Analog RPTV with "squeeze"? (Or, any reason to buy an HDTV?)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DaveF, Aug 18, 2002.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I was recently TV hunting but decided to wait a bit, so I wouldn't rush into a big purchase. In my investigations I've learned a few things about HD here in Rochester where I live.
    1) HDTV is not broadcast locally by any stations.
    2) HDTV will not be broadcast locally for at least a year.
    3) There are extremely few HD shows available over cable (Time Warner).
    4) Even if HD is running amok on DirecTV or Digital Cable, it's too expensive for my tastes.
    => An HDTV is beginning to seem like a waste for me.
    But since I do watch DVDs, I'd like at least a TV with the "squeeze" feature. There are direct-view analog TVs (non-HDTV) with a 16:9 viewing mode for good prices. But I haven't seen any analog RPTVs with this feature.
    So, some questions [​IMG]
    1) In an HDTV-less world, is there any point in getting an HDTV? Does 3:2 de-interlacing and a line-doubler make that much of a difference for DVDs or broadcast TV?
    2) Are there any decent RPTVs (~50" 4:3) with a 16:9 mode?
    3) For watching DVDs on a ~50" screen from 12' away, would scan-lines be prominent on an analog TV vs. an HDTV?
    Thanks! (I suspect I'm not the only one wondering about this)
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    On DVDs, prog-scan with 2:3 pulldown makes a world of difference. The vast majority of people with HD-ready sets are using them to watch line-doubled DVDs.

    It would be a dreadful mistake to a purchase a new RPTV that's NTSC-only. In fact, more and more of the OEMs are discontinuing NTSC-only RPTVs.

    Buy into the new technology and be prepared for the future when it arrives in Rochester.
     
  3. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Well put, Lew.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Thanks for the feedback. Especially for a larger RPTV, I can imagine that the line-doubler would be very nice for DVDs and perhaps video games.
    However, for a sub-$2000 purchase I don't see the point in trying to buy for what might be several years from now years -- I can just buy the new technology in three years. My experience is that I fare better when I buy for the present rather than the future. "Upgrades" are usually late and over-priced, if they even appear. And HDTV is still a dicey thing with little programming, no broadcasts (here), and confusion about future broadcast formats (encryption?).
    So I may buy an HDTV-ready set for the line doubler and progressive scan features, but I can't buy it just on the basis of future expectations.
    Thanks again for your thoughts [​IMG]
     
  6. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Dave,
    I bought a 16/9 HD capable rptv last September, replacing a very nice analog 4/3 model that was only 2 years old.

    My decision to buy the set was based solely on my wanting the best possible display device for widescreen anamorphic dvd, HD was not an issue in my purchase decision as there was only 1 station in my area broadcasting an HD signal.

    I have since bought an HD-capable DirecTV receiver and oval dish, and get a grand total of 4 HD stations (the local ABC affilliate, HBOHD, Showtime HD, and HDNET) only one of which broadcasts everything in true HD. Other locals are coming very slowly indeed, with some not coming on for at least another 2 years.

    If I had no HD sources at all, and no prospects of getting any for the next couple of years, I would still be happy with my choice of an HD capable widescreen set based on it's excellent presentation of dvd.

    I think most HT enthusiasts who buy these beasts are like me--bought the set for dvd, with HD as an afterthought or icing on the cake for the future.

    My "old" analog set was about as good an analog 4/3 rptv as was available in the fall of 99 when I bought it, but after seeing what the HD capable widescreen set can do with anamorphic dvd, I would never consider going back.

    The prices of widescreen HD capable sets in the 42-51 inch range have dropped to about the same as what I paid for that analog 53" Hitachi Ultravision 3 years ago, in fact most are cheaper than the $2300 I paid for that set.

    If you get one of these into your home, connected to a progressive scan player (even a sub-$200 one) and calibrate it with AVIA, you will be amazed at the similarity to projected film.

    There are any number of widescreen rptvs out there now for well under $2000, and the analog rptvs still available are of much lower quality than the high end ones that were still available only a couple of years ago. A $1300 analog 53" rptv is no bargain when a couple of hundred more will get you a widescreen set capable of displaying progressive scan.

    The only analog set I would even consider purchasing at this time would be a secondary bedroom or kitchen set.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Steve - thanks for your comments [​IMG]
     
  8. Gil D

    Gil D Supporting Actor

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    Dave,
    I would not buy an analog RPTV at this time and agree with Steve's assesment.

    I currently have a Hitachi 50" Ultravision RPTV and am trying to decide between the Sony 53HS30 (on layaway for under $2K) or the soon to be released Sony 57WS500 which I believe to be the replacement for Steve's 57HW40. The 53HS30 is a 4:3 HD Ready set that does 16:9 vertical squeeze to display 480/1080 scan lines in the 16:9 frame. On the 4:3 set I get smaller widescreen but no distortion and perhaps better PQ on standard def NTSC. On the widescreen 57WS500 set (which will include DVI) I get a bigger HDTV and DVD picture but somewhat distorted and perhaps a bit worse 4:3 NTSC.

    Then there is the Hitachi SWX series which looks very good on HDTV to my eye, but my location will probably not fit the Hitachi cabinet.
     
  9. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Gil,
    As you probably know, the KP57HW40 was not my first choice. I first got an Hitachi UWX based on my excellent experience with the analog Ultravision, kept it 2 weeks, hated it and swapped for the Sony with which I am quite happy.

    The new SWX is, of course, a generation newer as well as a considerable step up from the UWX models so it's not really fair to say anything negative about it, but last year's SWX models seemed to suffer many of the same problems as the UWX line according to the Hitachi forum over at The Spot.

    The HS-30 has been out for quite a while now, long enough to have any early production teething problems resolved.

    According to the service manual I bought for my HW-40, the HS-30 shares most of the same circuitry.

    My observation of HS-30s and Sony widescreen sets has been that the HS models do a bit better with 4/3 material but tend to squeeze a bit too much when in 16/9 mode for anamorphic dvd. Be sure to check this out for yourself if at all possible. This oversqueeze, if you encounter it, can be corrected by a service tech, isf calibrator, or adventurous owner/tweaker.
     
  10. Gil D

    Gil D Supporting Actor

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    steve,

    Thanks for the tip on the oversqueeze. Is this something a Sears, CC or Tweeter tech can fix if the extended warranty is purchased?

    Last years Hitachi's look horrible to me. The new SWX with the "20" suffix looks much better to me at least on HD. The 540p upconversion has me concerned for DVD and NTSC.

    I probably can't fit the Hitachi 57" 16:9 and would have to settle for the 51". I may be able to squeeze in the new Sony 57WS500 57" model (due to it's cabinet shape) and hopefully get as good performance as the 57HW40 at the lower price ($2500 retail) and sleep better knowing I have that d*mn DVI connection. My fear is that Sony cheapened the WS series. Especially since I don't see a night and day difference between the HW40 and the WV600. How heavy is the 57HW40? I see the 57WS500 is over 200lbs.

    Have you had the chance to demo Sony's new adjustable DRC-V1 on the WV600/700? I tried playing with it in the store but without a remote and continuosly changing source it was near impossible for me.

    Lastly, what's your thoughts on the "grainy" picture that many mention on the Sony RPTV's? Sometimes I have noticed this, other times the pic looks good. Is it the settings?
     
  11. Michael St. Clair

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    In my opinion, this 'graininess' is typically a function of SVM and excessive sharpness. Select 'Pro' picture mode as it disables SVM, and turn sharpness down to 0%-25%.
    SVM can be disabled for all modes/inputs in the service menu.
     
  12. Gil D

    Gil D Supporting Actor

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    Michael,

    Thanks for that information. Which RPTV model do you own btw? How do I find out how to get into Service Menu and how to do some of these basic cals, hopefully this can be done with low risk.

    Also, any idea if the 53HS30 can display a 4:3 image from my STB in 1080i without locking into 16:9 vertical compression?
     
  13. Michael St. Clair

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    Gil,
    I have a KP53HS20 (same as HS30 but no 'glare' screen).
    Most info you would need could be found in the files area of the HS10 Yahoo group (which supports newer models also).
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sonyhs10/
    If after using the resources at the HS10 group you need any additional guidance, I'd be happy to help, just leave me a Private Message.
     
  14. Gil D

    Gil D Supporting Actor

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    Michael,
    Finally got accepted to that Yahoo group and unfortunately discovered the HS30 will not do 4:3 in 1080i. I believe that 480P would work but not sure if it would be any better than 960i DRC.
    Went to the store again (yes I'm the guy in the CC commercial!) and after adjusting the 53HS30 closer to how a calibrated set should look am still impressed by the picture but the screen glare is REALLY annoyong in the store. This is MUCH improved on the newer widescreen sets. Too bad the HS20 is no longer available from a local store as I can't see any way to remove the glare shield [​IMG]
     
  15. Michael St. Clair

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    Gil,

    4:3 1080i is not an official format. A shame that several broadcasters and/or carriers do not carry 4:3 SDTV as 480p and instead insist on upconverting it to windowboxed 1080i. This doesn't just cause problems for 4:3 set owners, it also deprives 16:9 set owners of being able to to stretch/zoom/whatever to control these SDTV broadcasts to do with as they choose.

    Hopefully this changes over the next year or two.

    As far as the 'glare' screen goes, I know many people at the HS10 group have removed the protective screen and I believe the information on how to do this is available there.
     
  16. Brad_V

    Brad_V Second Unit

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    I thought I'd toss this out about the "evil" scan lines. My brother, who enjoys his movies but is not a home theater junkie, wanted an RPTV after seeing mine some months back. If he couldn't get one for around a thousand or maybe $1500 max, he wasn't going to get one at all. He picked up a 54" analog rebadged Samsung for $999.

    He calls me up and says, "HOLY CRAP!" a few times after just turning it to a local channel. He then has a problem hooking up the component on his dvd player. Turns out one setting didn't save was all. It saves the second time, he puts in X-men, and then says, "HOLY CRAP!" about five more times. He than keeps me on the phone as he swaps in about ten different DVDs and says, "HOLY CRAP!" every time.

    I ask him how far away he is. He says about 12 feet. I ask him about scan lines. He says he doesn't see anything. I tell him to walk closer and tell me when he sees them. He says at around eight feet he can notice them if he focuses intently, but they aren't a big deal until he's at about six feet.

    This is my brother, a non-home theater junkie who is now becoming one. He has a lower-end "obsolete analog" 54" RPTV, and I had to point out what to look for and have him get to within eight feet and look for them to even notice the scan lines. I have talked to a surprising number of people who returned digital sets because the line-doublers, while preventing scan lines, made DirecTV and things blurry and unwatchable.

    Progressive scan is overrated, and when the time comes to buy a digital tuner, his set will get DVD-quality 480i. He is a typical guy who has now fallen in love with watching TV. He has seen HD before and was impressed, but his wallet wasn't. He paid $999 for a 54" TV and loves every bit of it -- evil, unnoticeable-from-less-than-eight-feet-away scan lines and all.
     

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