Originally Posted by paul416
Excellent point. I would like to know how much ad revenue his magazine receives from Plasma manufacturers and if they would continue their ads if his publication didn't look favorably upon their products.
Oh my favorite, we must be biased because some advertiser is in our magazine. Ad hominem attacks are what make the Internet great. Well, believe what you want on that front, as it is impossible for me to prove or disprove.
For what it's worth, I just went through our advertiser index (yes, I had to look it up) and we have exactly equal numbers of LCD and plasma companies. And have for some time.
What all of these companies know is that if we get a product in for review, it will be given a fair review. That's all the matters to them. That's how I am known, and that's how our magazine is known. If I wasn't known for that, I wouldn't be where I am.
Also, from a purely economic level, what idiot in his right mind would be biased towards a technology that has essentially two backers, versus one that has countless backers? Wouldn't it make far more economic sense to be pro-LCD to get all that supposed LCD business? Why alienate the larger potential client list? If you think I'm not doing this because I am
an idiot, well, then stop arguing with an idiot and let me drool off on my own.
But again, it doesn't really matter what I say as a certain percentage of you won't believe it anyway. Frustrating, but whatever.
Hmm, sure did get baited anyway. So it goes.
Originally Posted by omeletpants
Thanks for the review. It would have been nice to hear what you thought needed improvement or the gaps between the 950 and say, the Elite. For me this set is pretty perfect and very flexible. You can make it look like a traditional LCD or a Kuro (I have owned two Elites). So what keeps it from being in the Kuro class?
BTW, I totally disagree on off-axis viewing. On my set it's terrible past 10%
Thanks again for sharing the review
Well, I wasn't going to get into the plasma v. LCD debate, but this is as good a place as to any. Let me be clear, this is how I feel, and how most of my reviewers feel as well (fwiw, pretty much every reviewer at other magazines as well, but I digress).
Also, this is directly answering Omlet's question. I am not, have not, will not, EVER say plasmas are a perfect technology. For that matter, I do not, and probably won't, own one. They're too small
I may have to break down someday and buy an LCD computer monitor, but only because no one makes high quality CRTs anymore.
There are three main areas where I feel that even the 950 doesn't quite live up to the better plasmas (KURO sure, but even the better Panasonics are close).
1) Contrast ratio
. Now hold your horses. If someone wants to quote me contrast ratio specs from any
manufacturer, stop. They are all 100% lies. 1,000,000:1? Sure, measured with what magical device? Let me explain.
The idea behind local dimming LCDs is to dim the areas of the screen that don't need light, and brighten the areas that do. This is what CRTs and plasmas do naturally. The only thing the liquid crystal portion of an LCD TV does is block light. That's it. This isn't perfect, some light leaks through (this is the poor black level). By dimming the area behind the portion that doesn't need it (say, a sky at night), you are making the LCD mimic what a CRT does (i.e., don't scan the dark parts – no light), or what a plasma does (flash less – plasmas create light with time, a concept for another rant).
Ideally, you'd have an LED behind every pixel, this would allow each pixel to be dimmed depending what was on it. This is neither cost nor energy efficient. So what each company does is have groups of LEDs. On the back of any given local dimming set, there may be 16 or so zones that dim according to the video (no company will say how many zones they have). It isn't too much more than this, which is why you see a halo on some TVs when you look at credits or white objects on a black background. The entire zone has to be on a little because of that white object.
With most video, this is fine. You get punchy whites, dark blacks, and everything is good. But you still can't get as much on-screen contrast ratio as a CRT or plasma because there isn't enough resolution in the back panel grid. So if there are black areas near bright areas, the processing in the TV will have to create a sort of happy medium between the two.
Is this an improvement, absolutely. No one has been a more vocal supporter of local dimming that I. I was extolling the virtues of this when I first saw a prototype years ago at CEATEC.
But it still isn’t as good as what can be created naturally, without all the gizmos, by a CRT or plasma TV.
So why do they measure so well?
Simple, they fool the test. Full-on/full-off contrast ratio tests in this case are essentially meaningless. If the screen goes black, the processor just turns off the LEDs. Presto! Black. But you'll never see this during real video. You couldn't, there aren't enough zones.
With ANSI contrast measurements, you're only getting a 16 box checkerboard. If you had a 32 or 64 box checkerboard, the contrast ratio would get worse and worse, where on a plasma or CRT set, it would stay the same. The only thing that changes the contrast ratio on a plasma or CRT set is the amount of white on the screen which either taxes the power supply (CRT) or kicks in the limiter (plasma – so it doesn't "melt")
I talk about the measurement fooling in my review of the Sony XBR8
2) Motion Blur/motion resolution
. A controversial subject. A number of years ago I did an article about the fact that motion blur has almost nothing to do with "refresh rates." It has to do with "sample and hold" more than anything. The crazy thing about sample and hold is that it is literally all in your head. Because of that, each person is effected by it differently.
Remember "Rainbows" with DLP. How some people could see them, some people couldn't, and some people didn't care? This is sort of the same thing. Some people can't stand motion blur and notice it instantly (me), others don't notice it, and others don't care. For the latter two groups, they have no problem with LCD.
What is seen on screen is that anything that is in motion has less resolution than things that are stationary. My eye picks up on this instantly. A panning camera, an actor in motion, all blur. Worst case, they get so blurry as to make the action on screen a muddy mess.
While the effects are in the head, they are measurable. Gary Merson
has been testing motion resolution for several years, and found that even the best LCDs are worse in this regard than the most average of plasmas (which also reduce resolution with motion, everything does, just not nearly as much).
Samsung, more than any other company, has gone a long way in fighting motion blur. The 950 has a scanning backlight function, which mimics how a CRT works. It is simply fantastic. Not perfect, but pretty close.
If motion blur isn't, and hasn't always been an issue, then why the sudden influx of 120 and 240 Hz TVs that claim to eliminate it? If there was no problem, what is there to eliminate?
3) Off-axis viewing
. As you've mentioned, LCD picture quality diminishes off-axis. This is a function of the very physics of how these TVs are made. I have yet to get a clear answer as to why the local dimming sets seem to be worse than others. I have a few theories, but I'll keep them to myself for the time being. When I find out more, have no doubt I'll write about it.
This is why I get so upset when people accuse me of bias. I have tested and measured hundreds of TVs, many of them head to head. With every TV, I approach it completely neutral. The set has to prove it's worth to me (again, believe this truth or not, I don't care). With all that, the evidence for what I've seen, tested, and measured, LCDs don't match the picture quality you can get with plasmas. In fact, in every blind test I've administered, to a person, everyone picks plasma over LCD. Blind test, no brands, no boxes, just the image.
If you did your due diligence and found that you like LCD over plasma, then you have the right TV for you. I am not saying you don't. Just stop accusing me of bias just because I don't agree with you.
The better question to ask is do I feel an LCD set will equal or better the best plasmas? Absolutely, I think that will happen in the very near future. Very near.
As you've read, two of the reasons I feel that the better plasmas win out over the better LCDs are either dependent on the user, or dependent on the usage. Some of you have said you don't care that the TV doesn't look good off-axis. Cool. Some of you I'm sure aren't bothered by motion blur (clearly – get it, a pun). That's fantastic. So then it's just down to contrast ratio, which on the local dimming sets, are still in the excellent-fantastic range, so you're fine.
Think of it from my point of view, as a reviewer. Why should I recommend something with caveats for a large percentage of the potential audience, when a very similar product can be recommended without those caveats. Will there be people who aren't bothered by said issues? Sure, and realize this as they're reading the review, get the product and are perfectly happy. Once again, the perfect TV is the one you've bought and are happy with. There is simply nothing better.
And lets just be clear as to what we're talking about. If a KURO is a 9 (IF
), then the Samsung and Sony are in the 8.5 range. We're not talking big differences. They're close enough that it really does come down to personal taste.
So what's a 10 on my scale? Have you seen an HD750
? Maybe not a 10, but damn…