RPTV Shopping Help

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jonathan_M, Jan 31, 2002.

  1. Jonathan_M

    Jonathan_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Upgrade-itis has now possessed me and I would now like to replace my 36" direct-view Toshiba with a 16:9 HD RPTV of some sort.

    I've been over to the other "Spot" to read comments in the Manufacturer's sections, but it's hard to get a good opinion on the different brands I'm considering as everyone usually has a complaint of some sort that may/may not be unique to their situation.

    I'm hoping that some of the more technical members of this forum, especially the ISF trained guys, could provide me their insights on the following sets (all are 53-58" models BTW):

    Mitsubishi

    WS-55909/55909

    WS-55819

    WS-55859

    Pioneer Elite

    Pro-HD520

    Pro-HD620

    Toshiba

    57HX71

    Hitachi

    53SWX12B

    Those are all the models I'm considering. My room is 11 x 24, which factored into the size TV I was considering. For signal sources, I plan on using a progressive DVD player of some type (only have a Panasonic RV-31K right now), a Dish HD receiver, and analog cable.

    My main concerns *aside* from picture quality basically relate to the stretch modes for watching 4:3 material. Pros and Cons for each of the sets?

    I really would like to go with one of the Elites, but my budget won't allow at this time. Depending on the feedback I get from you all, I can wait to get the Elite if you think it's worth it.

    Thanks for letting me draw on your experiences!!!
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Mitsubishi is not known for good stretch modes or line doubling, but very highly regarded for progressive scan dvd and HD. They are reputed to have excessive red push which can be fixed with an outboard attenuator for component video inputs, or by reprogramming the set with a laptop computer. Lots of tweaking information is available for Mits.
    Hitachi generally is a great set if you get a good one. I had a 53UWX10B and did not like it's line doubling--lots of shimmering in solid bright colors. The Hitachis also are known for greenish dark areas of the screen. The variable stretch mode was pretty distracting--very noticeable funhouse mirror effects at sides of screen.
    Toshibas are a favorite around here. They have among the best stretch modes.
    All of the current models convert all 480i and 480p to 540p, which some claim causes loss of resolution for dvd. Hitachis also do this conversion for all 480 line sources.
    I think you'd be doing yourself a favor if you added the new Sony HW-40 series sets to your list of possibilitys. I swapped the Hitachi I had for one of these and couldn't be happier. Line doubling is quite good, the set will display 480p natively. These sets look quite good out of the box with just an AVIA calibration, but they are also quite tweaker friendly if you're so inclined.
    The widezoom variable stretch mode is better than Hitachi's, not really very distracting at all for most casual tv viewing.
    The service menu lets you easily turn off SVM or adjust it to one of 3 levels of intensity. Red push is only about 15% out of the box per AVIA, and can be eliminated easily in the service menu.
     
  3. Jonathan_M

    Jonathan_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve,
    Thanks for the reply! A friend of mine gave me the same opinion on the Toshiba's stretch modes. I'll try to go take another look at one.
    While I was out shopping this evening, I saw a Sony 57XBR2 at two different retailers.
    WHAT A FABULOUS PICTURE!! [​IMG]
    I never really considered the Sony's as far as an RPTV goes, but it looks like I'll have to add it to my list. Have you seen the Sony model I mentioned?
    Anyway, I am about a month away from a purchase as I am currently remodeling my living room (where all my HT stuff was). Got rid of the wallpaper (an evil thing [​IMG] ). I have paint, carpet, and furniture to get done and bought before bringing in whatever I decide on.
    I'm so excited.
     
  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Jonathan,
    I don't think you'd be disappointed with either the Sony or the Toshiba.
    The XBR-2 Sony is a large step in price over the HW-40 series, but a significantly smaller step up in performance. Most of the price difference is in the built in OTA HD tuner and sound system. It still can be had for significantly less than a Pioneer Elite, so depending on your budget it is an excellent choice. Prices on the HW40s are now in line with or even lower than the HX81 Toshibas.
    I've only got one local OTA HD station so wanted to get a DirecTV-capable HD box in order to get HD-Net and HBO-HD anyway, so the OTA-only tuner included on the XBR-2 was sorta superfluous. I already have a pretty decent surround system, so the audio features were also not that important. Budget constraints made the HW40 a better choice for me, but if I could have swung it I probably would have gotten the XBR-2.
    If you've read the Home Theater Spot extensively, you may have found that a smallish number of people have exchanged Toshibas for the new Sonys. So far none have complained that the variable stretch mode on the sony was inferior to that of the Toshiba.
    I find the widezoom variable stretch mode very acceptable for most 4/3 stuff.
    Different people have different sensitivity to the geometric anomalies associated with these variable stretch modes, so ya gotta make this judgement for yourself.
     

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