Panny 65ST30 vs. Sharp 70" LCD: Pros/Cons? - AVS Forum
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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So my local Fry's is having a heck of a sale, I'm seriously considering finally diving in, with my wife's somewhat reluctant blessing (she hates to spend the money, but REALLY wants a flat panel).

Of course, what I REALLY want is either the 65VT30 or the Sharp Elite, but both are out of my price range (sub $2k).

I have a Mitsubishi 65" CRT-based HDTV now, and video quality has always been very important to me, particularly blacks.

I REALLY want to upgrade in size, especially since the screen will be farther from the sitting position. (my 65" Mits is over 2' deep, so a a 65" flat panel on the wall will look smaller) Since Panasonic has yet to come out with anything over 65" (ignoring that absurd 80" plasma that's like $16k), my only viable option for bigger is the Sharp 70" sets (and not the Elite, sadly, since I can't afford $8k either). I've been seeing some pretty good reports on them... blacks aren't as good as Plasma, but there are a lot of advantages. I worry most about motion quality, however. I believe Plasma has an edge over LCD there, and is closest to my beloved CRT for both motion and blacks.

I don't game. Or very rarely, anyway. I do listen to music, however, with an onscreen display, from various streaming sources (AppleTV, Denon AVR's built-in Pandora, etc.), so I worry a bit about burn-in/image retention with a Plasma. So the lower power consumption of LCD is attractive to me, along with being 100% burn-in-proof, for all practical purposes.

Should I stick with Panny plasmas, and just swallow the bitter pill of potential burn-in, higher energy consumption, and smaller screen size? Or go for the Sharp 70" (632), with worse (but probably still tolerable) black levels, worse motion, but larger screen, tiny power consumption, and no-worries about IR?

There's also 3D to consider... the Sharp doesn't offer 3D. The Panny does. I hate getting a set with no 3D, even though, honestly, I doubt I'll watch much 3D content. I suppose I could pick up two pairs of glasses at some point, but it's crazy to have to supply them to everyone for a viewing party, which is where it would be the most fun anyway.

There is about a $300 between the price of the two sets, with the Sharp being more expensive.

Both will be professionally calibrated, which is part of why I'm considering them. While out of the box differences (even after home calibration via DVE, WOW, etc) probably favor the plasma, I think that, once calibrated, the two screens will be a lot closer in quality. The plasma would still have the edge in VQ, but lose out in the other areas.

Posting this in the Plasma forum, I can almost predict the responses, but I thought it still might be worth seeking some opinions...

TIA!
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:31 PM
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I returned a 52" sharp 835 in favor of my 55" gt30 because of the horrible clouding on the sharp led. I'm much happier with the Panasonic. The sharp was nice but the clouding ruined it for me.

The power consumption on plasmas is not much different than LEDs any more. Slightly higher but not enough to get excited about IMO.

~Bill
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:32 PM
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As I am a fan of plasma, I would go with the Panasonic. Burn-in is a thing of the past and the power consumption of the plasma is not going to be noticeable on your electric bill.
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillKen View Post

I returned a 52" sharp 835 in favor of my 55" gt30 because of the horrible clouding on the sharp led. I'm much happier with the Panasonic. The sharp was nice but the clouding ruined it for me.

The power consumption on plasmas is not much different than LEDs any more. Slightly higher but not enough to get excited about IMO.

Clouding can indeed be an issue with some of the LCDs, but that's why I'm buying locally, retail. Reports have shown that some people get sets with some clouding, some get sets with lots of clouding, and some get sets with no clouding. Those with clouding can return the set as many times as is needed to get one without, if they're really serious about it. I will be really serious about it (plasma or LCD, for that matter), and exchange the set I end up with as much as is needed to get a good one. Since the shops are local (and the distance of my living room wall to my car is not far), it's not a massive hassle for me to exchange, if I need to. Return shipping would make this impossible, but with a local shop, it's not THAT big of a hassle, and well worth the effort, IMO.

They did some tests and calculations in another thread somewhere on here, and the 65" plasmas (which use a lot more juice than the smaller ones, btw), definitely consumed a lot more juice than comparably-sized LCDs. It's not a massive concern, as the difference over the course of a year is not super huge, but it is a noticeable difference. With LCD I feel like I could leave the TV on willy-nilly, and who cares about what's on screen. I could run one of those aquarium discs just for kicks in the background, all day! With Plasma I feel like I'd need to police myself more. Not a deal-breaker issue, but it's there, lurking in the back of my mind... After being hyper-vigilant with my CRT for all these years (about leaving it on, between screen burn-in, phosphor wear, and power consumption), a mental vacation from any worry has it's attractions.
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MikeBiker View Post

As I am a fan of plasma, I would go with the Panasonic. Burn-in is a thing of the past and the power consumption of the plasma is not going to be noticeable on your electric bill.

You're probably right. But it's smaller... ARGH!
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:12 PM
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You also probably want to consider the "green blob/pink tint" issue that has plagued a lot of the Panny's, all models for this past year. What many have found was that the green blobs would diminish over time but the pink tint around the edge of the screens would either never go away or get worse.

I would say the clouding for LCD and green blob/pink tint of the Panny's are fairly even in terms of annoyance.

I have a 60" Sharp that has some clouding/uneven edge-lighting, I learned to live with it for the value I got ($799). For me, size was really important, I went from a 52" CCFL LCD to a 60" edge-lit LED and I would never go any smaller after having the 60". Even if it meant I would have a better quality TV like the Panny VT30, I love the 60" size. BTW my eyesight isn't the greatest so I'm not the complete majority. I feel I could go bigger at about 8ft away. At my distance, a 60" IMO finally gets me to that immersion level I've been looking for.

You can get some great deals on both sets if you know where to look, but it seems like your mind is already leaning toward the 70" Sharp. The clouding, as you mention, can be bad to ok, to not bad at all, just luck of the draw. Also something that would be deemed unnaceptable to one, may be fine for another on the clouding severity. The energy comparison is very negligible between the techs.

Here are the pros as I see them for each vs one another. I'm using the Sharp LC-70LE632U as loose comparison:

Sharp
- 5" larger
- 5lbs lighter than the plasma (not a biggie)
- no IR or burn-in worries
- no green blobs/pink tint
- daylight viewing would be better
- no buzzing
- no break-in time to age phosphors

Panny
- better blacks
- better motion
- 3D
- no clouding/flashlighting
- no SOE (soap opera effect ie 120hz/240hz settings for LED)

just my two cents, hope it helps a little.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks JoeBel, that is helpful. Size is indeed important to me, which is one reason I'm struggling. While I'm happy with my 65" set (at ~8' viewing distance), 70" would be that much better, IMO, and then there's the fact that I'm moving the set farther away (unless I spend $100s on a really good extending wall mount and leave it extended most of the time).

Both seem incredibly thin to me, so not sure where that's from. The Panny is 2.8" deep and the Sharp is 3.5" deep, so 0.7" difference seems pretty negligible.

The motion quality (and now that I've remembered it, lack of 3D option) worries me the most about the Sharp. BIG plus in the Plasma column.

How prevalent is the green blob/pink tint issue with the Pannys? I have to admit I haven't seen too much about, but I have seen it mentioned in passing here and there. Is it something that just hits some sets (much like clouding with the Sharps), such that I could just exchange an affected set (pretty immediately) if it is one that has it, or is it so widespread that I would just have to live with it?
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalani View Post

Thanks JoeBel, that is helpful. Size is indeed important to me. The motion quality (and now that I remembered it, lack of 3D option) worries me the most about the Sharp. BIG plus in the Plasma column.

How prevalent is the green blob/pink tint issue with the Pannys? I have to admit I haven't seen too much about, but I have seen it mentioned in passing here and there. Is it something that just hits some sets (much like clouding with the Sharps), such that I could just exchange an affected set (pretty immediately) if it is one that has it, or is it so widespread that I would just have to live with it?

Oops, yes I forgot the 3D factor, Panny of course having it and Sharp not. I'm still on the fence on it but it is a nice bonus. But I'd take the larger screen anyday in my situation.

After a LOT of research on the Panny's, all models (at one point was going to exchange my LED for a 60GT30 but the issues made me feel like I didn't want to spend up that much to have to worry about another exchange), I feel like the the green block/pink tink is likely rather than unlikely. I read about someone that was on his 3rd ST30 that had it still, seemed like the severity was like the clouding.

Granted it may be something that is not as noticeable from one person to another (like the DLP rainbow affect), but I have seen some pretty bad pics of it, I'll try to find some links for you.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:28 PM
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See this post: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1390636

Check out sagex11's pics of the issue (midway down the page post #12). There's no way to be sure but maybe it's 50/50 because not everyone is having the issue, but it's very hard to gauge.

Some think that it's a prob with every one of the Panny's but some just can't see it. Sagex's last pic it's super obvious with the knight on the horse, the pink tint on the screen edges.

my bad on the thinness, I assumed the LED would be thinner since the ST30 has a little less "design" put into it like the GT or VT series.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:50 PM
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I have a panny plamsa 50 inch st30 and its nice and it costs like 25 dollars a year to run.
i game on mine i dont get no ir or brun in. so if you just wacth cable tv and blu-ray then
the plasma will be fine for you just break it in for 100 hours
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:59 PM
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FYI not sure if you saw this but I think you can still get the Sharp LC70LE632U via Sears and use Discover cashback for a total of $1619.00 with in-store pick-up or shipped: http://slickdeals.net/f/3888292-Shar...free-delivery?

hopefully it's still active it was last week I think this was posted and I saw stock locally near me.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, saw that deal, thx. $1899 is the same price as my local shop, and I don't have a discover card so I don't think I can get the 10% off. $1799 at Sears isn't bad, though. I'll go that route if I end up going with the Sharp. (or have another shop price-match them)

The Panny is only $1500 at my local Fry's, though. If I can get one without the green/pink issue (and I can exchange easily if need be), that's probably the cheapest way to go.

I just stopped by BB and looked at the Sharp and the ST30 right next to each other. One thing I definitely noticed was the viewing angles on the Panny were a LOT better than the Sharp. Sharp was certainly still viewable off-angle, but the PQ was noticeably diminished... "greyer" is the best way I can think to put it. There was practically no change with the Panny at any semi-reasonable angle.

If I could afford the Sharp 735, this would be a much easier decision, I think...
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalani View Post

Yes, saw that deal, thx. $1899 is the same price as my local shop, and I don't have a discover card so I don't think I can get the 10% off. $1799 at Sears isn't bad, though. I'll go that route if I end up going with the Sharp. (or have another shop price-match them)

The Panny is only $1500 at my local Fry's, though. If I can get one without the green/pink issue (and I can exchange easily if need be), that's probably the cheapest way to go.

I just stopped by BB and looked at the Sharp and the ST30 right next to each other. One thing I definitely noticed was the viewing angles on the Panny were a LOT better than the Sharp. Sharp was certainly still viewable off-angle, but the PQ was noticeably diminished... "greyer" is the best way I can think to put it. There was practically no change with the Panny at any semi-reasonable angle.

Great, wow, nice price on the ST30! Sometimes I wondered how much happier I'd be with my panels over the years if I never came to AVS. It's possible you might not notice the blobs/tint, just one of those things.

The Panny def will have the better viewing angles, another thing I didn't consider as I don't have off-axis viewing in my set-up.

Part of me wants to tell you to try the Sharp first and than if you're not happy with the pic/motion/clouding if any, go with the ST30, since it ultimately will have the better picture because of the motion/blacks, etc. Plasma will always trounce LED in that respect, but IMO you do have to baby a plasma a bit more. I fall asleep a lot in front of my tv and I would most likely have had some serious IR or possible burn-in by now with static things from menus being left on it all night. I own both techs and I love them both for their strengths but each has its own short-comings IMO. At times I was annoyed when I had to "whitewash" some IR on my Samsung plasma, at times I would think to myself "why do I have to worry about these static channel logos, I'm not enjoying what I'm watching". Things like that turn me off at times of plasma.

The Sharp 735 has the 3D, right, that was one of the points your mulling over? I think clouding/uneven backlighting is spread throughout most Sharp LED's no matter what model just an FYI. Other than the Elite I have read complaints on most all models of it in some form or another, just in case you were wondering.

Good luck whatever you decide & my best advice is don't look to hard for a problem that you might never notice, you'll drive yourself mad
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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LOL I hear ya!

Yes, I've been following the 735 owners thread so I'm well aware of the issues... as well as the fairly large number of happy campers! You just have to get lucky to nab a set with minimal clouding and you're good to go... as far as the biggest drawback with the Sharps. And yes, the 735 has 3D, and some other nice things over the 632. (better calibration controls, for instance)

Sitting 8' from the set along a wide sofa, you'll actually see a shift in color with the Sharp from the side-most seats... also, there is a view from the dining room which is at a more extreme angle, so I actually worry a little about the viewing angle issue. It's one of the complaints I have about my CRT, even, which is one reason I really like that the plasma is really good in that regard. This is one of things I looked at while at the store, and I definitely noticed a difference. I had seen it mentioned, but confirmed in person. And yet, that wonderful size... (I do have to admit that the two sets, displayed one above the other at BB, didn't look that different in size, even with the 5" advantage the Sharp has... but given the increased viewing distance I'm looking at, it seems like a double whammy if I give up the larger size.)

The good thing about forums like this is, now that I know to look for in a new set, if it does exhibit the problem, I can exchange it in the 30-day window for one without the issue. Much worse to learn about an issue 45-60 days, or even a year, down the road, and then have it bug you for the life of the set!

I agree, however, that the idea of babying the plasma, at least to some degree, even though it's supposedly "not a concern", drives me bonkers. I don't fall asleep much, but I do like the idea of leaving the set on at a party and not having to worry about guests messing something up.

I REALLY wish there was more competition in the over 65" category, but Sharp has that locked up for the foreseeable future.
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:40 PM
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I just bought the Sharp 70LE732 to replace my Mits 65907 RPTV for a bright first floor family room. This was the right choice for my situation and I am delighted with my decision. The 732 is a fantastic TV.
I also own a Panasonic 58VT25 plasma and I have to say the Sharp can really compete with the black levels.
The Sharp is set for Auto mode while the Panny is set in THX for viewing Comcast HDTV. Picture on both looks almost the same.
I love Plasma but I still baby it because of burn in potential.
Didn't want to deal with that on my new TV.
Both have pro & cons but you can't go wrong with PQ on these sets.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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The 732 is definitely a nice set, too, but out my price range, unfortunately. It has the Quattron screen (for better or worse), but still no 3D, which only the 735 offers.

At this point, I'm leaning towards the Panny plasma, in spite of the babying I'll need to do. I'm used to that with CRT anyway, so hopefully not too bad. Price matters, and that's too good to pass up. If I have green/pink blob issues that aren't resolved after one exchange, perhaps I'll trade up to the Sharp at that point instead.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalani View Post

The 732 is definitely a nice set, too, but out my price range, unfortunately. It has the Quattron screen (for better or worse), but still no 3D, which only the 735 offers.

At this point, I'm leaning towards the Panny plasma, in spite of the babying I'll need to do. I'm used to that with CRT anyway, so hopefully not too bad. Price matters, and that's too good to pass up. If I have green/pink blob issues that aren't resolved after one exchange, perhaps I'll trade up to the Sharp at that point instead.

i will tell you that you will not get a panny without the pink green tint issue. i had 2 ST's and others have had multiple exchanges and all had it. everyone i have seen in stores also had it. on some movies it will bug you to death and dont plan on watching B&W content....

i got a sharp 60 632 and i am thrilled with it, there is a little very minor clouding but it does not bother me at all, the pink drove me crazy... i think the 70 632 biggest drawback is you may get some DSE.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:28 PM
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I will throw my opinion out there.

For me it would come down to your room conditions.

I bought a 65VT30 in November and absolutely love it! I must have a good one because I don't see any of the green/pink blobs.

We really abuse the thing too and no image retention to speak of. It is in the bedroom, so most of our viewing is at night in dark conditions. Sometimes we fall asleep watching a BD and I will wake up hours later with the menu screen burning bright. No issues so far. The screen savers usually kick-in to save us.

It has been great! Wonderful viewing angles. Excellent motion. Football is AMAZING!

However, in the daytime, with a bunch of bright windows, it is almost unwatchable, especially a dark movie.

So, I have a family room downstairs that I am looking for another flat panel in the 65-70 range. It has more windows and more daytime viewing. I won't be putting a Panasonic plasma there. I will be getting a Sharp 70" at some point. They seem like really good TV's with great sizes for not obscene prices.

If you have a dark enough room, you will love the Panasonic. If you need the brightness and size, go for the Sharp.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jr4270 View Post

For me it would come down to your room conditions.



If you have a dark enough room, you will love the Panasonic. If you need the brightness and size, go for the Sharp.

I WANT the size. I have 65" now, but this one will be closer to the wall since it's flat screen. I don't need the brightness, since the room is quite dark.

And the ST30 is not quite the same as the VT30, unfortunately. If I could swing the VT30 I'd be looking at different options.
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:42 AM
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For what it's worth i'm in your same predicament . I keep flip flopping back and forth between the 65 pannys and the 70 sharps. I have a feeling though that in the end the extras size of the sharp is going to win out....
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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For what it's worth i'm in your same predicament . I keep flip flopping back and forth between the 65 pannys and the 70 sharps. I have a feeling though that in the end the extras size of the sharp is going to win out....

I know, they're so close it's obscene, isn't it?

At the moment, I'm leaning towards the ST30, at least partially because of the money. If the ST30 I bring home is affected by the green/pink blob issue, I'll swap it out ONCE, and if the second set is also affected, that'll make up my mind to push for the Sharp instead.

I have to decide very soon, as they only had three ST30s left in stock as of yesterday evening, and the sale price ends Thursday...
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:49 PM
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I can tell you of my experience with a similar decision (although it may not help you make a decision) :0

I bought the 70 inch Sharp (732) a few weeks ago. It is in our main living room and we sit about 8 to 9 feet away from the TV. I wanted a big TV and thought that the room may be too bright for a plasma.

I NEVER thought I would say this but...it was too big. From that viewing distance, it felt like we were in the first row of a movie theatre.

Secondly, we love hockey and it felt like the TV couldn't keep up with the action. There was a lot of stuttering and motion blur on the puck. It got to the point where my wife and I both felt dizzy. We also got dizzy watching the beginning of Avatar (when he comes out of the sleep chamber). It may have been the size coupled with some motion blur...but I don't know for sure.

In any event, after reading these forums for a few days straight (thanks everyone), I exchanged the TV. I chose the 60 inch GT30. For the first 100 hours I watched only full screen BRs, and used the apple TV full screen saver feature with lots of different colored pictures. Then we watched a hockey game a few nights ago and the picture was awesome and with no motion blur on the puck. With the smaller 60 inch size, and no motion blur we didn't feel any dizzyness.

The picture is amazing for BR movies (I use THX or cinema setting). Inky blacks, and it almost feels like 3D even while watching 2D. We have not watched any 3D, as we don't have the glasses yet. The only downside so far is a red flashing pixel that won't go away. But from 8 feet away, I can't see it, so I am not too concerned yet.

My concerns about the brightness level of the room were proven incorrect, as the picture is super bright and clear even during the day. My only concern going forward is IR when we watch a lot of hockey or network programming, but we will keep switching up the zoom level and try not to watch too much in a row. It kind of sucks to have to worry about this, but I feel like that is the price I have to pay to have such an amazing picture.

Good luck in your decision.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, everyone. Tonight I went and paid for the Panny 65ST30. I'll bring it home tomorrow, hopefully, else the next day if I can't fit it in my Element. (They only had two left at the sale price so I didn't want to risk missing out!)

I'll be super critical to be sure no green blobs/pink tint, and run the break-in slides. Assuming it passes muster, I'm sure I'll be quite pleased... And if not, I have 30 days to return for 100% refund (or exchange for another try... Or give up and try out the Sharp!).
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Kalani View Post

Thanks, everyone. Tonight I went and paid for the Panny 65ST30. I'll bring it home tomorrow, hopefully, else the next day if I can't fit it in my Element. (They only had two left at the sale price so I didn't want to risk missing out!)

I'll be super critical to be sure no green blobs/pink tint, and run the break-in slides. Assuming it passes muster, I'm sure I'll be quite pleased... And if not, I have 30 days to return for 100% refund (or exchange for another try... Or give up and try out the Sharp!).

I just did the same. Mine is getting delivered late morning. I think you made the right choice. I juggled 3-4 displays for the last month or so. I cant tell you how many times I went back into my local BBs and PCRs to look at them. What finally did it for me was the price. You can't beat that deal. The way I see it, the only positive for the Sharp was the extra 5''. You are trading that for a better picture, solid 3D and a lower price tag.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bucks View Post

I just did the same. Mine is getting delivered late morning. I think you made the right choice. I juggled 3-4 displays for the last month or so. I cant tell you how many times I went back into my local BBs and PCRs to look at them. What finally did it for me was the price. You can't beat that deal. The way I see it, the only positive for the Sharp was the extra 5''. You are trading that for a better picture, solid 3D and a lower price tag.

There are other positives for the Sharp, but few that have anything to do with PQ. Just couldn't say no to $1500... Fry's really pulled it out!
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:49 AM
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After returning my Sharp 52" for my Panasonic 55" GT30 I realized what a pain in the rear it is - even being only 10 minutes from the store and having a Ford SuperCrew to put it in.

I think your chances of a good Panny plasma are a lot better than a good non-cloudy Sharp LED. I think you made a good decision too.

~Bill
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:47 AM
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Wow. There are the same 2 TVs I've been wrestling with to decide between.

Been viewing them occasionally in Best Buy.

My thoughts , at least at this moment:
- they both look very good, either size would work well foe me (coming from a 4:3 53" rear projection).
- based on the store setup, and only through their closed circuit demo loop, I gravitate more toward the Sharp at times, and the Panny at other times.
- they had a 65vt30 with the worst burn in I've ever seen. Burn-in most certainly is an issue if you don't pay attention.
- with the few sports clips in the demo, I couldn't tell any difference with motion handling, but this was not really a good test.
- when it came to hockey or other snow sports in the demo loop, I MUCH preferred the Sharp. When that ABL circuit kicks in on the plasma on a mostly white screen, I cannot stand the dull, grey look to the picture. This is apparently not defeatable.

I watch hockey a lot, so a new TV must handle this sport very well. The trade off between these 2 TVs is a dull/grey screen on the Panny, or perhaps inferior motion handling on the Sharp.

Litty31, I'd like to hear more about your experience with hockey on the Sharp in terms of motion, and the Panny in terms of picture brightness in your home. I've read that the motion on the Sharp can be greatly improved by turning off Film Mode, and reducing motion enhancement to low or off. Did you try these methods?
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:19 AM
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I owned both the 70" Quattron and the 65" GT30. Returned them both. Flaws in each - I don't even own a TV anymore!

The Panasonic's picture quality in dim lighting was breathtaking.

=Tommy v2=
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Old 02-15-2012, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank_K View Post

Wow. There are the same 2 TVs I've been wrestling with to decide between.

Been viewing them occasionally in Best Buy.

My thoughts , at least at this moment:
- they both look very good, either size would work well foe me (coming from a 4:3 53" rear projection).
- based on the store setup, and only through their closed circuit demo loop, I gravitate more toward the Sharp at times, and the Panny at other times.
- they had a 65vt30 with the worst burn in I've ever seen. Burn-in most certainly is an issue if you don't pay attention.
- with the few sports clips in the demo, I couldn't tell any difference with motion handling, but this was not really a good test.
- when it came to hockey or other snow sports in the demo loop, I MUCH preferred the Sharp. When that ABL circuit kicks in on the plasma on a mostly white screen, I cannot stand the dull, grey look to the picture. This is apparently not defeatable.

I watch hockey a lot, so a new TV must handle this sport very well. The trade off between these 2 TVs is a dull/grey screen on the Panny, or perhaps inferior motion handling on the Sharp.

Litty31, I'd like to hear more about your experience with hockey on the Sharp in terms of motion, and the Panny in terms of picture brightness in your home. I've read that the motion on the Sharp can be greatly improved by turning off Film Mode, and reducing motion enhancement to low or off. Did you try these methods?

Don't evaluate a TV based on the terrible demo mode you see running in a Best Buy. Properly calibrated, either TV will present a MUCH better picture than anything you'll see in the store.

Sports fans tend to prefer plasma's motion handling. Again, properly calibrated, there is no mode to "defeat" and your picture will look fantastic. Even white hockey rinks on a plasma.

Once the break in slides finish running and I have the set in place and calibrated (by me, at least, not by a pro, until I can afford that later this year), I'll take and post some photos of my ST30 displaying varying content.
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