Woohoo! New TV ordered!

My JBQ just ordered the 50″ Pioneer Kuro PDP-5010FD! At last, a real 1080p HDTV (our current 55″ Sharp only does 1080i/540p, not even 720p). I just hope it arrives in one piece, as it’s an almost $4000 purchase.

We spent the day yesterday trying to find cheaper alternatives to the Kuro. We saw the Sony LCD alternatives which we didn’t like the over-sharpen saturated images, we tried the new Sharp LCDs that have uniformity backlight problems, we saw the new Panasonic TH-50PZ85U series (pre-order only at this point) and we were actually close to getting this TH-50PZ85U 50″ plasma TV as it has a 30000:1 contrast ratio. Only to find out that Panasonic changed their press release and site to change the 2:2 24p pulldown to 2:3 pulldown (which means no real 24p support), plus it has no pixel-to-pixel mode (useful if you are using the panel as a PC monitor, or playing games), plus a few other small issues. Besides, even if it had the 24p support, 2:2 pulldown means that the panel would run at 48Hz instead of 60Hz or 72Hz (as the Kuro can do), and 48Hz means flickering. We could buy that Panasonic for less than $2000, and still, we decided to pay the full price and get the best there is for the money: the Kuro.

In fact, yesterday JBQ asked a very interesting question that was important to our decision to go with the Kurro: “don’t tell me what it does well, tell me what it does wrong“. And we couldn’t find a SINGLE thing missing from that TV, feature-wise.

And don’t give me that crap that “plasmas die easily”, that’s a myth. Modern plasmas don’t have such issues anymore. And their natural image is just amazing, and worth the risk. Your eyes will thank you.

If you don’t have the money for a Kuro but you still want the best there is, I highly recommend that Panasonic btw. It’s the second best on the market in my opinion (for the price that is).

26 Comments »

Michael wrote on February 23rd, 2008 at 10:48 PM PST:

“2:2 pulldown means that the panel would run at 48Hz instead of 60Hz or 72Hz” — Absolutely not. 2:2 pulldown means that if you feed 30PsF video say from HV30 or from HF-series (or 25PsF video for 50Hz countries which European HV20 already had), it will be correctly recognized as progressive and you will get full 1080p. Refresh rate like 48Hz or 72Hz is a completely different thing.


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Eugenia wrote on February 23rd, 2008 at 10:59 PM PST:

Sorry, this is not how it works. This “film mode” is ONLY used for 24p signals. I call it “2:2” because this is what it is, but it was developed with 24p movies in mind. This mode does not kick in at all if the signal is not a recognizable 24p stream. The 2:2 cadence means that they will show each frame twice. On a 24p signal this means 48 fps. Hence, it’s 48 Hz.

Pioneer shows THREE times each 24p frame, its 72Hz. Pioneer offers two solutions for 24p, one is the 24×3=72Hz, and the other one is a special algorithm they developed that blends frames with each other in order to offer a smooth motion.

The thing is, when the 24p special support craze started just 1.5 years ago, Pioneer had the first such display, and it was 48 Hz in that mode. Pioneer learned from their mistakes, and their future panels started supported 72 Hz, which is smoother. Panasonic is just one step behind Pioneer on this matter, but we needed a TV today, not next year.


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Eugenia wrote on February 23rd, 2008 at 11:11 PM PST:

Go here and click on the “24p cinematic playback” menu option. As you can see, the conventional way that movies are showing on most NTSC TVs is called 2:3 pulldown which means 60Hz, and it’s clear that Panasonic is using 2:2 for their “cinematic” method. Each frame twice, that’s 48Hz. Remember, we are talking about 24p here, NOT about other frame rates, and not about PAL. Other rates are either 50Hz or 60Hz, but the 48Hz is only for their film mode.

And because 48Hz flickers (plus it’s only available on their more expensive plasma TVs), we decided to go with the Pioneer.


Brendan wrote on February 24th, 2008 at 6:38 AM PST:

I’m jealous. Lovely TV – its what I would choose.

I want one but our room with our tv in is too small.

Enjoy 🙂


Cesar wrote on February 24th, 2008 at 9:41 AM PST:

How far away are you going to be sitting from the screen?

I ask that because depending on the distance and screen size/resolution, the perceptual quality gain is minimal, if any. I’m sure you know that, but my point is to get a general ideia of the quality you’ll be enjoying 🙂


Troy Banther wrote on February 24th, 2008 at 10:39 AM PST:

Congratulations on the new computer monitor. To me, television is obsolete. I could see one of these as part of a nice entertainment center. Again. Congrats!


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Eugenia wrote on February 24th, 2008 at 2:25 PM PST:

Cesar, trust me, this TV will have a big impact in quality compared to the projection CRT TV we have right now. Think that in our current TV we barely see the difference between DVD and 1080i, it’s that bad.

Thanks Troy. It is not a computer monitor, TV is not obsolete for us, as we watch movies on it and some TV series. We have an entertainment center, so it will fit really nicely.


Michael wrote on February 24th, 2008 at 3:32 PM PST:

Eugenia, I told you, you are mistaken. You are confusing 2:2 pulldown with refresh rate. 2:2 pulldown is a technique to telecine movie into interlaced signal so that two fields of one video frame contain two half-frames of original movie. This allows to get progressive video using interlaced carrier (though this is important for digital TVs, it was not important for analog CRT TVs), also because of each frame having two fields that are not temporally shifted, your scan rate effectively drops from 60i to 30p (in States) or from 50i to 25p (in Europe). Now, what a display is going to do with this signal is a different matter.

I don’t think that 2:2 pulldown is not used for 24p in consumer video, but I may be mistaken. I think that 24p that some TVs are capable to accept, is real 24p, not a telecined 24p-in-48i. In any case, 2:2 pulldown is not about 24p, it is about sticking two half-frames of original movie into two fieds of one video field.

Pioneer was one of the first with 72Hz refresh rate, but now you can buy a Samsung or a Sony with 120Hz refresh rate. There is no pulldown here. For 72Hz every frame of 24p source is shown 3 times, for 120Hz it is shown 5 times, also for 120Hz every field of native 60i video is shown twice.

As a computer person you must understand, that the way video signal is encoded, and the way it is shown does not have to match 🙂 Your TV will have to process video with 2:3 pulldown anyway, the only difference with other TVs that it will display resulting frames 3 at a time, while regular TVs display them in 2:3 cadence simply because their refresh rate is the same as video signal’s rate. But this 2:3 frame cadence has nothing to do with pulldown.

Anyway, I envy you, this is a good TV. I was choosing between Pioneer and Panasonic last year and went with Panasonic, because it was almost twice cheaper. Still, a proper Pioneer must have “Elite” on its lower bezel, not “Pioneer” 🙂


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Eugenia wrote on February 24th, 2008 at 4:22 PM PST:

Michael, I do not confuse anything. Traditionally, you get as much refresh rate as frames shown. If you show 24×2, as Panasonic does, that’s 48Hz. That’s how TVs are usually made. For LCDs, their 120 Hz is called 5:5, Pioneer’s is called 3:3, Panasonic’s is 2:2. It’s not really a pulldown, it just shows how many times a frame is shown. The point is, all evidence shows, and many people claim online too, that Panasonic’s TVs are 48Hz during their “film mode”. And this is just not good enough for us.

I guess the confusion is because I used the word “pulldown”, but this was only to show that some frames were duplicated, nothing more. Truth is, Panasonic is 2:2, and this just means 24×2=48. And it’s not the first time that a Plasma TV is 48Hz during film mode. All evidence points to this.


Nita wrote on February 24th, 2008 at 4:31 PM PST:

I just sometimes have to wonder….. I would simply never waste $4000 on a TV.. That’s just crazyness. Would rather buy something actually useful with all that money, and donate part of that to charity. Oh well, I guess I’ll just never learn to understand all this HD crazyness.. -.-


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Eugenia wrote on February 24th, 2008 at 4:45 PM PST:

Well, the TV is for us pretty much our only entertainment, we don’t go to the cinema anymore since we got Netflix, we don’t have ANY family here to visit (I haven’t seen my family for 3 years), I personally see friends rarely (JBQ has more interaction at work), and so we better get a TV that does what it does best. Our current doesn’t do what we want. And the cheaper Panasonic does not do movies as well as the Pioneer does, neither games (it does not have a pixel-to-pixel mode, JBQ wants that mode for his PS3 gaming).

So before you judge us for spending that much money on a TV, first live our life and then judge. It’s not that we didn’t try to find a cheaper model. We spent a whole day on the issue. But cheaper is just not as good, and we want something that’s GOOD for the only entertainment in our life.


Tomasz D wrote on February 24th, 2008 at 5:12 PM PST:

Hey Eugenia. What do you think would be the best buy (as in very good, but not that pocket draining) in the 37-42 inch FullHD LCD TV range? There’s a lot of different brands and as far as I know the only noticable difference among them is how well they handle SD material which is very important to me. There’s Samsung, Toshiba, LG, Sharp, Daewoo, Novema, Haier, Sony, JVC, Beko, Philips… The only thing I know is that I need LCD and not Plasma, because the room where the TV will be standing is well-lit (many windows) and Plasmas don’t handle difficult lighting conditions that well.


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Eugenia wrote on February 24th, 2008 at 5:29 PM PST:

Tomas, this is yet another myth about the Plasmas. There is so much disinformation about plasmas out there, no wonder that the LCDs sell better. If you have a lot of windows on your house, then it does NOT matter if you get an LCD or a plasma. What it matters is that the screen you get is NOT glossy. You see, marketing hype has created this stupid thing called “glossy screens” and they can be found in many products. If you get glossy, you get deeper blacks but you are losing on the highlights. The exact opposite happens with a matte screen. So make sure the TV you get is not glossy but it still has a good contrast ratio (like the following).

So, my first option would be to get the 42″ Panasonic plasma: TH-42PZ85U ($1300 street price, comes out in April, brand new tech). It’s cheap for the quality it offers compared to ANY LCD and even MOST plasmas out there, as it’s using the new 30000:1 panel that might be even better than Pioneer’s current Kuro line.

If you really want an LCD, I would go with a Sony or a Samsung. The thing with Samsung is, they have better LCD technology as they are using LEDs instead of LCDs, but the problem is that they don’t support 24p like Sony does. Stay away from Sharp, all their current models have uniformity backlighting problems.

Honestly, go with with that Panasonic plasma model. Don’t get their cheaper 42″ plasmas, the other ones don’t use the new panel technology or are not full 1080p. The model I linked for you has a special coating for anti-reflections which is what you need for your lighting situation.

I’d really stay away from the LCDs.


Nita wrote on February 25th, 2008 at 1:54 AM PST:

“So before you judge us for spending that much money on a TV, first live our life and then judge. It’s not that we didn’t try to find a cheaper model. We spent a whole day on the issue. But cheaper is just not as good, and we want something that’s GOOD for the only entertainment in our life.”

Not trying to argue about anything, just to provide a point of reference:

I get to see my family about 1-2 times a year, I have no friends except those online, and I have a budget of ~$500 (converted to dollars from euros) a month to spend on food, clothing, any necessities and any entertainment..And yet I think I am doing quite okay, could always be worse. So, I still couldn’t justify buying such a needlessly huge and expensive TV 🙂


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Eugenia wrote on February 25th, 2008 at 2:04 AM PST:

I understand that in your position you can’t justify that cost. When I was living in UK I did not have a TV either (at all). But thankfully, my husband now makes enough money to be able to buy something like that and enjoy it.


Pat wrote on February 25th, 2008 at 4:33 AM PST:

To my understanding, the biggest downside to plasma screens (compared to LCD) is that plasma screens usually consume significantly more power.

How much does the one you are getting consume? I couldn’t find that information anywhere on the product page…


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Eugenia wrote on February 25th, 2008 at 4:51 AM PST:

the one we bought consumes much less power than the panasonic we wanted to get.


Michael wrote on February 25th, 2008 at 1:56 PM PST:

“If you show 24×2, as Panasonic does, that’s 48Hz. That’s how TVs are usually made.” — I don’t know what do you mean by “usually”, but usually the refresh rate is fixed. Just like your computer monitor has 60Hz, or 75Hz or 85Hz refresh rate, the same goes with TV sets, their refresh rate is umm, usually, fixed. If you have reliable links that prove that Panasonic switches to 48Hz refresh rate in movie mode, I would appreciate if you provided them.

“For LCDs, their 120 Hz is called 5:5, Pioneer’s is called 3:3, Panasonic’s is 2:2.” — If the TV improperly detects input signal, the output would look weird. I’d read about Pioneer’s 3:3 mode before I bought my Panasonic TV, and the verdict was that it works sometime, but sometimes it doesn’t. This is why older Pioneer TVs (I don’t know about new ones) have a separate setting about forcing or disabling 3:3 72Hz mode, just in case if you know better what format the movie is.

Don’t forget that the cadence is not always constant, you can have movie cadence, then you may have video edits or ad break. Even if you watch a DVD, you can have breaks of cadence. what do you suggest, the TV has to change refresh rate instanteneouly? This would look jarring, therefore no one does it, therefore 120Hz refresh rate is being adopted, not because it is a nice large number and the larger number the better (this is what consumers think), it is because this rate is acceptable for all frame rates used in American TV: 24p, 30p and 60i, so there is no need to switch refresh rates. When was the last time you changed refresh rate of your computer monitor? How much time did it take? Was it unnoticeable?

“all evidence shows, and many people claim online too, that Panasonic’s TVs are 48Hz during their “film mode”. … Truth is, Panasonic is 2:2, and this just means 24×2=48. And it’s not the first time that a Plasma TV is 48Hz during film mode. All evidence points to this.” — As I said, I would appreciate reliable links on that. From what I’ve read on the topic, “normal” TVs simply display movie-sourced video with the same 2:3 cadence, but here 2:3 is not fields anymore, they are frames, because the panels themselves are 60p.

The above is not to say that the TV you chose is not good, it is gorgeous, but if this was the reason why you chose it, then your judgment was wrong.


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Eugenia wrote on February 25th, 2008 at 2:25 PM PST:

Michael, drop it. YES, these plasma screens CHANGE their refresh rate ON THE FLY when their “film mode” option is enabled on their menus and a 24p stream is detected. So, drop it. The community agrees that the way Panasonic represented their algorithm for 24p, it’s 2:2, which means 48Hz. Pioneer’s panels do both 60Hz and 72Hz. Panasonic’s do 48Hz and 60Hz. If you still have doubts, go call Panasonic support and ask them. To me, this is clear as day.


Michael wrote on February 25th, 2008 at 3:02 PM PST:

Got it, “24p cinematic playback”, seems to be a new feature for 2008, so I would certainly not call this sort of processing “usual”. My 60-series TV does not have it.

I am glad to see that Panasonic works on improvements. Thanks for the link, the thread has a picture that shows how 2:2 display conversion works, definitely not as smooth as 3:3 process of your new Pioneer.

Congrats with your new TV!


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Eugenia wrote on February 25th, 2008 at 3:04 PM PST:

Michael, that picture is the one I linked to you 2 days ago above (a flash animation that I told you to click). But it seems that you never clicked it? Why didn’t you? It would have save us a lot of grief.

And yes, for the NEW high-end Panasonic plasma TVs, this is a new feature. Most TVs don’t have this feature, it’s a new kind of feature, appeared for the first time 2 years ago or so. For Plasmas, only Pioneer had a similar feature for about 2 years. Panasonic is still playing catch up, and they didn’t even go 72Hz, they went 48Hz which is flickering. Which is why we went with Pioneer.


Michael wrote on February 25th, 2008 at 3:43 PM PST:

“Why didn’t you?” — Because I was being a stubborn idiot and missed your link. (talks to himself) always check your facts, always check your facts!


Nutela wrote on February 28th, 2008 at 3:31 AM PST:

Eugenia, I was wondering, do plasma tv’s flicker the same way as CRT tv’s?


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Eugenia wrote on February 28th, 2008 at 3:42 AM PST:

Not really.


Tony wrote on February 29th, 2008 at 11:08 PM PST:

The company I work for has a B2B agreement with Panasonic which allows me to purchase Panasonic products at a discount. I’m thinking about buying a Panasonic TH-50PZ85U which is available to me for $1944 w/ free shipping. Is this a good price? Or could I likely find it for this price or even less online?


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Eugenia wrote on February 29th, 2008 at 11:26 PM PST:

Tony, this is a good price. Go for it. For *that* price, you get the best TV available.


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