51HW40 vs 555819 vs 50hx81 and Questions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff O., Dec 11, 2001.

  1. Jeff O.

    Jeff O. Stunt Coordinator

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    Hope you folks can help since I am new to big screens. I am considering buying one of these sets and would appreciate any comments/suggestions you folks might have. I also have some specific questions. I am currently leaning towards the Toshiba, so the following questions apply especially to the 50hx81.

    1. For the moment, I will just be using DVD and standard Dish material. Any idea how this will look through S-video connection at around 8 feet? The reason I ask is that I am not sure if the internal line doubler works with the S-video input, or if it only works with the component (which the PVR501 doesn't have).

    2. Also, can these sets store calibrations for individual sources on different inputs, i.e. can I calibrate one input for the DVD and one for Sat?

    3. Finally, the best price on the Toshiba is at HH Gregg, a new chain in this area. Anyone ever dealt with them?

    Thanks for any help,

    Jeff
     
  2. JohnHN

    JohnHN Stunt Coordinator

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    I can speak only for the Toshiba. I have a 50HX81.

    I watch at 8ft so I can tell you that DVD looks great at 8ft. It even looks great at 7ft but that may be too close for other reasons (e.g. your wife will tell you that you look like an idiot sitting that close). You should connect DVD via component, for more accurate color. Connect directly, if possible, rather than via the receiver.

    The set deinterlaces EVERYTHING except 480p and 1080i. Whether the signal comes in via component, s-video, composite doesn't matter. This is standard in such sets.

    You can set color etc separately for the component inputs vs. the composite/s-video inputs. But I believe that you have only one setting on the s-video inputs. That is, as I recall, if you adjust one s-video you end up changing the other one, too.
     
  3. Jeff O.

    Jeff O. Stunt Coordinator

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    John,

    Thanks for the help. She says I look like an idiot all the time anyway (just kidding).

    I was going to use component for the DVD and S-video for everything else, Dish and VCR.

    Sorry to be so ignorant, but what do you mean the set deinterlaces everything. Does that have to do with the line doubler? I am more of an audiophile than videophile, so a lot of this is new to me.
     
  4. JohnHN

    JohnHN Stunt Coordinator

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    Line doubler and deinterlacer are used interchangeably but deinterlacer is more descriptive and typically causes less confusion. A deinterlacer converts an interlaced signal into a progressive signal. Doing so doubles the required scanning frequency.

    Confusing things, the new Toshibas (and, I think, Hitachi's), take any 480i signal and convert it to 540p (i for interlaced, p for progressive) AND take any 480p signal and convert it to 540p. So, the Toshiba's redigitize even a 480p signal in order to convert to 540p. The effect of this seems to be a slight loss of resolution on NTSC (i.e. non-HDTV) signals and occasional "shimmer." It appears from a thread on the Home Theater Spot that some of these ill effects, which are minor, can be avoided by using an HTPC to scale to 540p before sending the signal to the Toshiba.
     
  5. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I had an Hitachi (which does the conversion to 540p for all 480i and 480p signals).. The shimmer was very frequent on solid colors on mediocre cable signals, but I never saw it on dvd.
    I don't know if Hitachi's use of the 540p conversion means it uses the same line doubling as Toshiba.
    Because of a number of issues mostly having to do with it's handling of ntsc, I swapped it for a Sony KP57HW40.
    You should know that "ghosting" is an issue with both the Toshiba and the Sony--you can find good descriptions of this over at HT Spot. Mits is reputed to have a relatively poor line doubler, nasty looking funhouse mirror effect on it's variable stretch mode, and excessive red push. Mits has a large group of enthusiastic owners who claim great picture quality after extensive tweaking and addition of external doublers and "red push attenuators."
    I've done a lot of shopping and playing around with sets in showrooms, and overall I like my Sony better than Tosh--line doubling looks just a bit smoother with the new model's drc, and color is gorgeous.
    Sony won't let you store different settings for each input, like Tosh, but will let you store 4 different sets of picture adjustment parameters, which can be toggled through on any input with one button on the remote. Tosh locks you into just one set of user-stored adjustments per input. I like Sony's system better for correctin differences in calibration that occur when changing satellite or cable channels.
    Although I prefer the Sony, for my uses, the Toshiba is also a very nice set, and a bit less money at retail. You won't go wrong with either, imho.
     
  6. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    I don't think you could go wrong with any of those sets--each has pluses and minuses.

    The Sony is a little softer than the other two by design. It is more forgiving on bad material at the expense of some detail.

    You see people mention Mits' poor line doubler alot, and that is probably true compared to a Pioneer Elite, but it's not as bad as some make it out to be and it is a tweakers dream come true.

    There are certainly alot of Toshiba devotees here, so that has to be taken into consideration, but there are issues with them as well, just like there are with any mass produced set.

    Good luck,

    DJ
     
  7. Jeff O.

    Jeff O. Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks alot for the replies guys. I understand what you were talking about now John, great descrption. I have been reading the stuff over at the Spot also.

    John, I guess our experience was a little different although it may be because I don't know what to look for. Both my wife and I thought the Sony and Toshiba had a sharper (not softer) looking picture than the Mits, but we were comparing it to the 55809. At another store we saw the 55819 that didn't have the Tosh. But at this store, the reason I liked the 55819 was because the whites looked much whiter than on the Sony. I don't know how much of this could be corrected with proper calibration and better source material. So, I guess I am not sure whether to trust the store displays for picture quality. One store was using an RF cable feed and the other an RF Dish feed. The Dish HD channel looked outstanding on all.

    Steve, I have read about the ghosting issues, but did not know what to look for. Also, as mentioned above since the source was poor I don't know if it would be valid. As far as storing settings, I don't plan on tweaking too much. Mainly just calibrating with Avia. So if I understand correctly, the Sony will store these types of settings for different inputs.

    Again, thanks for all of your help.
     
  8. JohnHN

    JohnHN Stunt Coordinator

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    *****John, I guess our experience was a little different although it may be because I don't know what to look for. Both my wife and I thought the Sony and Toshiba had a sharper (not softer) looking picture than the Mits, but we were comparing it to the 55809. ***

    Uh, I think you were actually responding to David here. In any event, two comments.

    First, the consensus among the ISF pros is that differences across model lines are slight once the sets are fully calibrated. That's good news -- you can't go wrong -- and bad news -- it's hard to make a choice. Even the soft vs. not so soft focus issue may be partly irrelevant if you are willing to screw around with mechanical and electrostatic focus.

    Second, as someone who has seen the righthand ghosting on the Toshiba, indeed I may have been the first person to report it on the Spot (do I get a prize?), the ghost on my set is almost invisible 90% of the time and the other 10% it is often obscured by edge enhancement. The ghost is there alright. It's plain as day on a needle pulse, for example. But most of the time it just doesn't matter. The bad news here is that other people seem to have had worse experiences. Still, I don't think it is a deal killer. It is, however, a reason to buy the set with the option to return it.
     
  9. Jeff O.

    Jeff O. Stunt Coordinator

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    John,

    Thanks again. You're right, I was referring to David's comments.

    You actually answered my question. As I suspected, properly calibrated all of these TVs should give a very good picture. And, that is why I am pulling my hair out trying to decide which one. Also, I do plan on doing the more simple calibrations, but I am not sure that I would want to try to get into the service modes and tweak further. I just couldn't imagine messing up a 2500 dollar TV.
     

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