Originally Posted by dr_dx
I am looking to get my first HD TV. I have been using a CRT 36" Toshiba 36A50 that died a couple of days ago. Since then I have been trying to educate myself on Plasma\\LCD technology. I am looking to get something in the 50"~60" size range and my budget is $2500. I just purchased a Sony 460 player with networking and I have a Home Theater setup so I don't need internet access in the HDTV or sound - it will just be used as a display (a quiet one hopefully).
If only I had that much to spend when I bought my HDTV.
It will be in our family room in a custom built entertainment center. The room is fairly large (30+') and flows into our galley style kitchen and fairly bright with one side comprised of windows with white shutters. There will be no direct sunlight on the screen - but at night, the kitchen light will usually be on (opposite side of the room) and cause some glare on the screen (This is my biggest problem with a glossy screen). It will be used as a regular tv, and for the most part used with SD programming via the satellite for 12~16 hours/day.
Glare is my most hated enemy. Thus I purchased an LCD with a matte screen. Its about a billion times better than a glossy screened CRT!
Most Plasmas have glossy screens though they've made a lot of progress with the anti-glare coatings. Keep that in mind when you go shopping. Also, a lot of LCD manufacturers have started putting glossy screens on their LCD's as well
because you get better perceived contrast with a glossy screen, so of course a lot of the current LCD's have glare issues.
With the Sony Blu-Ray, I will be upconverting our existing DVD's, using new Blu-Ray's and watching Internet content via a HDMI 1.3 connection.
The room has a couple of straight on chairs but I also have a love seat on one side (30 degree angle) and a chair on the other side (45 degree angle), so side angle viewing is important. Normal viewing distance will be 10' or more.
viewing angles will be best with Plasma. That being said, LCD viewing angles aren't bad either. Don't let the naysayers put the fear of LCD viewing angles into you. View them yourself to see if you have an issue with them. They really have improved a lot over the last few years. I haven't seen an LCD with what I would consider a bad viewing angle in about 2 years (aside from my girlfriends Laptop...THAT has a horrible viewing angle)
In stores, the LCD displays (especially the 240hz LED full backlit) look sharper and brighter than any thing else and one or two seemed to have a very good sideangle view. Of course the Plasmas have excellent side angle viewing, but the picture and black levels didn't seem to be as good as the top end LCD's. Having said that, since I am coming from a 36" CRT, I am sure that I would be perfectly happy with a Plasma.
The LCD displays are sharper and brighter than everything else. Thats their big advantage...brightness and clarity. Plasmas actually have better black levels than the vast majority of LCD sets with the possible exception of the best of the LED models (some of which actually match pretty closely with top quality plasma sets for blacks) but with plasma, as you turn the lights on their perceived black level drops, but with LCD its the opposite...when you turn the lights up their black level gets better! Thus under store lights, LCD's will appear to have better blacks than LCD, but that will not hold up once you get them home, and especially during evening viewing if you dim the lights. Local dimming LED sets and Plasma are comparable, but CCFL based LCD sets black levels will appear grey in the dark because of the backlight bleeding through. If you end up with a CCFL backlit LCD model, just make sure to turn your backlight down to a reasonable level which helps with the black levels considerably.
My criteria are, in this order:
Longevity - we will be putting a lot of hours on it
shouldn't be an issue. Watching them 8 hours a day either technology will last you well over 10 years. (much closer to 15+ years actually)
With the amount of money you are prepared to spend, this is also not an issue. Any tv from any of the top manufactuers (Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, Panasonic, LG etc) will have fantastic picture quality no matter the technology you choose. Even a CCFL based LCD (as opposed to the newer LED based LCD) at $2000+ will blow your socks off with its picture quality. A high priced LED or Plasma will satisfy garunteed.
sideangle view - will be viewed from a 10-20 degree angle most of the time
Plasma wins this contest, but at 10-20 degrees, LCD is just fine.
glare - I realize a flat glossy surface will glare less than the rounded CRT but a flat matte surface would glare even less.
Matte screen LCD wins this hands down, but unfortunately fewer of those are being produced these days...especially with the upper end models.
Any and all suggestions will be appreciated. If there are any review sites that are considered "unbiased" or vendor agnostic, please let me know. I am a consumer reports member but they don't generally have reviews of the latest and greatest and their selection is somewhat limited. It seems that the majority of the "experts" here consider the Plasma to have the better pictiure and that is OK. I just wonder if their "longevity" is a critical factor.
C-net is a good site for HDTV reviews. They seem fairly unbiased there and they do eventually review all the top LCD's from most manufacturers. They even occasionally do "Shootouts" between various HDTV models and manufactuers which makes for interesting reading.