Flat Panel or CRT?

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awedeophile

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I am considering getting a flat panel.
My primary use will be to watch TV (Tata Sky).
Would a flat panel be better or a regular CRT?
If flat panel, I would want something around 42" and have the following questions:

1) Plasma or LCD, and why?
2) Do I need HD - what is the difference between Full HD and HD ready?
3) What are the other specifications/features I need to be concerned about?
4) Which are the best brands to consider in terms of picture quality and after sales service?

Thanks in advance!
 

spirovious

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Hi,

I wld like to add one more-

Will upscaling Tatasky video to 1080p LCD will improve quality than
connected through normal composite in?
 

dinyaar

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Hi awedeophile,
This is not an answer to your questions but only my observations.
I have a 29" Sony CRT and a 32 " sony LCD (gifted to me) and i mainly watch sport/news and am a subsciber of Tata sky.
I have minimal knowledge in TVs but I truly enjoy the CRT more. The pictures are more true to proportion and the sound of the CRT is far better than the LCD. There are times i struggle to pick words with the LCD and the sound totally lacks any weight.
Regards
 

psychotropic

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My two cents before the experts weigh in:

0. Would a flat panel (FPD) bet better than a CRT?

Standard Definition will look better on a CRT, in the same way an MP3 file will sound better on a Sony music system than on an audiophile system, the CRTs are designed to show SD pictures and will show them better than the FPDs because they do blacks better than any FPD, and they track motion very well.
However with CRTs there are no HD options available in India at the moment, both Philips and Samsung have stopped their HD CRT models. So you'll be limited to SD. You would also be limited to 29" unless you consider Videocon's 34 inch model (available for about 12k), but I've never seen it and I have no idea how good or bad it is.

1. Plasma or LCD, and why?

Both are very very good these days, but I prefer plasma personally. Much deeper blacks, better motion tracking (so better for sport) better colours and perfect colour and contrast even from acute angles. It's also cheaper in the 42" category...i picked up my Samsung for 55.5k, its available for as low as 53k elsewhere in the country....Cheapest Panasonic available for 60k....On the flip side you can't get Full HD on a 42" size unless you pay a bomb, and these models are not available in India directly. But, due to the principle of acuity of vision, it will be very hard to discern the difference between 720p pictures and 1080p pictures even on a 42"....you'd need 50" or more for the difference to be really apparent. On the whole I'd still recommend you go for a 42" plasma paying some 55k.

2. Do I need HD - what is the difference between Full HD and HD ready?

Other threads have dealt with it, but essentially HD Ready is images 720 (or 768) pixels on the vertical axis, whereas Full HD gives you 1080 pixels. So the image will be composed of more number of pixels in Full HD, and will look better on a sufficiently big screen. 1080p images are now available only if you buy a Blu-Ray player and Blu-Ray discs. However, DVD players will upscale standard definition DVDs to 720p or 1080p to create a pseudo-HD image. As mentioned before, on a 42" difference between Full HD and HD ready will be marginal at best

3) What are the other specifications/features I need to be concerned about?

This would depend on your budget, but look for a good contrast ratio (this will always be much better on the plasmas), a native contrast ratio of 10,000:1 and above will be good for Plasmas (don't look at dynamic contrast ratio, that is just some trickery). Native contrast ratios of 2500:1 above for LCDs would be good. As you can LCDs just can't match up in this department.

Response time - this is again relevant only for LCDs because of inherent defects in the technology, a response time of 6 ms and above should be good.

Viewing angle - Again an LCD parameter, due to technology limitations, look for 178 degree viewing angle as essential.

Inputs - Make sure it has at least 2 and ideally 3 HDMI inputs. This is for the future when you have a Blu-Ray Player and a High Definition STB...the third HDMI of course for your PS3 or to hook up your HD camcorder

Sound - Sound on an FPD will never match that of a CRT, test-listen a few and see which is the least terrible. The Samsung Plasma i have is tolerable.

4. Which are the best brands to consider in terms of picture quality and after sales service?

If you're looking at LCDs look at Panasonic, Samsung, Sony. If you're looking at plasma look at Panasonic and Samsung. Panasonic is supposed to be the king of budget plasmas, but reignofchaos recently compared a samsung and a panasonic and concluded that while the Panny dealt with SD pictures better (since it has a better internal scaler), the Sammy actual did the HD stuff better. I'll wait for him to weigh in with his comments. Other brands like Toshiba, Hitachi, JVC etc., have good models, but after-sales may be a bit of a problem.

5. How would I upscale Tatasky video to 1080p?

All modern HDTVs come with scalers. So the image fed to it from the Tata Sky STB will be upscaled to its native resolution. Some TVs have better scalers than others. If you have an AVR that does video upscaling and has a Faroudja chip (or some other chip that is very good at upscaling), it would make sense to run the Tata Sky signal through it, let it do the upscaling and let your TV receive the images as 1080p (or 720p/768p as the case maybe). If you don't have an AVR that upscales, then let the TV do it.

At the end of the day i'll reiterate the standard rules. Go test the TVs with your own media, and if possible even your own player, set each one's picture to a comparable level (maybe just pick movie mode on each of them) and then compare and see what appeals to you.

Final Recommendation

Considering your primary use will be Tata Sky let me recommend the TV that I am using...the Samsung Samsung PS42A410C1, which is available for around 55k or the Panasonic PV8H (available for 60k)....actually maybe the Panny over mine....since reignofchaos says it has a better scaler. But the Sammy looks a lot better as a device....fits in with your decor much better :) and that's always a consideration for me. the 42" Plasma category will give you the huge immersive picture, won't cost you as much as a comparable LCD and has other benefits as well.
 
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awedeophile

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psychotropic.. thank you very much for your highly informative post.
A few of my friends have also suggested Plasma over LCD.

I will go look at the Samsung you have recommended.

Someone has also recomended the Pioneer Kuro (about 100K) and Hitachi 42" plasma (85K). Does anyone have any experience with these?
 

neo

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Hey! Since you mostly want to watch tv & wan't to go for a 42" screen
I would suggest you opt for a plasma.

I would rate
1.Pioneer 428XG
2.Panasonic PV80.
3.Hitachi( Unaware of the model no)
 

psychotropic

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hey .....for some reason I assumed you were on a budget, and my recommendations were tuned to that....if budget is not a constraint the Pioneer Kuros are excellent as are the higher end Panasonic models.....they'd leave my samsung for dead.....but for a lot more money!! Pioneer Kuro is generally considered to be the gold standard.....if you can afford it, please go for it.....and feed it with an Oppo 983H DVD Player (or wait for Oppo's Blu-Ray player to come out).

SuhasG, thanks for the compliment !!:)


psychotropic.. thank you very much for your highly informative post.
A few of my friends have also suggested Plasma over LCD.

I will go look at the Samsung you have recommended.

Someone has also recomended the Pioneer Kuro (about 100K) and Hitachi 42" plasma (85K). Does anyone have any experience with these?
 

psychotropic

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The Pioneer Kuro is Pioneer's name for its range of FPDs.....Kuro apparently means the deepest black...in Japanse....and true to its name the Kuros are the champs of black levels.... What your friend would have recommended to you is probably the Pioneer 428XG, which I believe costs about a lakh... it is not Full HD but a stunning TV by all accounts....here's a CNET review . Before the CNET bashers start yelling, i've read this particular review, and it seems to be a reasonable one (and it was made in May 08). There are fancier models around for even more money, but I am not very familiar with them.
 

SuhasG

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While selecting screen size 32/37/40/42/+ please check the available viewing distance in your room.A big screen when viewed from a shorter distance might cause headache and also affect vision in the long term. There are some guide lines available on he net (and also in What HiFI magazine) .

For a typical apartment living room (10 x 12 , 12 x 14 etc) 42" LCD/PLASMA screen might overpower, a 32 " or 37" screen fits nicely in such smallish rooms and also looks proportionate. Just my thoughts.
 

rikhav

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While selecting screen size 32/37/40/42/+ please check the available viewing distance in your room.A big screen when viewed from a shorter distance might cause headache and also affect vision in the long term. There are some guide lines available on he net (and also in What HiFI magazine) .

For a typical apartment living room (10 x 12 , 12 x 14 etc) 42" LCD/PLASMA screen might overpower, a 32 " or 37" screen fits nicely in such smallish rooms and also looks proportionate. Just my thoughts.


A very important advice by you Suhas which all of us tend to ignore.
 

awedeophile

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While selecting screen size 32/37/40/42/+ please check the available viewing distance in your room.A big screen when viewed from a shorter distance might cause headache and also affect vision in the long term. There are some guide lines available on he net (and also in What HiFI magazine) .

For a typical apartment living room (10 x 12 , 12 x 14 etc) 42" LCD/PLASMA screen might overpower, a 32 " or 37" screen fits nicely in such smallish rooms and also looks proportionate. Just my thoughts.

Yes, I read that the minimum viewing distance should be 3x the height of the panel. a 42" panel is about 28" tall, hence you need to be no less than 84" or 7' from the TV. My room is 15' wide and hence this won't be a problem.
 

psychotropic

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There's a very nice excel sheet that someone else posted on another thread titled "viewing distance" which considers factors like screen size and resolution to tell you the best distance....i sit about 7.5' from my 42 inch HD ready plasma and i am happy with it, but I know people who consider this too close also, it's a very personal thing i suppose.

Yes, I read that the minimum viewing distance should be 3x the height of the panel. a 42" panel is about 28" tall, hence you need to be no less than 84" or 7' from the TV. My room is 15' wide and hence this won't be a problem.
 

SuhasG

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Some guide lines regarding Screen size and viewing distance.

Viewing distance -----> Suggested Max Screen size

6-8 feet ------> 25"-29" CRT (4:3 ) upto 32" LCD (16:9 )

9-12 feet ------> 34" CRT (4:3) upto 37"-42" LCD (16:9 )

Above 12 feet ------> 42" - 50" LCD (16:9 )

Hope this helps
 

spirovious

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Hi,
As you said Tata sky,Dish TV canbe upscaled,but what would be ]
connection?

As current set-topboxes dont have HDMI out,can normal composite output
be upscaled or only video through HDMI?


My two cents before the experts weigh in:

0. Would a flat panel (FPD) bet better than a CRT?

Standard Definition will look better on a CRT, in the same way an MP3 file will sound better on a Sony music system than on an audiophile system, the CRTs are designed to show SD pictures and will show them better than the FPDs because they do blacks better than any FPD, and they track motion very well.
However with CRTs there are no HD options available in India at the moment, both Philips and Samsung have stopped their HD CRT models. So you'll be limited to SD. You would also be limited to 29" unless you consider Videocon's 34 inch model (available for about 12k), but I've never seen it and I have no idea how good or bad it is.

1. Plasma or LCD, and why?

Both are very very good these days, but I prefer plasma personally. Much deeper blacks, better motion tracking (so better for sport) better colours and perfect colour and contrast even from acute angles. It's also cheaper in the 42" category...i picked up my Samsung for 55.5k, its available for as low as 53k elsewhere in the country....Cheapest Panasonic available for 60k....On the flip side you can't get Full HD on a 42" size unless you pay a bomb, and these models are not available in India directly. But, due to the principle of acuity of vision, it will be very hard to discern the difference between 720p pictures and 1080p pictures even on a 42"....you'd need 50" or more for the difference to be really apparent. On the whole I'd still recommend you go for a 42" plasma paying some 55k.

2. Do I need HD - what is the difference between Full HD and HD ready?

Other threads have dealt with it, but essentially HD Ready is images 720 (or 768) pixels on the vertical axis, whereas Full HD gives you 1080 pixels. So the image will be composed of more number of pixels in Full HD, and will look better on a sufficiently big screen. 1080p images are now available only if you buy a Blu-Ray player and Blu-Ray discs. However, DVD players will upscale standard definition DVDs to 720p or 1080p to create a pseudo-HD image. As mentioned before, on a 42" difference between Full HD and HD ready will be marginal at best

3) What are the other specifications/features I need to be concerned about?

This would depend on your budget, but look for a good contrast ratio (this will always be much better on the plasmas), a native contrast ratio of 10,000:1 and above will be good for Plasmas (don't look at dynamic contrast ratio, that is just some trickery). Native contrast ratios of 2500:1 above for LCDs would be good. As you can LCDs just can't match up in this department.

Response time - this is again relevant only for LCDs because of inherent defects in the technology, a response time of 6 ms and above should be good.

Viewing angle - Again an LCD parameter, due to technology limitations, look for 178 degree viewing angle as essential.

Inputs - Make sure it has at least 2 and ideally 3 HDMI inputs. This is for the future when you have a Blu-Ray Player and a High Definition STB...the third HDMI of course for your PS3 or to hook up your HD camcorder

Sound - Sound on an FPD will never match that of a CRT, test-listen a few and see which is the least terrible. The Samsung Plasma i have is tolerable.

4. Which are the best brands to consider in terms of picture quality and after sales service?

If you're looking at LCDs look at Panasonic, Samsung, Sony. If you're looking at plasma look at Panasonic and Samsung. Panasonic is supposed to be the king of budget plasmas, but reignofchaos recently compared a samsung and a panasonic and concluded that while the Panny dealt with SD pictures better (since it has a better internal scaler), the Sammy actual did the HD stuff better. I'll wait for him to weigh in with his comments. Other brands like Toshiba, Hitachi, JVC etc., have good models, but after-sales may be a bit of a problem.

5. How would I upscale Tatasky video to 1080p?

All modern HDTVs come with scalers. So the image fed to it from the Tata Sky STB will be upscaled to its native resolution. Some TVs have better scalers than others. If you have an AVR that does video upscaling and has a Faroudja chip (or some other chip that is very good at upscaling), it would make sense to run the Tata Sky signal through it, let it do the upscaling and let your TV receive the images as 1080p (or 720p/768p as the case maybe). If you don't have an AVR that upscales, then let the TV do it.

At the end of the day i'll reiterate the standard rules. Go test the TVs with your own media, and if possible even your own player, set each one's picture to a comparable level (maybe just pick movie mode on each of them) and then compare and see what appeals to you.

Final Recommendation

Considering your primary use will be Tata Sky let me recommend the TV that I am using...the Samsung Samsung PS42A410C1, which is available for around 55k or the Panasonic PV8H (available for 60k)....actually maybe the Panny over mine....since reignofchaos says it has a better scaler. But the Sammy looks a lot better as a device....fits in with your decor much better :) and that's always a consideration for me. the 42" Plasma category will give you the huge immersive picture, won't cost you as much as a comparable LCD and has other benefits as well.
 

venkatcr

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My two cents before the experts weigh in:

1. Plasma or LCD, and why?

Both are very very good these days, but I prefer plasma personally. Much deeper blacks, better motion tracking (so better for sport) better colours and perfect colour and contrast even from acute angles. It's also cheaper in the 42" category...i picked up my Samsung for 55.5k, its available for as low as 53k elsewhere in the country....Cheapest Panasonic available for 60k....On the flip side you can't get Full HD on a 42" size unless you pay a bomb, and these models are not available in India directly. But, due to the principle of acuity of vision, it will be very hard to discern the difference between 720p pictures and 1080p pictures even on a 42"....you'd need 50" or more for the difference to be really apparent. On the whole I'd still recommend you go for a 42" plasma paying some 55k.

2. Do I need HD - what is the difference between Full HD and HD ready?

Other threads have dealt with it, but essentially HD Ready is images 720 (or 768) pixels on the vertical axis, whereas Full HD gives you 1080 pixels. So the image will be composed of more number of pixels in Full HD, and will look better on a sufficiently big screen. 1080p images are now available only if you buy a Blu-Ray player and Blu-Ray discs. However, DVD players will upscale standard definition DVDs to 720p or 1080p to create a pseudo-HD image. As mentioned before, on a 42" difference between Full HD and HD ready will be marginal at best

Psychotropic, not fair. You stole my keyboard from me. :p. But jokes apart, that was well done really.

A couple of corrections. The size from which you can start seeing the difference in Full HD clarity is 42 inches and not 50 inches. This is for a person with a 20/20 vision.

Modern DVD actually store films in resolution that is equivalent to 2000p or even higher. For a long time there was no way that either a DVD Player or a TV can show the resolution that is available in a good DVD. That is the reason that DVD Players and TV manufacturers are all scrambling for full HD. Though 1080p upscaling were available in high end DVD players and scalers for a long time, the cost of a display that can take that scale was exorbitant. These are now becoming mass market.

A good DVD Player married to a Full HD TV, you can get 'real' full 1080p picture even from a standard DVD. There is no 'pseudo image' here as the DVD stores data in much higher resolution.

The main difference between SD DVD and Blu-Ray is that in Blu_Ray, 1080p is base standard, and because of larger space available, a higher sound spectrum can be stored in addition to a lot of other features. Of course, there are other important factors such as compression etc., but those are out of scope here.

Cheers
 

spirovious

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Hi,
I have already asked one sub Q?abt upscaling connection.
Your opinion pls.

Psychotropic, not fair. You stole my keyboard from me. :p. But jokes apart, that was well done really.

A couple of corrections. The size from which you can start seeing the difference in Full HD clarity is 42 inches and not 50 inches. This is for a person with a 20/20 vision.

Modern DVD actually store films in resolution that is equivalent to 2000p or even higher. For a long time there was no way that either a DVD Player or a TV can show the resolution that is available in a good DVD. That is the reason that DVD Players and TV manufacturers are all scrambling for full HD. Though 1080p upscaling were available in high end DVD players and scalers for a long time, the cost of a display that can take that scale was exorbitant. These are now becoming mass market.

A good DVD Player married to a Full HD TV, you can get 'real' full 1080p picture even from a standard DVD. There is no 'pseudo image' here as the DVD stores data in much higher resolution.

The main difference between SD DVD and Blu-Ray is that in Blu_Ray, 1080p is base standard, and because of larger space available, a higher sound spectrum can be stored in addition to a lot of other features. Of course, there are other important factors such as compression etc., but those are out of scope here.

Cheers
 

reignofchaos

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If you have the budget, look no further... you only have one choice the Pioneer Kuro. Pioneer slashed prices recently and the new MRPs for the 428XG is 99k and the 508XG is around 155k. Neither of these are Full HD. However you'd not really feel the need for it anyway. If you wanna go all out, the 50" from the newer 9th gen will cost close to 3 lacs.
 
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