Happy New TV

As a late Christmas present to myself, I got something I’ve been after for a long time. A bloody big TV.

I picked up a 32″ Toshiba Regza 1080p LCD TV in the sales. And I was very pleased with it, until… I’ll get to that part when I get to it. Yes, I’ve got a bit of a story to tell today—and it does have a serious PES angle to it, too.

When I got the big new TV home, there was only one game I wanted to road-test it with. And it felt wrong to play BaL. I needed to play an orthodox 11 vs 11 match, and I did, and I liked it a lot. And I underwent an instant Damascene conversion to the wonders of big screens with lots and lots of lovely pixels…

Most of my gaming life from the 1980s through to 2007 was spent on 14″ portables of various types. In 2007, when I graduated to a PS3, I decided I had to get myself a HDTV of some kind. At the time, the really big TVs seemed prohibitively expensive. A 19″ 720p portable fitted the bill. And that was my gaming TV ever since.

I’d only ever seen the full next-gen console 1080p experience in shops. I’ve never actually sat for any length of time and enjoyed a game of anything on a screen larger than the 19″ of that portable HDTV (or the 20″ of my iMac). Ever. That’s important to bear in mind.

After a few minutes of playing PES2011 on a 32″ HDTV, I was as utterly gobsmacked as I’ve ever been whilst playing a game. (Despite PES2011 only being a 720p game, disappointingly.)

Later, after a few hours of Uncharted 2 at full 1080p, and a quick tour through my stack of old 1080p games—revisiting landscapes and graphical feats that I now appreciated in a different way—I was dazed. Final Fantasy XIII! Oh, Mother of God…

This might seem odd to those who have been happily gaming on big TVs for years. But it really has just passed me by for some reason. I somehow thought my 19″, 720p setup was perfectly adequate. Nobody yearns for something they’ve never experienced.

The big news for PES is that I’ve been drawn back into playing Master League on PES2011. This will last for a few days at least. I’ve already played enough to cover Monday’s post. I’m planning to play on for a lot longer, too.

I know, I know. I had switched to BaL, after shaking the dust of ML off my feet and moving on in disgust.

PES2011 on a 32″ screen gave me a football gaming experience that was like playing it for the first time, back when I thought it was superb, fresh, and exciting. I was taking time and finding space, constructing intricate passing moves, having wonderful passages of play—a PES fan’s ideal session, in other words. And that was followed up by another session, and another.

I know that it was a placebo. I know the overall experience was simply scaled up, that I was no doubt just as capable of playing this way on a smaller screen.

But placebo or not (it was a placebo!), I’m back playing the game mode I love the most—Master League—again, and planning to go on doing so for a while yet.

Sadly, there was a serpent in paradise. Make that two serpents, actually.

Here’s what I saw on my new HD screen after a while:

And here’s the problem in close-up:

Yes, the Toshiba had to go back to the store the next day. I’ll cut a long story short: the display suffered from dynamic false contouring, also knowns as ‘crawling moss’. It manifests itself as a persistent blue shimmer in random spots on the right side of the screen. Light sources in particular would be surrounded by a nimbus of blue.

(Oh, the sheer random expertise we accumulate whilst desperately Googling to resolve various problems, eh? Ask me anything about gamma levels and colour temperature and the effects of the universal LCD backlight, go on.)

I’ll say now that the Toshiba Regza was/is a bloody great TV, and it was a shame what happened with my individual unit. If they’d had a replacment for me at the store, I’d have taken it.

Yesterday morning (Thursday) I went through the great chore of boxing it up and taking it back. There were no more Regzas in stock, and I came away with a no-fuss, like-for-like replacement: a Sony Bravia. Same specs, right down the type and number of input ports. I was happy. Two store staff separately said to me that you can’t go wrong with Sony.

Oh dear. The damn thing buzzes. Loudly. No setting anywhere in any menu affects the buzzing.

It’s been less than 24 hours, so I haven’t had the same amount of time to research the problem, but it seems to be a power transformer issue. A symphony of buzzing starts up depending on whatever’s happening on-screen. During a sequence with lots of scene-changes, the buzzing is very annoying. It’s as annoying a problem as the crawling moss, really.

So I’ll probably be taking the Sony back too. I haven’t got time to do it until next week, so I’ll be using this TV at least until then. And kind of hoping that the buzzing will just magically go away.

Whilst playing PES2011, I barely notice it. So regardless of what happens with any TV, it looks like I am playing Master League again.

And so the year 2011 will feature meaningful time spent on its titular PES title. A week ago I’d almost have laughed at the thought.


  1. Well that’s all good news. I guess the problems like lack of time and space with the ball are easily countered when you can see a colleague in space a bit easier. Glad to have the Blog back for a while. I remember the switch to a big HD TV, and it seemed like a different game. Hopefully you’ll get a bit more mileage out of it. Shame about the buzzing though – that would irritate.

    I would strongly advise that you sign the regenerated Veron for the attacking midfielder role. I mentioned it previously, but he’s by far my favourite player in the game.

    After winning all of the trophies (not in the same season mind) i’ve decided to actively put together a team of superstars of yesteryear. With that in mind, I was delighted to see the 15 year old Giggs without a club and already ranked as 76 OVR. However, despite being ranked number 1 club in the world, he won’t sign for me. I almost made the mistake of letting Peleaz leave assuming i’d get Giggs. So watch this space. I currently have Veron and Cannavaro in my squad. Hoping to get Giggs soon enough – then it’s a matter of waiting for Scholes, Del Piero, Shevchenko et al to retire.

    Nice to see the Dude making a guest appearance in the blog!

  2. Liam—is it just me or does John Goodman steal that film?

    I buckled and took the Sony back today despite it being seriously inconvenient to go back into town. I’ll update this comment later*** with how that turned out. On a bus right now, using phone keyboard.

    And it’s best for me to have the ML blog back too, as it’s what I most enjoy.

    ***that’ll have to be later later now – stuck at work.

  3. Jesus Christ not-Greg! Gaming on a 19” portable? Are you crazy? That’s like having a V8 in a Morris minor! Great engine but it looks shit!
    Pardon my outburst, it’s just that I didn’t know you were gaming like that. When you first play on a big tv it is astounding, you marvel at what we have created, I remember when I bought my panasonic viera 42” and put it on the wall in the middle of the lounge. I put the dark knight on in blu ray and just sat back and marvelled at the whole thing. But it can improve gaming to such an extent that I think you’ve been handicapping your whole next gen experience for years! Because the screen is bigger, you automatically feel like you’ve got more room, more scope to knock it about, and more importantly, you might be able to see more inticately the movements of your players. I hope it goes well.
    Back to ML, I stayed with the hardest ML save in the end with my made up team, I didn’t take your advice, sorry lol. Anyway, won the league on professional, and now I’ve been promoted to the PL, I’ve gone up to top player, won 4, lost 1 and drew 1 so far. Still skint, managed to upgrade the fitness coach to level 2 and did manage to sign bosmans before their contract was up, which was fortunate. Brought in vukcevic, nemeth and alan kardec, signed tulasne in the window on a free. Try and sign some players when you get your next window on bosmans. Signed Chadli for a hefty £1million with the cash I had left. So my team is now: Fatecha
    Mattsson schmidt palmieri


    chadli. Shimizu. Pelaez

    ighalo. Kravets


    palmieri is continually on a purple arrow though now because I kept turning down offers for him! Mard arse.

  4. Yeah John Goodman is very good in that film, though I still think Jeff Bridges is the stand out performer. Much like my Veron to
    Schwarz in my ML team!

    I don’t blame you for taking back the tv today. That would have eaten me up inside. I think all the readers will be happy with the redirection from recent weeks. I have been known to champion BaL, but in all honesty, it’s been all Master League for me this time round, I was just looking to encourage you to stick with PES! Though I still maintain that there’s a good story to be told there.

  5. Haven’t commented in a while — still happily checking in with your excellent site — but wanted to throw out there that the buzzing on the Sony is likely to do a pesky “ground fault loop” or “ground fault hum” which is related to the wiring that you have it plugged into. So you may experience this on other monitors as well. There are some cheap and easy solutions — fixed mine with a plug attachment.

  6. @ Batesy8 – as I think has been said on here before if you simply ignore any offers for your players and let the bid expire it doesn’t effect your players affection.

    Not Greg, glad to hear your back onto the ML, I took a bit of a break after there was a brief mention of TESIV: Oblivion on the blog a while back and I got myself hooked again! Back to PES though now so good to see you may have changed your mind, I’m lucky to be in the boat that believes PES 2011 to be a whisper away from the Holy Grail of footy games, as with PES 2010 I’m finding the better I get at the game the less I notice the scripting and other annoyances.

    I’m past the mid point of season 3 on Top Player, 1st season in the Prem. Currently third place in the league and in the QF of the Europa League, for some reason all the knock out games have been easy as pie so far, not sure if it’s me getting myself psyched up (I do get excited when the music comes on) or just PES feeling a deserve a break… anyone else notice this?

  7. @ Pete, thanks for the advice, will he eventually come round then? And get some decent form arrows back? Or will he continue on the purple until he finally gets a move? He’s my club captain, don’t particularly want to lose him if I’m honest.

  8. Good to hear you are playing your master league again not-greg. I very much look forward to hearing your progress. It will be good to see how far you can get through the champions league.

  9. @ Batesy8 – I have had the purple arrow problems too, particularly on my online ML team. My decent players all seem to get them quite regularly but the lower rated ones don’t. As for my offline ML, I bought Defoe and Robinho in the transfer window between my first and second seasons and they have only just started to keep green arrows 7 games into the 2nd season. The first couple of games they were both on purple arrows, then Defoe slightly improved with Robinho following suit a couple of games later. I am hoping they will both be on red arrows by the time I face Barcelona in the Champions League.

  10. @ the dribbler, usually I wouldn’t be concerned if a player had purple arrows, but as it’s to do with me turning down several offers for palmieri and he never hardly had purples before, I’m slightly concerned. I’m about nine games in to the season after the summer transfer window and he has just had a constant purple.

  11. Batesy8—I’ve certainly found a massive difference in my perception of PES2011 and other games in the past few days. It’s been amazing really. I keep looking at it and wondering if I should get something even bigger, but I’d probably have to sleep on the windowsill. 32″ is big enough for me. I’ll have to dial the TV-love down a bit in next week’s posts and talk about PES2011, but it relates to PES2011 so I’ll have to at least glance at it.

  12. Liam—I exchanged the Sony for a Samsung that I handed over an extra £50 notes for. In all the random TV & tech forums I’ve landed on over the past few days (and I discovered there are a lot of random TV & tech forums), Samsungs have been very highly spoken of.

    It’s early days but it seems fine so far, and the picture is at least £50’s worth better than either the Sony or the Toshiba. So the moral of the story for anyone buying a HDTV would seem to be: “Pay the extra fifty quid and get a Samsung.”

  13. ALL—stuck in work now, very busy, will reply to all later. (I work in the NHS. On New Year’s Eve…)

  14. Surfer Dude—thanks for the suggestion, which as I’m sure you can imagine I came across in my ad hoc ‘vision quest’ across Google over the past 24 hours. All I can say is that the previous TV, the Toshiba, didn’t buzz or hum, so I wasn’t inclined to try any of the fixes I came across. To tell the truth I was impatient to just get the problem over with, and in fact the picture on the Sony wasn’t as good as the Toshiba—but the Samsung is better than both, so I’m happy. And the Samsung doesn’t buzz either 🙂

    For future reference if I ever run into this issue again, by ‘plug attachment’ do you mean what I would call a double adapter (or triple adapter) – like this?

  15. Pete—I’m tempted to start Oblivion again, but won’t as I know I’ll never have time for it. I won’t trade it in either, just in case of a future rainy day (or rainy few months). In my 30 hours with the game a few years ago, I killed Bernadette Penelo and took all her clothes off just because I could, felt weird about it, reloaded a save from before that point (a cardinal sin against my gaming ethics), and then didn’t murder her. Isn’t it weird how games make us behave?

    It’s good to be back on ML, believe me. As you can tell from the blog, I quite like ML 😉

  16. Batesy8—what I do is negotiate the CPU team’s offer for something ridiculous. E.g. an offer of £1million becomes £150 million, and so on. It works for me—I never have purple arrow problems. But I have got different players, and I like to think PES still has enough player individuality to make this a different factor for all of us.

  17. The Dribbler—I never seem to stay away from ML for long. If I hadn’t come back to PES2011’s ML, I’d have been on PES6(360)’s or PES2010’s within a week or two, guaranteed. I just love the continuous, rolling narrative it creates.

    I’d love to play a career mode worthy of the name in FIFA one day, but that’s looking an increasingly unlikely prospect as the years roll by with no sign of one appearing.

  18. I’m glad you’re back to ML. I’m enjoying 2011’s ML immensely, and I hope you will too, eventually.

    Regarding TV’s, I have two words for you: Panasonic Viera. I have a 42″ one, and it’s a dream. I compared it to a bunch of others when I was shopping for a new LCD tv, and none could hold its own against the Viera.

  19. I have a 40″ HDTV but I play Winning Eleven 2011 only in dumbed down SD settings. That’s got two strange reasons. One – I’ve always watched football in SD channels, even though on HDTV. So my images of football are always on SD. If I play WE2011 in 1080p, I find the clarity a bit too artificial. Playing on SD settings, makes the game look like the game I watch on TV in the weekends. Two – undoubtedly the game works better in SD settings than in HD settings. The game is more fluid and smooth in SD than in HD.

    To the guys playing PES/WE in HD settings: Drop that and put it back to SD settings. You’ll get a great pro evo experience.

  20. Adriano—I am at that stage now of ‘screen envy’, wondering if I could have gone a little bigger, you know? But I was pushing it with the size of TV I did get, cost-wise and space-wise.

    I’m enjoying ML again. I’ve already a streaked a long way past where I was when I threw my hissy fit. There’ll be ML posts for at least a week or two.

  21. Blue Champions—PES2011 is a little motion-blurry for my liking on the big screen, but I’m still in love overall 🙂 I won’t be scaling it down to 520 anytime soon.

    I’ve tried forcing PES2011 1080p (1080i?) but the results aren’t good enough to make it worth it IMO. I’m a 1080p fanatic and think everything should be in 1080, even real life. After an intense few days boning up on the ins and outs of big-screen TVs, I caught myself examining a real life tree for signs of pixellization…

  22. Aww, I’d love a bigger telly, I’m seriously jealous! I’m also seriously skint, so I’ll make do with my 26 inch LG. I’ve been away from my playstation over christmas, so haven’t played PES for almost 2 weeks! Before I left I was playing Oblivion, with a bit PES (I seriously cut down my PES time after getting annoyed post patch). I’d reached mid season, sat at the top of the league, just started enjoying PES again, and had just signed a regen Thierry Henry, which I was quite excited about. I don’t know now whether I should play an international tournament before launching back into ML to ‘re-acquaint’ myself with the game…
    I’ve also got Gran Turismo 5 now, so PES might be getting even less time. Too many games, so little time!

  23. And also, I believe Konami released some DLC over christmas. Does anyone know if this is just boots and stuff, or whether there’s any gameplay changes? I’m reluctant to download stuff after the last patch almost ruined my game.

  24. Filbert—you’ll be fine with Konami’s Xmas DLC—it was all boots & balls, no gameplay content at all.

    I’ve got the “too many games” problem as well, especially now that I want to start/finish/resume so many game games with the new TV. 32″ isn’t all that more than 26″, but you can probably imagine how I feel going from 19″ to 32.

  25. The boots are ok, but they should have sorted out more of the gameplay issues. Maybe they will be doing another update soon.

  26. The Dribbler—I’d be amazed if we see any more gameplay updates from Konami for PES2011, particularly as the last one wasn’t received very well in all quarters.

  27. They do need to do something about these problems though, but I agree with you, they probably wont send out any new ones. Maybe we just need to wait till 2012 to come out and the problems will be sorted then. If that is the case, was it worth buying 2011? I suppose. LOL. Somethings you just have to grin and bare. I still love playing 2011 though.

  28. The Dribbler—PES2011 has certainly gone up in my esteem, but it’s still lower than I thought it would be. I think there’s a backlash against PES2011 (not just from me, from the community in general) becuase it manifestly isn’t what we were kind of led to expect it to be: i.e., PES arriving with an oomph on next-gen. Instead PES2011 is ‘only’ PES getting slightly better on next-gen. And I’d still argue that PES2010’s Master League was better, possibly the gameplay too. But we’re still less than 3 months into the footy game year, so it’s too early to start reviewing the year in football gaming (I do that in Septmeber).

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