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analog cable on Plasma HDTV?

by dcrow82 / December 30, 2005 12:50 PM PST

I've been looking at several 42 inch plasma tv's and have three different answers to how plasma TV's will look with regular analog cable.

The TV's I'm looking at have built in HD as well as digital cable ready with cable card slot.

I understand that the picture quality will not be as good as the store model because I do not have HD yet. However, my question was "will the TV have the same picture quality as my current 32 inch TV when watching regular cable tv?"

Sears told me that it still has a good picture quality slightly below DVD quality.

Circuit City told me that without digital cable or satelite the picture would be very bad and I might not have picture at all. He said I might get just a blue screen. (not what I wanted to hear)

Bestbuy told me the picture quality wasn't nearly as good as the displays but shouldn't be anyworse then my current tv.

I was happy with the Sears and Bestbuy reply but I wanted the opinion of those that actually have a plasma tv. Please keep in mind I'm not comparing regular TV to digital or HD TV, but just want to know if the Plasma TV will produce atleast the quality I currently have with my standard TV. Thanks for reading all of this.

(Will most likely be getting Satelite but it might not be for a couple months.)

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by RoadRunner6 / December 30, 2005 3:13 PM PST

This is a great question but very difficult to answer without specific information on the exact model of plasma you are looking at and also your current TV.

If you currently have a Sony or maybe a JVC, Toshiba or Panasonic then you probably have a very good picture now. That of course depends upon the specific programming and its broadcast quality and even the time of day.

Your new plasma will have to upconvert the incoming standard analog 480i cable signal to 720p or 1080i depending on the native resolution of your HDTV plasma. The higher quality plasmas such as Panasonic, Hitachi, JVC, Pioneer, NEC, Fujitsu, etc. (the traditional Japanese high quality brands) tend to have very good scaling circuitry which do a good job upconverting. Some of the cheaper brands (especially some of the Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean plasmas) might not do as good a job. LG and Samsung are at the top of this second list. Other brands many times are re-brands of these other units (if you can find out who actually makes them). Watch out: there is a lot of misinformation about who makes which off-brand plasmas and they change from year to year and also on the different sizes of plasmas.

I replaced two Sony 27'' conventional TV's with a 42'' EDTV JVC plasma and a 37'' EDTV Panasonic plasma which both have a 480p native resolution. The results are about identical in my case. Generally I would say the Sony's picture was in the good to very good range. The plasmas run from good to excellent. I prefer the picture from the plasmas. Even with a EDTV only plasma I sometimes get excellent pictures on programming that seems to be recorded with HDTV cameras and intended for HDTV broadcasts.

My overall comment is that I do have an mprovement in picture quality on my new plasmas over my old Sony's on the cable TV. I have only the standard non-HDTV signals from my cable company with no cable box. Also, you will have to strech the 4x3 aspect ratio picture of the standard programming to fit the 16x9 widescreen size of your plasma. Some brands do this much better than others by streching the ends the most and the center section of the picture the least. Again, some of the cheaper brands don't do such a good job here. Panasonic is reveiwed to maybe do the best with its ''just'' mode. I think my Panasonic is ever so slightly better than the JVC but they both are more that acceptable.

Hope this helps. Good Luck

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by dcrow82 / December 31, 2005 12:45 AM PST
In reply to: Good

It's still up in the air which store I'm buying it from. I'm looking to see what sales Sears, Bestbuy and Circuit City have starting tomorrow. I've been looking at two models of the Philips 42 inch plasma. The first one is the Philips 42'' Plasma HDTV (42PF7320A) which Sears has on sale for $2,089.00 with a 10% mail in rebate. The other is the Philips 42'' Plasma HDTV (42PF9630A) which circuit city has on sale for $2,699.99.

I should note that this TV will be for the living room and I am going to finish the basement where I will be using a projector for the theater room. So, I really don't want to spend too much on the Plasma since it will not be my main entertainment center once I finish the theater room. The first TV I listed is really want I want to spend, however this may sound very stupid but I really like the black trim on the other model and would prefer to buy it if I could find a good deal on it.

Currently I have a standard 32'' RCA TV. Nothing flashy but it gets the job done. I currently do not have digital cable or satelite and I would want my Plasma TV to atleast give me the same picture quality that my current 32'' gives me until I get digital cable or satellite. Right now I only have basic cable.

I understand that there may be better TV's than the Philips I'm not debating that. My wife and I have looked at them and our very satisfied with them. I'm just want to know if I can view basic cable on them or if I will need to get digital cable or satellite just to watch TV. Thanks

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(NT) I did it last night!
by Dan Filice / December 31, 2005 1:42 AM PST
In reply to: reply

Although not exactly what you have, I finally bought a new Sony Wega 23" LCD set for the bedroom. I mulled over the same concern as you had. I bounced between Sears, CC, BB, Costco, etc., trying to get someone to hook up analog cable so I could compare exactly what you wanted to see. No luck, until finally two days ago, a young sales guy at CC took the initiative and connected analog cable to the sets. My primary concern was how each set I was considering handled the stretch modes. I finally bought the Sony yesteday after much comparison to the Samsung. I still was holding my breath as to what the LCD would look like compared to my old Sony 20" CRT that needed replacing. Well, here is my evaulation: Due to the fact that the LCD (and Plasma) screens are made up of many individual pixels, I saw a little bit of the pixels when viewing up close, but when I sat back a little, I did not see the pixels, What I did see was much more vibrant colors, brightness and contrast. So, in a nutshell, there is a little bit of pixel issues when up close, and I see a little pixel lag on fast motion, but overall I got used to these things and the overall better color and brightnes made up for them. I think it helps to have a strong cable signal. My wife likes the LCD image much better than the old CRT Sony, so that's one plus. I'm much more picky, but considering that I'm looking at analog cable, I'm happy. Next weekend, the cable company is coming in to upgrade my service to two HD digital cable boxes on two TVs, but on three, I am maintainng regular cable service.

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by RoadRunner6 / January 2, 2006 5:50 PM PST
In reply to: reply

Yes, you can view basic cable on any digital TV including the Philips plasmas. I think you will prefer the picture of the plasma versus your RCA TV.

I also like the black bezel because it makes the picture "stand out."

Philips plasmas used to have Hitachi/Fugitsu glass and also some of there internals. That is very good news. Not sure if this is still the same but probably is.


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