|Originally posted by Q of BanditZ
I couldn't endorse plasma to anyone even remotely serious about home theater for any size, any price, any situation. Just my $0.02 ;)
Well, I'm glad I didn't ask this fellow's advice :D
Since this is the direct-view forum, it makes sense people here will hold CRT quality as being supreme. Maybe we could use a plasma owner's input for some balance ;)
While I'm quite aware of the technical virtues of CRT technology, and of the vices of digital display technologies, I don't agree that "CRT is the best image quality" as has been stated several times. That's too broad a brush. Each technology has it's advantages, each has it's own look. For some the look of a big RPTV will give the most appealing viewing experience; for others a high-quality widescreen CRT or plasma. Picture quality is not entirely described by the measurements in which CRT excels.
My experience: I've demoed properly calibrated widescreen direct views such as: all the Loewes, the top Sonys including the 910, the Toshibas, Panasonics etc..and virtually every DLP/LCD out there, and properly (usually ISF) calibrated CRT RPTVs from Pioneer Elite, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Sony, Toshiba...you get the picture.
I've also seen most of the available plasmas in action, often under controlled demo conditions. In regards to CRT direct views vs plasma after a downright unhealthy number of comparisons I come down on the side of plasma.
Do I appreciate what CRTs do well? You bet I do, and it makes me damned tough on the new technologies, especially those that can't produce satisfactory black levels. But when you can find a combination of good black levels and natural-looking color along with the virtues of digital display technology I find it to be image nirvana.
I like best those plasmas based on the Panasonic glass, which produce virtual CRT-level blacks (measurable down to .2 nits). They do not distinguish the very deepest gradients of black like a CRT but that is rarely noticeable and the black depth and shadow detail is so good you'd hardly notice. Which leaves the truly impressive strengths of plasma in the forefront: perfect focus/geometry, perfect flatness, beautiful color, superb sharpness, a particularly natural light quality all in an image size that exceeds any direct view.
None of my DVDs have the same impact on a CRT direct view as they do on my 42" Panasonic plasma - it's like watching "TV" (direct-view) to having a window on the movie set sometimes (plasma). Almost everyone who has replaced a CRT direct view over on the plasma forum has felt similar: that the plasma gave the more mesmerizing viewing experience. My friends who own some top of the line direct views (widescreen too) from Sony/Toshiba/Loewe have all remarked on the quality of movies on my plasma, and that it carries more overall impact than on their crts. (Most feel a plasma will be their next upgrade after they've visited :) Funny thing is I've never felt the same way when I visit them to watch their "superior" crts technology...and by the way I also own a Panasonic Tau tube set and movies on the plasma truly whip it's butt).
So, to concentrate on the very last bits of black level that a crt direct view may do better is to ignore the amazing advantages of plasma - advantages that translate directly to picture quality.
Certainly not all plasmas are created equal; with the poorer performing plasmas I'd choose a direct view over 'em. And I wouldn't begrudge anyone their opinion that CRT direct views look better than plasma. The Sony XBR910 is one of my all-time favorite displays. What an image, especially with Hi-Def! Luckily we all have the choice to buy what we want.
Oh yeah, I'd also add that I prefer the look of emissive technologies, like tube direct views and plasmas, over Rear Projected technologies. I just don't in the end care for that "projected from behind" look, or for the shifty image quality with varying viewing positions. (I'd go front projector before rear projector for sure).
I don't mean to rankle feathers...given the thread header I just thought I'd throw one more experience and opinion into the mix.