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ChrisBardon

Long overdue HT upgrade?

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So I'm thinking about upgrading the HT that's in my basement, if for no other reason than to clean up some of the cable clutter. My wife was complaining about something not working anymore when a cable got unplugged, and not being able to trace where things went. I'm still using the Pioneer VSXD409 receiver I bought 12 years ago with no HDMI into it, which means a mess of optical, coax, and composite cables to go along with the separate video feeds into the TV. The TV is the 50" Sony XBR1 SXRD that I bought back in 2005, and it's still working pretty well, especailly after I changed out the bulb last year. The thing is, if I'm going to upgrade the receiver, then I'd also like to look at a new TV as well. If I can wall mount, I can save a little space in the basement, as well as move some components away from small hands.

 

-I don't really care about 3d, but if a 3d TV is going to give me the best 2d performance, then I'm not opposed to it.

-Gaming performance is probably the highest priority, followed by BR and Cable.

-Is there anything in particular to avoid like the plague? It looks like cheap LCDs are everywhere now, like the 60' Aquos sets that we picked up at the office a year ago for $1300 each.

-Probably looking at at least a 55", although more is always better

-Is there such a thing as a decent soundbar? I don't have wired in rear speakers, so I have cables running around the room, plus less than ideal speaker placements. Collapsing everything to save a little space/wire is an attractive idea (either that, or wireless speakers). Would have been nice to get in before the last owner drywalled.

 

Anyway, I'll probably dig around to see what I can find online later this week, since the plan is to go have a look at a few things this weekend (not necessarily to buy, but I did impulse buy the last TV...).

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In terms of TV, I'd really look no further than Panasonic's 2012 line up of plasmas. The VT50 is just a drool inducing piece of kit, but it's siblings don't do too shabby either. As someone who has gone from SXRD to LCD, you are not going to be happy with an LCD if you've become used to the beautiful natural pictures of the SXRD. LCD to me is just so harsh and well digital.

 

I do not know about soundbars

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-I don't really care about 3d, but if a 3d TV is going to give me the best 2d performance, then I'm not opposed to it.

 

I've never heard of 3D making 2D look better. I suppose if the manufacturer put it in a higher-end model that uses better components, it could look better than your typical 2D set, but I don't think you can attribute it to 3D.

 

I will second what Kelly said about the Panasonic plasmas. I have one as well and it is fantastic.

 

-Is there such a thing as a decent soundbar? I don't have wired in rear speakers, so I have cables running around the room, plus less than ideal speaker placements. Collapsing everything to save a little space/wire is an attractive idea (either that, or wireless speakers). Would have been nice to get in before the last owner drywalled.

 

I haven't spent a lot if time checking out sound bars either, so I'm not really qualified to talk about them. I know that some of them can get pricey. I don't know if that means they're any good, but they are out there.

 

Have you considered getting a good sub/sat system instead? I think this is what I'd be more inclined to do if I were in your situation. I'm not talking about those cheap home theater in a box systems here. There are some very nice systems made by Bowers & Wilkins, Paradigm, and Energy that are small, compact and sound really fantastic. Then it might be easier to position your surround channels since they wouldn't take up that much space.

 

Anyway, good luck with your search. Let us know how it turns out.

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I've never heard of 3D making 2D look better.

Panasonic has made several improvements to their plasma panels specifically to increase their performance to handle 3D images. The side effect is improved 2D performance including better handling of image retention on plasma because of the fast firing phosphors which became standard for all of their models in 2011. I read an article that went over a myriad of changes specific to the VT25 models back when I was shopping for a new television which I don't have handy but it's not an unheard of proposition. Regardless, the reality is that if you're going for a high end 2D television these days - it's likely to have 3D anyway. Whether you use it or not.

 

Chris, I would tell that even if you're not a fan of 3D for film, give it a chance in the gaming arena. You'll find a great deal to enjoy, IMO.

 

Third on the VT50 if you can swing it. Amazing TV and I'll be upgrading to it from my VT25 later this year.

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Well, if all goes well here the VT50 should be in my future in the next week or so. I may have it for when Joey and Angel come down to visit.:D

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There are some very nice systems made by Bowers & Wilkins, Paradigm, and Energy that are small, compact and sound really fantastic.

 

My Energy Take Classics are a fantastic value.

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55inch VT50 will be ordered on Wednesday! Small upgrade in size but eager to be rid of the floating blacks on the VT25. I've loved a great deal about the set but the floating blacks issue has really been bugging the shit out of me the last few months.

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55inch VT50 will be ordered on Wednesday! Small upgrade in size but eager to be rid of the floating blacks on the VT25. I've loved a great deal about the set but the floating blacks issue has really been bugging the shit out of me the last few months.

 

Congrats on the VT50.

 

I saw that someone on AVS responded to your post. They seemed to have a solution to the floating blacks on the VT25. I guess you weren't able to duplicate the remedy.

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Nope..it's still there. Their solution was to crush blacks to the point of not being able to see detail at all. Not much of a solution at all. The VT25 is an great set but the floating blacks have killed it for me the last few months.

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TV Delivery is today! Supposedly they will be here between 11am-1pm. I'm shivering with antici.......pation!

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It has arrived!

 

It's everything I hoped it would be and more. I'll wait until I hit 100 hours of viewing before really getting into calibrating the set but right now I'm beyond the moon. Screen uniformity looks good, 96hz 24p looks splendid with only a tinge of flicker that I could notice (hardly bothersome) and I put in a few test BD's (including Dark Knight) and see zero floating blacks which alone has me ridiculously happy! Back to work for now but it's going to be a long day as I want to come home and play.

 

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Rushed pics so they aren't the best. I'll see if I can do better later tonight.

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Good lord Tangled looks amazing on this thing. I can only imagined what it will look like when properly calibrated.

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So yesterday afternoon we had some free time, so I went in to have a look at new TVs just to see what my options were. I was austensively looking to see if the VT50 was worth the upgrade over the lower model (ST50 I think), but I'm really glad that I had Emma with me, because she actually vetoed the plasmas because of flicker. Even when plugged into a line conditioner (one of the things the guy at the store claimed could cause the issue), she said that the picture on both plasmas was flickery. Apparently this isn't a common thing, but not impossible either-just a fluke of some people's eyes like the ability to see flicker from a DLP colour wheel I suppose. Anyway, what I did end up getting was a brand new Panasonic LED panel that they'd just gotten in a couple of days earlier (the TC-L60E55). I was a little hesitant about the LED sets, except this one had some really solid blacks (way better than the samsungs they also had in the store), and it apparently has a mode where it can come close to the 600Hz refresh rate. No 3d support, but I wasn't really going to use it anyway. Besides, I ended up being able to get the TV and a new receiver for less than I was planning to spend on a TV alone, so it's not that big a hit (although it means that I definitely can't buy another pinball machine this year).

 

Looking forward to getting it set up this weekend-wall mounting it should save a ton of space in the basement, so now I just need to look into component holding solutions that can work well with this TV, as well as help babyproof things a bit (since Calvin is getting more and more mobile every day). I need something that can hold a bunch of gear (consoles + cable box), take up less floor space than I'm using now, has decent air flow to keep things from overheating, but that can also keep small hands from doing things like putting slices of cheese into the xbox. Any suggestions?

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So new TV is up, at least initially calibrated, and ready to go. Ended up getting a new set of component stands from Ikea over the weekend to save some floor space, which really opens up the basement. The only major issue so far is that right away I noticed the reflection of the ceiling light on the screen, which is a lot more reflective than the one on the XBR1. Not sure what to do about that, but I'm not opposed to changing that light fixture out if it's going to solve the TV reflection problem. Turning up the backlight on the screen helped, but didn't eliminate the reflection, especially in dark scenes. As for the picture though, blacks are great, and colour is much better than on the old TV. I didn't realize how far gone the XBR was until seeing the same images on the new screen. The background on the 360 start screen is white again, the cable box menu is blue...that sort of thing. Haven't really tested much in the way of movies yet, but I did go back to the Matrix BR to test speakers. Chapter 29 is still the best surround sound test I can think of. Kind of surprised that there's not even a THX optimode test on the Star Wars BRs though-that was always my go-to for setting up brightness and colour.

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