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Viera 32" LCD from e-zone [updated Oct '09]
Sep 26, 2008 12:13 PM 4354 Views
(Updated Oct 28, 2009 10:49 AM)

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Bought this in Dec 2007 from e-zone in Mumbai since it was the best deal at the time for Rs. 40 K.

Other the price, I was mostly surprised at the image quality for night scenes from original DVDs (legal copies) which was very blurred against dark backgrounds.

Switching to component video does improve this response time problem but does not fix it unless you either stop watching DVDs or use a HDMI cable which costs another Rs. 1-2 K extra.

No one ever mentions this quality issue with LCDs when you purchase it which comes as a bit of a shock for someone 'upgrading' from their regular CRT.

Wall mounting this is a pain as the component video jacks are at the back - its almost as if the designers did not realise that customers who wall mount would like the jacks along the sides.

You have to take it off [unmount] to plug/unplug the DVD cables.

At 22 kg this LCD is quite heavy and the wall mounts are hard to slide into which requires 2 people.

Less than a year after purchase, I'm looking for a plasma since they have better response times than LCD. You would think 8ms is quick enough but its NOT a subtle difference compared to 1ms for CRT.

You should do your research at sites like these BEFORE spending a lot on LCDs:

"Recent developments in LCD response times mean that handling of fast moving subjects is becoming less and less of a concern.

Still, LCD TVs are not on parwith the excellent performance of plasma displays when it comes to displaying fast moving subjects. "

"Plasma still specs faster than LCD for pixel response time,however LCD has closed the gap significantly in the past 3 years or so."

My 7 year old 29" CRT has separate volume settings for each channel and remembers them even if the power goes out but this LCD has a single setting so when you flip channels, some of the cable broadcasts come blasting and others as a whisper.

So I spend over a quarter of the time during surfng just changing the volume settings!

The user interface is poorly designed and you can't see all the channels that you have blocked at once unlike my Akai CRT.

It takes over 7 remote 'clicks' from MENU to block a particular channel (skip = ON).

This channel skip should have be a button on the remote which itself is bulky and cluttered with buttons not needed as frequently.

I would not recommend this Panasonic LCD if the total cost is over Rs. 32 K inclusive of all taxes/surcharges, delivery/installation, but without any exchange offer.

It always better to take your own DVD with night scenes to watch at the shop before buying any LCD.

If you don't watch DVDs much then its not such a bad deal or if you happen to have a HDMI DVD player.

My 32" does not seem to have any auto sound leveler or it is totally ineffective.

So much for progress...

Updated [Nov '08]

Found a cheaper fix to the blurring problem than spending on an HDMI cable & DVD player.

We got a LG DVD with 'HD upscaling' and on component video the blurring has reduced by over 3/4th compared to our old Phillips DVD player.

Its much less distracting now during night scenes.

Update [Oct '09]

The user interface [remote] is a bit of a pain when switching between multiple AV sources/inputs.

If you have DTH or CAS with a DVD player then you will run into this issue.

As long as you have only cable TV & DVD, you will be fine with the TV/AV button on the top right.

Else you have to press it TWICE to display the coloured AV/HDMI options and then select the coloured button for the input source like AV2 or component etc.

It could have simply allowed a single button to switch between all sources/inputs like our 8 year old CRT did.

We have to watch DVD at about 50-60 volume while cable TV is at 20-30 level so its irritating when switching between the two.

Our old CRT had independent volume settings for EACH channel so it was never an issue!

Viewing life of LCD

Many LCD makers claim around 50-60,000 hours which is misleading for most customers since its a best case in clean, dust-free lab conditions and not real world conditions.

Just like the claimed mileage by auto makers is obtained by driving at a steady speed of 50-60 km/h without AC running AND windows up!

Its much better if you look at the cost of purchase to see which amount is lower.

In our case, the lower number would come to 40 k.

Now divide by 24 hours/day x 365 days/year = 8,760 hours/year.

The final figure is 4.5 years ACTUAL life span for us [estimated].

For each month beyond 54 months that the LCD lasts, we consider it a bonus.

Another milestone you can set could be Rs. 1 k/month, so it would be 40 months for us.

Now if the LCD screen gets spoiled in less than 40 months, it was a bad deal.

40 - 54 months = average life span.

Above 54 months = good life.

At least this is far more realistic than the 10-20 years people estimate based on 6-8 hrs/day of viewing time.

So far we have done 22 months and counting ...

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