RSS, Plasma Buzz, RPTV
I can't find any RSS links for the various blogs and posts! Am I missing them somewhere?
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I just purchased a 2009 Panasonic 50-inch TC-P50S1 plasma, and I'm extremely pleased with it's performance except for the high-pitched CRT-like buzz during bright scenes. I can't hear it while watching TV at normal volume levels, but I can when the volume is low. Does this sound like a defect? Do I need to purchase a line conditioner? Should I even worry about this?
I jumped into the deep end and bought my first HDTV, a Pioneer Elite PRO-151FD. Unfortunately, I've come across an issue that others also seem to have with the PRO-151FDpanel hum. Some people report that it goes away sitting off center or more than two feet away. The first time I turned on the panel, I noticed the sound at my seating distance of 10 feet with normal TV volume. The hum's frequency changes when the picture changes; lighter images seem to generate a higher frequency than darker ones.
There are online threads online about this issue, and others have given accounts of Pioneer's responseeverything from "replace the panel because it shouldn't be audible sitting a 'normal' distance away" to "this is normal for plasma."
Have you or your colleagues ever come across this with the PRO-151FD? Is this a design issue? An abnormal fluke?
I have not had this experience with any of the Pioneer Kuros I've reviewed. Tom Norton says he heard a very soft buzz coming from the PRO-151FD he reviewed, but only from very close and with no other sound onat a normal seating distance and with normal TV sound, he did not hear it. You are correct that this seems to be a problem for a few people who write about it online, but many more write about how great the Pioneer is with no complaints, so I have a hard time believing it's systemic. Same with the Panasonic.
Possible factors could be quality-control issues in some panels, extreme sensitivity in some people, and using the plasma at high elevations. My best advice is to exchange the TV for another sample and see if the problem persists. If you live at a high elevation (say, Denver or Santa Fe), the buzz might be unavoidable.
I've Been Framed!
I'm currently in the final stages of framing a theater room. The walls are up and electrical/drywall is next. I framed up a spot for a Mitsubishi 73-inch RPTV, but now I'm having second thoughts. I'm scared away from the disappearing RPTV category, but I've ruled out front projection because my memory of projector pictures is that they looked pretty bad. On the other hand, I admit that I'm not up on the latest technology.
I'm now looking at the Panasonic TH-65PZ850U plasma at Best Buy. I'm thoroughly confused and need to settle on something very soon so I can finish framing the wall for the TV! It will be a mostly dark room, and I want a great picture that's also big.
I would also be a bit nervous about RPTV becoming extinct, though conventionally illuminated models still offer the best bang for the buck in terms of large screen sizes. On the plus side, they're not going to stop working just because fewer companies are making them.
Still, I can see several drawbacks. First, if you're building it into a wall, will you have easy access to replace the lamp? That's very important unless you're planning on getting a Mits LaserVue, which is very expensive and thus negates the price advantage of RPTVs. What if it needs repair at some point in the future? Will a tech be able to easily reach its innards or extract it from the wall? And how long will it be before repairs are unavailable? I don't know, but buying into a dying technology is not the way I would want to go.
If you want a really big picture, I would reconsider a front projector, especially if the room can be completely darkened. You say it will be "mostly dark," but a front projector really needs complete darkness to look its best. Projectors have come a long way in the last few years, and modern models can look spectacular, even those that aren't outrageously expensive. This approach also means you can change the lamp and access the unit for repairs much more easily than anything you install in a wall because the projector will presumably be at the other end of the room on a shelf or suspended from the ceiling.
On the other hand, a good projection system ain't cheap, especially when you include a good screen, but an 80- or 92-inch system is usually far less expensive than any flat panel of comparable size. Also, this is the most "cinematic" approach to a true home theater.
The Panasonic TH-65PZ850 is an excellent plasma, so if that fits your budget and you can easily access the back panel for making connections, it should work just fine. Since you are putting all this effort into it, I would spend an extra few hundred bucks and have it professionally calibrated to look its best.
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