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Frequently Asked Questions: Flat Panel (LCD, Plasma,…) TV/Display FAQ2  

post #1 of 21
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The Flat Panel (Plasma, LCD,… TV/Display) FAQ2 Home Page!

Working to make shopping, owning & operating a flat panel TV a better experience. Make this a better forum - volunteer to help!
Click here to input FAQ ideas, nominate links for inclusion, report problem links, or find out how you can help.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (If you’re new to these technologies start here!)
Note: Newbies (new members, or visitors) – it is highly recommended that you explore all of the next 7 bulleted items (as well as the Key Topic List below), so that you can familiarize yourself with the terminology and post intelligently at this forum. Information accessed under these bullets will also answer many of your questions! These sections can be explored either by clicking on any topic or just keep scrolling through this thread. Note: in the FAQ section there are a series of two possible clicks, one for the index and one for the details. Clickable items In Dark Theater mode should be aqua, in AVS white mode clickable items should be brown. You can change (i.e. select) the mode you’re in, at the bottom left of most AVS screens where there is a pull-down menu, in the last menu bar. Personally I find the AVS white mode easier to read and this thread was developed using it.
• Introduction/Disclaimers (index post #2, details post #11 this thread)
• Common Issues Plasma/LCD FAQ (index post #3, details post #12, #13, #14, #15 this thread)
• Plasma FAQ (index post #4, details post #16 this thread)
• LCD FAQ (index post #5, details post #17 this thread)
------- LCD Monitor-TV Brands & Official Links
------- LCD Roundup
• Plasma vs. LCD Comparison (index post #6, details post #18 this thread)
• How to Use the Forums Searching Capabilities (post #7 this thread)
• Glossary Terms and Acronym Definitions
Note: AVS’s Glossary Terms and acronym definitions appears to be MIA, so here’s some others
Acronym Finder, or Joe Kane Glossary. or HDTV Pub, or TimeforDVD, or TitanTV

Key Topic List
Contains: Selected Links that represent general reoccurring topics areas on key topics regarding Flat Panel TV/Displays
ACCESSORIES: Mounts, Stands, Lifts, Furniture, Speakers, A/V Cabling….
Audio/Video Connection Glossary
Bathroom TV’s
Bias Lighting (Backlighting)
Blacks, Brightness, & Contrast Ratio (measured)
Break-In Recommendations+ from Panasonic White Paper - c/o RandyWalters
Burn-in Questions
CableCards - How do they work? or CableCards - A Primer or 2-way CableCard
Cleaning the Glass Screen or Looking to buy a screen cleaner
Differences between ED (Enhanced Definition) and HD (High Def)
HDCP – What it is and how does it apply to you? (also covers issue of flags)
HDMI Basics or HDMI Beginner’s Guide plus HDMI bandwidth or DVI, HDMI, & HDCP
LCD TVs: Market Price Stats Thread- c/o Isochroma
Lifespan - Plasma/LCD TV/displays
Plasma Myth Busting and Nine More Myths, and Five Others (some repeats) and Pioneer’s Myth Paper
OLED TV’s: Technology Advancements Thread- c/o Isochroma
Surge Protection, or State Farm Surge Document - c/o Bryant
Viewing Distance Calculator or Min/Max Viewing Dist or 4:3 vs. 16:9 Comparison + Handy Table
Wall Mounting, plus some plastered wall considerations
Who makes the glass?, plus Another link same subject
Why 1366x768 rather than 1280x720? or Some other opinions on the subject, and Even more opinions
Installation Showcase(s)
Just The Pictures w/out The Talk! (see owners set-ups)
Let’s see your Plasma Display
Post Pic’s of your plasma setup
2005 Post pics of your Plasma & LCD setup

Current Hot Threads
Contains: Because of the volume of threads and posts, plus growing size of this forum, a thread can pass through the system in just a couple of days.
Here we attempt to provide you with the five most popular topics currently being discussed on the forum over the last 3 to 6 months.

1) New Product Announcements
Dell W4200HD, Fujitsu, HP LCD’s HP4200N, LG w/DVR, Maxent MX-42X3, NEC xr, Current Panasonic, Future Panasonic, Philips 42PF9630A, Pioneer, Pioneer 6G, Samsung 57†LCD, Samsung 96 series, Sharp, Sharp 2006, Sony V Series LCD, Vizio P42HDe, Vizio P50HD, Zenith P42W46X
2) The Future of Flat Screen TV’s
Future LCD Pricing, Future Plasma Pricing, FPP2, OLED, SED, SED2, 1080p Reality Check, 1080p inputs may be slow in coming, Philips’ Aptura
3) 1080p Models
LG 71†(P), Panasonic 65†(P), Panasonic 50†(P), Pioneer 50†(P), Pioneer 50†P photo, Polaroid 42â€, 47†(L), Sceptre 37†(L), Sharp 45†(L), Westinghouse 37†(L), Upcoming LCD’s, 1080p Fact Sheet
4) Largest Flat Panel Models
LG 71†Plasma, Panasonic 103†1080p plasma, Samsung 82†LCD, Samsung 82†LCD, Samsung 102†Plasma, Sharp 65†LCD, Sharp 65†LCD, Sony 82†LCD, CES2005 Photos, CES2006 Photos
5) Potpourri
2160p, 1,000,000:1, Is your HDTV tossing resolution info?

The Classics
Contains: Links to threads that are memorable contributions to the Flat Panel AVS forum.
Steaming Rat - or Rich’s Method For Achieving A More Realistic Image
Polishing Turd: Step’s To A Better NTSC (Cable/Sat) Image On Your Plasma
Best of R Harkness
Supplemental Guide to Avia’s Guide to Home Theater

On-Line Reviews
Audioholics, Cnet(LCD), Cnet(Plasma), DTVcity, Ecoustics(LCD), Ecoustics(Plasma), Home Cinema Choice (European), Home Theater Magazine, LCD Buying Guide, PC Magazine(LCD), PC Magazine(Plasma), PC World(Plasma), PC World(LCD), Perfect Vision(AV Guide), Peter Putman, PP archives, PlasmaTVBuyers, Sound&Vision, Tom’s Hardware Guide (LCD), Ultimate AV, WideScreenReview, ZDNet

AVS Member Reviews or Comparisons that go beyond words Also see Best of Harkness under “The Classicsâ€
Sharp LC-32D5U vs. Sony KDL-V32XBR1 - bluesxtreme
SD on a Sony LCD KDL-V32XBR1 - pizpot
Panasonic PHW6 vs. Pioneer 504HDE - balagee
Jersey Shore Shootout: Fujitsu vs Pioneer - markrubin, Ken Ross
Panasonic TH50PHD7UY running Quake 4 - IamAnoobieCheez

Information of TV’s/Display’s by Brand
This was intended to organize model # information, specifications, user tweaks,pros/cons, user settings, & user reviews & experiences about specific brands, why your brand is the best, problems & disappointments. It was created because I disliked the efficiency of the search function. Many times it missed links I knew were there and other times it provided so many links it would take a day to peruse. But it never caught on nor got beyond 4 volunteers. One volunteer (Glauco Bruzzi) did take it to it’s full potential, and to find his creation Click here or here. As for this brand section it’s being kept, temporarily, to give you one click access to different manufacturers, plus some historical information on models, but without volunteers the development of this area just wasn’t going to happen.
Brand Specific Information Plasma/LCD

Plasma/LCD Recalls and Potential Reliability Issues
Panasonic WD7UY Problems (plasma)
Panasonic Shutdown Problem (plasma)
Panasonic TH-42PHD7UY Black Level Changing (plasma)
Panasonic digital audio out with Cable Card (fixed), The Fix
Pioneer Power Supply Replacement Issue (plasma)
Sharp LC-45 Clayface issue (LCD)
Sony premature plasma deaths
Sony Bravia not be able to be turned off or switched out of stand-by-mode

Geographical Connection (index post #19 this thread)
Communicate with users in your own area. Where’s the best places to view/buy plasma/LCD, who has the best service, where is the closest service center, what’s the best video source (OTA, Satellite, Cable) in the area, etc.
Click to find your area, or start your own
Go Global - visit our counterparts across the ocean From the UK, From Norway
Home Theater Forum

Advanced Topics
Anamorphic DVD’s plus related Aspect Ratio Explained (Panasonic Specific)
Deinterlacing Overview & A Competitor
DVD's to test your set’s performance (written for projectors)
Display Technologies (Soneira)
DTV vs. HDTV
Understanding Frame Rates
Grayscale Calibration
HDTV Magazine
Interlacing
LCD Room Planner
OTA HDTV Demystified
Overscan
Pixel Resolution Mapping
A Primer on DVD in a High-Def World & A guide to setting source options
Service Menus and Calibration Issues - Visit this forum
Telecining, or Film-to-Video or 3:2 Pulldown
Understanding HD Formats (Microsoft)
Video Signal Standards
What is 4:2:2 vs. 4:4:4?
What is Color?

I’m currently researching: 8 bit vs 10 bit vs 12 bit processing articles: for the best one for inclusion
Cineform - Newman
Video to Film
Digital Video Information Network
All bits are not created equal
Understanding Digital

Does a plasma deal sound too good to be true? It just might be.
Read Buyer’s Beware- Scam Alert and before you buy check-out Reseller Ratings.

And Last but NOT Least
Plasma Comics -c/o Scott Vonhof (via Larry Hutchinson)

Please DO NOT post to this thread - any unauthorized posts will likely be deleted without comment. We are working to keep the presentation of this information uncluttered and we want to reserve the option of expanding the thread which would be hard to do if other posts are added to the thread. Your comments, questions, corrections, nominations for inclusion are welcome - however we ask you to use the specific input thread that can be accessed at the top of each post (where is says - “Click here to input FAQ ideas….) of this thread.
post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello and Welcome
To the Flat Panel (Plasma, LCD,… TV/Display) FAQ2!

Working to make shopping, owning and operating a flat panel TV a better experience
To make this a better forum it needs volunteers!

Click here to input FAQ ideas, report problem links, volunteer, or find out how you can help.

Introduction/Disclaimer - Index

Introduction
Introduction and Disclaimer
Who created this FAQ?
Who is maintaining this FAQ?
Are there any other plasma FAQ's?
Why don't I see my question here?
Why is there so little information about LCD in the forum and in this FAQ?

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post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello and Welcome
To the Flat Panel (Plasma, LCD,… TV/Display) FAQ2 Page!

Working to make shopping, owning and operating a flat panel TV a better experience
To make this a better forum it needs volunteers!

Click here to input FAQ ideas, report problem links, volunteer, or find out how you can help.

Common Issues of Flat Panel TV/Displays - Index

Connection Issues/Getting a Signal into the Display
What kinds of inputs are important for a plasma/LCD to have?
What is DVI?
What is HDCP?
What are my different options to use as a TV tuner for my plasma/LCD?
I have multiple sources for (s-video, composite, component) and only one input for that type. What are my options?

Resolution and Black Level Issues
I have heard that plasmas and LCD’s have problems with "black levels." Is this true?
What are the real world contrast, brightness and black levels of available plasma/LCD TV’s Displays?
Why do some plasmas require "video cards" and what do they do?
What is a "scaler" and do plasmas come with them?
Which plasma has the best internal scaler?
How important is fill factor and/or resolution?

Image Quality Issues and Getting the Most out of your Display
What is calibration, why do I need it, how do I do it?
What is Avia and Video Essentials and how to I use them
What are the various video artifacts I may encounter, what do they mean and where do they come from?
What is false contouring, banding and the "Green Moss" effect?"
How can I improve the image quality of SDTV?
What is the best DVD player I can match my new plasma with?
What is the secret service menu, what can I do with it, how do I get into it?
What are discrete codes, why do I need them, do I have them?
What is sub-pixel or sub-pixel control?

Maintenance Issues and the Care and Feeding of your Display
What is burn-in and how do I avoid it?
What are dead or stuck pixels?
How do I transport the display?
Can I mount it over my fireplace?
Can I mount it on the ceiling like that trendy couple in the Philips ad?
How do I clean the screen?

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post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello and Welcome
To the Flat Panel (Plasma, LCD,… TV/Display) FAQ2 Page!

Working to make shopping, owning and operating a flat panel TV a better experience
To make this a better forum it needs volunteers!

Click here to input FAQ ideas, report problem links, volunteer, or find out how you can help.

Plasma Frequently Asked Questions - Index (FAQ)
What is a plasma display?
Why is it called a "display" instead of a "television"?
Won't plasma displays be superseded by LCD or other flat panel technologies soon?
What are the advantages of plasma displays versus other kinds of displays?
What are the disadvantages of plasma displays relative to other display technologies?
What kinds of video formats are accepted by plasmas?
Why are plasmas so expensive?
Which companies make plasmas?
Can someone explain Panasonic's crazy model numbers to me?
What are the pros and cons of buying a plasma online?
Do all plasmas display hi-definition (HD) content?
What is the difference between an "industrial" or "commercial" plasma and a "consumer" model?
How much power do they consume? Are cooling fans a problem in term of noise? Which models are fan-less?
Will plasmas interfere with the functioning of other electronic devices in my house?
How big of a plasma do I need (I have XXX feet between me & the screen)?
Should I buy a used plasma display?
How long do plasma displays last?
I live in Denver, CO. Should I be concerned about high altitude effects on plasmas?
How do I best use the forum search function to find information about plasmas?
Can the gas in a plasma be refilled?
What is ALiS?
What is the difference between square and non-square pixels? Should this be a decision factor in my purchase?
Do plasma displays make audible noise?


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post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello and Welcome
To the Flat Panel (Plasma, LCD,… TV/Display) FAQ2 Page!

Working to make shopping, owning and operating a flat panel TV a better experience
To make this a better forum it needs volunteers!

Click here to input FAQ ideas, report problem links, volunteer, or find out how you can help.

LCD Frequently Asked Questions - Index
What is a LCD display?
What are some of the important terms I should know about LCD’s
Why is it called a “display†instead of a “television�
What are the advantages of LCD displays versus other kinds of displays?
What are the disadvantages of LCD displays relative to other display technologies?
What kinds of video formats are accepted by LCD?
Why are LCD’s so expensive?
Which companies make LCD?
Where can I find information about specific model numbers to me?
What are the pros and cons of buying a LCD online?
Do all LCD display hi-definition (HD) content?
How big of an LCD do I need (I have XXX feet between me & the screen)?
How long do LCD displays last?
Which LCD has the best internal scaler?
How important is fill factor and/or resolution?

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post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello and Welcome
To the Flat Panel (Plasma, LCD,… TV/Display) FAQ2 Page!

Working to make shopping, owning and operating a flat panel TV a better experience
To make this a better forum it needs volunteers!

Click here to input FAQ ideas, report problem links, volunteer, or find out how you can help.

Plasma/LCD -Technology Comparison

Categories that are compared (below) - Click Here to review
Black Level
Brightness
Burn-in
Color Saturation
Computer Use
Contrast Ratio
Fill Factor
Gamma Correction
High Altitude Use
Lifespan
Overall Picture Quality
Power Consumption
Price
Refresh Rate
Reliability
Resolution
Response Time
Screen Size
Thickness
Viewing Angle
Weight
---------------------
Scorecard

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post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello and Welcome
To the Flat Panel (Plasma, LCD,… TV/Display) FAQ2 Page!

Working to make shopping, owning and operating a flat panel TV a better experience
To make this a better forum it needs volunteers!

Click here to input FAQ ideas, report problem links, volunteer, or find out how you can help.

How To Use the Search Engine(s)

Explanation/Tutorial
The two best ways of getting the most from this forum are to read several days worth of posts and to use the forum’s search function.

The reason that reading a few days worth of posts is useful is that the threads with the most pressing issues and questions tend to be the ones most actively posted to. This is especially true if a particular new flat screen is a recent release or has just recently been announced. So if there is a new model flat screen that you are interested in then you can be sure that it has already been discussed here within the last couple of days and you are best served by simply browsing.

There are two levels of searching capability built into the AVS forum. I’ll call the first one the Quick Search, and the other one is appropriately called the Advanced Search. Let’s cover the Quick Search first.

Quick Search
Although it’s not hidden, a new user might miss this feature, because your eyes are focused on reading threads. But a few lines above where the threads begin on the far right hand side is a rectangle or box with the term “Search this forumâ€.

It’s pretty simple, click on the box or button “Search this forumâ€. Up pops a box for text entry. Click on the line and type in what you would like to search for.

Here are some Member Recommendations of Beneficial Searches
Common questions that come up and that have been discussed before can be found by searching with the following terms:

“ALiS†If you want to find out about the Fujitsu/Hitachi method of cramming 1024X1024 pixels into a 42†plasma
“Burn in†If you are concerned with burn in, image retention, letter box/border burn in
“Resolution†If you are wondering how important resolution is to plasma picture quality
“Fill factor†If you are wondering how important the gaps between pixels is to plasma picture quality
“RPTV†If you are trying to compare pros and cons of plasma vs. RPTV
“DLP†If you are trying to compare pros and cons of plasma vs. DLP
“DVI†If you are concerned about future upgrade path
“HDCP†If you are concerned about future upgrade path
“Native Rate†If you are concerned about feeding the exact native resolution to your plasma
“Convergence†If you are wondering what other factors contribute to plasma picture quality
“Geometry†If you are wondering what other factors contribute to plasma picture quality
“Calibration†If you want to know how important it is to get your plasma professionally calibrated
“1080i†This usually comes up when people ask how important screen resolution is to display HD content
“852X480â€
“1024X1024â€
“1024X768â€
“1365X786â€
“1366X768â€
“1280X768â€

And definitely do a search any of the model numbers already mentioned in this FAQ as full model numbers are very often used in many posts.

BUT WHAT EXACTLY DOES THIS SEARCH?????
Well it pretty apparent that it Searches the Forum you are currently in.
Something has changed and I’ve pulled the section that was previously here until I understand exactly how much of the data base is searched.

Advanced Search
However, if a quick search does not uncover the kind of information you are looking for then you should use the more powerful advanced search function. There are a couple of ways to access Advanced Search, but the easiest is to click on the same button you accessed Quick Search, but instead of typing in your search criteria, click on the words Advanced Search on the bottom left of the pop-up window.

What are some of the capabilities of Advanced Search
They are pretty apparent:
• Keyword Search (both entire posts or titles only)
• Search by User name (posts or threads started)*
• Better control on sorting the results
• Limit finding threads with few posting
• Ability to easily search any Forum, all Forums, Open Forums, and Subscribed Forums

One other minor search*
If you click on the name of the user either in one of their posts, or where it appears within the thread title then you will see that one of the options will allow you to search for all posts by that person, so unless you are interested in seeing just that person’s posts then use the advanced search described above.

* Why the user name search is very important
It is also useful to know which posters have knowledge on different subjects. You can do a search for the user name only. Again you should select Flat Panel LCD/plasma forum and show results as posts but fill in the search by user name field instead.

Rogo is good on 42†plasmas, best Bay Area place to view plasmas, and future technology such as OLED
R Harkness is good on articulating picture quality observations on a large number of different panels that he has viewed
Mark Taylor, Joe Fernand, Symanski are all in the UK and are knowledgeable on UK and PAL displays/issues
Cineramax and TrainerDave are experts on Fujitsu displays
Mike53 works for the Sharp Corporation and does a great job of contributing and providing information about Sharp’s products

Ericbee, jlm, and Jim Boden are experts on scaler issues and the Pioneer 50 inchers (503/PRO1000HD)
Brucer, Dixon, CheriDave, MAB, oferlaor, mburnstein, pf, joel, spoffo, doody, DavidW, GGoodrum, divvy <--(added by deeann :) are all very knowledgeable and post very useful advice on plasmas in general and are worth looking up.
Major chunks of the above written by - ---divvy

Advanced Search Techniques
Advanced Tip #1
The difficulty when using the search function is knowing what exactly to search for. You cannot search with terms such as 42†as this string is too short at 2 characters (the “ is ignored) and the search engine rejects it. Reading a few days worth of posts helps in this case as it will give you a feel for the kind of terminology used here. For example, Panasonic is frequently abbreviated to panny. The other issue is that the default settings in the search screen are not the best. Instead of selecting “Show results as thread†(the default), you should select “Show results as postsâ€. With this option the results set will show you the first couple of lines of the actual post allowing you to see the relevance of the post without having to click on it. Finally select the “plasma and LCD flat panel display forum†as the forum to search in and type the search criteria in the search by keyword field

Advanced Tip #2
One of the most over looked options in the search page is the option to pull more results. In the search area under options you will find a way for this. __Note however, if you are using more than one word, the issue here is the words you are looking for may be a really standard word. Example would be "DILA Bulb Cost". Try "bulb" first then "cost", then "dila". (bulb cost dila) The more words, the worse it is based on how MySQL pulls words. (Sorry)__
It looks at the first word, finds a set of results, say 1000. Then it look for the second word ONLY in that found set of 1000, now is has 200. Then it looks for the third word in that remaining 200 and might find 1 or none. Thus the issue. And also why changing the order of the words can help.__Looking in display devices only and having it set for 6000 it find 113 results for "bulb cost".__Hope this helps. Advanced Tip from David Bott - Adminstrator

Advanced Tip #3
What happens when you type in the following examples of key words!
Code:
Keywords         Results
apple banana     Find posts that contain at least one of these words
+apple +juice    Find posts with both words
+apple -juice    Find posts with 'apple' but not 'juice'
apple*           Find posts with 'apple' and/or 'applesauce'
"Some Words"     Find posts with the phrase 'some words of wisdom',
                 'some words' but not 'some noise words'
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post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello and Welcome
To the Flat Panel (Plasma, LCD,… TV/Display) FAQ2 Page!

Working to make shopping, owning and operating a flat panel TV a better experience
To make this a better forum it needs volunteers!

Click here to input FAQ ideas, report problem links, volunteer, or find out how you can help.

Introduction and Disclaimer
Hi! Welcome to the AVS member created plasma FAQ. The purpose of this document is to put together some of the most commonly asked questions and answers in one place. There is a huge amount of information available on the forum, and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to go through to find what you are looking for. Some of the questions and answers are simple, some are very technical. We've tried to make this document as well-rounded as possible. There is also a fair amount of subjective opinion here, so please keep that in mind while reading. We try to keep it as accurate as possible, but on occasion some inaccuracies may slip through. If you see somthing here you find unclear or inaccurate, please don't hesitate to contact the current maintainer (shown below) or use the input thread at the top of this post Thanks!
Disclaimer: Any information you use here you do so at your own risk. AVS Forum, Forum Members, FAQ Drafters and FAQ Maintainers shall not be held responsible for your display or any other equipment. We have put this document together to help people, but you should use your best judgment when following the advice offered. If something you read does not seem right to you, don't try it. Pretty simple.- deeann

Who created this FAQ?
AVS Hall of Fame member “deann†is main originator of the Flat Screen FAQ. Although she received much support she did the heavy lifting to put this in place, and it’s the reason it’s a good as it is. Contributors ID’s may be found at the end of answers they have supplied.
A note about links: They tend to change. We'll do our best to keep up on them, but you will occasionally find a broken one. Please do *not* email or PM David Bott, Alan Gouger or any AVS staff members regarding the FAQ and/or broken links. Thank you. - semigolfer

Who is maintaining this FAQ?
Semigolfer (who is hoping to recruit a number of volunteers) currently updates this thread.

Are there any other plasma FAQ's?
Yes! Peter Creath has a wonderful Panasonic plasma Display FAQ here.. And Glauco Bruzzi a major information contributor to AVS has his Panasonic Forum. I’m sure there are others, but I’m not willing to spend the time researching the question. - deann & semigolfer

Why don't I see my question here?
Even though we are trying to cover a lot of ground here, there is so much information about plasma displays it would be impossible to try to put it all in one FAQ. There are additional questions that didn't make it in this version, but will be included in later versions. Most of the questions you see here were selected by members because they come up a lot. If a new question starts appearing in the forum enough to warrant a FAQ inclusion, it will probably be added. - deeann

Why is there so little information about LCD in the forum and in this FAQ?
First my answer. It’s pretty simple - no person(s) have stepped forward to research and write an LCD section. - semigolfer

Although this group is officially called "Plasma and LCD Flat Panel Displays", the topic of LCD does not come up nearly as much as the majority of this group either have or are interested in plasma displays. Your best best on finding more information on LCD is to use the search function.
09/28- Several people have requested an LCD display section and I agree we should probably have one, but as I do not own an LCD display someone else should take the lead on it. If you'd like to volunteer, and are willing to create and maintain an LCD section, please send me a PM. - deeann

Click here to return to the list of questions under Introduction/Disclaimer/Common Issues for all Flat Panel Displays

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post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello and Welcome
To the Flat Panel (Plasma, LCD,… TV/Display) FAQ2 Page!

Working to make shopping, owning and operating a flat panel TV a better experience
To make this a better forum it needs volunteers!

Click here to input FAQ ideas, report problem links, volunteer, or find out how you can help.

Connection Issues/Getting a Signal into the Display

What kinds of inputs are important for a plasma/LCD to have?
All plasmas will have RGBHV input (usually in VGA connector form, or 5x BNC connectors on some plasmas like NEC). Plasmas also have CV (Composite Video) inputs, and Svideo inputs, for VCR and standard definition television (SDTV) input. Some plasmas (e.g., Panasonic) may have both - but on an autosensing switch - which will only display one or the other depending on whether or not a signal is present. Component input (3x BNC or RCA connectors) is used for DVD or HDTV viewing. The most interesting input is the DVI input. DVI is in a bit of a flux, since many manufacturers either have them running without native rate support (see: native rate for more information) or have no HDCP support (see: HDCP). ---oferlaor

What is DVI?
DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface. It is a type of digital connection that has become relatively common in certain computer monitors. It allows data to be transferred from one component to another without first converting the data to analog format.
In theory, where the video information is transferred to the display along an entirely digital path, there is no opportunity for degradation in the signal as there is with an analog path. So far, there are a limited number of plasma displays with DVI inputs, and a limited number of external components with DVI outputs. Ultimately, it is anticipated that set top boxes and many DVD players will have DVI outputs. DVI is an alternative to analog connections such as s-video, component and composite. ---davidw

There are three different DVI configurations: DVI-A, designed for analog signals, DVI-D, designed for digital signals, and DVI-I (integrated), designed for both analog and digital signals.

To keep this simple, most scenarios with plasmas involve the following: your video card has a DVI-I output and your plasma monitor has a DVI-D input. In this instance, you should purchase a DVI-D cable. If you purchase a DVI-I cable, you will need to purchase a DVI-I to DVI-D adapter since the input on your monitor won’t accommodate the extra pins on the DVI-I cable, in all likelihood.
The one thing to be truly careful about is there are some cables in the market that appear to be DVI-I but, in fact, are not. Only the DVI-I connector has been used but in some instances the analog portion has not been connected. Be sure that what you buy is specifically identified as DVI-I or DVI-D depending upon what you decide to get.

For a look at pictures of the actual connectors, click on this link DVI (single link or dual link TDMS?) This can get very technical so I’ll tell you right now, you only need single link, if you get a dual link cable for the same price, good for you, it doesn’t matter. Dual link will at some point provide more power and higher bandwidth but it’s just not used today. If you’re really curious about the cable and want to see if it’s single or dual link, refer to the pictures on this link
In effect, you’ll see an absence of certain pins if it’s only a single link cable. The same conventional wisdom applies here, the cables cost the same so just buy the dual link and forget about it. ---llogan

What is HDCP?
HDCP stands for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. It is an encryption standard being pushed by the movie and television industries. It is meant to protect hi-definition and other digital content from being downloaded onto a storage device before it reaches your display. This is to protect the material from unauthorized reproduction.
This issue is very controversial. Neither HDCP nor any other encryption standard has been passed into law as of this date. Of some concern however is that the backers of HDCP are pushing to require that the decryption take place in the display as opposed to some external device like a set top box. This is to prevent a decrypted data stream from being intercepted and downloaded outside the display.
The end-user concern is that existing hi-definition displays which either do not contain or are not upgradeable to HDCP decryption may not be useable to decode HD content if this becomes law. Opinions vary greatly as to the significance of this issue, but it should at least be considered in making a decision to purchase a plasma display. ---davidw
Please see the thread “on the issue of flags:HDCP†for the current discussion of HDCP issues.

What are my different options to use as a TV tuner for my plasma/LCD?
1. A VCR (with an antenna or cable feeding into it) will work as an inexpensive alternative.
2. A media box (aka “set top boxâ€) which may or may not decode HD.
3. A cable box.
4. A satellite box (such as a Direct TV receiver). --davidw

I have multiple sources for (s-video, composite, component) and only one input for that type. What are my options?
Most plasma units will have one-each of the standard “analog†connections (RGBHV via VGA or BNC, component via 3xRCA or BNC, S-Video, composite and NTSC/PAL-based RF) and many also provide a digital DVI connection.
In connecting the various “sources†(DVD, sat STBs, cable STBs, OTA tuners, etc.) the order of preference of connection types would be: DVI, RGB/component, S-Video, composite and if you have to, RF.
If you have more than one source of an analog connection type, you will probably need some sort of video switcher. One way to do it is to run your cable/dbs through your vcr (which you are probably doing already, to record) and the VCR out to the display. If you use that method, you will probably want to use a VCR with an svideo out, as it will give a better quality picture than using a composite out connection.
Although many A/V receivers will switch the S-Video and composite connections, very few midrange units will switch component inputs. There are, of course, external switchers available that will switch two or more component inputs, some automatically. Component outputs are now common on most DVD players, HD sat STBs and digital cable STBs.
There are two basic types of consumer level external switchers, powered and passive. To get the best quality, it is worth it to invest in a powered switcher to help prevent signal quality loss. Some switchers convert a composite signal to svideo out, which is good if you have mixed sources, but that does not mean you will get svideo quality from a composite source.
When looking at video switchers, you will want to keep in mind future expandability, so you don’t run out of inputs right away. ---deeann, ggoodrum

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Resolution and Black Level Issues

I have heard that plasmas and LCD’s have problems with "black levels." Is this true?
Plasma technology makes producing pitch black difficult. As explained earlier in the faq, a plasma cell goes through a charge/discharge cycle that means that after the cell is lit it still retains some luminescence which tends to illuminate any blacks. The control of this charge/discharge cycle is critical to producing deep blacks.
In a very dark room it is probable that you will see that the blacks of most plasmas are not in fact black but very dark gray. Ambient light or even better, some form of lighting behind the panel, improves the perception of blacks to an extent that most people find the blacks entirely satisfactory.
Having said this, the best measured and observed blacks still belong to the Panasonic plasmas of all sizes but the general consensus is that the trade off for the deep blacks is loss of detail in the blacks.
---divvy

Update: At the time divvy wrote the above, this clearly was the case. Let’s face the fact that CRT’s which we’re all familiar with are very stiff competition when it comes to producting great blacks. I hate to admit that I remember early B&W TV and folks the blacks were not that good - they looked light gray. But CRT technology has been being refined for decades. Have plasma TV’s caught CRT’s - no they haven’t but they’re much closer than when divvy wrote the above. At this point the lowest plasma is about 0.023 ft-L (equiv. To 0.1 nits), the best CRT’s are less .001 ft-L, the best LD is about 0.046 ft-L, but the average LCD is about 0.15 ft-L.

LCD’s are at fairly big disadvantage when it comes the blacks. The reason being that LCD’s produce color far differently than CRT’s and plasma which use phosphers. Here’s a description of some of the differences:

Plasma subpixels glow red, green and blue and we see these colors directly. It’s literally an example of “what you see is what you get.†These pure colors also spread out in every direction. You can see the entire range of colors, at full brightness, from virtually anywhere in the room.
LCD sub-pixels, on the other hand, use filters to subtract color wavelengths from a white backlight. This transmissive method can only approximate true red, green or blue. LCD’s transmissive color process is not as precise or as wide-ranging as the PDP’s emissive color process. Also, because polarized filters used in LCD, the resulting black levels and color range are limited.

What are the real world contrast, brightness and black levels of available plasmas?
Plasma manufacturers usually quote brightness and contrast numbers for their panels but the contrast numbers are usually wildly optimistic. The contrast numbers are also affected by the contrast setting. Out of the box most panels have contrast set too high. For example, the Panasonic TH42WD4UY has a quoted contrast ratio of 3000:1. One member's panel was calibrated and measured at 1300:1 before calibration and 650:1 after calibration._
Credit to Pete Putman for all measured numbers._
Sampo PME-42V3_
Black Level(NITS) 0.4 _
Brightness(NITS) 67.1 before ACG (automatic gain control - reduces brightness to reduce burn in) 40.5 after ACG Ave/Avg Contrast Ratio 234:1 _
Peak contrast ratio 325:1 __
Fujitsu PDS-4229AG_
Black Level(NITS) 0.4 _
Brightness(NITS) 70.1 before ACG, 45 after ACG _Ave/Avg Contrast Ratio 240:1 _
Peak contrast ratio 253:1 __

Sony PFM-42B1 _
Black Level(NITS) 0.4 _
Brightness(NITS) 63 after ACG (ACG was not defeatable) _
Ave/Avg Contrast Ratio 224:1 _
Peak contrast ratio 239:1__

Panasonic PT-50PD3 _
Black Level(NITS) 0.23 _
Brightness(NITS) 67.2 _
Ave/Avg Contrast Ratio 523:1 _
Peak contrast ratio 627:1 __

Fujitsu 5002 _
Black Level(NITS) 0.2 _
Brightness(NITS) 70 _
Ave/Avg Contrast Ratio 567:1 _P
eak contrast ratio 589:1 __

Pioneer PRO-1000HD _
Black Level(NITS) 0.4 to 0.5 _
Brightness(NITS) 60 _
Ave/Avg Contrast Ratio 245:1 _
Peak contrast ratio 274:1 __

Pioneer PDP-433CMX _
Black Level(NITS) 0.6 _
Brightness ? _
Ave/Avg Contrast Ratio 138:1 _
Peak contrast ratio 175:1 ---divvy

Home Theater Magazine implemented a new testing protocol for black level, brightness, and contrast in July 2004. I’ve been tracking their results in this thread since then. - semigolfer

Why do some plasmas require "video cards" and what do they do?
Video cards that you might purchase as an accessory to a plasma display are not to be confused with video cards that you might install inside a computer.
Plasma displays that are sold as industrial/commercial models (as computer monitors) sometimes do not have the necessary on board inputs (e.g., component, s-video, composite, dvi) to allow the display to act as a television set.
Certain displays (e.g. the Pioneer 433cmx) have expansion slots that allow you to plug in a video card which has the necessary inputs. Sometimes these cards are available from the display manufacturer and sometimes from third parties. The card may contain certain electronics such as a native rate scaler in addition to the inputs.
The downside of the video card is that it adds extra cost to the display. The upside is that the presence of an expansion slot allows for upgradeability (via firmware or hardware) of the display features and inputs. For example, certain Pioneer displays will ultimately be upgradeable to a DVI input with HDCP decoding, making them significantly more future proof. ---davidw

What is native rate? How can I achieve it?
Whereas analog displays (like CRTs) do not have a native resolution, digital displays (e.g., plasma) have a fixed number of pixels they can display. All signals will basically be viewed on this finite number of pixels. There are many native resolutions to plasma - depending on the glass manufacturer and the technology used. Usually, these native rates are strange resolutions not used elsewhere. The job of the internal scaler inside the plasma is to resize the video input in order to fit the display’s native resolution without excessive artifacts.
In order to achieve the best picture quality, ideally the signal source should be exactly the native resolution of the display. When native resolution is reached, each pixel on the source signal maps to exactly one pixel on the display device and no scaling is required. This provides the clearest picture possible. Basically, SDTV signals (NTSC is 480i - 240 lines in each field running at 59.94 times a second) are not EXACTLY native rate. So, you need an external scaler to achieve native rate (see: “What is a “scalerâ€?â€).
Personal Computers, however, can be configured to reach exactly native rate. Usually, this requires a special utility called “PowerStrip†on Windows based PCs. This utility allows the computer to produce specialized resolutions and rates, ultimately leading to native resolution. Many displays require specific settings and specific parameters (e.g., a special vertical frequency) to provide native rate mapping. ---oferlaor

What is a "scaler" and do plasmas come with them?
All plasmas contain a scaler An internal scaler, that is, which maps RGBHV (or other inputs) signals onto the fixed resolution of the plasma screen. The internal scaler in many plasmas is ill equipped to handle some of the more demanding tasks required of a scaler these days. An outboard scaler is an external box, connected to a display through RGBHV, component or DVI inputs, which should perform better at scaling the picture onto the screen.
A scaler has a few tasks:
1. Deinterlacing. Many signals going into the screen are interlaced signals, which separate the frame (a single picture of the movie) into two fields. Each field represents the even or odd lines in the original frame. Interlaced signals can be deinterlaced (combined into a higher resolution frame, which approximates the original movie frame that it was constructed from). There are many techniques for deinterlacing interlaced sources. Some require advanced image processing techniques (e.g., video mode deinterlacers like ClearMatrix, ClearMatrix PRO, DCDi, PureProgressive and AVM). Some rely on the original technique for creating the interlaced signal in the first place (3:2 cadence detection - AKA 3:2 pulldown detection, as well as 2:2 pulldown detection). Once deinterlaced, a signal like NTSC or PAL is turned into a progressive signal which has twice as many picture elements as the original interlaced signal. This in theory should improve picture quality, if done properly.
2. Scaling. A progressive signal is stretched or shrunk in order to achieve the correct aspect ratio on a specific native resolution on a screen.
3. Switching. An outboard scaler contains a few inputs and should be able to switch between them and deinterlace them all.
4. Comb filter, TBC. An outboard scaler should be able to first input composite signals. These can come from a variety of sources, including VCRs and other legacy devices. In order to separate the signals within the composite signal into its various components (the first stage of which is separating them into Luma/brightness, and Chroma/color signals) - a comb filter is used. There are many comb filter types (and other types of filters like notch filters), but their quality varies. A scaler should have a sufficiently high end filter to allow for good CV viewing. VCRs also often have problems with providing a consistent frame rate due to the highly inaccurate mechanical tape source. A TBC corrects this by buffering frames and providing an accurate frame rate that can be used, later on, with other processing techniques in providing a good picture quality.
5. Inputs. Some scalers offer inputs that are unavailable otherwise, including the infamous SDI input - which allows a scaler to receive a digital signal from broadcasting equipment, from SDI-modified DirecTV receivers, or from SDI-modified DVD players. By reducing the number of analog stages, this type of input from a scaler can achieve a significant improvement in Picture Quality. 6. processing. Some scalers offer options such as Y/C delay adjustment, noise reduction, temporal filters, edge enhancement filters, etc.
7. Native resolution mapping. Some scalers are able to map to the exact native resolution of the display device (this is the reason why the Faroudja NRS is named - Native Rate Series). By eliminating the inboard scaler (see what is native rate), the outboard scaler can provide a high quality picture. ---oferlaor

Which plasma has the best internal scaler?
Until recently, that question was relatively easy to answer - Panasonic. However, with recent improvements, many plasma manufacturers noticed that the scaler is a key deficiency with their plasma designs and hence have and greatly improved the scaler This is particularly true for the bigger screen models (50†and 60/61â€) where inadequate scaling will cause an SDTV signal to appear horribly disfigured.
The current market leader for internal scalers is Fujitsu with their AVM technology. Nevertheless, internal scalers are still missing many highly regarded features (e.g., 2:2 pulldown) and options, while outboard scalers continue to evolve. Panasonic and Pioneer are relatively close behind Fujitsu. NEC is behind these 3, and bringing up the rear are the other plasma manufacturers. LG is specially noteworthy because they use an internal DCDi (Faroudja) deinterlacing. However, the picture quality of their plasma is so inadequate that the great inboard scaler is basically wasted on it... ---oferlaor

How important is fill factor and/or resolution?
Of all available specifications the fill factor and resolution seem to be the least important factors for good picture quality in plasma. To quote Pete Putman again: _
The most important attribute with plasma is its ability to reproduce a linear, smooth grayscale without false contours, or abrupt transitions between brightness levels. Not pixel resolution.
There are other attributes that contribute to plasma picture quality such as flawless geometry, flawless focus, and flawless convergence that will stay that way for the life of the panel. Some people have tried to describe the type of light that a plasma displays as being a large contributing factor to picture quality. However, there are people for whom the pixel structure is a problem and this can be attributed to the fill factor or lack thereof. This is a very individual thing so an audition is a must. ---divvy

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Image Quality Issues and Getting the Most out of your Display

What is calibration, why do I need it, how do I do it?
In the world of plasma it entails the adjustment of the Contrast (White Level), Brightness (Black Level), Color, Tint, Sharpness and Greyscale (White Balance) to a NTSC standard of D6500 by a Professional Calibrator via the “Service Menu†using specialized equipment for taking measurements and a calibration DVD such as “AVIA or Video Essentialsâ€.
This is a short explanation on why it is desirable to have the television calibrated to the NTSC standard of D6500K. Some have talked about comparing the colour of images at D6500 to the colour of things in real life. And finding out that they are not the same. Well D6500 is NOT SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT COLOURS IN REAL LIFE. D6500 is the colour of daylight, yes ... but of course only at a certain time of day.
The easiest reason to describe why D6500 is as follows:
When a film or program is transferred to DVD or broadcast from a studio to your set, the people like the Program Director, Film Director, Director of Photography, etc. watch the results of their work on Television Monitors that have been calibrated to D6500K. Through these monitors, they make all the colour correction decisions on the images that are displayed. So in the end, if you want to see an image that is as close as possible to what these people saw in the studio when they transferred the program ... then you need to have your TV calibrated to D6500K as well. This is not meant to be real life, it is television. If the director wanted you to see an image that was tinted Purple, then your D6500K television provides the exact shade of purple that they wanted you to see. It’s a director’s intent issue. Not too dissimilar to watching films in widescreen versus pan & scan.
Hopefully, this provides some clarity on the issue of D6500K.†---cheridave

Image brightness is measured in IRE values, from 0, pure black, to 100 pure white in 10 step increments. At it’s simplest, you first set the plasma “Brightness†control so the 10 IRE step is just distinguishable from the 0 IRE; then using the “Contrast†control, make the 90 just discernible from the 100 with the 100 as bright as it gets. The settings are interactive, so you need to do it more than once to zero in.
Video essentials and Avia provide 0-100 IRE step test patterns, that is the easy part. Color temperature is a measure of the overall reddish-ness (warm) or bluish-ness (cool) of your set’s display. The idea is to set it to the same value that the directors use when filming. The unit of T measure is “degree Kelvinâ€, same as in color photography, and 6,500 is considered to be normal. Gray scale calibration is more involved and starts with the above already set.
Here the idea is to get all the IRE steps to be the same “color†of gray and for that color to be 6,500 degrees Kelvin. Your set won’t be ideal out of the box; dimmer areas might be greenish gray, brighter areas pinkish. The contrast and brightness controls are not used to adjust gray scale; instead, rgb high and low bias settings are adjusted using the service menu. These are interactive, settings are specific, set to set, and require colorimetry measurement, computer software and experience. A typical calibration of your set by an expert will cost a few hundred $ and is the only way to be assured your color balance is right on for all brightness levels. ---jlm

What is Avia and Video Essentials and how to I use them?
These are DVDs that have been developed for use by novice and experts alike to setup and optimize their Audio and Video Systems. They allow the user to make adjustments in the “User Menu†for “Pictureâ€, “Brightnessâ€, “Colorâ€, “Tint†and “Sharpnessâ€.
They provide many Test Patterns for testing the capabilities and checking various settings of your display. Most of these patterns are used by the experts and not the novice. They also allow setup and calibration of your Audio system as well.
“Ovation†(AVIA) in conjunction with “Sound & Vision†has released a new DVD designed specifically for the novice. Each DVD has a introduction and gives you step by step instruction on how to make adjustments to your display. Remember that these Video adjustments are for the interim only and are not designed to negate a calibration by an expert. These DVDs can be found on the Internet and are also available at some electronic stores such as Fry’s and Best Buy. ---cheridave

Some relevant calibration links.
Avia,
Digital Video Essentials,
Avia or DVE?,
ISF Dealer Locator for Consumers,
Short list of ISF Calibrators,
Avia Expert Tips

What are the various video artifacts I may encounter, what do they mean and where do they come from?
Video artifact are generally divided into several categories:

1. Deinterlacing artifacts
NTSC and PAL (Standard Definition TV standards) are both interlaced. That means that they divide the image into two halves - the even rows are sent separately from the odd rows. Each set is called a field. A frame is composed of two fields. PAL transmits fields at 50 Hz (50 times a second), while NTSC transmits them at 60 times a second (60Hz). This was required in order for the older CRT Television tubes that were available in the 1940s, when television technology was first implemented. Sadly, not much progress has been made in this field and this is still the predominant method of transmitting and receiving television signals. Plasmas (and other digital display devices) display the entire frame at the same time. This is called a “progressive displayâ€.
In converting from interlaced to progressive, there are many different techniques which range in price and complexity. There are two primary types of conversion: film and video. Film mode depends on the fact that the original source was derived from 24fps film, processing usually converts such material using 3:2 inverse telecine (usually known as 3:2 pulldown) for NTSC and 2:2 pulldown for PAL. Video relies on the fact that the original source came from a video camera. Simple video techniques (Bob/weave) basically try to force the two fields into one frame. More complex (and expensive) techniques involve motion adaptive and motion corrective algorithms for deinterlacing (converting an interlaced source into a progressive output).
Unfortunately, each technique has its pros and cons. The cons are deinterlacing artifacts. These include zipper (horizontal lines towards edges of moving objects), jitter (thin vertical lines that either disappear every half a frame, or move up and down very quickly), jaggies/stairstepping (jagged edges of objects that should look smooth).

2. Scaling.
Once a signal is deinterlaced it is usually scaled (see: Native resolution) to try and fit the Plasma’s native resolution (if it doesn’t, the internal scaler within the plasma should adjust and rescale to native resolution). There are many methods to upscale signals. However, not all of them perform equally. The original “scaling†method of duplicating scan lines (hence the term: line doubler) kind of works ok for some projectors, however it will cause pixels on the plasma to appear twice as long (i.e., hideous). There are many scaling engines out there (of particular note is the Radeon engine by ATI which is one of the best hardware scaling engines built so far). Bicubic scaling is considered to be the typical method for accomplishing scaling without adding artifacts like pixel stretching.

3. Motion.
Motion artifacts are artifacts that appear when objects are in motion. This is usually due to deinterlacing artifacts in algorithms that cannot cope with motion. When algorithms can’t cope with motion, they usually drop to bob/weave (either for the entire frame or for a specific section of it where they can’t determine what’s going on). That means a loss of resolution, and various different types of artifacts. ---oferlaor

What is false contouring, banding and the “Green Moss†effect?â€
They are all the same thing. There’s also the terms “solarizationâ€, “Creeping moss†and “posterizationâ€. Basically, all video information is composed of 3 fields: Red Green and Blue. Plasma creates various shades of these colors by using “pulse length modulationâ€, a technique by which the time a subpixel (red, green or blue component of a particular pixel) is lit for a certain amount of time. The ratio between the time that the subpixel is on to the time it’s off - determines how the human eye will decide how bright it is. In actuality, the brightness of the subpixel is constant, it’s the amount of time it’s on or off that’s changed.
In order to produce an actual color, the 3 different subpixels need to produce at least 24 bits of color (65536 shades). That means that each subpixel must be able to produce at least 256 shades. You can test this by viewing a Black and white gradient (a gradient starting with black and gradually going through the grayscales until it turns white). There will only be 256 shades of gray on a plasma (except the most advanced ones with 9 or 10 bit processing!).
Trouble is, plasmas (particularly the earlier models) have a very hard time producing colors close to the black part of the grayscale. This is because the human eye is able to distinguish between very tiny changes of colors at the edge of the gradient (i.e., the color response of the eye is exponential not linear). That means it’s much harder for the plasma to produce colors at the lower end of the scale because the subpixels would be almost always off at that point...
When the plasma attempts to display those colors, it simply comes up with a close replicant of that color instead of the true color. Usually, it turns out to be a very dark reddish color or a dark greenish color (hence the term: green moss). When very dark scenes are shown on such plasmas, objects that should be very dark on the screen appear like dark green or brown/red blobs...
A grayscale ramp can easily demonstrate the phenomenon by showing reddish or greenish tints on the dark edge of the scale (AVIA or Video Essentials DVD contain such patterns).
Banding (aka, posterization, solarization, halo effect, rainbow effect) is a very close relative to false contouring. It is also easily demonstrated using grayscale bands. It is the inability of the plasma to exactly reproduce certain shades. When displaying a grayscale ramp with such plasmas, instead of a clean ramp (where you can’t spot the exact position where different shades blend with eachother), you occasionally see areas with the exact same shade of gray. That area is a demonstration of banding.
The artifact that this produces is particularly bothersome when light sources, for example a candle, is brought into a scene. Instead of a clean gradient of light to dark - a “rainbow†(or a set of banded halos) encircling the candle are shown instead.
It should be noted that in many cases, the plasma is not to blame for banding. Many video sources originate from MPEG-2 compressed video. MPEG-2 also suffers from banding during the compression cycle and in many cases it is the video source that is at fault in displaying the banding. Plasmas are a much less forgiving display device than CRT direct view displays, and such artifacts are much more noticeable on it. ---oferlaor

How can I improve the image quality of SDTV?
You may find that plasma displays can exploit any flaws that occur in your standard definition television signal, whether it be analog cable, digital cable, dbs or regular OTA. There are steps you can take to improve the appearance of a poorer quality signal, by making some picture adjustments (or having a professional calibrator make advanced adjustments). If you do it yourself, first do the basic picture adjustments using Avia or Video essentials. You should probably already notice improvement.
Noisy picture: _If the signal has too many wiggly blocks (digital) or snow (analog) turn your sharpness down so it’s less noticeable. You may also want to turn the brightness down a bit. Play around with your basic settings (making sure not to set the contrast too high). If you have several different picture modes (like “standardâ€, “cinemaâ€, etc.) try something different.
Color shift (too much red, green, etc.):_If your cable company or dbs provider seems to be pushing too much of a certain color (and you have ruled out any problems with the display itself, like grayscale), there are some adjustments you may be able to make in both the user and service menus.
First, try decreasing the color saturation to see if the color push is minimized. Try adjusting the tint setting. Is there anything you can do to improve the incoming signal a bit? Like upgrading your internal wiring to RG6 cable, replacing old splitters with better ones, etc.? All of these things effect picture quality.
You may also want to look into scalers. See “What are Scalers?†---deeann

If you are using a Set Top Box (STB): A lot of problems with poor SD picture quality can be due to the process within the STBs when a SD signal is “upconverted†to 1080i (usually...) and output via the component connections. Some STBs, such as the Zenith 1080 DirecTV HD model, do a better job than others. If your STB has “selectable†component output formats (i.e. -- 480p, 720p and 1080i...) you can usually get better results by using the 480p mode as there is less scaling/processing going on. If not, a better solution might be to use the S-Video output of the STB for SD content and let the panel’s internal scaler/de-interlacer do the required processing. ---ggoodrum

What is the best DVD player I can match my new plasma with?
This is a bit like asking “What kind of gas station should I use with my car?â€. Many people on the forums are big fans of the Panasonic line of progressive DVD players. This includes the RP56, and higher end RP91. These two models have been supersceded by RP62 and RP82. Other highly regarded models (which all do not have the chroma bug and have very good Faroudja deinterlacer inside) are Phillips Q50 and Denon models.
In addition, there are a few highly specialized DVD players that either have integrated scalers inside or are complete HTPC platforms hidden in a nice HT casing. These include the MOVI player and the PD 1000 family.
Some other interesting units exist for people with too much cash on their hands, which include (forgive me for forgetting someone): Ayre D1, Faroudja DSC , Meridian 800 (which has optional card slot for 3rd parties that can output SDI, DVI, RGBHV, pretty much anything you want). ---oferlaor
For more information on specific DVD players, check out the AVS DVD and LD Hardware forum.

What is the secret service menu, what can I do with it, how do I get into it?
It really depends on the type of plasma you have. Various plasmas have various ways of entering service mode (I won’t divulge any here, since that could be legally dangerous) ranging from secret buttons on the remote (Fujitsu), sequences of remote button presses (NEC), special pronto codes and pressing of hard buttons during power up (pioneer or Panasonic, not quite sure which is which).
Functionalities differ from company to company, but the secret service menu has some interesting gems:
Panasonic had a bug that caused SVideo to have a Y/C delay (i.e., color was slightly shifted with regards to brightness information). With the correct codes (the Panasonic secret service menu is particularly dangerous having direct access to register codes that could cause irreparable harm to the display).
Early NEC plasmas exposed features like PSC (an annoying feature that reduced burn-in by altering contrast).
Many companies allow for more accurate color temperature calibration through the service menu. Many companies (Pioneer, NEC) allow you to view the number of hours the plasma was in on, since it was first turned on.
Also, some features like S1 (zoom locking when the signal has a DC voltage on it - popular in the far east), SCART support, more accurate adjustment of picture position, aspect ratio settings, inverse of the image, anti burn-in features, and provide information about the incoming signals.
Some companies know that the secret is out and have reduced the functionality of the service menu drastically (e.g., Fujitsu), while some companies didn’t include enough features in their service menus (NEC) or made them too complex to fool around with (Panasonic). In either case, careful fiddling (we do not condone fiddling, mind you) can improve your image or cause a black hole to open up in the middle of your plasma - we simply do not know... Whatever you do, however, record the original settings in the service menu before altering them, for the good of all human kind. ---oferlaor

What are discrete codes, why do I need them, do I have them?
These are used mainly for learning remotes such as the Phillips Pronto (see www.letsautomate.com) which can be setup via your PC to control ALL of your HT gear, Screen VCR DVD AMP STB etc. i.e..
The standard remote for most gear has a single power button (toggle). If you want your remote to turn your screen on when you select VCR or DVD but off when you select Tuner or CD player. With only a toggle power button it is impossible to make sure that the devices are in the correct status after the remote commands.
Discrete codes allow you to specify [Power on TV] rather than to just change power status to the opposite of its current state. This way your devices are always in the correct mode for each situation. These discreet codes are available for most brands and models and can be used to control many functions. For example:
Power status_input select _aspect ratio _Amplifier Effect
settings. Even things like brightness and contrast for your screen. Learn more at: (Remote Central)
--stu_h

What is a sub-pixel or sub-pixel control?

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Maintenance Issues and the Care and Feeding of your Display

What is burn-in and how do I avoid it?
This has been relocated to an open topic Burn-in Questions (replaces older burn-in thread).

Can the gas in a plasma be refilled?
Plasma recharging/filling: Nonsense!
Plasmas contain an inert gas which is somewhat similar to neon gas at a lower pressure than ambient air. There have been stories of a few sales people in electronic stores who claim that plasmas need to be refilled. This is not so- plasmas and LCD’s never have to be refilled!
Apparently, because of the zeal in which some vendors want to sell other technologies (e.g., rear projection displays and direct view displays) or by ignorance, these sales people claim that plasmas must be serviced annually. Such service, as claimed, consists of recharging the plasma gas. The cells have their brightness restored, and any burn-in that was there prior to the “recharging†is history. The actual facts are that once plasmas are sealed, they are sealed forever (so the gas does not escape). There is no way to open the plasma, or recharge the gas in any way. Opening the the plasma would destroy it.
While the gas does not degrade over time, the phosphors on the inside face of the plasma screen can degrade over time (just like in a normal CRT based TV). One way to help extend the life of your plasma is to set the contrast and brightness correctly- this helps prevent overdriving the phosphors, and lengthens their effective life. If you take care not to burn-in your screen (look at the “burn-in†section of this FAQ), the reduction of brightness is fairly minimal over time. The industry standard is about 30,000 hours of use before brightness drops to 50% of the out-of-box brightness. A rough calculation given 8 hours of TV viewing each day will give you about 10 years before you drop to 50% of original screen brightness. That’s roughly the same as directview TVs average replacement. In 10 years, we suspect that plasmas (or their post-successor) will not be as costly as they are today.
Thanks to Ofer, Rogo, and yubyub ---Mark Rubin

What are dead or stuck pixels?
Some people refer to any pixel with a problem as a ‘dead’ pixel. While this might be true in the owner’s eyes, let’s define a difference between ‘stuck’ and ‘dead’.
A stuck pixel is effectively stuck ‘on’ and thereby no matter what image is being presented on the screen this pixel will always display it’s respective color (be that red, green, or blue).
A dead pixel on the other hand is simply not being charged and thereby displays no color and will always be black no matter what image is being presented. A truly dead pixel is preferable to a stuck pixel.
That being said, it is important to note that plasma manufacturers guarantee their screens to be at 99.999 percent, which means that you can still have 10 or less pixels with a problem and the manufacturer is within their rights to not do anything about it.
Quality control is vastly improving such that most plasma owners are no longer receiving units that have either stuck or dead pixels, but there are still some that do.
The only way you can ever ‘fix’ a pixel is in an instance in which sometimes the pixel’s location coincides with the general area of the lower Bracket support screws. In some cases, users have overtightened the screws into the ribbon cables that drive entire left right pixels. Ways to test for dead pixels
1. Totally white screen. Stand up close and try to spot a pixel that’s not white (i.e., it could be black or a different color!).
2. Totally black screen. Usually this is ineffective, but try to see if there are no lit pixels.
3. Normal picture - try to see if you can spot a pixel that’s not in sync with everything else. If you want to really check for dead pixels carefully, make sure you feed it signal in such a way as to keep the internal scaler OFF. You can feed native rate dot-by-dot with a computer and splash solid color screens up of differing colors to look for dead pixels. If you have the internal scaler running it can make it a bit harder to notice things (depending on the source signal and how much scaling is being done).
Utilities http://www.edgeworld.com/notebook/old/dead.htm - There are also products offered by places like www.displaymate.com , but these are quite expensive ~$500 or so for the software Credits to cineramax, plasmaprincess, oferlaor, MAB, doody ---llogan

How do I transport the display?
First, we discourage the use of FedEx for transportation... There are dedicated carriers that do a much better job in transporting plasmas. FedEx’s insurance does not cover damage done to the plasma. Many dear friends have lost alot of money, since FedEx will only tell you this AFTER damage has been done... Remember, a cracked display is not even useful as a fish bowl!
Great care should be taken in packaging the display. It should be double boxed, and held upright (prefereably using a pallette on the bottom). A tilt meter has hopes of catching too much tilting and drops BEFORE you open the package up!
For frequently traveling displays (for shows, etc.), there are specially designed cases (usually costing $1000 and up) that allow you to transport plasmas inside. These completely suspend the plasma and have a very tough exterior. --oferlaor

Can I mount it over my fireplace?
Like many things in life, it depends. There are two enemies from your fireplace that may be a source of concern: Heat and smoke.
Let’s take smoke first. If you have a fireplace without a mantle or ledge above it, smoke can be a very real concern. This is especially true if you have a wood-burning fireplace where the smoke will also contain creosote and other nastiness. If your situation is like this, you cannot mount the plasma over the fireplace. If however you have a ledge that sticks out several inches or more from the wall, generally keep the fire burning behind glass doors, use only gas in the fireplace, etc. you may be fine.
Consider that no manufacturer, upon discovering your plasma is filled with particulates or soot will repair it under warranty.
Heat is another enemy. Here, the best bet it to first determine how hot the wall gets by running the fireplace. You want to feel around the space on the wall and in front of wall, perhaps using a thermometer to measure the air temperature several inches in front of the wall out to about 12-15 inches from the wall.
If the wall itself feels cool to the touch and the air is not exceptionally hot in front of the wall, you have just one more concern: the mount. You will attach the mount to the wall studs over the fireplace and this will be done with metal screws. There is a risk that these screws will get very hot and conduct excessive heat to the mount and then to the plasma. This woul be bad. It is important to understand the insulation issues around the chimney and make sure the wall mount does not in any way compromise the chimney’s insulation and allow the mount to become a heat conductor.
If, of course, the wall feels uncomfortably hot to the touch or the air temperature is significantly above 100 degrees in front of that wall, you need to find another place to mount your plasma. ---Mark (rogo)

Can I mount it on the ceiling like that trendy couple in the Philips ad?
Not recommended. Displays do not like to be tipped more than 30 degrees forward or back. The effects of gravity with your display face-down could turn your very expensive display into a very expensive paperweight and that can prevent your display from “Getting Better All the Time†(sorry, bad Philips joke). ---deeann

How do I clean the screen?
From the Panasonic user manual:
The front of the display panel has been specially treated. Wipe the panel surface gently using only a cleaning cloth or a soft, lint free cloth.
If the surface is particularly dirty, soak a soft, lint-free cloth in a weak detergent solution and then wring the cloth to remove excess liquid. Use this cloth to wipe the surface of the display panel, then wipe it evenly with a dry cloth, of the same type, until the surface is dry.
Do not scratch or hit the surface of the panel with fingernails or other hard objects. Furthermore, avoid contact with volatile substances such as insect spays, solvents and thinner, otherwise the quality of the surface may be adversely affected.
If the cabinet becomes dirty, wipe it with a soft, dry cloth.
If the cabinet is particularly dirty, soak the cloth in a weak detergent solution and then wring the cloth dry. Use this cloth to wipe the cabinet, and then wipe it dry with a dry cloth.
Do not allow any detergent to come into direct contact with the surface of the plasma Display. If water droplets get inside the unit, operating problems may result.
Avoid contact with volatile substances such as insect spays, solvents and thinner, otherwise the quality of the cabinet surface may be adversely affected or the coating may peel off. Furthermore, do not leave it for long periods in contact with articles made from rubber or PVC.
In addition to the above from the user guide, you will want to be sure to remove any rings, watches, bracelets, cuffs with buttons, etc. Before cleaning the screen. I read a sad but true post about someone who scratched the screen of his RPTV while cleaning it while wearing a ring. ---deeann

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What is a plasma display?
Plasma technology is different from that used in other display systems in that red, green and blue lights are created in every pixel, reducing the need for space. Charged electrodes between glass panels cause tiny pockets of inert gas to change a state of plasma. This process causes UV light to be produced, which in turn reacts with the red, green, and blue phosphors in each pixel to produce visible light. Unlike traditional displays, where the image is scanned across the screen, in plasma displays all pixels are "lit" at once. Having no electron beam, back lighting or light polarization, the image is inherently sharper and brighter. Perfect from edge to edge. (Credit for this answer goes to Plasma TV Buying Guide.) - davidw

If you want additional detail this is the best site, discussing the intricacies of how plasma tv works I’ve yet to find. And here’s a shortcut to their description as to how plasma works complete with graphics. - semigolfer

Why is it called a "display" instead of a "television"?
Televisions have an internal tuner. To get a basic signal into a television, all you need in an antenna. A display is more like a computer monitor, most do not have an internal tuner (at least as of this writing, future models may include these). You will need to hook it up to some sort of external device to get a signal into the display.
Different options to use as a TV tuner for my plasma?
1. A VCR (with an antenna or cable feeding into it) will work as an inexpensive alternative.
2. A media box (aka "set top box") which may or may not decode HD.
3. A cable box.
4. A satellite box (such as a Direct TV receiver). - davidw

Follow-up note: Displays may or may not have speakers where as a TV will have some audio capability. Many displays are built for the computer industry where the speaker is inside the computer box, and thus not needed on a display. - semigolfer

Won't plasma displays be superseded by LCD or other flat panel technologies soon?
This is a controversial question. The answer you're likely to get depends on who you ask. Two views are included on this subject below. - deeann

It probably will be superceded. By what and when? No one knows.
There are many technologies on the rise (OLED, even LED displays, LCD, various rear projection screens), but these are better for either smaller displays, larger displays, non-HT applications, too fuzzy, or still in development stages.
As far as we know, Plasmas will continue to reign for another 2-3 years before any other competing technology reaches prime time. --- oferlaor

The short answer is No. LCD technology has been around for a while now. They had plenty of opportunities to go large and bigger but manufacturers are reluctant to do so because their LCD business model is based on mass quantities & limited small sizes such as laptop displays, PDA, cell phone displays etc... We will see larger LCD panels but remember that by the time we can buy a 42" LCD monitor, Plasma technology will be far ahead of what it is today. Therefore, one must understand that Plasma technology will march on and will deliver lighter, bigger, thinner, brighter Plasma units. And it looks like they will do this faster than LCD manufacturers. LCD may never catch Plasma technology in terms of the above criteria. - MAB

What are the advantages of plasma displays versus other kinds of displays?
People debate the picture quality of plasmas relative to other display types. This is a subjective issue. There are, however, a few definite advantages that plasmas have over other display types. First, unlike projection units, plasmas do not require ideal lighting conditions to be watchable. You can watch a plasma in a totally dark or fully lit room. Second, also unlike projection displays, plasmas have no restrictions on their viewing angle. Hence, many people can watch a plasma from different room positions and see the same picture quality. You do not need to be perfectly centered in the visual "sweet spot." Third, many feel that sleek, thin panels have a strong esthetic appeal compared to large, bulky units. Plasmas are very high in WAF (wife approval factor). Lastly, plasmas certainly have ergonomic (space saving) advantages. - davidw

Unlike CRT based TVs, plasmas start out with perfect convergence and never deviate from this perfection throughout their lifetime. Anything less than perfect convergence will detract from the theoretical resolution and apparent sharpness of the display device. Additionally, any CRT based TV requires periodic adjustments to its convergence which will tend to "drift" with time. However, no matter how frequently one performs a convergence adjustment on a CRT, it will never be perfect.Plasmas maintain perfect edge to edge focus which is inherent in the design of pixel based displays. This perfect focus is impossible in a CRT based display. This help give the plasma the very "crisp" look that plasma owners enjoy.Unlike CRT based TVs, plasmas offer perfect and unchanging linearity. Straight lines appear perfectly straight whether in the vertical or horizontal. You will notice with a CRT based display, varying amounts of "bending" of straight lines across the CRT. - Ken Ross

What are the disadvantages of plasma displays relative to other display technologies?
The primary disadvantage at this stage is obviously the price. As of this writing, plasma street prices range from about $1,500 to about $30,000, depending on size and model. By comparison, even larger HD rear projection and CRT units tend to range from $1,200 to about $5,000, most in the $2,000 to $3,000 range. Front projection units can, however, be as costly as plasmas. A second disadvantage is the risk of "burn-in" (described below). Finally, plasma displays are thought to have issues with producing the deepest black levels, particularly under low lighting conditions. Many of the current models have nearly solved this problem, but at the expense of portraying fine detail in black areas of the picture. (Also see below) - davidw

What kinds of video formats are accepted by plasmas?
Current generation plasmas should all accept NTSC, PAL, and SECAM. In addition, plasmas should accept HD signals at 1080i and 720p, as well as certain other odd resolutions, depending on the display. Plasmas also accept signals from DVD, VHS and a variety of other sources. Pay careful attention to the specifications of the display to determine if there are any limitations. - davidw

Why are plasmas so expensive?
Plasmas are not expensive because the manufacturers and vendors are targeting only affluent customers. Plasma displays are expensive because the technology is relatively young and the units are therefore costly to manufacture. The most costly aspect of plasma production is the glass panels. Plasma glass panels are tricky to manufacture efficiently, and the current process results in many panels coming off the assembly line that must be discarded due to inadequate quality/functionality. This substantially increases the retail price of plasma displays. Efficiency in plasma glass panel production has improved however, as evidenced by significant price declines over the past several years. Prices are expected to continue to decline sharply for several more years, though how sharply is the subject of much speculation. - davidw

Which companies make plasmas?
This is no longer as easy to answer as in the old days when there was just a handful of manufacturers. You should be aware that even today there are still only a handful of “glass panel†manufacturers. Last time I checked the largest (from largest to smaller) were: Samsung, LG (Philips partner), Panasonic (Matsushita), Pioneer (who recently purchased NEC), Fujitsu - Hitachi partnership. Each of these manufacturers also make the rest of the electronics to create a TV, but of course they sell a ton of the glass product to others who may or may not supply the rest of the electronics. To find out what vendors you can buy final product from visit the Brand Specific Information Plasma/LCD - semigolfer

Can someone explain Panasonic's crazy model numbers to me?
The most up to date information can probably be found here. - semigolfer

What are the pros and cons of buying a plasma online?
Note: Before purchasing any display it’s important to see the model you are interested in person, if possible (I know some of you are in very remote locations and are unable to do so).
Pros:
1. You can usually get a much better price with an online retailer.__
2. You probably won’t be pressured to buy additional accessories you don’t want/need.
Cons:
1. If you purchase from a dealer who is not an “Authorized Retailer†you may not have access to technical support and the manufacturers warranty may not be honored if you need to have your display repaired or replaced. Check the manufacturers website or call to see what their policy is.
2. Shipping issues. Most people have had good luck with receiving well-packed displays that have been handled correctly. Some, however have received displays with holes or tears in the packaging, evidence of having been dropped, laying “face down†etc. If there is any doubt about the condition of the display, do not accept delivery (or if you do, note on the delivery receipt of any problems so you have a good case later).
3. Potential for shady dealers or outright scams. Pretty rare, but it happens occasionally with auction sites like Ebay or Ubid. If something looks to good to be true, it probably is. If in doubt, you can always ask for members opinions (they have a pretty good feel for this kind of thing).
4. If you have a problem with your plasma out of the box, such as a large number of dead or stuck pixels, it will generally take you longer to get the plasma serviced or replaced. Sometimes you may also have to pay to ship the plasma back. Check the vendor’s return policies. __No matter how to purchase your display (on-line or from a B & M retail store) it is of utmost importance that you check what the return policy is and what the warrantee covers. - deeann, davidw

Do all plasmas display hi-definition (HD) content?
Yes and no. All plasmas "display" hi-definition content. They are virtually all digital monitors that display a progressive (non-interlaced) picture with a minimum vertical resolution of 480p (480 horizontal lines, non-interlaced). However, not all plasmas have a high enough native resolution to display hi-definition material (generally 720p or 1080i) without first down-converting the source (lowering its resolution).
When reviewing the specifications of a model, pay close attention to the native resolution of the display as opposed to the *supported* resolutions. This is true for all digital displays. If the native resolution is something like 853x480, that should tell you that the display will not show a hi-definition picture without down conversion. Some of the current 42" plasmas are limited to lower resolutions and do not display hi-definition, whereas others do. All of the current 50" and 60"+ displays are hi-definition (though some would say not "true" HD (see "What is ALiS?"), as that requires the ability to display 1080i natively.) Oddly enough, some of the lower resolution 42" displays will show a hi-definition picture of excellent quality. This is because total picture quality involves many factors other than resolution. - davidw

What is the difference between an "industrial" or "commercial" plasma and a "consumer" model?
One of the primary early applications for plasma displays was as a large computer monitor to be used as a method of making presentations in a business setting.
Today, use of plasma displays as television sets and as part of home theater systems is on the rise. Manufacturers often designate separate models for "industrial/commercial" use (as presentation monitors) and "consumer use" (for home viewing applications).
It is important to understand that regardless of the product's designation as industrial or consumer, the glass panel and electronics are virtually the same (if not identical). Typically, the difference between two panels of the same size manufactured by the same company but designated for different markets is that the "consumer" model will come packaged with some kind of media or set top box to permit you to use the plasma as a television set right out of the box. Also, consumer models may come with additional accessories such as speakers and stands. Most if not all of these accessories can be purchased separately if you decide to buy an "industrial" display. In fact, it is often more economical to do so.
It is important to be skeptical of dealers who may tell you that industrial/commercial displays are inappropriate for home viewing, as these dealers are trying to persuade you to purchase the more expensive consumer version. The pros and cons of various models are discussed in numerous threads on this forum. -davidw

Some more nuances:
It should be noted that this was extracted from a Panasonic thread and may not apply to all brands.
Reasons to go for a commercial:
- You do not need speakers, you are using a surround system
- You use a DVR
- You want to use a PC or Scaler at Native Rate via a digital input
- You want separate memories for picture settings per input
- You might want two HDMI or DVI inputs (i.e. changeable blades for user control of inputs)
- You might want to get it ISF calibrated
- Sales tax not paid to dealer (in most states) -RichB
- Carry in warranty for x years -cpcat
Reasons to go for a consumer model:
- You want speakers
- You want an internal ATSC/NTSC tuner now or in the future
- You want Cable Card access now or in the future
- You'd rather buy locally and look at the set first -cpcat
- In-home warranty for x years -RichB
- HDMI input
- More inputs: (two S-Video/Composite and two Component)
- Fixed Audio Output
- Table Stand Included -RandyWalters
- Simpler user friendly installation -Macfan424

How much power do they consume? Are cooling fans a problem in term of noise? Which models are fan-less?
Plasmas are rated at a maximum load from low 300’s to high 500’s watts when operational. The standby power consumption is relatively low and negligible. There appears to be some evidence that they typically operate at about one half of the msx. rated load. Here’s a thread for further discussion and some reports regarding energy consumption.
The units with higher power consumption will need to run their cooling fans most of the time to dissipate the generated heat. On the other hand, low power consumption units such as the Pioneer 503cmx & PRO1000HD for 50†category for example, never turn on their fans since they generate less heat relative to other 50†models. Same argument goes for the other sizes from 42†to 61â€. Please check the specifications for your specific make/model for further analysis. Fan-less models are rare but not uncommon among 42" plasma size.
The down side to active cooling by fans (rather than passive heat piping by convection) is electrical & mechanical noise generated by the fans. Some fans are *very* noisy. Others are acceptable. Please check the plasma forum regularly as active owners of various plasma make/models report back regularly on this issue. -MAB, adjustments by semigolfer

Will plasmas interfere with the functioning of other electronic devices in my house?
We have heard some reports of problems. In particular, one user complained that his plasma caused the TV set in another room to get white noise instead of channel 2 (over the air transmission).
The only other problems reported are with non-consumer version of plasmas (plasmas come in consumer versions and industrial versions). These can sometimes generate some I/R (infra red) interference that can cause other devices to stop responding to their remote control signals. There was some EMF (Electrical noise) reports about those same plasmas - that caused some RF devices to get some noise.
However, there were no such reports on consumer plasma versions, and even on industrial displays - these were very isolated instances. - oferlaor

How big of a plasma do I need (I have XXX feet between me & the screen) ?
This is largely subjective. In general, if you are the type of person who likes to sit in the front third of a movie theater, you will likely want a larger display than someone who sits in the middle or back third. Consider this in making your choice.
Plasmas will all display some degree of pixelation (visible pixel structure) at a close enough viewing distance. The distance beyond which pixelation disappears depends on the resolution, fill factor, size and quality of the display, and your visual acuity. The best way to determine a suitable distance/size is in-store viewing.
If you are ordering a plasma online and cannot view it in a store first, in very rough terms, the following minimum distances are probably safe:
"Hi-definition" 42" displays: 5'+
"Low-definition" 42" displays: 7'+
50": 7'+
60": 9'+
These are rough estimates which apply to current generation plasmas. Earlier generation plasmas likely require more distance. - davidw

Should I buy a used plasma display?
You could consider buying a used or bstock (refurbished or irregular) unit if there is still warranty left on it. The dangers of buying one of these units is that you never really know how the unit was used and for what purpose.
If you are considering a used unit ask about warranty.. Does the 1yr parts and labor warranty still apply? Get it in writing on a invoice.
Extended warranty (if there is a Philips warranty) on the unit it can be transferred to a new owner for $15.00. Unsure about other warranties ( maybe someone can add on to this).
Other case scenerios for buying used units:
_- Plasma’s that were only used for a weekend or one day event
Advantages: Low amount of usage hours. Will most likely have the 1yr parts and labor warranty. ASK!
Disadvantages: Could still suffer from burn in issues depending on hours and source.
You are buying a house and the owner wants to sell the Plasma with the house.
1. Ask if it has a warranty on it that is transferable.
2. Ask if you can spend a couple hours with the Plasma in question. This gives you the opportunity to see the unit in action and look for any possible signs of wear.
3. If there is wear you can negotiate accordingly to what you would feel would be a fair price. Also, you can see what sources the owner has hooked up to the unit.
4 Ask if a computer is hooked up to it. If yes, you can ask what programs or games have been displayed on the unit (or maybe you can see the pc hooked up to it already). Ask to see it in action.
5. Ask if the owner has the original packing material, this is extremely helpful in the event you were to have a problem with the unit further on down the road. You need this material to transport, or you will need to buy a carrying case. See answers about travel cases above.
Buying from friends who are upgrading to new units:
1. Same Warranty information needs to be addressed.
2. You most likley have seen how the Plasma was taken care of and feel more comfortable with the purchase of buying from someone you know. The bottom line is you need to investigate very thoroughly before purchasing used or bstock units. You need to weigh if the price advantage is large enough to compensate in the event that something were to go wrong. - LisaJ

How long do plasma displays last?
At this point in time just about all manufacturers have rated their product to 1/2 brightness at 60,000 hours. The panel will still be usable after 60000 hours but it will be half as bright as when it was new. The only time this should concern you if you are purchasing a used panel. A couple of years ago the rated half life of plasmas was about 30000 hours. - semigolfer

I live in Denver, CO. Should I be concerned about high altitude effects on plasmas?
If you live in Colorado or any place in the US with an elevation over 8,000 feet you should be very concerned. Most (not all) manufacturers do not reccomend having a plasma display unit over 5,000 ft. If you do live in a high elevation area and you just have to have a plasma television..Look for:
Environmental Considerations Operating Temperature 32 - 95 degrees F
Operating Humidity 20 - 80%
Operating Altitude 0 - 9180 feet
Storage Temperature 14 - 122 degrees F
Storage Humidity 10 - 90%
Storage Altitude 0 to 9840 feet
Currently the only maufacturer ( that I know of) to say they will service to that level is NEC.
Go to www.necvisualsystems.com and click on specifications and you will see the above elevation information in some of the models. _LisaJ

Can the gas in a plasma be refilled?
Plasma recharging/filling: Nonsense!
Plasmas contain an inert gas which is somewhat similar to neon gas at a lower pressure than ambient air. There have been stories of a few sales people in electronic stores who claim that plasmas need to be refilled. This is not so- plasmas and LCD's never have to be refilled!
Apparently, because of the zeal in which some vendors want to sell other technologies (e.g., rear projection displays and direct view displays) or by ignorance, these sales people claim that plasmas must be serviced annually. Such service, as claimed, consists of recharging the plasma gas. The cells have their brightness restored, and any burn-in that was there prior to the "recharging" is history. The actual facts are that once plasmas are sealed, they are sealed forever (so the gas does not escape). There is no way to open the plasma, or recharge the gas in any way. Opening the plasma would destroy it.
While the gas does not degrade over time, the phosphors on the inside face of the plasma screen can degrade over time (just like in a normal CRT based TV). One way to help extend the life of your plasma is to set the contrast and brightness correctly- this helps prevent overdriving the phosphors, and lengthens their effective life. If you take care not to burn-in your screen (look at the "burn-in" section of this FAQ), the reduction of brightness is fairly minimal over time. The industry standard was about 30,000 hours of use several years ago, but now most plasma are rated at 60,000 hours before brightness drops to 50% of the out-of-box brightness. A rough calculation given 8 hours of TV viewing each day will give you about 20 years before you drop to 50% of original screen brightness. That's roughly the same as directview TVs average replacement. In 10 years, we suspect that plasmas (or their post-successor) will not be as costly as they are today.
Thanks to Ofer, Rogo, and yubyub, semigolfer(update on hours) ---Mark Rubin

What is ALiS?
ALiS stands for Alternate Lighting of Surfaces. It is a way to increase vertical screen resolution on a plasma display while maintaining brightness (by allowing bigger pixels) and keeping number of components and therefore costs down.
Existing Alis screens have 1024X1024 discrete pixels but they are addressed in an interlaced manner so every 60th of a second all pixels on the odd rows get addressed followed in the next 60th of a second by the pixels in all the even rows. As was mentioned, this is an interlaced method of display but is still better than CRT direct view as in CRT the electron beam has to scan lines one by one. With ALiS all odd lines are lit simultaneously then all even lines are lit simultaneously.
How this is done is that the odd and even rows share electrodes. In non ALiS displays each row of pixels has a dedicated pair of electrodes so that every row can be addressed simultaneously to produce a progressive display.
With ALiS, the bottom electrode of a row of pixels would also be the top electrode of the next row and so on. What this means in practice is that a row of pixels cannot be lit at the same time as the row next to it because the shared electrode can only be used for one of the two adjacent rows. Hence the interlaced nature of this display.
The following list describes how different sources are displayed with ALiS (thank you to TrainerDave):
720p: each field downconverted to 512 rows
480p: each field is slightly upconverted to 512 rows
480i: each field is upconverted to 512 rows,
1080i: each field is cut (not downconverted) from 540 to 512 rows[/list]720p is displayed in 1024 by 512 resolution spread over 1024 rows of pixels.
So the 1024 by 1024 is “used†to display a 1024x512 - resolution image. For progressive sources the resolution that you actually see is 1024X512. 1080i is displayed in its native vertical resolution over 1024x1024 pixels. Each field that comes in is shown on its own 1024 x 512 interlaced pixels.
ALiS is supposed to be perfect for a 1080i source as the vertical resolution nearly matches up. You simply lose a few rows top and bottom instead of having the image vertically scaled so there are also no scaling issues. Plus the source is interlaced anyway. In practice though this does not seem to bear out.
There are a number of posts about the Fujitsu 4233(852X480 progressive) vs. 4242(ALiS) and most people observe that HD or other images were noticeably better on the non ALiS panel which lists at $2000 less. This could be the result of better black levels on the 4233 or different scaling requirements but it is highly recommended that you compare yourself before buying an AliS 1024X1024 panel as most people here prefer the 852X480 panels. The only people that really prefer the AliS panels are those that can see the pixel structure on the 852X480 panels. But that is another topic! - divvy

What is the difference between square and non-square pixels? Should this be a decision factor in my purchase?
Pixels are the basic picture elements of digital display devices such as plasmas. Pixels are further divided into three different “sub-pixels†regions for each Red, Green and Blue fundamental color spaces.
The pixel structure itself can take various shapes. There are different manufacturing techniques to produce plasma panels of large group of pixels. The majority of manufacturers OEM their panel glass to Panasonic who uses “square†pixel structure. This type of panel has the correct physical and image ratio. For example, a 16:9 physical ratio will also have 16:9 pixel ratio (a typical 50†unit will have 1365:768 pixels +/- 2-3 pixels).
On the other hand, all Pioneer 50†panels (1280:768) and the new generation of HD 42†panels (1024:768) have a “rectangular†pixel structure. While keeping the same 16:9 physical ratio, the rectangular pixel structure mismatches the physical ratio by 15:9 for the 50†plasmas and 12:9 for the HD 42†units. This translates into a “stretched†image to fill the correct 16:9 physical ratio (circles look like ovals). However, the internal scaling processing of the plasma units compensate for this and the end result is a perfect image (circles look circles).
Does a rear-mounted engine Porsche drive better than a front mounted Corvette? Do you prefer wing-mounted engines on an aircraft than a rear-fuselage mounted ones? “Square†vs. “rectangular†should not be a major decision factor in your purchase. Always go with what looks best to your eyes. ---MAB

I’d like to point out that the Plasma’s internal scalar will compensate for the rectangular pixels when viewing video sources. However, when using the Plasma to show a PC signal, it does not work so well.
If you feed the panel its native resolution, you will see a short, fat desktop/icons because the pixels will be mapped 1:1 from your PC signal.
If you feed the panel a widesceen PC resolution, the scalar will kick and show a non-stretched image. But this will result in a fuzzy picture, because the scalar will have to drop some pixels in order to show the 16:9 resolution on a 4:3 aspect pixel configuration. ---Felgar

External scalers such as the Leeza or the HD Leeza will in fact compensate for the rectangular pixel structure when these two devices are connected at Native Rate of the plasma through either analog or digital pathways.
At native rate, the internal scaler is bypassed, therefore the external scaler must assume the responsibility of displaying the proper ratios in plasmas with rectangular pixels. Please check your scaler manufacturer specifications to make sure the device will work properly with your plasma unit. ---MAB

Do plasma displays make audible noise?
Here is the best thread I’ve found that discusses the question of audible noise eminating from a plasma.

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LCD Frequently Asked Questions

What is a LCD display?
A liquid crystal display (LCD) is a thin, flat display device made up of any number of color or monochrome pixels arrayed in front of a light source or reflector. It is prized by engineers because it uses very small amounts of electric power, and is therefore suitable for use in battery-powered electronic devices.
Each pixel (picture element) consists of a column of liquid crystal molecules suspended between two transparent electrodes, and two polarizing filters, the axes of polarity of which are perpendicular to each other. Without the liquid crystals between them, light passing through one would be blocked by the other. The liquid crystal twists the polarization of light entering one filter to allow it to pass through the other.
The molecules of the liquid crystal have electric charges on them. By applying small electrical charges to transparent electrodes over each pixel or subpixel, the molecules are twisted by electrostatic forces. This changes the twist of the light passing through the molecules, and allows varying degrees of light to pass (or not pass) through the polarizing filters.
Before applying an electrical charge, the liquid crystal molecules are in a relaxed state. Charges on the molecules cause these molecules to align themselves in a helical structure, or twist (the “crystalâ€). In some LCDs, the electrode may have a chemical surface that seeds the crystal, so it crystallizes at the needed angle. Light passing through one filter is rotated as it passes through the liquid crystal, allowing it to pass through the second polarized filter. A small amount of light is absorbed by the polarizing filters, but otherwise the entire assembly is transparent.
When an electrical charge is applied to the electrodes, the molecules of the liquid crystal align themselves parallel to the electric field, thus limiting the rotation of entering light. If the liquid crystals are completely untwisted, light passing through them will be polarized perpendicular to the second filter, and thus be completely blocked. The pixel will appear unlit. By controlling the twist of the liquid crystals in each pixel, light can be allowed to pass though in varying amounts, correspondingly illuminating the pixel.

This description “borrowed†from Wikipedia. Visit this site for a more detailed discussion.

What are some of the important terms I should know about LCD’s
Bezel - This is the metal or plastic frame surrounding the display screen. On LCD displays, the bezel is typically very narrow.
Contrast ratio - The difference in light intensity between white and black on an LCD display is called contrast ratio. The higher the contrast ratio, the easier it is to see details.
Ghosting - An effect of slower response times that cause blurring of images on an LCD monitor, it's also known as latency. The effect is caused by voltage temporarily leaking from energized elements to neighboring, non-energized elements on the display.
Luminance - Also known as brightness, it is the level of light emitted by an LCD display. Luminance is measured in nits or candelas per square meter (cd/m2). One nit is equal to one cd/m2.
Native resolution - This actual measurement of an LCD display, in pixels, is given in horizontal by vertical order.
Response time - The speed at which the monitor's pixels can change colors is called response time. It is measured in milliseconds (ms).
Stuck pixels - A pixel that is stuck either 'on' or 'off', meaning that it is always illuminated, unlit, or stuck on one color regardless of the image the LCD monitor displays can also be called a dead pixel.
VESA mount - With this, you can mount a monitor on a desk or wall. It meets recommendations of the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA).
Viewing angle - It's the degree of angle at which you can view the screen from the sides (horizontal angle) and top/bottom (vertical angle) and continue to see clearly defined images and accurate colors.

Why is it called a "display" instead of a "television"?
This is the same description as for plasma technology, however because LCD’s are becoming the primary type of computer monitors, you are much more likely to find LCD displays. Televisions have an internal tuner. To get a basic signal into a television, all you need in an antenna. A display is more like a computer monitor, most do not have an internal tuner (at least as of this writing, future models may include these). You will need to hook it up to some sort of external device to get a signal into the display.
Different options to use as a TV tuner for my LCD?
1. A VCR (with an antenna or cable feeding into it) will work as an inexpensive alternative.
2. A media box (aka "set top box") which may or may not decode HD.
3. A cable box.
4. A satellite box (such as a Direct TV receiver). - davidw

Follow-up note: Displays may or may not have speakers where as a TV will have some audio capability. Many displays are built for the computer industry where the speaker is inside the computer box, and thus not needed on a display. - semigolfer

What are the advantages of LCD displays versus other kinds of displays?
1) Resolution - LCD’s are able to place more pixels per square inch than plasma technology. Sharp introduced the first 1920x1080 pixel display and was able to accomplish this in only 45†diagonal. Since then full high resolution LCD displays have gotten even smaller.
2) LCD are very bright and work well in bright rooms
3) LCD’s, at one time, used somewhere in the range of half the power of a plasma display although that narrowed considerably in recent years as plasma panels have gotten more efficient particularly panels by Pioneer, LCD’s still are lower power devices.
4) Except in rare instances, LCD are pretty much resistant to burn-in thus they make excellent computer (or multipurpose) monitors.
5. LCD technology is relatively lighter than plasma technology and slightly thinner. Thus it is easier to hang on a wall, as well as transport.
6. LCD’s perform well in high altitudes - whereas with plasma you will have to find the one or two brands that will function without buzzing.

What are the disadvantages of LCD displays relative to other display technologies?
1) If there is one area that LCD still needs improvement it is black level. Black level is very important for several reasons, with one of the most important being a sets contrast ratio. The lower the black level generally means higher contrast. Higher contrast provides dimensionality (the ability to produce 3 dimensional images). Lower black levels also provide better and more realistic representation of films shot in low lighting conditions (think film noir - or Batman, Matrix, Spiderman, Dark City, etc.)
2) Color at one time was a significant disadvantage for LCD displays, Many people referred to them displaying cartoonish colors. Part of this reason is that the color model for LCD at one time was cyan, magenta, and yellow (as opposed to red, green, blue). However over the last couple of years they have made significant improvement in this area, and their color representation is getting close to plasma. Color improvements are somewhat restricted to certain brands, so it is best that you view and compare before purchasing.
3) On a cost per/sqin of screen basis LCD is still somewhat higher - although it was much worse just a couple of years ago.
4) Response time at one time was a significant disadvantage for LCD TV’s. They exhibited 25 millisecond times to refresh its pixels. They have made considerable improvement in this area and the next generation promises 8 ms times, which will put it very close to plasma technology. Again these improvements are generally found in the first tier manufacturers.
5) Uneven backlighting can be a problem on some LCD brands. Although this is a minor concern, for the really discerning viewer they should evaluate the evenness of the backlighting.
6) Wide angle viewing. Although LCD’s have made considerable improvement in this area over the last two years, the results across all manufactures is not consistent. On some brands one should examine the consistency of maintaining a perfect image, both side to side, and up to down views. In either case although it has gotten better, it’s still not as consistent as plasma technology.

What kinds of video formats are accepted by LCD?

Why are LCD’s so expensive?
Right now, big LCDs are priced higher to pay for the costs involved in setting up the factories that can handle the very large, but very thin and flexible, pieces of glass used to make a big LCD. The size of the glass used to make the biggest LCDs is going to go up from about a square meter—which allows them to make one or two pieces of 40-inch or so LCDs at a time—to something over two square meters, which should allow them to make about four or more big LCD TVs at once. All the equipment needed to swiftly move around and bake those big, flexible pieces costs a lot. But once the factories have been paid for—by those initial higher LCD prices—LCD TVs will come down in price to a point below plasma because the basic manufacturing costs are so much cheaper. Source

Which companies make LCD? Where can I find information about specific model numbers to me?
This is no longer as easy to answer as in the old days when there was just a handful of manufacturers. You should be aware that even today there are still only a handful of “glass panel†manufacturers. Last time I checked the largest (from largest to smaller) were: Samsung, LG (Philips partner), Sharp, and several Taiwan companies (AUO,CMO,CPT, Quanta, HannStar) . Each of these manufacturers also make the rest of the electronics to create a TV, but of course they sell a ton of the glass product to others who may or may not supply the rest of the electronics. To find out what vendors you can buy final product from visit the Brand Specific Information Plasma/LCD - semigolfer

What are the pros and cons of buying a LCD online?
Generally on-line prices are cheaper, you may be able to locate models that aren’t carried by local businesses.

Do all LCD display hi-definition (HD) content?
First and foremost you must remember that LCD’s have been around for a very long time and their primary market up until a few years ago was as a computer monitor. Consequently when the LCD industry was transforming itself to also function as a TV many of the computer orientation traits carried over. Bear in mind that at a minimum - the transformation from display to TV generally requires adding a tuner, and some sort of audio capability. As for the ability to display hi-definition content, you generally need two more things, circuitry to process a HD signal, and connectability (which is made up of the type of connection as well as the proper bandwidth through the connector).

Well that all sounds pretty scary - can you expound a little on this?
First off you have to delineate what do you mean by display HD content?
High definition content is normally defined as either a 720p or 1080i signal, and I might also suggest 1080p although this is not a broadcast standard.
First can you inject a high def signal into your LCD device and get a picture:
Second by display a HD signal do you mean just show a good looking picture, or actually show the picture in high resolution.
Let’s look at first
High def signals can typically be injected into a display device one of three ways:
1) from an over the air (OTA) antenna, 2) from a satellite or cable tuner, or high def tuner box, or 3) from some sort of storage device like a D-VHS recorder, a computer, and soon to be coming high def DVD (unfortunately there two types here Blu-ray or HD-DVD).
So let’s look at the possibilities a little closer.
1) OTA (antenna reception) - typically the incoming feed from this device is a RF coax cable.
For your LCD display to show this signal it must have a coax input and an ATSC tuner (or go through a high def tuner box). So if your LCD display device is a LCD-TV it may have a tuner but it might only be an old style NTSC tuner. ATSC tuners are only on LCD sets about 37†diagonal or larger. Although ATSC tuners will be coming to smaller sets over the next few years. So you need to ask and answer does your LCD set have an ATSC tuner, and an RF coax input?
2 & 3) Now for the rest of the input devices capable of HD reception and processing (high def tuner, high def satellite box or high def cable box (also could be called tuners), or D-VHS, Blu-ray, or HD-DVD - high def signals are processed through the box and then sent to your LCD display using either DVI, HDMI, component (wideband) . So the next question is does your LCD display have one or more of these connectors.

Now the second part are you just seeing a good picture or is it a high definition signal in high def resolution. You will be happy to know that LCD has higher pixel density than plasma, thus even many of the smaller sets has at least 720 horizontal lines. But are you dealing with an older LCD display. Maybe the display is only 640 x 480, or possibly it is 800 x600 both common LCD resolutions, so it can’t display 720 horizontal lines. So the question here is does the display have a scaling engine that accept high res signals and down res’s them to the native resolution of the display and display at least 720 lines. If it does you are considered to have a high def display. If it doesn’t you can display a high-def signal, but at only a standard def or enhanced def resolution.

So let’s try to summarize (in one paragraph) - do all LCD’s display hi-def content. The answer is most new ones do, but some don’t (because they were manufactured primarily for computer applications). On older displays primarily built for computer applications you may be able to see an image, but it is not considered high definition. To display high-def you need the ability to receive and decode a digital signal (i.e. an ATSC tuner, computer, or high--def cable satellite box) plus the LCD display must be able to receive the signal typically through a DVI, HDMI, or wideband component connector, AND you need an internal scalar capable of taking a 720p, 1080i or potentially 1080p signal and converting it to the native rate of the display. Whether it shows up as a high-def picture will be determined if the displays number of vertical pixels (or horizontal lines) is at least 720.

How big of an LCD do I need (I have XXX feet between me & the screen)?
Plasma TV’s due to pixels spacing, as discussed above, have some recommended distances in order to reduce or eliminate what is termed the screen door effect (SDE). This effect is pretty self description - it’s like watching your TV as if you are viewing it through a screen. Although some users say they can observe SDE on LCD’s, bless them, because their vision is far better than mine. On my computer LCD monitor I may pick up a little SDE at about 4†from the screen, but it’s a little uncomfortable viewing at that distance.
Consequently the perfect distance to view an LCD is pretty much how far back can you see the whole screen without your eyes jumping around like a rabbit. There is a distance I believe that is perfect - where you can get immersed into the picture, and not be distracted by other aspects of the room. However I think this varies with people - some people like to sit in the first row of a theater, some like to sit in the last - so it’s pretty subjective.
You might get some guidance from here as to some optimal distances. Or here’s another site that some people recommend.

How long do LCD displays last?
Longevity is quite high on LCD. Most vendors now claim 60,000 hrs to half brightness, and some spec as high as 80,000. Some also offer replaceable backlights. I can only imagine this might be for bulb (tube) losses due to breakage during shipping. Although most plasmas are now also rated at 60,000 hrs to half brightness, LCD might have a slight but insignificant advantage here.

Which LCD has the best internal scaler?
I have no clue. I know that I’m quite pleased with limited viewing of the top tier manufacturers.

How important is fill factor and/or resolution?
Below is a diagram showing pixels arranged with a low fill factor and a high fill factor. The pixels are the same size, but are closer together in a high fill factor panel with the same resolution. With the high fill factor, you cannot see the regions between the pixels as easily, so it has less of a Screen Door Effect.
http://gallery.avsforum.com/data/502...fillfactor.jpg

Every pixel in an LCD has control electronics on the inside of the panel that produces dark gaps between pixels. This accentuates the appearance of individual pixels and is referred to as the Screen Door Effect because of the similarity to looking through the mesh screen on a storm door. The fill factor or aperture ratio of the light emitting portion of the pixel depends on the particular LCD technology and the pixel pitch and is generally between 50 and 70 percent. Source

As for resolution, the most important point might be that LCD’s at one time were made for the computer industry. The most important points here are that because of this the native pixel specification are typically 4:3 and they are evenly divisible by 16 (i.e 2^4 - meshes well with computer chip designs). You will find a lot of 640x480 (yeh really old ones) 800 x 600 displays, 1024 x 768 - whereas the television high def standards are 1280 x 720, and 1920 x 1080. This means you should be on the look out for two things. If that second number is not at least 720 - industry speaking it’s not a high def display - and secondly (holds for plasma as well) the image displayed will have to be scaled. My only point here is the best pictures tend to come from displays that are pretty close to the high def standards - so that you don’t have to count on a high quality scaler. Now this is not to say you will not be able to find a 1280x720 or a 1920x1080 LCD display - it’s just not very likely. This also means you may see black bars top, bottom or sides - when viewing television images, and that of course means a smaller picture being displayed.

And the other factor is - that LCD tend to have denser packing of pixels for respective diagonal sizes than plasma, thus they tend to yield the sharper pictures (although there is a lot of other factors involved in sharpness especially when you consider scaling technologies.


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LCD vs. Plasma - Technology Comparison

At this point in time plasma and LCD are the two technologies competing in the flat panel market. Each technology has advantages and disadvantages. The purpose of this section is to look a little closer at these differences as objectively as we can. Eventually as more people comment on this section I’ll rewrite it, if I feel there is consensus that differs from what I have summarized.

I’m not trying to seek any overall consensus as to whether one technology is better than the other. IMHO, they are both pretty good. And in certain cases I’m going to purchase a plasma to meet my needs, and in other cases I’m going to buy an LCD. Since every person essentially develops their own value equation, which factors in these characteristics - I think you are going to do the same kind of analysis - whether it readily apparent or not.

This list is organized alphabetically, without any intent on rank ordering important characteristics first.

Black Level
What is black level? Black level is the amount of light visible when no signal or a signal of 0 IRE is feeding the screen. (Note: IRE units are the scale defined by the Institute of Radio Engineers to measure_the amplitude of a video signal. 0 IRE is black, and 100 IRE is white) Why is black level important? Black level helps determine a TV’s contrast level. Contrast is important because it is one of the characteristics that helps determine how much depth (3D) you can perceive on the screen. The more dimensional something is the more real it appears to the viewer. This characteristic is also more important if you generally watch your TV in a darkened environment or if film noir is one of your favorite types of motion picture. It also provides a function that I’ll call pop. Colors come alive when they are viewed in comparison to a very deep black.
Plasma TV’s have generally had a significant advantage in this area over LCD’s. BUT there are wide differences among brands. The lowest measurements recorded have been with the Panasonic brand (~0.023 ft-L), and that is one of the reasons this is a popular brand in this forum.
Recent measurements from LG plasmas (~0.027 ft-L) appear to show that they are now getting performance very close to Panasonic. But because this spec varies significantly among brands and even models within a given brand. We recommend you do your research. Here is a thread that tracks some relatively independent measurements of black level.
As short as three years ago, LCD’s really struggled with this characteristic. Recent LCD’s have made some significant improvement, but many LCD brands have not significantly improved. The best I’ve seen is 0.049 ft-L (a little more than twice as bright as a plasma), BUT most LCD’s brands are in the 0.12 ft-L range (almost 6 times as bright as plasma).
Summary: Although a few LCD brands have narrowed a major gap - the advantage regarding having the lowest Black Level is still with Plasma.

Brightness
Brightness for our purposes is the amount of light that is measured when a 100 IRE signal is injected into the TV. 100 IRE represents a pure white. If you have reviewed the measurements that Home Theater has been taking you will easily see that LCD’s have a clear advantage in brightness. This is one of the reasons that if your viewing area has extremely bright ambient light it makes sense to seriously consider an LCD.
Summary: LCD’s have a major advantage in attaining higher brightness, but I’m not exactly sure how important this is. I can tell you I don’t run my plasma anywhere near its top brightness and it is more than bright enough, although I usually only watch TV at night, and during the day I can easily manage the amount of ambient light in the room.

Burn-in
First what is burn-in? It is uneven aging of the phosphors which emit the light that make up the picture of a plasma TV.
Here is the major thread that discusses this topic. Yes plasmas are susceptible to burn-in, however manufacturers have improved their technology so that they are not “as susceptible†as before. Still if you own a plasma, and take a few precautions this really is not a very big problem. What precautions you say: Phosphor aging is represented by a declining exponential curve. The aging is most rapid when the TV is new. It is during this time that you should have your plasma dialed down. Reduce the brightness and the contrast controls, and use a video mode that is NOT a torch setting (i.e. don’t use “vividâ€). It’s also important to operate the screen in full-screen mode. You don’t want black side bars when viewing a 4:3 program material, nor top and bottom sidebars when viewing a DVD or movie that was shot in 2.35 aspect ratio rather than 16:9 (1.78). You do this by running “just†or “full†or “zoom†modes when the bars appear. After 100 or 200 hours use the aging rate is starting to level off, and less precaution is required. As for gaming, many owners use their plasma tv’s for computer gaming - they bring several advantages in fact such as fast response rate, accurate colors, and the ability to see more things in the shadows, but it wouldn’t advisable to leave menu bars or scoring windows on the screen for more than several hours or leave it unattended overnight with a static image.
Now this is not to say that an LCD can’t show some image retention effects (i.e. read this)- it’s just that this is much much less a problem with LCD screens. If you purchasing a display/TV for over 30% computer usage as well as TV viewing - it would be wise to focus your search on LCD’s.
Summary: Burn-in (or in the case of LCD maybe call it image retention) is possible on both technologies, but more likely with plasma unless you follow our recommendations. Overall the advantage is with LCD.

Color Saturation
In plasma displays, each pixel contains red, green, and blue elements, which work in conjunction to create 16.77 million colors. Insofar as each pixel contains all the elements needed to produce every color in the spectrum, color information is more accurately reproduced with plasma technology than it is with other display technologies. Not only are the chromaticity coordinates more accurate on most plasma displays, the color saturation resulting from the pixel design of plasma displays is remarkable.

LCD displays reproduce colors by manipulating light waves and subtracting colors from white light. This is an inherently difficult template for maintaining color accuracy and vibrancy-though most LCD displays manage quite well. While color information benefits from the higher-than-average number of pixels per square inch found in LCD displays (especially when compared to plasmas), LCDs are simply not as impressive as plasmas with similar pixel counts.
Color is also somewhat dependent on the number of bits being processed by the TV. Although the DVI standard for color definition is limited to 8 bit color, remember that all flat panel generally scale the signal to the flat panels native resolution. The processing being done to accomplish this may use 10 bit or even 12 bit color - so that when it interpolates the color between two pixels it may do so more naturally when it has more colors to choose from from it’s pallet.
Summary: I like to say that plasmas are well known to have accurate color while LCD’s have very vivid color. To my eye the top tier LCD’s manufacturers have gotten much better at rendering color, and are approaching the accuracy of plasma. But I’d be remiss in not noting that the whole concept of color is very subjective, and varies considerably among brands.

Computer Use
LCD monitors display static images from computer or VGA sources extremely well, with full color detail, no flicker, and no screen burn-in. Moreover, the number of pixels per square inch on an LCD display is typically higher than other display technologies, so LCD monitors are especially good at displaying large amounts of data-like you would find on an Excel spreadsheet, for example-with exceptional clarity and precision.

Plasma, on the other hand, does not handle static images especially well insofar as "burn-in" can be an issue with these monitors, as is distortion resulting from lower-resolution panels (EDTV) displaying static images at expanded sizes.
Summary: I’m calling LCD as the clear winner in display multiuse particularly as a computer monitor. This is not to say you can’t use your plasma for computer use, but that you need to be more careful. Plus one other consideration to remember is that if you own an EDTV plasma your resolution is only going to be 852x480 max - if your computer can even display that resolution.

Contrast Ratio
What is contrast ratio? Well it’s the ratio between white and black. The larger the contrast ratio the greater the ability of a display to show subtle color details and tolerate extraneous room light. With the ability for subtle color details comes dimensionality. Dimensionality begets looking more real. Unfortunately there are no clear standards adopted by the manufacturers for taking these measurements so in real life comparing two brands numbers is many times comparing apples and oranges. There are two methods used by the industry: 1)Full On/Off contrast measures the ratio of the light output of an all white image (full on) and the light output of an all black (full off) image. Again there are a number of games that can be played as to what this really constitutes. 2) ANSI contrast is measured with a pattern of 16 alternating black and white rectangles. The average light output from the white rectangles is divided by the average light output of the black rectangles to determine the ANSI contrast ratio. This method of measurement is more indicative of what you’ll actually see during normal viewing. When comparing the contrast ratio of the brands you are comparing make sure you are comparing the same type of contrast. Full On/Off contrast will always be a larger number than ANSI contrast for the same TV/display with the exception of plasma displays which is restricted during a full-screen light output test that Home Theater Magazine uses.

Plasma technology has certainly achieved quite high contrast ratios. Panasonic has even boasted that some of its plasma displays have a 4000:1 contrast ratio, which is the measure of the blackest black compared to the whitest white. Plasma displays achieve such impressive black levels by using internal algorithms to block the power to particular pixels in order to render a pixel "dark" or black. While this can limit a plasma's gray scaling, it does produce exceptionally black blacks - although you should be aware that it is not even close to that of the older technology of CRT which measure (0.001 ft-L) or even lower.

LCD (liquid crystal diode) displays, by contrast, utilize electric charges to untwist liquid crystals, which causes them to block light and, hence, emit blacks. The higher the voltage passing through the liquid crystals in a given pixel, the more fully those crystals untwist and effectively block light-all of which makes these pixels darker. This is a complicated process. And, despite recent improvements in LCD black levels, even the best LCD displays (like those produced by Sharp) have yet to break the 1000:1 contrast-ratio barrier. Though, at 700:1, many of the best quality LCD panels display sufficiently dark blacks to please even the most discriminating eyes.

Again I refer you to this thread , where you can review a summary of the results of testing by Home Theater Magazine. At least here the numbers have not been massaged by a brands marketing department.
Summary: Again although LCD’s have narrowed a major gap from just a few years ago, the advantage is still with Plasma for having better contrast.

Fill Factor (a.k.a Aperture Ratio) (Pertinent Characteristic - Screen Door Effect (SDE)
Were still researching this category - but let us share what we know:
Below is a diagram showing pixels arranged with a low fill factor and a high fill factor. The pixels are the same size, but are closer together in a high fill factor panel with the same resolution. With the high fill factor, you cannot see the regions between the pixels as easily, so it has less of a Screen Door Effect.

Every pixel in an LCD has control electronics on the inside of the panel that produces dark gaps between pixels. This accentuates the appearance of individual pixels and is referred to as the Screen Door Effect because of the similarity to looking through the mesh screen on a storm door. The fill factor or aperture ratio of the light emitting portion of the pixel depends on the particular LCD technology and the pixel pitch and is generally between 50 and 70 percent. Source

Just FYI - there is a lot of data out there in the projector area - as I guess it's crucial when you are blowing the image up on a wall. This is what I've found to date (for projectors).
LCOS D-ILA appears to be 93%
LCOS (specifically SXRD) appears to be 92-97%
range might be dependent on chip size
DLP appears to be 88 - 92% (a lot of different versions of DLP's)
LCD's depending on the type appear to be 50-83%

As for flat panels:
According to ExtremeTech (Source - above) LCD flat panel could be somewhere in that 50-70%
As for plasmas - this appears to vary by brand and by resolution, and it is difficult to find ratio data - but so far here’s what we’ve found.
EDTV (852x480), 40-50%
ALIS (1024x1024), 55-65%
HDTV, maybe even for specific sizes.
1280x720, (no data found)
1366x768, (no data found)
1920x1080 (no data found)

Summary: Since all this relates to screen door effect I would expect EDTV plasma to have the worst fill factor, LCD would come in next (according to Soniera) and HDTV plasma and ALIS plasma would probably be a the top of the flat panel group. Although fill factor is defined as: The ratio of the light sensitive area to the pixels total size. It should be noted though - that because of the higher pixel densities that LCD yields (see resolution category this section) it may appear to have higher fill factor than it actually physically has and thus less visible SDE because of this. So plasma either loses (if your comparison is done with an EDTV) or is essentially is tied with LCD (if your comparison is with a plasma HDTV) thus we’re giving LCD a half point edge in this category. Special thanks to member Woodrow for his able assistance on this category.

Gamma Correction (Gray Scale Tracking)
Although this is one of the more important characteristics in delivering great picture quality it’s probably the least known by the average television shopper. I don’t want to give up the space here to have a major discussion on this category - if you wish to know more there is a link under Advanced Topics called: Display Techonologies (Soniera) which covers it in much more detail. Suffice it to say that each technology has a characteristic as to how well it displays light at different signal levels, and this determines it’s gray scale tracking. The human eye perceives light along a given curve, and each technology must try to match this curve so we can perceive a good picture. The response curve of a CRT comes remarkably close to that on the human eye. The LCD native curve however is “S†shaped thus adjustments must be made in both the dark portions and the very light portions of an image so that it looks natural to the eye. Plasma mostly only requires adjustments in the darker areas. If you have great gamma correction you will see things in the shadows, and you will also see subtle color changes in the bright colors so that the appear to be more three dimensional.
Summary: Although neither technology is as good as CRT’s, because fewer electronic corrections are required in a plasma it tends to yield better results than LCD’s so it currently clearly has the advantage in this category.

High Altitude Use
There is a reason why LCD panels are the preferred visual display units for use on airplanes: LCDs aren't affected by increases (or, for that matter, decreases) in air pressure. Their performance is consistent, regardless of the altitude at which they're utilized.

Not so for plasma TVs. The display element in plasma TVs is actually a glass substrate envelope with rare gases compressed therein. So, at high altitudes (6500 feet and above), an air-pressure differential emerges, which causes plasma displays to emit a buzzing sound. Increases in the amount of power required to run the unit and heightened stress on fans to cool it are the root of this buzzing noise, which sounds rather like the humming of an old neon sign.
Summary: Although there are some plasma models that have been designed for high altitudes )I’m thinking NEC & Runco here, and one other that doesn’t come to mind at the moment - LCD’s have a clear advantage in this characteristic.

Lifespan
LCD manufacturers claim that their displays last, on average, 50,000 to 90,000 hours. In point of fact, an LCD TV will last as long as its backlight does and those bulbs can actually be replaced in some models! I’m not sure who is going to be replacing them after about 27 years. Since LCD is nothing more than light passing through a prismatic substrate, there is essentially nothing to wear out in an LCD monitor if the electronics are well designed.

Plasma, utilizes slight electric currents to excite a combination of noble gases (i.e., argon, neon, xenon), which then glow red, blue, and/or green. This is an essentially active phenomenon, so the phosphoric elements in plasma displays fade over time. However - the half-life of these gases for the top tier of mfr’s is now approximately 60,000 hours. At this point, the phosphors will glow half as brightly as they did when the set was new. There is no way to replace these gases; the display simply continues to grow dimmer with use. It should be noted that as short as three years ago this specification was rated at 30,000 hours for plasma, so if you are buying used try to determine the TV’s specifications.
Summary: While LCD’s might have a small advantage in this characteristic, it’s insignificant as 60,000 hrs means if you watch 6 hrs/TV per day - that’s 10000 days or 27+ years. This comparison has been ruled a draw with the exception of the panel being used 24 hours per day as a display monitor (i.e. airport flight schedules etc.) then LCD would have the advantage.

Overall Picture Quality
This category is a subjective judgment on my part. I have no hard and fast data to list or put in a table. It’s in some ways it’s a composite of several of the other categories discussed in this comparison. These categories would include things like: Black Level, Brightness, Color Saturation, Contrast, Gamma Correction, Refresh Rate, Resolution (i.e. Sharpness), Response Time, and the Internal Scaler and Noise Reduction Circuitry (which I’ve ignored so far because they are difficult to objectively measure.
My eyes tell me that the advantages the plasma has in black level, color, contrast, gamma correction, are more important than what LCD leads in i.e. brightness, and resolution (which is only more important for viewing distances close to the screen. I’ve also seen what I call the “most natural†images on plasma, but LCD keeps getting better, and it’s not exactly chapped liver, so let your own eyes be the judge. BTW I’m currently shopping for an LCD, as soon as they put ATSC tuners in the smaller sizes.
Summary: For now I believe plasma gets the point on this category for the reasons mentioned above

Power Consumption
Here’s a little table I did about 10/2004 from manufacturers web sites:
Code:
LCD            Plasma
45†- 260W     50†- 530W
42†- 240W     42†- 290-395W
37†- 224W     37†- 225-325W
32†- 150W
From this table (which uses manufacturers nameplate numbers) it appears that LCD had a significant advantage and uses much less power. The other thing to be aware of is that on the plasma side there was considerable variability between brands. If I recall correctly Pioneer was the lowest energy consuming plasma. Since then other brands have lowered their consumption levels. However I recently started this thread. When I purchased my first plasma several months ago I noticed that my electric bill decreased about $4/month. Since the only thing that had changed was adding this new TV I decided to investigate further. Now I’m sure that using nameplate rating for consumption levels which may represent maximum levels rather than typical ones. My 42†EDTV plasma is rated by the manufacturer at 390W(max) but consumes only on average about 100W on CSI, and 120W on NFL football.
Summary: In late December 2005 I changed the scoring of this item. Previously I called this one in favor of LCD, and now I believe this category is now a wash. More information is now available in the thread mentioned in the above paragraph. Although plasma has some high power spec ratings continued reported indicate that it uses only 1/3 to 1/2 of these ratings in typical use. LCD’s power consumption on the other hand is very close to the spec-ed rating. If you’ve purchased a unit with an adjustable back light however their rating can also be significantly reduced if you use the low setting. Out of the box (with the backlight on its high setting) it runs at the spec-ed rating, however this level can be cut almost in half if it has an adjustable back light. Consequently an out of the box plasma on an equal square inch comparison will run slightly less than an out of the box LCD. The LCD can win this point by going to its low setting of the backlight - but data so far shows most people leave it on the high setting because they typically purchase an LCD for use in rooms with bright ambient lighting. Keep in mind that these specification vary widely among manufactures so do your research before your purchase - if power consumption is an important category to you.

Price - MSRP
Because the units come in different sizes, one of the ways to show a price comparison between technology is to show a price per square inch. Some of the problems with this is that plasma generally come in the larger sizes. Today they start around 37†(diagonal). When LCD TV’s originally hit the market they came in smaller sizes. Today they are available up to about 45 - 46†and larger units are expected.
Please beware that this table was compiled around (Oct 2004) it’s probably already out of date - this is why I’m providing the square inch table so you can run these comparisons yourself once you research current price levels.

Code:
     (Diag.In.)   LCD($/sqin)           Plasma($/sqin)
         21         5.30 
         22         6.66
         30         6.00
         32         6.86                    5.25
         37         6.66                    3.75
         40         7.25
         42 (E)                             3.15 (E)
         42         9.00                    3.60
         42 (A)                             4.40 (A)
         45         9.00
         46         6.45
         50                                 4.75
         61                                 6.75
         63                                 5.60
         71                                 x.xx 
(E) - EDTV, (A) - ALIS
                            Norm.   pixels/sq in
Diagonal Width Height sqin  @42†   plasma   LCD
-------- ----- ------ ----  ------  ------   ----
21       18.3  10.3    188   0.25            4175
22       19.2  10.8    207   0.27            4457
26       22.7  12.7    289   0.38
30       26.1  14.7    384   0.51            2557
37       32.2  18.1    585   0.77   1261     1794
42       36.6  20.6    754   1.00    543(E)
42       36.6  20.6    754   1.00   1044     1392
42       36.6  20.6    754   1.00   1391(A)
45       39.2  22.1    865   1.15            2397
46       40.1  22.5    904   1.20            2294
50       43.6  24.5   1068   1.42    982
55       47.9  27.0   1293   1.71    811     1603
61       53.2  29.9   1590   2.11    660
63       54.9  30.9   1696   2.24    619
65       56.6  31.9   1806   2.40    580
71       61.9  34.8   2153   2.86    963
Summary: Suffice it to say plasma technology still maintains a $/sq.in. advantage, and from the table above you can see why the 42†EDTV plasma is so popular. LCD’s may appear to the untrained eye to be more competitive than meets the eye because they come in the smaller size. As you can see from the table increasing the diagonal size is deceptive, because it is a squared relationship i.e. the surface area increases quite a bit for each additional diagonal inch (i.e. a 50†diagonal is 40% larger than a 42†model). Looking at the data in this table clearly shows that the advantage on this characteristic is with plasma when you show the numbers that attempt to show an apple to apple comparison.

Refresh Rate
Flicker is only considered a serious problem with CRT displays and is a consequence of the need to repeatedly refresh the phosphor dots on the screen (as their light decays rapidly). This refresh rate is typically 75 Hz or 85 Hz, slightly less than that what is really needed to ensure that the vast majority of people do not see flicker (see section 4.6). It is less of an issue with LCD-based displays as they do not have such a cyclical refresh process, but flicker can be a problem if the rate at which the image itself is changing (the frame rate) happens to match the LCD backlight’s drive frequency. PDP displays are able to use a different scanning refresh process (as the phosphors do not fade as quickly), and therefore they have little issue with flicker.
Summary: I’m calling this category a draw.

Reliability
I’ve seen no convincing evidence either way to say one technology is better than the other. Consumers Reports says it is still too early to gauge reliability although they did indicate they only saw a miniscule level of failures to date. You may think that plasma has a disadvantage here because of the many problem threads you may have seen in this forum. However bear in mind that plasma were first out of the gate, and generally in sizes of TV’s greater than 37†they have a sales advantage. With more plasmas in service in these sizes you are likely to see reports of more problems.
First hand reliability on Sharp LCD’s.
Summary: I’m calling this category a draw.

Resolution
Code:
                      LCD density        Plasma density 
        (Diag. In.)  (pixels/sqin)        (pixels/sqin)
           21            4175
           22            4457
           30            2557
           37            1794                 1261
           42 (E)                              543(E)
           42            1392                 1044
           42                                 1391(A)
           45            2397
           50                                  982
           55            1603                  811
           61                                  660
           63                                  619
           65                                  580
           71                                  963

(E) - EDTV version, (A) - ALIS model
Please note that to achieve these numbers I generally took the highest density
unit I could find in the market even if lesser ones were available for each of
the diagonal inches shown.
Summary: LCD’s reached 1080p first and they generally pack more pixels per square inch as can be seen from the table above. This all means that overall LCD probably provide sharper pictures than plasma although there are some other factors involved in providing sharpness.

Response Time
The time an individual pixel or cell in a display screen takes to change from white to black is known as the response time and is measured in milliseconds (ms). The response time affects the ability to change an image rapidly on the screen, for example, during movement in a sports program, a fast action video or a computer game. If the response time is not adequate the viewer will detect a blurring or 'ghosting' in the image. It is generally thought by commentators that the minimum response times for different types of content are as follows (CNet, 2005):

25ms for general computer applications
16ms for 30 frames-per-second DVD video
12-15ms for TV, sports and gaming

LCD has an inherent latency time due to the switching of the liquid crystal gates and this introduces a longer response time than is required by some content types. There is a further complication in that dark images with less contrast can also produce longer response times due to the lower intensity of the applied electric field required to generate darker colors. For this reason many manufacturers now quote figures for the average time of transition between sets of randomly grey levels, referred to as 'grey-to-grey' response times (Monckton, 2005). You might also want to read this article and see that response time can be as confusing as contrast ratio. Here is a recent thread that kind of summarizes the confusion. This is not an issue for Plasma or CRT, which have response times of around 1 to 3 ms.

LCD manufacturers have attempted to engineer solutions to the response time problem and LCD TVs and monitors are becoming available (in mid 2005) with typical response times of 16ms, with some offering times as low as 5 to 8 ms . LCD response times are fast enough that you won't notice much difference [compared to CRT] unless you play high-resolution games or watch action packed DVDs onscreen
Summary: As you can see from the above descriptions, with the absolute latest LCD models response rates are again narrowing the difference to plasma. At this point in time I’m going to give the advantage to plasma in this area - simply because there are a great deal of LCD’s still in the market with 16 ms or greater response times. Some people prefer gaming on a plasma because they are noticeably faster. Within a couple years I would probably rate it a draw or at least say that the differences are insignificant if indeed they get down to the 5 to 8 ms range.

Screen Size
There was a time when plasmas were primarily 37†and higher, and LCD’s were 37†and lower. Then Sharp introduced a 45†model. Although plasma still pretty much owns the 42†and up market, it is expected to be a major battleground in the future. At this point plasma still maintains a significant price advantage in the 40+†size, but LCD has somewhat narrowed the gap. There has been other developments - Sharp recently announced a 65†LCD. LG has a limited production of 71†1080p plasma. We’ve also seen prototypes by Samsung including an 82†LCD and a 102†plasma.
Summary: I don’t want to say advantage or disadvantage here. Regardless of what is capable of being prototyped. in general plasma typically are being sold in the larger sizes, and LCD’s in the smaller sizes (and IMHO it’s other factors - not because of screen size characteristic), and the mid 40’s maybe inching into the 50â€s is where the next battleground will be.

Thickness
LCD’s are approximately 2 to 3 inches thick, plasma TV’s are generally about
3 to 4 inches thick.
Summary: LCD’s have a slight advantage here, but it’s not really significant in most cases to alter your purchase decision.

Viewing Angle
Plasma manufacturers have made much of their 160° viewing angles, which is about as good as horizontal and vertical viewing angles get. This owes to the fact that each pixel is lit by itself, not from some central light source. Hence, each pixel is more readily visible because its brightness is consistent with every other pixel on the screen.

LCD manufacturers have done much to improve their displays' viewing angles. The substrate material on newer-generation LCDs by Sharp and NEC has helped to expand those units' viewing angles, though they have a long way to go before catching up with those on plasma units. My last visit to a store seemed to show no variation up to 45% in each direction, and beyond 45° you could see the picture although it was a reduced brightness. Expect the best LCD displays to have between 90- and 120-degree viewing angles. So there persists a noticeable difference between the two technologies when viewed in real world situations (up and down, side to side), but the differences have narrowed considerably.
Summary: Although the advantage is not as great as it once was, Plasma sets still maintain a viewing angle advantage, and it is significant compared to lower tiered brands of LCD’s.

Weight
Code:
LCD TV’s               Plasma TV’s
45†about 51 lbs      42†about 66 lbs
37†about 41 lbs      42†cons. 92 lbs    
                      50†about 97 lbs
Summary: LCD’s are typically lighter, easier to mount, easier to move from room to room, and to ship. Consumer grade plasmas can be considerably heavier. Advantage LCD.

And on the official scorecard - here are the results:
Code:
Technology       LCD     Plasma
----------     -------  --------
Black Level                1
Brightness        1
Burn-in           1              (that is resistance to)
Color Saturation           1
Computer Use      1
Contrast Ratio             1
Fill Factor       0.5
Gamma Adjust.              1
High Alt. Use     1
Lifespan          0.5      0.5
Overall PQ                 1
Power Consumption 0.5      0.5
Price                      1
Refresh Rate      0.5      0.5
Reliability       0.5      0.5
Resolution        1
Response Time              1
Screen Size       0.5      0.5
Thickness         0.5
Weight            1
------------    --------  -------
Total             9.5      9.5
You know that the scoring above is facetious - as if each characteristic could or would carry the same weight. But it could be helpful to you - determine which characteristics are important to you and then pick your poison.

And BTW if you agree or disagreement with this comparison - your comments with rationale and references can be provided by clicking here.

Take me to the FAQ2 Home Page

Take me to the LCD/Plasma - Technology Index Page
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello and Welcome
To the Flat Panel (Plasma, LCD,… TV/Display) FAQ2 Page!

Working to make shopping, owning and operating a flat panel TV a better experience
To make this a better forum it needs volunteers!

Click here to input FAQ ideas, report problem links, volunteer, or find out how you can help.

The Geographical Connection
Communicate with users in your own area. Where’s the best places to view/buy plasma/LCD, who has the best service, where is the closest service center, what’s the best video source (OTA, Satellite, Cable) in the area, etc.

From the most recent data I could find - here are the largest TV markets across the North America. I thought it might be interesting to propose a thread for each of these markets that allowed persons within each market to share their flat panel information.
This page has been developed for demonstration purposes only, to see if there is any interest in pursuing this concept. Two markets are set-up New York and Detroit. The New York link was found in the archives - so you can’t post to it any longer. The purpose of this page would be to provide a centralized link to pages that are created by other users for their market. Your comments are welcome, please use the (brown or aqua) link at the top of this post for those comments.

If you want to try to start a thread for your market - create a thread, and then send me a private message in order to link your efforts to this central page. The title of the thread you create should be: “Insert your Geographical Area†Flat Panel User’s Group


Code:
SuperSized Markets
Market                      # of TV Homes (% of US)
1 New York                     7,375,530 (6.692) 
2 Los Angeles                  5,536,430 (5.023) 
3 Chicago                      3,430,790 (3.113) 
4 Philadelphia                 2,925,560 (2.654)

Large Markets
5 Boston (Manchester)          2,375,310 (2.155)
6 San Francisco-Oak-San Jose   2,355,740 (2.137)
7 Dallas-Ft. Worth             2,336,140 (2.120)
8 Washington, DC (Hagrstwn)    2,252,550 (2.044)
9 Atlanta                      2,097,220 (1.903)
10 Houston                     1,938,670 (1.759)
11 Detroit                     1,936,350 (1.757)

Big Markets
12 Tampa-St. Pete (Sarasota)   1,710,400 (1.552)
13 Seattle-Tacoma              1,701,950 (1.544)
14 Phoenix (Prescott)          1,660,430 (1.507)
14a. Toronto                       ?
15 Minneapolis-St. Paul        1,652,940 (1.500)
15a. Montreal                      ?
16 Cleveland-Akron (Canton)    1,541,780 (1.399)
17 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale        1,522,960 (1.382)
18 Denver                      1,415,180 (1.284)
19 Sacramnto-Stkton-Modesto    1,345,820 (1.221)
20 Orlando-Daytona Bch-Melbrn  1,345,700 (1.221)
21 St. Louis                   1,222,380 (1.109)
22 Pittsburgh                  1,169,800 (1.061)
23 Portland, OR                1,099,890 (0.998)
24 Baltimore                   1,089,220 (0.988)
25 Indianapolis                1,053,750 (0.956)
26 San Diego                   1,026,160 (0.931)
27 Charlotte                   1,020,130 (0.926)
28 Hartford & New Haven        1,013,350 (0.919)
29 Raleigh-Durham (Fayetvlle)    985,200 (0.894)

Medium Markets
30 Nashville                     927,500 (0.842)
31 Kansas City                   903,540 (0.820)
32 Columbus, OH                  890,770 (0.808)
33 Milwaukee                     880,390 (0.799)
34 Cincinnati                    880,190 (0.799)
35 Greenvll-Spart-Ashevll-And    815,460 (0.740)
36 Salt Lake City                810,830 (0.736)
37 San Antonio                   760,410 (0.690)
38 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce    751,930 (0.682)
39 Grand Rapids-Kalmzoo-B.Crk    731,630 (0.664)
40 Birmingham (Ann, Tusc)        716,520 (0.650)
41 Harrisburg-Lncstr-Leb-York    707,010 (0.641)
42 Norfolk-Portsmth-Newpt Nws    704,810 (0.640)
43 New Orleans                   672,150 (0.610)
44 Memphis                       657,670 (0.597)
45 Oklahoma City                 655,400 (0.595)
46 Albuquerque-Santa Fe          653,680 (0.593)
47 Greensboro-H.Point-W.Salem    652,020 (0.592)
48 Las Vegas                     651,110 (0.591)
49 Buffalo                       644,430 (0.585)
50 Louisville                    643,290 (0.584)
51 Providence-New Bedford        639,590 (0.580)
52 Jacksonville                  624,220 (0.566)
53 Austin                        589,360 (0.535)
54 Wilkes Barre-Scranton         588,540 (0.534)
55 Albany-Schenectady-Troy       552,250 (0.501)
56 Fresno-Visalia                546,210 (0.496)
57 Little Rock-Pine Bluff        531,470 (0.482)
58 Knoxville                     516,180 (0.468)
59 Dayton                        513,610 (0.466)
60 Richmond-Petersburg           510,770 (0.463)
61 Tulsa                         510,480 (0.463)
62 Mobile-Pensacola (Ft Walt)    501,130 (0.455)

Small Markets
63 Lexington                     478,560 (0.434)
64 Charleston-Huntington         477,890 (0.434)
65 Flint-Saginaw-Bay City        475,500 (0.431)
66 Ft. Myers-Naples              461,920 (0.419)
67 Wichita-Hutchinson Plus       446,820 (0.405)
68 Roanoke-Lynchburg             440,390 (0.400)
69 Green Bay-Appleton            432,810 (0.393)
70 Toledo                        426,520 (0.387)
71 Tucson (Sierra Vista)         422,480 (0.383)
72 Honolulu                      414,960 (0.377)
73 Des Moines-Ames               413,590 (0.375)
74 Portland-Auburn               407,050 (0.369)
75 Omaha                         399,830 (0.363)
76 Syracuse                      398,240 (0.361)
77 Springfield, MO               395,820 (0.359)
78 Spokane                       389,630 (0.354)
79 Rochester, NY                 385,460 (0.350)
80 Paducah-Cape Girard-Harsbg    383,330 (0.348)
81 Shreveport                    382,080 (0.347)
82 Champaign&Sprngfld-Decatur    378,100 (0.343)
83 Columbia, SC                  373,260 (0.339)
84 Huntsville-Decatur (Flor)     370,820 (0.336)
85 Madison                       365,550 (0.332)
86 Chattanooga                   354,230 (0.321)
87 South Bend-Elkhart            333,190 (0.302)
88 Cedar Rapids-Wtrlo-IWC&Dub    331,480 (0.301)
89 Jackson, MS                   328,350 (0.298)
90 Burlington-Plattsburgh        325,720 (0.296)
91 Tri-Cities, TN-VA             323,690 (0.294)
92 Harlingen-Wslco-Brnsvl-McA    318,800 (0.289)
93 Colorado Springs-Pueblo       315,010 (0.286)
94 Waco-Temple-Bryan             310,960 (0.282)
95 Davenport-R.Island-Moline     308,380 (0.280)
96 Baton Rouge                   305,810 (0.277)
97 Savannah                      296,100 (0.269)
98 Johnstown-Altoona             294,810 (0.267)
99 El Paso (Las Cruces)          290,540 (0.264)
100 Evansville                   288,800 (0.262)
101 Charleston, SC               283,730 (0.257)
102 Youngstown                   276,720 (0.251)
103 Lincoln & Hastings-Krny      274,150 (0.249)
104 Ft. Smith-Fay-Sprngdl-Rgrs   273,000 (0.248)
105 Greenville-N.Bern-Washngtn   271,130 (0.246)
106 Ft. Wayne                    270,500 (0.245)
107 Myrtle Beach-Florence        265,770 (0.241)
108 Springfield-Holyoke          264,840 (0.240)
109 Tallahassee-Thomasville      261,250 (0.237)
110 Lansing                      256,790 (0.233)
111 Tyler-Longview(Lfkn&Ncgd)    255,770 (0.232)
112 Reno                         255,090 (0.231)

Boutique Markets
113 Traverse City-Cadillac       247,600 (0.225)
114 Sioux Falls(Mitchell)        246,020 (0.223)
115 Augusta                      245,590 (0.223)
116 Montgomery-Selma             245,090 (0.222)
117 Peoria-Bloomington           241,800 (0.219)
118 Fargo-Valley City            234,190 (0.212)
119 Boise                        230,100 (0.209)
120 Macon                        229,870 (0.209)
121 Eugene                       229,280 (0.208)
122 SantaBarbra-SanMar-SanLuOb   224,290 (0.204)
123 La Crosse-Eau Claire         224,090 (0.203)
124 Lafayette, LA                220,030 (0.200)
125 Monterey-Salinas             218,080 (0.198)
126 Yakima-Pasco-Rchlnd-Knnwck   211,610 (0.192)
127 Columbus, GA                 205,300 (0.186)
128 Bakersfield                  201,850 (0.183)
129 Corpus Christi               192,380 (0.175)
130 Chico-Redding                191,190 (0.173)
131 Amarillo                     190,250 (0.173)
132 Columbus-Tupelo-West Point   186,510 (0.169)
133 Rockford                     183,090 (0.166)
134 Wausau-Rhinelander           182,620 (0.166)
135 Monroe-El Dorado             174,370 (0.158)
136 Topeka                       170,650 (0.155)
137 Duluth-Superior              168,650 (0.153)
138 Columbia-Jefferson City      167,860 (0.152)
139 Wilmington                   167,810 (0.152)
140 Beaumont-Port Arthur         167,430 (0.152)
141 Medford-Klamath Falls        163,090 (0.148)
142 Erie                         158,660 (0.144)
143 Sioux City                   156,950 (0.142)
144 Wichita Falls & Lawton       154,960 (0.141)
145 Joplin-Pittsburg             153,720 (0.139)
146 Lubbock                      152,150 (0.138)
147 Albany, GA                   152,140 (0.138)
148 Salisbury                    147,890 (0.134)
149 Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill   145,850 (0.132)
150 Terre Haute                  145,630 (0.132)
151 Bangor                       142,790 (0.130)
152 Rochestr-Mason City-Austin   142,770 (0.130)
153 Palm Springs                 142,730 (0.130)
154 Wheeling-Steubenville        142,020 (0.129)
155 Anchorage                    141,290 (0.128)
156 Binghamton                   138,560 (0.126)
157 Panama City                  136,450 (0.124)
158 Biloxi-Gulfport              135,540 (0.123)
159 Odessa-Midland               135,100 (0.123)
160 Minot-Bismarck-Dickinson     133,910 (0.122)
161 Sherman-Ada                  124,060 (0.113)
162 Gainesville                  117,190 (0.106)
163 Idaho Falls-Pocatello        114,560 (0.104)
164 Abilene-Sweetwater           112,510 (0.102)
165 Clarksburg-Weston            108,730 (0.099)
166 Utica, NY                    106,130 (0.096)
167 Hattiesburg-Laurel           105,000 (0.095)
168 Missoula                     104,700 (0.095)
169 Quincy-Hannibal-Keokuk       103,890 (0.094)
170 Yuma-El Centro               103,170 (0.094)
171 Billings                     102,620 (0.093)
172 Dothan                        98,370 (0.089)
173 Elmira (Corning)              97,210 (0.088)
174 Jackson, TN                   95,010 (0.086)
175 Lake Charles                  94,090 (0.085)
176 Alexandria, LA                93,120 (0.085)
177 Rapid City                    91,070 (0.083)
178 Watertown                     90,930 (0.083)
179 Jonesboro                     89,530 (0.081)
180 Marquette                     89,160 (0.081)
181 Harrisonburg                  85,870 (0.078)
182 Greenwood-Greenville          76,800 (0.070)
183 Bowling Green                 75,420 (0.068)
184 Meridian                      71,210 (0.065)
185 Lima                          70,940 (0.064)
186 Charlottesville               69,750 (0.063)
187 Grand Junction-Montrose       65,190 (0.059)
188 Laredo                        64,410 (0.058)
189 Great Falls                   64,130 (0.058)
190 Parkersburg                   63,990 (0.058)
191 Lafayette, IN                 63,330 (0.057)
192 Twin Falls                    60,400 (0.055)
193 Butte-Bozeman                 59,300 (0.054)
194 Eureka                        58,340 (0.053)
195 Cheyenne-Scottsbluff          54,320 (0.049)
196 Bend, OR                      54,250 (0.049)
197 San Angelo                    53,330 (0.048)
198 Casper-Riverton               52,070 (0.047)
199 Ottumwa-Kirksville            51,290 (0.047)
200 Mankato                       50,930 (0.046)
201 St. Joseph                    45,840 (0.042)
202 Zanesville                    33,080 (0.030)
203 Fairbanks                     32,310 (0.029)
204 Presque Isle                  31,140 (0.028)
205 Victoria                      30,250 (0.027)
206 Helena                        25,810 (0.023)
207 Juneau                        24,130 (0.022)
208 Alpena                        17,790 (0.016)
209 North Platte                  15,320 (0.014)
210 Glendive                       5,020 (0.005)
Total                        110,213,910 (100.000)

The on-line connection
211. Communicate with persons experienced with on-line purchases

Send me a Private Message if you want to start one for your viewing area.

Go Global - see counterparts across the ocean From the UK, From Norway

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post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello and Welcome
To the Flat Panel (Plasma, LCD,… TV/Display) FAQ2 Page!

Working to make shopping, owning and operating a flat panel TV a better experience
To make this a better forum it needs volunteers!

Click here to input FAQ ideas, report problem links, volunteer, or find out how you can help.

Closure and Credits

Hopefully this FAQ has been useful to you. Special thanks to the people who have volunteered their time and knowledge to help create it:__brucer_cheridave_davidw_divvy_edmc _Elgaran_Felgar _Glauco BruZZi_ggoodrum _jlm _Ken Ross_LisaJ_llogan_MAB _markrubin _oferlaor _phil_evans _rogo _stu_h _yubyub
and thanks to everyone who has helped out with suggestions and encouragement. Happy plasma-ing! ---deeann

The original Flat Panel Plasma/LCD FAQ was created by members of AVS Forum and formatted for HTML by deeann. It is hosted by AVS Forum. See the copyright statement on the home page of AVS Forum for terms of use.

Take me to the FAQ2 Home Page

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post #21 of 21
Thanks to semigolfer for the new FAQ2

Please do not post here: if you wish to comment about this FAQ, use this link:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post6106861

the new FAQ2 is still 'under construction'
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