My thoughts on LCD vs Plasma, and why I am choosing LCD. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 385 Old 02-24-2009, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I am currently in the market to buy a new TV. I started off undecided on LCD versus Plasma, and I didnt even have a specific size in mind (considering everything between 46" and 52"). The TV is going in a 19x12 room, which will be a dedicated home theater, and I have complete control over the lighting in the room. Our seating will be approximately 8-10 feet from the source.

The main contenders for me, after hours of looking around and hours of research, came down to the Samsung LN52a650 LCD, and the Panasonic TH-50PZ85U plasma TV. Although the Samsung is obviously a couple hundred bucks more, price is not a limiting factor in this decision, any TV under $2,000 would be fine. I'm not out to intentially spend up to my limit though.

So, like many of you guys have, I read through hundreds and hundreds of posts about each TV, read every review I could find online, and spent a ton of time trying to decide whether plasma or LCD would be a better fit for me. Plasma seemed to be the initial standout, because I have complete control over the lighting so glare isn't an issue, and I liked the idea of paying a little less to get much deeper blacks and much smoother motion on the TV. Seemed like an easy choice.

But then, I did what I shouldn't have done, and started reading up on thread after thread about IR and burn-in with plasma tvs. Looks like after many generations of plasma TVs, IR has been all but completely fixed, but I STILL cannot get myself past the fact that I am still going to be sitting there with the IR issues on my mind, worrying that I need to switch video sources or constantly wipe the screen or limit myself from viewing too many letterboxed movies in a row. My wife, when viewing the TV by herself, will likely take far less precaution than I would, and I wonder if she would heed the severity of the warning I would give her about not keeping the TV paused for too long or wiping the screen occasionally or not watching an entire day of letterboxed movies in a row. I would worry about the TV every time I decided to game for a few hours at a time. One BIG problem I am having is that we are NOT going to even have cable TV, watching movies would occupy about 80% of the time on the TV and they would almost all have black bars across the top and bottom, leading to uneven wear over time. This just doesn't seem acceptable to me when paying $1,500+ for a TV.

So then, the Samsung LN52A650 seemed to jump to the front of the pack for me. Blacks aren't as deep, there is a little bit of motion blur, and the overall picture quality isn't quite as good as the plasma's picture quality, but I decided that these tradeoffs were completely worth not having to worry about IR and burn-in, NO MATTER HOW UNLIKELY IT IS. But then I start reading more and more in depth, and lo-and-behold, even the 650 series LCDs seem to have issues with colors being too soft and the image being too blurred (most noticeable on faces and skin tone). People also have slight clouding issues, and even on the brand new panels, the "Flashlighting" issue is still apparent, and off-axis viewing causes a significant decrease in picture quality. So many negatives associated with this, that after debating back and forth with myself and thinking it over, this was unacceptable to me as well, for $1900, this is not what I am paying for.

I have chosen a TV, and my final choice, is NEITHER of the two above. What I have come to realize after all of this research, and all of this struggle with my decision making, is that we are dealing with two SERIOUSLY flawed television technologies. When one appears to be better, another drawback surfaces causing just as huge of a problem. We can only hope affordable OLED tv's get here sooner rather than later and end this mess for good.

So what TV did I end up choosing? An LCD, which you obviously gathered from the thread title. But instead of spending $1900 on a TV that I won't be satisfied with regardless, I have decided to step down and pick up a Samsung LN52a550 instead of the 650, and save myself $500. Sure, I lose the 10bit, 120hz panel...but whats the point of paying extra to get a panel that is STILL blurry, still going to exhibit the same flaws to a slightly lesser extent? I am instead going to put that $500 towards increasing my budget for my 5.1 speakers, which should take me up a significant notch in quality and performance on those, now that I will have a budget of $1300 for the speakers instead of just $800. The speakers will likely last me through this TV, and beyond. The TV, no matter which one I buy, will likely be replaced in three years anyways. Hopefully by then, a new, better technology will arise and help ease my decision.

This whole process has made me long for the days where tube TVs were all we had to worry about.


Anyways, thats just my very long-winded two cents on this issue. I'm fully prepared to take the forthcoming flaming from plasma owners who feel bashed, from lcd owners who feel that the technology is working well, and from people who think I am just being a miserable luddite. I'm open to all constructive feedback about this decision, but unless something insanely mind-changing comes out of this thread, I plan on ordering the a550 in the next 48 hours.
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post #2 of 385 Old 02-24-2009, 11:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heebdawg16 View Post



Anyways, thats just my very long-winded two cents on this issue. I'm fully prepared to take the forthcoming flaming from plasma owners who feel bashed, from lcd owners who feel that the technology is working well, and from people who think I am just being a miserable luddite. I'm open to all constructive feedback about this decision, but unless something insanely mind-changing comes out of this thread, I plan on ordering the a550 in the next 48 hours.

Hey, it's your decison and money and as long as you're satisfied that's what's important. I do think that people who look at these TV's as flawed are taking the wrong approach as the TV's today are better than the TV's of yesterday just as the TV's of tomorrow will be better than those of today.

I also have the 40" version of the TV you chose and it's a nice set, but you're definitely missing out on the opportunity to have an even better set for not much more money. My choice would have been the 5020 or the PZ800for a $2k set but be happy with your choice and don't look back.
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post #3 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 03:33 AM
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Forget the TV. Your right they are all flawed.

Add another $1400 to your speaker budget and get better speakers.
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post #4 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 04:01 AM
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post #5 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 04:19 AM
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I've tortured my plasma to the point that it'd surely make some here cringe, and I've never seen even a hint of IR. I've watched few letterboxed movies in a row, without switching to full screen or screen wiping (I know, the horror!) with no problems whatsoever.

Yeah, I'm sure you were expecting these kinds of anecdotes, but it's not even a remote worry for me. I'd certainly choose the set that I felt had the best picture, period. Many (if not all) current sets have the screen-wipe feature. It takes 3 seconds to start and it will turn off the set automatically.
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post #6 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 05:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heebdawg16 View Post


I have decided to step down and pick up a Samsung LN52a550 instead of the 650, and save myself $500.

I ended up with the same model except my process of elimination was a lot shorter by just saying no to any glossy panel as I have all the mirrors I need in the four bathrooms and I don't want another one in front of me when I watch TV.
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post #7 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 06:34 AM
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If i had 2k to spend, i'd own an lcd too. 650 is a great set for the dough.
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post #8 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 06:42 AM
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I think your biggest problem is the AVS forum. If you're looking for the perfect TV, it doesn't exist. But ignorance is bliss. If you just buy a TV based on your own first hand observations you'll most likely be very satisfied with it. The best TV's out there today are really very, very good. But spend enough time here and you become aware of every shortcoming of every TV, real or imagined, major or minor. They're all discussed to death and burned into your brain to the point where you can no longer be truly happy with any TV regardless of which one you choose.
Still, I can't seem to stay away from here. It's bad because it's prolonging my purchase decision.
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post #9 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 06:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bsavitz View Post

I think your biggest problem is the AVS forum. If you're looking for the perfect TV, it doesn't exist. But ignorance is bliss. If you just buy a TV based on your own first hand observations you'll most likely be very satisfied with it. The best TV's out there today are really very, very good. But spend enough time here and you become aware of every shortcoming of every TV, real or imagined, major or minor. They're all discussed to death and burned into your brain to the point where you can no longer be truly happy with any TV regardless of which one you choose.
Still, I can't seem to stay away from here. It's bad because it's prolonging my purchase decision.


I agree with you, these forums are the devil haha. Everytime I come on here to ask for advice on purchasing new gear, my budget magically seems to jump up by 50%.

But I think the real problem with these or any other forums is that the people who speak loudest and most adament about products, are the ones who have problems or complaints. It's completely natural, but that's the way it works. Plus, people are always looking for ways to improve their viewing experience, and once you have peaked your sets quality out, you start to notice the flaws and limitations.

To the person who mentioned that tvs today are better than tvs yesterday, you are right. But still, there are legitimate problems with each technology that cause a severe concern for purhasing them. You have to draw the line somewhere and say that these drawbacks are not worth every penny you pay for them.

I haven't ordered yet, I am waitig on a few more replies and I am going to check them out in person one more time today, then I will make up my mind.
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post #10 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 06:59 AM
 
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post #11 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsavitz View Post

I think your biggest problem is the AVS forum. If you're looking for the perfect TV, it doesn't exist. But ignorance is bliss. If you just buy a TV based on your own first hand observations you'll most likely be very satisfied with it. The best TV's out there today are really very, very good. But spend enough time here and you become aware of every shortcoming of every TV, real or imagined, major or minor. They're all discussed to death and burned into your brain to the point where you can no longer be truly happy with any TV regardless of which one you choose.
Still, I can't seem to stay away from here. It's bad because it's prolonging my purchase decision.

This is too true, all around though. Every single purchase I make, I spend countless hours researching it. The reviews and research on the internet make it a quest to get the best that everyone unanimously agrees on. I think I miss the days that I would just walk into a local store and pick up "whatever" because the price was good and seemed as though it would fit me need. And I would enjoy it because I didn't know any better.

Remember the days that consumer reports was the single source of research.
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post #12 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 08:19 AM
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Given your viewing conditions it is a crying shame that you've chosen a different path than the one you were on. Your experiences would have been far better with the plasma's you were looking at, but as long as you're happy that's all that matters.
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post #13 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heebdawg16 View Post

I haven't ordered yet, I am waitig on a few more replies and I am going to check them out in person one more time today, then I will make up my mind.

Why don't you trust your own judgement?

You think anyone here knows more than you?

These are just my opinions.
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post #14 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 08:38 AM
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I predict as a first time hd buyer...you will buy lcd as most do. In a year once you have experienced hd for 12 months and become used to it, you will likely sell the lcd and buy a plasma.
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post #15 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by simplemath View Post

I predict as a first time hd buyer...you will buy lcd as most do. In a year once you have experienced hd for 12 months and become used to it, you will likely sell the lcd and buy a plasma.

It was just the opposite in my case.

Bought an 8k plasma and ended up with a 2k LCD.

These are just my opinions.
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post #16 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 08:59 AM
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I decided that I didn't want to deal with any of the flaws listed in the first post, so I got a Kuro. Considering the prices they are going for right now, there really aren't any comparable TV sets on the market. (motion blur and poor off angle viewing kills every LCD on the market for me)

(btw, OLED has a bunch of flaws from both techs as it stands now, so it is hardly a step forward)

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post #17 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 09:01 AM
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I went through the same thing. I have two Samsung LCD's (A450's) and an LG plasma (42PG20) in the house. Both are flawed when compaired to CRT. What I ended up doing was to buy lower end displays now and then plan to upgrade in a few years when the flaws are lessened.
I have calibrated my Samsung's and the LG with an eye-one display and color HFCR software. They both look great but in a different sense. I too have a viewing room that has controlled lighting. I perfer the plasma picture to the LCD mostly because it mimics the look of a properly calibrated CRT better (of which my old Sony XBR was). I am not concerened about the IR issue. When there is some, it goes away very quickly (and my LG can be more prone to that then the Panasonic you are looking at). I will say that the Samsung you are looking at is an excellent display device and I would be happy with it also. Once you dial down the extreem brightness that LCD's have, they can look quite good and in certain situations, they are the display of choice. To me, the lack of viewing angle is the biggest issue with LCD. I just find that you can get better performance and value from a plasma. IMHO, for theater type viewing, it is the display of choice.
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post #18 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 09:04 AM
 
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It was just the opposite in my case.

Bought an 8k plasma and ended up with a 2k LCD.

Keep in mind the time frame you purchased each set. That $8k plasma that you purchased is equivalent to a sub $1k plasma now so it's not an apples to apple comparison. My first VHS machine cost $700.00 with a wired remote and 2 video heads. A few years later I was able to buy a machine that was less than half the price and twice the unit with 4 heads and stereo.
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post #19 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 09:26 AM
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Keep in mind the time frame you purchased each set. That $8k plasma that you purchased is equivalent to a sub $1k plasma now so it's not an apples to apple comparison. My first VHS machine cost $700.00 with a wired remote and 2 video heads. A few years later I was able to buy a machine that was less than half the price and twice the unit with 4 heads and stereo.

If you compared a 7th generation plasma to a 11th generation plasma today its not that big of difference. Better black levels but its still a plasma.

Just like the LCD I bought in 2005 compared to my Samasung ln-52a550 better black levels but the Aquos still shines. My Sharp LCD is a still a great LCD.

The OP needs to make his own mind up. Only the OP knows what he needs.

These are just my opinions.
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post #20 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by maxdog03 View Post

Keep in mind the time frame you purchased each set. That $8k plasma that you purchased is equivalent to a sub $1k plasma now so it's not an apples to apple comparison. My first VHS machine cost $700.00 with a wired remote and 2 video heads. A few years later I was able to buy a machine that was less than half the price and twice the unit with 4 heads and stereo.

But if he is forthcoming with all of that information it makes his argument so much less compelling!
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post #21 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 09:49 AM
 
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If you compared a 7th generation plasma to a 11th generation plasma today its not that big of difference. Better black levels but its still a plasma.

Just like the LCD I bought in 2005 compared to my Samasung ln-52a550 better black levels but the Aquos still shines. My Sharp LCD is a still a great LCD.

The OP needs to make his own mind up. Only the OP knows what he needs.

Yes there is a difference and if you don't think so whether it be your old plasma or old LCD then I question your ability to know what a good set looks like. As for the 550, it's a mediocre set at best. I know as I have one.

As for the OP, I already stated that what he likes is what matters. You can go back up and read it if you like as I was the first to respond to him.
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post #22 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 09:52 AM
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I plan on buying an LCD over a plasma as well...


Don't you all know that the war is over and LCD is king?
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I plan on buying an LCD over a plasma as well...


Don't you all know that the war is over and LCD is king?

LeBron James is the king. An LCD is just a TV.
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post #24 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 10:02 AM
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LeBron James is the king. An LCD is just a TV.

Actually, there's only one true King.




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post #25 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 10:42 AM
 
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... I haven't ordered yet, I am waitig on a few more replies and I am going to check them out in person one more time today, then I will make up my mind.

One serious thought, outside of the enjoyable LCD, Plasma, OLED, SED, and books comments above, is a HD capable front projector. I have one, and in a light controlled room, the aesthetic immersion factor (four times the screen of the LCD/Plasma's you have mentioned) IMHO trumps the other factors. I have personally explored 3D, with active shutter eyepieces, but that may be too much DIY.

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post #26 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by simplemath View Post

I predict as a first time hd buyer...you will buy lcd as most do. In a year once you have experienced hd for 12 months and become used to it, you will likely sell the lcd and buy a plasma.

I'm not a first-time HD buyer. I just sold my 56" Samsung 1080p DLP because we need something that we can mount on the wall and occupy less space.

Boy do I miss the DLP already
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post #27 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Plasma people, let me ask you this:

Will I, or will I not, have a problem with my plasma if upwards of 75% of my total viewing is done with "black bars" on the screen? I mean literally, the TV might go 40+ hours in a row (not continuously, but without anythign else being displayed) with letterboxed movies being played. We will NOT have cable, and will not be watching any TV at all. Only movies, with the occasional video game being played.

Everything I read says you are not recommended to do more than 15% of your viewing with "black bars" on a plasma, even in the 11th generation users manuals that come with the Panny plasmas.

Any comments on this, plasma people?
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post #28 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 11:30 AM
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If you compared a 7th generation plasma to a 11th generation plasma today its not that big of difference.

Totally untrue. I would NOT have bought a plasma 3 years ago (nor an LCD). They've only recently gotten to the point where I'd happily own one. LCD isn't quite there yet for me.
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post #29 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heebdawg16 View Post

Plasma people, let me ask you this:

Will I, or will I not, have a problem with my plasma if upwards of 75% of my total viewing is done with "black bars" on the screen? I mean literally, the TV might go 40+ hours in a row (not continuously, but without anythign else being displayed) with letterboxed movies being played. We will NOT have cable, and will not be watching any TV at all. Only movies, with the occasional video game being played.

Everything I read says you are not recommended to do more than 15% of your viewing with "black bars" on a plasma, even in the 11th generation users manuals that come with the Panny plasmas.

Any comments on this, plasma people?

You'd probably be fine. Again, when you're done watching the TV, turn on the video-wipe function and walk away. It'll remove any IR that you may have (and again, I've yet to see *any*). The display will turn off on its own.

And I went from a 56" Samsung DLP (pro-calibrated) to a PRO-111FD, and the difference is astronomical.
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post #30 of 385 Old 02-25-2009, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heebdawg16 View Post

Plasma people, let me ask you this:

Will I, or will I not, have a problem with my plasma if upwards of 75% of my total viewing is done with "black bars" on the screen? I mean literally, the TV might go 40+ hours in a row (not continuously, but without anythign else being displayed) with letterboxed movies being played. We will NOT have cable, and will not be watching any TV at all. Only movies, with the occasional video game being played.

Everything I read says you are not recommended to do more than 15% of your viewing with "black bars" on a plasma, even in the 11th generation users manuals that come with the Panny plasmas.

Any comments on this, plasma people?

In that case,a CCFL LCD would be the safer bet, just don't get an LED backlit LCD as they have the same uneven wear problems that Plasma has. (only with a 50,000 hour half-life instead of a 100,000 hour half-life like on a Panasonic plasma)

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