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Help with TV Selection for Home Sports Bar - LED or PLASMA - Brand - Size

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I am looking for some help making a decision on TV type (plasma/LED) brand and size.

I have just built a family room/bar in my house and I want to set it up as a sports bar. I have a wall for 3 TVs that is 142" wide. The viewing distance from the couch is approximately 105" (8-9 feet) but there is bar seating behind that is about 14-16 feet away. Most of the viewing will be strait on and not from the side so viewing angle isn't critical. The room is bright during the day (3 sliding glass doors). Most of the time I will be watching TV at night but on Sundays I watch football during the day. I like to watch multiple games at once.

I would like to get plasma TVs due to the picture quality, price and fast motion performance.

My initial plan was to have 1 larger TV in the middle (55-60") and 2 smaller ones at each side (40-50") all the same model (such as the Panasonic ST50). However these won't fit on the wall since the smallest size is 50". I could go with the TC-P42UT50 on the sides but I can't find it for sale anywhere and I am not sure if the frames are different. There appears there is a limited selection of plasma TVs smaller than 50".

3D capability isn't very important, especially for the 2 outside TVs but I think the middle one should have it.

I would like to keep the price of all the TVs to less than $4000.

My main questions are:

With this setup should LED or Plasma make a difference?

What about the aesthetics of having 2 different TVs (different model/brands or technology LED/Plasma) on the outside compared to the middle. I can get the sizes to work this way but I don't want the differences to be noticeable/distracting.

Should I consider 3 of the same size TVs that are smaller such as the 50" Panasonic VIERA TC-P50ST50 with a viewing distance of 8-9 feet.

Is there anything I am not considering?

Thanks for any input you have.

post #2 of 5
The only 1080p 42" plasmas currently available are part of Panasonic's professional line and are a tad pricey for 42" screens (around 1000$ last I checked).
If you'll be feeding the tv's 1080p signals then you'll definetly want 1080p screens because you will notice the difference between screens and it may be distracting (basically you'll see what you are missing on the 42" 720p (1024 x 768) screens when you look at the 1080p screen).
Unless you can find 42" or 46" Panasonic s30's, or st30's you'll probably want to get 3 50 inch plasmas for around 1200 each rather than shelling out for professional model 42's and only saving a couple hundred.
The ut50 wouldn't work very well in a bright room as it lacks the anti reflective screen the aforementioned s30, st30 have.

The st50 is a good buy with it's anti reflective screen and top notch performance, you could buy led lcd's but you would be sacrificing alot unless you were spending alot more money.
You want good motion performance if your watching sports and very few if any led lcd's in the price range can provide it.
The benefits from an lcd in the price range are a brighter picture, less power draw, zero chance of image retention, and zero chance of phosphor lag (rainbow effect).
The benefits of a plasma in the price range are better motion performance, uniform brightness and perfect viewing angles, a higher contrast ratio deeper blacks, and overall value for dollar.

If you are worried about image retention you may want to consider Samsung plasmas like the pne6500 over Panasonic plasmas, you shouldn't have problems with either if they are properly broken in but it is something to keep in mind if you constantly watch something with static logos or scores.
The st50 and pne6500 are known to do quite well in rooms with typical ambient light and may even do better with reflections than alot of the current glossy lcd screens.

I thought about mentioning some lcd's you could look into but now that i think about it it's best to avoid them completely for a situation where you will be off angle to 2 of them no matter where you sit.

It would be best to avoid mixing models and technology as you might notice the difference in motion performance, black level,
uniformity and viewing angle (when you looking at the center screen you are at an angle to the outside screens even if your sitting dead center.
Edited by Mik James - 8/9/12 at 1:25pm
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input. I am leaning towards the 3 50-inch models.

You mention that the Samsungs have less of a problem with image retention than the Panasonics. Are the Panasonics more prone to this for some reason?

post #4 of 5

The Panasonic st50 has a brighter panel which probably has something to do with it.
post #5 of 5
Theres some more info/personal experiences here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1414908/panasonic-st50-image-retention-please-help/90#post_22298609

I don't know if the current panels are actually worse for image retention or if people just aren't as careful for the first few hundred hours as they used to be due to alot of people saying that burn in or image retention isn't a problem anymore. Or maybe people are just more paranoid these days about temporary image retention. I can only speak to my experience with a 2008 panasonic plasma that I used for a computer monitor for a month or so, it probably already had a couple thousand hours on it and there were some barely visible traces of the internet explorer bar on a black, white or gray screen when closely inspected (couldn't be seen with normal content) that disapeared after i moved it out to the den and ran a couple hours of regular tv on it before I sold it.

Your kind of in the worst situation for buying a few tv's unfortunately, the best tv could have problems with burn in, and lcds wouldn't work well because of the angles. The safest route is probably the Samsung pne6500 which has comparable picture quality, slightly more resitant anti glare filters (but also dimmer panels) and are unfortunately slightly more expensive than the Panasonic.
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