Not really sold on next gen display technologies.

Discussion in 'Displays' started by [email protected], Feb 11, 2004.

  1. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    As I do my Sunday DVD shopping, I often stop by the TV area at my local CC or BB to look at the sets.

    This week at my CC they set up a DLP and LCD side by side, both were around 60".

    Since these technologies are the future of video, I often try to figure out what I might buy if the funds were available.

    But at this point, I'm not really thrilled with what I see.

    It's not the reported poor blacks of LCD or the rainbow effect of DLP (I've seen neither really), it's the 'glitter grain' effect.

    What I'm seeing is lots of shinny grain, even in Finding Nemo which looks flawless on my CRT.

    I know both these technologies are based on pixels, instead of scanlines.

    Seems like the fully digital path is harsher and less forgiving.

    Starting to wonder if this isn't similar to those who preferred analog recordings (LPs) to CDs.

    I keep drifting back to the Sony 910, which is fairly small but always seems to look so natural and sharp.

    Maybe the CRT isn't dead yet.

    I should probably stop by a highend shop and see these new sets in their best light.

    For some reason, BB and CC always seem to be piping some questionable signals to their larger sets.
     
  2. John S

    John S Producer

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    Just bought before xmas, and after a 2 month search, I ended up deciding on good ol CRT RP HDTV myself. If nothing else it certainly has price advantages these days over the others. I actually came in way under budget on the purchase in the end.
     
  3. Danny Beck

    Danny Beck Stunt Coordinator

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    It's funny that you say that Frank because I just returned my Sony 42" LCD Projection and got an 34" XBR910. [​IMG] You are correct in your observations to a certain extent.

    "Fixed pixel" displays like the DLP and LCD do show their pixels from time to time. One thing to keep in mind though is that you are suppose to be viewing these sets from at least 8 feet or so. At normal viewing positions they don't look as pixely as your probably seeing when your standing in a store 4 feet from the screen. However, in the end these technologies are a work in progress in some respects. They've really only been making high def LCD and DLP sets for a few years now. Tube based sets have been around for over 50+ years and therefore they've fine tuned the technology to the point where the newer sets are just amazing. That is precisely what brought me to the XBR910. It's the ultimate example of Sony's perfecting of flat HDTV tubes. So, i'm kind of with you on this one.


    Just months ago I thought i'd be happy with LCD right now but I came to realize i'll be fine with a tube tv for another 3-4 years and then i'm sure i'll make the jump to whatever is looking the best at that time. I expect the newer technolgies to evolve nicely in the coming years.


    Dan
     
  4. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    Well I did sit on the couch provided to view the displays (about 8-10 ft away).

    The amount of 'glitter grain' on both sets was surprising, although a smaller LCD nearby seemed to have less.

    Since the picture (Nemo) was in sync on both sets, I asked the sales guy where the signal was coming from.

    He indicated they were running both sets (DLP & LCD) off a prog scan player using a top-notch powered splitter.

    He indicated there was no signal loss/corruption, but this seems questionable.

    I guess calibration is always an issue as well.

    I should stop in a high-end operation, but I usually wind up in BB/CC due to software shipping.
     
  5. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    I had a another drool-inducing CRT experience recently.

    At my local BB, they setup a Sony 36" 4:3 HD direct-view running Santa Clause 2.

    Wow, it *really* looked great...I had to sit down and watch.

    Don't think I would buy another 4:3 at this point, however.
     
  6. Danny Beck

    Danny Beck Stunt Coordinator

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    You are aware that the set I bought is not 4:3 right? Just wanted to make sure. [​IMG]



    dan
     
  7. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I've noticed that crt based rptvs seem to have a smoother look than the dlp and lcd models. In most cases the pq is just as sharp on the crt models, just smoother. Given the fact that the crt models have dropped in price to the point that a widescreen HD ready model is cheaper than a decent non-hd model of comparable size was only a few years ago, I think the current crt based rptvs are the best value for money in the market right now.
     
  8. Dick White

    Dick White Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been holding at 3+ years on PC's and it looks like TV is going to catch up next cycle. I just sold my widescreen analog set (figured it would be impossible to sell in short order and I have been wanting HDTV since long before it was available). I was sold on DLP, but reading here and spending some time watching in stores leads me to the same conclusion you had -- the digital technologies still have a way to go. But I think they should be OK in a couple of years.

    So now I'm looking for a CRT RPTV to get me by until then. Problem is that I don't want to spend a fortune on an interim solution and I'm not impressed with the low end sets. Meanwhile, I'm suffering from extreme DVD withdrawal. Got to get a fix soon.
     
  9. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    There you go. [​IMG]
     
  10. MikewL

    MikewL Extra

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    Don't forget that for most people, flat-out picture quality is not the only feature they consider when buying a TV. Size/weight and burn-in are two fairly important attributes where the CRT comes in dead last.
     
  11. John S

    John S Producer

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    You can get large Philips sets cheap at www.electronicsalley.com Of the bargain sets, they sure deliver on picture quality.

    I bought a 60" 4:3 set from them, while short on features, it way delivers on picture quality, and the native widescreen is fantastic for HD. Mine doesn't do 720p though at all, and no DVI. I bought it as a long term solution.

    They do the 43" for $960, I have no doubt that this set could more than get somebody by.

    Good luck with your search, I will be curious to see what you get.
     
  12. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    Well, I do have a PS2 and quite a few PS1/2 games.

    But since none of them support HD resolutions and only a few the 16x9 format, connecting them to a HD set would mostly be a wash.

    As such, I always figured my current 4:3 direct-view would continue on as my 'gaming' display.

    Even with burn-in mostly out of the equation, limited screen size and weight of CRTs is a factor.

    But, for me, image quality is still probably the number one factor.
     
  13. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    It might be awhile, I'm famous for mulling things over for long periods of time.

    Must enjoy it or something...
     
  14. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    Totally.

    I was just echoing your statement that Sony *really* knows how to do CRTs (4:3 or 16x9).
     
  15. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    There's no denying that CRT-based RPTVs are *very* affordable right now.

    It comes down to a question of PQ vs. cost and I'm the first to admit that there may be point of diminished returns when looking at what you can get for how much $$$.

    It's fun to weight the choices though.
     
  16. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    A few points:
    This is contradictory. Ignoring DVI is a bad move and not a good long term solution.

    Also if it matters, Guy Kuo who is of Avia fame just recently participated in a comparison test of various displays and says that unless you have a good high end 9" crt which is only currently available on FPTV's.. then he wouldn't bother with CRT at all. That alone says ALOT in regards to the latest tech. The DLP set he was comparing with was an HD2+ FPTV.

    Another thing to mention: a local shop told me that CRT is pretty much dead which I would agree with. He simply can't sell them because of their size. This says alot considering he sells the top of the line CRT based sets and folks choose the DLP/LCD ones the majority of the time.
     
  17. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

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    [email protected],

    I understand your pain.

    I've demoed most of the top CRT RPTVs, DLPs, LCD RPTVs and flat panels, Plasmas, the top CRT tube sets and a bunch o' projectors. I've found that proper set-up is crucial to evaluating a display. The stores have mastered the art of screwing up picture quality - it amazes me they sell a damned thing. A proper set up means: a dedicated feed (say, direct connection between display and DVD player vs it being a feed split to a million other displays), access to the picture controls, a reasonable calibration of the picture, and reference material that I'm familiar with (I also often get control of surrounding lighting in the better stores).

    Under these conditions some of the things you dislike about the new digital technologies can be ameliorated quite a bit.
    However, I too am sensitive to what digital displays don't do too well (black level being paramount).

    The "shiny grain" you see is almost certainly scaling noise.
    As you no doubt know digital displays have fixed pixel resolutions and every incoming signal must be processed via scaling software/hardware to match the display's resolution. All scalers are not created equal and many - most even - create artifacts in processing the picture. Typical is the sparkly, pixelation grain you talk of. Sometimes the result is a slight smear to the image as well.

    I'm really sensitive to anything that makes an image look "digital" so I see this a lot in the new displays. However, CRT widescreen displays (tube and RPTV) aren't immune either: I've yet to see a single CRT widescreen display 32" and above that did not display a certain level of grain and picture noise (including those well calibrated). Although the grain in CRT RPTVs tends to imitate a film-like grain, vs the edgier grain in a digital display.

    LCD displays don't do blacks deep enough for me - what should be dark areas of the image remain illuminated. Watching anything with a night scene on an LCD display is like watching a movie in a theater were someone has opened a door to let daylight spill on to the screen, washing out the image. Also, LCD has an inherent blue cast to the blacks (and hence to the rest of the image) that drives me nuts.

    Same goes for DLP, but DLP black levels are definitely better...but suffer from some of the same distracting ills of the LCDs. I also find DLP has a sort of cartoonish look - vivid but with somewhat garish colors - an effect that I couldn't quite calibrate out of any DLP I've demoed.
    Also, in a darkened room viewing DLP RPTVs side by side with CRT RPTVs reveals that the DLP looks flatter in comparison, with the deeper black levels and realistic color of the CRT RPTVs lending more depth, roundness and "weight" to the image.

    Unfortunately I have a hard time with the general look of RPTVs, be they LCD/DLP or CRT. It's not simply that the image quality shifts with movement of the viewer...that does bug me. It's the general "beamy" nature of the image - like I'm looking at projector aimed through the image at my eyes.

    Luckily I found my nirvana in the better plasmas. With something like a Panasonic plasma (I bought a 42" model) I get black levels in CRT territory, perfectly even illumination, no beamy quality, perfect geometry and focus all times and a stunningly clear, detailed picture. The good CRT tube sets have some of those advantages (although I've not seen one with the jaw-dropping clarity of the plasma), but none can reach the more immersive size of a plasma. And the Panasonic's scaler is superb: DVD's look incredibly smooth and even the upscaling of regular cable channels looks very "un-digitized" and analog in character.

    So, I'm happy as hell and have ecstatically embraced at least one of the new technologies. I could not find any CRT that did for me what my plasma does. Every guest...many being AV buffs cinema buffs...rave about the image. Even those who own well regarded CRT widescreen tube sets see the plasma image and are blown away (more than one has said "Well, I know what my next display purchase is going to be when the price of these come down").

    That's one man's story anyway.

    BTW, I've taken some screen shots of movies playing on my plasma. Check out these shots from The Hulk and you get an idea of the clarity and realism of the image:

    THE HULK Screen Shots on Panasonic Plasma

    Cheers,
     
  18. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    Nice shots, Rich. When that quality gets big enough, I'm in. Having lived with FP, a 42" image, no matter how nice, merely looks "cute" to me. [​IMG] I'm going 1080p DLP when I jump.
     
  19. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

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    Jack,

    Believe me, I understand. If I had room for a front projector I'd own one as well (but wouldn't give up plasma).
    There is nothing more cinematic and immersive than a FP.
    Not only that, the better FP's have not only a larger image, but a smoother looking image than many of the smaller displays (like RPTVs). It's quite an impresive feat.

    That said, I personally find that a great plasma image has qualities that no FP I've seen has. Especially the palpability, solidity and sheer realism of objects on a plasma screen. I feel like I can reach in and touch them, whereas a FP image looks "projected." It's less convingly dense and palpable...like a holograph of an object, vs the object itself. It's that feeling of looking at real objects in real light that a great plasma image has, which I rarely get from other technologies.
    But one day I'd love to own a Front Projection system (or a biiiig plasma if that ever happens).
     
  20. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    What qualities of plasma vs. everything else do you think are responsible for this? I haven't seen a well-set-up plasma, but those who seem to know what they're talking about of the FP forums do frequently refer to a particularly well done FP/screen combo as "like looking at a 100" plasma" (which may well be hyperbole, of course), so a plasma image seems to set the standard.
     

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