Panasonic 47 inch Television experience

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Gogebic, Jul 30, 2001.

  1. Dave Gogebic

    Dave Gogebic Extra

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    For what it is worth - I thought I would document my experience with the new Panasonic 16:9 Television. Mine is going back for the following reasons:
    #1. Poor build quality - plastic case - doesn't support a large center channel speaker very well.
    #2. Poor convergence from the factory - 9 point convergence controls don't do it justice - you can get to more detailed convergence through the service menus - but this is extremely complicated. This set needs serious ISF calibration to look good.
    #3. TV only has one set of memories for video settings. This is very bad as you setup your settings for component video on DVD output and then when you switch back to cable or DBS - the color/contrast/etc. look terrible - you have to keep switching the settings back and forth.
    #4. Mine had a geomentry distortion that was very noticeable on 2:35 - 1 DVD materials.
    #5. If you get the glare screen - like I did - you will not be able to view this in any lighting condition due to terrible glare off the screen. It also seems to mask the screen and add some coloration to it - I would recommend getting the unit without the screen - the screen cannot be easily added or removed.
    #6. Terrible documentation - almost none at all - for instance - it has two different scan modes - "TV" runs the line doubler "Game" seems to turn the line doubler off - my DBS signal looked much better with it turned off.
    #7. Off axis viewing is terrible - I'd say any more than 20 degrees and it is unwatchable. You need to view this thing dead center on.
    #8. Watching 4:3 televisioin in non-stretched mode - Panasonic uses almost white side bars that are very distracting to me...in stretch mode there is Zoom - which is very grainy - Full - Which distorts the picture - and Justify - which is the best - but still causes people to look unatural.
    Positives - Price is very good if you can live with the above limitations. I personally cannot - and will gladly spend another 700-1000 for a better set. Using a good Progressive DVD player - the picture is quite good - but in my opinion the contrast ratio is limited.
     
  2. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings
    Just a few comments.
    #1. Poor build quality -
    At this price point, you are not going to find too many sets with the "good" build quality. Like buying a cheap car and complaining that it is made of cheap components.
    #2. Poor convergence from the factory -
    You won't really find any set that has good convergence direct from the factory unless the factory is next door to your home. Only Pioneer currently offers a 56+ point convergence in the user menu. But you pay for the pioneer premium.
    #3. TV only has one set of memories for video settings.
    Bothersome yes, but given the variable nature of broadcast material, even changing channels warrants changing the settings.
    #4. Mine had a geomentry distortion that was very noticeable on 2:35 - 1 DVD materials.
    Most RPTV's will have some type of geometry issue out of the box. Paying more won't remedy this aspect.
    #5. If you get the glare screen -
    Not called a glare screen for nothing. [​IMG]
    #6. Terrible documentation - almost none at all - for instance - it has two different scan modes - "TV" runs the line doubler "Game" seems to turn the line doubler off - my DBS signal looked much better with it turned off.
    At least you can turn the doubler off ... you cannot with any other brand.
    #7. Off axis viewing is terrible - I'd say any more than 20 degrees and it is unwatchable. You need to view this thing dead center on.
    No different than with most other RPTV's.
    #8. Watching 4:3 televisioin in non-stretched mode - Panasonic uses almost white side bars that are very distracting to me...in stretch mode there is Zoom - which is very grainy - Full - Which distorts the picture - and Justify - which is the best - but still causes people to look unatural.
    Same set up as every other set on the market. Paying more won't get you any different. You cannot fit a 4:3 properly into a 16:9 space without some type of distortion or cropping unless you have found a way to fold space ...
    Regards
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    Michael @ The Laser Video Experience
     
  3. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I agree with most of your assertions, but have had different experiences with the following:
    1. My center channel (Energy AC-300) weighs 24 lbs and is something like 8" tall, 19" wide and 13" deep and sits on it fine. Just need a center channel with good weight distribution (i.e. not front heavy). Doesn't cause any geometry or bowing probs on my PT-47.
    2. My off-axis viewability isn't so bad HORIZONTALLY. I can watch the set from my kitchen which translates to about 140 degrees of horizontal viewing. Where the set is very weak is VERTICAL off-axis viewability. Simply standing up (I'm 5' 8") renders the set nearly unwatchable.
    Michael is right. At this price point (paid less than $1800 for it myself) you can't expect a great deal. To me, the tweakability of this set is awesome, and frankly you will have to ISF most any set out there, so you shouldn't even factor in ISF'ing the PT-47 as an extra charge. If I had $3K+ burning a hole in my pocket, sure I would have gone Mits or Pioneer. But I didn't, and this set is the best bargain out there right now.
    ------------------
    My dealer of choice (especially if you live in So-Cal, I highly recommend them): www.yawaonline.com
     
  4. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    I think the problem with regard to the lack of a permanent set of storable user settings - in addition to the in memory/active set - is that it would be nice, on any tv, to be able to save the preferred settings for use with dvds, for example. This way if you or your family watch cable and want to tinker with the settings continually [​IMG], it is easy enough to set everything back (audio and video) to where one would like it for dvd viewing. Sure, one could write down all the settings and reset everything manually but given that NVRAM is not as expensive as it was 10 years ago [​IMG], it doesn't seem like it would be that prohibitive for tv manufacturers to add this feature to almost every tv.
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  5. Chad Isaacs

    Chad Isaacs Supporting Actor

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    Is there not a 47" mits.widescreen set for around the same price?I have seen the panasonic and mits in the same shop(not side by side) and the image of the mits,(same signal the panny was getting) was much better.
    Is the panny free standing or does it need a stand like the mits?
    ------------------
     
  6. Dave Gogebic

    Dave Gogebic Extra

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    Just a few comments to your comments.
    #1. Poor build quality -
    At this price point, you are not going to find too many sets with the "good" build quality. Like buying a cheap car and complaining that it is made of cheap components.
    (There is a difference between price and "value" I don't find this set a good "value" You are right - it is cheaper than other sets and you get what you pay for - personally I'd rather pay twice as much and get something I can live with and be happy with - if you are happy with your Panny - great - I was not)
    #2. Poor convergence from the factory -
    You won't really find any set that has good convergence direct from the factory unless the factory is next door to your home. Only Pioneer currently offers a 56+ point convergence in the user menu. But you pay for the pioneer premium.
    (I beg to differ with you - Mitsubishi RPTV's - even on their cheapest sets have a 64 point user convergence control - this solves 95% of your convergence issues all the time) You don't have this option on the Panny - you have to go into complicated service menus and attach convergence grids to the face to fix this - I doubt your casual TV viewer is capable of doing this)
    #3. TV only has one set of memories for video settings.
    Bothersome yes, but given the variable nature of broadcast material, even changing channels warrants changing the settings.
    #4. Mine had a geomentry distortion that was very noticeable on 2:35 - 1 DVD materials.
    Most RPTV's will have some type of geometry issue out of the box. Paying more won't remedy this aspect.
    (I also beg to differ here - I have owned 10 sets - 2 RPTV's and never had a geometry distortion from the factory like this before)
    #5. If you get the glare screen -
    Not called a glare screen for nothing.
    #6. Terrible documentation - almost none at all - for instance - it has two different scan modes - "TV" runs the line doubler "Game" seems to turn the line doubler off - my DBS signal looked much better with it turned off.
    At least you can turn the doubler off ... you cannot with any other brand.
    (True - this is a nice feature - they should document this)
    #7. Off axis viewing is terrible - I'd say any more than 20 degrees and it is unwatchable. You need to view this thing dead center on.
    No different than with most other RPTV's.
    (Also not true - the Mitsubishi has a 110 degree viewing angle and the Pioneer's have more than that - the Panny doesn't even come close and you can see this with your own eyes - I had a Mits previously and the viewing angle was much better)
    #8. Watching 4:3 televisioin in non-stretched mode - Panasonic uses almost white side bars that are very distracting to me...in stretch mode there is Zoom - which is very grainy - Full - Which distorts the picture - and Justify - which is the best - but still causes people to look unatural.
    Same set up as every other set on the market. Paying more won't get you any different. You cannot fit a 4:3 properly into a 16:9 space without some type of distortion or cropping unless you have found a way to fold space ...
    (True but if you are going to watch material in cropped mode - which I plan to do - the Mits is much better - it has grey cropping bars which are much more pleasing to the eye than the Panny - I also decided to go up in size to the 55 inch so when watching in cropped mode you still get a 45 inch viewing area - I can't stand to view a stretched 4:3 broadcast. Actually - don't know why but when expanding 4:3 materials with my Panny RP91 to 16:9 - it is quite pleasing)
    (Another point - I have seen a lot of tweaking of the Service menus of the Color and the color guns - I tried these settings and got an absolutely horrible result - the factory settings were much better - there is a little red push but it isn't anything for me to worry about)
    (It seems ridiculas to me that RPTV manufacturers can't figure out a better way to align a TV out of the factory and keep it in alignment - you would think that with all the advancements in technology - this would have improved by now - I guess it's just the nature of the beast)
    Regards
     
  7. Dave Gogebic

    Dave Gogebic Extra

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    Chad the set is a free standing unit - it does not require a stand.
     
  8. Brian Mello

    Brian Mello Stunt Coordinator

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    Dave, it sounds like you should have purchased a Mits in the first place! [​IMG] This is the first RPTV I've purchased and the biggest thing I learned is almost every set in each store had some sort of problem with it. Sears, CC, Best Buy, etc. takes the units out of the box, put them on display, usually above or below optimal viewing angle with no chairs to sit in and of course they look like crap.
     
  9. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Wow. Such volcanic activity is stimulating! [​IMG] I myself will have this set around August 9 (if Sears ain't lying their ases off, that is). It is replacing my completely defective 36" Wega. In the store, I was able to get a very pleasing picture with the Panny, after a lot of tweaking. I am ready to do what it takes to make this set the best it can be.
    I'd go bigger, but this is the largest set I can fit in my pad.
    ------------------
    www.deceptions.net/superman
     
  10. Harold A

    Harold A Stunt Coordinator

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    Dave,
    If you are going to do a good bit of 4:3 viewing I would get used to the stretch modes. Even with grey bars you have a chance of getting burn in with a good bit of 4:3 viewing. If you can stand the stretch modes get a 4:3 tv which will do vertical squeeze.
    Just my two cents
     
  11. Dave Gogebic

    Dave Gogebic Extra

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    Yup - I should have bought it in the first place - you are right.
    I got a good deal on a discontinued Mits WS55857 - Platinum Plus series for $3000.
    Good luck with your new sets - I hope it is in better alignment than mine was from the factory.
    One positive is that using the Pannasonic RP-91 DVD player with this set gives a stunning Progressive DVD picture. The RP-91 also can store up to 200 individual memory settings for individual DVD's in user modes - you can set contrast/color/brightness/sharpness & gamma for each disk...this helps solve the single memory issue.
    Also - I found I got a much better picture off of Sat/DBS with the set in "Game" mode as opposed to TV mode. I think the line doubler turns off in this mode - which must have a bad interaction with my Direct TV reciever. The picture was much sharper in "Game" mode. Play with it and see what you think.
    Also you can use the TV as a center channel speaker itself -there is only 6 inches of a ledge on top of the TV for a Center Channel speaker - The TV has a speaker input on the back to use as center speaker - just a thought.
     
  12. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Dave,
    You do know that Michael_TLV is the ISF calibrator that so many HTF'ers have hired to do their sets, right? Sounds like you've had good luck with your 2 past RPTVs but Michael has ISF'ed hundreds of sets.
    Just one more point re: convergence. The 64 point on the Panny isn't as hard as you say it is, and re: the purchasing of grids: you don't have to buy Panny's grid. But if you want it done right, you should (or make one yourself) just like ANY OTHER RPTV. I don't know any that come with convergence grids and if you've never bothered to buy one before you don't need to now with this new Panny.
    Yes, it sounds like you should have sprung for the Mits. They are great sets. But re: the 46" Mits, I went with the Panny because it is floor-standing and cost me $400 less (good deal through a dealer/friend). And the Panny has a great deinterlacer (nearly on par with the RP91) and does reverse 3:2 pulldown (Mits doesn't).
     
  13. DaveD

    DaveD Auditioning

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    Dave,
    I too have had bad experiences with this set. Check my forum post at pannys site. http://63.249.150.205/panny/
    I tried to like this television but it is going back to sears when they deliver my replacement 50h81 totoshiba on August the 8th. I think I got a lemon but I do not want to delve for hours in service modes, and really hope I have better luck with toshiba.
     
  14. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    I can't understand your comments regarding poor build quality. The 51HX41 I have is top-notch in this regard with excellent attention to detail. I wish Toshiba's were built this well! One look at the interior layout of each manufacturers sets speaks volumes as do the integration and layout of their PCBs.
    I just finished doing some more tweaking to this set (still in learning mode) and I must say that an HD image looks fantastic! It easily bests last years Toshiba's.
    [Edited last by JohnnyG on August 01, 2001 at 02:34 PM]
     
  15. Dave Gogebic

    Dave Gogebic Extra

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    JohnnyG:
    Don't take my review personally. I'm glad you like your Panny - I have many Panasonic products which I think are of great build quality - including my RP91 DVD which I'm thrilled with and a 32 inch Tube set which I think is one of the best there is. My comments stem from the fact that I sold my Mits for this set - it was a 4:3 ratio set and I wanted to get a 16:9 for better movie viewing .
    I don't like the plastic case that this Panasonic came with. It just looks flimsy and cheap -(compared to the Mitsubishi's)
    As far as the picture - I love the Progressive output of this set - I hate it's performance with DBS/Sat and standard broadcast signals. (Probably the worst picture I have ever seen - especially in stretch mode)
    The set has a severe geometry problem. I'm sure I could fix these if I wanted to spend the time. Truth is I really should have bought the 55 inch Mits in the first place. I really wanted a bigger set but was afraid it wouldn't fit.
    I hope the Mits does not have any severe problems or I will probably have to swing for an ISF calibration - from looking at this forum it seems like the regular technicians are not to swift at calibrating these things. I really am having a hard time with this concept.
    How could Panasonic, Mits, and others certify an outfit to fix their equipment when they don't have a clue as to how to calibrate these things?
    Maybe I should have just kept my old Mits - it was rock solid and had a perfect picture - right out of the box.
    Here's to hoping my new one is almost as good.
    Cheers
     
  16. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Dave, so you know John's a dealer and has plenty of sets in from different manufacturers in his store--he's not one of those consumers trying to justify his purchase, he's giving what he believes is an honest evaluation of this set.
    Yes the Mitsus are built better than the Pannys and Tosh as far as cabinet quality. But for the price difference, they better be.
    I'm surprised your old Mits set ran perfectly out of the box. The guys at Ken Cranes, when discussing Mits/Tosh/Panny & Sony were all saying that out-of-the-box performance was bad for all models, just different shades of bad. I've heard the same sentiments echoed by numerous people, some ISF techs.
    Again, some models are better out of the box than others (but I would stop short of saying perfect). Pioneers and Mits tend to be pretty good. But after tweaking or ISF'ing a set, you can get pretty damn good picture out of most of these HD-ready sets. Since I don't mind tinkering around the service menu, and I plan to ISF this set (as I would any other HD set I buy) I went with the savings of the Panny.
    [Edited last by Carlo Medina on July 31, 2001 at 12:43 AM]
     
  17. Pete B.

    Pete B. Stunt Coordinator

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    David,
    I hope you do realize that Carlo is just an end user and will stick it out until the end with his plagued Panny! Just kidding Carlo :)
    Ripper
    [Edited last by Pete B. on July 31, 2001 at 08:27 AM]
     
  18. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Too true! [​IMG]
    Actually, I have 30 days to return the television for a full refund, and with Uncle Sam's $300 return plus extra savings I've stumbled across, I could wait for the Toshiba 50H81 or something better.
    But I won't. Why? Because despite the Panny's awful, and I stress awful, out-of-the-box performance, I've got it looking awesome. And I don't even have accurate gray scale yet! I can't imagine what the set will look like then!
    Look, the Panny is nowhere near the "best HD set" but ffor the price it can be had ($1800 online, maybe cheaper) I think it's quite a good buy, especially if you don't mind working on the set or having ISF come out and take care of it for you.
    If you don't want to pay ISF any money, and you don't want to tinker under the hood, then the Mits and Pioneer Elites are the sets for you. For those seeking "best bang for their buck, even if it takes some working on" the Panny is an excellent choice.
    ------------------
    My dealer of choice (especially if you live in So-Cal, I highly recommend them): www.yawaonline.com

    [Edited last by Carlo Medina on July 31, 2001 at 09:25 AM]
     
  19. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    OK, here is a question... If my set shows up and the convergence is way way off, like terrible, is that not something I can insist Panasonic fix? I have 90 days with Sears to try the set out, so if by day 45 (and after a 9 point convergence) the image is just all wrong and needs a 64pt convergence, I'd imagine I can call and tell those people to come out here and do it, or take the set back, right?
    Where am I going wrong? Heck, I'd imagine I could tell them to get rid of the Torch mode gray scale too. Or is that asking for too much?
    ------------------
    www.deceptions.net/superman
     
  20. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings
    Generally, if convergence is way off, it is a warranty issue and they will come out to fix it.
    If the geometry is way off ... again ... warranty issue.
    However ... 99% probability that they will simply eyeball the geometry to something deemed more acceptable/reasonable to them ... (not you).
    Asking that Panny take care of the grayscale is "asking too much." That is not a warranty issue at all.
    Regards
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    Michael @ The Laser Video Experience
     

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