42" Plasma Recommendations

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Well, after 13 years my 27" Sony Trinitron has given up its ghost (in a
rather sudden way).  It has faithfuly served me through VHS, LaserDisc, DVD,
and DirecTiVo.  I feel like I've lost a beloved member of the family.

Ok, now the good news...I basically have carte blanche from my wife to buy a
Plasma set so I don't want to blow this opportunity.  Viewing distance is
about 10 feet.  Based on preliminary research, I'm pretty sure a 42" set
will work in my living room, but if there is a different set in that size
range that someone is in love with, I'd be happy to hear about it.

I'm also thinking that $1500-$2000 will get me what I need (also based on
prelim research).  So here are my questions...

Do I need 1080i right now?  I understand that most programming is 720p, but
I do want to buy something that gives me room to grow.  That also applies to

I have DirecTiVo and will eventually upgrade to their HD package if that
means anything.  As for the TiVo portion, I know that DirecTv does not offer
built in TiVo in their HD boxes, so I might consider a stand-alone HD TiVo
because I really like their DVR platform over DirecTv's.

Should I go for Plasma or will I be happy with LCD?

Lastly, what other questions should I be asking?

Hopefully I didn't do too much rambling, but it isn't every day you get to
buy a new toy like this so you can imagine that I'm quite excited.  I can
only hope that this one will last 13 years too (if the technology doesn't
change by then, lol).

Thanks for any brands and/or models you can recommend.


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Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations

Ray wrote:
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   For Digital TV program watching Now.....     TV source Programing is
probably split
     25% 480i,   25% 480p,     25% 720p &    25% 1080i.

   Some digital sets have trouble with the fuzzy 480i analog picture

       720p sets are cheaper than the newer 1080p HDTVs now available.

    A good 720p  or 1080i set will save you some $$$ today.    With
       arriving,   a 1080p set will be a little bit more future proofing
          that 1080p set Deinterlaces correctly & that 1080p set has
HDMI 1.3a.

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Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
Ray wrote:
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  The better brand name 42" 1024x768p plasmas are going for less than
that, around $1200 to $1400. For plasmas, I would stick with Panasonic
(the best of the price competitive brands), Samsung, or Pioneer. Pioneer
has the best plasmas now, but they have adopted a higher pricing
strategy. Checking Best Buy, they are currently selling the Panasonic
TH-42PX75U (1024x768 resolution) for only $1150.

  Personally, I still rank plasmas ahead of LCDs for overall display
quality. The gap has narrowed considerably over the past several years,
but the better brand name plasmas still win on black level, viewing
angle, and color accuracy. If you are into heavy computer gaming use or
your TV room is very bright in the daytime, then the LCD would be way to

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  Most HD channels are 1080i. ABC, Fox, MNT, ESPN-HD, ESPN2-HD, National
Geographic are 720p. Any current HD TV model will accept 720p and 1080i
inputs via component or HDMI. Because plasmas and LCD flat panels are
inherently progressive, they are 768p or 1080p panels. The one exception
are the Hitachi plasmas which are 1080i (sort of).

  At 42", you really only need a 720p or 768p resolution screen, be it
LCD or plasma, unless you sit 5 or 6 feet from the screen. However, at
40" and up, the LCD TVs are all moving towards all 1080p models.
Panasonic does have a 1080p 42" plasma, the TH-42PZ700U, which is
currently $1900 at Best Buy.

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  The new DirecTV HD satellite is now reported to be going live
Wednesday morning. DirecTV will have a lot of HD channels - provided you
get the 5 LNB dish and new STB or DVR - by October.

  But while waiting to upgrade DirecTV, don't forget the free over the
air option for HD channels. Depends on where you live, but in most major
cities, the major broadcast networks - ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CW, PBS, MNT
(ok, not a major net) may be available in HD with a TV antenna. I get 17
digital stations OTA, 13 of them with a HD sub-channel, with an ATSC
tuner using a Channel Master 4221 4 bay bowtie antenna in my attic.

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   I own a Panasonic 42" TH-42PHD7UY commercial plasma I got over 2.5
years ago for HD viewing, which incidentally replaced a then 10 year 27"
Trinitron. I have been very happy with it. If I has to replace it today,
I would go for a 50" (or bigger) Panasonic or Pioneer plasma. Warning:
the picture quality of HD wants you to get a bigger TV. 42" tends to
look small, especially for letterboxed widescreen 2.39:1 cinemascope movies.

  For LCDs, check the Samsungs, Sharps, and Sonys. Whether you would be
happy with an LCD or plasma is not a question I can answer. Go to the
stores (not just one) and take a look. But the key to looking is to
stand at your normal viewing distance and look for details and lack of
black crush in dark scenes.

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  If you want to do some serious research, go to
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/ and check the LCD and plasma flat panel
forums there. Check the HDTV Programming forum for info and threads on
HD programs.

  Good luck,
   Alan F

Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
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Let's not kid ourselves. Your TV broke when you pushed it off the stand and
it hit the floor hard, so you could go out and buy a Plasma TV.

Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
Get the Hitachi 42" plasma.  It has 1080 and sells under or about
$1k.  Picture is as good as any and has 3 hdmi inputs.

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Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations

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The Hitachi 42 inch plasmas are not true 1080 displays. Yes, they have
1080 lines of vertical resolution, but the horizontal resolution is not
1920 but only 1024, creating very rectangular pixels that are almost
twice as wide as they are high. Hitachi's marketing of these sets as
"HD1080" is akin to false advertising.

Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
The picture speaks for itself.  Who cares about minutiae.  Looks as
good or better than most sets that cost more $$$ .  Multiple HDMI for
expandability.  Cant be beat.
Panasonics are fine but for less money the hitachi has higher

On Sep 26, 12:06 pm, masse...@newsguy.com (Neill Massello) wrote:
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Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
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Mark A wrote:

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LOL Oopsey! ;-)

Ric Seyler
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Mark A wrote:<br>
<blockquote cite="midkmkKi.79910$Lu.21289@bignews8.bellsouth.net"
  <blockquote type="cite">
    <pre wrap="">Ray wrote:
    <blockquote type="cite">
      <pre wrap="">Well, after 13 years my 27" Sony Trinitron has given up its
ghost (in a
rather sudden way).  It has faithfuly served me through VHS, LaserDisc,
DVD, and DirecTiVo.  I feel like I've lost a beloved member of the
  <pre wrap=""><!---->
Let's not kid ourselves. Your TV broke when you pushed it off the stand and
it hit the floor hard, so you could go out and buy a Plasma TV.

LOL Oopsey! ;-)<br>
<pre class="moz-signature" cols="85">--
Ric Seyler
Online Racing: RicSeyler
GPL Handicap 6.35
<a class="moz-txt-link-abbreviated"
<a class="moz-txt-link-freetext"
href="http://www.pcola.gulf.net/~ricseyler ">http://www.pcola.gulf.net/~ricseyler </a>
remove &#8211;SPAM- from email address
"Homer no function beer well without."
- H.J. Simpson


Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
First off, a 42 inch plasma isn't big enough for you.

Get a 50 inch. I sit 6 feet away when I am on my computer and it is fine.
When I sit on the couch, it's 10 1/2 feet and the 42 is too small.

You can get the Samsung 5064 for about $1875-$1900 on sale.

Unless you want to "future-proof" yourself and get a 1080p plasma, that one
will work great. If ou really want 1080p, figure about $2600-2700 for the
Samsung 5084 or the Panasonic Z700U.

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Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
Thanks for all the responses so far.  Lots of good info here.

While I would love to go for a 50", I still think it would be too big in my
living room (not to mention my wallet).

As for plasmas, I have it narrowed down to these three Panasonic models (I'm
thinking good, better, best)...


But after reading all of your comments and doing additional research, I will
be considering LCD as well because of the glare issues with plasma that I've
read about.  How bad can the glare be on the plasma sets?  Our living room
gets good light during the day if that makes a difference.

My wife and I will be going on a field trip to Best Buy this afternoon.  I
know, I know...but since this is an unplanned purchase, I'm going to need
their interest-free financing.  I am a big believer in online purchasing,
but we just can't swing it this time.  That's why I'm trying to gather as
much info as I can before we go so I don't have to rely on their

One more question...Will I need to calibrate my new set (plasma or LCD)?  I
remember my using my old Video Essentials Laser Disc with the little blue
filter.  Do these new sets need that kind of tweaking or are they ready out
of the box?

Thanks again

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Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
Ray wrote:
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  If you could watch the 13 year old CRT TV in the daytime, you should
be ok with the plasma. The plasma screen is bigger, but matches, if not
exceeds, the old CRT for screen brightness. The more recent Panasonics &
Pioneers have anti-reflection coating while the TH-42PX77U has the more
expensive coating. The LCD flat panels can be cranked up to a high
enough brightness that they can be used in places with sunlight shining
through the window where the CRT TVs would have been seriously washed out.

  It can be very tricky to gauge picture quality at the Best Buys and
Circuit Cities. For one, they are not above running a crappy feed to
some of the TVs while setting the models they want to sell this week
to look better.

  I suggest you take a long look at the 50" sets. More expensive, but
once you get HD, you will want the larger picture.

  Also, be prepared to be disappointed by the SD picture quality on
DirecTV if you step up from a 27" to a 42" or 50" screen. The heavy
compression that D* uses is more apparent at the bigger screen sizes.
The good news is that DVDs with a component hookup and set to a 16:9
screen will look impressive. You should budget in the cost of upgrading
to the new HD satellite service from DirecTV or check to see what your
cable system has to offer. Or/and put up an antenna if digital HD
stations are available in your area. Getting a HD TV without getting a
HD signal source is like buying a high performance sports car and only
driving it on dirt roads.

  First step with the LCD or plasma is to take it out of over saturated
color mode. The updated Digital Video Essentials is available as a DVD
and is useful to get the picture & sound settings tweaked.

  Good luck,
   Alan F

Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
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What might eventually happen is that we will move the 42" to our bedroom and
then go for a 50" for the living room if we think the room can handle it, so
this will not be a "wasted" purchase long term.

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I will eventually be upgrading to DirecTv HD but meanwhile, I think I'll try
a set top OTA antenna for locals.  Is the reception on those any good?  I
live in Philadelphia.  My cable company is Comcast, enough said...

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Is that an HD disc?  Because, for now, I have no plans to upgrade my DVD
player to HD or Blu-Ray until they figure out the format.

Thanks again!!!

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Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
Ray wrote:
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  Sounds like a plan!

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  Comcast offers a decent HD channel line-up in the Philadelphia markets
because it is their home turf. But as of today, they are behind DirecTV
in the # of HD channels offered.

  If you want help with antenna selection, I can help if you provide
your zip code to look up approx how far you are from the Philadelphia
stations. All of the stations in Philly are currently digitally
broadcasting on UHF. However WHYY-DT PBS 12 is well known to be
difficult to get in some areas because the station had to move off of
UHF 55 last year for a lower power signal on UHF 50. The big issue in
Philadelphia is that WPVI-DT ABC 6, which is currently broadcasting on
UHF 64, will be moving it's digital signal to low VHF 6 after the
analog shutdown. The problem with low VHF 2 to 6 is that it requires
bigger antennas to get at range than whereas the vast majority of
digital stations have opted to use VHF 7 to 13, UHF 14 to 51 after the
analog shutdown. WHYY-DT is moving to VHF 12 after the shutdown.

  useful website for antenna basics:
http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ISSUES/erecting_antenna.html .

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  The DVE disk is available in DVD format. There are now HD-DVD and
Blu-Ray versions, but I don't know how much they really added to support
HD setup. Amazon has the DVD version for $18.

  Alan F

Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
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Ok, as I suspected this was a total waste of time other than being able to
see the sets in person.  When I asked the "salesperson" what the difference
was between 2 sets, she basically looked at the tags in front and read off
of them.  I used to work for Radio Shack (before all they wanted to sell was
cell phones) so I know the bluff when I hear it.

But surprisingly, my wife agreed with many of you that we could go with a
larger set.  The problem is that we both know that we can't afford it so I
think it will be the 42".  But like I said before, this one might go to the
bedroom and a 50" could be in my (somewhat distant) future.

I did see the difference between the Plasma and LCD regarding glare.  But I
felt that the Plasma sets had more detail in their pictures and the LCD
picture seemed to be a bit "noisier".  I know that these TVs were not all
calibrated properly, but that was my first impression.

As for antenna selection, my zip code is 19148 (right in Philadelphia
proper).  The OTA antenna would be a short term solution until I can get
DirecTv HD situated, so I'm not too worried about channels moving to VHF in
the future.

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Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
Ray wrote:
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  www.antennaweb.org is a site for looking up digital and analog TV
stations you can get for a location. antennaweb is very conservative for
digital reception, so the trick is to enter an antenna height of 100' or
more for a location. Not that you have to put an antenna tower in, this
just shows more digital stations. All that said, plugging your zip code
into antennaweb shows the following digital stations, all from the same
antenna farm:

* yellow - uhf WUVP-DT 65.1 UNI VINELAND NJ  139 21.0 66
* yellow - uhf KYW-DT 3.1 CBS PHILADELPHIA PA  344 9.7 26
* yellow - uhf WCAU-DT 10.1 NBC PHILADELPHIA PA  346 9.5 67
* yellow - uhf WGTW-DT 48.1 TBN BURLINGTON NJ  346 9.5 27
* yellow - uhf WPPX-DT 61.1 ION WILMINGTON DE  346 9.5 31
* yellow - uhf WPSG-DT 57.1 CW PHILADELPHIA PA  346 9.5 32
* yellow - uhf WPVI-DT 6.1 ABC PHILADELPHIA PA  344 9.7 64
* yellow - uhf WHYY-DT 12.1 PBS WILMINGTON DE  345 9.6 50
* yellow - uhf WPHL-DT 17.1 MNT PHILADELPHIA PA  346 9.5 54
* yellow - uhf WYBE-DT 34.1 PBS PHILADELPHIA PA  346 9.5 34

  The last three numbers on each row are the compass direction, range in
miles (from the center of your zip code), and the actual broadcast
channel number. Digital broadcasting is currently done on a different
channel from the analog, but the digital data provides mapping
information to display the familiar channel number for the station. You
may know this, but just in case you didn't.

  Now having written all this, you are around 9 miles away. Should not
be that much of a challenge. A good indoor UHF antenna is the Silver
Sensor, sold under Philips, Zenith, Terk brand names for around $25 if
you get the unamplified version. See
http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/silver.html for info. The old table
top VHF rabbit ear and UHF loop antenna may do just fine as well.
Another good antenna type that can be used indoors or tucked up
somewhere out of the way are the 2 bay bowties such as the Channel
Master 4220, AntennasDirect DB-2. But these are used when people need
more performance, but don't have attic or roof access.

  You may have to experiment with a good location or placing the antenna
in the window to cut down on obstruction and multipath.

  One thing to remember about the broadcast networks is that they do not
put out true HD programming all day long. The prime time scripted shows
and most high profile sport events are HD; many of the cheap reality
primetime game and reality shows are shot in SD. There are several
stations in Philly that have local news in HD now.

  Alan F

Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
Ok now this is weird.  I'm looking at the specs on Panasonic's website and
this is what I see for Contrast Ratio...

TH-42PZ77U - 10,000:1
TH-42PZ700U - 5,000:1

The higher the first number the better, correct?  But the 700U is supposed
to be the better set.  So what gives?

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Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
Ray wrote:
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  The 1080p plasmas use smaller pixel elements and thus are not able to
achieve the same minimum black levels of the 768p models, especially at
the smaller screen sizes. Lower contrast is one the drawbacks of the 42"
and 50" 1080p models for this year along with higher power consumption.
Keep in mind that the contrast ratios put out by all the manufacturers
are not real world numbers. They usually cook the books by comparing the
minimum black level with the brightness turned down to the maximum white
level with the brightness cranked all the way up.

  There are standard methods to measure contrast such as a checkerboard
pattern of white tiles with minimum IRE black tiles. Several of the
review magazines such a Home Theater Magazine use these tests. In those
the typical ANSI contrast ratio ranges from 400:1 to 1200:1 for the LCD
and plasmas flat panels and the Rear Projection TVs. A ANSI contrast
ratio of 800:1 to 1200:1 is considered very good. It was not all that
long ago that the high end LCD flat panels were getting ANSI contrast
ratios of 250:1.

  If you are buying the 42" Panasonic with plans to move it to the
bedroom in the not too distant future and are on a budget, I recommend
you get the TH-42PZ77U. Yes, it has lower pixel resolution, but at 10'
you will be hard pressed to see the difference. The real benefit to
1920x1080 resolution comes with big screens of >= 60" or sitting rather
close to a 50" screen. The human eye has an angular resolution of ~ 1
arc minute for 20/20 vision. Trig using the seating distance over the
height or width of the screen will get you the angle of a given screen
size in arc minutes.

  The 2008 model 1080p 50" plasmas from Panasonic and Pioneer will be
cheaper (ok, not a bold prediction), use less power (more integrated
electronics), and will have better spec and real contrast ratios. The
normal pattern with Panasonic in recent years is to release the latest
technology plasmas in Japan in the fall and then in the US the following
March/April once they get the production lines converted over. So people
have already gotten a preview of the 2008 US Panasonics in Japan.

  Alan F

Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
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http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/vModelComparisonResults?storeId=15001&catalogId=13401&catGroupId=75003&surfCategory=Plasma%20HDTVs&cacheProgram=11002&cachePartner=7000000000000005702&items=126557 |177931|

The above link is a side-by-side comparison of the 77U and the 700U from
Panasonic's website.  The only real differences are the speakers and some of
the connections.  The video part of the spec list is (practically)
identical, including the pixel resolution.  That's why I was wondering about
the diff in contrast ratio.

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Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
they are both 1080p models...i think the number on the site is a typo,
else where it is 10,000, same as the others...

Re: 42" Plasma Recommendations
Crosspost noted:

Ray wrote:
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Agree with Alan on the picture setup -- every
set I've seen has defaults set for the

By all means give OTA a shot.

Just replaced our three-year old ED panel
with a larger screen HD.  Outside antenna
outlet wasn't pulled into the room yet so
hung an 8" piece of wire from a picture hook
behind the new set.

Pulled in a dozen stations--all solid
picture, from as far away as 22 miles.

So far, I'm enjoying the picture instead of
working to pull the lead-in through the
walls.  (:-)


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