Buying my first 16:9 HDTV: Mitsubishi or Toshiba? Plus - what do you think of this? - JUST UPDATE

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 5, 2001.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I have wanted to buy a new television for
    quite some time now. I currently have a
    Pioneer 51" non-anamorphic set that is now
    5-6 years old.
    I was looking to get a 65" television, but
    most of these sets are in the $3k range, a
    bit out of reach for me right now.
    THE WIZ has a sale this weekend.
    They are selling the Mitsubishi 555807
    (55" HD-Upgradeable 16:9 widescreen) television
    for $2500 with 12 months no payment or interest.
    Sounds like a good deal. I know the Mitsubishi
    sets are beautiful.
    But I also hear that the Toshiba sets hold the
    convergence so much better than the Mitsubishi
    sets.
    What would you guys suggest as the best bang for
    the buck without sacrificing vivid TV quality?
    Perhaps you may also know where I can get the
    best deals, as I am sure THE WIZ will
    charge me an arm & leg for shipping.
    Thanks
    ------------------
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    Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
    Circa 2000
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  2. Matt Heebner

    Matt Heebner Stunt Coordinator

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    I think either one of these TV's will fit your needs. I looked into both of them and decided to go with a Mits WS55807.
    The reasons I went with Mits....They are "super tweakable", meaning that you can really get the best picture possible from this set. From what I have read, many ISF techs prefer Mits because of the ability to get the best picture. If convergence is a concern, there is a 2 minute tweak to save your convergence that you spent two hours on as the factory default. (This is one of the first things I did)
    Reason 2: The promise module. Mits is the only manufacturer that has put into writing that they will support their product in the future regarding the HD standard. Kind of puts my mind at ease that I wont be left out in the cold if future standards change.
    Although my picture looked pretty good out of the box, I have done some simple tweaks to it, and DVD's look simply stunning. (no HD yet) Its hard to believe that it gets any better.
    The Toshiba has quite a following as well. From the research I've done on them I can say that they also have a very nice picture, although I am not sure about how tweakable they are. I am sure that someone else will fill you in on this.
    I bought my 55807 about 4 months ago for $2699 locally, and they offered 24 months no interest, free financing. I think that you should look around locally and see if you cant get a good price without having to pay for shipping.
    Like I said before, I don't think you will be disappointed with either one, but for me the Mits has the advantage over any other RPTV out there for the two main reasons stated above. Once you watch your favorite movie on your new 16x9 TV, you'll wonder why you waited so long!
    Have fun, and let us know what you decide. [​IMG]
    Matt
    ------------------
    ....Eat, Drink, and Be Merry, For Tomorrow We Die....--DMB
    [Edited last by Matt Heebner on October 05, 2001 at 04:46 PM]
     
  3. Kieran Coghlan

    Kieran Coghlan Second Unit

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    Ron,
    Congrats on finally making the move to 16:9! You'll love it. Personally, I prefer Toshibas to Mitsubishis. Honestly, and not to simply be contradictory, but I've heard the exact opposite from what Matt posted. A friend who's an ISF tech said that Mits's were one of the most difficult sets for him to calibrate, and that they always took him the longest to get right. He loved to work on Toshibas. This was almost 2 years ago though... I don't know if Mits has changed their menus, etc. I also read that Mits's were more difficult to do "self tweaks." But again, that's just what I've read/heard. I KNOW that Toshibas are fairly easy to tweak, and there is a boat load of help and information available on the web about how to tweak your Toshiba HD-RPTV.
    Check out the keohi site for starters. They have pages on both Mits and Tosh, with tweaks and tips for both, as well as other brands. It's a good place to start. Also, another ultimatebb based forum, www.hometheaterspot.com has several brand specific forums with lots of great posts on specific tips, tweaks, fixes and problems with several different brands and models of TVs.
    Another brand set you might want to check out is Hitachi. I had never really considered them before, because the only local dealer that sells them for me is Circuit City, and I try not to shop there (bad divx aftertaste.) Anyway, I was in there recently and was very impressed with the 43" Hitachi. I know you want bigger, but I was so impressed with the 43" (especially considering it was just a display model) that it may be worth your time to check out their bigger models as well. I've never seen one. Sears stocks and sells Hitachi (as well as Tosh, and maybe Mits, too..)
    As for price, I don't know how you feel about buying online mail order for big TV's, but there are several amazing deals to be had if you know where to look.
    Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress!
    ------------------
    -Kieran
    My HT Page
     
  4. Gary_E

    Gary_E Second Unit

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    Ron,
    I have a Toshiba 40H80 and I think it's great. DVD and HD broadcasts look incredible. I have a buddy who just got a Toshiba 50H81 and he paid $2000.00 for it. It looks very, very good. He has Direct TV and generally is very happy with the picture. Again, he's floored with the DVD and HD image.
    In June I had an opportunity to get a Toshiba 65H80 for $2000.00. Unfortunately, funds were low at that time and I had to pass but if I get another deal like that in the future, I won't hesitate.
    Good luck,
    -Gary
     
  5. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    Ron,
    I can concur that a Mitsubishi does indeed have problems holding its convergence. Mine seems to run at a 2-3 month clip before the convergence starts to drift. As Matt said, setting your convergence to be the default setting will save you a lot of legwork.
    Bruce
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    Welcome aboard the Satellite of Love
     
  6. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Ron:
    Don't do it man! Wait to see what the January 2002 CES in Vegas has in store for IEEE and DVI compatible HDTV's (of all styles) and decoder boxes.
    A purchase now may be money wasted.
    Dan
    ------------------
    Stop HDCP and 5C-- Your rights are at risk!
     
  7. Marque D

    Marque D Stunt Coordinator

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    The Mits that he is considering can be upgraded to IEEE and 5C. I think the Mits is a safe buy. He could also consider getting one of the Sony's new widescreen sets, which will also have Firewire.
     
  8. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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  9. AllenD

    AllenD Second Unit

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    Hi Ron.
    Like you I had either the Toshiba or a Mitsubishi to choose from. I chose the Mits 65807. To be honest, price was the ultimate factor for me and second is "The Promise." Both sets have great picture quality and as far as tweakability, I say they're on par with each other.
    Convergence was a hassle at first but I've learned to live with it. I haven't tried the tweak mentioned here for holding manual convergence as default, yet, but the Mits menu and help from The Spot makes it easy to perform most tweaks.
    I found the 55807 at buy.com for $2699.99 with standard shipping for $99.99. Here it is---> http://www.us.buy.com/retail/product...=90051070&loc=
    Good luck.
     
  10. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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    I also checked out both these sets as well as many others. I went with the Toshiba 65H80, I was considering the Mits because of the promise module but after I looked at my brother in laws Mits I went to the Toshiba. My brother in law has the red push problem. The other thing that turn me away from the Mits was that the promise module is going to cost around $1000.00 and that is too much, I rather buy another TV when that happens, specially when I got my Tosh for only $2399.00. Good luck on what ever you decide.
     
  11. Matt Heebner

    Matt Heebner Stunt Coordinator

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    From what I've read, every RPTV has high levels of red push, just Mits has it higher than everyone else. I bought a Yeringto red push attenuator and all is well with the world. I guess that an ISF guy has come up with a permanent fix for red push, and has instructions for other techs to do it as well. I have also read that there is a STB in the works to control red push.
    I dont think that the red push should be an issue with deciding on whether you buy a TV or not. As with everything else in HT, you need to find a local dealer that can play HD content as well as DVD's for comparisons between Mits and Tosh's and even Hitachi's. After you have seen what all has to offer, make a decision on what you like best.
    Thats what counts in the end! [​IMG]
    Matt
    ------------------
    ....Eat, Drink, and Be Merry, For Tomorrow We Die....--DMB
     
  12. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Mitsubishi's upgrade promise does not include DVI. People on the AVS forum have been talking about this for awhile.
    HD sources from DISH and DirecTV (and maybe some cable company boxes) will, for now, be output via DVI.
    I would wait a few more months for clarification, wouldn't you??
    Dan
    ------------------
    Stop HDCP and 5C-- Your rights are at risk!
     
  13. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Ron,
    I just made this upgrade a couple of weeks ago.
    The current model Mits is the WS55809, the 807 is last year's model. I looked at these in 2 different Sears stores and at GoodGuys, and could not find a properly working example of the model. I really wanted to like the Mits. All 3 had very noticeable discolorations in the upper corners of the screen, blue on one side and reddish-purple on the other, poor convergence/fuzzy pictures, and mediocre geometry. I normally discount any single defect I see in a single display model, but when the same defects show on 3 different examples, and is not just burn-in, I tend to want to steer clear.
    I looked at Toshibas at Sears, Best Buy, and Good Guys, running HD demos and progressive scan dvd, as well as ntsc. HD and DVD were excellent, ntsc signal from a poor store feed at BB was very nasty, as expected, though a bit better at Sears. I had previously seen a lot of color shift on Toshiba widescreen sets (slight reddish whites on left upper side of screen and bluish on right upper corner due to gun placement), but neither the 50H81 or 50HX81 seemed to have it nearly as bad as a 40H80 I looked at a year ago. All the floor samples looked pretty much the same running the same sources at different stores, indicating consistent quality control, and the cabinets appeared to be solidly built. SVM is defeated in Movie mode, and different settings can be saved for that mode for each input, so you can have SVM off on all inputs, but can only store one set of settings per input and still have SVM off. Since the channels available to me over dbs and cable are great examples of Never Twice the Same Color having only one adjustable and storable preference setting per input is not really enough.
    I looked at Hitachi UWX series sets at CC and 2 Sears stores. Picture quality looked the same as Tosh, and was consistent among the 3 examples I looked at. Both Tosh and Hitachi give you the choice of 540p or 1080i upconversion of ntsc sources, and some other similarities lead me to believe there is some shared componentry though I understand the newest line of Tosh sets don't use Hitachi crts as they did previously. Hitachi lets you store 4 sets of picture adjustments and toggle thru them with a single button press on the remote without having to enter the menu-ideal when available channels have inconsistent pictures. SVM can be turned off in any and all sets of adjustments.
    My previous set is a 2 year old Hitachi analog Ultravision model, that performed flawlessly in heavy use, so I went with the UWX over the Toshiba.
    One thing I noticed is that the Hitachi cabinet is deeper by 8 inches than the Tosh, meaning the crt-mirror-screen angles are more favorable. I could be wrong but I think this helps with problems like geometry,color shift and hot spotting. When I was looking at all these sets, I put them in 4/3 mode with gray bars, and the Hitachis consistently had the straightest transition edges between the picture and gray bar, indicating pretty good geometry. The example I bought also has very straight edges.
    Compared to Toshiba, Hitachi sets are not tweaker friendly in that low ire grayscale adjustments are done with trimpots inside the set.
    The convergence on my set was acceptable out of the box, but I did do a little touch-up which meant pushing a blue button inside though I've since learned this can be done without opening the set. I have also had to tweak the "green screen" trimpot a bit to deal with a problem with excessive green in dark parts of the picture. Having removed the front panel behind the grillwork, I can say the set is very nicely built inside, everything is neatly done, materials appear to be quite substantial, and wiring and such is nicely tied down. Does have rather cheap-looking paper cone 5 inch or so speakers, and only 2 of them as opposed to 6 on the old set.
    I have seen no ringing (vertical shaded lines at edges of screen) no ghost outlines around dark objects on light backgrounds. I have seen banding to a minor degree on my old analog set on some cable channels and a couple of Disney animated dvds, but none on the UWX. The common effects of internal reflections in the set are also much less prevalent.
    I have one of the new JVC progressive scan players connected to the set and the picture is gorgeous. Under the set's setup menu you can choose 2 different color systems, DVD-SD and 1080iHD. The HD setting is available with progressive scan input from the dvd player and seems to really tame down red push and give much more balanced and less "TV" like color.
    I also have added a Toshiba DST-3000 stb to the set and recommend it highly. This box can tune NTSC either OTA or from cable systems, OTA ATSC, and DirecTV. It can upconvert ntsc to 1080i, and frankly does a cleaner job than the set's line doubler. It will also downconvert HD to 480i for a second set, but won't output both formats at the same time. I get one ota HD channel-an ABC affiliate broadcasting 720p which the Tosh box converts to 1080i--looks pretty impressive, but they can't get the sound synched consistently. The best HD picture I've seen, bar none, is HDNet off DirecTV on this set. So far I've seen only demo material and Hockey, but the live Hockey looked every bit as good as the HD demo loops. HBO still runs too much upconverted stuff, though some of their movies are very nice indeed, and they are no longer cropping all 2:35 movies to 1:85--I am currently watching Beverly Hills Cop II in 2:35 with black bars. HBO HD also seems to have their color temp stuck on "Cool", so to speak, with too much blue. The Hitachi has 3 color temp settings, so I just have a "warmer" one stored to toggle to when watching HBO HD. Haven't seen any of HBO's original programming in HD yet, so am reserving judgement.
    I am quite happy with my Hitachi, but you may be happier with the easier tweakability of the Toshiba.
    I am finding availability of Hitachi tweaking tips is improving, especially over at HTSpot, but still isn't nearly as comprehensive as what you can get on Toshibas.
    To be honest, if I hadn't had such good experience with the old Hitachi I would have been more likely to have chosen a Toshiba. But my past experience, the user interface which better meets my needs, the deeper cabinet meaning more favorable mirror angles, and a bit of suspicion engendered by the lower price of the Toshiba tilted me in favor of the Hitachi.
    Toshiba sells one hell of an STB, though. IMHO, this box is a major asset for any HD-ready set.
    ------------------
    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
    [Edited last by Steve Schaffer on October 07, 2001 at 01:34 AM]
    [Edited last by Steve Schaffer on October 07, 2001 at 01:40 AM]
     
  14. RoyGBiv

    RoyGBiv Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,
    As far as the picture, you just have to go see them for yourself in a place where they are set up well, and decide for yourself. I did this two years ago and decided on a Mitsubishi after comparing it to Pioneer (not the Elite...that's in a different league), Toshiba and Hitachi. Also keep in mind that from everything I've read, you can do much more adjusting of the Mitsubishis. You really should look at hometheaterspot.com.
    There is one other consideration that has not been mentioned. There is much greater flexibility for the Mitsubishi TVs in terms of hook ups. I don't know how you are planning to connect your components, but the Mitsubishi TVs have one component in for 1080i, two more that can accept 480p, and three more in back for composite or s-video with a fourth in front. These extra inputs can really come in handy since high quality component video switchers are very expensive. I believe Toshiba has two components in for both 1080i and 480p, and the Hitachi just one of each.
    Just my thoughts on another piece of the puzzle.
    SMK
     
  15. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Toshiba and Hitachi both have 2 sets of component inputs on the back, either of which will accept 480i, 480p, or 1080i. The Hitachi will also accept 720p, but the set converts it to 1080i--won't display 720p natively like the early Panasonics. I'm pretty sure the Tosh will also accept 720p and convert it to 1080i. These component inputs also have their own audio input jacks. There are also 2 sets of S/composite inputs on the back and one on the front. Of course the S and composite jacks on the same input can't be used at the same time, so one is limited to a total of 5 separate inputs for video/analog audio. The Hitachi can be configured to automatically switch to one of the component inputs (#4) whenever an incoming signal is sensed.
    I'm not sure about Mits or Tosh, but Hitachi has 5 separate input buttons on the remote, so one can go directly from any input to any other without having to cycle thru all the inputs.
    To be fair, 2 of my co-workers have Mitsubishi sets and are very happy with them, I was just sorta spooked by not being able to find a properly functioning example at any of 3 stores where they were on display. These particular sets may have been on display at ruinous picture settings for a lot longer than the examples of Tosh and Hitachi I saw, which could easily have been up and running in torch mode for less time.
    I did play with picture settings on the display sets to the annoyance of some of the sales drones, but did not actually try in-store Avia calibration.
    ------------------
    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
     
  16. Grady Hollums

    Grady Hollums Second Unit

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    Ron:
    Please let me know what you made your decision on. I am saving up all this year and plan on buying a HDTV 16x9 set next Christmas. I am hoping by then the price will go down a little and I will be able to afford the smaller sets, but I hope that the strengths and weaknesses mention so far are not TV specific and that if I get the 47" size instead of the 56" size it will still be the same except you will be buying a larger screen. Please let me know why you chose what you did and why.
    Also: Why are you looking only at these sets? Was there something about Hitachi (sp?), RCA, etc.. that you do not like?
    Thank you and have fun, I will join you in a little over a year in the HDTV joys. [​IMG]
    ------------------
    In Him,
    GH
    My Home
    Theater

    [Edited last by Grady Hollums on October 15, 2001 at 06:19 PM]
     
  17. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I bought the Toshiba 57HX81
    It is next year's model
    Should have it in another 2 weeks.
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
    Circa 2000
    Home Theater Forum Administrator
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  18. Chris Borden

    Chris Borden Auditioning

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    Have you seen the Sony 51HW40 with a clean source ? if not, you owe it to yourself to take a look. Of course, it's the same size as your current set, so if you want to get a little larger, maybe its 57" big brother would be the ideal choice. Either way, at least look at this new SONY! It looks much better than the previous generation models (eg: 53HS10).
    I spent a good hour watching various things on the 51HW40 using their 700P player and it looked very nice. It looked even better at Circuit City with their 1080i feed from HDnet. Of course, at our local CC outlet, every Sony TV looked tweaked to perfection while every competing brand looked like garbage.
    BestBuy had this model for $2638 this past weekend vs. the normal $2799.
    Happy hunting!
    -Chris
    PS: A big "DOH!" on my timing [​IMG]
    ------------------
    Yoda|MC on #DVD
    Panasonic Video | Sony 9000ES | Paradigm LCR-450's | Sunfire Sub
    [Edited last by Chris Borden on October 15, 2001 at 06:47 PM]
     
  19. Brian Schucher

    Brian Schucher Supporting Actor

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    Excellent choice Ron.. ENJOY!!
     
  20. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Ron,
    I too think you've made an excellent choice. Since my last post the green thing on my Hitachi got to be more than I could deal with, so it went back.
    Chris,
    My Hitachi 53UWX10B went back--couldn't hack the green error on low brightness parts of the grayscale, and could not satisfactorily adjust it out.
    Though I'd seen the Sony HW40s, I hadn't seriously spent any time looking at 'em, having always thought the Sony DRC was too soft.
    When I went in to arrange the return of the Hitachi, they had just set up a new KP51HW40, connected to both HD and the standard store ntsc feed. I played with it for 2o minutes or so and very much liked what I saw, so I arranged to swap the Hitachi for a Sony KP57HW40. Took delivery of the Sony Saturday morning and can confirm that this is an excellent set indeed.
    My poorer cable channels don't look all that great, but are definitely better than on the Hitachi. 480i direcTV fed into the S-video input looks very nice, the DRC is not at all soft or blurry as I remember from previous Sony sets, and it's variable stretch mode for 4/3 material is the least distracting of any I've seen, with minimal added digital artifacting.
    Although I could not do a valid comparison with Mits or Toshiba without actually having one of them in my home as I did the Hitachi, from what I could evaluate using the HD and ntsc store feeds in the store the Sony is better at presenting an ntsc picture than either of them as far as line doubler performance and stretch mode, and at least as good for HD.
    I could not be happier than I am with this Sony, and hope more people add the HW40 models to their list when considering a widescreen HD-ready set.
    ------------------
    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
     

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