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PLASMA vs LCD What wins this battle?  

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'm sure this has been discussed before, but when I did a search I found over 2000 threads relavent to this discussion. A lot of those threads are old now and out dated.

My question, with todays technology, which is the way to go? I'm looking at a 50" Plasma that is a Phillips 50PF9630A for an AMAZING price! I don't think I found a 50" LCD even close to the 2K mark.

If anyone knows a good thread where the pros and cons of Plasma's vs LCD's are discussed, I'd love to read it. I just don't hav 40 days to search 2000 threads, each with 100 posts each, lol.

Even a good review site that states pro's and cons of both.

If anyone knows anything about this Philips model, (good or bad, please let me know) I am thikning of getting 8-10 of these at this price for all my family.

Thanks a lot for your time and help!

BH
post #2 of 63
depends what you want to do on the tv.... dvds, pc, tv, games???
post #3 of 63
Philips is not my favorite - not even on my list. I would rather have a Maxent.
post #4 of 63
As with everything, there's no perfect technology. Both have different strengths and weaknesses, so it comes down to what you're going to use it for.
post #5 of 63
My first thought is if you (I am assuming you have looked at a TV that you are considering) find a Philips is capable of showing you an acceptable image then you are one of the lucky few on this board that are not videophiles. Philips does not produce one of the top three panels, I for one would see many of the issues of this non premiere panel and thus unfortunately have to spend more. Also at $2000 you are not interested in huge 50" plus flat panels so I won't go into the though process around them.

Differences between Plasma and LCD...

I shall preface this with I am comparing top of the line Plasma's Hitachi/Pioneer/Fujitsu to the top of the line LCD's Sharp/Samsung/Westinghouse (Samsung I don't like and Westinghouse we don't have in Canada). Comparing a 2nd rate Plasma like a philips to a first rate current gen Sharp LCD wouldn't be fair, for the Phillips.

PROS: Plasma has the best blacks, best contrast ratio, best handling of film playback, best colour, fastest response ratio so fast movements don't blur and has the most 3D feel to it

CONS: Plasma is somewhat susecptible to burn in (really have to work at it to get it on a current gen. Posters please don't go off topic replying to this), Low resolution in the under 50" size you are looking at barely 720p capable panels 1024x1024 or less. Computer connections and handling of video input an after thought (colour and ability for image to fill screen not always good)

PROS: LCD have native PC support with DVI (not all models but top models like the D90 Sharps), High resolution 1920x1080 full 1080P (future proof panel HD won't get better for many years to come), no burn in issues.

CONS: LCD blacks are not as good as plasma but current gen is very good, side by side with a plasma the colours seem washed out in comparison (mind you a porsche next to a Ferrari might not look as good to some but that doesn't mean it doesn't look "Good"), Viewing angle not as good as a plasma (Something I have never understood as I tend to be strange and sit in front of my TV not 90 or 150 degrees off to the side but that is just me). Slower respone ratio but with the current gen at 6ms response times it would be hard to notice any blur.

In summary a plasma makes a prettier picture to an LCD, but they both are great. LCD has no burn in issue, better resolution and native PC support. Care about PC/Console use or being able to run full 1080 content get an LCD. Just want a nice picture and don't care about high res HD or plugging in PC's and consoles get a Plasma.

I should note that although I am stating a lot of pros for Plasmas I am just about to put money down on a Sharp D90 LCD.
post #6 of 63
Just to add a thought to naturr's post - if you have a bright, glare-inducing room, LCD is typically much better than plasma at reducing the reflections and glare, and the LCD is typically brighter. For movies, I typically prefer the plasma picture over the LCD due to the smoothness of a well-calibrated plasma, but I must say the most recent LCDs are very, very good. Use your eyes - and demo the type of content you expect to use on it.
post #7 of 63
Good Point BillyBob I forgot to add that about Plasma's being better in a darker room and LCD's being an all day sort of use device.

One big point of advice and I sort of alluded to it in regards to the fact you seem happy with a Phillips panel. How good a panel looks is not only all the technology but also how you percieve which is why some people like one panel over another. Sorta like food lobster is yummy for some people but others would like a steak, neither is wrong (steak guy has more money at the end of the day though :)).
post #8 of 63
Note, there are a few LCD's out there with glass - so keep that in mind.
post #9 of 63
I've been trying to find a new television, and for the best part of a year, have been buying and returning many LCDs. (6/7 total) I just got my first plasma last week, and in almost every way, it's better than LCDs. (and it was the very best available in LCD I was buying, not the cheap brands etc)

Plasma does not do well at all in bright rooms - the blacks turn grey and there's a big drop in contrast. Reflections aren't really an issue though. That's one thing LCD has going for it, but I would rather have my blind down all day than have an LCD at night.

The blacks on my Plasma at night measured better than any of the CRTs in my house (when calibrated for shadow detail) with my Spyder2PRO, giving 0.19925cd/m2 for black (an average of 8 squares) when set to around 85cd/m2 for white, giving a real-world ANSI contrast of 429:1. There's an awful lot of depth to the image that you just can't get on LCD. (including glossy LCDs)

Motion is handled much better on Plasma, without the "defocusing" you get on LCD, but it's not quite perfect yet, there's still the odd bit of trailing. I really don't think LCD can handle motion well over 32" though - it's not great at 32" and below, but any bigger, and it's unbearable, in my opinion.

No LCD can compare with colour reproduction - they can do bright colour, and technologies like Sony's Wide Colour Gamut backlight improve things, but nothing LCD can do compares to the rich, deep, yet natural colours on my Panasonic plasma. LCD looks great for games etc with its extremely vivid and bright colours, but it just can't do skintones or dark / subtle tones as well. (but it is getting better - there's been a definite improvement over the last year)

Burn-in / image retention is no longer an issue with plasma. I've not been babying my set at all (turning down settings etc) and despite playing games on it, or watching a world cup match (90 minutes with scores onscreen) there hasn't been a hint of image retention. I left a game paused onscreen within the first hour of having it, and there wasn't even anything. Perhaps if you're watching something / playing 6, 8 hours at a time it could be a problem, but I can't do that anymore before I get bored etc.

Viewing angles are much better on plasma too - you get a true 170º or so viewing angle before the image quality shifts at all - with the best LCDs around (Sony BRAVIAs with S-PVA) you maybe get 100º before you get an unwatchable shift in quality, but it starts dropping contrast much sooner than that.


Unfortunately, this Plasma I have seems to have some forced noise-reduction, even when set to "off" so it'll be going back, but I'm pretty sure I'll be replacing it with a commercial Panasonic plasma, which shouldn't do that. (they are much more flexible than the consumer TVs, but basically don't do anything to the image unless you tell them to)
post #10 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by bharper

If anyone knows anything about this Philips model, (good or bad, please let me know) I am thikning of getting 8-10 of these at this price for all my family.
About a month ago there was a thread where a video store employee mentioned they had more returns of Phillips than any other brand.

You need to do some leg work, visiting video stores and judging for yourself. Be aware of the pros and cons...then make your decision.

For me, dealing with glare and higher electricity costs were outweighed by the plasma picture quality. I bought a Panny plasma. I've had it going on three months and don't regret my decision. The picture quality is amazing, and dealing with glare hasn't been bad. Our TV purchase was part of redecorating the living room, so we'lll be keeping glare in mind when we purchase our lighting. And mini-blinds/shades will help on those rare occasions when we're watching TV during the day.
post #11 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeltaOne
For me, dealing with glare and higher electricity costs were outweighed by the plasma picture quality. I bought a Panny plasma. I've had it going on three months and don't regret my decision. The picture quality is amazing, and dealing with glare hasn't been bad. Our TV purchase was part of redecorating the living room, so we'lll be keeping glare in mind when we purchase our lighting. And mini-blinds/shades will help on those rare occasions when we're watching TV during the day.
Actually, I'm not so sure you will have higher costs. The 37" Philips LCD I had (1920x1080 panel, awful image quality imo) was 221 watts, whereas this 37" Panasonic Plasma I have (9th Gen EDTV) is only 215 watts. However, the plasma rating is peak consumption, whereas the Philips is constant.

Plasma power consumption varies based on overall contrast setting and the average picture level - I've got contrast at around 1/3 of the way up (85cd/m2, perfect for a dark room, imo) and how often do you get a full white screen? In reality, it'll be doing far less than 215 watts, and using much less than an equivalent size LCD.
post #12 of 63
For me the biggest issue was plasma burn-in. I just didn't want to have to Deal With It. (Please, no arguments about how it doesn't necessarily have to be a problem. I wanted it not to be an issue at all.) Secondly was the power consumption issue. Thirdly, it turns out (I hadn't even considered this): Our TV is in a family room with lots of windows. My wife and I are simply astounded at how watchable our new LCD is in the middle of the day with all the curtains wide open. And that room's windows are on a southern exposure, no less! (We both hate closing curtains while it's daylight outside.) I love being above to watch TV in the middle of the day with all the windows open and a nice summer breeze wafting through the room :).

As for Philips: We looked at flat-screens ever since the Philips 37pf7320a/37 first went on sale at Costco. I'll admit that, every time we did that, the displays that repeatedly drew my eyes were plasma units. But, out of all the LCDs in all the stores, that Philips consistently looked as good as, if not better than, all the rest of the LCDs. Coupled with its excellent complement of inputs, its reputedly above-average SD upconversion, the built-in ATSC tuner and firmware upgradeability via simply plugging-in a USB memory stick (which worked flawlessly for me, btw), that was the one upon which we decided. We are quite happy with it.
post #13 of 63
plasma blacks aren't that good and they're better than most anything else. Everything else is just plain unacceptable.

Case closed--if you don't agree go be a Sony SXRD replacement bulb salesman.
post #14 of 63
Quote:
Motion is handled much better on Plasma, without the "defocusing" you get on LCD, but it's not quite perfect yet, there's still the odd bit of trailing. I really don't think LCD can handle motion well over 32" though - it's not great at 32" and below, but any bigger, and it's unbearable, in my opinion.
Can anyone confirm if this is true? I'm debating between a 32" and a 40" LCD from samsung, and plan on playing a lot of games. Will ghosting be a problem on the 40 inch?
post #15 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artwood
plasma blacks aren't that good and they're better than most anything else. Everything else is just plain unacceptable.

Case closed--if you don't agree go be a Sony SXRD replacement bulb salesman.
Huh?
post #16 of 63
Let me put it this way: If the picture doesn't have good blacks it isn't worth watching. Flat Panel LCD is getting better at that but still doesn't cut it.

The only other current technology of a decent size that has good blacks is on a Sony SXRD but it suffers from green globs, cartoonish oversaturation, and has bulbs that wear out and cost too much to replace.

DLP blacks don't cut it. RP LCD blacs don't cut it.

Direct-view CRT has great blacks but is too small and RP CRT has great blacks but many other problems and is near extinction.

The best you can do is to go with a quality plasma.

Never let anyone tell you that great blacks don't matter. Turn down the lights and see how horrid watching GRAY TV is.

If Flat Panel LCD could improve its black level performance it would have some advantages over plasma. At least the best Flat Panel LCDs are getting better in that regard and don't mega suck like they used to.
post #17 of 63
Thread Starter 
ok, that model is $2500 delivered to the door. NEW, Full warranty from a licensed company. I am looking for TV viewing mainly, movies, some Video Games.

This is for people looking for a great deal on a 50". They want to say they have a 50" Plasma, so quality isn't top on their list.

I have a Vidikron 42" ED and it looks better than a lot of HD TV's.
post #18 of 63
I just got back from costco and purchased the 45" sharp--the blacks on it were better or as good as the best plasmas there(panasonic). The only one that came close to matching the aquos was the panasonic. There was a maxent plasma and a vizio plasma that looked very grey in comparison to the sharp aquos. This is uncalibrated out of the box. The picture was fantastic.
The viewing angle was on level with the panasonic as well. Go see for yourself.
Everyone who ws looking at TV's just stopped and gazed longingly at the Sharp.
It looked that good.
As a result...its sitting in my garage waiting to be opened by its new daddy !
post #19 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by naturr
My first thought is if you (I am assuming you have looked at a TV that you are considering) find a Philips is capable of showing you an acceptable image then you are one of the lucky few on this board that are not videophiles. Philips does not produce one of the top three panels, I for one would see many of the issues of this non premiere panel and thus unfortunately have to spend more. Also at $2000 you are not interested in huge 50" plus flat panels so I won't go into the though process around them.

Differences between Plasma and LCD...

I shall preface this with I am comparing top of the line Plasma's Hitachi/Pioneer/Fujitsu to the top of the line LCD's Sharp/Samsung/Westinghouse (Samsung I don't like and Westinghouse we don't have in Canada). Comparing a 2nd rate Plasma like a philips to a first rate current gen Sharp LCD wouldn't be fair, for the Phillips.

PROS: Plasma has the best blacks, best contrast ratio, best handling of film playback, best colour, fastest response ratio so fast movements don't blur and has the most 3D feel to it

CONS: Plasma is somewhat susecptible to burn in (really have to work at it to get it on a current gen. Posters please don't go off topic replying to this), Low resolution in the under 50" size you are looking at barely 720p capable panels 1024x1024 or less. Computer connections and handling of video input an after thought (colour and ability for image to fill screen not always good)

PROS: LCD have native PC support with DVI (not all models but top models like the D90 Sharps), High resolution 1920x1080 full 1080P (future proof panel HD won't get better for many years to come), no burn in issues.

CONS: LCD blacks are not as good as plasma but current gen is very good, side by side with a plasma the colours seem washed out in comparison (mind you a porsche next to a Ferrari might not look as good to some but that doesn't mean it doesn't look "Good"), Viewing angle not as good as a plasma (Something I have never understood as I tend to be strange and sit in front of my TV not 90 or 150 degrees off to the side but that is just me). Slower respone ratio but with the current gen at 6ms response times it would be hard to notice any blur.

In summary a plasma makes a prettier picture to an LCD, but they both are great. LCD has no burn in issue, better resolution and native PC support. Care about PC/Console use or being able to run full 1080 content get an LCD. Just want a nice picture and don't care about high res HD or plugging in PC's and consoles get a Plasma.

I should note that although I am stating a lot of pros for Plasmas I am just about to put money down on a Sharp D90 LCD.
LCD can and does burn in. If you don't believe me go to CC in Culver City, Ca. and proceed to the sound room where it's more home theater oriented. They have 3 37" LCD's on the wall (2 polaroid, 1 Sammy) playing the Top Gun DVD. There is a menu screen which has a gauge which runs vertically the entire length of the screen. The "gauge" has permanent burn in, you can see it no matter what you watch. It's not retention, it's permanent. Not saying LCD is more prone to IR/burn in than plasma but it is still possible and have seen it with my own eyes.
post #20 of 63
lets keep on topic and not discuss extreme cases.
post #21 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by naturr
lets keep on topic and not discuss extreme cases.
Amen. Burn in is not a shortcoming of LCD....for plasma it is.
post #22 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by lipcrkr
It's not retention, it's permanent.
No, it's not permanent. It's image persistance. It can persist a long, long, long time, but it is reversable. Plasma burn-in, like CRT burn-in, is permanent. Furthermore: LCD persistance seems a lot more difficult to provoke than plasma burn-in. Your example is extreme. It is not at all typical of home use.
post #23 of 63
I have a 42" LG Plasma for 3 years now. Picture quality is great, but that thing generates HEAT. Just like having a little heater in my living room. Does any body know if LCD runs hot also?
post #24 of 63
they run hot, but not as hot as plasmas
post #25 of 63
bharper..... I own the Philips 50PF9630A that you are looking at. I have had this set for 7 months. When I went shopping I went to our local BB. I wasn't originally looking for a plasma set, but when I saw them I was wowed! The Philips, IMO, stood out. The picture was sharp and the colors were vibrant. Coupled that with my son's BB discount, I bought it. The PQ from HD channels and watching DVD's is impressive. This model does however have it's problems. Some owners are experiencing the "BS" or black screen. This where the set loses the picture and after a few seconds, the TV re-sets itself. There are many theories why this happens.

There is an extensive thread on this forum for the 42" model (same set as the 50" model). I would encourage you to look through it before you make your decision. Here is a link to it: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=551202
post #26 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdog2004
I just got back from costco and purchased the 45" sharp--the blacks on it were better or as good as the best plasmas there(panasonic). The only one that came close to matching the aquos was the panasonic. There was a maxent plasma and a vizio plasma that looked very grey in comparison to the sharp aquos. This is uncalibrated out of the box. The picture was fantastic.
The viewing angle was on level with the panasonic as well. Go see for yourself.
Everyone who ws looking at TV's just stopped and gazed longingly at the Sharp.
It looked that good.
As a result...its sitting in my garage waiting to be opened by its new daddy !
Congratulations, you've bought a great display. I like the Sharp LCDs very much myself. However, comparing black levels in the typical bright lighting of a store doesn't lead to accurate comparisons. The actual black levels of a display (as opposed to how black they look in a store) become prominant in darker lighting conditions. Having compared the Sharp LCDs and the Panasonic plasmas in darker lighting conditions, like those I prefer for watching movies, the difference in black levels is not subtle - the plasma being decidedly deeper.

But if you watch mostly with lights on, you aren't likely to notice this, and the brighter light output and better ambient light rejection of the Sharp will make the black levels appear quite satisfying.
post #27 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericp
they run hot, but not as hot as plasmas
What are you basing that on? The 37" Panasonic I've got runs cooler than any LCD I've had, even ones a quarter the size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gdog2004
I just got back from costco and purchased the 45" sharp--the blacks on it were better or as good as the best plasmas there(panasonic).
Only in a bright room. A good plasma is better than any LCD in the dark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gdog2004
The viewing angle was on level with the panasonic as well. Go see for yourself.
I've had 7 LCDs since around August last year, including the best Sharp offered, and nothing has been as good as the Sony BRAVIAs with their S-PVA panels, however even these can't compare to a plasma, as they shift in brightness as the angle changes, whereas plasma is 160-170º of staying exactly the same.


Oh, and before I get branded a Plasma fanboy, it's going back to the shop. (seems it's doing some sort of adaptive noise reduction to the image, even with P-NR turned off, and when it kicks in, things smear terribly onscreen)

This means I'll be going back to my 17" Sony XBlack LCD for another few months. (nothing else out there suitable for me it seems)
post #28 of 63
I just ordered the Sceptre 42" LCD online and am wondering if I made a mistake...The TV will primarily be for watching Direct TV and and Movies...I'm going to get an HD tuner and also order the HD service from Direct TV....The set will be viewed from 10-14 feet away and we normally watch TV, sports, and movies with the lights on....I will not use this as a monitor or for Gaming, so my question is this...Should I cancel the order with C..tco and get a plasma? The reviews for the native resolution of this set are awesome, but does it matter for what I'll be using it for? If I should change what is the best 42" plasma I can get for no more than 2400 considering what I will be using it for...Frankly all this black talk scares me....I currently have a 57" rear projection Sony (4 yrs old) with no HD tuner, so anything will be an improvement...Any advice is welcome :)
post #29 of 63
I just got a Syntax Olivia 42" LCD. The first few days, I was awestruck, especially by the HD picture. It blew me away. Stuff like local news in HD. Stuff like almost any sports, especially NFL (I have clips recorded on my computer with MyHD decoder card) looked awesome. Absolutely sharp and bright. The women's US Open on NBC yesterday was awesome, except for the SD cameras they were using on certain shots. Shows like The Office and The Tonight Show looked awesome. Now these shows all have one thing in common, they are brightly lit with no real murky shots. Even CSI Miami looked awesome the other night. So when LCD does certain HDTV material, it does it better than just about anything out there.

Now here is the other piece in the puzzle. It is summer, so I have been mostly watching during the daytime, where this LCD performs amazingly well. However, as it gets darker in the room, the blacks kind of go gray, and depending on the show, the darker stuff all kind of blends together in a grayish section. I noticed this with Cold Case last night, which had many shots in the dark. It wasn't real bothersome, but it was noticable. I would be willing to bet that the last Harry Potter movie, which was one of the murkiest, darkest moves ever, would look terrible with this LCD at night.

I haven't done a lot of experimenting, and it hasn't really bothered me just yet, but it is something to think about. Since I have an early schedule, I won't be watching much in the dark until the winter, so that will be the final test. Even in the darker months, the brightly lit shows will still look awesome. Sports in HD will look fantastic, anytime day or night. It is the murky dark stuff that it will struggle with.

Fortunately for me, I still have my X1 projector which does remarkable with DVD in a dark room. So this winter, I will switch back to that for more DVD viewing.

As for DVDs, in the first few days I've had this, I've been very impressed, especially with brighter stuff. Movies like Pride and Prejudice, which has gorgeous photography, looked awesome in my opinion. This was during the daytime, so I am still withholding judgement.

I think the gist of my point is that it is too bad there isn't some kind of hybrid between LCD and plasma, that takes the strengths of each and gets rid of the weaknesses.

Maybe a plasma that works great in a bright room and has little or no burn-in. Maybe a plasma that doesn't fade over time. Or an LCD that looks better in a dark room.

I am still very pleased with this 42" LCD. It has performed as good as I wanted. But it does have weaknesses, which I hope I didn't overplay with the above comments. One thing I like about LCD is the potential longevity is better than plasma. In my opinion, plasma has more of a built in obsolescence factor, much more than LCD.
post #30 of 63
Please don't hijack the thread with your own question. This thread is about the pros and cons of current plasma and LCD. Start a new one so you can get answers to your question.

I will say that it sounds like you need to do some research before purchasing. Most of us here wouldn't even look at a Sceptre for comparison sake let alone as a good flat panel option.
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