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Sony Plasma / Television Monitor Review

MODEL: SONY KZ-42TS1 Plasma TV vs. Sony PFM-42B1U Plasma Display
Description: 42" widescreen 16:9 format HDTV plasma TV/monitor
Warranty: 1 Year parts and labor on both models.
Reviewer: Robert Wiley
Review Date: 04-07-2002
Key Differences:
My Take:

These two models will display the same picture performance from video sources. Please read my review of the PFM-42B1U for this information. The 42B1U has better quality internal circuitry so that it can accept and scale all sorts of computer signals, and it costs significantly less.

Why purchase the consumer model rather than the broadcast grade model you ask? Well, depending upon whether you are a consumer, or business customer, you may not be able to readily find the broadcast version, - at least not in a retail store. As well, you may be set on having everything come in one package with the tuner and speakers. This is a really nice gesture by Sony to make things so simple and easy for us ignorant consumers. Of course, the problem with this philosophy is that the speakers are terribly small and do not do a plasma TV justice. Sony does not list specifications on the output watts of the small built in speakers. And how much is a VCR to use as a tuner? Maybe $130.00 or so? And why don't I just use my cable or satellite box to tune the signal?

The other advantages of the 42B1U are that it is slimmer at only 3.5" and has a flat back rear panel for a better wall mount ($199.00) fit. The KZ model has a sloping back with is fine for the nice looking table stand that it comes with but design-wise is not a great fit for a flat wall mount ($349.00 retail).

Since I would use my own home theater surround receiver and speakers with the monitor, and am not worried about using the built in tuner, there is only one advantage that I can see for the KZ model over the 42B1U, and that is the component Y,Pr,Pb RCA jack input selection which the 42B1U does not have. I get around this by using component Y,Pr,Pb cable to 15 pin VGA cable on the other end (input into the Plasma). Straightwire custom produces the cable as do some other cable manufacturers. Otherwise, I can buy a DVDO Iscan Pro and connect my VCR, DVD player, and satellite through it. The DVDO connects via 15pin VGA to 15pin VGA to the monitor. I can then get a progressive quality picture from the outboard scan converter, which improves the gray scales as well as other scan converting aspects of the picture. This option will cost me an extra $749 and I still save money by purchasing the 42B1U.

In addition to being able to take the monitor to the office to do a presentation, I like to surf the web with my plasma monitor and this is impossible with the KZ-42TS1. It does not have the internal scaling and processing to handle computer input.

My preference is normally always towards the broadcast quality product because the manufacturers typically put more money and resources into them. They are particularly careful about the products that they sell to repeat customers such as the U.S. Government, U.S. Military Branches, and Fortune 500 corporations.

Of course, they want to sell the consumer also. But they seem to feel that better internal circuitry features can be sacrificed for some little speakers and a built in tuner. In my best estimation those little "extras" amount to about $300 (cost to the manufacturer) of the $7000 a retail store will charge for this set. The added design costs of housing the speakers inside the unit are where they really have investment.

Both units have great looks. The KZ model has an extra couple of inches of bezel width on the bottom of the unit where the speakers are housed. The KZ model has controls located on the top right hand corner of the unit, which operate volume and channel +/-, as well as a control for selecting the input source. The 42B1U has controls located slyly just behind the right hand side of the unit. These control menu functions, and input selection.

In checking recent prices I have found that the KZ-42TS1 model is selling in stores at around $7999, while the PFM-42B1U model is priced at $5500 at Internet dealer sites. The wall mount options are more expensive for the KZ model as well.

PICTURE RATING:

SONY PFM-42B1U - 89
SONY KZ-42TS1- 89

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS:

SONY PFM-42B1U- 88
SONY KZ-42TS1- 86

VALUE:

SONY PFM-42B1U-91
SONY KZ-42TS1- 85

OVERALL:

SONY PFM-42B1U-89
SONY KZ-42TS1- 86

Sony PFM42B2 Silver Review by Brian Falvey from CA on 11.4.02
Q:  Describe the picture of the plasma TV/LCD monitor in terms of clarity, color reproduction, contrast and brightness.

A:  Very vivid. Black levels are much better on the B2.

Q:  What are your general comments on your Plasma TVs/LCD Monitors? How do you like it?

A:  This Sony really looks beautiful in silver.

Q:  How would you best describe the design and looks of the Plasma TV/LCD Monitor?

A:  Very sleek, streamlined. Incredibly high WOW! factor.

Q:  Plasma TV Inputs used? A:  1 Component using RCA - BNC Cables

Q:  How long have you had the Plasma TV/LCD Monitor? A:  Less than 1 Month

Q:  What is the Plasma TV/LCD used for? A:  Home Living Room

Q:  Please explain how the Plasma TV/LCD Monitor was installed.

A:   I installed the whole system myself. I used a table stand. 5.1 surround Onkyo reciever and speakers. Panasonic RP91 DVD.

Q: Where did you purchase your Plasma TV/LCD Monitor? How was your buying experience?

A:   DTV City. I originally ordered the Panasonic PHD42 from Plasmahouse.com. Thet really gave me the run around. They said I had to wait a week for shipment because of the West Coast dockworkers strike. I felt that was a legitimate excuse, so I waited. After a week I called, and they said it was going to ship in 2 more days. 2 days later I called and they said it would take 4 more days to ship. They told me that they didn't carry any stock and that all of their displays were dropped shipped from other locations. I cancelled the order. Right afterwards I read a new review on plasmatvbuyersguide.com of the PFM42B2. This convinced me to go with the Sony. I called DTVCity and immediately asked if they could ship it that day. They said that they carried all stock in house and that it was no problem. That afternoon I had a tracking number. Shipping was a flawless process. Misti even went out of her way to find a silver table stand. The shipping was then expedited because I had a party that weekend, and everything arrived on time. Fantastic service! Awesome display!

Let's face it. Plasma TV's are high-end costly items. Not only were they the best price, but their service was immaculate. I can wholeheartedly recommend DTV City. What a completely different buying experience I had between Plasmahouse and DTV City. Night and day.

Sony PFM42 Review by Maury Riad from NY
Q:  Describe the picture of the plasma TV/LCD monitor in terms of clarity, color reproduction, contrast and brightness.

A:  The brightness on the set is excellent, especially with computer graphics and cartoons. However, the blacks are not saturated enough and when you watch a letterbox movie, the bars on the top and bottom of the screen almost appear to have a haze over them. Color reproduction is excellent, especially with a component hook up.

Q:  What are your general comments on your Plasma TVs/LCD Monitors? How do you like it?

A:  It is extremely easy to use and has many nifty options such as the screensaver when watching 4:3 applications which prevents ghosting. I am however disappointed with the small selection of inputs offered. I had to purchase an expensive, specialized VGA-Component wire in order to get a 480/60i signal for DVD's. An adapter was also needed to use the composite video outputs.

Q:  How would you best describe the design and looks of the Plasma TV/LCD Monitor?

A:  The design and looks of the tv are phenomenol. Sleek and sexy is the best way to describe it. It looks a lot more expensive than it really is.

Q:  Plasma TV Inputs used? A:  1 Component using RCA - BNC Cables

Q:  How long have you had the Plasma TV/LCD Monitor? A:  3-12 Months

Q:  What is the Plasma TV/LCD used for? A:  Home Living Room

Q:  Please explain how the Plasma TV/LCD Monitor was installed.

A:   The tv was installed on a table top stand. A vga-component cable was used to hook up the DVD player and a composite video cable was used to hook up the cable.

DTVCity.com helped me tremendously in choosing the right tv and in helping me with the proper cables to get the best connections. Extremely knowledgeable and experienced people were always there to help me on the phone. Their website also had many useful links, features and advice which has helped me get one of the best Home Entertainment hook ups in town.


Sony PFM42B Review by Angelo Tuscana from Glendale
Q:  Describe the picture of the plasma TV/LCD monitor in terms of clarity, color reproduction, contrast and brightness.

A:  I use the set for home/personal use. On these criteria the set produces very good results. It is when higher end inputs (DVD, HDTV signal) are in use that the performance shines. With these inputs I would rank the quality as extremely good.

Q:  What are your general comments on your Plasma TVs/LCD Monitors? How do you like it?

A:  I like it very veyr much. I realize theyare an extreme indulgence for home TV use, but as a special bonus to myself it was worth it. The degree of difficulty I was warned about regarding indstalation was way over-rated. However, the very very limited input on the Sony model are a big big draw back. If it were not for picture quality and price and may not have bought it because of the limited inoputs -look at the Marantz model it has an enourmous number of input options.

Q:  How would you best describe the design and looks of the Plasma TV/LCD Monitor?

A:  I love the design. It too as one of the key reasons I bought the sony.

Q:  Plasma TV Inputs used? A:  1 S-Video

Q:  How long have you had the Plasma TV/LCD Monitor? A:  Less than 1 Month

Q:  What is the Plasma TV/LCD used for? A:  Home Living Room

Q:  Please explain how the Plasma TV/LCD Monitor was installed.

A:   I did it my self with the tilting wall mount.

Q:  Where did you purchase your Plasma TV/LCD Monitor? How was your buying experience?

A:   Online/Telephone DTVCity. Very good. Excellent phone service and follow-up. Impressive! Everything was smooth and better than expected. I have made other online/phone purchases and their service folks were the most helpful accomadating with the best folow-up.



Sony KZ42TS1 Review by Ed Kozanlian from NY on 10.28.02
Q:  Describe the picture of the plasma TV/LCD monitor in terms of clarity, color reproduction, contrast and brightness.

A:  Excellent clarity, color, reproduction and color. Could be brighter.

Q:  What are your general comments on your Plasma TVs/LCD Monitors? How do you like it?

A:  Superior choice for value, looks and built-in features. No other model available with tuner and speakers for the cost.

Q:  How would you best describe the design and looks of the Plasma TV/LCD Monitor?

A:  Sony products are always superior in design. As architects for high-end residential projects we are always design conscious.

Q:  Plasma TV Inputs used? A:  1 Component using RCA - BNC Cables

Q:  How long have you had the Plasma TV/LCD Monitor? A:  Less than 1 Month

Q:  What is the Plasma TV/LCD used for? A:  Home Living Room

Q:  Please explain how the Plasma TV/LCD Monitor was installed.

A:   Table top installtion.

Q:  Where did you purchase your Plasma TV/LCD Monitor? How was your buying experience?

A:   Plasmadepot.com, the buying experience consisted of one 3 minute phone call. The process could not have been any easier.


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