Looking at getting my first flat panel. Need advice on a few issues. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-02-2013, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello everyone new member here. 

I recently (3 years ago) bought a home and have been fixing it up (for a detailed account of how the renovations have been going, please see the movie Money Pit).  The project is winding down now and it’s time to furnish my “new” home.  Happily, the furnishings will include a new TV.

I originally was thinking of going LED in the 50” range.  However after much research here, on cnet, the rest of the web, and in stores, I have come to the conclusion that plasma is the way to go.  I have also come to the conclusion I should jump up to a 60” or 65” due to the size of my room.  The TV room is 12’x17’ and the couch and tv will be opposite each other the long way.  The TV will be in the darkest corner of the room, furthest from the windows.

The TVs that have popped up on my radar are the Panasonic ST60, VT60, and ZT60, as well as the Samsung F8500.   With the exception of the 60” ST60 series, these are way above and beyond in price and performance from what I was originally expecting, but are not out of question.  After all the reading, seeing these side by side in stores, and hunting for the best prices for each, there are still some things I am unable to make sense of.

First and foremost is the picture quality when it comes to bright rooms.  The room I have (see pics below) has windows on two sides.  The windows behind the couch face North, and thus the ones on the other wall face East. I should also mention that my home is a 3 story/family home and I live on the first floor.  My floor is noticeably darker during the day than the upper floors.  I don’t get a whole lot of direct sunlight, but I do get glare at times as the sun bounces off my neighbor’s yellow house.  Will the glare/brightness issue on a plasma be worse than on a CRT?  Most of my tv watching is at night after work, but I do spend the occasional lazy Sunday on the couch trying to kill brain cells via the tele.I have shades I can pull down and will also be buying curtains at some point.  I just don’t want to have to make the room so dark it’s like night in order to watch my tv.  I understand the advantage of the F8500 being super bright for a plasma, but am having trouble making sense of the ST60, VT60, and ZT60.  I know the ZT60 is the best of the 3, but it is probably out of my price range.  As for the ST60 and VT60 I am unsure which is best for bright rooms.  To be honest, I’m not even sure how bright a room has to be to be considered a “bright room” or how bad the glare is?  Is bad enough to bother anyone or only true videophiles and employees of cnet?  I know it’s somewhat subjective but there has to be a way to make some sense of it.

Another issue I am trying to make sense of is input lag.  I understand what it is, but am unsure how much it matters.  I do game but almost exclusively on my PC.  If/when I invest in a console, it will probably be for games like Mario Kart or GTA, and not so much something like Call of Duty.  I was leaning heavily towards the ST60 due to price/performance but it has noticeably worse input lag than the other TVs I mentioned.  I have watched videos of side by side comparisons with other tvs and there is a noticeable lag.  My question is how does this affect gaming?  It would seem that in some faster paced games (like Burnout) you might wind up with a situation where the TV is displaying events that have already happened on the console, and might make for a frustrating experience. I know that 76 milliseconds is a blink of an eye in reality but some games rely on fast and precise response. Can anyone comment on this?  Also does this input lag affect other areas like BR playback or syncing up with a sound system?  I would find it annoying if the lag caused the picture and sound to be off.

My last big issue is life expectancy.  Realistically my TV will be on for 2-4 hours per night.  Some people have told me that modern TVs only last 5 years.  But I have read multiple articles stating that Panasonic and Samsung rate their Plasmas at 100K hours before the brightness decays by half.   I’m used to TVs lasting 10+ years easy (still using an old CRT).  If I spend $500 on a tv and in dies in 5 years I’m going to be super pissed.  If I spend $2000 or more and it dies in 5 years, you will see me on Fox news taking hostages at the headquarters of some big electronics company.  I know the lifespan can’t be guaranteed, but is it common for modern plasmas to die in 5 years?  Is it reasonable to expect 10 years of service?

 

 

 

 

While I understand the plasma is a better picture, and can see the difference over LED, the bright pop of an LED display makes it appear better at first glance. It’s hard to get a good sense of a plasma’s true performance when its sitting on the wall next to a super bright LED TV.   Almost all of the LEDs I have seen, even the ‘good’ ones, have bleeding/tearing around the edges of objects on the screen, or blurring/distortion around fast moving objects.  This issue with LEDs bothers me and I have had trouble finding a LED TV where it’s not super noticeable. My big fear with plasma is having an overly faded/washed out picture during the day.  With LED it’s poor motion and tearing.  Aside from the TVs listed above, does anyone have any other suggestions for either a decent plasma or LED TV?  I know the TVs I listed here are the best of the best.   I seem to be having trouble finding something else without glaring issues.  

Any feedback is appreciated.  Sorry to be so long winded.  In case you couldn’t tell this is making my head spin.


-Pete

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post #2 of 7 Old 12-02-2013, 03:31 PM
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The ST60 is simply fantastic for the money, best bang-for-buck out there. It sounds like the perfect fit for your needs. I suspect it's bright enough as well. Check out my article where I describe visiting CNET and the results of a comparison that included the ST60 and the ZT60.

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post #3 of 7 Old 12-02-2013, 05:49 PM
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I agree. the st60 really is the no-question value of the decade when it comes to TV's.

I spent a LOT of time staring at the st60, f8500, and vt60 before I made my choice. and between the st60 and vt60 is was really hard to see anything. they were not side by side, and literally just turning around was enough to make the subtle difference hard to notice.

input lag isn't a big deal unless you are a serious gamer, especially playing some FPS's online, or fighting games. for just about anything else, it's not a big deal, and I've heard reports that the st60 really isn't that terrible. I know first hand, the f8500 needs to be used in game mode as well, in the normal mode the input lag is even worse than the st60

for anything other than gaming(or using the display as a computer monitor) input lag is irrelevant. it will not affect watching video in any way at all.

glare is what it is. I don't want to say you won't experience any glare with an st60(or other plasma), but I will say you're going to experience glare with all displays under some conditions. generally speaking, if you have sunlight hitting the screen, or lights placed behind your viewing area, you will see glare, period. but again, it's not like an LED(which probably also uses a glossy screen now) will magically make that glare disappear, because it won't. personally, I hate TV's with matte screens, when there is glare, it's spread out over 1/3 of the screen. and when there isn't any glare, the picture looks kind of fuzzy. so I wouldn't buy my tv based on that, i'd arrange my room based on it. try to avoid lights that will reflect directly off the screen to your viewing area. try to avoid direct sunlight. lights placed over head near the tv can actually help apparent contrast on screen, and they will not add any glare at all. I have 3 potlights about 1foot in front of my f8500. no glare whatsoever from them.

the one thing I will say against the st60(sort of), if you want that 'led pop', the f8500 might be a better choice. it really is a nice blend of plasma picture quality with LED brightness. when viewed in the showroom next to the LED's, it actually fits in pretty well. most plasmas tend to look super dim next to the overly bright led's in the store. it may be a big price tag, but I really think it's worth it over any led on the market today. it'll look good during the day in a bright room AND look fantastic at night in a dark room. no edgelit led can make that claim, let alone anything cheaper that won't even have an attempt at local dimming

grab the st60 if budget is tight and you want the best bang for you buck
get the f8500 if you have some wiggle room in the budget and find yourself lusting for the led's in the showroom
get the vt60 if you have some wiggle room in the budget, won't have direct sunlight on the screen, and do some serious online gaming where input lag will be an issue.

I would expect any of these TVs to last many years. I mean, 'stuff' happens, but it shouldn't be rare for any of them to last 10-20yrs. I usually find electronics are 'obsolete' long before they are broken. I have some no-name stuff that have had an input die, but that's it in the last 10yrs for me.

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post #4 of 7 Old 12-04-2013, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the responses. 

I spent some more time at my local BB and another dealer (Percy's) and the ST60 is looking better.  The brightness level wasn't as drastically different as I remember it being.  Also the picture on the ST60 is fantastic.  

I finally got someone at a dealer who was halfway competent about the technology as well.  One thing he mentioned was that he has seen more Samsungs come back with issues, then Panasonics.  While he felt that Samsung was a high end manufacturer, his experience lead him to believe that Panasonic is even better from a quality/reliability stand point.

So I think that is really leading me to the ST60 or VT60.  I have been checking prices daily and at the moment the VT60 is only about $200-250 more. I might go that way.  The guy at Percy's said they just bought up a whole lot of Panasonic plasmas and they might have some really competitive pricing.  I left my name and number and will check in with them next week.

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post #5 of 7 Old 12-04-2013, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBarron4 View Post

Thank you for the responses. 


I spent some more time at my local BB and another dealer (Percy's) and the ST60 is looking better.  The brightness level wasn't as drastically different as I remember it being.  Also the picture on the ST60 is fantastic.  


I finally got someone at a dealer who was halfway competent about the technology as well.  One thing he mentioned was that he has seen more Samsungs come back with issues, then Panasonics.  While he felt that Samsung was a high end manufacturer, his experience lead him to believe that Panasonic is even better from a quality/reliability stand point.


So I think that is really leading me to the ST60 or VT60.  I have been checking prices daily and at the moment the VT60 is only about $200-250 more. I might go that way.  The guy at Percy's said they just bought up a whole lot of Panasonic plasmas and they might have some really competitive pricing.  I left my name and number and will check in with them next week.

i think the QC is fairly even, it's very good for both. most of the returns are ppl who were expecting more(or different) than what they got. i think the perception is that panasonic is the best, so ppl don't bring them home, see that they aren't really 'black' but then go online and read they are as good as it gets, so no point trying something else. on the other hand, if they have the f8500, they'll go online and read that the vt60 or zt60 is slightly blacker, so they trade it in for one of those.

if the vt60 is only 250 more than an st60, BUY IT. when i was shopping in april, i was quoted 2150 for the 65" ST, 2775 for 60" VT, and 2850 for 64" f8500. i had to check back through old texts to get those, i THINK, the 65" vt was 3200ish. i know it was significantly more than the f8500 here. anyway, panasonics been at/near the top since pioneer left. samsung is really just now matching them. they are all fantastic tv's though, and i wouldn't turn away the f8500 just because it's a samsung, nor would i buy the vt60 just because it's a panasonic. they are both good enough to earn your sale on their own merits, but in slightly different ways, so just shop smart, and don't look back biggrin.gif

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post #6 of 7 Old 12-06-2013, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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What do you guys think of buying open box?  I am finding a few ST60s and VT60s on open box specials.  I am usually weary of these sorts of things.  I NEVER buy refurbished electronics.  With open box you could get something in new condition, for less money, or you could be getting a box of problems. 
 

Also, do people usually get the extended warranty?


-Pete

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post #7 of 7 Old 12-07-2013, 08:36 AM
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open box depends on the store and the product. I have no problems with refurbished, in a way, you have more assurance with a refurb since a human will have gone through that piece component by component and tested it to make sure it works(if it's an authorized refurb anyway). I have a refurb'd HP desktop computer I bought about 7yrs ago that hasn't had a single problem. I use it as my HTPC and it's running 24/7.

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