new HDTV owner - initial impressions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by ChrisNev, Oct 11, 2002.

  1. ChrisNev

    ChrisNev Auditioning

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    Hi all. This is my first post here. I have been lurking for a while (great forum!) but finally got an HDTV so I figured I would share some of my thoughts and maybe see if anyone has any advice.

    I ended up getting the Panasonic 53WX42 from BestBuy. They had a good deal last week ($1709, 24 months no interest) so I figured if I was going to do it, this is the best time.

    After using it for about a week now, however, I am afraid to say I am a bit disappointed. My viewing is basically digital cable (At&t – Boston), DVD’s, and games. I will discuss each here.

    Cable – I knew going in that I would not see any improvement when viewing cable TV. There is a definite degradation of quality, however. Some channels are definitely better than others (MTV, FOX, etc) but some just look grainy, fuzzy, and washed out. The first thing I did was remove the cable box itself and that did improve the quality somewhat. The problem with that is I lose some of the local channels when not going through the cable box, which is obviously not ideal. I think this is At&t Boston thing because I know others out of state who don’t have this problem. This is my second residence in this area that this has occurred. Anyway, overall cable quality is not as good as on my 4+ year old Sony 27” Trinitron.

    DVD – Now this is where I expected to be blown away (I am using a Panasonic RP62 with an Acoustic Research component cable). I tried a couple of DVD’s and they looked nice but I ran the Avia video test patterns before I did any longer-term viewing.

    After running Avia (I think picture/contrast ended up being around 20ish out of 100), I watched a few DVD’s over a longer period of time (Gladiator, Bug’s Life, Rounders, Matrix, etc). Overall I didn’t get the impact I was expecting. Quality seemed to vary based on the material. Some looked amazing but with others, the darks seemed too dark or the brights too bright. The colors (sometimes reds and oranges) would sometimes look over-accentuated or even washed out. There just didn’t seem to be the crispness I was expecting.

    I also noticed that on the far right side of the screen, the picture got a bit fuzzier in some cases. It was difficult to see and really depended on the material being viewed.

    Video games – I also tried my GameCube (connected with s-video) briefly. Again, it was definitely a drop in quality. Whereas I didn’t mind the stretching when viewing TV, I didn’t like it here. It seemed to really affect the quality and there were definitely jaggies. The colors were also not as accurate as before.

    Conclusion – Is all this “normal”? Is there a chance that there is something wrong with the set? Is there anything else I can do or try to improve overall quality? I am starting to contemplate returning it and getting a Sony KV-36FV300. BestBuy’s policy is 30 days so I still have time.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Sounds like you need an ISF technician to come and calibrate your set. However you should have at least 100hrs to break in your set first.

    This seems to come up quite a bit with new RPTV buyers. They are not satisfied right out of the box which I hear panasonic TV's are horrible out of the box anyway so some major tweaking is in order. Since you have avia, use this and some of the tweaks on the panytv site as well as keohi's site to help with some of the DIY tweaks before you get it ISF'd. I'm sure you will be happy with the set once these things are done because this is one of the highest regarded sets around here.
     
  3. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    Keep in mind that you're seeing a picture nearly four times as large as your Sony direct view. Any flaws in the signal, such as "fuzziness," will be magnified 4x. Some channels are less compressed than others and look better. This isn't the fault of the set but of the broadcaster.

    DVDs should look splendid. The quality of DVDs does vary, though, so some will look better than others. I'm puzzled about the fuzziness on the right edge; I'd think it would either be there or not with all material. If the convergence is off-kilter, it should be off-kilter for everything.

    You have a couple more weeks to fiddle with the Panny RPTV. Try adjusting the color, etc. If you still don't like it, take it back and get the Sony direct view or, perhaps, a smaller RPTV. I love my 42" Tosh and the relatively small screen size; the smaller the screen, the fewer the problems with mediocre signals, convergence, etc. If you're considering abandoning the 53" size for 36", it's worth looking into a 40" (+ or -) RPTV set.

    Jan
     
  4. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    You need advice on someone who has that TV and has had it ISF calibrated already, or advice from an ISF Calibrator as to whether the TV is worth keeping or worth swapping.
     
  5. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    With all due respect, your topic header is misleading. It leads one to assume you just got a HDTV but are disappointed with the picture from a High Defintion Source. As good as DVD is I don't believe it is considered HD.
     
  6. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    I just did my first Panny 53 " calibration last evening. It looked STUNNING!

    Out of the box:
    Focus was pretty good except for the blue gun
    Gray scale was one of the better ones Ive measured pre calibration
    Contrast was 150% too high in Movie mode
    Black level was also set too high, though I didnt measure the Luminance.

    Things I liked about the set:
    SVM setting in the user menu
    MUCH MORE calibrator friendly, service menus matched user menu contrast and gray scale values

    My opinion:
    For under $2000 this is a great set!!

    FWIW,

    Gregg
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    So the moral of this story is ...

    You need to reassess just what you're expecting from an RPTV. As Jan notes, when you blow an NTSC video image to that size you'll notice the flaws all the more easily.

    Get your Panny calibrated; Gregg's assessment of its calibration-friendliness is encouraging.

    Eventually, you'll get used to how RPTVs look.
     
  8. ChrisNev

    ChrisNev Auditioning

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  9. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Chris,
    Don't give up based on your experience with one set. As Greg noted your set can look stunning with calibration, but apparently isn't too satisfactory out of the box. The fuzziness on one side indicates your individual set isn't up to even factory spec.

    A year ago I replaced a very nice analog Hitachi rptv with a new Widescreen Hitachi HD-ready model. After 2 weeks I hated it so much I decided to return it for a refund and go back to the analog set. While in the store to arrange the return I looked at a few other models and sorta liked the Sony widescreen. On a whim I decided to try again and arranged an exchange instead of a return. Within 20 minutes of the Sony's arrival I was a happy camper and have enjoyed it for the last year.

    Good cable channels are quite watchable, and dvd and HD are true eye candy.

    Some makes are known to be better out of the box than others, and thus less in need of professional calibration in order to produce an acceptable picture.

    Also, in my case I was going from analog rptv to HD-ready, and was already familiar with and accepting of the fact that magnifying a mediocre picture from 27" to 53" is pretty ugly.

    Your experience is not common among other owners of even your same set model, so I'd suspect a malfunction in that particular set combined with perhaps lousy cable picture.
     
  10. elMalloc

    elMalloc Supporting Actor

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    Here's a pic of shrek running on your panny (last year's model even) this isn't even ISF'ed...RPTVs won't give spectacular showing for all dvds...you know the animated dvds look flawless. Also gamecube has to be in component progressive scan to get any decent picture out of it on hdtv from what I've read..
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Butch S

    Butch S Auditioning

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    Yes, it seems you just need to fiddle with it a bit.
    Also, are you using a Progressive scan DVD player? That will make a BIG diffeence.
    Also, disable SVM.
    This is a GREAT site for Panny owners.
    http://www.panny.tv/
    probably, all you'll need is a nice convergence, and a PS DVD player if you don't have one, and you'll be rolling.
    Here's a pic of Gladiator on my Panny. Picture was superclear, and this was before I did the 64pt. convergence on it...
    http://www.knology.net/~booyotch/images/pics/glad.jpg
     
  12. Justin H

    Justin H Stunt Coordinator

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    I am the new owner of a 47wx52 so I can try and help out a little. NTSC pictures are not great, especially when stretched, as with all big rptv's. But, I have DirecTV thru an S-video and it is actually very bearable. Some channels even look relatively good, and I sit very close to the set(6-7ft). As for DVD's I wasn't blown away at first either, in fact I was a little disappointed. But after a few tweaks using AVIA and doing most of the basic stuff found on panny.tv the picture was greatly improved. I recently bought a new DVD player (with progressive scan) and the picture is now stellar. Monster's Inc. makes my jaw drop and other dvd's are very clear, clear enough to see the grain on the actual film. All in all, you have to decide if an rptv is what you want. The NTSC picture is a drawback, but DVD's more than make up for it in my mind, plus realize the growing popularity of HDTV and how you are prepared for it when you decide to take the plunge.
     
  13. Ming Wang

    Ming Wang Agent

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    I almost returned my 53wx42 the first week... but after some calibration especially 64-point geometry and convergence, the picture looked MUCH better.

    however, I don't see much difference between a progressive scan with panny RP62 player and my old toshiba 3109 interlaced.

    I have dish and have to turn up the brightness to about 45.
     
  14. Jim_P

    Jim_P Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris:

    Some of what you described is typical for a High Def TV, however, the fuzzy far side thingy, isn't.

    Go to where you bought it and see if the same fuzzy problem exist with other Pannys of the same model.
     
  15. Dann B

    Dann B Auditioning

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    Ming: (2 posts above)

     
  16. Butch S

    Butch S Auditioning

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    This site is where you will find instructions for doing the 64pt. convergence...
    http://www.panny.tv/
     
  17. Justin H

    Justin H Stunt Coordinator

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    Like Butch said: The "bursting blue" can be handled through a manual and electronic focus and the 64 pt. convergence will handle the misalignment of the red gun (it is found in the service menu). Print out the "Known Tweaks" on panny.tv and you'll be all set.
     
  18. Ming Wang

    Ming Wang Agent

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    Dann, as Butch pointed out, you can find many information on fine tune the set at panny.tv. for 64-point convergence, you need to enter service menu mode, but no need to open the TV. I've found the service manual is easier to follow than the instruction posted on panny.tv.

    the manual and electronic focus mentioned by Justin require you open the TV set.

    since you have ordered a technician check, you probably don't want to touch any of those until the technician comes.
     
  19. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

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    I don't know what you expected, a larger screen is going to reveal more flaws in material. The Matrix looks great on my TV, but Gladiator is so-so, because the source material is weak. It's overloaded with edge enhancement, as many DVDs are.

    I did a lot of research before I ordered my TV (a 53WX42, same as yours) and it was quite clear from the outset that getting it ISF calibrated was going to be required in ordered to get the best performance. So I budgeted that in - that being said just having done Avia, the quality of the TV has really impressed me. Gregg Loewen is going to be calibrating it this Thursday, so I'm eagerly anticipting the results of that as well.
     
  20. ChrisNev

    ChrisNev Auditioning

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    Well I guess I just have to decide how much time I want to invest on tweaking it and getting it calibrated. I am just somewhat surprised with "out-of-the-box" performance. I assume that most people who walk into BestBuy and get an HighDef RP won't be happy with the quality and at the same time won't have any knowledge of the tweaks that can be done. I just find it hard to believe that all these extra things have to be done to get a better picture.

    I researched HDTV's in general before I bought mine and did expect to do some tweaking. But I did expect the quality to be alot better without jumping through flaming hoops to get there.
     

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