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I'm really excited about this.
November 2, 2002 8:17 PM   Subscribe

I'm really excited about this. A 42" flat panel plasma TV for under $3000. From Gateway, of all companies. This undercuts the Philips 40" price by at least $3000. How many of you would buy one of these instead of a 70" projection model for half the price?
posted by schlaager (39 comments total)

 
Gateway is seriously going under. I wouldn't buy anything from them.
posted by Hall at 8:18 PM on November 2, 2002


I'd rather own a mummified alien homunculous in a box (see previous post).
posted by troutfishing at 8:21 PM on November 2, 2002


You know what makes me excited? Crisp, refreshing, berryliscious Pepsi Blue really makes me excited.
posted by 4easypayments at 8:25 PM on November 2, 2002


I've never been that excited by big screen/plasma/whatever TV's anyway.

It's like, "Hey, how'd you like to be able to watch incredibly high-definition hackneyed soulless crap on a screen so gigantic that you'll see every atrocious detail."

That's just my *ahem* colorful way of saying that I like my televeison reasonable sized and less than virtual reality level. I have a reality thank you very much. TV still cant compete. It can't even compete with the internet.
posted by jonmc at 8:35 PM on November 2, 2002


I want one just because I'm sick of having to haul my 2-ton Sony WEGA everytime we move. Thin TVs are cool.
posted by ukamikanasi at 8:39 PM on November 2, 2002


I find sitting really really close to my TV works just as well.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:40 PM on November 2, 2002


huh... just as I was looking at it, the page went away. I clicked on the "show packages" pricing options link, and got a 404, and when I went back to the link, got another 404. This might be just a temporary error, but I thought I read on CNET that they wouldn't be announcing this TV till Monday, which makes it surprising that you found the page live, schlagger. Maybe it wasn't for official release yet, and they took it down?
posted by jonson at 8:49 PM on November 2, 2002


I'd rather own a mummified alien homunculus in a box, too. I'd sell it for a cool million or ten, and buy a Sony G90 front CRT projector.

But since I don't, I'd rather get an affordable front projector, such as the Sony 1272, which can be had used on eBay, or from a reputable dealer, for US$2000-$3000. (Or a lot less if you buy one with burnt tubes. Don't do this.)

The only thing plasma has to recommend it is convenience. The gray scale, black levels, and color fidelity are all inferior to CRT. I don't understand what its market is supposed to be. Videophiles are always going to prefer CRT, and a non-videophile can get a perfectly good 32" or 36" tube model for casual viewing for < US$1000.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:52 PM on November 2, 2002


My wife just bought a 16 ounce VANILLA COKE! This, to her, is an overwhelming consumer experience, not unlike the depth of sensations some derive from a 42" plasma TV.

I'm trying to imagine a 42" plasma TV falling from the sky into the world of one of the Khalahari Bushmen depicted in "The Gods must be crazy" (though the Bushmen these days probably use cellphones). It would hit them with the force of "The entertainment" from David Wallace's "Infinite Jest".

Imagine a 42" plasma TV set in the desert, amidst starving crowds of the developing world - starving mothers with starving children - watching, with slack empty gaze, ads inhabited by shimmying anorexic american teens in tight clothes, ads for roaringly powerfull SUV's set atop mesas of the American west, ads for beer and pizza, football and viagra....

Imagine no posessions........imagine yourself without your things.....(I'm trying too, believe me, and it's HARD)......

Imagine writing a list of every single thing you own.....a day's work? a month's?

Imagine carrying your life's posessions in a small bag....
posted by troutfishing at 8:52 PM on November 2, 2002


Cool, troutfishing (and is that a Brautigan reference?)

How many of you would buy one of these instead of a 70" projection model for half the price?

I can wish I had the money for one for free. Or I could just walk my dog.
posted by Shane at 8:56 PM on November 2, 2002


I want a bigger monitor, I am not going to bother with LCDs, I want a nice good Trinitron 21 inch monitor. I can't see myself spending that much money on a plasma screen right now. Maybe when the Trinitron of plasma screens comes around, I might get it then.
posted by riffola at 9:05 PM on November 2, 2002


Shane - thanks, yes. I'm waiting for a copy of "So the winds won't blow it all away" (Brautigan's last book) to tumble into my arms for a reread. The good writers, the good pols - they don't hang around long....maybe this reflects the actual structure of reality, as the (Soviet Era) sci-fi writers Boris and Arkhady Strugatsky hypothesized in "Definitely Maybe": zero sum, net consciousness of humanity not allowed to increase..............
posted by troutfishing at 9:10 PM on November 2, 2002


Notice the crappy 480p resolution on that thingy. Definitely not worth a second glance.
posted by Ptrin at 9:21 PM on November 2, 2002


I think I'd enjoy a high-definition picture of my mummified alien homonculous on my new plasma television...

No, wait, that'd be the other me.

The suggested viewing range of a television is supposed to be approximately 4 to 6 times its screen height. Assuming a 3 to 4 H to L ratio (I don't know the actual one, and I'm too busy ranting to measure), then you need to be at least 6' away to view it optimally. To be honest, my living room is too small to support a 42" plasma set (never mind a 70" rear projection set - at that ratio, I'd have to be over 17 feet away minimum.)

I think I'll just squint, thanks all the same.
posted by FormlessOne at 9:28 PM on November 2, 2002


troutfishing: imagine no john lennon.
no, wait...
posted by quonsar at 9:46 PM on November 2, 2002


"So the winds ..."

Cool! I'm still stuck on the Tokyo-Montana Express. Love that book.
(I'm pretty sure digression is not frowned upon in a thread about big-screen TVs.)
posted by Shane at 9:48 PM on November 2, 2002


Ptrin - what does the 480p refer to? What is a good resolution for a plasma TV?
posted by jonson at 9:53 PM on November 2, 2002


troutfishing - thanks for the reality check, I was already checking out the monthly payment options...
posted by iamck at 10:02 PM on November 2, 2002


I'd personally prefer a CRT right now too. They're a lot cheaper and still look slightly better. the 16:9 flat Samsungs are a really good deal. Check out a Best Buy near you!
posted by swank6 at 10:09 PM on November 2, 2002


troutfishing, the idealized people with few possessions also have free time and stuff. Those of us in the real world need the possessions to compensate. :)
posted by callmejay at 10:16 PM on November 2, 2002


troutfishing - thanks for the reality check
likewise. i've decided to forego the television and buy instead a small band of khalahari bushmen.
posted by quonsar at 10:16 PM on November 2, 2002


Hitler's moustache! That is a good price, but there's always a catch. The shipping is $150, the wall/table mount is $200, and if you want someone else to install it, that's another $150 on top of it. The specs don't sound that impressive, compared to the philips flat screen
posted by mathowie at 10:29 PM on November 2, 2002


formlessone: I'm not sure I buy that, or else the optimum viewing range for an IMAX screen would be the next county over. But even so, since it is flat panel, i hope your living room is at least 6 feet across... jail cells are that big...

It's also a bit comical watching so many in the thread trying to act all un-impressed by the whole thing.

If you've ever seen a good quality flat panel up close you will know that it looks gorgeous, especially with a digital source. I've seen some that look like you are looking through a window they are so clear. Tube models are mainly limited by their size. If anyone wants a >36" screen, they will have to go plasma or projection.

Plus, anyone buying a used CRT like the ones linked is a brave, brave soul. One might think buying a $21,000 unit used for $3500 might imply heavy use, or abuse, and likely non-spec performance. They would also likely be right. $21,000 down to $3500 with only 4 hours on the CRTs? HUMVEEs don't depreciate that fast. I find that very hard to believe. I somehow doubt that a new projector you buy has lost 85% of its value after one day on the trade show floor.

Most consumers would not want to keep up with the amount of hours their unit has, and to maintain the units to keep them operating in spec. Saying there's no market for a "midlevel" product like this is like saying there's no market for Honda's...

Also, the 852x480 resolution puts it right in line with units costing $5,000. No, it's not 1280x768 but it's also not $10,000. It also will accept 1080i and 720p input so calling it 480p is not completely accurate.

Also, from the specs it appears it takes PC input... though it might require an accessory?

on preview: 480p refers to "480 lines, progressive scan" which means the lines are "painted" on the screen sequentially, in one pass. 1080i is an alternative HD format, that offers more lines, 1080, but is interlaced, which means only every other line is "painted" in one pass... so yes it's twice the resolution... kinda... but not really. It takes two passes to update every line. Your current television is interlaced (if it is non HD). Progressive scan gives a more "film like" look.

Matt: your phillps is also 2x the price and its table stand is $99 more expensive. :-) I would be sorely disappointed if a unit that was 2x as expensive didn't have higher specs.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:56 PM on November 2, 2002


2x the price gets you 2x the resolution. You get what you pay for.

That'll make my Gilligan's Island reruns look SUPER SWEET.
posted by RylandDotNet at 11:02 PM on November 2, 2002


I personally wouldn't want to spend $3000 for a television from a company that is best known for making incredibly shitty computers. I picked up a Panasonic HDTV earlier this week an I'm completely pleased with it.

It's less novel, but who cares?
posted by mosch at 12:06 AM on November 3, 2002


Ynoxas: stop. Please. You don't know what you're talking about with respect to used CRT projectors. You're speculating without information.

Used front projection CRT units are so cheap because the technology is obsolescent. Even Sony has quit making the G90, the top of their line. Thousands of businesses and universities had these monsters in boardrooms and lecture halls. Over the past five years, they've been replaced with digital projectors. The result has been a flood of used CRTs onto the market, and huge bargains for buyers.

CRT front projectors are not for everyone. They're huge. They're heavy. They're completely non-portable. They require a totally darkened room. They have to be converged every once in a while. But they still provide the best possible video image, better than any digital projector or plasma screen, better than that in many movie theaters.

I've bought a Sony 1272 from Eric Lang, who runs the site I linked to. It arrived in perfect condition. It had less than 100 hours on the tubes. It is a righteous bargain, if image quality is more important than hassle factor to you.

Other reliable sources of used CRT units include Hi-Rez and Curt Palme. Buying off eBay can be hazardous.

CRT buffs are sort of like vinyl buffs. It's sad when a technology becomes obsolete while its quality is still superior to that of the technology that replaces it. In the case of vinyl vs CD, the difference is subtle, at least to my ears. But the difference in quality between CRT and current digital technology is not subtle at all.

I don't think this plasma screen is a 'midlevel' product. US$3000 is high-level price, but you don't get high-level quality. 480p with plasma's known image quality defects is low-level. The only thing it has going for it is the 'cool' factor. Some people will buy it on that alone. Probably the same people who buy designer chairs you can't sit comfortably in.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 12:24 AM on November 3, 2002


PFFFT! You losers will fall for any cheap chickanery won't you. You can keep your crappy big screen tv, I can get the same effect with a convex piece of plastic for only $14.95.

Woo, Robert DeNiro's moustache...it's gotta be six feet wide!
posted by backOfYourMind at 4:45 AM on November 3, 2002


Slithy_Tove:

I don't think this plasma screen is a 'midlevel' product. US$3000 is high-level price, but you don't get high-level quality. 480p with plasma's known image quality defects is low-level. The only thing it has going for it is the 'cool' factor. Some people will buy it on that alone. Probably the same people who buy designer chairs you can't sit comfortably in.

Exactly. Early adopters seem to be masochistic braggarts with more money than sense that seem to enjoy getting ripped off. Why buy the latest technology when it will be half price (or less) six months (or less) from now?

I don't really need a 42'' TV either, especially when I'd be paying on credit thanks to our current economy. My ten year old 20'' Mitsubishi serves my purposes just fine.
posted by mark13 at 5:32 AM on November 3, 2002


Sorry, its actually Robert DeNiro's mole has gotta be ten feet wide.

Silly me...
posted by backOfYourMind at 6:26 AM on November 3, 2002


Moo.
posted by adampsyche at 6:29 AM on November 3, 2002


Moo, yerself.
posted by jonmc at 7:21 AM on November 3, 2002


Uh slithy. You assume too much. But thanks for the broadside on me.

I come at this from a video production background. I am fully aware of CRT projectors and have used them on many occasions, both at work and at school. Just because I don't trade in them doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about, but thanks anyway for your kind words. Some people would like to be able to watch tv during the daytime and not have to install theater curtains.

They are a hassle, and a poor choice for consumers. Yes they look nice. So what? Having to replace tubes or align the spread is not what your average joe is interested in. The maintenance to viewing ratio is obscene compared to most consumer level devices.

Flat panel screens will certainly be more consumer friendly and more popular than front projection, crt or digital.

It most certainly is "mid level" when below you have nice tube sets for 1000, and you have nicer flat panels for 6000 - 10,000. A cursory glance at any outlet will show this to be "mid level". Why argue something that is completely obvious? Shit it's even in the thread, matt links a screen that is almost 2x the resolution, but is 2x the cost. Or do you consider everything above a 1500 wega to be "high level"?

We're also talking about new units. To compare new units of your precious CRT technology it would cost 7x what this unit costs.

So, yes, you're right... people can have ungainly, used, obsolete technology that only enthusiasts would put up with for the same price as these new units. Wow. Very impressive.

Great hordes of people will buy affordable plasma screens because of their aesthetic and their convenience factor. Most of these screens the average viewer could not discern the difference. On some, trained eyes have problems. That's why they make scopes, because even trained eyes have problems discerning very small differences. Line up two monitors and calibrate them "identically" by hand, then run a scope on them. You'll be surprised at how far off your eyes are.

So what is your point anyway? You say that CRT is not for everyone (i.e. actually, for a very select few) but then say you have no idea what the market for these type of units would be?
posted by Ynoxas at 9:30 AM on November 3, 2002


Plasma fades over time. I'm not about to blow $3000 on something that's going to look like shite in five years.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:26 AM on November 3, 2002


Ynoxas, 'video production background' or not, you're clearly out of touch with the current market if you don't understand why a CRT projector that listed for US$21000 ten years ago now goes for $2500. I tried to explain why. Sorry if you don't like it.

So what is your point anyway? You say that CRT is not for everyone (i.e. actually, for a very select few) but then say you have no idea what the market for these type of units would be?

My point, condensed, is this: that plasma screens have too low video quality to please videophiles, and are too high cost for Joe Sixpack. Where is their market segment, exactly?

'Great hordes' of people will buy these things? Not in the next few years. Not until the price drops precipitously, or the image quality improves, or both. (And either may happen: video technology constantly advances.)

Tell you what. Five years from now, if 30% or more of the home TV market is plasma (or other flat-panel) screens, I'll buy you a beer at the November 2007 MeFi meet-up that's closest to us both. If it's 10% or less, you buy me a beer. Anything else is a wash.

Whaddya say?
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:38 AM on November 3, 2002


Slithy: It's a deal, as long as they have Guinness on tap. Hell, I'll buy you a Guinness anyway, even if I win. ;-)

I would have said "no way" if you said only plasma, but "or other flat panel" screens... I think I've got a real chance. 5 years may be too soon considering tvs are pseudo-durable goods, but we'll see.

I would say their market segment falls about the same as a Honda. You're trying to say (i think) there are Yugo and Lexus, and no middle ground necessary or wanted. I don't see it that way.

Just like going to CMOS with digicams, if the switch ever happens, it will be overwhelming and sudden. CMOS cameras offer 4x the resolution of chip cameras for the same price. It's a no brainer. Once they come to market in force, it will be either a dismal failure, or a runaway smash. I really do consider flat panel screens to be an analog to the beta/vhs war. Flat panel will either reign supreme, or fall by forgotten. I just can't imagine it being the 2nd as it offers too many advantages. I do concede it may not be plasma technology.

With 5 more years of development flat panel screens will be gorgeous. Once the new FCC laws governing HD broadcasts goes into effect (2006 i think? i'm no longer in the industry so i've lost track) there is going to be a sudden, dramatic shift to new technology.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:19 AM on November 3, 2002


thats an awful lot of powercards.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:51 PM on November 3, 2002


Having purchased a used single CRT sony projector off ebay for about $400 (cheaper then the 32" tv i was considering) i would have to say that buying older used technology can really pay off. I now have a home theatre (admittedly a ghetto home theatre) which i watch everything on; from TV, dvd's, to video games and movies off my computer. For those of you with a need for a tv only at night, and who have a LARGE white wall i'd definitly suggest it! There's absolutely nothing better then smash brothers or star wars on the big screen.

I would agree that CRT's aren't for everyone (i was lucky to find a single CRT unit which weighs in at about 20 lbs and has full color (probably at the cost of some appearance)), but luckily i'm not a videophile, just someone who loves seeing things bigger then life. The only problem is now i want to upgrade to a 1600x1200 lcd version and get an HDTV card for my computer (however, it's currently out of my pricerange (and i'm not sure HDTV cards exist for a home computer)).
posted by NGnerd at 4:34 PM on November 3, 2002


Gee - all the snarkers went to bed, leaving room for a fiesty CRT vs. Plasma debate. *archives for later reference when personal ideals give way to rampant materialsm*
posted by troutfishing at 8:48 PM on November 3, 2002


Ynoxas: I think there's a good chance flat-panel technology of some sort may rule the roost someday; I just don't think it will be in five years. I don't think cost will come down and quality will go up fast enough in that time frame. CRT has had a lot of time to mature. CRT's have been around for about a century, TV for more than half a century, color TV for 40 years or so.

I can't buy your car analogy without a lot of tweaking. In a plasma screen, the consumer is buying something that costs like a Lexus, looks like Lexus, but drives like a Buick. A (good, used) CRT projector is something that looks like a Patton tank, drives like a Ferrari, and costs like a Buick. Standard tube TV's look like X, cost like X, and and drive like X, for any value of X you want: cost/performance is pretty linear, IMO.

I've been watching this area for about three years. Three years ago, the conventional wisdom was that digital projector technology was deficient to CRT, but was catching up fast. Three years later, it hasn't happened. DLP's are better, LCD's are about the same, plasma screens have been introduced, but the same problems with grayscale and black level remain.

They'll probably be solved some day. But CRT has had a century to mature. Digital will solve its problems, but it won't solve them overnight.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 12:47 AM on November 4, 2002


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