Sony vs Pioneer? New member would appreciate opinions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jenna, Feb 13, 2002.

  1. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2002
    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi, my name's Jenna and I'm a new member shopping for my first "serious" Widescreen HDTV, so I'd appreciate any opinions from the seasoned experts on this forum, especially those who own either of the following brands of widescreen projection TVs.
    After shopping and reading magazine reviews for more than 4 months, I've narrowed my choices down to Sony KDP-57XBR2 ($4999) or Pioneer SD-643HD5 ($3,799). I'm having customized white oak cabinets "built" around the HDTV, and have decided that a black TV cabinet would look best.
    The Sony KDP-57XBR2 just arrived locally at Circuit City, and the picture is simply amazing via a satellite source. It has a built-in HDTV Tuner, and automatic convergence.
    The Pioneer SD-643HD5 doesn't have a built-in HDTV tuner, and has manual convergence, yet the set is larger and less expensive. I can only find it locally at Best Buy, and my favorite salesguy there said it's their "best".
    Unfortunately, after he had my interest, he informed me that the 64" model is being discontinued there so I would have to search out-of-town for one. The salesman said they'd probably be getting a newer Pioneer in to replace it, but won't know for over a month. Of course, the new Pioneer they get to replace it will probably cost more.
    If anyone owns either of these sets, or owns a similar widescreen model over 57" (with a black cabinet) that they're thrilled with, I would greatly appreciate their input. None of my friends or coworkers are really into Home Theater, nor do any of them own a set bigger than 36", let alone know what HDTV stands for...so I've no where else to turn to. I'm upgrading from a measly 32" Magnavox with a puny Sony Dolby Pro Logic receiver/surround sound system that I bought at Montgomery Wards 2 yrs ago (stop laughing), so you can understand my urgency. I long to watch "Sex In The City", "CSI", or any of my 300+ DVDs on decent system.
    Thanks to all who respond!
    Sincerely,
    "Anxious in Asheville"
     
  2. Jeff Peake

    Jeff Peake Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 1998
    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Jenna, welcome to the forum.
    I recently purchased the Pioneer 643 and love it. I had to buy an HDTV receiver as well (got the Samsung SIR-T150), so price of the TV + STB was about $4200, still cheaper than the Sony.
    The Pioneer uses last years Pioneer Elite line doubler, which is really good. I have an old DVD player, that isnt progressive scan, and it looks great. The line doubler is so good, I have no plans on buying a progressive scan DVD player any time soon.
    HDTV looks fantastic. The Olympics are breathtaking in high-def.
    DVD's are very good, assuming they are good transfers. I have noticed that many DVD's that I thought looked great on my old 30" TV, look kind of bad on the 64" set...you can see all the flaws of bad transfers!
    Direct TV viewing ranges from good to poor. Direct TV has improved recently with the new satelites coming on line. My local channels look much sharper now than they did last year (of course now that I have an HDTV tuner, I watch all my locals over-the-air instead of on DirecTV).
    I havent seen the Sony in person, so I cant give you any comparisons of the two sets.
    Check out www.hometheaterspot.com, they have lots of good discussion on the various makes and models of HDTV's.
    Good luck!
    Jeff
     
  3. ManojM

    ManojM Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2002
    Messages:
    242
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you look at the new Home Theater Magazine (March), they compare ten RPTV models, including the Pioneer and Sony that you are looking at. It is a very good review, and very informative for your situation. BTW, the Pioneer wins the face-off, and the "final four" were Pioneer, Toshiba, Sharp, and Zenith (very cool looking TV for retail of $3000). The Sony follows in the second tier. I own a Pioneer Elite 520, but I did look at the regular Pioneers and the Sony. I belive the Pioneer is significantly better in certain regards such as much more accurate color fidelity with less red push, and it also appears to have a better picture on NTSC programming. The stretch modes are also better on the Pioneer. I would strongly recommend that you try to find these TVs somewhere on the same feed so you can make a relative comparison, but if you do so, I believe that you will find the Pioneer will be your choice. Good luck.
     
  4. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2002
    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jeff, thanks for the address for Home Theater Spot site...I'm currently surfing around for info on the two sets, and I'm finding tons of great info for newbies.
    ManojM, I appreciate the heads-up on the March issue of HT. It just figures that's the isssue that hasn't arrived in NC yet. I'll be on the lookout. The only place that carries Pioneer HD-PTVs locally is Best Buy, and as luck would have it, BestBuy is no longer suppling the 64" model I was thinking about nor do they supply the Elite series. I'll have to travel an hour to find another retailer...(the cons about living in a small mountain city.) I'm sure finding a professional locally to calibrate my set will be a nightmare too.
    I really have my heart set on a larger widescreen RPTV - no smaller than 57" so I may have to travel a distance to purchase one. You'd be surprised how many local salesman have stated to me that the 65" will be too big, despite my room measurements of 17"x26". They keep saying that "people are surprised how big they are when they get them home". I want as true a theater experience as I can manage which, for me, includes a larger screen. My viewing distance from the screen will be 11-12'.
    Has anyone experienced any problems with similar distances and screen sizes?
     
  5. Jeff Peake

    Jeff Peake Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 1998
    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jenna:

    I sit 8 feet away from my Pioneer 643. The first week or two, it felt a little overwhelming, but now that I have adjusted to the size, and would have regretted getting anything smaller. The large size screen really adds to the theater-like experience.

    A welcome side-affect is that Dolby Digital DVD's sound more directional now. When the screen is so large, a well mastered DD track with directional sound cues really sounds great. When something blows up on the left side of the screen, and the left speaker kicks in, you really notice it more when viewing on a large screen. I dont think I am explaining this very well, but you will see what I mean when you get the set!

    Go large, you wont regret it!!!

    Jeff
     
  6. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2002
    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jeff, you explained that quite well, thanks. It's good to hear that "size does matter" especially relating to the surround sound. [​IMG]
    I visited your home theater link and viewed your photos. You have a great setup. As for the window reflection coming from the left, I have a similar problem (but with larger sliding patio doors). Might I suggest, instead of window-darkening drapes (which may overpower the room), try room-darkening VERTICAL blinds (one side plastic/one side fabric) to match the color of the walls. Then hang medium weight drapes over those in a contrasting darker shade and draw those closed when really needed during the day. The vertical blinds will cut out the majority of glaring light without making the room seem like a dungeon. I did this with my room, and I have greater control over the light/dark conditions my current set requires.
    Meanwhile, I'm "going large"![​IMG]
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    This HTFer recommends giving the Toshiba 57HX81 a serious looksee. Tosh is renowned for its accurate color decoders. And a friend's calibrated 56H80 just blows me away.
     
  8. Jeff Peake

    Jeff Peake Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 1998
    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jenna:

    I took a more utilitarian approach to solving the glare problem. I took large pieces of cardboard, cut them to fit the window panes, and wrapped them in black cloth. They TOTALLY block all light from those windows.

    My fiance was less than thrilled with this approach, but they are easily removeable if, for some reason, she wants to be able to see out the window! The view out of those windows is of our driveway, and the side of the next house about 15 feet away, so we arent missing much.

    As for the Toshiba recomendation....I recommend reading the HomeTheaterSpot's TOSHIBA forum. There are just too many known issue's with the new Tosh's for me to drop $3k on one. I almost bought the Toshiba 65HX81, but after reading the HTSPot, and then viewing the set again at the local Tweeter, I was able to see the flaws. The main issue with Toshiba is image ghosting. Many people report a kind of double-image effect on thier sets. Toshiba has acknowledged the problem, and is giving full refunds to people affected by it . HTSPot has all the gory details.....

    Jeff
     
  9. ManojM

    ManojM Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2002
    Messages:
    242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jenna, if you are interested in the Pioneer unit, I would strongly suggest calling onecall.com. They have excellent prices, a great reputation, and they are authorized dealers for Pioneer and Toshiba. Your will be surprised how much better the pricing will be with them over best buy. I have bought several pieces from them, and have been very happy with their service. The only negative is that the TV cannot be returned, so pick carefully before you buy. One of the biggest reasons that RPTVs get returned is that they were too big for the room. The other negative about bigger screens is that the closer you sit the more you will see scan lines and all of the artifacts from NTSC programming. I sit about 8 feet from the television, and although I would loved an even larger screen, good sense won out and I bought the 53".
     

Share This Page