Multiple Screens, Video Noise, Plasma Choice
We are currently in the process of setting up a home-theater room with one projector and three 32-inch TVs, and we want to be able to watch four different sports channels at the same time. Do we need four separate cable boxes to do this, or can something else, such as some kind of matrix, solve the problem?
I know of no such integrated solution. AT&T U-verse advertises the ability to record up to four different shows at the same time and play them on any TV in the house, but as far as I can tell, it can be on only one TV at a time. Also, I've heard many complaints about U-verse, and I don't know if it's even available in Canada, so that's probably not the right solution for you.
I just wrote about Runco's WindowWall on UAV, which would give you this capability in a tiled, in-wall system, but it's expensive, and it wouldn't integrate your projector. Otherwise, I think your best bet is to install multiple cable boxes, though managing their operation with multiple remotes or a universal remote will be a challenge.
Take Out da Noize
I'm curious about why video noise is still an issue with Blu-rays. I've noted this problem with the two HDTVs I've owned (Sony KDS-50A2020 and Panasonic TC-P58V10), and neither one has sufficient noise reduction to deal with a problem I consider more that annoying. I especially notice it in dark scenes and scenes with large areas of solid colors. My PS3 has noise reduction for DVDs but none for Blu-rays.
Is it bad luck that I've purchased TVs and players that are not able to handle noise, or is this a problem that all systems suffer from. Without having to buy a new TV, are there any Blu-ray players with good noise reduction that still provide a good picture? Or is there another suggestion you could offer?
I'm willing to bet that what you're seeing is not noise, but film grain, which is endemic to anything shot on film and particularly noticeable in dark scenes and areas of solid color. DVD doesn't have enough resolution to encode film grain reliably, but Blu-ray does, and many studios retain the grain to maintain a filmlike image. (Hey, I'm a poet and didn't know it!) Some titles have had the grain removed, but the image is much more videolike, which most movie buffs object to.
In our experience, very few Blu-rays have actual noise problems; movie reviewer David Vaughn cites Full Metal Jacket as one, but he couldn't come up with other examples off the top of his head. I'm afraid there's not much you can do to eliminate film grain, at least not without seriously harming the picture in other ways.
Is the Samsung PN63B550 or PN63B590 a good choice for a large plasma in light of the Panny issues? I have a Pioneer Elite PRO-151FD, and I'm helping a friend get the next best thing.
We haven't reviewed either of these model lines, so I can't say for sure. The last Samsung plasma we reviewed is the PN50B860, which Tom Norton liked overall, through the black level was pretty disappointing. I want to continue recommending Panasonic plasmas, but I just don't know if the 2010 models will overcome the rising black-level problem. I wish I had a definitive plasma recommendation, but at this time, I don't.
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