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· TiVo Junky
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought my first PLASMA. I bought the LG brand and it doesn't look as good as it did in the store. Yes...they had HDTV but even so,

1. I called D*. They said they send the signal at 740i ( I have no idea what that means) but that there was no way to improve the look on the TV without using their HDTV

2. The LG company said that I should get a converter from coax out of my TiVo to RGB so that the signal is better and less degraded.

Who's right here? Sould I not use coax from the TiVo to the set? Will the converter make the piture better since I am now using a different compo cable type?

Even so...if D* only uses this "740i" level of fidelity, am I screwed?
 

· TiVo Fan
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NewBlueO2 said:
I just bought my first PLASMA. I bought the LG brand and it doesn't look as good as it did in the store. Yes...they had HDTV but even so,

1. I called D*. They said they send the signal at 740i ( I have no idea what that means) but that there was no way to improve the look on the TV without using their HDTV

2. The LG company said that I should get a converter from coax out of my TiVo to RGB so that the signal is better and less degraded.

Who's right here? Sould I not use coax from the TiVo to the set? Will the converter make the piture better since I am now using a different compo cable type?

Even so...if D* only uses this "740i" level of fidelity, am I screwed?
I can say that the information you got from both DirecTV and LG appears on the surface to be really screwed up. First and foremost, I have never heard of 740i, but I have heard of 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p. But since I do not plan on going to HD until 2009, I cannot give you direct recommendations.

It might help if you give everyone the model numbers of the equipment you have, which would include the DirecTV equipment and the LG TV. In addition, you might also include the services you are signed up for on DirecTV.

Oh, and at this point I WOULD NOT SAY THAT YOU ARE SCREWED. You just need to make the right choices, although you should understand that LG TV if it is a HD model will never display as nice of picture in your home as it did at the retailer, unless you subscribe to HD content and correctly install and connect HD equipment.
 

· TiVo Junky
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I understand that the retailer used HDTV on his sets. I bought the LG and really like the set. All kidding aside, it was as nice as some of the Panny's and others. My friend reccomends Samsung though I don't know about their TVs. Anyhow, can anyone comment on component cable? Will going from TIVO coax to my plasma be worse than using and RGB converter or S-video?
 

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If I am understanding correctly, the coax way to hookup something to your TV is the very very lowest quality hookup you can get. Then its RCA inputs, then SVideo, then component, etc....

I would try to hook up your set any other way you can besides coax cable. If you don't have a HD TiVo, and it sounds like you dont, use the red/yellow/white cables or the SVideo cable for a better picture.
 

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The standard DTV signal is 480i. The best connection to your TV would probably be with SVideo. Using coax will probably be worse. One important thing is to turn down the brightness and contrast on your TV; that will soften the picture and make the blockiness of the SD signal appear less evident. In general, however, SD signals, even from DTV, look no better on an HDTV than on a standard one, and many peoiple think they look worse. To take advantage of your new TV, get an HD source.
 

· TiVo Fan
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goony said:
Until we have the model number of his DirecTV gear any such advice is unwarranted at this point.
Which is what I recommended to him in my post about six posts ago.

Model numbers please, so we can make a direct recommendation? Although the recommendations on using better connectors/cabling are great.

A COAX connection via RF is always the worst. Although some times a S-Video connection which should be better than a RCA connection is worst using some equipment and cables.

And of course, again, nothing will appear as good as a true HD signal. And an earlier poster was correct that a SD feed can look real bad on a large HD set, especially if you do not DETUNE the set from the factory defaults.
 

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1) He obviously does *not* have a HD receiver. Otherwise, there would be no need for him to get an RGB converter. If he wants to keep DTV, he would need to get one of their HD boxes along with an HD package to take advantage of his new set. Buying a Panasonic set (or any other, for that matter) won't make a lick of difference if he's still feeding it DTV SD programming.

2) The truth of the matter is, DTV is barely providing true HD. Some would even argue that it's not HD by current standards. I LOVE DTV, but their HD offerings suck. If you aren't a Sunday Ticket subscriber, it might be a good idea to check out cable. They typically offer more HD programming than DTV and at 720p (or higher). The disadvantage would be having to use a dreadful cable DVR, but your television will be a lot happier. Once DTV gets their HD act together, you can come back to the fold.
 

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When you are displaying HDTV content, you should be able to get your TV to look *better* than it did in the store. Most TVs come pre-set with brightness and other settings maxed out in order to stand out in retailers that are often brightly lit and crowded with other TVs. Take some time to adjust the settings of your TV to fit your room and you'll notice an immediate improvement in picture quality. Even standard def content will look better if you tweak your settings.

That said, if you are running standard definition TV from DirecTV, you'll be testing the capability of your new TV to display non-HD content. Some TVs do this better than others, but I'm not sure how LG rates as a manufacturer. Many people find SD to be perfectly watchable on their HD sets, while others never get it to look good. Much of this is in how their TVs do the conversion.

There was some discussion on this list a few months back about the resolution that DirecTV broadcasts. While I don't think we ever reached a consensus, the general agreement was that they don't even offer a true 480i signal. They compress their signals to fit more channels onto their limited bandwidth, and picture quality suffers because of this. Displaying these compressed images on an HDTV will simply make them look even worse than on a big standard def TV.

As far as connections go, coax connections are the lowest quality, as others have stated. If you are running an SD DirecTV box, at least use S-Video. If you do, in fact, have an HDTV box, go DVI or HDMI to get the best possible picture. Even at standard def, you'll notice a big difference if you go with S-Video.

And when you're out buying new cables, invest in a good HDTV antenna so you can at least go OTA channels if your TV has a built-in HDTV tuner. (If it is labeled as "HDTV Ready" it most likely does not have a tuner, BTW.) If you don't have an HDTV tuner, call DirecTV, Dish, or your cable company to get one so you're not wasting your new TV!
 

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NewBlueO2 said:
WOW, looks like I will have to go and get the model numbers tonight! Great advice...though I have to say...the LG looks as nice as the Panasonic...so did the Samsung I looked at for that matter.
Before you do anything else, change the connection to RCA or the S-Video. The S-Video does not carry sound so you will have to feed the sound through an analog or digital output (Do you have a digital output? I'm not clear on whether you are using a DVR or not.) to either the television, or your sound system if you use S-Video for the video.
 

· TiVo Fan
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nitsudima said:
When you are displaying HDTV content, you should be able to get your TV to look *better* than it did in the store. Most TVs come pre-set with brightness and other settings maxed out in order to stand out in retailers that are often brightly lit and crowded with other TVs. Take some time to adjust the settings of your TV to fit your room and you'll notice an immediate improvement in picture quality. Even standard def content will look better if you tweak your settings.

That said, if you are running standard definition TV from DirecTV, you'll be testing the capability of your new TV to display non-HD content. Some TVs do this better than others, but I'm not sure how LG rates as a manufacturer. Many people find SD to be perfectly watchable on their HD sets, while others never get it to look good. Much of this is in how their TVs do the conversion.

There was some discussion on this list a few months back about the resolution that DirecTV broadcasts. While I don't think we ever reached a consensus, the general agreement was that they don't even offer a true 480i signal. They compress their signals to fit more channels onto their limited bandwidth, and picture quality suffers because of this. Displaying these compressed images on an HDTV will simply make them look even worse than on a big standard def TV.

As far as connections go, coax connections are the lowest quality, as others have stated. If you are running an SD DirecTV box, at least use S-Video. If you do, in fact, have an HDTV box, go DVI or HDMI to get the best possible picture. Even at standard def, you'll notice a big difference if you go with S-Video.

And when you're out buying new cables, invest in a good HDTV antenna so you can at least go OTA channels if your TV has a built-in HDTV tuner. (If it is labeled as "HDTV Ready" it most likely does not have a tuner, BTW.) If you don't have an HDTV tuner, call DirecTV, Dish, or your cable company to get one so you're not wasting your new TV!
Great post and good information, very useful and well explained. And you are right DirecTV has always compressed their signal, because they have always been behind the bandwidth curve even back in 1994. And over the years it has got bad for awhile until they either solved a technical problem with their brandwidth tweaking, launched more bandwidth, or installed new ground equipment. At times in the past, there have been three or four month spans where almost everyone was complaining about the compression and the problems where not caused SUN SPOTS or BAD EQUIPMENT.
 

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All good suggestions. I am moving soon and will make the HDTV Plasma plunge in the next 3-6 months.

I am surprised nobody mentioned "calibrating" the TV, although some have mentioned changing the brightness, contrast, etc.

I agree that without an HD "source" from a OTA tuner, cable, or Satellite, all the OP will be doing is paying big bucks to see a standard definition signal!
 

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rick31621 said:
Take the LG plasma back.
Replace it with a Panasonic.
Both their 42" and 50" is the best on the market.
Being that there are only about 3 manufacturers today that make large LCD/Plasma screens, I would bet that the same panel that is in the LG is in the Panasonic is in the Sony is in the Samsung. That being the case, the best picture quality I have seen is on a 42" plasma. The 50" has the same number of pixels, but they are spread out further. An even better picture can be had out of a DLP set, but you loose the very thinness that the Plasmas have going for them. And you are more likely to wash out in any sort of direct light.

For settings:
If you have a progressive scan DVD player and have it connected up component, then get a DVD with the THX optimizer on it. (Monsters Inc. has this, as well as others) Follow the directions on the optimizer. That will get your TV close to what a professional will get it to. The instructions will take a while, but it is well worth it.

-Peter
 

· Unix Guru
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I was sort of in the market recently for a big screen when my main TV, but I couldn't justify the expense of that, the HDTV conversion (which may involved cutting down a tree to get to the sats), and trashing the entertainment center (32.5" horizonal max - WHY do they all put speakers on the sides now?) to make the jump now, but I DID do a lot of research.

The Panasonic 42" plasma was rated by Consumer Reports as having "good" picture quality for standard sources, which is better than anything else not CRT-based. Everything else was Average or worse. Of course, at the retailers they don't have a way to show you SD signals...

I didn't like any of the current projection solutions (save one), as I detest the fact that I really need to be directly in front of the TV for a proper picture. They have very narrow visibility angles, whereas plasma and LCD get about 170 degrees.

The one exception is Sony's new SXRD technology. This was the best projection image I've seen. I don't know the exact details, but one guy said it was based on LCoS. I'm not aware of Sony having any interest in LCoS, and I don't believe salespeople anyways, but it was definitely better than their 3LCD offerings, and the brightness angle was pretty wide in comparison to any of the others.

The best overall picture for the price I saw was a Vizio 37" LCD at Costco for $1500 or $1600. The brand isn't a big name, so the overall quality is to be questioned, but it was less than the 32" Sony LCD and included a built-in ATSC tuner. I almost bought it.

On Plasmas, I got two very different answers about the "burn-in" problem. One (from Sears) claimed that it still existed, but it could be "corrected" by basically "burning-in" the rest of the screen (thus reducing the overall brightness). The other (Tweeter, and a little more believable) mentioned that most all of the problems have been solved and they haven't seen any issues.

The Tweeter guy also mentioned that for Composite vs. S-Video for older SD signals - composite can often be BETTER for sources that aren't good enough to begin with. The S-Video may provide too sharp a picture, whereas the composite would soften it a bit, and thus show less artifacting - much like detuning the TV. So if you are using an S-Video connection, try switching to composite and see if its better.
 

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pallendo said:
Being that there are only about 3 manufacturers today that make large LCD/Plasma screens, I would bet that the same panel that is in the LG is in the Panasonic is in the Sony is in the Samsung. That being the case, the best picture quality I have seen is on a 42" plasma. The 50" has the same number of pixels, but they are spread out further. An even better picture can be had out of a DLP set, but you loose the very thinness that the Plasmas have going for them. And you are more likely to wash out in any sort of direct light.

For settings:
If you have a progressive scan DVD player and have it connected up component, then get a DVD with the THX optimizer on it. (Monsters Inc. has this, as well as others) Follow the directions on the optimizer. That will get your TV close to what a professional will get it to. The instructions will take a while, but it is well worth it.

-Peter
WRONG

Panasonic, Dell, LG, Sony, Pioneer, Samsung & Proview all offer 42" & 50" sets.
The panel found in the Panasonic and the Dell are the same. The LG is not.
 

· Photo Man
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There is no such thing as 740i. DTV sends a 480i signal for their standard def. programming. 480 lines of resolution, interlaced. Generally the best video connection will be S Video for your set if it is a standard def. Tivo.

DTV's CSRs generally do not know what they are talking about. You will not get a wonderful picture from DTV on your new LG. MPEG2 compression is the pits on a larger screen. Calibration will help some by properly adjusting contrast, brightness, color and sharpness. It won't make a huge difference. If you go HD you will get a better picture. However, if your set has a built-in tuner for off air signals, this is your best source for the broadcast networks. Check your address at www.antennaweb.org to see what is available in your area. Just a thought.
 

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rick31621 said:
WRONG

Panasonic, Dell, LG, Sony, Pioneer, Samsung & Proview all offer 42" & 50" sets.
The panel found in the Panasonic and the Dell are the same. The LG is not.
You see all of these different plasma TV's, but who made the panel inside? I don't know all of the cross references, but from what I have read, there are only about 3 different 42" panels in the world. They just supply all of the electronics companies, and those companies build the case and the electronics to drive that panel. So, with 15-25 different brands sitting side by side, you are still only seeing 3 different panels. I believe the 50" situation is the same.

-Peter
 

· Smartypants
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pallendo said:
You see all of these different plasma TV's, but who made the panel inside? I don't know all of the cross references, but from what I have read, there are only about 3 different 42" panels in the world. They just supply all of the electronics companies, and those companies build the case and the electronics to drive that panel. So, with 15-25 different brands sitting side by side, you are still only seeing 3 different panels. I believe the 50" situation is the same.

-Peter
You are right there are a very few number of companies that make the glass part of the panels. The difference is in the electronics some do the conversion of the SD signal to the Panels native resolution better than others. That is how you can have identical pieces of glass (LCD, Plasma, even CRT) but different levels of picture quality.
 
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