It’s Friggin’ Huge!!!

As I confessed a while back, I was infected with Flat Panel Flu from the first moment I laid eyes on a large HDTV screen, about five years ago. Back then, a big plasma cost as much as a quality used car, and a “large” LCD was about 21 inches across. Ever since, I’ve been lusting after those brilliant, enormous, oh-so-thin screens, and watching the prices creep down into something like a normal human’s range.

About a month ago, I finally took the plunge, and got a Panasonic TH-50PHD8UK plasma screen. And it rocks. I mean, you ought to see last month’s Auburn-Alabama game in HD (recorded on a DirecTV HD Tivo). You could step into the screen and sack Brodie Croyle from your living room.

I picked this one out after (literally) a couple of years of shopping around and comparing pictures. The final contenders came down to Panasonic and Pioneer plasma screens. The Pioneers have a slight edge in colors (just amazingly brilliant), but Panasonic took the trophy for the sharpest picture–and besides which, Pioneer screens are still premium-priced, and I’m cheap, even when I’m buying something really expensive.

For all you LCD and DLP folks, as Steve Den Beste would say, please, don’t send emails. This is very subjective stuff, and if you’re buying a TV, you should buy what your eyes like the best. For myself, I just don’t like projection screens (of any technology), and flat LCDs are too small and/or too expensive.

Speaking of which, and apropos of the Blogfaddah’s ongoing HDTV seminar, here’s my advice on buying a big TV. It’s similar to what I tell people who’re buying a new computer: Get the one with the features (and in this case, picture) you like the most, and buy as much power (or screen size) as you can afford. Then quit reading reviews, quit checking prices, and just enjoy the damn thing–because there’s probably going to be a better one, selling for cheaper than you just paid, next month.

Oh, and don’t get ripped off on cables. Buy them here.

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15 Responses to “It’s Friggin’ Huge!!!”

  1. Gil Roth Says:

    It sure is a wonderful experience, the first time you see football (college or pro) in HD on a widescreen. I’m happy as a clam with my 50″ DLP model myself. I’ve even learned that hockey can be fun to watch.

    I wrote a little paean to HDeification back in October.

  2. mark Says:

    Good choice! Don’t have room for a 50″, so we got the 42PHD8UK and it’s incredible! Panasonics were the highest rated of any plasma for rich blacks and realistic color. And by the time it gets to its 60K hour half-life, I’ll be ready for a replacement anyway.

  3. Francis Says:

    And now you just have to wait for the FCC to do its bit – http://www.theonion.com/content/node/42809

  4. RPD Says:

    I hate watching football in regular def any more. Now if only CBS would get its act together on the NFL slate. I went with a large CRT. I have the deep shelf for it, and it’s a mature technology. No worries about burn in, fade, or black levels.

  5. Tom Says:

    I also bit the bullet and bought the Pioneer 50″. I am as happy as you are, if not more! Football is great, as are shows such as LOST. I also agree about rear projection and that LCD is too small, etc. So glad you are enjoying it!

  6. Neo Says:

    I’m still having a “complex” over the endless number boxes that seem to be involved with making one of these panels do it’s thing. To get digital TV you need a box for you service provider to decode the stuff then a box to handle the special features and maybe a box to do the sound.
    It’s just too much like buying a stereo in the 70’s. You need a degree in box-ology.

  7. KDeRosa Says:

    One thing to watch out for with these giant HDTV sets (I havethe 65″ panasonic TH-65PHD7UY) is that they are absolutely unforgiving when it comes to standard def cable/satellite and poorly mastered (i.e., most) dvds.

  8. Chuck Says:

    CBS does its A, B, and C games each week in HD. Scheudled to have all games in HD by the 2007 season.

    The problem is a lack of HD capable production trucks that do 1080i ‘casts. Fox does 720p, a transmission with more trucks capable of producing at present.

  9. Will Allen Says:

    Sony’s SXRD technology is impressive, and falling in price, also. That said, if you always waited for the newest technology to fall in price, you’d be watching a black and white picture.

  10. Jay Says:

    I’ve had the Philips 50 inch Plasma with Ambilight since early Sep. First football game I got in HD was a Notre Dame game and the aerial shots of the campus and golden dome were stunning. I called my wife up to my den to see (she has a bad knee, but like a trooper came up to the only room in the house that is upstairs) and she said “that is nice, but it just means more to you than it does to me.” Anyway, she loves me and let me get it. I also have DirecTV HD TiVO. I am very happy.

  11. Papa Ray Says:

    Jay said: “Anyway, she loves me and let me get it. I also have DirecTV HD TiVO. I am very happy.”

    You should be, I know of two marriages that have broken up over HDTV.

    Papa Ray

  12. Lileks Says:

    If you don’t buy Monster cables you will suffer a .06 degredation in the transmission on the framter band, which totally screws with your X/Y axis. You also risk “blue surge,” wherein sudden unmoderated bursts of color can ruin your rug. Also Philo Farnsworth will rise from the grave and pee in your Wheaties. But hey, your call.

  13. Will Collier Says:

    Don’t get technical with me…

  14. Stephen Green Says:

    Monster cables are good for exactly one thing: Holding up to the wear & tear from a guy who moves his A/V equipment around a lot.

    (In order to protect the guilty, we’ll call this guy “Sreve Gteen.”)

    Or at least that’s what Sreve used to think. Mrs Gteen used a Monster Cable in her car for plugging the iPod nano into the aux input. After just three weeks, the Monster Cable came apart.

    Of course, it takes some pretty vicious force to get a 3mm cable out of the bottom of a nano. So maybe it’s all Apple’s fault. This one time, Mrs Gteen looked at her nano funny, and it scratched.

    If only she’d had a Monster Cable handy to repair the damage.

  15. Slado Says:

    Agree that TV’s are the best picture but I installed a Panasoic HD Projector ($1400) in my home and put the Goo System paint on the wall and 125″ of HD screen @ 90% quality is pretty cool.

    If you have a big wall and a “media” room (must remove ambient light) I suggest checking them out. They can handle 1080I, 720 etc… Since I’m an Xbox freak (and 31) nothing is as rewarding as slaying your lifesize enemy. Awesome.

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