Went in to buy a Panasonic plasma, left the store uncertain - AVS Forum
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I thought I had it all figured out. I was going to pickup a Panasonic 65" plasma TC-65PS64 from Costco/Sams based on the reviews. When I saw it in person at the warehouse I was disappointed to see how dim the display was, even when set to vivid or maxing the brightness. In particular bright whites are kind of a light gray and the difference between dark colors didn't show as much. This is really a blow because I have no idea what to buy now. frown.gif

I just need a TV that functions as an excellent monitor, no 3D. It will be used for the following:

1. As Windows HTPC for web browsing, Skype, viewing photos, YouTube (50 hours /month)

2. Sports TV viewing (40 hours /month)

3. Gaming console (20 hours /month)

4. Movies (6 hours /month)


The room the TV is going into is relatively bright during the day, with multiple skylights and windows plus glass doors. I do experience glare with my existing plasma and have some image retention issues. Even on the new Panasonic Z&V series I noticed image retention when I was at BestBuy. I guess the tech hasn't improved much for plasmas in the IR area.

So besides the dim display, some glare, and IR, I really do like plasma. However for sports viewing, the whites are pretty important I think.

Anyhow, I'm hoping for suggestions based on my usage type and room setting. I'd like to get a 60"-70" screen, 65" being my preference. I don't want 3D "Smart" TV but it seems difficult to buy a display without. My budget is less than $2k. Lastly I'd prefer to purchase at Costco but I'm open to suggestions.

Thank you.

Edit: Forgot to add, I'm looking for a model that will last me for the next 4-5 years so reliability is important.
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:34 PM
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Are you using a TV as a *monitor* at close viewing distances? (e.g. 1:1 view distance)

Plasma is great for movies (and even better if you're one of the lucky Kuro owners!). But for near-distance computer viewing in bright rooms, plasma can become a liability -- computer display lots of white (web browsers, etc) which plasmas have a lot of problems displaying brightly all at once. Plasmas usually have more input lag, which can affect computer gaming. And by sitting so close with perfect source material (computer graphics), you may see plasma artifacts such as noise in dark colors, depending on your sensitivity to this. Although plasma burn-in issue is now mostly solved nowadays, the use of Windows taskbar + maximum brightness for months on end, can still eventually burn-in on plasmas. If you're okay with LCD shortfalls, I'd recommend making sure you get a good LCD when using a HDTV as a big computer monitor. Here's a repost of a good post I made on HardForum in the past:
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Originally Posted by Mark Rejhon 
Many TV's make quite poor monitors, but there's many ways to make them quite decent monitors (if you don't sit too close):

1. 4:4:4 Capability. Choose a good quality 1080p LCD TV with 4:4:4 capability; see hardforum thread
2. Disable Overscan. Adjust a TV to perfect 1:1 pixel mapping at 1920x1080. Disable "overscan". If your TV does not have that, different "zoom" or "aspect ratio" settings, until text becomes perfectly sharp and the whole Start Menu Bar shows up. Some televisions make this difficult to adjust.
3. ClearType Tuner. If you have a B-G-R pixel array (e.g. Sony KDL46EX703). Use ClearType Tuner (Use Internet Explorer for that page) to swap the ClearType renderer to switch from R-G-B subpixels to B-G-R subpixels. Use a magnifying glass at leftmost edge of a bright white screen; if you see only red subpixels, you got R-G-B. If you only see blue subpixels, you've got B-G-R which interferes with Microsoft ClearType unless you tune it.
4. Game Mode. Reduce lag by enabling Game Mode (unless you you need to temporarily use a special motion mode for video stuff, etc)
5. Calibrate! Finally, calibrate your TV for proper computer monitor color and brightness. Most TV's will scorch your eyes if you sit close to them. Lower the backlight brightness (Sometimes called "Backlight Brightness", "Luminousity", in OSD etc.) Use http://www.avsforum.com/forum/www.lagom.nl/lcd-test. You could also use a Spyder sensor to help you adjust the picture perfectly. Alternatively, if you have Windows 8, it includes the "Windows 8 Display Calibration" utility.

OIf you follow all the above properly, your TV will become a decent computer monitor if you sit a bit farther back from it. As a result, you get a big screen computer monitor superior to a lot of 1080p monitors (unless you wanted zero motion blur like a LightBoost monitor, such as Sony Motionflow Impulse, which has a LightBoost-like mode that eliminate motion blur, it even works in Game Mode on the higher-end 2013 Sony HDTV's!). A compromise is that Motionflow Impulse does look too dim, so best enabled at night. For a 46" HDTV, sit twice as far back as you would a 23" monitor; proportional viewing distance. Or a bit further back. This becomes much easier on your eyes; assuming proper HDTV calibration. This is still fairly close to the TV, so choose a TV with a stable picture. Plasmas can be good too, but if you're sitting close, you may see the noisy look in dark colors especially when you dim the plasma to proper computer monitor levels, so certain plasmas can sometimes be a bit harsher to sit really close to (e.g. 4 feet away for same proportional field of view as sitting 2 feet from computer monitor).

NOTE: If you want native 120 Hz from your computer, check out the HDTV Refresh Rate Overclocking Guide: 120Hz from PC to TV. But for the most part, that is an advanced trick that is not always guaranteed to work (and sometimes only at 1280x720). No 120Hz guarantees! And some of these TV's are more expensive.

If you still want to get plasma as a computer monitor, many of the recommenations still stands (e.g. disabling overscan, 4:4:4 support, etc), just be mindful of the pros and cons of the two main technologies when used as a monitor.

Thanks,
Mark Rejhon

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BlurBusters Blog -- Eliminating Motion Blur by 90%+ on LCD for games and computers

Rooting for upcoming low-persistence rolling-scan OLEDs too!

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Old 07-26-2013, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I do use it as a monitor but I'm sitting on a sofa a good 10' away. I just zoom the web browser for text if its too small. I'm not doing spreadsheets or word processing for any extended period of time. I can always move closer to the monitor when needed.

I'll try out your monitor settings once I buy a new one. Right now I'm hoping for some suggestions on brands or preferably model numbers!
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVSg1bj1 View Post

I do use it as a monitor but I'm sitting on a sofa a good 10' away.
At that point, some of the plasma issues disappear, but you've still got the brightness issue.
The choice of technology is a personal decision. So I will refer to other people who've made the same decision as yours, found in the below threads.

Just noticed there's an AVSFORUM thread about 4:4:4 support for HDTV's:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1381724/official-4-4-4-chroma-subsampling-thread/60

A popular thread for LCD HDTV's as computer monitors seem to be:
http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1645885

Thanks,
Mark Rejhon

www.BlurBusters.com

BlurBusters Blog -- Eliminating Motion Blur by 90%+ on LCD for games and computers

Rooting for upcoming low-persistence rolling-scan OLEDs too!

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Old 07-26-2013, 03:41 PM
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For me, the use case listed above is an LCD use case. Period. (And I own a Panasonic plasma.)
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There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working. (Oh, and plasma didn't die because of logistics problems, nor does OLED ship in big boxes because it comes from Korea.)
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Rejhon View Post

Just noticed there's an AVSFORUM thread about 4:4:4 support for HDTV's:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1381724/official-4-4-4-chroma-subsampling-thread/60

 

That's an awesome thread, but alas, the list of TVs is out of date.  I'm guessing because it is extremely time consuming to maintain.


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Old 08-06-2013, 12:27 AM
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The brightness setting on a plasma has nothing to do with how much light the TV puts out. Contrast is what controls light-output on a plasma

HTPC: I3 2100, Radeon 6950.
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Rejhon View Post

Are you using a TV as a *monitor* at close viewing distances? (e.g. 1:1 view distance)

Plasma is great for movies (and even better if you're one of the lucky Kuro owners!). But for near-distance computer viewing in bright rooms, plasma can become a liability -- computer display lots of white (web browsers, etc) which plasmas have a lot of problems displaying brightly all at once. Plasmas usually have more input lag, which can affect computer gaming. And by sitting so close with perfect source material (computer graphics), you may see plasma artifacts such as noise in dark colors, depending on your sensitivity to this. Although plasma burn-in issue is now mostly solved nowadays, the use of Windows taskbar + maximum brightness for months on end, can still eventually burn-in on plasmas. If you're okay with LCD shortfalls, I'd recommend making sure you get a good LCD when using a HDTV as a big computer monitor. Here's a repost of a good post I made on HardForum in the past:
If you still want to get plasma as a computer monitor, many of the recommenations still stands (e.g. disabling overscan, 4:4:4 support, etc), just be mindful of the pros and cons of the two main technologies when used as a monitor.

I haven't payed to much attention to input lag info lately, but i'm not sure either type of display has any advantage over the other?
Input lag is mainly a side effect of scaling and image enhancement.

I'd be leaning toward lcd in your situation. It's just not worth the risk of image retention and burn in. You also don''t seem to be in need of better black levels so It seems like you might be happy with one of the larger Sharp led/lcds:
http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/sharp-lc-60le650/4505-6482_7-35636058.html
http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/sharp-lc-70le650/4505-6482_7-35636583.html
http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/sharp-lc-70le640u/4505-6482_7-35123265.html

And a review of the Panasonic S60 for comparison:
http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/panasonic-tc-p65s60/4505-6482_7-35558330.html
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVSg1bj1 View Post

Well I thought I had it all figured out. I was going to pickup a Panasonic 65" plasma TC-65PS64 from Costco/Sams based on the reviews. When I saw it in person at the warehouse I was disappointed to see how dim the display was, even when set to vivid or maxing the brightness. In particular bright whites are kind of a light gray and the difference between dark colors didn't show as much. This is really a blow because I have no idea what to buy now. frown.gif

I just need a TV that functions as an excellent monitor, no 3D. It will be used for the following:

1. As Windows HTPC for web browsing, Skype, viewing photos, YouTube (50 hours /month)

2. Sports TV viewing (40 hours /month)

3. Gaming console (20 hours /month)

4. Movies (6 hours /month)


The room the TV is going into is relatively bright during the day, with multiple skylights and windows plus glass doors. I do experience glare with my existing plasma and have some image retention issues. Even on the new Panasonic Z&V series I noticed image retention when I was at BestBuy. I guess the tech hasn't improved much for plasmas in the IR area.

So besides the dim display, some glare, and IR, I really do like plasma. However for sports viewing, the whites are pretty important I think.

Anyhow, I'm hoping for suggestions based on my usage type and room setting. I'd like to get a 60"-70" screen, 65" being my preference. I don't want 3D "Smart" TV but it seems difficult to buy a display without. My budget is less than $2k. Lastly I'd prefer to purchase at Costco but I'm open to suggestions.

Thank you.

Edit: Forgot to add, I'm looking for a model that will last me for the next 4-5 years so reliability is important.

I've been using my 70" Sharp for playback of hd content over my network, and as a big monitor in the living room for the last year, and I have 0 complaints. I am 10 feet away from the screen, and use the ctrl + keys to zoom web pages like this one so text is just a tad larger when typing. IR was an issue for me, so was glare - the semi matte finish of my lc70le847 screen solved reflection issues, and the LED is not susceptible to IR. The price delta between a 65 and 70 inch panel is shrinking - go with an entry level 70 inch from Sharp without the "Smart" features or 3D, and you'll be a happy camper. Not a Sharp fanboy, but that seems to be the best opiton for the OP. See attached - multitasking while computing and watching last night's Steeler pre-season game. Pics from phone.






No frills 70 inch:
$1799.00
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/AQUOS+-+70%22+Class+(69-1/2%22+Diag.)+-+LED+-+1080p+-+120Hz+-+HDTV/8801394.p;jsessionid=ACE28B01C9CE52ECC31AB6246CB78400.bbolsp-app02-156?id=1218895845547&skuId=8801394&st=70%20inch%20sharp&cp=1&lp=1
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Old 08-11-2013, 04:26 PM
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I too am using a 70" Sharp as a monitor (70LE640U) in my HT with an HTPC. I'm there as I'm typing this. The TV's "View Mode" is set for "Dot-by-Dot" or 1:1 pixel mapping. Overscan is adjusted in the HTPC's video card settings. Viewing distance is about 8 feet, and I never have to use zoom. Picture presets are unimpressive, so I use calibration settings posted in the dedicated thread. For an edge-lit TV, blacks and contrast are better than average. Picture quality is quite good for the money. You probably wouldn't miss your plasma unless or until you view a Blu-Ray in a darkened room. tongue.gif

The current non-3D model is the 70LE650U I believe. The only differences I know of between the 640 and the 650 are that the latter has a dual-core processor and a wallpaper mode. Both have "Smart TV".

http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/sharp-lc-70le650/4505-6482_7-35636583.html

At current prices, the 70" is within your budget.

Good luck whatever you get.
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Old 08-11-2013, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzi93 View Post

I too am using a 70" Sharp as a monitor (70LE640U) in my HT with an HTPC. I'm there as I'm typing this. The TV's "View Mode" is set for "Dot-by-Dot" or 1:1 pixel mapping. Overscan is adjusted in the HTPC's video card settings. Viewing distance is about 8 feet, and I never have to use zoom. Picture presets are unimpressive, so I use calibration settings posted in the dedicated thread. For an edge-lit TV, blacks and contrast are better than average. Picture quality is quite good for the money. You probably wouldn't miss your plasma unless or until you view a Blu-Ray in a darkened room. tongue.gif

The current non-3D model is the 70LE650U I believe. The only differences I know of between the 640 and the 650 are that the latter has a dual-core processor and a wallpaper mode. Both have "Smart TV".

http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/sharp-lc-70le650/4505-6482_7-35636583.html

At current prices, the 70" is within your budget.

Good luck whatever you get.

http://www.sharpusa.com/Product/Compare.aspx?models=LC70LE550U,LC70LE650U,LC70C6500U

Note in the comparison chart, that the 550 series elimintates all smart features and network connecitivity. No Audio Return Channel feature and 3 HDMI inputs on the 550. It is a bare bones as you can get for large panel. The models available at Costco usually have slightly different features and part numbers. Guess the comptetiion from Sony and Vizio was a wake up call for Sharp, and now Samsung.
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:04 PM
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I wasn't aware of that one. That model must have just become available in July, June at the earliest. Only one customer review on Amazon, dated July 12:

http://www.amazon.com/Sharp-LC-70LE550-70-inch-Aquos-1080p/dp/B00CW7VQNY/ref=sr_1_14?s=tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1376265234&sr=1-14

The 650 is currently only a little more:

http://www.amazon.com/Sharp-LC-70LE650-70-inch-Aquos-1080p/dp/B00BG5M94S/ref=sr_1_1?s=tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1376265616&sr=1-1
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:56 PM
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I haven't owned a TV in at least 10 years. Wife would like something for the bedroom. We went to Magnolia HT to see the 65" ZT based on the reviews and left with the same impression. Meh. Maybe worth waiting for OLED.

 

 

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Old 08-11-2013, 10:15 PM
 
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Meh?! Yea, I can't wrap my head around that. There must be some feed or environmental variables affecting impressions. I would put it on par with the mainstream Kuro Elites (not monitors).
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogo View Post

For me, the use case listed above is an LCD use case. Period. (And I own a Panasonic plasma.)
I have a 2009 50" Panasonic plasma and have basically used it the same way as was posted above for the past 4 years. I have the Windows task bar set to autohide and I use Firefox in full screen mode. No burn in or other issues, I love it.

As far as the 65S64, it's a great tv. Don't let the scorching lights in Costco scare you away from the best large screen value on the market. At $1288 for a 65" it's an absolute steal.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:51 AM
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That could work both ways though as the 60" Sharp le550 is 999$ on amazon.com.
If the criteria were amazing black levels in a light controlled room then it might be worth the risk of burn in (there is always a risk).
I also used a Panasonic Plasma as a computer monitor (2008 px80u in a light controlled room) with only some minimal image retention, but there was always the worry of permanent damage to the screen, and I only payed ~400$ for it.

If someone wants a screen that can combat daylight and plans to use it as a computer monitor, thereby cranking up the contrast control, They shouldn't spend over 1000$ for a risk.

Black level won't be as good as the plasma, but the op doesn't seem to care to much about that.
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:04 AM
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If considering the 550 series Sharp, compare the remote and onscreen menu interface with the 650--completely different because the 550 isn't actually made by Sharp.

Steve S.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve S View Post

If considering the 550 series Sharp, compare the remote and onscreen menu interface with the 650--completely different because the 550 isn't actually made by Sharp.



The remote does look entry level.

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 85

Is there documentation on the box that states who the manufacturer is other than Sharp?

For an average street price of $1800, The Sharp a good value big screen.
http://www.abt.com/product/69487/Sharp-LC70LE550U.html?utm_source=scfroogle&utm_medium=sc&utm_campaign=LC70LE550U&adtype=pla


The Vizio has apps at $100 less..
http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/vizio-e701i-a3/4505-6482_7-35477664.html


I like the thinner frame on the Vizio.
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:04 AM
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The 60" Sharp le550 is significantly less expensive than the 70" e550:
http://www.amazon.com/Sharp-LC-60LE550-60-inch-Aquos-1080p/dp/B00CW7VS96/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1376668838&sr=1-5&keywords=sharp+e550

It does seem like the 60" is a better value, and is still quite a large computer monitor.
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