The VISUAL part of AV

Posted by: Don Atkinson on 24 November 2004

The VISUAL part of AV

Simple question.

What is the best visual system to buy.

I know!!, "what do I mean by 'Best' ?"

Well, I'm not going to spend 20k+ because a) I don't have 20k + to blow; and b) in a fast-changing market-place, this year's chick is soon going to be last year's hag.

Do I go for a CRT TV; or a plasma; or an LCD; or a projector (DLP v LCD)...or?

I suppose that I really want a 150" TV set for under 2.5k, then I could watch high-speed action-movies with incredible detail, enjoying the "big-screen" experience in daylight/tungsten-light convenience.

So, to be a bit more realistic, what do you suggest in the meantime?

Cheers

Don
Posted on: 24 November 2004 by Paul Ranson
I saw a Sanyo Z2 projector in a real home and thought 'cool' on both broadcast and DVD. So something a bit better than that would do. And would be many times better than a plasma. The effect of a 6 or 8 foot image is striking.

IMO of course. I'm toying with ideas. But a Sanyo PLV-Z3 is about 1300 with a bundled 6 foot screen, inc vat. So not that implausible.

Paul
Posted on: 24 November 2004 by Manu
The projector is the only way to get the real cinema experience BUT, you need to answer a few questions:
Will you have a dedicated room?
If not, can you darken your room?
Do you have a family/kids, squating friends?
Are you planning to integrate your AV and music systems?
Are you a sports/action movies fan?

If you have a dedicated room, no questions: front projector;
If you can't dedicate the living room when watching a movie forget the projector, i mean, darken the room, set-up the sofa for best placement...
If you like sports, fast action movies, forget the LCD for a few years.
If you want a big (>40") forget the CRT.
If you have kids, forget the AV/music integration , they will want to watch a movie just when you want to listen to music, and they will always win.
In fact the choice is not a technological one, you have to analyse your (family) habits and to know what you want to do with the system.
You must keep in mind, the major difference between an AV system and a music one:
music is generally an egoistic pleasure,
AV is a family thing.

Emmanuel
Euphonie

All opinions are my own, and reflect those of the organisation i work for, even if not stipulated.
Posted on: 24 November 2004 by Chris Bell
The Panasonic PT-AE700 is the only projector to consider... far superior to anything in its class.

http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ModelDetail?displayTab=O&storeId=11201&catalogId=13051&itemId=72987&catGroupId=21360&modelNo=PT-AE700U&surfModel=PT-AE700U
Posted on: 25 November 2004 by Peter Gear
Hi Don

Your question is one that I'm also thinking about. I've just about decided to go with the av2 n-subs route integration into my naim system but like you am undecided about the visual side. (At the moment we have a 28 inch widescreen only).
Fortunately I do not have children to worry about so a contest between AV and music does not occur. I have also been thinking along the lines of a projector - a question though to help me ;
Can you view transmitted television pictures via a projector? In other words can I get rid of the television altogether?

Peter
Posted on: 25 November 2004 by SimonJ
If you own/buy a Sky box/or digibox/freeview etc then you can use that as the TV tuner and get rid of the TV. If not you can use a video as a tuner for analogue TV pictures. Some people for pure convenience and because they do not want to watch Eastenders in the dark on a projector have a traditional TV or plasma for day-to-day use and a projector for watching films or the big match.
Posted on: 25 November 2004 by Peter Gear
Simon

I should have realised that I needed a tuner. Can you plug an analogue output from a tuner into a projector? Do projectors have multiple analogue/digital inputs to cater for different sources? (I know nothing about them as you can tell).
I would get rid of the TV in the lounge if I went down this route - we have TV's in almost every other room anyway.

Cheers
Peter
Posted on: 25 November 2004 by justiceklopper
even the biggest tvs, whatever type, look tiny and inconsequential once you sampled a projector.

the only downside is the limited lifespan of the bulb.
Posted on: 25 November 2004 by Frank Abela
Peter

Yes you can plug the analogue output of a tuner into a projector. Projectors usually have composite, S-video and component inputs, so you'd have to make a choice of which input to use for DVD and which to use for TV tuner, VCR etc. A few projectors also have digital inputs, usually in the form of DVI input.

Regards,
Frank.
All opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinion of any organisations I work for, except where this is stated explicitly.
Posted on: 25 November 2004 by Peter Gear
Thanks for info Frank. I'm going to get the audio side of HT sorted first then get on to the visual as finances allow. Also the technology seems to be moving very quickly so another reason for not wanting to dive in too soon.

Cheers
Peter
Posted on: 25 November 2004 by Frank Abela
You're welcome. Quite correct on the pace of change. There are DLP televisions, new generation LCDs, plasma soldiers on and the promise of LEP (Light Emitting Polymer) remains on the horizon.

I think if you really want the big screen cinema effect, then you have to consider a projector for that. There's just no beating a 6 or 7 foot screen for the sense of event. The downside is that you don't always want to watch programs on such a big screen, and of course, there's the question of ambient lighting. So a lot of people elect to buy themselves a decent 28" or 32" telly and a cheaper projector to bring out when they really want to watch a movie.

Regards,
Frank.
All opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinion of any organisations I work for, except where this is stated explicitly.
Posted on: 25 November 2004 by Allan Probin
Any recommended makes/models for plasma screens ?

I'm looking at replacing a 32" widescreen TV with a 37 or 42" plasma display. I already have a projector in a dedicated room and the plasma will just be used for day-to-day TV viewing and the occasional DVD.

It doesn't seem possible to get a reliable shop demo in this area but from what I've seen so far I've been very impressed with the new Sony Wega range and a Fujitsu 42", both with 1024x1024 res ALIS screens. Both these options seem a little expensive for what I need and I was thinking of going down the route of a bare Panasonic 852x480 display panel (no tuner or media box). Unfortunately the Panasonics I've seen have not looked particularly great in a shop environment. I know they have a very good reputation and so may have to buy 'on-faith'.

Allan
Posted on: 25 November 2004 by blythe
quote:
Originally posted by Peter Gear:
Simon

I should have realised that I needed a tuner. Can you plug an analogue output from a tuner into a projector? Do projectors have multiple analogue/digital inputs to cater for different sources? (I know nothing about them as you can tell).
I would get rid of the TV in the lounge if I went down this route - we have TV's in almost every other room anyway.

Cheers
Peter

I have my Sky Digibox plugged into my projector S-Video input and my DVD player plugged into the componant input, so I can choose the source that I watch.

Ditching the CRT TV probably isn't a good idea for several reasons:
1; If you can't dim the room - particularly during summer months, the projected picture will be relatively poor. (subject to what projector you have etc)
2; If you want to just switch on for a few minutes, for example, to watch a 10 minute news program or to check on-screen settings/program schedule on your Sky box/VCR/DVD-R, it takes a few minutes before the picture is bright and clear and also doing this will seriously affect the bulb life of your projector. I never switch mine on for less than half an hour or more and if I'm going to watch a film, then eat a quick meal, then go back to watch TV, I leave the projector on - far better in the long run rather than switching it on and off frequently.
New bulbs can cost around 300.00 so it's not something you want to do very often.

Incidentally, I actually hook my Sky Digibox to the projector through my VCR so I can also watch VHS should I need to (quality is nowhere near DVD)

Computers are supposed to work on 1's and 0's - in other words "Yes" or "No" - why does mine frequently say "Maybe"?......
Posted on: 25 November 2004 by Geoff P
Allan

Here's a couple of shots from my Panasonic 42" Plasma, which incidentally is 2 & 1/2 years old now and shows no signs of failing or fading away.

1. 6 o'clock news on BBC 1...Composite Video signal




2. DVD input.....COMPONENT video signal




NOTE the "banding" is not visible to the naked eye, it is an effect of the camera shutter speed vs the progressive scan rate.

anyway gives you an idea what to expect
regards
GEOFF

"Just trying to make a NAIM for myself"
Posted on: 26 November 2004 by Don Atkinson
150" TV.....

Alex, this was hypothetical.

The general idea was to roll into one item the concept of

a large screen
a brilliant picture without the need to turn the lights down
detail
no blurring during rapid movement

ISTM that an inevitable compromise is required in performance, regardless of price.

I suppose I am trying to minimse the compromise.

A 2250 DLP projector + 750 manual screen might deliver the "big-screen" movie and music dvd with the darkened cinema atmosphere (but are they good enough/bright enough) PLUS
A 1000 CRT 32" TV would deliver tv and "casual" and "convenient" dvd movies and music

or is it better to spend 4000 on a 42"plasma and turn the lights down for the "cinematic" effect

Cheers

Don
Posted on: 27 November 2004 by Allan Probin
Don,

42" plasmas don't cost that much these days. The latest generation standard defintion Panasonic is under 2K and the high definition version is about 2.6K

Allan
Posted on: 27 November 2004 by Geoff P
I thnk Plasma does a good job and can be had as Allan says for around 2K in a qualitythat gives a superb picture.

LCD is potentially even better but gets very exoensive above about 24" right now. A couple of years will see the prices tumble, like they did with plasma

Projectors are all about image size and that's where they win over Plasma and LCD at the same sort of price outlay.

If you want to watch both TV and film through one device then in the end it becomes a domestic decision. Do you want a 150" image badly enough to have a screen hanging in the living room to watch the '6 o'clock news?. If you can afford a secondary device to view TV large size, then the projector route is probably best for Home Cinema, no contest.

As a compromise which gets you a quality larger scale picture than TV and can still involve you in a movie quite successfully Plasma or LCD is a solution which is wall mountable etc. You can pay up for a screen size as big as 72" now, but that is a god awfull lot of money. I guess the size decision sits more in the 42" to 60" range right now and of course how far away you plan to sit. If you can afford LCD it beats plasma but at a cost.

regards
GEOFF

"Just trying to make a NAIM for myself"
Posted on: 27 November 2004 by Geoff P
quote:
@Geoff P: Are you sure you don't mean it the other way around? LCd is cheaper by far. A 76cm LCD costs about 1200-1500 Euros and a Plasma costs about 2000-2500 Euros. Apparently LCDs are not quite as good as Plasmas, but as I said, I haven't compared. Beware though, Plasmas can have problems with channel logos burning in. In Germany, except for ads, the logos are permanently in one corner, which can damage the Plasma (well, not damage, but leave a burned in logo which might get annoying sooner or later).



Alex I did say that LCD starts to "get very expensive above about 24"". By that I meant at say 36"or even worse at 42". The smaller screen sizes are much less expensive because they have volume production geared up to mkae these and that's the most popular size. It sis almost impossible to get an LCD equivalent of a 42" plasma and they cost a lot more at that size than plasma. I don't think they make LCD's as big as 60" at the moment so at that size plasma is the only option.

BTW TV's also suffer from teh burned in logo image aswell. That is a "bummer" that the TV stations ought to do something about.

regards
GEOFF

"Just trying to make a NAIM for myself"
Posted on: 27 November 2004 by Don Atkinson
Still undecided....[B]

I popped into a couple of shops and had a quick look at a number of DLP projectors, and also looked at 42" plasmas in John Lewis.

[B]The plasmas
generally looked very good. Nice, bright, colourful pictures, no picture drag on fast action rugby. The better images (more detail, better skin tones and colours) came from Panasonic (TH42PE30B) and Pioneer (PDP-435XDE). Sony were also good. I wasn't so impressed with Hitachi, JVC, LG nor a few others.

However, it took a little while to see through the initial "wow" and recognise the differences in some of the pictures (although the difference between say Panasonic and LG were immediate and obvious)

But the screen size seemed to shrink to "normal" after a very short time. OK going back to a 32" tv soon revealed how small 32" looked and how decent 42" looked, but I was left thinking "nice picture, but will it look big enough next week?"

At the Heathrow show I watched a DreamVision (Dreamweaver 2) at 4.5k and it looked superb. Brian Rivers reconned it was as good as his 20k CRT projector and in many respects I recon he was right.

A few weeks ago I watched a Sharpe (XVZ 200?) (2500 + 600 screen) at Grahams and was very impressed. The quality was dependant on the source (Arcam v Meridian) but overall I felt I could live with this quality of image. And it was a good 7 or 8 ft across, bright, with good colours, sharp and detailed. Best value for money of the ones I've seen so far.

Last week I watched a Dreamvision (model unknown) previously priced at 3k but now ex-demo at 1700. Picture quality was similar to the Screenpaly 4805 below, and it wouldn't make me put my cash on the table.

Today I watched a Screenplay 4805 at 1300 and felt it was fine, but there wasn't any "wow" factor. I would be reluctant to part with the dosh. It seemed to lack precise focus or definition, although it wasn't at all blurred, the colours seemed to be a little thin, almost as if you could see through them to the screen. I felt I was always identifying faults in the picture quality.

Then we watched a Sim Domino 30H (6k) via an HDMI lead fed by a Denon 3910. Again the high price produced a high quality picture. Not "stunningly" better than the 4805 at first, but as the movie proceeded I became conscious that it was definitely better. I was no longer seeing faults, I was being pleasantly surprised. More focused, more detailed, more "thickness" to the colours, better depth in the picture, more colourful and more absorbing to watch. If this sort of picture could be had for 2,500, I could be parted from my money. The salesman reconned that the Sim Donino 20H at 4k was just as good visually....

Having now scanned the market, so to speak, it looks like I shall have to revisit Grahams to properly audition the Sharpe at 2.5k and see if it really does impress as well as the Dreamweaver and Sim 30H. If it does, I will part with my money. If it doesn't, then it looks like I'm going to have to save another 2-3k....by which time either the quality of projectors will have improved at 2.5k, or the price at 5k will have dropped (hopefully). Either way, Home Theatre looks like it could be on the cards.

Your guidance, as always, most welcome

Cheers

Don
Posted on: 27 November 2004 by SimonJ
Hi Don,

The TH42PE30B (Viera) you mention is the consumer Panasonic unit of the old TH42PW6 I have. You can tell it's the consumer one as it has speakers and a TV tuner (a digital one). It looks fancy, but is just a Generation 6 Panasonic in a nice surround. Problem is because it's a consumer focused unit it does not take expansion boards and as such cannot take a DVI or HDMI card. On the professional units, Panasonic have just brought out the generation 7 units TH42PW7, these are bound to be good although I have not had chance to see one or read a review. It will take a DVI/HDMI board and is meant to accept some quite exotic upgrade boards. On the flip side the old Gen 6 TH42PW6 (Can accept a component & DVI board) is available (in black) for 1399 at your favourite HiFi doscount store (Read What HiFi Dec Page 160!!
Posted on: 28 November 2004 by Don Atkinson
Question
May I ask how much your budget is right now for your home theater? Because you definitly do not need to spend 2.5k on a projector to get a good 2m wide picture.

Answer
A 2250 DLP projector + 750 manual screen might deliver the "big-screen" movie and music dvd with the darkened cinema atmosphere (but are they good enough/bright enough) PLUS

A 1000 CRT 32" TV would deliver tv and "casual" and "convenient" dvd movies and music

or is it better to spend 4000 on a 42"plasma and turn the lights down for the "cinematic" effect

Having now scanned the market, so to speak, it looks like I shall have to revisit Grahams to properly audition the Sharpe at 2.5k and see if it really does impress as well as the Dreamweaver and Sim 30H. If it does, I will part with my money. If it doesn't, then it looks like I'm going to have to save another 2-3k....

I'm also allowing 750 for a REL sub and 1250 for a Naim 175 for the sides and centre (I already have a spare 250 for the rears)

Cheers

Don
Posted on: 29 November 2004 by o.j.
quote:
Originally posted by Don Atkinson:
_The VISUAL part of AV_

Simple question.

What is the best visual system to buy.

I know!!, "what do I mean by 'Best' ?"

Well, I'm not going to spend 20k+ because a) I don't have 20k + to blow; and b) in a fast-changing market-place, this year's chick is soon going to be last year's hag.

Do I go for a CRT TV; or a plasma; or an LCD; or a projector (DLP v LCD)...or?

I suppose that I really want a 150" TV set for under 2.5k, then I could watch high-speed action-movies with incredible detail, enjoying the "big-screen" experience in daylight/tungsten-light convenience.

So, to be a bit more realistic, what do you suggest in the meantime?

Cheers

Don
i would rate high a conventional good tvset.
but it has n o t the size of a beamer piicture.
size is very essential for "cinema feeling".
Plasma is worse than television and smaller than beamer pictures.
i would rate on first place beamer picture on a qulity screen in a darkened room.
My personal choiceRazzhilps bogart dlp,oray screen and pioneer dvd.
the reasonsRazzhilps bogart has a very good scaling processor inside (they call it crystal clear)and has nowadays a really affordable price (think its 1350 euro)imo also very natural colours and a "deep"black.
oray screen is very "thick" and therefore i could fix it easely and without a frame on
the wall with an carpet tape.(and without any vissible waves)
pioneer player (350) has a good picture,rgb output,and plays inthe codefree version any dvd without reading problems.
so the things together cost nearby 2000 euros.
enough budget left for a cheap "information"tv set.
only problem.beamers work only in rooms without daylights.(for me no problem).

best plasma tv:to my eyes definitly the new
pioneer 43 inchs and the new pioner 50 inches.
(435 and 504).
b and o has also good but not affordable plasmas.
loewe is nice designed an "easy to use" but:
picture is not as good as pioneer and lowe plasmas hqave very often technical faults and problems.
and beware of those cheap and non hdtv capable
"no name" plasmas.(often bad picture).
O.J.
Posted on: 01 December 2004 by Allan Probin
I finally came to a decision today and ordered a 42" Panasonic plasma panel (TH42PW7B). I was almost tempted by the higher spec Pioneer 435 but in the end I decided the extra cost wasn't really justified on something that will only be used in the role as the day-to-day TV. It won't be used as part of a home cinema system as I already have a projector for serious movie watching.

Should be here in a couple of days but work commitments mean I probably won't get it up and running properly for a week or two. I'm planning a custom install with a home-made bracket into an existing cabinet so should give me something to do over the Christmas Hols.

Allan
Posted on: 01 December 2004 by Don Atkinson
I......ordered a 42" Panasonic plasma panel (TH42PW7B).......that will only be used in the role as the day-to-day TV

....nice tv!!! both the TH42PW7B (or the TH42PW6B) have crossed my mind as a tv set

what would you recomend to capture the tv data and send it (and dvd data) to the plasma screen?

Cheers

Don
Posted on: 01 December 2004 by SimonJ
Best DVD is gonna be something with DVI-D or HDMI. If you mean to record off SKY via RGB then a Panasonic (Or simular) DVD/HDD recorder WITH component progresive scan output is what I use and am very pleased, but no HDD recorders seem to do digital output.
Posted on: 02 December 2004 by Allan Probin
Don,

I'm going to be using a Sky digibox feeding into a Scart to VGA converter and feeding this into the VGA port on the plasma.

Scart to VGA Convertor

Short of using some form of scaler/deinterlacer such as the DVDO iScan, this will provide the best quality TV feed into the display.

Allan