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42" plasma shootout


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#1 of 24 OFFLINE   Oren

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Posted November 29 2009 - 05:45 PM

OK, I'm convinced that a 42" plasma is the best for me. 

They basically fall into two groups: 720p (with a native resolution of 1024x768, which is slightly LESS than the actual 1280x720 signal, so some detail is lost) and 1080p (with a native resolution of 1920x1080). I can't find any 42" plasmas with a horizontal resolution greater than 1024 (and less than 1920). So, a 42" 720p drops about 20% of the horizontal resolution. 

I'd like at least 3 HDMI ports. I don't need any networking, photo displaying, etc. I'd like a freakishly awesome picture. 

I'd be sitting about 11 feet from the screen. I'd use it mostly for movies, maybe a little gaming (only a WIi right now, maybe a PS3 later). I don't have a blu-ray player (but if I get a PS3, I would). 

I don't think I'd see a difference between 720p and 1080p at 11 feet on a 42 incher. So, the question is, at 11 feet away, would I see a difference between 1024 and 1280 horizontal resolution? 

If the answer is no, then the contenders are:

LG 42PQ30
Samsung PN42B450
Panasonic TC-P42X1

They're all about the same price ($700). Flat out, which is the best? I'm inclined to drop the LG because it doesn't do analog audio out (i'd like the TV to do all the switching, sending the audio to my Yamaha sound projector). 

If I would see a difference in horizontal resolution between 1024 and 1280 (or even 1920, which would only apply in the case of blu-ray) at 11 feet on a 42 incher, then the choices are three Pannys:

G15
S1
G10

Of those three 1080s, what's your pick? 


#2 of 24 OFFLINE   Zack Gibbs

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Posted November 29 2009 - 06:03 PM

To me, 1024x768 sounds icky.

What's your timeline for the set?

I picked up the Panasonic S1 (1080p) for $649 flat on black Friday from Amazon. If a similar deal doesn't pop up before xmas, I've no doubt you'll find it for that price again in January.

Will it matter now? Probably not but I'd say 1024 is on the line even from that distance. A couple of years from now if you have a PS3 and a few blurays? You'll be glad you can watch them in full resolution 24p.

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#3 of 24 OFFLINE   Oren

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Posted November 29 2009 - 06:15 PM

My timeline is rather short - like ASAP. I have nothing (well, a projector, but no place to project now). I'm not going to have a house full of TVs - just one, so I want it really good. 

#4 of 24 OFFLINE   Oren

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Posted November 30 2009 - 10:42 AM

It looks like the S1 doesn't have analog audio out, which I really wanted to enable the TV to switch all my devices (and the same reason I rejected the LG).

And it looks like the ONLY difference between the G10 and the G15 is the slim case of the G15.

So, that means, if I want 1080p, my best bet is the G10, and if I only want 720p (with only 1024 horizontally), I'd probably go with the Samsung. 

I'm leaning toward the G10...


#5 of 24 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted November 30 2009 - 01:29 PM

I've got the G15 and could not be happier.  You are correct that the G10 and G15 are the same except for a few cosmetic issues.  However, I wouldn't write off the G15 until you compare all the prices.  When I was buying I got the G15 for cheaper than I could find the G10 . . . but prices will fluctuate from day-to-day.


#6 of 24 OFFLINE   Zack Gibbs

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Posted December 10 2009 - 06:19 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren 

It looks like the S1 doesn't have analog audio out, which I really wanted to enable the TV to switch all my devices (and the same reason I rejected the LG).

And it looks like the ONLY difference between the G10 and the G15 is the slim case of the G15.

So, that means, if I want 1080p, my best bet is the G10, and if I only want 720p (with only 1024 horizontally), I'd probably go with the Samsung. 

I'm leaning toward the G10...
It's been over a week so I'm not sure if this is too late, but;

I picked up an S1 series over the hollidays , have had it for a few days now. For whatever reason ( I was just playing around) I hooked up the set's optical output and was quite surprised to find it will passthrough digital audio from the set's various sources.

I'm guessing this is why it doesn't have analog out, this is much better.




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#7 of 24 OFFLINE   Oren

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Posted December 10 2009 - 05:15 PM

Thanks for following up! Actually, the analog out is to pas through analog inputs. So, I need both analog and digital out. The Wii is only analog audio, so I'd need analog out to pass that through. If I hook up a Mac, then it'd use the analog input that goes with the VGA input. It surprises me that these TVs don't have optical inputs. (Or I can connect the Mac's digital out to directly to the receiver.) All the other digital inputs (HDMI) would pass through the digital out. 

Now if it had an analog to digital converter to convert it to digital....


#8 of 24 OFFLINE   Zack Gibbs

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Posted December 10 2009 - 07:00 PM

I didn't mean to imply it would only passthrough digital signals, though it hadn't occurred to me to check

I hooked my PS3 up with RCA cables to test it out and it will indeed take the audio and send it through over the optical output. I just mentioned the 'digital pass-through' because the sets I've heard of that will output source audio usually downconvert everything to stereo.

Hope it helps.

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#9 of 24 OFFLINE   Oren

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Posted December 11 2009 - 04:04 AM

That's interesting. So, I guess you would only use the analog out if you had a receiver without a digital input (and all sources were connected to analog inputs).

#10 of 24 OFFLINE   Blaine Skerry

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Posted December 11 2009 - 05:57 AM

Are there any plasma sets ( 42" or larger) that have black side-bars when displaying 4:3 DVD's?  I have a lot of older films in my collection and when I watch them I would prefer black sidebars instead of light or dark gray.



#11 of 24 ONLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted December 11 2009 - 06:28 AM

If you watch a lot of 4x3 material, you may want to consider LCD or DLP rather than plasma.  The bars on the sides are intentionally gray instead of black to help minimize the chance of burn-in.  Using gray helps promote even phosphor wear, since the gray is usually close to the "average" brightness of the rest of the display.

LCD sets are not susceptible to burn-in like plasma.  Neither are DLP.

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#12 of 24 OFFLINE   Blaine Skerry

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Posted December 12 2009 - 05:28 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Charlton View Post

If you watch a lot of 4x3 material, you may want to consider LCD or DLP rather than plasma.  The bars on the sides are intentionally gray instead of black to help minimize the chance of burn-in.  Using gray helps promote even phosphor wear, since the gray is usually close to the "average" brightness of the rest of the display.

LCD sets are not susceptible to burn-in like plasma.  Neither are DLP.
Does that mean that there are no plasma sets with black side bars for 4:3 viewing?  There must be plasma set owners that do some viewing in 4:3 mode.  When aspect ratios other than 16:9 are viewed, the chance for burn in will still be there, albeit top and bottom as opposed to side.   I would have thought that plasma TV makers would at least offer the option to run black instead of gray side bars.  Comments?

#13 of 24 OFFLINE   Oren

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Posted December 13 2009 - 06:51 AM

Yeah, what the hell - I got the G15. :) 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SethH View Post

I've got the G15 and could not be happier.  You are correct that the G10 and G15 are the same except for a few cosmetic issues.  However, I wouldn't write off the G15 until you compare all the prices.  When I was buying I got the G15 for cheaper than I could find the G10 . . . but prices will fluctuate from day-to-day.



#14 of 24 ONLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted December 14 2009 - 01:09 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaine Skerry 

Does that mean that there are no plasma sets with black side bars for 4:3 viewing?  There must be plasma set owners that do some viewing in 4:3 mode.  When aspect ratios other than 16:9 are viewed, the chance for burn in will still be there, albeit top and bottom as opposed to side.   I would have thought that plasma TV makers would at least offer the option to run black instead of gray side bars.  Comments?
All I'm saying is that there's a reason (other than aesthetic) as to why the bars are grey and not black - and it's a reason that's unique to plasma and CRT displays.  It's not a factor on other display types.

If you can find a plasma that has black bars or allows the user to set the color (the latter, in particular, I've not heard of - but would be interested to know if it's available) then great.  Good luck.

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#15 of 24 OFFLINE   Worth

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Posted December 14 2009 - 01:29 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaine Skerry 




Does that mean that there are no plasma sets with black side bars for 4:3 viewing?  There must be plasma set owners that do some viewing in 4:3 mode.  When aspect ratios other than 16:9 are viewed, the chance for burn in will still be there, albeit top and bottom as opposed to side.   I would have thought that plasma TV makers would at least offer the option to run black instead of gray side bars.  Comments?
I've never heard of a plasma that doesn't allow you to change the sidebars to black, though the default setting is usually grey. I know for a fact that Panasonic and Samsung plasmas have bright, medium and dark settings for the sidebars.

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#16 of 24 OFFLINE   Blaine Skerry

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Posted December 15 2009 - 06:15 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth View Post




I've never heard of a plasma that doesn't allow you to change the sidebars to black, though the default setting is usually grey. I know for a fact that Panasonic and Samsung plasmas have bright, medium and dark settings for the sidebars.
 
Thanks for the information Mr. Dobbs.  That's just what I wanted to know.  Also a thank you to Mr. Charlton for your comments.  Merry Christmas and happy viewing.



#17 of 24 OFFLINE   Dalby1

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Posted December 16 2009 - 01:25 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaine Skerry 

Are there any plasma sets ( 42" or larger) that have black side-bars when displaying 4:3 DVD's?  I have a lot of older films in my collection and when I watch them I would prefer black sidebars instead of light or dark gray.

That seems like a no-brainer to me as well. Why not give people the option of gray or black? My Panasonic does gray too, and I'm not a big fan.



#18 of 24 OFFLINE   jjsb4

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Posted December 28 2009 - 09:58 PM

Would you mind telling me where you bought the G15, and if you're happy with it?  Thanks.
 
 


#19 of 24 OFFLINE   Oren

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Posted December 29 2009 - 12:34 PM

 Very happy with it. I bought it at Video Only. It was on sale - not sure about now. They're only in the SF Bay Area though. 

#20 of 24 OFFLINE   Mark M. Smith

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Posted December 29 2009 - 02:13 PM

About what did you pay? I'm in the market for a 42" G10/G15, live in San Francisco, and was looking for where/when I'd find the best deal on an after Christmas/Super Bowl sale. If they can beat the $850 delivered, no tax price I've been seeing online they might have a sale.

Oh, and looking around it looks like they're not just Bay Area, but also Portland and Seattle areas as well, if that helps.

Edit: Just saw in another thread that it was $719, + 9.25% tax that comes out to be a very reasonable $785.50. Damn, now I just need to find that same sale.