What do I need to know about RPTV to avoid dissapointment

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Todd B, Aug 30, 2002.

  1. Todd B

    Todd B Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 1, 1999
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    I'm working through the process of replacing my 27" direct view TV with an RPTV. Before I buy I am interested in knowing about RPTV's dirty little secrets. You know, the things that you only find out after you made the purchase.
    So what should I know up front about RPTV to avoid disappointment?
    I watch 60/40 cable/dvd (but am most interested in dvd quality).
  2. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

    Mar 16, 2000
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    Calgary, Alberta
    Real Name:
    Michael Chen

    Expecting an RPTV image to look exactly like your small crt image is unreasonable. Like expecting a 4"x6" photo to look the same after you blow it up to 40"x60".

    RPTV performance is rarely very good out of the box. It needs some work to reach its full potential. Periodic maintenance is also needed.

    Optimal seating in a room will be significantly different than your direct view.

  3. Brent Hutto

    Brent Hutto Supporting Actor

    Aug 30, 2001
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    From my recent shopping experience, there are basically two things that you have to do or else you'll be disappointed.

    1) You have to sit in a position where your eyes are level with the vertical center of the screen, plus or minus about six inches.

    2) You have to eliminate any sources of light that might shine on the screen while you're watching.

    I think if you can handle these two requirements, then a good-quality HD-ready RPTV will do a very good job after calibration. When these requirements aren't met, the picture looks awful and I don't think any amount of calibration will fix it.

    I ended up with a 36" direct-view set because of requirement one, especially. I had the option of such a "small" screen because we sit less than seven feet from the TV. BTW, seven feet is probably too close for the larger RPTV's anyway and would limit us to the 40"-50" range.
  4. Chet Hayes

    Chet Hayes Agent

    Aug 1, 2002
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    A good place to start is what sources of HD material you will have available: sat, cable, OTA etc. And don't confuse digital cable with HD.

    When you see a RPTV at retail stores, they are typically displaying some canned HD source material, but what will you actually watch that makes use of the capabilities of the RPTV? You indicated that you watch a significant amount of DVD's which while not HD, with a progressive scan player, will look great on a RPTV. In my case, I watch some DVDs but watch mostly cable and have zippo HD available here on Cablevision.

    I also suggest you look into DVI/HDCP. This is a new interface and copy protection scheme that is just starting to ship in new RPTVs (Hitachi, Sony, Toshiba, JVC). No one knows what future material will be protected using HDCP, but without having it in the actual display device, you would be unable to view protected material at HD resolution.
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    My beloved Mistubishi cost me $2400 several years ago. Now you can get HD sets for this price so you should really be looking at these sets rather than an ordinary RPTV.

    Here are some things to look for:

    - Off Axis viewing. When you demo a TV, move Left/Right to see how far off you can sit before the edges appear distorted. This could be important in your living room for people sitting to the side.

    - Number of inputs: The more inputs the better

    - Menu System: does the set allow different brightness/contrast setting for each input?

    - Settings have Numerical values: It's really nice if the settings have numbers rather than simple slider bars. This way you can write down the settings before you start playing with them, and later put them back if you mess things up.

    - Ignore Brightness: The sets in the store all have brightness & contrast turned way up to catch your eye. Dont be fooled.

    I think you will LOVE your RPTV.
  6. errol

    errol Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 29, 1999
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    Hi Todd,
    Similar to Michael's comment: don't expect an HD set to improve the image from a non-HD feed. We've seen posts like "just got a x-size rptv and dss looks like garbage. Well, garbage in, garbage out unfortunately.
    Short of a professional calibration, user calibration via VE or Avia should help the image quite a bit.
    And since the set is HD, it does its best with .... an HD feed. [​IMG]

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