> - Consumer surveys - Leading plasma-TV manufacturer > Panasonic got Penn Schoen & Berland to survey a thousand > U.S. adults and found "the great majority of consumers > opted for plasma over LCD television." This is a little surprising, considering that the shorter life and burn-in problems with plasma panels don't exist with LCD TVs. And with rear projection LCDs, even the size differences between LCD and plasma go away. The saleskid at Best Buy tried to show me a direct comparison (he preferred plasma too), but unfortunately there were no comparable sets side by side. Here are some reactions from playing with my new 16:9 26" direct view LCD toy. 1. The factory settings were ridiculous. I had a hard time adjusting it so the dark scenes wouldn't vanish entirely. Finally, I settled on these settings (just to show how off the factory settings were): contrast was 100% and is now 47% brightness was 75% and is now 85% color was 50% and is now 21% sharpness remains at 50% The hardest part was to get the brightness right so the dark scenes didn't just completely disappear. Way excessive contrast settings out of the box certainly didn't help matters. But the brighness adjustment just isn't capable of washing out the scene, as it can on CRTs. 2. NTSC sources are different from what they appear on a CRT. Fine detail doesn't exist, but they are viewable close up as opposed to not viewable close up. And things like print on signs is incredibly clear and sharp. 3. DVDs, over S-video interface, are really very nice. Not HD detail, but considerably nicer than NTSC TV. I've saved the component video inputs for my future ATSC STB. 4. I've been having a ball with the aspect ratio choices. I've pretty much determined that viewing all shows as if they were letterboxed shows is the best setting, in most cases. The choices are: a. 4:3 pillarboxed b. letterboxed content made to fill the 16:9 display c. panorama, or stretched 4:3 where the edges are distorted d. 16:9 source Watching regular 4:3 TV sources in 4:3 pillarboxed mode is fine, since there's no distortion, but it's no fun. Watching in "panorama" is totally unacceptable. The distortion is just plain dumb, even if it's mostly at the left and right edges. Watching a normal 4:3 show in 16:9 mode creates an even stretch of everything. So overall the distortion is *less* objectionable than in panorama mode, but everyone still looks rather short and fat. Watching normal 4:3 shows in "letterbox" mode essentially fills up the vertical black pillars with image, and crops out the top and bottom of the picture. But, just like John Sprung said, a lot of 4:3 shows seem to have been shot to make this work quite well. And of course many of NBC's prime time shows, much of what on PBS, and also some UPN shows, are letterboxed, so they work out fine. Oh, and so is BBC News. Cool. I've watched some DVDs shot at 2:35:1, and they are *much* easier to accept on the 16:9 set, with just minor letterboxing. For these, you need to use the 16:9 mode. Watching these using "letterboxed" fills up the screen, but everything is distorted to be skinny and tall. Anyway, a fun new toy. All OpenDTVers, and families, have a very Happy New Year! Bert ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.