Most rooms in Europe have a place for the TV and a place for the sofas, usually on opposite walls as houses/flats are rarely as big as in the less populated countries.
I'm not, you seem to be struggling with reading. The optimum viewing distance for SD + HD on a big screen is not the same, hence the problem.
No problem for me. I can understand if you are renting temporary living quarters, that the seating arrangements might be inflexible. If you own your own house then I presume you would arrange everything to suit your own living style and preferences in all matters. If your argument is, 'I live in rented accommodation which does not lend itself to any sort of flexibility with regard to seating arrangements and it would therefore be impractical and inconvenient for me to install a large screen HD display', then I understand completley. Why didn't you say so in the first place? Duh! Duh! Duh!
And why would I be looking at small, cheap TVs? I work with images for a living, I'm hardly going to look at crap kit, particularly as it doesn't even show HD anyway. I was looking at a £5.5K Sony plasma a few days back. Not that impressive really, apart from price and size. Not as good a the Panasonics.
I don't know why, except I deduced you might have been looking at crap because you seem to have the view that upscaling of SD material is very unsatisfactory. I find it susrprisingly good. I get the impression that Sony are not noted for the excellence of their plasma displays. There was some talk a while back of their discontinuing production of plasma displays and concentrating on LCDs.
By the way, you can
get small and cheap, full HD displays. I have a 24" LCD display from Acer that I picked up for around US$270. First impressions are, it's very much lacking in contrast ratio. It probably does all processing of the signal in 8-bit mode and displays the results in 6-bit dithered.
Duh, yet again. They were saying a product they don't even sell is better [in many ways] than one they do sell. That's a very honest answer as it will lose the sale.
It's a shrewd answer. Since you are such a clever fellow and your salesman is local, he knows already that you have the impression, rightly or wrongly, that CRT is better. He also knows that you are not going to buy another CRT TV and that there are no Full HD CRT TVs available anywhere. When you are ready to buy a full HD plasma (after you've sorted out your seating arrangements), he knows you are likely to return to him because he's given you the impression that he's perceptive and knowledgeable on such matters. He will also be in a good position to persuade you to buy a more expensive display than you otherwise might have bought, on the grounds that this latest Plasma display (a Pioneer Kuro perhaps) really is better than a CRT.
Image quality is not simply defined by contrast ratio. Just as sound quality is not definined by the figures used to sell audio kit or MPs to sell cameras. It's not the contrast that is the main issue, it's the overall digital look, only part of which is related to the blacks
One of my main skills is parsing image quality, so I actually have no need to ask anyone else's opinion on this particular matter and I've spent a lot of time of late looking at Plasmas, they are certainly better than they were, but are still lacking, particularly as I keep repeating, when viewing normal SD TV [95% of current TV], as it simply does not look too good that big, especially after upresing. When SD becomes the minority format then I'll consider a larger replacement for lounge. Though one for the Kitchen is a vague possibilty for convienience, but girlfiend will find it a bit odd having the newer, bigger and fancier TV in kitchen. But as Kitchen viewing distance is quite long compared to lounge, it makes more sense to do that.
95% of broadcasts in the U.K are still SD? Dear me! When I used to visit the U.K. when my parents were still alive, I would occasionally find there was some confusion amongst friends and relatives as to whether the time in Australia was 10 hours ahead or 10 hours behind. I sometimes clarified the situation by saying it was easy to remember. Just remember that Australia is ahead in everything. (I know how to win friends and influence people.)
I think part of your problem with SD image quality might have something to do with the difference between the analogue broadcast signal and the digital broadcast signal. A CRT set cannot receive a digital signal, except through a set-top box. During the time of the Olympics in Beijing, and before I bought the Panasonic plasma set for my partner, I hooked up the Loewe CRT TV to a set-top box. The Loewe Calida has a real 16:9 option whereby the scan lines are vertically compressed to the 16:9 aspect ratio (as opposed to cropping the scan lines which effectively reduces vertical resolution).
Through the set-top box I was able to get a very clear 16:9 digital broadcast, which was presumably the full HD signal downscaled to SD, and it seemed to have the resolution edge compared with the analogue broadcast of the same material. However, there were
one or two aspects of image quality with which I was not satisfied. First, there was a tendency towards blown highlights which reminded me a bit of the differences between film and digital cameras. The digital highlights tend to clip suddenly whereas film is more gradual in its handling of highlights. I wondered at the time if analogue broadcasts were more like film in this respect.
The second disappointment was in the fine tuning of color shades. The Loewe set has a tint control which was very useful with analogue broadcasts. With the digital broadcast, this control was not functional. It had no effect. These disappointments with the way a CRT TV handles a digital signal influenced my decision to buy a modern plasma display.
There is also sometimes evident, a certain plasticity in the complexions of people in a digital broadcast, as though the image has been subjected to heavy noise reduction. I don't see this effect in HD footage from Blu-ray discs, so I think such effects are in the source material and are a result of digital manipulation. I think you might be confusing such digital manipulation, that seems to be quite common, with the quality of the display.
I've read that the extra clarity of the HD standard in portraying every wart, pore and blemish is a great problem for the porn industry, so I've heard. And I can believe it without seeing for myself.