My plasma monitor purchase

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by carl_lunenfeld, Jun 14, 2002.

  1. carl_lunenfeld

    carl_lunenfeld Auditioning

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    Hi everyone,

    I just joined the forum last night. And it seems like just the place I need.

    I've been doing research for my plasma monitor for about 9 months now. What I've learned is that everyone seems to say about the same things.

    I've been interested in the 50 inch Pioneer lately. I'm attracted to the "media receiver" that is wrapped in the package. Do I need a "media receiver" with a plasma. I'm guessing I probably do because my viewing will most likely be through cable or DVD for the time being.

    Another important question I have is regarding internet retailers. Is there a rating anywhere of the different sites. I'm most concerned with trust. I'm pretty worried about spending $10,000 at a web operation. But saving $5,000 dollars sounds to good to be true.

    What kind of experiences have people had making expensive purchase online. For example plasmacity.com or tvauthority.com.

    Thanks for your help.

    Carl
     
  2. Marshall Sander

    Marshall Sander Stunt Coordinator

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    My friend bought a plasma set at homenext.com -- good prices and no problems. I think they carry the Pioneer.
     
  3. Jim FC

    Jim FC Stunt Coordinator

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    Pioneer does not authorize internet sales, so buy at your own risk... it is within Pioneer's rights to decline to support you or to honor their manufacturer's warranty if they learn you purchased through an unauthorized dealer. As they say, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I personally would never buy anything that major through a web site... there's absolutely no guarantee you'll get what you paid for, and zero certainty they'll be around to help you if something goes wrong.

    The "media receiver" that comes with the standard-line Pioneer is really nothing more than a tuner... most plasmas don't include a tuner, but your VCR can handle that job. I would steer away from any product like that which requires a specific device to make it work, because if/when the "media center" breaks, the display would be useless, too. But if you're looking at Pioneers (and you should, they're great), I'd go for the Elite. Looks incredible, on or off, and has an array of inputs that make it easy to hook up to just about anything. Hope this helps!
     
  4. carl_lunenfeld

    carl_lunenfeld Auditioning

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    Thanks for the info Jim. I was all ready to purchase something this month. I finally stopped reading and started looking. I was pretty disappointed with the non-hd picture on the plasma.

    Would you say the elite is better with a standard ntsc signal? That's what my cable signal is correct? Most of my viewing will be cable for a while. I'll probable get satellite this year. My HD options are pretty limited. The local channels supposedly have HD signals available. But I have a hard time with any signals at my home.

    Your note about the receiver breaking is well taken.

    Are you referring to the elite pioneer rptv in your note above? Pioneer also has an elite plasma.

    Do you work in the tv/home theater industry?

    Thanks for the help. I really appreciate your time.

    Carl
     
  5. Jim FC

    Jim FC Stunt Coordinator

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    Carl,
    No problem, glad we could help you. First off, I was indeed referring to the Elite plasma, which costs only slightly more than the standard-line Pioneer plasma. It looks amazing on an HD feed, and with a good dvd player (such as Pioneer's DVD47, the one I've used) it looks almost as good. Pioneer Elite RPTVs are great, though; I'd say that out of the box, they're the best looking RPTV money can buy.

    NTSC is not just cable TV, it refers to ANY television signal you watch in North America -- cable, satellite, DVD, VHS tapes -- except for high-def TV, which uses the newer ATSC system. Obviously, there is quite a bit of NTSC content around, and any HD set you purchase will be displaying probably 95% NTSC signals for the next couple years, at the very least, so finding a way to make NTSC look good on an HD set is important.

    There are infinitely varying levels of NTSC quality, however. From best to worst, they rank: DVD (using the entire capacity of the NTSC signal), satellite, S-VHS, digital cable, regular cable, antenna, with VHS bringing up the rear at less than half the capacity of the NTSC signal. Any HD-ready TV, including plasma, recognizes anything that comes through in NTSC, and upconverts it to a higher picture quality. Some do this better than others, and all of them achieve a better result when the initial NTSC source is of a higher quality, such as DVD or sat.

    Now back to the Elite plasma... yes, I would say it does a better job than most at upconverting crappy signals into ones that are watchable, but on cable it still might disappoint you with its picture quality -- not the plasma's fault, mind you, but the signal's. The bottom line for me is that if you're serious about plasma, you really should get serious about satellite TV, too.

    DirecTV and DISH Network will get you higher picture quality on all channels, as well as some HD content if you get the right set-up. A sat system that can decode their HD channels as well as all their other channels can be had for $600-$800ish if you shop around. If you get the right satellite tuner, it can also decode any local high-def signals you may recieve off-air (ie, with antenna), and save you having to buy another decoder for that somewhere down the line.

    There are other good plasmas out there, but the Elite's the best I've seen. You may find other opinions, but there's mine. Were you planning to hang it on the wall, or put it on a shelf or table? Plasmas are sweet, but be prepared to spend even more to get your money's worth out of them.
     

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