Big Electronics Chains - Improper DVD/TV setups!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steve Y, Aug 8, 2001.

  1. Steve Y

    Steve Y Supporting Actor

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    Warning: this is a rant.
    I'm sure most of you are aware of the out-of-control contrast/brightness settings on most "floor model" televisions in Major Electronic chains (I won't name any names, but you know the stores, with cola and beef jerky up at the front, pianos playing music, dishwashers, P.T. Barnum-style BOSE "shows")...
    This is coupled with the fact that they run terrible source signals through these sets and turn the "VM" (Velocity Modulation) all the way up, making every blip, glare, and piece of grain disturbingly evident.
    If I were a consumer who knew nothing about televisions, I would not be anxious to buy a set based on the sorts of material they generally have running through them.
    So imagine my surprise when I saw they had a 36" WEGA running "Rush Hour" through a DVD player. The setup was being ignored. It looked terrible - faces glimmered, colors bled around and bloomed, and the whole picture looked soft. I looked around for the "don't touch that" police and quickly stopped the movie, switched to 16:9 enhanced mode (in the player and the TV), turned the brightness and contrast down, and disabled VM.
    The difference was night and day. I kept stopping by the display and people (all ages, both genders) had begun to crowd around the TV, seemingly amazed at the quality of the picture (and remarking as such).
    Do these stores train their salespeople only about financing plans and high-pressure tactics, and not how to let the equipment speak for itself? You'd imagine a good salesman would know a little more about the equipment he or she was selling.
    This mostly bothers me because I can't imagine how "JSP" will ever fully appreciate this technology (particularly anamorphic widescreen) if it is never "put to work" in these sorts of chains.
    Okay, rant over. Return to your regularly scheduled posts.
    ~Steve
     
  2. Jeff Leeds

    Jeff Leeds Stunt Coordinator

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    The big stores could care less about this stuff, they don't even have people that know the difference. Smaller stores are a different story. I have a local dealer (the chain is Video Only has about 12 stores in Portland, Bay Area, and Seattle) and they pay an ISF guy to come out and tune the sets properly. My buddy was the district manager and he is always asking me, "what the newest coolest DVD to demo the TV with". He's had Bugs Life, SPR, Superspeedway, and others to demo the TVs. I got a demo model from him as a replacement to the set that I got new out of the box (it crapped out and it was the only one he had left) and it was WAY better..why, it was tuned up.
    Too bad the big cigar smoking execs at CC and BB don't think about this too...but they don't and properly never will. That I think is mostly because your average joe that buys a TV doesn't concentrate on looking at the picture in the store. I've told tons of people "Go look at the TVs in the store, and not CC or BB" and they are always puzzled. They just want me to tell them the X is better than Y, but it really shouldn't work that way.
    okay that was my rant.
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    Jeff Leeds
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  3. Alan Wild

    Alan Wild Stunt Coordinator

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    There is a very similiar store in the Houston area recently built that sounds a lot like the store described above.
    What blows my mind is they have one of the $13,000 Panasonic DLP sets. I have only ONCE (I visit this particuliar store multiple times a week because of DVD sales) have ever seen this set connected to a DVD player.
    The last several times I was in the store the set was off. Several other times the picture was SNOW. More often than not they are showing whatever basketball game is on that weekend through good 'ole 480i.
    The picture looks AWFUL.
    This is easily the most expensive set in the store and technologically unique. They should be running this thing on an 1080i HD feed or at very least a progressive DVD. Show us what the $13,000 can buy me.
    Instead it's showing snow.
    I don't understand.
    -Alan
     
  4. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    You need to spread the blame around a bit. The manufacturers design factory defaults that stand out in a show room, but are criminally inaccurate.
    It is impractical to adjust every set every day in a large showroom, but the retailer is definitely at fault if the high end displays are not set-up properly.
    DJ
     
  5. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    I was in P.C. Richard, looking at HD sets. The one that had a DVD playing had the player set to display on a 4:3 set. In Gladiator, Maximus looked like a dwarf, and the Colosseum was even more oval than usual. How could they not notice? All the people squished.
    I would never, if I were normal, consider buying one of these sets as they are displayed. But we, as loyal HTF members, know better.
    By the way, this 4:3 phenomenon seems to be one of the most common setup errors in store displays. Sears had a basketball game on, and the players all looked like George Costanza.
     
  6. Andrew Beacom

    Andrew Beacom Supporting Actor

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    I was demo'ing the new Toshiba 50" widescreen at BB recently and had to argue with an employee trying to tell me that "black bars" are always there on WS movies.
    Their HD feed was down and another employee had kindly hooked up a JVC progressive DVD player with a monster component cable for me. I had brought my own DVD and it has a 16:9 ratio. On the Toshiba it had large black bars and things looked squashed. I eventually remebered someone at HTF had said that you have to tell the DVD player it's connected to a WS TV. I changed the players setting and bingo the picture was fixed.
    What was funny was the female BB employee who agreed with me that the picture looked wrong. He didn't even care what I had done to fix it. I couldn't believe he worked in the TV department and he was devoutly convinced that all WS movies have black bars.
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The last time I went to one of the afore-"unmentioned" stores, and I did EXACTLY THE SAME THING. LOL! [​IMG] It was driving me nuts.
    I think the real problem is that consumers tend to come up to the sets and make random adjustments, not knowing what they do and end up causing the horrible presentation. The secondary issue is that the (less that well paid) staff also does not have the knowledge to make the appropriate corrections to the sets to make them appear correct, nor do most of them care to take the time to do anything about it.
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    [Edited last by John Garcia on August 09, 2001 at 02:52 PM]
     
  8. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    When I went to Circuit City to check out the Onkyo 595 (don't worry -- I eventually bought it from J&R), they had Gladiator on, but with the DVD player set to 16:9 on a 4:3 display. It took me 15 minutes of arguing before I finally said "just give me the fuckin' remote. Haven't you heard the phrase 'the customer's always right'?" After I fixed it, the guy said "Oh... well I didn't know there was a difference."
    This is why I demo stuff at CC and then order it online. [​IMG]
     
  9. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    I'm the total opposite. I try not to say ANYTHING about lousy setups. If I was given half a chance to express my opinion, there wouldn't be much left of the poor sales lackey. Just a lump of flesh lying motionless on the floor... [​IMG]
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    The Milnoc
    Week of July 23: "Unbreakable"
     

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