LCD vs. PLASMA

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  • 03-16-2006, 06:17 PM
    krolfes
    LCD vs. PLASMA
    What is the better technology LCD or Plasma? I am looking at around 42" and I wanted to know what TV gave the most for the money? Are there burn in issues, reliablity issues, picture quality issuse, etc. that make one better than the other? Also is there a good brand that gave you alot for the money (pioneer, sony, sharp, panasonic, etc.) I would like to stay around $2000 but woudl be willing to spend up to $2500 if i really needed to. Thanks.
  • 03-16-2006, 07:10 PM
    edtyct
    They both have their strengths and weaknesses. LCDs achieve sharp, bright, colorful pictures with high resolution at relatively small sizes, thrive with ambient light, and are easy to lug around and mount. However, they also suffer from a relatively restricted viewing angle, poor black levels on average, the dreaded screen-door effect (at close distances), and possible motion blur. Plasmas have routinely better blacks, wider viewing angles, and accurate color. But they aren't as good in ambient light and if misused, are susceptible to uneven burn. Inch for inch, they can't squeeze as many pixels into a panel as LCDs can; at 42", many plasmas tap out at 1024x768, whereas 40" LCDs can reach the full HD format of 1920x1080. But at this point, plasmas win the sheer size sweepstakes (though not for long). Plasmas also have a pixel-refresh problem at times, but it isn't serious. Execution counts for quite a lot with both technologies, so too much generalization won't hold up. The bargain panels on both sides leave a lot to be desired, though LCD has an advantage as a long-standing computer technology. But still, at this point, under the right conditions, the right plasma can satisfy more of the traditional requirements of the video enthusiast than LCD can. That said, no set of abstractions can replace an informed visit to a venue that has several examples of each on display, especially if you can tinker. Pioneer, Panasonic, Hitachi, and Fujitsu are at the top of the class for plasmas so far as basic picture is concerned (especially the first two). Sharp's Aquos line, Sony's Bravias, and a host of others have LCD flat planels worth a close look.

    Ed
  • 03-17-2006, 10:48 AM
    AVMASTER
    Ed is on point and you might want to ask yourself a few qualifing questions:
    determine viewing distance
    where do you plan to put it
    how will you use it, i.e. will it double as a computer monitor, gaming, analog broadcast, HD cable, strictly DVD playback, etc...
    will everyone that uses the display be seated directly in front of it
    do you plan to use it as part of a Home theater
    there's a bunch more questions i usually ask when confronted with this question but those few can help you choose size, technology, and features

    question for Ed;
    you mentioned Pioneer and Panasonic as top tier in plasma, Why?
  • 03-17-2006, 11:09 AM
    edtyct
    Hi AVMASTER,

    The major failing of plasmas in the beginning was their inability to display a deep black and to achieve a gamma free from false contouring. Panasonic plasmas made their reputation on the ability to achieve noticeably rich blacks and smooth gradations in the greyscale. For a while, no one else was in the ballpark. As it is, well-made plasmas are capable of accurate colors; in combination with dark images that approach those of a good CRT, these colors can look elegant and film-like. Pioneer has fully arrived at Panasonic's class in this respect, and may even go a step further in color rendition (as well as feature set and processing--not to mention their open invitation to ISF calibration). Nonetheless, Panasonics may still win the bang-for-the-buck award; Pioneers come at a steeper price. But these two companies stuck with the technology--as other majors were dropping out and cutting back, and the bottom feeders began to adulterate the market--and brought it to new heights.

    Ed
  • 03-17-2006, 12:17 PM
    HAVIC
    Myself I would go with LCD over Plasma for a couple of reasons. LCD does not have the burn in issues that plasma has. I own a CRT RPTV and although I've had it for 5 years now and do not have any burn in, I know many who do especially if they have children. From what I have read this years LCD panels have made a great advance in better black levels. As far as viewing angle goes, most LCD's will have a viewing angle of 170 degrees which is usually more than adequate for most people.
  • 03-17-2006, 01:46 PM
    edtyct
    Keep in mind that it's very hard for an LCD panel to achieve true black, or even plasma black. Even when scenes are supposed to be completely dark, the LCD bulb will be illuminated; this internal light has to be diverted somehow rather than extinguished. LCoS and DLP are in a similar predicament, but they can deal with it better. If you turn off your DVD or TV broadcast signal while leaving an LCD set on, you may or may not notice the glow that still remains on the screen. But if you then shut off the set, the difference between the bulb running and not running should become obvious.

    I'm not bashing LCDs; I happen to like them. In a lighted viewing area, their raised black floor won't matter much, but in a darkened home theater, an LCD "dark" screen will generally be brighter than the room, detracting from a full cinematic experience. But, as Havic says, they are getting better. Take a look at the new Sim2 40" LCD panel. Not only is it beautifully designed; it also does black with uncharacteristic authority.

    By the way, this is the first thread in which I've participated that has been either started in or relocated to the new forum. Who knew? I found out about this place only when this thread mysteriously disappeared from the HT forum.

    Ed
  • 03-17-2006, 03:24 PM
    Geoffcin
    LCD viewing angles are good
    But if you sit very far from direct front you get a color shift. I've noticed this on my 24" LCD computer monitor. 170 degrees might be claimed, but 90 degree is more like it.

    Also, besides the fact that they don't go full black, they also dont do dim well. Everybody talkes about max contrast, but LCD doesn't have the range to do lowered contrast well. All the contrast makes for a punchy image, but there's also the problem of eyestrain. Philips has LCD monitors that use ambilight tech that works very well to aleviate this problem.
  • 03-17-2006, 04:04 PM
    krolfes
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AVMASTER
    Ed is on point and you might want to ask yourself a few qualifing questions:
    determine viewing distance
    where do you plan to put it
    how will you use it, i.e. will it double as a computer monitor, gaming, analog broadcast, HD cable, strictly DVD playback, etc...
    will everyone that uses the display be seated directly in front of it
    do you plan to use it as part of a Home theater
    there's a bunch more questions i usually ask when confronted with this question but those few can help you choose size, technology, and features

    question for Ed;
    you mentioned Pioneer and Panasonic as top tier in plasma, Why?

    My viewing distance will be 10 to 12 feet. I would like to wall mount it as I am trying to save room. Currently I have a Sony 36" HD Tube TV. Its about 235lbs and eats up a ton of my room. I will not use it as a computer display but as a every day TV, HD cable, DVDs, and to go with my mid level home theater. Most people will be sitting in front of it but viewing angle is importaint (for laying out on the floor and watching it, etc.) Thanks for the help.
  • 03-17-2006, 05:15 PM
    Smokey
    Ed is correct. As of now, Plasma outperform LCD in term of picture quality (especially for
    larger screen size). ConsumerRepoert rated over 42 LCDs and 21 plasmas in March 2006
    issue, and few plasmas receive 5 star rating (Excellent picture quality). While none of LCDs tested received 5 star rating.

    The top dogs in Plasma category were Panasonic and Pioneer, while the top dogs in LCD were Sharp, Sony and Panasonic :)
  • 03-17-2006, 05:27 PM
    Geoffcin
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Smokey
    Ed is correct. As of now, Plasma outperform LCD in term of picture quality (especially for
    larger screen size). ConsumerRepoert rated over 42 LCDs and 21 plasmas in March 2006
    issue, and few plasmas receive 5 star rating (Excellent picture quality). While none of LCDs tested received 5 star rating.

    The top dogs in Plasma category were Panasonic and Pioneer, while the top dogs in LCD were Sharp, Sony and Panasonic :)

    I don't know what parameters Consumer Reports were using, but if the review was anything like what the did with speakers then I would take it with a grain of salt.
  • 03-17-2006, 08:46 PM
    krolfes
    Is a DLP tv worth looking at compaired to LCD & Plasma? I know you get alot of tv for the money but I was never a fan of the old projection tv's are they anything like that (bad viewingangles, washed out picture,etc.) thanks.
  • 03-18-2006, 07:21 AM
    edtyct
    God bless Consumer Reports for its work on cars and other facets of modern life in need of a good inspection. But it's never been particularly strong with electronics and speakers from the enthusiast point of view. The fact that its assessment of plasma and LCD seems pretty much on the money, at least from this distance, testifies to the lack of subtlety in the differences at this point.

    At 10 to 12 feet, you can go big. My intention wasn't to scare you away from LCD. It could still be your choice if certain things are more important to you than others ( a subject that we can pursue). But if you at least want a true HD experience at 12 feet, your panel will have to be large enough for viewers to distinguish HD from plain ol' DVD resolution. On that score alone, LCD might not deliver the goods, since a screen size of 60", which is well beyond LCD's capability, would not be out the question in your case. Budget also becomes a consideration at this size. A plasma panel larger than 42" could break the bank, and even one of the better 42" plasmas--a little on the small side for your environment--won't be exactly cheap either.

    You brought up DLP. It may well work for you. Inch for inch, it provides genuine bang for the buck. It does black and greyscale better than LCD, and its other parameters stack up pretty well among microdisplays. Digital RPTVs aren't the behemoths that CRTs are; a few companies even make them slim and light enough to hang on a wall if you're daring. But even the conventional ones don't eat up huge amounts of front to back space and can be set on an attractive dedicated stand or a relatively small table. DLP's most famous drawbacks are usually not much of a factor for the rank and file. Something called the rainbow effect, an artifact caused by the spinning wheel that produces a DLP's color, afflicts a small percentage of the viewing public. It consists of trailing colors around image lines, especially when you turn your head from side to side. DLP's serial color and greyscale production can also cause headaches in a small minority of people. By and large, however, DLP owners are a happy lot. As a technology that, like LCD, features a bulb recessed behind the center of the screen, however, DLP is also subject to hotspotting and a restricted viewing angle, but under normal conditions, it need not be much of a difficulty. If DLP flips your skirt, you ought to check a variety of them out at a store, moving from side to side and up and down to see how the screens react. If you haven't seen rainbows after a long look, you're probably safe; the rest of your family should do the same test.

    While you're at the store, look at the LCoS RPTVs as well. JVC markets its versions as DiLA, and Sony as SXRD. To my mind, on a level playing field, these may well be the RPTV sets of choice. Theoretically, they are equipped to do just about everything well. JVCs are more affordable than Sonys at this point, and, arguably, up until this year, Sony's had the edge, but this year's JVCs apparently are very strong contenders.

    Budget may well play a role in what you decide, and you'll have to weigh technical advantages and disadvantages for your situation, but if you choose well, whatever you buy should serve your needs acceptably so far as picture quality is concerned. A 40" LCD screen on the wall certainly has its upside, especially if lights will be on a lot of the time and if the viewing (and viewers) are largely noncritical. But if you want at least some semblance of an HD cinematic experience without lights, you may have to drop the set to the floor and go bigger--unless, that is, you spring for a high-quality plasma.

    If you have more questions, don't hesitate to ask. By all means, see the sets in operation if you can and check out any reviews that you can find--even if only online at CNET, AVguide, etc.

    Ed
  • 03-18-2006, 12:27 PM
    AVMASTER
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by krolfes
    My viewing distance will be 10 to 12 feet. I would like to wall mount it as I am trying to save room. Currently I have a Sony 36" HD Tube TV. Its about 235lbs and eats up a ton of my room. I will not use it as a computer display but as a every day TV, HD cable, DVDs, and to go with my mid level home theater. Most people will be sitting in front of it but viewing angle is importaint (for laying out on the floor and watching it, etc.) Thanks for the help.

    without knowing budget, my first recommendation would be a 55" Hitachi plasma, model
    # 55hdx62; the best plasma you can get with features that meet your needs and then some
  • 03-18-2006, 04:09 PM
    AVMASTER
    correction
    actually you did give a budget, maxxed at$2500.00. So the best possible choice would be JVC HD52G786. No wall mounting here but wider viewing angle than DLP, bright and colorful with plenty of usefull features.
  • 03-20-2006, 01:29 PM
    topspeed
    I've gotta peak at this new forum more often!

    My dad just went through the same conundrum and we ended up getting the 40" Sony Bravia, even though I'm not crazy about Sony due to their well known reliability issues. I have to admit, of all the LCD's I've seen, this thing is just gorgeous! It took some tweaking (the factory settings are bizarre), but once we got 'er dialed in, I have to say this is the best LCD I've seen so far. That said, if space constraints hadn't limited him to 40", he would have bought Avmaster's recommendation, which just happens to be the same set I own :).

    So why did he pick LCD over Plasma? The key factors actually had very little to do with pic quality as he preferred the Panny's pq over the Sony's. What pushed him toward the Bravia was the fact that plasmas burn a ton of energy and also throw off a fair amount of heat. In our area, 100 degree summers are the norm and the last thing he wanted to do was crank the A/C in the summer just because his new set is doubling as a power hungry space heater!

    Hope this helps.
  • 03-20-2006, 02:19 PM
    edtyct
    TP,

    Being over 50, I can't recall the source offhand, but an independent study found that plasma does not whoop LCD in power consumption on all fronts. It depends on picture content. If I'm not mistaken, bright screens on a plasma cost more than those on LCDs.

    Ed
  • 03-22-2006, 08:17 AM
    dav305z
    When I worked at Bestbuy, we only pushed the plasmas on people who were specifically looking for one. Otherwise, we took them to the LCD's. Plasma is a nice technology, but just has too many troubles and has too much cost involved. First of all, plasma has a shelf life. Sometimes it'll last fifteen years, sometimes it'll last five. It's definitely not a tv you want to leave on ESPN all day. The LCD will only burn out a bulb, which can be replaced for very cheap.

    DLP technology is also worth looking at. It uses many more colors that LCD and has better viewing angles and color sharpness.
  • 03-22-2006, 11:10 AM
    edtyct
    I certainly wouldn't argue with the suggestion that DLP is worth a serious look, though I don't exactly know what you mean by "color sharpness." Depth, accuracy? LCD is, to some extent, more color-challenged than other microdisplays, in that it produces color by a subtractive process from white light. Plasma, for instance, has the three basic colors available from the outset, making for better chromaticity. LCDs tend toward oversaturation. Many people find it striking, regardless of the inaccuracy, because of the sheer glory of all that coloful resolution; others find the overdone greens and reds distracting. The drawbacks of the DLP color wheel are well documented enough in this thread, as well as in general, not to stand repeating now.

    The shelf life argument has some validity, though maybe not so much as thought. Flat-panel LCDs might get the 55,000-80,000 hours of life that mfgrs. claim for them, under extraordinary circumstances, and even healthy plasmas may not be able to keep up. But in real life, the discrepancy might not be so large. Plasmas may burn unevenly, but not like they once did. The components that guard against such wear on the better plasmas actually work. But LCDs also have to be wary of contrast set too high, since the flourescent lights behind the screen will dim in time. These lamps also fail, and so far as I know, only Sharp LCDs allow for replacement. In most cases, as the lamps go, so go the LCDs. The bulbs on RP LCDs are much more user-friendly than those on flat panels. Maybe they're the ones you mean.

    All of these technologies have their tradeoffs. But I would venture the guess that an informed consumer who is interested in a plasma for what it does well will not be easily swayed toward LCD for reasons of longevity and that someone inclined toward an LCD flat panel for its relative advantages might not find DLP a good substitute, despite its upside.