My wife and I are in the market for a TV to replace our almost-20-year-old Toshiba 36" CRT TV.
We have a home theatre downstairs with an HTPC-driven RS1 projecting onto a 120" Dalite HP screen. Upstairs in the kitchen we use a 3-year-old Sharp LC-32LE700UN TV as a computer monitor and to watch occasional OTA HD via my DIY HDTV antenna (which is fantastic PQ).
Anyway, the Toshiba has been a wonderful workhorse of a TV that has given us exactly zero problems since the day we bought it. We'd like to replace it with something hopefully similar in that workhorse respect.
After doing some initial research on the net, the other evening we went to a local Visions to see the Panasonic ST50 and GT50 series plasmas.
After arriving, we walked down the dispaly wall and they just happened to have set up a 55" GT, a Samsung LED LCD, and a 60" ST, in that order, right next to each other, which was great.
First, I was pretty surprised to see how good the plasmas looked in comparison to the LCD, even though the lighting in the store was pretty bright. In that lighting the LCD still had more "punch" contrast, but, again, the plasmas looked remarkably close -- far better than our son's plasma, which is virtually unwatchable during the day.
To show off one of plasma's strong points, the sales person fed the entire wall of televisions an HD video of a group of playing cards that pan across the screen. Looking at the three televisions all at once, one had the strong impression that the cards began in the leftmost GT and then into the LCD and then "came out" the ST. What was astonishing was the clarity and readability of each card as they went across the leftmost screen, then becoming unreadable blurs in the LCD and then once again regaining their clarity in the ST on the right. Point taken! Those plasmas are "fast"!
We came home to consider the matter and I then started to read the AVS threads devoted to the GT and ST, along with a thread devoted to the IR issues that some owners have experienced with their sets and the procedures they use to try to age the screen and get rid of the IR (even though the "slides" are not intended for that purpose).
We have decided that, as beautiful an image they display, a plasma is not for us. We want to plug n play and use the TV with a computer, if we want, and not be thinking about the things that plasma owners should be thinking about. Again, if the plasmas did not have IR issues, we'd go that route. I know that LCD can also have IR, but, again, I have been using the Sharp as a computer monitor, with its myriad of stationary icons on its desktop, for three years, many hours a day, and so far have had no IR (that I can detect).
Anyway, I have read a good portion of this thread and I am considering replacing the Toshiba with a 60" Elite, but I'm wondering if this really is overkill for our use.
As I sit here typing away in front of our Shartp TV/monitor, my eyes are about 32" from the 32"-diagonal screen. Therefore, the screen "looks big". But we are going to be sitting about 12 feet from the new TV, so even a 60" is going to look small to us at that distance. Whenever we go into a store, we usually stand just a few feet from the TV. This is not "real world" at all.
For example, to get the immersive effect in movies, our eyes sit about 96" from the center of our 120"-diagonal screen downstairs. As I sit on our upstairs sofa and look at the place where the new TV will reside, if I hold a ruler at arms length (about 26" from my eyes) and "measure" the width of the imaginary screen of tne new 60" TV, I get about 9 or 10 inches! To me, this means that if we place a 10" wide display about 26" from our eyes, we (or at least I) will see an image as large as the one on the new TV. (Yes, our "big" 36" Toshiba has a small-sized image at our viewing distance.)
So here I sit in a bit of a quandry. When we want to watch a movie for a "theatre" experience, even with an Elite sitting there, we'll still probably go downstairs to watch on the big screen. We'll do all other "TV" watching (news, sports, some sat. movies, etc.) on the Elite, or whatever set replaces the Toshiba. Again, it seems that we may be wasting a whole pile of dough on something which should be viewed from perhaps only 5 or six feet away, not 12.
What do you think? You Elite owners, from what distance are you watching your sets, and do you really think that you'd suffer if you had a set that cost 2 grand rather than 4 or five grand? (When you watch a BD movie, do you drag a chair right up in front of the TV to watch?) How would the moving cards look on the Elite if it was the LCD instead of the Samsung amongst the three I mentioned above?
Thanks for any and all input.