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Thread: 60-61" HDTV

  1. #1
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    60-61" HDTV

    I'm looking to get a new HDTV, the bigger the better. I've seen 3 sets that are roughly the same price. Which would you say is the best set?

    Samsung HL-R6167W -- 61" DLP
    Panasonic PT-61LCX65 -- 61" LCD
    Hitachi 60V710 -- 60" LCD

    In general I've been told that Hitachi makes better TV's than Panasonic or Samsung but DLP is better than LCD. What do you think?

  2. #2
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    I'm not up on the pricing of these babies, but Hitachi has been getting some great press lately, as well as some great testimonials on this board. Samsung seems to be plagued with reliabiltiy problems, though I don't know whether this model is involved. You might run a check at the AVS forum--where people go to sometimes excruciating detail about the sets that they've bought, or want to buy--and check on your list. Take what you find seriously, but also with a grain of salt. I would check out the equivalent Toshiba and Mitsubishi DLPs as well as the Samsung.

    The knee-jerk reaction is that DLP is better than LCD, and it has some merit, especially with regard to DLP's HD2+ chip with DarkChip technology, the dimple on the mirrors, and the better fill factor, which makes for even better blacks. You also want the 7 segment color wheel, turning as fast as the state of the art can manage at this point, to minimize any rainbows and smearing and to give black a more realistic look.

    LCD is usually the most challenged microdisplay when it comes to providing a convincing level of black, but some LCDs are only slightly inferior to some DLPs in that regard, if at all. I see the three chip design in LCD as a definite advantage to the single-chip color wheel on the DLP, regardless of whether the rainbow effect is visible. Even if people are prone to exaggerate the screen-door effect, a large LCD display could look soft and noisy if you have to sit too close. I haven't seen any motion blurring on an LCD for a long time, but some people still report it, though it no longer is the sticky point that it used to be. The LCoS and DiLA, variations on LCD, are improvements on the design regarding fill factor and black level, anyway. You might check out JVC's DiLA line. Hitachi and Sony do LCoS; I recommend the Sony if you have the money, though its 10" bigger diagonally than your listed sets. If picture quality alone were the criterion, however, many people would, and do, buy a big CRT--bulk, weight, and timeliness be damned. I don't believe that CRTs trump everything else in every possible respect all of the time for everyone, but, in general, they still set the standard in PQ.

    You should always buy a display to match the size of the environment and the expected viewing distance. The problem with one that's too small is obvious, but one that's too big and too near can get exhausing to watch pretty quickly. When you're going as big as 60", you might consider a set that scales to 1080p, which would certainly help HD feeds, and possibly standard DVD feeds, though it might make ordinary SD programming a viewing challenge.

    Personally, I don't believe that any really reliable shortcut to decision making exists. So much goes into what makes a display attractive--beyond such things as size and weight--that firsthand experience, or a detailed review, could overturn any preconceptions that you may have had. Color decoding, color-temperature accuracy, deinterlacing, input programming, brightness, off-axis viewing, et al. can be huge factors in choice.

    Good luck,
    Ed

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info. The 3 sets I mentioned are all ~$3000, and at ~60" seem to offer a lot of screen for the money.

    CRT's I'm afraid have too low a WAF.

    I keep hearing that plasma and LCD prices are about to plummet, I'm wondering if I should hold out a little bit.

    On that note, and off subject, I do have a little rant about HDTV. I recently moved and switched to cable (Comcast). I went ahead and got their DVR which is HD capable. I don't currently have a HDTV. Anyway, the PQ on standard cable was much worse than what I was used to on Directv. I called and complained and asked them if there was anyway I could output the HDTV signals to my non-HDTV. Their answer: no. Well, I played around with the box for less than 5 minutes and did exactly that.

    Besides the unknowledgable reps, here's where the rant begins. I was blown away with the PQ of the HD signals down converted for my non-HDTV. The picture is outstanding. It then occurred to me, why don't all channels look this way? The general consensus put out by whoever is that you need to buy a HDTV to get the upgrade in PQ that everyone wants. This is really BS. The signal that the cable and satellite companies are feeding us is not even near the full potential of our current non-HDTV's. We as consumers should really demand better quality from our providers.

    It seems to me the HDTV signals displayed in the store show rooms blows people away not because 1080i is so much better than 480i, but because a good 1080i signal blows away the crappy signals provided by our cable and satellite companies. Besides, half the time the TV's in the showrooms are playing a 480p DVD!

  4. #4
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    A market-research firm called DisplaySearch reports that production of HDTVs is 50% higher than it was last year. If so, supply is in real danger of exceeding demand, which could mean lower prices for a lot of sets this autumn. I don't know whether the glut has reached the upper end in size and cost, but with new lines coming out this fall, anyway, prices on many premium HDTVs are sure to fall, anyway.

    Are you taking an analog feed of the HD stations from your cable box? I agree that it can look pretty good. I also agree that the analog stations look terrible on cable, but what else is new? I don't agree that hi def signals win their subjective points only relative to poor signals. True HDTV when set up correctly is breathtaking at 720p and 1080i. The DVD resolution of 480p can be stunning, but it is still short of breathtaking; it can't provide that window on the world view that the highest resolutions on a good HDTV can provide. Although some of the digital channels on cable are certainly acceptable, satellite companies like DirecTV are often at an advantage for non-HD stations, since they can keep their feeds largely in the digital realm. SD cable retains a lot of analog artifacts, which start out bad but only look worse when deinterlaced and scaled on a microdisplay or a larger CRT. Hi def on an HD microdisplay or CRT looks as good as it does because the signal uses all, or most, of the pixels on the panel (or on the chips), or multiplies the scan lines on a CRT, not because poor broadcasting is so bad in comparison. You'll see for yourself when you get yours and tune to something like DiscoveryHD, which is actually filmed in HD.

    Ed

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    I set my cable box to output the hi-def signals in 480i.

    My point is essentially that the displays are for the most part still way out ahead of the programming. What I discovered is that we're not even utilizing 480i sets to their full potential. To me, it seems the increase in quality from a crappy cable feed to a true 480i picture is much more dramatic than the jump from 480i to true hi-def. I'm not saying that there isn't a dramatic increase in quality from 480i to true hi-def (there certainly is) but that the increase from a SD cable signal to a to a true 480i picture is a bigger step, and it angers me to some degree that we're not able to enjoy most channels to the fullest capacity on our current SD TV's.

    It's my understanding that cable and satellite providers compress even their digital signals in order to preserve bandwith. It seems to me that the advent of even more HD channels will have to result in compressing the HD signals as well. Is this an accurate guess? Then we'll be back where we started from.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Yes, everything digital is compressed as a rule of thumb, even DVDs, but after that, cable companies try to squeeze as much broadcast material within a certain bandwidth as they can, mixing HD with other programming in the same slot, thereby compromising quality to some extent. DirecTV has also reportedly dumbed downed its HD slightly in resolution to save bandwidth, though the launch of new satellites should help in that regard. But everyone is in essentially the same quandary: to increase channels or increase HD capability. Doing either gobbles up bandwidth. What happens with digital, as opposed to analog, when its signal is impaired is that the picture softens, breaks up, pixellates, or freezes for a moment before returning to normal; analog pictures stay fuzzy, ghosty, and noisy. Thus, in some sense, service providers can get a natural masking of the indignities that they do to a digital signal, since it often doesn't look noticeably diminished most of the time.

    Analog cable is plain lousy, always has been, since the signal traverses so much poor terrain; 480i is a big step up, but once you live with true HD, 480 doesn't flip your skirt half so much, even though it's far better than analog SD--at least in my experience. DirecTV can convert SD signals to digital fairly early in the chain, so they hold up better. But quality varies there as well, though not so widely. Personally, I'd rather the industry concentrate on turning all signals digital, if not HD, as quickly as possible and not lose sleep over repairing analog SD over cable. Let's lose it althogether. Anyone still using an analog TV that required the digital signals to be converted after the revolution would still get the benefit of broadcasts that didn't depreciate horribly every step of the way into their receiver. This is not to say that digital automatically reaches the holy grail, only that it can maintain a baseline of quality better than analog.

    Ed

  7. #7
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    Ed,

    You are quickly becoming the tv guru regarding HD. Damn good posts.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Hey topspeed,

    Thanks for the kind words. I have to admit, I've been enjoying all of the video posts lately. As I told Breezer a while ago, while my antique house is getting a face lift, my computer time is coming in big bunches. I'll shut up one of these months.

    Ed

  9. #9
    His and Her Room! westcott's Avatar
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    Have you considered front projection?

    You can get a much larger picture for the same money and I have found that most women like seeing a larger picture.

  10. #10
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edtyct
    Hey topspeed,

    Thanks for the kind words. I have to admit, I've been enjoying all of the video posts lately. As I told Breezer a while ago, while my antique house is getting a face lift, my computer time is coming in big bunches. I'll shut up one of these months.

    Ed
    Please do not shut up anytime soon. I have found your posts very enlightening.
    Sir Terrence

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  11. #11
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Sir T,

    Ditto.

  12. #12
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    No one has mentioned the JVC HD61Z886. I have had one since June and am very pleased with it. I suggest you compare JVC,s LCOS picture side by side to either LCD or DLP competitors. With HD or up-coverted DVD (720P), there's no contest.

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