Loeewe Aconda

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Dan McKevitt, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. Dan McKevitt

    Dan McKevitt Auditioning

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    Hi guys, been a long time. I've been shopping around to replace my 36" Mitsubishi direct view, which has started to give me double images before it warms up. It's served me well, but it's obviously time to consider stepping up into the HDTV market.

    So far, I've seen several TVs that have piqued my interest, ranging from entry level at about $1000, to real bank breakers at $6K. But with so many options, I've really been left with more questions than answers, and I would really respect any opinions I could get here at the HTF.

    My situation - I have a fairly small living room with south facing windows, and we watch alot of TV during the daytime (my son and his cartoons). Not a ton of room, but as you can guess the EC with the 36" Mitsu takes up a decent footprint. I'd like to consider using the EC with a new set, even if it means removing the "housing" and just using the stand portion. I've pretty much ruled out FP and RPTV because of the brightness in this room.

    So far, my front runner is the Loewe Aconda 38". Price is an issue, but Magnolia is offering this baby for $2999, maybe a few bucks less if I can work a little magic. From what I've found on the net - and that isn't alot - this is a phenomonal price. It would fit on my stand, which is nice, but the single component video input would require I eventually but a new receiver with outputs, if I want to utilize HDTV and progressive input for a dvd player, correct? Guys, is this price as good as it sounds? This TV has what I want - the screen size works for me, and I do love direct view. But the price still seems high.

    And reviews on Sony's new LCD RPTVs? I have seen a few threads claiming to have made this purchase at onecall for $2.5K, but their price is higher now. I've seen the displays at CC and GG - is this a TV that will last me for 10 years? Seemed very good at multiple viewing angles, decent in a bright room. My biggest concern with this set was the cost of replacing bulbs. Could anyone share info on the price and life span of the lamps?

    Of course, I have also been considering the Sony and Toshiba 34" direct views, but I have questions here as well. Isn't a widescreen picture on a 36" 4:3 HDTV monitor the same size as the picture on a 34" set? It seemed to be, so considering that much of our STV viewing is at 4:3, maybe we'd be better off with a 36" set? I believe I've ruled out the 34" Sony XBR set, as my price would be only slightly cheaper than the Loewe.

    I've also been considering the Zenith 32" with Integrated HDTV from BB. Now I know the jump from the Aconda to this set is ridiculous, but hear me out. This could work as a "hold me over" type of set, something that would get me HDTV right off the bat without any supplemental purchases. Sure, it's $1k that I could be putting towards a nicer set, but if this holds me off for two years..... I can only imagine that the HDTV market may be a little more friendly on the purse strings by that time. And no, I don't really have a purse.

    Jeez, sorry to ramble on, but like I said, I am really going in a million different directions at this point. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Some people consider the Loewe Aconda to be the finest direct-view set on the market. And it is gorgeous, both in terms of picture quality and styling.

    However, the Sony KV-34XBR910 is fast achieving this very same reputation. The Perfect Vision magazine's reviewer has already declared the Sony to be the best direct-view set he has seen. (The same magazine, though, said the same thing when it reviewed the Loewe.)

    I've seen 'em both, running high-def signals and running DVDs. I could live happily with either one (and I just might make the commitment soon for the Sony).

    So, you're in a good situation: picking between two stunningly beautiful direct-view displays. If you can get a killer deal on the Aconda, no one here is going to criticize your choice.
     
  3. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

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    I realize this doesn't answer the original post but since I've been doing a lot of display comparisons recently...

    In my evaluations I found the new Sony XBR910 dethroned the Loewe models, including the Aconda, for picture quality.
    I found it had a slightly sharper, tighter image with HD content and the virtually invisible grill structure gives the 910 a natural, non-TV feel that other tube sets don'e quite match. As well, I find the 910 looked better with DVDs than the Aconda - the Aconda can be a bit imprecise and softish with DVDs, but the Sony looks very sharp and precise, with incredible color detail and beautiful depth.

    I've never been as impressed with a direct view tube set as with the Sony 910.
     
  4. Dan McKevitt

    Dan McKevitt Auditioning

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    Rich, I seem to recall that you are a plasma guy - a little out of my price range, and to tell you the truth, above and beyond my own abilities to distinguish that level of picture quality. I may still be interested in the Sony 34", but do you think a layman will appreciate the difference between the XBR and standard 34" set? And with that said, would the Sony KV-34HS510 look any better than the cheaper Toshiba equiv.?

    I took a closer look at the loewe again today, and while the picture did look great, it simply didn't look great enough to my untrained eye to merit the additional costs. On top of that - it was parked in the same area as the new Sony LCD projector with the same price tag, which was much larger (50"), lighter (duh) and (once again to my untrained eye) looked better with the HD source being fed to both sets.

    I'll continue to consider the Aconda, but I think I may be leaning towards a 34" if I go the direct view route, maybe the 42" or 50" Sony LCD if I hear enough good things. The new LCDs sure looked remarkable next to last year's XBR equivalents, and the glare, even in the bright showroom, was non-existant.

    On an related note, the Magnolia sales rep was convinced that the lamps for the LCD RPTVs would be down in the $50 range within a few years. Good news, considering that the recurring lamp cost was a big concern of mine with a young 'un on the way.
     
  5. Mitch_J

    Mitch_J Stunt Coordinator

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    Dan,
    I have the KF50WE610 Sony GW III and I love it. For all the reasons you mention. Small footprint,Light weight and hardly any glare. As far as the bulb goes. I was told that it should last 8,000 to 10,000 hours and cost approx. $250. But hopefully as you mentioned those prices will be coming down. I was not even in the market for a new TV let alone one this size. But, that picture does reach out and "grab" you though. I'm thoroughly happy. P.S. it has 7 inputs. Including one DVI,2 Component,3 S-Video...
     
  6. Mitch_J

    Mitch_J Stunt Coordinator

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    Dan,
    I have the KF50WE610 Sony GW III and I love it. For all the reasons you mention. Small footprint,Light weight and hardly any glare. As far as the bulb goes. I was told that it should last 8,000 to 10,000 hours and cost approx. $250. But hopefully as you mentioned those prices will be coming down. I was not even in the market for a new TV let alone one this size. But, that picture does reach out and "grab" you though. I'm thouroughly happy. P.S. it has 7 inputs. Including one DVI,2 Component,3 S-Video...
     
  7. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

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    Dan,

    It's hard to answer your questions when you seem to be saying you're not confident about your ability to distinguish picture quality. I don't know how you'll see things so I don't know what to recommend. That said...

    I've demoed the Sony 910, 510 and the Toshiba 34" model too.
    Would the "layman" see a difference between the super-fine-pitch 910 and the cheaper 510? Going on what I've seen, and on what many have posted in comparing those two displays on other forums, I'd say: Yes you'll see a difference. But I can't say for sure what you'd prefer.
    The 910 takes a little hit in brightness levels because of it's super-fine-pitch aperture grill. So side by side in a store the 510 model looks a bit brighter, which attracts some people. However, you should know under what lighting conditions your critical viewing will be held. I like watching movies in low lighting, and most of my TV viewing happens at night. For best picture quality most TVs will have their contrast and brightness turned down once in your home. A blazing TV image is hard on the eyes, and even the 910's image will have to be made less bright for comfortable viewing. Therefore, what seems to be a brightness advantage in the store doesn't necessarily translate into an advantage under home viewing conditions. (And any CRT tube set, 910 or otherwise, will still do fine in day-time viewing conditions).

    The 510 can in a way seem sharper when viewed next to the 910. But I find it's a somewhat artificial-looking sharpness - sharp in the "Video-like" way that most TVs look sharp. Whereas the 910's super-fine-pitch grill makes that crunchy, pixelly, TV-like quality disappear for a smoother, more window-like image. And you can sit closer too, without seeing the grill "dots."

    Which will ultimately attract your eye I can't say. But I was fairly impressed by HD and DVDs on the 510, and incredibly impressed with those sources on the 910.

    If you find that you are ok with something like the 510 and are price-sensitive, I found the Toshiba 34" wide-screen TV looked truly excellent - perhaps even a bit better than the Sony 510 with DVDs, but not *quite* as good as the 510 with Hi-Def.

    I absolutely LOVE the aesthetics of the Loewe TVs, and admire some things about the image quality. But I wouldn't spend my money on them because I'd be just as happy with the lower priced offerings from Sony and Toshiba...and I think the 910 beats the Loewe in picture quality.

    Regarding the LCD RPTVs like the Sony Grand Wega: This might also be a good choice for you. They cannot produce the really deep black levels and find shadow detail that a lot of us videophile-types like to see. But that doesn't necessarily bother a lot of others who see all the advantages: A bigger image for the money, and a subjectively very sharp looking image. I always find the LCDs attract my eye due to their amazingly sharp, bright image, which can look Killer with Hi-Def and some DVDs.

    You just have to decide it the black levels are good enough for you, and that you're not bothered by the slight changes in picture with viewing angles (a problem with all Rear projection TVs, but it's not as bad with the DLP and LCD RPTVs).

    *IF* you are not terribly bothered by the compromises in some aspects of picture performance, the LCD/DLP Rear Projection TVs may offer the biggest bang-for-your buck.
    As you can see from Mitch's post, many people are very happy with the LCD TVs.

    (Oh, if you watch much regular NTSC broadcasts, I'd check out if your prospective purchase looks good enough with the channels you watch).

    Have fun.

    (And...yeah, I like plasma best, but it took me a year of saving to buy one a while back).
     
  8. Dwight Amato

    Dwight Amato Stunt Coordinator

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    Rich, that is a very impressive write-up. You wrote perfectly the differences between the 510 and the 910. I too was concerned about the brightness issue and sharpness of the 910, until I got it home. I still had to turn down the brightness/contrast to get a truly accurate picture. And the picture is just so clear and perfect I could not be happier. I just came back from seeing the 510 in the store and I am so glad I went for the XBR910. I just love this TV.

    There are some good sales going on right now. I got my 910 for $1875, which included the free stand (which I needed). Having to buy the 510 stand made my price delta only $105, well worth it for the 2 year warranty and increased picture detail.

    Dan, one thing you should think about is the Anaconda does not have a DVI input. This may not be a big deal now, but most certainly will be in the future...
     
  9. EricBenson

    EricBenson Auditioning

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    Just had my Loewe Aconda 38" installed last friday (from Magnolia). I looked at both the Sony 34XBR910 and the Loewe and I liked the Loewe substantially better than the Sony (or any other TV regardless of technology at Magnolia for that matter). I'm obviously biased by my purchase, but my justification is that the additional size, my perception of its higher clarity, and its amazing handling of 480i input make it a winner. My family will be watching alot of 4:3 480i stuff over the next several years. I took VHS tapes as well as DVDs to Magnolia to compare in addition to watching standard NTSC cable channels and I felt the Loewe just blew the Sony away on the VHS and Cable upconversion/noise filtering. I don't think you can go too wrong with any of the choices you're looking at, but my advice would be to think through your normal viewing scenerios and judge each with your own familiar source material.

    Good Luck!
     
  10. Dan McKevitt

    Dan McKevitt Auditioning

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    Dwight,

    How did you get such a great deal on the XBR910? At that price, I would very carefully consider that set. The lowest price I've found for the 510 is $1800 out the door, so the 910 at a hair more sounds fantastic.
     
  11. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    hi guys,

    I think what you are finding is true of most HT related gear.

    You get x amount of performance for a given price. When you double the price, you get a marginal increase in performance.

    Id be happy to have either Sony, Toshiba, or Loewe in my home.

    FWIW,

    Gregg
     
  12. Dan McKevitt

    Dan McKevitt Auditioning

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    Gregg, never heard it said any better! which is one of the reasons I am still considering the Zenith C32V37 as a temporary solution, perhaps until I eventually buy a house that will better accomodate a true home theater. I've heard previous complaints about progressive scan DVD player input, audio/video lag, and of course questionable Zenith reliability. However, the thought of getting HD for under a grand it tempting.

    Paid a visit to the Good Guys at lunch, and the sales rep wouldn't hear of anything even coming close the the 910. It did look very nice. I've certainly got some pros and cons to weigh....
     
  13. Dwight Amato

    Dwight Amato Stunt Coordinator

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  14. nick hexum

    nick hexum Auditioning

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    Dwight,

    I just asked you basically the same question in another thread. I am not in the area but I would love to get a copy of your receipt to use for competetive pricing. Who knows... I may find a deal.

    Thanks!!
     

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