Today I went to Sears, chiefly to see if they happened to have any 2009 Panasonics (no), but also with the goal of testing a few of their display models. The part-time salespeople were happy to let me at it.
I need to open up with a disclaimer about some issues with my testing. For whatever reason, every TV I have plugged the laptop into, with the exception of the Sharp 42SB48UT, has ended up only being sent 1080i60. That's three different Panasonics, an LG and a Samsung. I have no answer to this. It doesn't affect tests for color resolution (per se), but it may have an impact on input lag. I can't help it if the TVs aren't playing nice with the laptop. I can't bring in a different video source. It worries me, too, because who knows if that's how they'd behave if I bought one and tried using a proper PC on it. I sure as heck never saw anything in the settings of any of the TVs which may have helped resolve the issue. One other point: I did input lag tests using two different apps. One used green numbers, the other used white bars. Consistently, the green numbers (when they were usable) revealed about 16ms more input lag than the white bars approach. Your guess is as good as mine as to why that should be. (Edit: One last thing. The laptop has its own display lag of 8.222ms, and this was taken fully into account.)
I had already tested the Panasonic TC-L42U25 and TC-L42D2 on prior visits to Best Buy, and had determined, to my reasonable satisfaction, that neither display properly handled 4:4:4 color. But for those tests, I hadn't brought along any input lag checkers. This time I did. And my app of choice was this gem:http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1423433
which utilizes vertical bars, thus enabling much better estimates of input lag, and negating any need to discard snapshots for being too indistinct. (A notable advantage is the greatly
reduced variability of the results.)
This time I started with the Panasonic TC-P42S2
, realizing somewhat too late that it was a plasma display. The (color) results were identical to the other Panasonic TVs. Input lag, with settings as close to idealized as I could make them, was approximately 35.5ms
Next up, the LG 42LD520
. First I have to make mention of the panel. I immediately noticed that the viewing angles were much better than what I'm used to seeing from LG. Not outstanding, but not bad. Very close scrutiny revealed that I was looking at S-IPS. Lucky me. Anyway, the bad news is that the TV seems to handle color in an essentially identical fashion to the Panasonics. If the TV has a proper "game mode", the method for utilizing it was not apparent. I tried. After turning everything off that I could, the final input lag was approx. 56.5ms
Finally, fed up with TVs that just don't handle PC input correctly, I turned to the Samsung LN40C630
. As expected, the color was not subsampled. Yay, Samsung. Unfortunately, the input lag was 108ms
. Once again, "game mode" was hidden from me. It wasn't in picture mode, it wasn't in advanced. I toyed around with that display for a long while until my laptop's batteries were dead.
I'll probably be returning tomorrow. The new goals: 1) Take better macro shots (every last one was too blurry, and I'm wondering if there's anything I can do about that). 2) Know in advance how to access game modes (esp. for the LG and the Samsung). 3) Test a Sharp or two. After all, if a dirt cheap Sharp can do better than LG and Panasonic, maybe I should be paying closer attention to them, in spite of clouding issues.
(If anyone has a step-by-step for putting the LG / Samsung in their idealized low input lag mode, feel free to share.)