Originally Posted by tombaker
But you did say something that was interesting...you consider yourself a home theater enthusiast. Fine maybe you should talk over to people who want to watch movies in dark rooms.
I think there is a difference between Home Theater enthusiasts and HDTV enthusiasts. I use my HDTV in many more situations than you do.
Maybe, maybe not. We use our TV night and day. But I prefer to watch movies in lower lighting for the "theater vibe" so that puts demands on certain performance aspects of a display, as I have been discussing.
Do you feel that LCD owners here, who have LCD as their prime viewing display, are in general "HDTV" fans vs "Home Theater Fans?" If so, why do you think that would be the case?
Originally Posted by tombaker
And in many of those viewing situations, the overall quality of a Plasma display is a washed out low resolution mess.
Interesting. My experience differs. I haven't found that to be the case in evaluating flat panel displays over the last 6 years or so. I find that LCDs certainly have some advantages in combating ambient light. Their screen construction allows them to absorb and diffuse light, vs the reflective nature of the plasma screen glass. Also, of course, in general the LCDs can pump out more light to combat ambient light. So in general, yes, LCDs have an advantage in combating bright ambient light.
However....it is a vast exaggeration to imply that plasmas therefore are a washout in lights-on conditions, and that they need to be viewed in very dark conditions in order to look excellent. Completely untrue. As long as lights are not shining directly on the plasma, and it's not a full sunny day with light streaming in a bright room, then the plasma can show it's contrast attributes.
Like most folks, I work during the day and don't have time to sit around watching movies then. I watch TV/Movies when I get home, at which time
the sun is setting it's not streaming super-bright into our house. I have no need whatsoever to turn off the lights in our family room in order to see the
rich contrast qualities for which I bought the display. A few relaxing lamps around the room provide ample light and the plasma does not look washed out at all.
And in fact, I just came back from dropping my son off at Karate. On the way home I dropped into the same Best Buy to examine the displays again.
Even in that
lighting the plasmas, e.g. from Pioneer, looked vibrant and held their contrast better over every LCD I looked at. The LCDS definitely pumped out more light and could look pretty contrasty from direct-on. But
start to move away from the sweet spot and the contrast suffered in every case. And this was the case with bright material (which visibly faded) as well as dark material).
I looked at the new Sonys, the Toshiba Regza, The new Sharp models etc.
All exhibited the off-axis effects that I have been describing. Further, I'm not
talking about "extreme" off-angles either. I looked at them first at the angle as if I were viewing alone (right on axis), then viewing with two people (slightly off axis, to one half of the screen) and then viewing with three people (a bit more off axis - essentially my inside shoulder just past the line of the bezel, turned to watch the display). None of that was "extreme"...it was normal, and I bet even more on axis than a lot of people end up watching their TV at home.
I could notice some change in the "two person" mode, and definitive changes in the "three person" mode - losses in color saturation, contrast, rising of black levels, and unevenness of illumination. It WAS something that would be unlikely to bother a lot of viewers but it also WAS something that happened in every case. I happen to be sensitive to that particular artifact.
As well, LCDs, while having advantages, are not a panacea for ambient light.
They too suffer reflections. It's particularly evident when watching any dark scenes of a movie. If there is a light source nearby it can be reflected as a big smear over a portion of the picture, as opposed to the smaller, more "mirror-like" reflection of a plasma. So I would find any critical viewing of a movie compromised in challenging, brighter lighting, whether I was using plasma OR LCD
(And you can see just what I'm talking about in the photos I linked to. You can see portions of the LCD screens with big light smears on them, from the lighted conditions).
So, yes LCDs certainly have advantages in brighter conditions, but they too can suffer problems from lighted conditions as well. No display really looks it's best in bright lights because it's impossible to truly make a non-reflective
screen surface (at least in consumer models).
Certainly the viewer's application will dictate which technology will tend
to work well. But that is no licence to over-generalise that LCDs look like crap in the dark
or Plasmas only look any good if you are willing to watch with the lights off
None of that hyperbole helps enlighten these discussions.
As far as my plasma I'm sick of looking at it's F*ing pixels! I want a nice smooth image that a good LCD or higher-res plasma can provide. I also want better contrast ratio with even deeper blacks. And a sharper, finer image. It would be a bonus to have a display that was less reflective of bright lights, for when the sun is streaming in. All this may dictate I end up with LCD rather than plasma, since I'm unlikely to use this display as my main "critical viewing" or "film-viewing" display. Or...if newer very high contrast plasmas come down enough in price, that may also be the ticket. I'm still (casually) looking at this point.