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hdtv and standard dvd playback

Posted by rivkadr (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 11, 07 at 11:38

Just wanted to share my experience, in case it might be of use to anyone else about to buy an HDTV:

Our 55" projection TV just broke, and so we decided to replace it. We went to Best Buy, looked around at the models, and picked the one that appeared to have the best HD picture quality. We realize now that was a mistake -- we should have picked a few models that we were interested in, written down the model numbers, and come home and researched them before purchasing. Lesson learned.

The HDTV we bought was a 50" LG 50PC5D. It looked great in the store. Once it arrived home, we discovered a couple of things:

1) Many Playstation 2 games do not play well on HDTVs due to lag issues. This was news to us. May be news to you which is why I'm sharing it. We've resigned ourselves to getting rid of it, and shifting our gameplay over to the Xbox 360.

2) Our standard DVDs looked AWFUL on the TV. The movies looked like they were a watercolor -- the colors were blurred together and there was a marked decrease in sharpness and picture quality. It has to do with the upscaling from 480p to 780p in the TV -- it's complicated, I barely understand it, so I'm not going to go into detail. There's plenty of places online where you can learn more about it.

We tried an upscaling DVD player to see if that would improve the picture quality on the DVDs. It made very little difference -- apparently an upscaling DVD player can only do so much if the upscaling on the TV itself sucks. We were crushed. We have about 200 standard DVDs, and they were virtually unwatchable. We were afraid that we had just spent $2100 on a TV that we were going to hate.

We marched back to Best Buy, and talked to a sales clerk. He pulled out a DVD player and plugged it into the same model of HDTV as the one we had at home, and popped in a DVD. "Wow, this is really awful looking," he says. Thank god, it wasn't just us that noticed it! Then he moved the DVD player over to some other HDTVs and tested them out -- the quality difference in DVD playback was substantially improved. We vacillated back and forth between a Panasonic and a Samsung, and ultimately decided to purchase a Samsung HPT5054. The LG is being returned immediately.

Just thought I would share this in case it might be of use to anyone looking to buy an HDTV. If you have a lot of standard DVDs, and don't intend to replace them all immediately with HD-DVDs or Blu-Ray discs, then I'd advise you to find out the quality of the playback of the HDTV when it comes to DVDs. They are not all equal.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: hdtv and standard dvd playback

I have an HD 42" Panasonic plasma that'll be 5 years old in 3 months. Upwards of 460 standard DVDs. I ran it with a Toshiba SD4800 DVD player for a year, then got a Denon 1600 that has a better progressive-scan convertor, but neither one was ever a problem.

Part of your difficulty may be the larger screen size (your 50" vs. my 42"). My neighbor has a home theater room with a 100"-some-odd wall screen and LCD projector. Standard DVD quality didn't seem good to me, but certainly is watchable. He got an HD player last year, I CAN tell a difference on his screen. He bought it over for a demo, and I *CAN'T* tell nearly as much difference on my smaller screen.


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RE: hdtv and standard dvd playback

Don't mean to be rude, but it's got nothing to do with screen size, and everything to do with the brands.

He pulled out a DVD player and plugged it into the same model of HDTV as the one we had at home, and popped in a DVD. "Wow, this is really awful looking," he says. Thank god, it wasn't just us that noticed it! Then he moved the DVD player over to some other HDTVs and tested them out -- the quality difference in DVD playback was substantially improved.

There was a noticeable quality difference when watching on a specific BRAND, i.e. the LG. We replaced it with a Samsung. The quality on that is great. Got no complaints with it -- our DVDs are actually quite beautiful on it. Even the guy in Best Buy could see the difference between the two brands (both the same screen size). After doing some reading around online, I've found several other reports from people complaining of the same problem from LG when it comes to SD and DVD display. The point of my post was, not all brands are equal (obviously). But DVD playback is not something that most people would think to test when purchasing, and maybe someone would learn something useful from my post.


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