RPTV, FPTV, Plasma - Which way to go?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Gordon Groff, Nov 28, 2002.

  1. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Hi all, I've been lurking for a couple weeks and checking out all the store displays of dealers in my area with the intention of building a home theater in approx 6 months. I would appreciate any advice you may have or opinions you care to share (we've ALL got them, right?)

    My room is 19X12 w/7' ceilings. The seating will be approx 11 ft. from the 12'wall that I want to put the display into.

    RPTV -
    Pros: The most affordable. A 65" HDTV unit would fit nicely, I think. I saw a very nice Toshiba "Ultravision" at the local Circuit City with a great picture.
    Con: I HATE the vertical viewing angle problem! You can actually see a bar of brightness moving through the picture of this type of display as you change your viewing height!

    FPTV -
    Pros: I can go to whatever size I want to, up to the max for my room, which I'm guessing would be about 90". No vertical or horizontal viewing angle issues.
    Cons: Complex! I really don't understand all the options out there. DLP, LCD, CRT. Some people are bothered by DLP projectors. Ugh. How would I ever know until I got one? I cannot compare the pictures of the multitude of these units, so I'd be buying blind. I need simple, so my wife can simply "turn on the tv" while she does her ironing (laundry room off the back of the theater room). Cost is unknown, as you can spend anything you want on projectors. I also don't understand the interface - what it takes to drive them - TV tuner, DVD player, VCR, maybe satellite someday. Can I fit one into a room with a 7' ceiling?

    Plasma -
    Pros: My first look at a plasma display was a Runco 50" at a local high-end dealer. It KILLED me! The picture was so deep and rich, it looked 3-D, like you could swim in it!
    Cons: Guess how much that 50" Runco unit cost? $20,000.00!!
    HOLY COW! 50" 16:9 is not really that big, I would like bigger. I saw a few other plasma displays at Circuit City. None as nice. None over 50" All expensive (but nowhere near the Runco).
    Potential Pro: This technology seems to be a rapid state of evolution. I anticipate image quality from the other mfgs to improve, sizes to go up, and prices to come down. Con: Don't have a clue if this will happen in a relevant time frame for me.

    Thanks for any and all feedback!
    Gordon
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    If what you are looking for is a TV, "I need simple, so my wife can simply "turn on the tv" while she does her ironing (laundry room off the back of the theater room)" then that just about rules out a FPTV setup especially if you go digital and have bulb replacement costs. I would suggest you go with a RPTV.
     
  3. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Thanks, Neil! I see you're an "administrator" and have been on this forum since '98. I really appreciate your quick response from such a depth of experience! RPTV certainly makes sense as a well-integrated consumer-friendly appliance that will be used casually like a TV in addition to some serious DVD viweing.
    Sigh.
    I just need to quell my lust for a REALLY BIG, knock your socks off, theater experience. Actually, RPTV with the right room treatment and sound system might meet that need too.

    Thanks again,
    Gordon
     
  4. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

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    Gordon,

    I became entranced by the pictures plasma produce as well.
    I searched for year for another display device that would be a bit cheaper, and that would thrill me too (i.e. looked at RPTV, CRT etc.) Nothing had the magic plasma did.

    I bit the bullet and bought a 42" Panasonic plasma. It is probably the BEST electronics purchase I've ever made (and that's saying a lot, seeing as I've been into high-end audio and other devices for a long time).

    Movies just come alive on this thing. I've had it for about 8 months and, to this day, every time I turn it on it thrills and amazes me.

    I wouldn't push you into making a huge purchase regarding a plasma. Just thought I'd give you feedback from a plasma owner. (BTW, over at the AVSforum.com plasma forum, you'll find my experience is consistant with others who've bought a plasma).

    Yours,

    "The Devil On Your Shoulder" - Rich H.
     
  5. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    I agree with Neil on the RPTV choice, for the same reason that it appears there will be considerable TV usage from this display. Alternatively, you could go front projection and get a $100 13" color TV for that laundry room [​IMG] .
    If you do consider front projection, I suggest you start reading up on the different technologies (avsforum) and definitely check out at least one proj of each to see if that technology is limiting for you (e.g., DLP rainbows or headaches, LCD screen door, etc). With a 7' ceiling and a ceiling mount, you will likely need a projector that hugs the ceiling and doesn't require extra vertical distance (above the top of the screen) to project the image. The larger the screen, the harder it will be to meet these requirements.
    Plasma will be tough for your situation. I don't think there's an economical solution that gives you the necessary size, unless you altered the viewing distance drastically or supported the unit on a stand away from the wall.
    Good luck.
    Doug
     
  6. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    "The Devil On Your Shoulder" - Rich H.
    LOL!!!
    You're right, Rich! You hurt me with this post! I appreciate it, though. Hurts good. I really cannot get that image I saw from the $20K Runco 50" plasma out of my mind. Maybe in 6months I can get a 65" or 73" high quality plasma display for $5k. You think? [​IMG]
    Gordon
     
  7. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Doug wrote: "I agree with Neil on the RPTV choice, for the same reason that it appears there will be considerable TV usage from this display."

    Thanks Doug,

    You and Neil speak with reason.

    Gordon
     
  8. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    Runco plasmas are very overpriced and offer nothing over the big 4 brands (Panasonic, Pioneer, Fujitsu, NEC).

    Pioneer's 50" model goes for $6K shipped, $5500 from Dell if you can get in on one of their deals. The aforementioned Panasonic (next generation actually) goes for $3600 shipped. If you are even remotely considering an FPTV, consider a plasma as well. RPTV's only offer size/price ratio. Plasmas are relatively simple to set up as well.
     
  9. Chauncey_G

    Chauncey_G Second Unit

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    Gordon,
    A quick suggestion just in case you think you might want to keep FPTV in the running.
    I recently made the leap from a regular, everyday 27" TV to a FPTV shooting to an 82" screen. I still keep the regular TV, though, for routine viewing: morning news during breakfast, episodes of 24, etc. However, for DVD's, out comes the screen, on goes the FPTV and I'm at the movies! The screen, when it's in it's show position, conceals the 27" TV.
    Maintaining the 27" makes everyday TV as simple as ever, but having the FPTV provides the big-screen movie theater feel that, in my opinion, RPTV and plasma do not offer.
    Here's a link to my review of my FPTV, a Plus Piano Avanti. The unit can be mounted to a ceiling and is very small (it only weighs about 4.5 pounds). Here's a link to Plus's website if you want to take a closer look.
    I do agree that something like a RPTV would be a convenient choice in your situation. However, I think that my set-up is a nice compromise between convenience and big-screen impact. It might work for you, too.
    Whatever you end up choosing, good luck and enjoy!
     
  10. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Hey Chauncy,
    Thanks for this. This solution has been kicking around in my head too. I'm going to check out your links tomorrow.
    Gordon
     
  11. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Chauncy,
    Thanks for your link! From your and other's responses to this thread, I am starting to realize that I am looking to accomplish 2 very different things that have different optimal solutions.

    1. TV and other "casual" viewing.
    2. True "immersion" Theater viewing.

    I have a personal philosophy that my family has often heard: "When in doubt, do it ALL!"

    How's this sound for a plan:

    1. Build a full-width wall unit (11'w X 7'h X RPTV depth) to surround a good 65" RPTV and enclose the electronics/speakers plus provide lots of cabinet space for media storage. I wanted to do this anyway as part of our remodel plans and need for junk storage.

    2. Put a drop-down 100" screen in front of that for FPTV.

    The price points of your Piano and RPTV brings this in under the cost of a good 50" plasma, which would not really give me the large theater experience. I"ll try to purge from memory the stunning plasma images for now (you really DID hurt me, Rich).

    Sound like a plan?

    Gordon
     
  12. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Many members have done what you are planning. If you need help on the FPTV setup, we can also certainly help you there as well. You will need to do some demos of your own on some FPTV setups. What is the budget you think you have available for FPTV?
     
  13. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Hi Neil!
    What budget? Well the rough concept of $3K each for a RPTV and a projector (Chauncy's satisfaction with a $3K "Piano" projector) is what caught my imagination and brought the dual-system possibility into focus for me. $6,000 total for BOTH display systems actually sounds pretty good, considering some of the options I've been perusing on this board. [​IMG]
    Add another 2K (WAG, but I want the sound system to be exceptional) for the sound system and 2K for the physical remodelling of the room and I hope to bring this in under 10 grand. This is probably the upper limit of what I should responsibly spend. But, heck, when have I ever behaved responsably? [​IMG]
    Don't tell my wife! She thinks I'm remodelling the family room for her.
    Gordon
     
  14. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    You can do an RPTV, FPTV, and aforementioned modifications for less than the $6K price of a 50" plasma? Sounds like a great solution.
     
  15. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Add in the cost of a screen. Also make sure the screen doesn't block anything important when it's pulled down. You should add a couple of grand as a fudge factor; bet you'll need it.

    Doug
     
  16. Chauncey_G

    Chauncey_G Second Unit

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    Gordon,
    WOW! A 65" RPTV and a FPTV as well! NICE way to one-up me, buddy! [​IMG]
    That sounds like quite a plan. We're all invited over once it's done, right? [​IMG]
    As I'm sure you discovered in my Piano Avanti review, I'm thrilled with my projector and if you went with it I'm sure you'd be happy with it as well. However, in all fairness, what one person likes isn't necessarily what another will like. Audition as many different units as you can. If memory serves, the Plus website has a dealer locator; see if there's one in your area. While I truly, honestly feel that this whole thing with DLP rainbows and headaches is blown WAY out of proportion, I do recognize that there are a few people that could be prone to these problems.
    Auditioning is the best way to check it out. Take some of your favorite DVD's with you so that you can audition with things that you're used to seeing. And don't be afraid to take some time to do it. When I auditioned mine, I was probably at the store for over an hour watching different scenes and talking with the salesman about the unit.
    Another thing: when you say 3K for each display system, don't forget to factor in the cost of the FPTV screen as well. Depending on what you get, it can be quite an investment as well.
    It sounds like it's going to be quite the set-up. Get ready for all your friends to be hanging around a lot more than they used to!
     
  17. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Uh, a screen can't be *that* much, can it?

    Gordon
    Showing my newbie ignorance

    PS: I won't take that bet, Doug!
    I really don't know for sure if I can do what I propose for 10K total, Eric. Just doing a BIG conceptual ballpark right now.
     
  18. Chauncey_G

    Chauncey_G Second Unit

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    Gordon,

    I got a Stewart Firehawk 82" 16:9 wall-mount screen for around $900. From what I understand, the pull-down screens can be much more than that.

    I sort of cheated on mine. I bought a wall-mount screen, but I hang it from my ceiling. Is it a super slick and professional looking set-up? Um, no. Does it get the job done? Absolutely. Now this does mean that I have to physically put the screen up and take it down, but it's not heavy and takes all of a minute to do.

    I did this for a few reasons: 1) the room I have all this stuff in has a lot of windows, and there was no good wall space to mount the screen; 2) the cost of a good pull-down screen; 3) I heard from here and there that the tension cables on pull-down screens can lose that tension over time and cause the screen to wrinkle; and 4) whenever I do get around to making a dedicated home theater room, I'll just use my existing screen (but actually mount it to the wall this time!).

    I've been wanting to post some pictures of what I've done with all this, but haven't had access to a digital camera. However, next Friday some friends are coming over to watch the extended edition of LOTR and I'm going to have one of them bring his camera over. If that all works out well, I'll post some shots in my review thread and let you know.
     
  19. Dave Milne

    Dave Milne Supporting Actor

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    If you're looking for a
     
  20. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Chauncey,
     

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