6th June 2007 at 5:38 pm

I’ve Joined the World of HD

After a few years waiting for the technology to mature a bit, I’ve finally taken the plunge and purchased an HDTV, and new Surround Theatre System and a HD-DVD drive.

hdtv

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First off – the TV – a Panasonic TX-32LXD70.
I’ve been following the development of flat screens over the past couple of years.

At first the only option was Plasma and the price was prohibitive. There were also a number of apparent issues with the technology:

  • Poor Contrast – because the cells of plasmas could not be switched off, only dimmed.
  • Delicate – Had to be professionally installed and kept upright at all times or they would lose pixels.
  • Screen Burn – Static images, such as the annoying logos on all satellite channels burning onto the screen.

Next came LCD – these only came in small sizes and also had issues:

  • Poor Contrast
  • Slow refresh rate (causing motion to be blurred)
  • Limited viewing angle – you had to sit right infront of the screen in order to see the picture
  • Dead/Stuck pixels – a manufacturing defect that the manufacturers seem to think was acceptible

Basically the picture on an old fashioned CRT screen was far superior to both these technologies – the only thing it didn’t offer was High Definition but this was not an issue as the was no HD content to view.

I waited, and two or more years on, there are beginning to be reasons to want HD.
HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs – Nice but who wants to end up with another Betamax
SKY-HD Satellite – too little content and too expensive
Apple-TV – HD connections only, but nice and I needed something to replace my aging, Windows only, Pinnacle ShowCenter.
XBOX360 – HD games – hardly a necessity, but nice all the same.

So time to review the situation. The first change is price – both types of flat screen are much more affordable.
Technically I can’t see that Plasma has changed much. LCD on the other hand now has:

  • Bigger screen sizes
  • Larger viewing angles
  • Faster (less motion blur)
  • Better contrast
  • Better manufacturing plants (less dead pixels)

So I began some in depth research. I discounted Plasma fairly early on and started reading lots of reviews for LCDs . Considering that CRTs are hardly stocked any more and that LCDs are now mainstream I was surprised how immature the technology still is.
Many still have poor contrast, viewing angles and suffer with motion blur. Also HDMI has emerged as the only real connectivity option but many only have one socket. Next is the whole 1080p thing – HD is no single resolution standard and screens have varying pixel resolutions.

So I decided that although the time was right to buy an LCD screen, I was not going to spend too much on what could become 2nd rate technology in the future. As a result of raving reviews, The Panasonic won.

I also bought a Sony RHT-G800 Theatre Stand System and an HD-DVD drive for my XBOX360 – more on those later.