opinions on RCA 38" HDTV?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jesse Skeen, Jun 12, 2002.

  1. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I'm looking for more info on what looks to be the best 16x9 direct-view money-wise, the RCA that sells for around $2500 (don't know the exact model number.) A few questions:

    Can this be set to show BLACK on the sides of 4x3 pictures instead of gray? I MUST have BLACK on the sides (as detailed in another post so I won't bore you too much about it here) and playing with this TV in the stores I've only gotten it to show gray, but someone told me this might only apply to the TV tuner and even it may have an option to turn them black. I haven't seen one with a DVD player or VCR hooked up so I don't know if it gives you other display options on those (I probably won't even bother using the TV tuner).
    Another requirement is ability to auto-switch aspect ratios on DVDs- for example showing a movie in 16x9 mode but automatically switching to 4x3 if there's anything else on the disc that's in regular 4x3. I know that some TVs can do this but some can't.
    Are the service codes (for adjusting overscan) available online or easily gotten? I prefer to have it set for as little overscan as possible and want to tweak it whenever I want, so I'd have to know how to get into the service menus (yes, I can use them without messing anything up!)
    As far as future-proofing, is there anything this set doesn't have that might make it obsolete right after I buy it? While I try to keep up to date, stuff slips by me (I almost got stuck with a DVD player that didn't output DTS because I didn't know players had to be compatible with it) so I don't want to make the same mistake here.
    Another concern is since the price on this is so low, is there anything wrong with it? Anyone have this set and love it or hate it? The reason my eyes are on this one is because it's the only direct-view I've seen of that size (I don't like projection TVs and I have a 40-inch 4x3 right now), are any other manufacturers going to be making direct-view TVs this size or larger?
    The soonest I'd decide to buy would be September, but I want to start doing my homework now.
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    I thought this model had been discontinued. But, Jesse, I have heard nothing but bad about this set--it's not at all reliable, and the culprit may be its woefully inadequate power supply.

    Another HTF member was about to buy this set a few months ago, and he said he would report on any problems (he was fully aware of the thing's reputation).
     
  3. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    We'll have to see how the next model is, I guess...
     
  4. Jim FC

    Jim FC Stunt Coordinator

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    Nice TV. No line doubler. Curved picture tube. Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
    The black/grey sidebars are a switchable feature in RCA's DTC100 HD sat box, so it stands to reason that with the built-in sat tuner you can do the same thing, but I don't know for sure. As far as with DVD use goes, I think they're gray all the time. They're grey for a reason, by the way, but I assume you've already heard about that reason and discounted it. Which is cool, it's your TV, age those phosphors as unevenly as you want. [​IMG]
    It will not auto-switch modes, and I honestly don't know of any TVs that do anymore (Sonys used to, but now it's a manual setting). That's more a function of your DVD player and in the way each DVD is encoded... shouldn't be an issue. As far as the future is concerned, the built-in HD sat tuner may be completely useless when/if DirecTV and DISH merge. There's no denying the TV is a screaming deal at $2500... but I'd look at a 36XBR for the same $$$ (or cough up another $500 and get the 40", which it sounds like you might already have. It's 16:9 image is almost as big as the RCA's). Hope this helps...
     
  5. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    The one I have now is a Mitsubishi (non-HD, which itself has a reputation of a bad power supply- the one in mine died a week after I got it but it's been fine since it was replaced), the measured 16x9 area is about 37 inches so that's the minimum size of any 16x9 set I buy. I wish Mitsubishi were still making direct-view sets. [​IMG]
     
  6. Sean Patrick

    Sean Patrick Supporting Actor

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    Jesse -
    the 38" RCA can be had for as little as $1700 at Circuit City if you find the right salesman to bargain with (it lists at $1939 right now).

    Also, it has $500 built in value when you consider the built in HD receiver. with 4:3 digital/HD, it uses black bars on the side....any other 4:3 mode with other inputs on the tv will have grey bars. I have a RP91 so 4:3 dvd's have black on the sides. And the tv does have a line doubler because it's 16:9 and HD ready.

    Since they've marked the price so low, and it's being discontinued, i went ahead and bought the service plan for 3 years because if they can't fix a discontinued model, i get my money back. And RCA'stech supprt is suppoedly wretched, so i chose to get the CC plan.

    Don't know anything about an inadequate power supply (how does this manifest itself? how can i tell if mine has this problem?)...but HD looks AMAZING on the tv.....dvd's look great as well...there are some issues with geometry on the sides of the sets when watching dvd's but it's not that bad on my set (i added the slightest amount of overscan to fix it...seems to be the consensus that it's the only solution). For the PRICE, it's an amazing deal, and probably the largest tube you're going to ever find (RCA's new batch of tube 16:9's will be far more expensive and only 34"). BUt sure there are going to be better sets out there...but for MUCh more $$$....a 38" tube 16:9 with a built-in HD receiver for $1700 is a great deal.
     
  7. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I'm going to have to pass on this if it won't let you change the gray space to black, plus it doesn't sound too reliable. Anyone know why it's being discontinued? I tried a cheap GE 31" a few years ago and found it unacceptable too so I'm still wary of Thomson electronics. While I hate to admit it, if I had to buy a new TV right now I'd go for the Sony 40-inch 4x3, since it's the same size as what I've got now and the picture DOES look great, and it can squeeze 16x9 DVDs. For now I'll stick with my "Low-Definition" Mits and see what comes out down the road- ideally I'd like to get a 16x9 set that at least has a comparable-sized or larger 16x9 picture than what I've got now.
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    There's absolutely nothing wrong with the KV-40XBR700, Jesse. That set has earned nothing but rave reviews in the A/V press. I've seen one, too--though not well calibrated. You could do a lot worse that XBR700, and not much better.
     
  9. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    Isn't the RCA unit also prone to that "squeel of death" sound?

    I know my Proscan HD unit is ... as well as quite a few others ...

    Still, the unit is capable of some nice looking images when it is working properly. It also will show more detail from an HD signal than most other tube sets on the market. (When it is working)

    Regards
     
  10. Michael Lomker

    Michael Lomker Stunt Coordinator

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    Jesse, I know this is out of most people's price range but Loewe makes a 38" set using the same tube as the RCA.

    Loewe sets have incredibly high quality electronics in them, though...they are made in Germany, look incredible, and can be calibrated to within an hair of perfection.

    The catch? $5500 list for one in glossy black.

    It's probably the ultimate consumer direct-view set, though. I've spent a few hours salivating over one at a local high-end shop.
     
  11. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Loewe's are a bit out of my price range sad to say, if I were going to spend $5000 or more I'd probably get a large projection set instead (or just keep saving for a 35mm system for that matter!) Why the heck are they made in Germany- they use PAL over there! [​IMG]
    BTW re: the "squeal of death", we had an RCA 26" ColorTrak 2000 made in 1985 (before Thomson took over) that would make an awful noise after being on for half an hour or so- you could make it stop by pushing on the back of the set, or kicking the side like it drove me to do a few times [​IMG] After it was a few years old it finally stopped (last I heard the picture started blanking out on it recently but I haven't had time to look at it to see what's wrong.)
     
  12. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Quote "No line doubler."

    Jim FC

    I think you are totally wrong with this statement.

    Artie
     
  13. Sean Patrick

    Sean Patrick Supporting Actor

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    just my 2 cents -

    at these current prices (can be had for $1800 brand new at CC)...considering it has a built in DTC100 HD receiver, and the fact it's the largest tube you can get, let alone largest tube 16:9...and the fact they aren't going to make a tube this big again...as long as you buy a service plan you are insured against RCA relatively poor quality control, etc. i am usually against service plans but $180 for 3 years isn't a bad idea with a tube tv of this size.

    after adjusting with AVIA dvd's look amazing on my F38310...and hd looks incredible on the tv. its biggest drawback is satellite material looking really soft (to my eyes) on it, but i have yet to see a 16:9 line doubled satelite picture that looks good to me. and there are no video outputs. this will rule it out for some people, undertstandably.

    so there are definitely better 16:9 tv's out there...just for double the price.
     
  14. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Sean
    No salesperson in their right mind would sell the 38310 for $1700-$1800 when the price in the CC ad in the Sunday paper is $2,500 with a $100 gift card thrown in.
    I've had extensive discussions with CC salesmen about the set and CC cost is $1955.
    Maybe when they get down to the last 1 or 2 the price will drop. Certainly, the floor model will go for under $2,000.
    It is not that I don't believe that here and there one goes out the door real cheap, but it is hard for salesmen to go $600 below their advertised price.
    I agree that the RCA picture quality is excellent and that the Loewe is not a good buy at $4,000-$5,000, especially considering that the Loewe uses the exact same picture tube as the RCA.
    Artie
     
  15. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    OK, I've got a challenge for someone out there- I WILL go and buy one of these IF anyone can find out if it's possible to change the gray area on 4x3 material to black and how to do it. I've looked around for service codes for this TV and only found how to get to a service menu (push Menu, OK and Volume Up buttons on the TV at the same time) that doesn't let you adjust anything- just does some software tests and shows how many hours it's been turned on. I did find codes to turn gray bars on a Mitsubishi projection TV to black (which could cause burn-in on a projection set, but I still don't buy that it could be a hazard on a picture tube) so there might be a way to do it on this one. Anyone up for the challenge? [​IMG]
     
  16. Jim FC

    Jim FC Stunt Coordinator

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    >>...the Loewe is not a good buy at $4,000-$5,000, especially considering that the Loewe uses the exact same picture tube as the RCA.
     
  17. Sean Patrick

    Sean Patrick Supporting Actor

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    arthur s -

    the salesmen here at 2 different atlanta CC's i've visited have been talked down to $1800 for a brand new set if you agree to pay an extra $179 for a 3 year service plan, which is smart anyway for these rca's.....i have no idea why the printed ad would say 2500....online it's still $1999, and some CC's in other parts of the country have been selling new ones for $1799. i guess the dirt cheap deals are isolated, but they're there.
     
  18. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Sean

    You are absolutely correct. The CC web site shows the $1999 figure. Armed with that information, I can see how $1800 plus the $179 3 year service plan is possible.

    Glad you are enjoying your set! I've been tempted for a long time to get one.

    Artie
     
  19. Grant H

    Grant H Cinematographer

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    I got the RCA at CC like 2 months ago for around $1600 I believe. There was a sale price online for a while and when I went to my State College, PA store it was actually cheaper. Last one they had new in the box at the time.
    As for line-doubling, all's I know is it automatically upconverts everything to 1080 lines.
     
  20. Grant H

    Grant H Cinematographer

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    Just checked Circuitcity.com, and it's $1551.99!!
    Honestly, that may be what it was there before I got it in which case I got it closer to $1500. Definitely worth the bucks if you pick up the extended Circuit City in-home service plan.
     

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