Sony KP-51HW40 or Toshiba 50H81

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matthew Harwell, Oct 31, 2001.

  1. Matthew Harwell

    Matthew Harwell Auditioning

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    I have narrowed by choices down to two, and need any input or advice that anyone might have pertaining to the two HDTV's that I am trying to decide on. I am going to purchase, this week, either the Sony KP-51HW40 or the Toshiba 50H81. I just can't decide which one to go with so I would appreciate any advice, cautions, etc. that anyone might have on either of these two models. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Matthew,
    I have the 57" version of the Sony you are considering, and I love it.
    The Tosh is also a very nice set.
    I first bought an Hitachi widescreen set, and had a couple of issues regarding a green tint in dark areas of the screen and nast digital artifacting of ntsc material due to it's line doubling and stretch modes.
    When I decided to give up and return it, I did a little research on the Toshiba and Sony forums over at Home Theater Spot. The Toshibas seem to have a problem with ghost lines around dark objects on light backgrounds-not all owners are reporting it, but many are. The Sony HW40s didn't seem to have any significant number of problems reported, so I went with the HW40.
    You will probably get a few replies knocking Sony's DRC for being soft.
    This has been greatly improved on the new HW40 sets, my set handles ntsc quite well, with less artifacting than I've seen on the Toshibas.
    Sony won't let you store separate settings for each input, like Toshiba, but Toshiba will only let you store one set of custom settings per input. This means that if you change channels and the color or black level is wrong due to inconsistent cable signals, you have to go into the menu and change stuff. Sony lets you store 4 separate sets of custom adjustments and you can toggle thru them with one button on the remote. I store different settings for different roomlighting, and to compensate for differences in individual channel calibration.
    Of minor importance, the Sony changes channels and inputs very quickly. I have a progressive scan player that shifts between progressive and interlaced output on the fly, and Sony's DRC makes interlaced output look almost indistinguishable from progressive from the player--you won't have to buy a progressive player right away to get a stunning dvd picture.
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    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
     
  3. Jimmy Reece

    Jimmy Reece Auditioning

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    Steve,
    Would you suggest a progressive-scan(and any other necessary features) DVD player that will do the trick without an outrageous cost attached?
    I am seeking a single disk unit to go along with (whatever it ends up being) a new direct-view widescreen HDTV. (I am also taking suggestions on that subject as well).
    I have just begun to build my DVD collection; 40+ at the moment, and am tired of watching them on a 27" non-HD television with an Apex DVD player.
    I have an inexpensive Yamaha surround outfit that does the trick for my small family room.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. You seem to be quite schooled on the subject without going to lofty on the jargon (to sail over my narrow head)...
    Thanx much, ReecesPieces
     
  4. Jimmy Reece

    Jimmy Reece Auditioning

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    Matthew,
    Please forgive my initiating Steve in an unrelated topic. It was my intention to send him a direct email, yet I replied to the post.
    Again, many apologies for the intrusion...
    Good luck on your search!
    ReecesPieces
     
  5. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    My HW40s DRC does a great job with interlaced dvd. I have one of the new Cheap JVC progressive players. It lets you switch from progressive to interlaced output on the fly with the remote, and I see little or no difference between progressive output shown natively and interlaced output converted by the DRC in the set. Some other owners of HW40 and HS30 Sonys have reported the same results.
    If you do decide to get a progressive scan player, I can highly recommend one of the new JVCs. The XVS60BK and XVS65GD (same machine, different color) can be had for $229 at B&M stores.
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    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
     
  6. Clint

    Clint Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve S.,
    How far do you have to sit when viewing on this set?
    Thanks
     
  7. EdD

    EdD Agent

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    A few questions about the Sony.
    1. Does is have any red push?
    2. Is there a way to defeat velocity scan modulation?
    3. What display modes (full, zoom, stretch, etc) does it support and are all of them available with progressive scan signals?
    4. How good is the "stretch mode" for 4:3 programming?
    Thanks.
    EdD
     
  8. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Clint,
    My eyes are about 13 feet away from the screen on my 57" set, I could probably get away with 10-11 feet.
    I would think the 51" would be ok from 8' or so.
    Ed D.
    According to AVIA's decoder evaluation, my set has about 10% red push. This was with color temp set to "warm". The Hitachi I had was up around 25%, my previous analog Hitachi was about 15-20%.
    I don't notice any overemphasis of red in normal viewing, people do not look sunburned.
    VSM can't be toggled on and off in the user menu, but varies according to which picture mode you use.
    There are 4 picture modes, Vivid, Standard, Movie, and Pro. VSM is pretty aggressive in Vivid, less so in Standard, almost off in Movie, and totally off in Pro. I've found that a bit of VSM actually helps a mediocre cable picture, so use Standard for most cable. Movie is about right for the DirecTV picture, and I use Pro for dvd and HD. The other "picture enhancement features" like auto color and such also work the same way-most active in VIVID, less so in Standard, pretty much off in Movie, completely off in Pro. Auto color also does not have a separate menu item defeat, but is very unobtrusive even in Standard, and again is actually helpful for casual cable veiwing.
    There are 4 aspect ratio choices for 4/3, and they are all available when using a 480p progressive scan signal from a DVD player. The set only locks into "full" when fed 1080i HD.
    The choices are:
    Normal--unaltered 4/3 image with gray bars on the side.
    Full--uniform horizontal stretch. This is the native mode for anamorphic dvd, of course, though the set does not lock into it on a 480p progressive input, and the only mode available for 1080i hd.
    Zoom--this is a uniform horizontal and vertical expansion of the 4/3 image. The top and bottom are cropped off, but the picture can be scrolled up and down a bit so sports scores and such are visible.
    If you have a dvd player that lacks the scaling feature for non-anamorphic dvds, this is the mode you would use to fill the screen side to side and eliminate "windowboxing". It's also the mode for ER and other ntsc shows that are presented in a letterbox format on analog stations. A bit of resolution is lost in this mode, but not nearly as much as was lost in the same mode on the Hitachi widescreen set I had. I think the Sony accomplishes the zoom with a combination raster expansion for the vertical dimension (moving scanlines further apart), and digital horizontal stretch. I think this because in Zoom mode I can just start to seee scanlines while in other modes they're almost invisible. This gives less digital artifacting than sets that use digital processing for both the vertical and horizontal expansion.
    The last aspect ratio mode is called "Wide Zoom" and is kind of hard to describe.
    Wide Zoom does a bit of horizontal stretch in the center, though not nearly as much as "full" The left and right edges are stretched a bit more, but only for about maybe 7" or so on each side. The center is also stretched vertically a bit, but is actually compressed at the top and bottom 5" or so of the screen. Since there is a bit of vertical zoom in this mode, the scroll feature is also available. So a face in the center of the screen is a little fat, but not as bad as in Full, but overall the "funhouse mirror" effect is quite minimal, and this mode is very much less distracting than the variable stretch on the Hitachi or Mitsubishi sets. It did not take me long to get used to Wide Zoom, and I use it for just about all 4/3 viewing. Resolution loss in Wide Zoom is also minimal, noticeably less than in Zoom, very close to the unaltered Normal mode.
    Different people have different sensitivity to the geometric distortions induced by these variable stretch modes, so you really should play with this for yourself rather than trust my judgement.
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    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
     
  9. EdD

    EdD Agent

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    Thank you very much for all the info Steve. One (or maybe two [​IMG] ) last questions. Is there an adjustment for the decoder to decrease the red push in the service menu? I'm glad to hear that it is not severe. That brings up the second question is how good are the menus (regular and service) for doing image tuning? Thanks again for the detailed answers.
    EdD
     
  10. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Ed,
    I haven't gone into the service menu on my set, haven't really felt any need to as yet. I plan to get a service manual for the set eventually, and may mess around a bit after I get it. The only reason I know there's any red push at all is because of the test on the AVIA disc. All I do is bring up one of the non-flashing color bar patterns, and reduce color until red intensity is the same as other colors. When watching regular material, this does not result in undersaturation of non-reds.
    One thing I noticed on the 2 Hitachis I've had is oversaturation of colors in dark scenes, especially sorta blooming fleshtones in dark scenes-quite unnatural and impossible to adjust out without losing too much color saturation in brighter scenes. The Sony does not exhibit this.
    The user menu is easy to deal with once you get used to it. When you press the menu button, the video adjustment menu comes up by default. 1st item on the video menu is mode (vivid, standard, movie, pro). Highlight this item and the list of modes appears to the right, where you can highlight and select the desired mode via the joystick on the remote. Once the mode is selected, you scroll down to the desired parameter, and an "adjust" icon appears to the right of the menu item. Click on this and the main menu disappears and the scale for the item you've chosen to adjust appears at the bottom of the screen, so the picture is not obscured by the menu. After adjusting, you can press down on the joystick to go back to the menu, or press the menu button to go back to the regular picture. Picking and clicking on items in the menu is a bit convoluted but easy and quick after a few minutes of playng around.
    Separate settings for contrast, (or Picture, in Sony Speak), brightness, color, tint, sharpness, and color temp can be stored under each picture mode, but can't be made input-specific. I don't use VIVID, as it has too much SVM, but I did adjust the parameters for it lower so as not to be blinded when toggling thru it to get to one of the other picture modes.
    Unlike most other sets in this class, the Sony does not have a room light sensor and the resulting corresponding full auto mode. I've had several sets that did have this feature and it's useless anyway as it's geared toward producing a nasty torch-level picture with sharpness too high and flourescingly oversaturated colors.
    If you check out the Sony Tweaks section over at Home Theater Spot, you can find links to several useful sources of tweaking information for these sets, especially an HS-10 forum over at Yahoo. I'm on webtv here so can't post a link in this post.
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    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
     
  11. David Glenn

    David Glenn Second Unit

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    Well it's time for my one (wife approved) annual upgrade to my HT, and I consider it a vast improvement...

    I've narrowed down my choice to these 2 HDTVs as well, however I may go with the 57" models.

    Current owners, after having your sets for a while, do you have anything more to comment on? Any info on pre and post calibration comparisions on these HDTVs?

    I'm so siked to be going from my 32" XBR to a 50+" 16:9.

    Next years upgrade will be an SVS sub.

    Thanks in advance for your response.
     

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