Originally Posted by Nmlobo
Below are some quotes from http://www.practical-home-theater-gu...ast-ratio.html
. Although the article is written for projection systems many of their comments apply to flat panels as well.
An imaging device ability to display subtle detail arises out of its ability to display various levels of gray i.e. its gray-scale performance rather than out of a higher contrast ratio.
a higher contrast ratio implies a device has greater ability to display black as 'black' instead of dark gray.
To better understand the impact of the presence of light in a room on the contrast ratio performance of an imaging device, it is sufficient to realize that with the light emitted by just one candle in a room - that's just one LUX - there would not be any difference between a 500:1 and a 5000 or even a 10,000:1 contrast ratio!
Increase the level of light in the room to just 30 LUX - that's equivalent to a dimly lit room - and contrast ratio figures above 50:1 would turn out to be simply academic
It is therefore clear that unless you watch your moves in a completely darkened environment, it would be useless to stress too much and pay more for a device with a higher contrast ratio!
Do not get carried away with big contrast numbers - the eye dynamic response is the limiting factor.
Some of that article you referenced is definitely an opinion piece, however, from that article: "...Similarly, this applies also to direct-view systems such as plasmas and LCD TVs - most often, black is nothing more than dark gray!"
I agree and that's why in my opinion they're crummy that way. And I'm not being theoretical, from the two sets I've mentioned, plus a nice LCD set I also had, plus the many sets I've seen in the store, that's my personal experience of flat panels. But flat panels have gotten better, and some are much better than others. Hence, in making a choice on a new set between LCD and plasma and among the various models of each -- how close a set can get to true black, would be a factor at the top of my list.
Now, I admit, to some black level is not a big deal. A lot of people even have their wonderfully black capable CRTs showing more of a gray than a black. But it's huge to me and to many (most?) who post on these boards. That's one reason there's a lot of hope placed on next gen tech like SED, OLED, why some of us are still very fond of CRT, etc...
(As to that article's comments on ambient light -- way overstated. There are things such as anti-glare coatings, positioning lights that don't shine directly on the screen and such that can be done...)