Archive for the ‘Large-Screen TVs’ Category

Link of the Month: Why You Want 1080p

Friday, September 28th, 2007

This Link of the Month delivers probably more than you ever wanted to know about 1080p, the current high water mark for quality of digital media presentation on flat-panel HDTVs and Blu-ray and HD DVD players. But a number of Scot’s Newsletter readers have written to ask me why I felt it was important to pay extra for 1080p with 1,920-by-1,024-pixel resolution when I made My Panasonic Plasma Purchase back in June.

This article, High Definition 1080p TV: Why You Should Be Concerned, authored by Brian Florian and Colin Miller from the March 2007 edition of the Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, explains and shows why 1080p is better than 1080i and lesser-resolution HDTV formats. If you’re buying a large flat-panel HDTV that’s 50 inches or larger in size and you’re into watching movies, the 1080p format delivers noticeably better quality with a Blu-ray or HD DVD player.

While I’m revisiting this subject, it’s probably worth pointing out that Consumer Reports just picked the Panasonic’s 50-inch 1080p HDTV model TH-50PZ700U as it’s best rated plasma. That’s the model I purchased. The same Consumer Reports article (in the November 2007 issue) provides some insights into the advantages of 1080p. CR makes the point that there are 720p sets that provide at least as good picture quality as some 1080p sets. That’s especially the case with HDTVs that are smaller than 50 inches, where the quality improvement is harder to discern. If you’re not a movie lover or if you’re buying a second widescreen TV, 720p is probably just fine for, say, a 42-inch set.

My Panasonic Plasma Purchase

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

In the June newsletter I wrote that I was “picking plasma now,” and I asked for input on Panasonic’s 50-inch 1080p HDTV model TH-50PZ700U.

I didn’t get any comments on the specific model, but I was already sold on it. I took a quick look at it running a Blu-ray DVD in the store, and that was it. I got a pretty good deal on this model from Circuit City that included 0% interest and no payments until January of 2009. That gives me 18 months to pay it off, interest-free. I paid $3,050 about a month ago, and Circuit City now lists it at $2,999.

I couldn’t be happier with this purchase. I’m watching my favorite sports team as I write this in perfect, full-screen HDTV. It’s gorgeous. It displays conventional TV better than I expected, and the bright, saturated HDTV colors and crisp shapes continue to wow me. Comcast offers about 30 to 40 HDTV channels, including about 80% of the ones I watch the most. So I’m watching HD programming much of the time.


Picking Plasma Now

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

He who has more computers than he has a right to often doesn’t have other advanced toys that he has craved.

When it comes to big-screen HDTV, though, that’s about to end. (My hybrid car and fourth Mac will have to wait, I guess.)

Cyndy, my wife, will tell you that my HDTV decision is directly the result of my two favorite sports teams looking up this year — in a big way. One has a leading record and the other is having a very productive off-season. I learned long ago: Don’t bet against my wife!

But there’s another reason I’m finally breaking down and getting ready to spend money I don’t have yet on a 50-inch flat-screen TV. I’m talking about the confluence of the high-resolution 1080p standard with plasma display technology. Pioneer and Panasonic both announced 1080p plasmas early this year, and they’ve been shipping for a few months. Other manufacturers have them too. It’s finally the right time to buy a big-screen plasma TV.

I’m not going to get into a long discussion about plasma’s strengths and weaknesses versus other display technologies. But suffice it to say that I also like the best of the LCD technology for big-screen TVs too. For two products I picked late last fall in Computerworld’s 2006 Holiday Gift Guide, see this story.

The plasma TV I’m giving strong consideration to is Panasonic’s 50-inch 1080p HDTV model TH-50PZ700U.

If you have experience with this plasma TV, or any other 1080p plasma, I’d be very interested in your input.