan to be an early adopter of BluRay or HD-DVD then perhaps there would be some value for you.

#3 of 36 Arthur S

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Posted February 21 2007 - 02:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SethH
You left out what your budget is.

Either way, I think my two choices would be:

Samsung or Mitsubishi DLP
JVC or Sony LCoS

I wouldn't place one over the other -- just read up on them and take a look at them in stores to see if you're bothered by the rainbows.

Regarding 720p vs 1080p: At 10ft from a 50" screen I really doubt you'll notice a difference. However, if you plan to be an early adopter of BluRay or HD-DVD then perhaps there would be some value for you.

Hi Brian

I agree with SethH.

My personal preference is DLP, especially 1080P DLP. I saw a $1,600 Philips DLP side by side with a 60 inch Sony SXRD, and they looked almost identical. If I had to purchase a new TV, I would probably get a 65 inch Mitsubishi DLP,or a Toshiba DLP. Consumer Reports gave their highest rating to the Toshiba DLPs. Please keep in touch with me.

#4 of 36 Dave H

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Posted February 21 2007 - 04:25 AM

My dad just bought a new Samsung 50" DLP 720p for $1249 at Circuit City - based on my advice.

Given his seating and watching, I don't think he'd really see the difference between 720p and 1080p...although the 1080p do have better contrast ratios. However, he watches TV with a lot of room lighting, so I don't even think that would make a difference to him really.

Once he upgraded to digital cable and HD, the picture really came to life as it was too dark and murky with analog cable (although analog cable actually looks pretty decent on my CRT RPTV).

#5 of 36 Brian D H

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Posted February 21 2007 - 05:16 AM

Thanks so much for the input. You've really helping me to narrow it down.

Here's the list you've provided so far:

DLP:
Samsung 50" DLP 720p
Samsung DLP 1080p
Mitsubishi DLP
Philips DLP
Toshiba DLP

LCD Projection:
Sony LCoS
Sony SXRD
JVC

Questions: Which DLP is your favorite and why? Which LCD Projection is your favorite and why? Which one of each type handles upscaling of SD the best (for when I watch TV or SD DVDs)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur S
Regarding 720p vs 1080p: At 10ft from a 50" screen I really doubt you'll notice a difference. However, if you plan to be an early adopter of BluRay or HD-DVD then perhaps there would be some value for you.

While I don't plan on being an "early adopter of BluRay", I'm sure that I'll jump on that bandwagon long before I retire this display, so I want it to be future-proof.

The reason I didn't put my budget is because prices are dropping so fast. When I first considered this almost 3 years ago (When Samsung introduced DLP) I was thinking that I'd be lucky to get a good 50" display for around $3,000.00 and I was thinking that if I waited I might be able to get one closer to $2,000.00. Now it looks like I can approach $1,000.00?

Since we're on the subject, which one is the best for the money? I don't want to sacrifice my needs for price, but how low can I expect to go for what I want? And what will I be sacrificing if I go cheap? There are features that I don't care about like PIP. I really just want a good picture from a variety of different sources and some degree of future-proofing.
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#6 of 36 Patrick Sun

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Posted February 21 2007 - 06:31 AM

I've been also looking at a lot of TVs lately, and I would suggest looking at the sets in question in person. Reading is one thing, seeing is another. That really helped in eliminating a lot of choices. Don't be afraid to fiddle with the video controls while at the store (take the sets out of torch/vivid mode, for sure).

I've discovered that I'm bothered by the SSE (silk screen effect) from the high gain screens now used on most of the new rear projection sets, be they DLP or LCOS/SXRD/D-ILA, so I've pretty much tossed out the rear projection sets in my search. I won't even entertain the LCD RP sets because of the image quality which is sadly lacking from looking too digital and pixelly to my eyes.

The Sony SXRD screens are a little better (less SSE to my eyes) but I still fear the green blob quality issues, even if it's a next generation from the XBR1 line that hand most of the green blob issues.

SSE bothers me because I inevitably look at the sparkling screen in the light-colored portions of the screen (dependent on source viewing material), and it distracts me from what's being shown on the screen, to the screen itself.

I'm used to my 4+ year old Panasonic HDTV (1080i) RPTV, and it has a lenticular screen that doesn't distract me when I watch it. Unfortunately, age has dimmed the output of the guns in the set, which has prompted me to begin the search for a new TV set.

The high-priced LCD flatscreens looks great on the footage shot with good lighting, but the black levels still suffer mightily in footage shot at night (if you're at a Best Buy, stare at the Sony Bravia LCD during the CSI clip between Grissom and Brass, and compare it what's being shown on a plasma tv, you'll see the black level shortcoming of the LCD immediately). So if black levels are important to you, I think you should wait another year and see if the situation gets better with the LCD flatscreens.

Now, if burn-in is an issue, the next generation of LED DLP RP sets might be a possibility if they can enhance the black level performance. Samsung put out the HL-S5679W LED DLP RP model last year, and its benefits of LED DLP: no bulb to replace, no color wheel used due to LED, no burn-in. The main drawbacks are the black levels and viewing angle. I still fear SSE with LED DLP sets, though.

So, in a roundabout way, I came back to plasma. The main shortcoming on plasma is burn-in potential (user training and viewing strategy can help alleviate this condition), and power consumption on certain plasma sets.

Currently, I'm leaning heavily towards the well-reviewed Panasonic TH-50PX60U (720p), which provides some nice black level performance and "pop" to the image displayed, as well as wide viewing angle, but I noticed that there's this "clayface" quality to the image being displayed when faces are shown on its screen. After some digging and research, it's definitely an issue, but there is a firmware fix for it (the firmware is updated by copying the firmware files to a SD card and popping it into the SD reader that's included in the Panasonic plasma models). I still want to see a Panasonic Plasma set that has the clayface firmware fix (all the stores around me simply put up the earliest Panasonic plasma models and they all exhibit the clayface phenomena, and are in need of the firmware fix). I've been told to go check out BrandSmart to see a fixed Panny plasma model, so I'll do it this weekend if possible. Once I'm satisfied I can fix the problem if my set were not to have the most up-to-date firmware, it's a matter of finding a good deal (lowest I've found is just under $1800 delivered, with $2000 being the going rate at local stores, but I suspect this model will be getting the clearance status put on it when the Panasonic 1080p plasma models show up later this year, and perhaps deeper discounts are in its future).

I've also checked out the Panasonic TH-50PX600U, and its 2 main upgrades from other 50" offering is Picture-in-Picture (something I'm used to having), and the ability to accept a 1080p signal via HDMI, although its native resolution is still 1366x768, which hasn't phased me in considering it as there is a price to be paid in color/bright level uniformity when going to the increased resolution of a native 1920x1080 display, which doesn't get enough consideration as people are more entranced by the sheer number in higher resolution while not realizing they may have to settle for a decrease in color/brightness uniformity/quality over the course of the entire screen they view. Oh, also, it has a VGA input as well. This upgraded model will usually be higher in cost, around $300-$700 more than the TH-50PX60U. Which is almost a deal-breaker...grr...
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#7 of 36 Brian D H

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Posted February 21 2007 - 07:21 AM

Thank you Patrick, for a very complete breakdown of your thoughts. This is exactly what I was looking for.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sun
I've been also looking at a lot of TVs lately, and I would suggest looking at the sets in question in person.

I will, of course. I just wanted to look at maybe 3 or 4 instead of 30.
_____

Five Questions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sun
I've discovered that I'm bothered by the SSE (silk screen effect)

1) If you weren't, what Rear Projection would you pick?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sun
The high-priced LCD flatscreens looks great on the footage shot with good lighting, but the black levels still suffer mightily in footage shot at night.

2) I agree completely. How are the black levels on DLPs? Is there one brand that does this better? (I know they won't approach plasma, but still...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sun
Now, if burn-in is an issue, the next generation of LED DLP RP sets might be a possibility if they can enhance the black level performance..

3) Intriguing.... How long would I have to wait? Then I need to add a year for the prices to drop...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sun
So, in a roundabout way, I came back to plasma. The main shortcoming on plasma is burn-in potential (user training and viewing strategy can help alleviate this condition), and power consumption on certain plasma sets..


4) As I said, I watch a lot of SD 4x3 TV (hopefully the aspect ratio of broadcast TV will change soon?) and I hate stretching an image. I assume that pillar bars on the TV would pretty much rule out plasma due to burn-in? On the other hand, my total viewing is really only 10-15 hours per week in 2-4 hour blocks, so maybe I'd be fine with plasma?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sun
I've also checked out the Panasonic TH-50PX600U, .....although its native resolution is still 1366x768, which hasn't phased me in considering it as there is a price to be paid in color/bright level uniformity when going to the increased resolution of a native 1920x1080 display, which doesn't get enough consideration as people are more entranced by the sheer number in higher resolution while not realizing they may have to settle for a decrease in color/brightness uniformity/quality over the course of the entire screen they view.

5) This is the first I've heard of this. While I want to be future ready, since I want to keep this TV for a long time and will eventually own BluRay or HD-DVD, I didn't know that there were trade offs. Please elaborate.
_______
Thanks for your help.
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#8 of 36 Patrick Sun

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Posted February 21 2007 - 08:16 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian D H
Thank you Patrick, for a very complete breakdown of your thoughts. This is exactly what I was looking for.




I will, of course. I just wanted to look at maybe 3 or 4 instead of 30.
_____

Five Questions:

1) If you weren't, what Rear Projection would you pick?

2) I agree completely. How are the black levels on DLPs? Is there one brand that does this better? (I know they won't approach plasma, but still...)

3) Intriguing.... How long would I have to wait? Then I need to add a year for the prices to drop...

4) As I said, I watch a lot of SD 4x3 TV (hopefully the aspect ratio of broadcast TV will change soon?) and I hate stretching an image. I assume that pillar bars on the TV would pretty much rule out plasma due to burn-in? On the other hand, my total viewing is really only 10-15 hours per week in 2-4 hour blocks, so maybe I'd be fine with plasma?

5) This is the first I've heard of this. While I want to be future ready, since I want to keep this TV for a long time and will eventually own BluRay or HD-DVD, I didn't know that there were trade offs. Please elaborate.
_______
Thanks for your help.

1) For good color fidelity, check out the Samsung models (HL-S5087W or the larger version HL-S5687W), and from what I hear, the Mits models are good, but they seem to require more interior cleaning than other models. With DLP, there is aways the possibility of the Rainbow Effect, too.

The Samsung models appear to have a small percentage that experience the "cut-off" problem, but doesn't seem to be an epidemic like the green blob problem that plagued Sony last year. My friend has the green blob on his Sony SXRD XBR1 set, very sad to see. But I digress... Cnet reports that the Samsung don't display every single line in the 1080p mode, but will you eye be able to tell? Probably not. Also, be informed that 1080p DLP sets achieve that 1080p spec by wobulation (line-doubling on the horizontal resolution).

Check out CNet's reviews for possible candidates as well.

I thought I read that Samsung's DLP color wheel was more advanced in terms of colors (like with printers, the conventional color printers have Cyan/Yellow/Magenta/black, but the photo color printers have additional photo cyan and photo magenta to help in improving color reproduction). I could have been imaging it, but I don't think so.

2) Re: black levels on DLP, you'll need to do some calibrating, but overall, Samsung/Mits are good.

3) No idea on the next release of LED sets, probably later this year, also, they tend to be more expensive than their color-wheel counterparts.

4) The "Just" mode of stretching out 4x3 material seems to be a decent compromise for a lot of viewers that don't want pillar bars on their plasma for fear of burn-in. I figure that as the years go by, we'll be seeing less and less 4x3 content unless you do a lot of older TV on DVD viewing.

5) From a professional calibration perspective, the higher resolution display just have a lot more area that could be inconsistent with the rest of the display, so when you go through the entire grid for color/brightness uniformity, the issue of quality control rears its head. It's true you'll get a denser picture with the higher resolution display (and hard to spot line-structure), but you'll have to hope for no weak areas on the entire surface area of the viewable screen. 1080p is a big buzz word in selling new TVs these days, just understand that you have only a very few sources that will allow you to enjoy a 1080p signal in the first place, and the rest will still come from 720p/1080i sources (OTA, Satellite, Cable). It's true that with a 1366x768 resolution, you'll see some more visible line-structure but that can be alleviated since that's a function of how close you sit to the set, and if you buy the right size for your seating arrangement.

----

Damn, I think I just talked myself into going for the TH-50PX600U because of the extras that went into it, and considering the length of time I'd spend with it, maybe the added cost is worth it in the long run.
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#9 of 36 Brian D H

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Posted February 21 2007 - 08:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sun
1) Check out CNet's reviews for possible candidates as well.

I thought I read that Samsung's DLP color wheel was more advanced in terms of colors (like with printers, the conventional color printers have Cyan/Yellow/Magenta/black, but the photo color printers have additional photo cyan and photo magenta to help in improving color reproduction). I could have been imaging it, but I don't think so.

I've already read up on CNET and I think that it was the Mitsubishi that you're thinking of. That one has a 6-color wheel.

Thanks Patrick!
____

To everyone else:

It's starting to look like I'm leaning towards DLP, specifically the Misubishi DLP. Now's your chance to flame it! Go on, tell me why this set sucks and why I should consider something else. Posted Image Be as specific as possible, and tell me what else to look at.
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#10 of 36 Steve Schaffer

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Posted February 21 2007 - 11:23 AM

If considering Mits, do not get the 731 series, lousy contrast ratio (worse than some lcd panels) due to lack of iris control. The 732 and 831 series are much better in this respect.

The green glob problem on sxrd Sonys is not nearly as common on the current models as it was on the XBR1. Lots of tweakability in the user menu, sse present but not bad if one tones down contrast a bit.

My main objection to Plasma is the shiny screen surface--will reflect like a mirror when watching dark scenes in a lit room, and since black levels are a major concern for you I'm going to assume that you'll be watching a lot of dark movies.
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#11 of 36 ChrisClearman

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Posted February 21 2007 - 11:34 AM

I would break it down like this:

Don't Care About 1080p:
(which IMO you shouldn't for your set-u)
50" Plasma: Pioneer, Fujitsu, Panny, Hitachi, in that order $2k+
50 Sony KDF-50E2000: 3panel LCD <$1300

Do Care about 1080p:
50" DLP: Mitsu, Toshiba, Samsung ~$1.8k I think
50" LCoS: Sony A2000, XBR, XBR2, JVC DiLA ~$2k I think

#12 of 36 Brian D H

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Posted February 22 2007 - 03:15 AM

Chris,
Thanks, just what I'm looking for.

Steve,
Thanks for the warning on the Mits 731 series. What non-plasma set handles contrast and black levels the best? What set up-converts SD broadcast the best?

Everyone else,
PLEASE keep the suggestions coming.

FYI: I'm narrowing down my list to audition, but you shouldn't expect an update on my final decision any time soon. I have a wife, 2 kids and a limited budget; so getting out to audition displays is not something I can do quickly. When I do I will keep you posted. My purchase may be as much as a year off - maybe I'll wait for the end-of-year sales.
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#13 of 36 Steve Schaffer

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Posted February 22 2007 - 07:58 AM

Of the non-plasma sets the best contrast ratios are to be found on the Sony sxrd models, JVC LCOS 1080p and Samsung 1080p dlps imho. These all have variable irises to control how much light from the projection lamp reaches the chips. Sony's implementation of this feature has the most user adjustability--2 automatic settings and 3 fixed settings. JVC, iirc, has very limited adjustability of the iris and Samsung none.

Best upconversion of 480i would probably be the XBR2 series sony sxrd but the smallest one is 60", and the JVC LCOS. Samsungs have too much video noise (most evident in dark parts of the screen) on all but perfect HD signals.
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#14 of 36 Brian D H

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Posted February 23 2007 - 06:17 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Schaffer
Of the non-plasma sets the best contrast ratios are to be found on the Sony sxrd models, JVC LCOS 1080p and Samsung 1080p dlps imho. ....
Best upconversion of 480i would probably be the XBR2 series sony sxrd but the smallest one is 60", and the JVC LCOS. Samsungs have too much video noise (most evident in dark parts of the screen) on all but perfect HD signals.

I checked the JVC LCOS on CNET and they say that it DOESN'T handle upconverting 480i very well and that it has too much noise. They also complain about very bad black levels.

So:

What has good black levels, AND good contrast, AND good upconverting of 480i? Anything? Just Plasma? (Help?)
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#15 of 36 Ed Moxley

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Posted February 23 2007 - 06:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian D H
I checked the JVC LCOS on CNET............ and that it has too much noise. They also complain about very bad black levels.
You may have been reading an old review. These were problems with the earlier sets, that have been addressed, and are now very much better.

If I could go buy a new tv today, I'd buy the 61" JVC 1080p HD-ILA. I've seen the JVC and the SONY SXRD, side by side, and they were both incredible. But there was something about the JVC, that looked a little bit better. You won't find better than one of these, for watching in bright light conditions. But of course, this is just my opinion, and what I'd do.

As someone else said.........go see for yourself. Find tvs that are hooked up to a decent HD source. Some stores have bad HD feeds from sat or cable, because they breakup the signal, to feed a lot of tvs.
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#16 of 36 SeanA

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Posted February 23 2007 - 07:02 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Schaffer
Samsungs have too much video noise (most evident in dark parts of the screen) on all but perfect HD signals.

I have a Samsung and I can wholeheartedly validate this statement. If watching DVDs is a big part of your TV viewing and you don't intend to upgrade to HD DVD or Blu-Ray soon, do not buy a Samsung. The Sony SXRD sets perform much better in this area... better blacks, and no noticeable video noise (i.e. macro-blocking).
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#17 of 36 PaulDA

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Posted February 23 2007 - 11:36 AM

For anyone who watches a lot of old films (4:3 original aspect ratio) and do NOT want to stretch, be aware that RPTVs tend to display (to various degrees, and in all formats--DLP, LCD, SXRD, D-ILA--I've seen) such images with an "hourglass" shape. I've tried each type on nine models now and they all do it (some worse than others). To me, that's a deal-breaker and RPTVs are off my list. Just FYI.
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#18 of 36 Patrick Sun

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Posted February 23 2007 - 11:52 AM

That's true, I've been told geometry/convergence is a pain with the LCOS sets (SXRD and D-ILA).
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#19 of 36 Patrick Sun

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Posted February 25 2007 - 03:19 PM

I just happened to be at Best Buy today to take advantage of a sale of DVDs (2-disc/3-disc special editions for $5 a pop with buy one, get one free special today).

I looked at the RP HDTVs and I think I would rank the screens (from best to worst) in terms of SSE:

Sony Axx2000 (SXRD/LCOS, I sense it to be getting the closeout vibe on it).
Mitsubishi (DLP)
Samsung (DLP)
JVC (D-ILA/LCOS, by far the sparkle leader for SSE).

But, I think if I were forced to choose between these 4 makes, I'd pick the Mitsubishi DLP as the Sony's screen seems to dull the image (and you really have to go up to Sony's XBR2 model to get some of the image quality improvements that is lacking with the Axx2000 models).

Mitsubishi's smallest DLP is a 52" model. I saw the WD-57731 model (from 2006 model year, as there is a newer 57831 model for 2007). Also, I liked the viewing horizontal viewing angle of the Mitsubishi the best out of the four makes. Did some research, and this model does use wobulation to display all 1920x1080 lines (but doesn't appear to be a deal-break to my eyes), and its black levels are average/fair. The 57732 model has better black level performance due to its Dark Detailer feature. If you can go higher in the budget, there's the latest 57831 model that makes me want to actually put this model back on my short list if I can't pull the trigger on the plasma I was looking to buy. The 57732 seems to be the better bang-for-your-buck model.

If you're interested in the 57" model, Circuit City offers the WD-Y57, which just has some TV Guide on Screen feature, but not sure if there's anything else different from the WD-57731 model.
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#20 of 36 Brian D H

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Posted February 26 2007 - 04:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sun
...But, I think if I were forced to choose between these 4 makes, I'd pick the Mitsubishi DLP...

Mitsubishi's smallest DLP is a 52" model. I saw the WD-57731 model (from 2006 model year, as there is a newer 57831 model for 2007). Also, I liked the viewing horizontal viewing angle of the Mitsubishi the best out of the four makes. Did some research, and this model does use wobulation to display all 1920x1080 lines (but doesn't appear to be a deal-break to my eyes), and its black levels are average/fair. The 57732 model has better black level performance due to its Dark Detailer feature... The 57732 seems to be the better bang-for-your-buck model.

I was leaning the same way, but I have a problem. I cannot go larger than the 52" due the size of my room and the 52" Mitusbishi DLP is the WD-52631 (which is basically the same as the 731 series). They do not make a 732 series or 831 series in anything smaller than a 57". I could look at the 52531 TV, but that's a Rear Projection LCD screen which we haven't even discussed on this thread, yet.

So, given that I'd be stuck with the WD-52631 (same as 731 except it's not Digital Cable Ready) would that be a deal breaker? I'd be giving up the Dark Detailer feature, so how bad do my black levels go?
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