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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys. Been fumbling around a bit now trying to learn what I can before making the jump to HDTV. After a few weeks of research, I decided, based on my reading, that Plasma was the right choice for me.


After finally settling that, I decided today to visit a few retail stores to see if I could match theory with observation. I was very surprised with the results. Now, I wan't to mention as a preliminary matter that I fully understand that deciding on a TV using in-store observation is piss poor way to make a good decision due to a variety of reasons (calibration, lighting, etc).


With that said... I couldn't be more un-impressed with the picture that I saw in every plasma TV that I viewed. The picture always looked dimmer, for starters, but it was more than just that. Yellows, blues, reds, etc. seemed harder to distinguish on the plasma sets while they just seemed to "pop" out on the LCD sets. In sum, the picture just seemed crisper and more virbrant. This remained the case even when viewing LCD's and plasma's in darkened in-store home threatre rooms with minimal ambient light (certainly I would have at least as much light in my tv viewing room) and in 3 different retail stores.


Despite all of the above mentioned observations. I was definately able to observe the better black level performance on the plasma sets and also the fact that the picture never became pixelated or developed the annoying background noise look that the LCD's often did with even minimal motion or sometimes even when showing a relatively stationary picture. On the LCD's black business suits, just one example, often appeared more bluish.


In sum, I'm having a great deal of trouble deciding what to do. All my research tells me that plasma is the way to go given my viewing needs (primarily sports & video games, I rarely use TV for anything else). However, the picture on the LCD's unfailingly seemed to be crisper, more virbrant, and generally rendered more pleasurable viewing experience despite the flaws.


Which brings me to my questions:


Could it be that I just have a natural preference for the more virbrant colors of LCD (some would call this unrealistic, I tend to prefer it I think)? I know that generally, I keep the brightness cranked pretty high on my LCD monitor and laptop. Much higher than most I know. Perhaps I failed to take into account how important that feature is to me.


Secondly, am I really selling plasma short in reaching the conclusion that they are incapable of rendering the same type of picture described above in an ideal viewing environment and with proper calibration?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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Originally Posted by dlplover /forum/post/18283158


Plasmas vary some by model to model and manufacturer to manufacturer. Which ones were you looking at?

I looked at many, but the one I really studied (and I was lucky to find one on display) was a Samsung PN50B550. This wasn't by accident. That's the model I intend to purchase if I go with plasma as I found a refurb for roughly $700.


If I go with LCD, I'm going to lose about 10 inches of screen real estate b/c I plan on buying one of the 40 inch EX500 series sony's at about $800 bucks (about the same as plasma after shipping - but it's worth mentioning that going with 40 inch means it will fit in my TV cabinet that is recessed into the wall without mounting thus saving more cash - otherwise I have to mount over the hole - anything over 40 inches won't fit)
 

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For what it's worth, I felt the same way the first time I got interested in HDTVs. My eyes were constantly drawn to LCDs and the few times I observed plasmas in stores, I was terribly unipressed by them. They seemed too dim, no pop and very bland compared to LCDs.


So I got an LCD, and all those qualities that looked good in stores quickly got old once I started watching it every day. The more I watched my LCD, the more I found myself actually missing the basic qualities my old CRT had such as great black levels and motion handling. When I watched some of my movies and hi-def sports on a plasma, I realized this was really how they were meant to be seen instead of the more "digitized" LCD look.


While plasmas aren't flashy looking compared to LCDs in stores and may look unimpressive at first, you'll find that over the long term they provide a much more satisfying viewing experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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Originally Posted by vic_0002 /forum/post/18283180


For what it's worth, I felt the same way the first time I got interested in HDTVs. My eyes were constantly drawn to LCDs and the few times I observed plasmas in stores, I was terribly unipressed by them. They seemed too dim, no pop and very bland compared to LCDs.


So I got an LCD, and all those qualities that looked good in stores quickly got old once I started watching it every day. The more I watched my LCD, the more I found myself actually missing the basic qualities my old CRT had such as great black levels and motion handling. When I watched some of my movies and hi-def sports on a plasma, I realized this was really how they were meant to be seen instead of the more "digitized" LCD look.


While plasmas aren't flashy looking compared to LCDs in stores and may look unimpressive at first, you'll find that over the long term they provide a much more satisfying viewing experience.

I keep trying to convince myself of this, but I always find myself looping back around to this fear that I will make a purchase believing that my eyes are decieving me only to find that later that they were not.


I really hope your right. Ten more inches of screen real estate for the same price and (according to most) superior viewing quality would be very nice.
 

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well, it sounds to me like you like to watch TV with the Vivid picture mode rather than an accurate picture mode like cinema


what you may consider doing is seeing if anyone (or any store perhaps) in your area has properly calibrated TV's you can view.


TV's in a store can never get calibrated by just playing with the remote at the very least to get an idea how it should look you would need to bring a calibration disc with you to a store and get them to hook up a BD/DVD player so you could run the disc and set it up correctly for their lighting conditions all this is pretty likely to be pointless though because as it sounds you prefer a brighter more unnaturally colorful image and if that is the case then by all means get the LCD that jumps out and bites your wallet
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by saneac2 /forum/post/18283195


I keep trying to convince myself of this, but I always find myself looping back around to this fear that I will make a purchase believing that my eyes are decieving me only to find that later that they were not.


I really hope your right. Ten more inches of screen real estate for the same price and (according to most) superior viewing quality would be very nice.

at then end of the day the size of the TV matters more than anything always, if someone offered me a 73" mitsu DLP for free (or close) i would take it with open arms even knowing its downsides and how unreliable it will be



as vic said you will get tired of vivid torch mode on an LCD after a few weeks and wish you had a plasma more than likely
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

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Originally Posted by frito /forum/post/18283212


at then end of the day the size of the TV matters more than anything always, if someone offered me a 73" mitsu DLP for free (or close) i would take it with open arms even knowing its downsides and how unreliable it will be



as vic said you will get tired of vivid torch mode on an LCD after a few weeks and wish you had a plasma more than likely

Probably right. Neon grass could loose its sex appeal. +10 inches will not.
 

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Keep this in mind:


1. For the most part, plasmas ugly flaws show up on the showroom floor.


2. LCDs biggest flaws won't show up until they are in your home and as ambient lighting goes down so will the picture quality.


I've had several plasma and currently a Samsung B650 LCD. The Samsung LCD can look very good with the light on. With the light off in many cases it doesn't impress me in the least bit!


Plasmas have a brightness limiter to prevent them from using too much power so in bright scenes they will look dim next an LCD. On the flip side LCDs don't handle motion as well and in something like a fast moving video game you'll get motion blur and ghosting (frame interpolation doesn't work on video games at 30fps or 60fps).


Unfortunately the chances of a customer getting a room to demo TVs that is similar to a home environment in is very little. You'll probably have to take a gamble and use your best judgment unless you have friends who have good LCDs and plasmas so you can see what they look like in a home environment.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by saneac2 /forum/post/18283195


I keep trying to convince myself of this, but I always find myself looping back around to this fear that I will make a purchase believing that my eyes are decieving me only to find that later that they were not.


I really hope your right. Ten more inches of screen real estate for the same price and (according to most) superior viewing quality would be very nice.

Actually your eyes are not deceiving you at all. The observations you made about the LCDs and plasmas you saw were correct... as a casual observer. Just keep in mind that once you get one home and start watching it every day, those first impressions will wear off.


I was watching the top-of the line Samsung LED recently playing a blue ray movie. Yes, it was very impressive observing it for 10 minutes. But I asked myself what about other types of program material? What about watching it with no lights on? What about fast action movies or sports? What about movies with tons of dark scenes... it's true that LED samsung had impressive deep black levels, but even with lighter black levels, most plasmas make those dark scenes come to life much better.


I've talked to many people who were impressed by thier LCDs digitized, razor-sharp pop look. But I haven't talked to many who said they were still impressed for any considerable time afterwards based on the considerations I mentioned.
 

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If you can, buy from somewhere that gives you a trial period where you can return it with no fee if you find you don't like it. I would go plasma first though. For good TV's your PQ will generall look worse in store lighting and better at home where there's less ambient light. For "bright boxes" they'll look better in the store and worse at home unless you're watching in a room with 8 windows that you insist on keeping open and having the tv arranged so that the light from all of them falls on your display.
 

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yeah definitely buying locally at a store with a lenient return policy is always something i do when buying things i know i may not be happy with
 

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I have only mid to low range TV's so I cannot say anything about high end LCD tvs. But since you are looking at sub 1K televisions my experience applies.


I have several LCD tvs and a Panasonic Plasma. The Panny caught my eye because it was being displayed with a bluray of Cars. I got it home and the difference in the home was amazing. The picture is much richer. It is not brighter, it does not pop out like an LCD. But in real world home viewing it is obviously better.


Then I got an i1 display tv calibration meter. I have run calibrations on all the TVs I have. Using a meter the difference between a mid range LCD and a mid range Plasma is huge. The Plasma blows the others away.


I have attached a picture to demonstrate. I reviewed someone elses results on a Pioneer Plasma. It was impressive. Wish I could have affored one. My Panny cannot approach the Pioneer, but considering it cost about 1/4 as much it does pretty good.


In the charts the red green and blue lines should be flat and on top of each other. The values below 10 on the X axis are not significant. The meter cannot measure accurately that low. Even on a Pioneer they are off below 10. All these TVs are mid-range price wise for their size.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vic_0002 /forum/post/18283180


For what it's worth, I felt the same way the first time I got interested in HDTVs. My eyes were constantly drawn to LCDs and the few times I observed plasmas in stores, I was terribly unipressed by them. They seemed too dim, no pop and very bland compared to LCDs.


While plasmas aren't flashy looking compared to LCDs in stores and may look unimpressive at first, you'll find that over the long term they provide a much more satisfying viewing experience.

+1


I never even considered Plasma until I started reading up on them and asking for questions which technology fit my watching needs which was sports, movies and more sports.. Id gone to a few stores to few them and had the same exact reaction- too dim, no pop and very bland. I decided to take a chance and buy a plasma anyway and give it a shot in a "realistic" environment. You already get more bank for your buck with plasmas but I was fortunate enuff to grab one during sears clearance sales so it was a no brainer for me. No plasma will grab your attn in a store but to be honest neither do the LCDs IMO. The black level issue on the Pannys is some what scarry now but overall I'm satisfied with my decision. just my $.02.
 

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Don't know where the OP is located but my local Magnolias feature many quality sets of varying tech and the differences are notable. If you go to any big box store, especially places like B.J.s or Costco, all you will ever see is crap feed and bright lights. Same for the non-Magnolia portion of BB TVs. About the only thing this kind of environment is good for is checking the reflectivity/glare on screen and off-axis shift. That same LCD pop in that bright of an environment will likely singe your eyeballs at home. The light levels are usually maxed out. The same is true for the plasmas in these environments with usually some form of Vivid mode being default. But because of the differences between the different technologies, the still 'dimmer' plasma when maxed out usually renders artifacts like noise (both signal and color) which also makes the PQ unappealing.


I have considered buying the LG 55LH90 LED LCD and really like it. But I do not like watching regular television on LCD of any type and consider it inferior to plasma in this regard. Leaving aside the off-axis issue, the images rendered with real world feed and home viewing environmental factors look more 'painted' to me and lack true depth. This is the fundamental difference I think between the competing techs. While both exhibit 3D images on a 2D panel, the illusion of 3D is much more palpable with plasma due to inherent strengths in black level and more meaningful contrast ratio. LED LCD with local dimming comes closest to bridging this gap and I suspect will one day deliver the deepest 'lasting' blacks until affordable OLED finally arrives. (Cue Judy Garland and the hay bales)


As to your color remarks, Samsung has the best color out there both in terms of accuracy and saturation in the post-Pioneer plasma world. Panels like the B650/B860 are difficult to beat in this regard, though each has its own issues in other areas. But because you are targeting lower level sets due to the budget, it may well be that, comparatively speaking, the LCDs you encounter are more suited for your color preference. Of course, the motion blur and other artifacts will be even worse on LCDs in that price category.


Good Luck.
 

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I'm a plasma guy, just got a Panny 65" S1 to replace my 4yr old 720p 58" (which still gives a beautiful picture as when it was new, in fact it looked sharper when viewing cable channels even some HD feeds). Even that 4YO plasma has much better contrast than my last year's Sony LCD. The new 65" is totally WOW as far as contrast goes.


In my other room I have a Sony LCD for computer and game console use. I only have an LCD there because sometimes I leave the computer running and walk away for hours, and I just don't like to look at the IR. During the day it looks just fine, but watching that thing at night it's a different story. Leave it on my daytime settings it totally scorches my eyes, dial it down and I lose all details leaving just big patches of gray.


Ask yourself this. Will you use it more often during the day in a sun-filled room, or at night with the lights dimmed? Buy the LCD if it's the former, plasma if it's the latter.
 

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Viewing environment is a key factor in deciding which type of set will work for you. In a darkened room, plasma is hard to beat for movies. Add some light and they don't look very impressive.


If you add some gaming and computer use into the mix, plasma does have the image retention issue to consider. Personally, I'd not use a plasma set for these uses.


My personal theory is that you'll get used to whatever image you regularly view. I also find that the type of picture I am drawn to is the best for me in the long run.


My main viewing set is in a typical family room. Natural light enters during the day and lights are on during night viewing. In my environment, plasma just does not provide the pop and detail I'm looking for.


Black levels are often discussed as a plasma advantage. I have found that dark content only has so much visible. The best black level only gains you so much with this content.
 

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I had the very same feelings as you regarding LCD vs. Plasma.

I wound up buying the 63" Samsung Plasma because the price was $2k less than the 65" Samsung LCD that I really wanted but could not afford.


Let me tell you...best decision I ever made!


The Samsung Plasma exceeded my expectations in all areas...including brightness & pop!

I was fully expecting the plasma to be "duller" than my 3 LCD's...but thats not the case at all.


Now that I've had the Plasma for about 6 months, I can really see the draw backs in my LCD sets...namely horrible black levels & horrible off axis viewing.


I used to think my LCD sets were awesome...now I just tolerate them.


I love my Samsung plasma...can you tell?
 
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