Sony KP-57WS510 initial impressions

Discussion in 'Displays' started by ChrisYK, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. ChrisYK

    ChrisYK Stunt Coordinator

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    Got my TV yesterday and am excited just to have it in the house.

    Some first impressions:
    1. I initially wasn't crazy about the aesthetics of the TV when I saw it at the store, but once I got it set up in my house I'm actually pleased with the low-key, unobtrusive all-silver finish. I was also afraid that the silver finish might be a distraction even with the lights down low, but I can't even see it with the lights off.

    2. The flash focus is actually pretty good. You are required to do an initial flash focus prior to manual convergence setting and I only had to make minimal adjustments (maybe because I'm a newbie?). I don't have a calibration disk yet, but I used the THX optimizer tests to "rough-tune" the picture and it seems to have helped.

    3. I don't have a pro-scan DVD player yet (no bashing, please [​IMG] I'm a newbie and have much to upgrade... the TV was the first step), and I watched Signs last night via S-video connection and it looked sort of grainy. Monsters, Inc., however, looked excellent and the colors all kind of "popped" like I've never seen before. All in all, I am very pleased with the DVD picture quality.

    4. I currently watch normal TV over coaxial cable (again, please no bashing) and was actually pleased with the picture quality. I had been bracing myself for the worst in this regard but was pleasantly surprised. Along these lines, the "Wide Zoom" mode is excellent at filling the entire screen with minimal distortion and cropping. It has become my default 4:3 viewing mode.

    Now some questions:
    1. Will upgrading the coaxial cable itself improve my SD PQ?

    2. I changed my DVD player setting to 16:9. Should the TV be set at "Full" when watching DVDs?

    3. Where can I find the "make" info on the TV (i.e. when/where it was manufactured)? Just out of curiosty.

    4. What do people use as their reference DVDs? Again, out of curiosity.

    I will try to post more thoughts and questions as they come up. Thanks to all those that have helped and listened!
     
  2. nick_rh

    nick_rh Stunt Coordinator

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    I can take a stab at a few of these...


    Well, The Matrix is always the first thing I pop in, but Pixar DVDs are usually the best because they're pressed directly from a digital source. Monsters Inc seems to be what a lot of people use. The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition discs are alleged to have some of the best PQ of any film-based DVDs, and any Sony Superbit discs or recent Criterion discs are good bets too.
     
  3. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Chris,

    I've had the essentially similar KP57HW-40 for over 2 years now and am very happy with it, will try to answer some of your questions.

    1) You said you were receiving normal tv via SC over coaxial cable--pardon my ignorance, but what is "SC"? If it's analog cable you may get a better picture if you use "standard" (after calibrating the picture settings in that mode, I.E. turning "picture" to below 50%, sharpness to about 30%, etc.). Standard uses some picture enhancement features that actually degrade a high quality source like DVD or HD, but can help a less than perfect cable signal.

    2) You were correct to switch the player to 16/9 mode-don't change that. On the tv, you use Full for anamorphic widescreen dvds--those that say "anamorphic" or "enhanced for widescreen (or 16/9)" on the cover. Most newer widescreen dvds are anamorphic. If you're playing a widescreen dvd in Full and everything looks short and fat, it's not an anamorphic dvd and you need to switch the tv to "Zoom". When watching dvds on which the aspect ratio is 4/3, use "Normal". You'll find that many of the special features on dvds are not anamorphic so will have to switch the tv to "normal" most of the time for special features. A few exceptions are the LOTR EEs and the Star Wars dvds.

    Also keep in mind that many movies have an aspect ratio of 2:35 and your set is 1:78, so those movies will still have smallish black bars--Aspect ratio of the movie is also usually on the back of the dvd case. Due to overscan, 1:85 movies will not have black bars.

    3) Serial number and date and place of manufacture is on a sticker on the back of the set.

    4) Reference dvds for overall excellent pq are any of the Pixar movies--Toy Story I or II, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo though Finding Nemo has some blurring and such to mimic real underwater vision and is often misinterpreted as bad transfer. Live action movies that have excellent pq include The Hulk, Fast and Furious, Fifth Element Superbit.

    You mentionned grainy picture on Signs. Assuming you've turned sharpness down to 30-40% or so this is normal. Almost all dvds based on filmed movies exhibit some graininess due to the grain in the original filmstock, lighting conditions when the film was photographed,etc, and many directors and cinematographers deliberately accentuate this graininess for dramatic effect. Examples of intentional graininess are the Godfather movies and most recent Speilberg films like AI or Minority Report.

    Even when film grain is not intentionally accentuated it will show up from time to time in most filmed movies. You don't notice it on your old analog set because the old set isn't capable of enough resolution and has a smaller screen size. The fact that you see it on the new set is an indication of the new set's superior resolution rather than a malfunction in the set.

    Monsters Inc was a direct digital transfer to dvd off the digital picture files at Pixar, no film involved and therefore no grain. Signs is film based, and though not known for using film grain for dramatic purpose does unavoidably exhibit some grain. Attack of the Clones is live action, shot on HD video, and like Monsters the dvd is a direct digital transfer, hence it is live action but virtually grain free. Some dvd transfers of filmed movies have had digital grain removal done, so they are grain free but not the same movie that was shown in theaters.

    You will see noticeable improvement with your dvd picture if you use component rather than S-video, and a smaller improvement with a good progressive scan player. The DRC in the set is so good that purchasing a progressive scan player is not an immediate priority, but you should definitely switch to component connections if your dvd player has them.
     
  4. ChrisYK

    ChrisYK Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the answers guys... very helpful[​IMG]

    "Standard" mode definitely improves the SD cable picture quality (typo in original post... sorry).

    Unfortunately, I don't have component outs on my DVD player so I will have to be satisfied with S-video for the time being (hopefully not too long). I assume the progressive DRC setting up-converts the native signal, but what exactly does the CineMotion setting do? I find that I like the CineMotion setting better than the progressive.

    I had one more question... when I used the THX video optimizer, on the test with the circle and two bordering rectangles (16:9), the left and bottom edges of the outside rectangle is not visible on my screen. Is this something I should be concerned about?

    Thanks again!
     
  5. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    The 3 drc modes work as follows:

    "Interlaced"--converts incoming 480i to 960i, good for most regular tv watching.

    "progressive"--converts incoming 480i to 480p--good for most video based dvds.

    "cinemotion"--converts incoming 480i to 480p and also applies 3/2 pulldown to get rid of digital artifacting caused by the fact that film is 24 frames per second and video is 30 frames per second. This mode is best for film based dvds, as you've already discovered.

    The framing issue with the optimizer could be one of 2 things--your player may be shifting the picture a bit to the left and down, or the tv may be doing it. All sets have a little overscan built in, yours may be overscanning more on the left and the bottom than at the top and right side. One of the purposes of overscan is to provide a safety margin in case an incoming picture is off center in order to prevent an inadvertent black space onscreen. I've had 3 different players connected to my set and the centering of that THX pattern you refer to was a bit different (maybe a couple of inches one way or the other) on each of them.

    You may notice eventually that sometimes the black bars on 2:35 movies may be wider at the top than at the bottom or vice versa depending on which disc you're playing--this is due to the mastering of the particular disc.

    There are those who insist on zeroing out overscan and perfect screen centering. This involves a lot of complicated reconvergence and such, which may really mess up your picture if not expertly done. If you don't notice any significant effect in normal use, and can't afford an expert ISF calibration at this time, I'd leave it alone.
     
  6. ChrisYK

    ChrisYK Stunt Coordinator

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    I thought it might be an overscan issue, but as it doesn't seem to be affecting the DVD pic so as to be noticeable, I'll leave it alone at this point as I can't really afford an ISF calibration right now nor do I have enough hours on the set anyway.

    Thanks again for all the help, Steve.
     
  7. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Chris,

    I would stay away from using the THX Optimizer; instead, use Avia or Video Essentials. Most experts in the field claim the THX optimizer is garbage.
     
  8. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I've used both. I would not call the THX optimizer garbage, but it certainly isn't nearly as comprehensive as AVIA or VE. I would agree that the THX optimizer should by no means be considered an adequate substitute, of course, but it's better than nothing for those who have little or no experience adjusting the picture control settings on their television sets.

    The main problem I have with both the THX optimizer and AVIA is the vagueness with respect to the proper contrast setting. Most sets won't "bloom" as described by AVIA, so people will still be tempted to set contrast too high. My rule of thumb is to turn contrast down until whites turn light gray, then back up until they just turn true white again but no higher.

    I was raised in the 50s and learned how to adjust the picture on the BW sets of the time at the age of 5, and can well remember the fussy early color sets that required knob twiddling every time you changed the channel.

    It's a fact that probably the majority of tv owners have never adjusted anything on a television set other than the volume and channel selector before getting into Home Theater and reading about proper set adjustment on forums like this.

    Having learned how to adjust a set eons ago I am surprised at how close my own "eyeball" settings usually come to my final results with AVIA.
     
  9. ChrisYK

    ChrisYK Stunt Coordinator

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    This statement applies to me as I have adjusted my TVs by eyeballing DVD output to the screen. Even with the THX optimizer, I am not confident enough in my "home theater eyes" to say that the picture has been adjusted adequately. My next purchase will be the Avia calibration disk though I am itching to get a DVD player with component outs. I currently have one of the earlier Sony HTIB that was more than adequate as a "starter" set, but having been bit by the home theater bug, I am wanting to upgrade everything.

    Too bad I had to get excited about such an expensive hobby [​IMG]
     

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