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Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 02, 2010  |  7 comments
WTF?
I just bought a Panasonic TC-P58V10 plasma to replace a Panasonic TH-42PA20 that I've had for about six years. I was expecting an even better, crisper picture with more detail, but it's not even close to being as sharp and detailed as my old TV! Both DirecTV HD and my library of more than 600 DVDs look awful in comparison. What's wrong?
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 03, 2011  |  8 comments
My fiance and I will be buying a house soon, and once we're moved in and settled, we are going to buy a new HDTV. Unlike Leo Laporte, we are BIG fans of 3DTV. I have been following 3D and the various incarnations of 3DTV over the years. Now that real 3DTV is here, we can't wait!

The tough part will be deciding between the active-shutter system and the passive-polarized system. I have been looking at active systems for over a year, and I saw my first passive system at Best Buy about a month ago. It was quite impressive.

Is there any risk of a format war between the passive and active systems? Does all 3D programming work on both active and passive systems?

Frank Ireland

Scott Wilkinson  |  Feb 03, 2012  |  6 comments
Which is best, PCM or bitstream from a Blu-ray player to the A/V receiver? I have reviewed many posts on various forums, but I have not found a definitive answer. I have an Onkyo TX-SR608 AVR and an LG Blu-ray player capable of decoding DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD lossless audio. I view Blu-ray discs and regular DVDs about 50/50; certainly Blu-ray when available. Should I set the player to output PCM or bitstream? Why one over the other? Do I need to tell the AVR which stream is incoming?

James

Scott Wilkinson  |  Aug 03, 2012  |  7 comments
Which is best, sending PCM or bitstream from the player to the A/V receiver? I have reviewed many posts in the A/V forums and other areas that don't seem to give a definitive answer. I have an Onkyo TX-SR608 AVR and an LG Blu-ray player capable of decoding DTS and Dolby lossless audio. I view Blu-ray and DVD discs about 50/50; certainly Blu-ray when available. Should I set the Blu-ray player to output PCM or bitstream? And why the final choice? Do I need to tell the AVR which stream to expect?

James

Scott Wilkinson  |  Feb 15, 2012  |  9 comments
I've been seeing announcements from the pop-music industry about the discontinuation of physical media in favor of online content. What will this mean for home theater, considering the increasing bitrates for video and 7- and 11-channel audio? If we are moving toward 4K, won't we need physical media for a long time to come?

Michael Johnston

Scott Wilkinson  |  May 24, 2011  |  0 comments
I've always used the Spears and Munsil High Definition Benchmark Blu-ray disc to set up my TVs, and I find that there are many ways to skin a cat as far as settings are concerned. For example, I get the same result if I set contrast to 87 and backlight to 33 or brightness to 67 and backlight to 22. Is there any real difference as long as the result on screen meets the suggested result on the Spears and Munsil disc?

In a related question, does it make a difference in the cadence tests to use the deinterlacing of the TV versus the AVR ?

Kevin Cochran

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 28, 2010  |  5 comments
Black Hole Mode
You often talk about the advantages of professional calibration, but why couldn't TV makers include a mode for a blacked-out room? Or am I missing something? I have a ninth-gen, 50-inch Pioneer Kuro and a PS3. I set the TV's picture mode to Movie for standard-def TV and Standard for Blu-ray (with film mode set to Advance).
Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 30, 2012  |  6 comments
I have the following system:
  • Pioneer VSX-1021 A/V receiver
  • B&W 600-series speakers (683 front L/R, HTM61 center, 685 bookshelf surrounds, ASW610 subwoofer)
  • Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player
  • Sonos wireless audio system
  • Sony 55-inch XBR TV
All in all, the sound is outstanding, and the image of Blu-ray discs is also amazing. However, a friend says the overall setup is not balanced—in particular, the receiver is cheap compared to the other elements. I do not have much space for a higher-end receiver, so is there any other solution? Is this setup really unbalanced, since it sounds great to me?

Ricardo Monnerat

Scott Wilkinson  |  Apr 06, 2012  |  9 comments
Can you advise me on the choice between the Pioneer S-31B-LR-K, SP-BS41-LR, and SP-BS21-LR bookshelf speakers? The 41 and 21 have the Andrew Jones design going for them, but by proxy, so does the 31, being derived from the EX range. However the 31 is slightly smaller and more expensive!

Reading your review of the SP-BS41-LR system prompted me to finally replace an old Bose Lifestyle 28 system (something I regretted buying shortly after getting it). I already got the Panasonic DMP-BDT210 Blu-ray player (awesome!); next, the speakers, then the Marantz SR7005 AVR as the heart of the system. The sub will be last; don’t know which one yet.

Declan McGlinchey

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jun 15, 2011  |  4 comments
Should I get a Pioneer or Elite brand AVR? Are there DVD recorders with an HDMI input? Is 1440p real?
Scott Wilkinson  |  Mar 02, 2009  |  7 comments
To Buy or Not to Buy
I have been saving to buy a new 50-inch Pioneer plasma this summer. Now Pioneer is getting out of the plasma business completely. Should I still buy? I'm worried about the possible warranty issues and getting repairs in the future.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Apr 16, 2012  |  2 comments
Are there any current or upcoming LCD, plasma, or OLED flat-panel TVs with a two-tuner picture-in-picture feature? Several years ago, many manufacturers offered this feature, but it seems to have disappeared. I do not choose to purchase another tuner device to obtain a PIP image.

A. Craigson

Scott Wilkinson  |  Oct 27, 2009  |  15 comments
PIP, PIP, Cheerio!
Why is it difficult to find new TVs with PIP (picture-in-picture). I'm looking for a new set to watch multiple sports channels on, so motion blur is also an issue.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Nov 21, 2011  |  7 comments
You've convinced me not to worry about future 3D technology and to just get a 3D TV now. I'm finally about to go to the store, but instead of getting the Samsung UA46D7000 LED LCD, I'm going to get the Samsung PS51D8000 plasma, a cheaper yet larger and higher-end model. My one concern is that, since the PS51D8000 is a plasma, do I need to break it in? I know you do it all the time for reviews, but I've read that Samsung has said that it's unnecessary anymore. So should I break it in, just be careful for the first 100 hours, or not worry at all?

Nik in Gladstone, Queensland, Australia

Scott Wilkinson  |  Oct 20, 2009  |  17 comments
Breaking In Is Hard To Do
I recently purchased a Panasonic TC-P54V10 plasma TV along with a Panasonic DMP-BD60 Blu-ray player. I was thinking of getting a professional ISF calibration on the plasma, but my sales rep said that I should wait about 200 hours before having it done since the gas needs to settle (or something like that). Do you agree?

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