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Iconoclast

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Jan 28, 2009
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Steve
I plan to rearrange my room & upgrade my home theater. Currently, I must sit 12-13 feet away from the screen. Panasonic 42” Plasma EDTV (TH 42PA20). I think the resolution is 480p for EDTV & 480i for SDTV. I know HDTV is either 720 or 1080 i or p. I watch Standard (analog) Cable TV & Anamorphic (Enhanced for 16x9 TVs) DVDs.

On my current TV, Anamorphic DVDs look great, even if I walk up to 6 feet away. Standard TV programs don’t look very good but they are watchable from 12-13 feet.

I want to buy a Panasonic 65” Plasma HDTV (1080p) TH 65PZ850U. I will buy a Blu-Ray DVD player. Maybe the Panasonic DMP-BD35. I understand the Blu-Ray player will upconvert my standard DVDs to 1080p so they look good but not as good as Blu-Ray discs. I will also upgrade my Cox cable to digital so I can get HD programming.

I watched the Panasonic 65” Plasma HDTV at a Best Buy from exactly 9 feet (We measured!) It was spectacular with either a Blu-Ray DVD or HDTV feed. I Then had them put in a standard anamorphic DVD & while not as good as the Blu-Ray , it still looked very good from 9 feet away. It was played in a Sony Blu-Ray player which also upconverted it. (I think all Blu-Ray players upconvert standard DVDs.)

Since my new arrangement will not allow me to sit farther than 9-10 feet, I want to make sure I don’t regret buying the 65” TV when watching non HD programming. I know that this summer (unless delayed yet again) all stations will change to digital broadcasts only.

My remaining concern & the reason for this post is watching non HD TV programming. I know all stations & all programs are not HD yet & even the HD varies between different stations; 1080i, 720p & 480p.

HD Pictures - What's On HDTV

I hope one of you has a 65” plasma HDTV & can tell me how non HD programming appears. Is it very bad? How does it look from 9 feet away?

In 2003, when I changed my 40” Mitsubishi CRT for the Panasonic 42” Plasma --I was delighted with the picture quality of anamorphic DVDs but, extremely disappointed in the quality of my widescreen VHS movie collection. I ended up slowly replacing most of those VHS tapes with DVDs. (Except where the DVD is not anamorphic!) Even widescreen, non-anamorphc DVDs when zoomed look fairly graining on my 42 inch Plasma. I suspect they will look even worse on a 65 inch. But, at 9 feet away, I can chose to NOT zoom those widescreen, non-anamorphc DVDs. But I can do nothing for non-HD TV programming.

Thanks!



Steve
 

Stephen Tu

Screenwriter
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Apr 26, 1999
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Non-HD programming from analog cable just isn't going to look good at that size at 9 feet. But I wouldn't worry about it. My non-HD programming has dwindled down to almost zilch compared to when I got my set 5+ years ago. Every major cable network is rolling out or already has an HD channel, so the worst case scenario is upconverted shows which aren't that bad, except for the stupid channels that do stretchovision. And a lot of TV shows are available on DVD now which gives you extra options. Go big and enjoy. Are there particular shows you have in mind that aren't in HD that you care about?

VHS is ready for dustbin. Dump your tapes. Get a Netflix account to rent DVDs & Blurays. With Netflix giving you a steady supply of content you may not find you really need to replace all your tapes; just rent the disc when you feel like watching it again. And be sure to get an HD-Tivo or HD-DVR.
 

Iconoclast

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
63
Real Name
Steve
Thanks Stephen,

I’m going to switch to digital cable as soon as I do this upgrade. So my concern is how bad any non-HD programming will look on a 65” HDTV at 9 feet. I have never seen any HD programming except briefly at Best Buy. I do think that as more people buy HDTVs less programming will be broadcast in non-HD. I will rarely buy TV on DVD. (Although I did buy a few seasons of “24” & the superb “Firefly” & "Fawlty Towers”)
I don’t know what stetchovision is. I sure hope professional broadcasters are not broadcasting in the wrong aspect ratio like the idiots at bars who want to use all their 16x9 screen real estate so take a 4:3 broadcast & set the TV to stretch it to fit the screen!

I rarely rent DVDs. I see many movies 1st run at the theater & only buy the ones I rate good-excellent. I guess I’ve become a collector. In the future I may end up a renter as the theater experience is becoming bad. I always go at the twilight “bargain” times 4:30-6PM yet, at almost every show if people (of ALL ages! 16-75) are not talking, they are either allowing cell phones to ring or answering the phone AND CHATTING or often texting which essentially shines a BRIGHT blue light in the faces of the people behind them.

I was planning on purchasing a DVR-DVD recorder but, now I added a note to make sure it is HD. (Didn’t realize they had non-HD DVRs)


I hope some others will add their two cents from experience on the non-HD programming on 65” screens. Even if you have a 65” HDTV & sit say 15-20 feet away, you can walk up to 9 feet just to see how bad it looks & let me know.
 

David Willow

Babbling Idiot
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Dave
Hi Steve,

I sit about 9 feet from my 61" screen. With DirecTV HD receiver, standard def sometimes looks soft. I think mostly it is because I'm so darned used to HD now, that SD doesn't cut it any more. It is watchable, however. And I wouldn't let SD quality stop me from going with the bigger screen. That size screen from 9' will make HD look fantastic.
 

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