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239 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 24554 27-Jul-2008 15:58 Send private message

Being in the HDTV market over the past few months I have learnt much about these two competing technology's(Plasma Vs LCD). I entered many local stores over this time, viewing and reviewing different LCD HDTV models intending to purchase a 40" LCD while never even considering Plasma due to ill-informed conflicting views from young salesmen and propaganda from certain major manufacturer's and retailers alike (be careful here don't believe everything you are told).

I was convinced(ignorant) LCD was the way to go until getting some well informed information from one salesman who showed me the advantages of one technology over the other and proving it to me with my own eyes. Setting up the latest and best model LCD's (Sony Bravia Series & Samsung Series 6) along side the latest Plasma HDTV (Panasonic Viera TH-PY800) and letting me the consumer decide what produced the best Picture Quality for my personal home viewing. Well there was no comparison in my opinion...Plasma!

I ended up purchasing and upgrading to the latest model 50" Plasma for the same price as the 40" LCD equivalent and for a much better price than the 46" LCD's. Here are some facts that swayed me from LCD to Plasma technology...

1. DARKER BLACKS:
Plasma technology has continued to achieve quite high contrast ratios... this a measure of the blackest blacks compared to the whitest whites. Panasonic has long been the leader in Plasma black levels and is still extremely impressive.

Plasma displays achieve such impressive black levels by using internal algorithms to block the power to particular pixels in order to render a pixel "dark" or black. While this can limit a Plasma television’s gray scaling, it does produce exceptionally black blacks – depending on the manufactured plasma display element (i.e. glass).

As opposed to Plasma, LCD displays consume the most power when displaying a very dark or black image. This is a difficult process, and despite recent improvements in LCD black levels, only the best LCD displays (like those produced by Sharp, Sony and possibly most recently Samsung) have managed to topple the contrast ratio barrier (post calibration). The one continual drawback here for LCD is off axis viewing (angle viewing), when black levels consistently drop.

LCD manufacturers have made great improvements in black levels and in many cases have managed to match the contrast ratio of plasma displays. However, Plasma TVs still maintain a clear advantage in this category due to fading blacks when viewing LCDs from off axis(again viewing on an angle). In a dark room environment the user will notice the hazy effect present in blacks on LCD HDTVs.

For scenes with a lot of dark and light images shown simultaneously - as with content originating from DVDs, video games, and TV signals - Plasma HDTV's still consistently outperform LCDs. This was proved to me instore!

2. ANGLE VIEWING:

Plasma manufacturers have made much of their 160° viewing angles, which is about as good as horizontal and vertical viewing angles get. One consistent area of superiority of plasma viewing angles is demonstrated when viewing dark material content, especially DVDs. Plasma TV holds the black levels from off axis, while LCDs lose black level intensity more as the angle off axis increases. This usually occurs after around 90 degrees. LCD manufacturers have done much to improve their displays' viewing angles.

The substrate material on newer-generation LCDs by Sharp, Sony and Samsung has helped to expand those units' viewing angles, though they still have some ground to cover before catching Plasma. Expect the best LCD displays to have between 120 and 130 degree viewing angles. Due to a deeper pixel cell structure Plasma technology again triumphs in this category. Again proved to me instore. The LCD's lost Picture quality and appeared to be very washed out (grayish). Plasma kept all of its Picture quality.

3. PICTURE DEPTH:
With an incoming HD signal Plasma looks more three dimensional than LCD TVs. LCDs rely more on the effects of lighting for depth characterization and images at times can appear flatter. LCDs have enjoyed such great success from the showroom sales floor due to the extreme levels of brightness they can achieve.

Don't be fooled as your home living area is a much different environment to a showroom floor. Plasma technology has the better picture quality in normal to low room lighting conditions and are better in 4 out of 5 picture quality categories. Plasma technology will almost without exception triumph during night time viewing. LCD televisions are great for sunroom/breakfast room type environments.

Also, LCD monitors generally look better for public display but again this is not where most consumers will be viewing their HDTV. This was proved to me by viewing a HD shot of a forest on all these HDTV's. The LCD's were flat and blurred. The Plasma almost gave a 3D effect. I was impressed with this demonstration!

4. MOTION PICTURE:

FAST-MOVING VIDEO PLAYBACK - Plasma displays get the nod here because of their excellent performance with fast-moving images and high contrast levels.While the "response time" of LCD TVs has markedly improved in the last couple of years, they still suffer from a slight "trailer" effect (Ghosting), where the individual pixels are just slightly out of step with the image on the screen.

During fast moving sports scenes. In all areas of fast motion sports viewing the Plasma clearly out performed the LCD's. Again this was proved to me while instore. Eg..viewing a cycling race but concentrating on passing street signs and advertising banners. The LCD's produced a very blurred picture and I was unable to read the signs that were going past. The Plasma was outstanding! I could read every sign clearly on Plasma which were a jumbled blur on the LCD's. Again an impressive demonstration. All this was something I never considered at all!

5. OVERALL SPECS/PRICE(Value For Money):

Contrast Ratio was a biggie for me. The LCD's produced a contrast ratio of between 18,000:1 & 30,000:1 (Dynamic) while the Panasonic Plasma produced 1,000,000:1. Secondly the LCD's 100Hz motion picture technology was again bettered by the Panasonic with its 480Hz sub-field drive. Finally Price and value for money...

Sony 46" Full HD Bravia LCD X Series: $4999
Samsung 46" Full HD LCD Series 6: $3999
Panasonic 50" Full HD Plasma TH50-PY800 $3999

IN SUMMARY:
Don't let me sway your opinion either way when deciding on your HDTV. Let your own eyes convince you of the best HDTV choice for your home viewing pleasure. This is a guide to consider before leaping headfirst into a purchase which may not be the best choice available upon getting it back home.

There are many ill-informed salesman out there that may not give you (the consumer) the correct or factual information on both technology's. This is possibly due to retailers making a bigger mark up/profit% on LCD's due to the fact Plasma are more expensive to manufacture or some other reason the public are unaware of. LCD propaganda I believe is rife! So be careful when making your final decision and get a salesman who can prove to you the facts under equal conditions.

I hope this helps fellow geekzoners when it comes time to purchase your first HDTV. Don't make the same mistake I nearly made and go in blind. Investigate thoroughly!




 

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  Reply # 151837 27-Jul-2008 16:26 Send private message

I am also a plasma fan but there are a couple of additional factors to be considered.

Weight:  Think about where the TV will be installed.  Plasmas are HEAVY because there construction involves their matrix being sandwiched between two layers of glass.

Ambient Light:  Until recently most consumer grade plasmas didn't have a non-reflective screen coating.  (PY800 does).  So in a room with lots of windows beware of reflections.  Also because LCDs are backlit there is the ability to crank up the light emitted (but does cause washout) whereas a plasma relies on its cells to produce all of its light.

Burn-In:  Despite advances, plasmas will still burn in if maltreated for long enough.  Having said that LCD is not immune.  As far as I have read if LCDs retain a constant picture for long enough the crystals within a pixel will build up a memory that means they will tend not to return completely to their zero state.

Glass vs Plastic Screen (damage):  If your kids are at all prone to biffing toys around or you have a pet that likes to chase things on the screen consider what the surface of that screen is made of.

Now that the Full HD Panas have arrived on these shores I believe they offer the best for general tellie and HD viewing (Gaming still best on LCD).  Pity they probably won't have digital tuners in them til closer to Christmas.




Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

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Reply # 151838 27-Jul-2008 16:30 Send private message

Nice post!

Ahh yes, LCD burn in! It is not a myth! The POS monitors at work display the company logo 24/7 now Laughing



239 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 151843 27-Jul-2008 16:44 Send private message

Here is an interesting article I found backing up my claims of retail sales staff being ill-informed....
WATCH THIS!




 

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  Reply # 151851 27-Jul-2008 17:19 Send private message

Heat? I believe Plasmas tend to put out a lot of heat and some even have a fan?



239 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 151855 27-Jul-2008 17:25 Send private message

Good spotting exdee! Another plus. Not only do you get superior picture quality.... it heats your lounge as well...LOL. Seroiusly though, to date I haven't heard of any heat problems with LCD or Plasma HDTV's?

UPDATE:

Q. DO PLASMA TVS GENERATE HEAT?

Yes, since one of major components of a Plasma television is charged gas, the set will be warm to the touch after being in operation for a while. Since most Plasma TVs are wall or stand mounted, with plenty of air circulation, heat generation, under normal circumstances, is not an issue. This also applies to LCD's as both technology's are capable of running around the same temp depending on the various models (0-40C degrees).




 

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  Reply # 151860 27-Jul-2008 17:33 Send private message

http://ezinearticles.com/?Plasma-TV-Care-101&id=304626
Pretty good article there.

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  Reply # 151865 27-Jul-2008 17:48 Send private message

eXDee: Heat? I believe Plasmas tend to put out a lot of heat and some even have a fan?


Yep.  Makes me cringe any time I see a flat panel mounted above a fireplace.  Particularly prevalent in showhomes for some reason.




Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

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  Reply # 153466 1-Aug-2008 22:41 Send private message

Dingbatt: ..............  Pity they probably won't have digital tuners in them til closer to Christmas.


Well I guess it is closer to Christmas. Did some digging after a comment in the review of the TH-42PY800 in this month's (August) NZ PCWorld (page 101) indicated the arrival of Panasonic TVs with inbuilt freeviewHD tuners over the next 2 months.  I am informed the TH-50PZ850 (ie inbuilt freeviewHD tuner) should be arriving mid-August.  The 42" about 2-3 weeks later.




Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

510 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 153485 2-Aug-2008 04:15 Send private message

Has the new Pioneer Kuro K9 hit NZ stores yet. Full HD 1080P and even better blacks than the G8 series.
Pioneer are now using Panasonic panels in their Plasmas.




"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -
  --  Abraham lincoln

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Geek


  Reply # 153866 3-Aug-2008 19:37 Send private message


44 posts

Geek
Inactive user


  Reply # 154623 6-Aug-2008 13:09 Send private message

Sometimes I wonder whether all articles should have
a date on them. Flashing, at that.

This article was 2005. Given techno-change, it really
should be retired to inaccessible archives.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 156527 13-Aug-2008 11:19 Send private message

Plasma also tends to generate considerable RF noise . So if you are a shortwave DXer or HF HAM operator
I would definately go for LCD   but again personal preference


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  Reply # 157048 14-Aug-2008 20:32 Send private message

kiwisteve: Plasma also tends to generate considerable RF noise . So if you are a shortwave DXer or HF HAM operator
I would definately go for LCD   but again personal preference



Goes beyond RF as well.  I discovered that not only does a plasma produce visible light but also infra-red and probably ultra-violet as well.  It caused problems with my IR sender that was only fixed with a mask partially covering the IR detector.  There are detectors that are plasma resistant but they are expensive




Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 159265 24-Aug-2008 10:55 Send private message

I think another important feature is power consumption. What are plasma's like at this?

The reason I ask is that I have had three LCD's (37" to 42") rated at 230watts and below, the last two LCD's had a power saving mode which looked to be using about between quarter and half the rated power according to the UPS monitoring software I have. So 100 watts or less.

Cheers
db

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 159271 24-Aug-2008 11:11 Send private message

browned: I think another important feature is power consumption. What are plasma's like at this?

The reason I ask is that I have had three LCD's (37" to 42") rated at 230watts and below, the last two LCD's had a power saving mode which looked to be using about between quarter and half the rated power according to the UPS monitoring software I have. So 100 watts or less.

Cheers
db


Still can't understand the hangup some people have with power consumption. You spend thousands on your displays and associated electrical items and then worry about a dollar or two here or there difference a month of what it cost to run them. Its not going to break the bank or send the country into blackout depending on whether you have an LCD or Plasma and worrying about it power usage - it is whats pleasing to your eye on screen. PS - your monitoring software equipment is probably eating the difference in power comsumption anyway.




                                           

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