Originally Posted by Gary McCoy
...except that black level numbers are better for local dimming LCD than for plasmas. Then of course there is the fact that LCDs have better white levels than plasmas which crush the white end of the scale.
Yep, that's right - it's just not a problem for most viewers who center the screen in front of their seating anyway.
Except that when you reach color saturation on a plasma it causes another problem with color accuracy, unless the plasma is the uber-expensive Pioneer which was individually calibrated before you got it.
This one is simply not true anymore unless it is one of the few plasmas with a 72Hz or 96Hz refresh mode for film. Second-generation frame interpolated LCDs surpassed plasma in 2007 IMHO, and based upon my preferences.
That was actually a step backwards for Panasonic because they implemented a dynamic contrast circuit which has been rightly criticized on LCD. Kinda funny that they chose one of the most criticized LCD features and added it to plasma, in both cases it was only to enhance the specifications for Web sales.
Except that with the newfound popularity of 120Hz and 240Hz sets, the jury is finally in, and more people like frame interpolation than do not. The biggest group remaining is actually the non-critical viewer who goes for the 60Hz set because the 120/240Hz and frame interpolation makes no difference he's willing to pay for. The minority opinion now is that SOE is a problem not a benefit.
You appear to have lots of obsolete opinions that do not take into account the technological changes in the last two years. LCDs have made advances in motion resolution, contrast ratios, and black levels, while Plasmas are undergoing re-designs in an attempt to keep the technology viable under the new Energy Star 3.0 and California Tier 1 power efficiency standards. In many cases the newer more-power-efficient plasmas offer worse video quality than the older models, and no options to turn off the new power-saving features causing the problems. Spend some time in a local B&M store and get youir opinions re-calibrated with modern sets is my suggestion.
Because the major magazines and webzines are all now in agreement that there is at best a very minor overall quality difference between the two flat panel technologies and lots of room for personal preferences that are perfectly valid. It is fine to have preferences but in the interests of the factual accuracy we struggle to acheive at AVS, you should admit that that is what they are - personal preferences - instead of repeating obsolete criticisms based on older HDTV designs.
Gary, I really was beginning to respect you and your seemingly level headed opinions, a rarity on these boards. After these responses though, it's hard not to question your motivation because what you're saying is incredibly misleading in general and not based primarily on fact. I would like to address all points, same as you did.
To claim that LED based LCDs have better black levels than plasmas is completely misrepresenting the technologies. I must question any opinion given after this because of its unqualified and obvious incorrectness. Having owned the best of both technologies, it is apparent to the discerning viewer that LEDs, and local dimming in particular, is a stop gap measure to improve upon LCD weaknesses that have already been addressed with plasma. Yes, local dimmed LED sets like the 950 from Samsung and the XBR8 from Sony CAN produce a .000 ftL reading, resulting in a completely black screen. Problem is, this ability means little in real world application. In mixed material, or in scenes lacking in light but not completely black, the local dimming is insufficient and LCD technology's weaknesses exposed.
In terms of overall contrast in these scenes, good plasmas (particularly Pioneer's, with their massive REAL contrast numbers) will continually trounce LCDs. That is a fact, verified by professional readings and statistics of many AV publications. Even with relatively advanced (and expensive) application of the tech, LED sets cannont match the dimensionality and depth of a good plasma. If Pioneers can reach .001 ftL, then there is really almost no room for improvement. Even technological showcases like the XBR8 obviously don't dim on a pixel level. Because of the limits of the tech, and a small number of dimming zones, likely dictated by financial concerns, LED LCDs cannot attain Kuro quality blacks and produce as three dimensional a picture. Full black screen advantage aside (we're only considering actual performance here), LCD manufacturers can't possibly hope to compete because Pioneer, and hopefully soon, Panasonic too will have essentially achieved what is comparable to what I would nearly expect local dimming to look like on the pixel by pixel level.
After spending extensive amounts of time comparing local dimmed sets to top plasmas with the most demanding material, I simply can't believe that you either are ignorant of these performance inconsistencies or are intentionally misleading people. There really is no contest.
LEDs, and more importantly, local dimming, is trying to compensate for shortcomings that are characteristic of the tech.
As for the other stuff, viewing angles, motion, color saturation, I believe that the majority of the more educated members here on AVS, and the professional AV community in general, would agree that plasmas dominate almost all these areas.
The only lcds that can compete in motion resolution are local dimmed sets that also have 120, and soon, 240hz refresh rates (240 may be out already, but hasn't been combined effectively with local dimming yet to my knowledge). With the combined benefits of motion enhancers and the flicker introduced by tech like LED motion plus, yes, tvs like the 950 and XBR8 can achieve near perfect motion resolution. But that is not representative of the general consensus and the reality of the situation. In general, plasmas measure high motion resolution more akin to a good CRT. Certainly, there are exceptions. At the top, the two technologies are essentially deadlocked. However, you have to consider that this is with TWO new introductions from major lcd manufacturers that have only recently closed the gap. These functions must be ON or the lcds drop to normal, blurry levels. So overall, it would be almost ridiculous to claim that LCD has surpassed plasma in this regard.
When you say that color saturation can produce a problem in color accuracy for plasmas, unless that plasma is an "uber expensive Pioneer", I just couldn't really take that seriously. When you're asserting that lcds have met or surpassed plasma in many regards, yet the only LCDs that have supposedly been able to do this are MORE expensive than equivilent "uber expensive Pioneers", any statement following can't hold much weight for me. Panasonics, which perform better anyway, are much less expensive than local dimmed sets from Samsung and Sony just for your information.
I would specifically like to consider the below statement
"You appear to have lots of obsolete opinions that do not take into account the technological changes in the last two years. LCDs have made advances in motion resolution, contrast ratios, and black levels, while Plasmas are undergoing re-designs in an attempt to keep the technology viable under the new Energy Star 3.0 and California Tier 1 power efficiency standards."
You might appear to have obsolete opinions, if we really consider what the reality actually is. Yes, lcds have made strides in these areas, but at what cost? It definetely seems a high one (literally). Samsung and Sony have both been able to produce LED local dimmed sets that account for many of traditional lcd flaws, and that is a commendable achievement. It has been expensive though, and these impressive sets still fall short of the performance offered by better, more mature plasmas.
If the best criticism one can muster against plasma is that it might struggle to meet efficiency standards [potentially] put in place by the greenest, possibly most progressive state in the country, well...
If you're on AVS, you're probably primarily concerned with PQ. Power efficiency, while important, isn't even remotely of the same importance as performance. If it is, we're not having the same conversation anymore and we should probably stop conversing.
"In many cases the newer more-power-efficient plasmas offer worse video quality than the older models, and no options to turn off the new power-saving features causing the problems."
Are these "many cases" the Panasonics in particular? If that is the case, I think it's pretty well documented that the NeoPDPs are superior in almost every regard to the previous generation. Black level is lowered, light output is increased, and overall PQ is a step forward. If they have implemented more aggresive automatic dimming features, it hasn't affected professional reviewers and respected AVSers, who are nearly universal with praise for the new Panny lineup.
ABL is a reality. If you want to criticize it, be my guest. I won't deny that plasmas have limitations. It's just that I, and most of the AV community, don't regard this as a significant weakness comparable to LCD viewing angles, flashlighting ,etc...
If this sounded like a personal attack, that wasn't intended. As a member of AVS, I feel some responsibility to present what I feel is the most accurate and true info. Gary, you seem like a pretty unbiased guy, at least compared to most of the fanboys on the interwebz, but I just thought a counter argument was needed here. You don't have to believe me, but I am not a plasma or Kuro disciple. I've owned, and been satisfied with, many lcds (mostly from Samsung) and only want the best PQ. I honestly have no agenda other than finding, and telling others about, the best display technology.