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View Full Version : Plasma TV's - which is the best value


revenuee
Oct 7, 2003, 01:34 AM
I've been posting a lot of questions lately, but it seems that i have fallen so far out of the loop of new technology, that it's been quite the task of catching up. I tried doing some research on this top alone today and ended up getting more confused then when i started.

The last time i looked at these was when these plasma screens started coming out and the two companies that made them were Pioneer and Panasonic, with the going price for these at over 20,000 CND. Now i'm noticing for simular sizes 42" that some of these machines go in the 4000 to 6000 CND range.

I was hoping i could get a little help in finding a good Plasma screen.

can any one suggest the companies i should be looking at? Good review sites? maybe what kind of things i should look for in determining for myself what kind of screen is best?

These are the kinda things that i'm looking for:

42" range, it can be larger or smaller by upto 10" so 32" to 52"

i want it to be HDTV, but i also want to be able to use it for standard digital, non HD programming - NTSC

My current cable provider has Digital cable, which is what i use on my TV, i know that they seem to advertise that certain programs are in HDTV but not all. One thing that i had noticed when i looked at plasma a few years ago was that

1. they only looked good with DVD or HDTV programming, Standard NTSC signlas look terrible - is this still an issue - is it simply unaviodable? i understand the dimension differences - 480 horizantal lines on NTSC vs 960 or 1080 on HD, so is this the issue that causes the image to look bad? and is just the nature of condition?

2. Pixelation, i remember noticing a lot of artifacts when their was a lot of motion on these screens. Is this still an issue - an unaviodable one?

I'm sorry for what might seem a bit confusing. If any clarfication is needed please post it, and i will do my best to explain myself.

- Thanks you ; Revenuee

tomf87
Oct 7, 2003, 07:44 AM
Two things I have heard about plasma that I can't confirm it (hopefully someone here can):

1. Plasma screens are vulnerable to burn-in more so than CRT's. Like the little station logos that seem to be in the lower right corner of every station anymore.

2. You have to refill plasma TV's every so often. Expensive?

edesignuk
Oct 7, 2003, 07:52 AM
Myself & Wes both have a Pioneer PDP-433HDE 43" plasma screen, and we both think it is great! It sports a max resolution of 1280x768 and looks and sounds amazing! You can also hook your Mac or PC straight up to it using just a regular VGA cable :D It comes with a Tuner box that has all the input/outputs you could ever want, as well as the TV tuner itself.

I love it! I'm sure you would to!
Take a look. (http://homepage.mac.com/edesignuk/PhotoAlbum9.html)

revenuee
Oct 7, 2003, 09:11 AM
Originally posted by edesignuk
Myself & Wes both have a Pioneer PDP-433HDE 43" plasma screen, and we both think it is great! It sports a max resolution of 1280x768 and looks and sounds amazing! You can also hook your Mac or PC straight up to it using just a regular VGA cable :D It comes with a Tuner box that has all the input/outputs you could ever want, as well as the TV tuner itself.

I love it! I'm sure you would to!
Take a look. (http://homepage.mac.com/edesignuk/PhotoAlbum9.html)

Thats cool, Pioneer has always been at the top of my list. However, i must ask how the image quilityis while watching a standard NTSC signal

is it like using a VHS tape recorded at 250 lines on a TV that has 500?

edesignuk
Oct 7, 2003, 09:20 AM
Originally posted by revenuee
Thats cool, Pioneer has always been at the top of my list. However, i must ask how the image quilityis while watching a standard NTSC signal

is it like using a VHS tape recorded at 250 lines on a TV that has 500?
Well, I'm in the UK (as is Wes), so we have a PAL signal, which I think is better than NTSC anyway (more vertical lines). I have digital cable (not HDTV though) and the picture is fantastic!

revenuee
Oct 7, 2003, 09:39 AM
A yes, the UK i missed that part.

Yes the Pal is a higher resolution image 720x576 versus 640 x 480 on NTSC

hmm, i'm going to have to look into it so more i guess, i hate going to a Electronics store, because they always have the cable split to like 40 TV's with gives you no ability to tell the real image looks like if you were to watch it at home. But i am curious about pixelation in general, are there artifacts when watching sequences with lots of motion?

edesignuk
Oct 7, 2003, 09:54 AM
Originally posted by revenuee
But i am curious about pixelation in general, are there artifacts when watching sequences with lots of motion?
None, the picture is flawless! I understand what you mean though, the early plasmas IMO were not very good at all, I thought the picture looked much worse than that of rear projectors. But these problems have been sorted in the newer models, and the Pioneer PDP-433HDE looks amazing!

revenuee
Oct 7, 2003, 09:58 AM
Originally posted by edesignuk
None, the picture is flawless! I understand what you mean though, the early plasmas IMO were not very good at all, I thought the picture looked much worse than that of rear projectors. But these problems have been sorted in the newer models, and the Pioneer PDP-433HDE looks amazing!

Hey thanks a lot.. like i said it has been a while since i've looked into this, so my opinion is jaded but based on old information.....

any good internet sources that i could read up on some information

http://www.plasmatvbuyingguide.com/ seems like a pretty source, but if you have any of your own, it would be appreciated

razorme
Oct 7, 2003, 10:07 AM
I'd wait longer for LCD prices to fall. As I understand it, they are a cleaner picture with a longer life and no burn in. Of course, they are much more expensive, but the prices are falling rapidly...

revenuee
Oct 7, 2003, 10:10 AM
Originally posted by razorme
I'd wait longer for LCD prices to fall. As I understand it, they are a cleaner picture with a longer life and no burn in. Of course, they are much more expensive, but the prices are falling rapidly...

Do the LCD have a TV tuner or will i be required to run a TV signal through a computer and then to the LCD?

EDIT: sorry for the ignorance of the question, but as i mentioned before, i've been out of it for so long that i'm only catching up now

Kid Red
Oct 7, 2003, 10:19 AM
Originally posted by revenuee
Do the LCD have a TV tuner or will i be required to run a TV signal through a computer and then to the LCD?

EDIT: sorry for the ignorance of the question, but as i mentioned before, i've been out of it for so long that i'm only catching up now

Plasmas suffer from burn in and if you watch NSTC then expect a burn in. THeir blacks suck ass and therefore the picture isn't all that. For the best VALUE, Gateway is the way to go. Not the best picture but the price for a plasma can't be beat.

LCos is the tech to watch for, not plasma. Plasma is dead. LCDs will get much better, DLPs RP will improve and LCoS is slated to best them all and should be here shortly.

Plasma is a status product, only cool because it's flat/wall mountable. I've seen some nice screens, but not good enough to justify the price.

edesignuk
Oct 7, 2003, 10:29 AM
Originally posted by Kid Red
Plasmas suffer from burn in and if you watch NSTC then expect a burn in. THeir blacks suck ass and therefore the picture isn't all that. For the best VALUE, Gateway is the way to go. Not the best picture but the price for a plasma can't be beat.
I have NO burn in at all. Black looks black. No comment on the Gateway.
Originally posted by Kid Red
Plasma is a status product, only cool because it's flat/wall mountable. I've seen some nice screens, but not good enough to justify the price.
Plasma is the ultimate TV (for now at least), it's not a 'status product' :rolleyes: They piss all over projectors for general use (ie. not having to make sure there is no light on the screen, not having to sit a mile away from the screen for it to look any good).

xjenkc
Dec 2, 2003, 08:04 PM
I just bought a Plasma (Pioneer) MX-PDP434 or something like that... and it's great. The burn in thing is "real" however, Pioneer have built in a technology that constantly "moves" around the pixels so that burn in does not occur. Also, if a still image is on screen for more than x number of seconds, a screen saver is activated. The exact technical terms for all of this are on the Pioneer web site.

I did a lot of research when I bought this unit, the "life" or operating hours equated to about 15 years of viewing time for me. The 29" Panasonic CRT that I had previously, I owned for 12 years and is still going strong. As far as I am concerned, if I get 15 years out of the plasma screen I will be more than happy..

Yes, you can wait for LCD's to become cheaper and for prices to fall, but is that not the case with absolutely everything you buy. If you wait and wait, you may die before the best and cheapest product in your opinion becomes available, why wait, buy it, enjoy it....:)

revenuee
Dec 2, 2003, 08:10 PM
woah .... almost two months since i posted this thread

thanks xjenkc and your right - right now the problem is more financial in general ... i high quality Plasma TV right now costs around 10 thousand Canadian Dollars... and thats a little more then i can afford to spend right now i'm looking for a screen size of 42" and looking to spend about 5000 for it .... it won't be Plasma but it should be something nice ...

xjenkc
Dec 2, 2003, 08:30 PM
Yes, very true. They are pricey, everything new always is though. They have to pay for R&D etc and once a certain number are sold they become a lot cheaper to manufacture.... The model I actually purchased was the PDP-433MXE 43-inch 1024X768 XGA, I was a bit vague first time round.

Amazing how many Plasmas the retailers sell though, people must either have more money these days or are prepared to hock themselves up to the eyeballs in debt with no interest deals and such. I had the money and needed a new toy for retail therapy purposes and am very happy with my buy, which is after all the point of the exercise.... I always research my tech toys quite well before buying which really is half the fun.. Good luck with you're choice. - Chris

Foxer
Dec 3, 2003, 08:46 AM
I've done a bit of research on all this and can second whats been said. Plasma is good, but LCD is generally considered better. Plasma does burn in, althoguh the manufacturers are working on this, and over time the picture becomes less vibrant. However, currently, once you pass the 30-icnh barrier, LCD screens become very expensive. That is expected to change.

I just bought an expensive flat-screen tube a couple years ago. My plan for "planned obsolensence" is sometime around 1 year from now. By then, I can jump for 42 inch into the 50's and go with LCD.

obeygiant
Dec 3, 2003, 09:44 AM
I just got a 50 inch Sony LCD Projection. The quality is incredible, especially on the Hi-def stuff, just primo. The TV itself isn't terrible thick, maybe about a foot or more, definitley thinner than my 36in 'tube' TV, also less hot.
I guess the only down side to the LCD projection is that you may have to replace the bulb after a couple years which costs about 200.
All in All, very happy with it, Pirates of the Carribean looked terrific last night.

patrick0brien
Dec 3, 2003, 02:01 PM
Originally posted by tomf87
Two things I have heard about plasma that I can't confirm it (hopefully someone here can):

1. Plasma screens are vulnerable to burn-in more so than CRT's. Like the little station logos that seem to be in the lower right corner of every station anymore.

2. You have to refill plasma TV's every so often. Expensive?

-tomf87

As stated, Plasmas can have burn in, but there are two more items that knock Plasma's off my shopping list:

1. Though burn-in happens because of constant illumination of pixels, the brightness of the screen will diminish over time as the gas becomes inert.

2. You cannot have it refilled. There is simply no facility in existence to open a plasma display and refill the R, G, and B cells of every pixel of the screen. So once it's gone, it's gone.

Ergo the cheaper price.

benixau
Dec 3, 2003, 08:48 PM
Plasmas have a 5yrs lifetime before the gas becomes useless.
LCDs have a lifetime of 10yrs before they begin degrading.

Call me stupid but if i pay $7 000 twice in five years for plasma or $12 000 once in 10yrs then i have saved $2 000 dollars.

Therefore in the long term LCDs are much better. Sure, the contrast isnt as good, no argument there, but i can put up with better color than my CRT tele for 10yrs.

Only thing stopping me now is I dont have $12 000 for an LCD tele - or $7 000 for a plasma for that matter.

xjenkc
Dec 4, 2003, 05:13 PM
OK All. I do not profess to be a Plasma Expert, however, I do know a few key facts ..

A. Plasmas and Burn in
All screens will have burn in if you leave a still image on them for long enough, Plasmas are much more prone to this though.
B. Certainly, the Pioneer plasmas have a technology that constantly moves about the pixels in some way that reduces this, some of the cheaper brands do not have this yet.
C. Plasmas can Most certainly NOT be refilled or recharged in any way.
D. 5 years expected life? NO. Airports have been running some of the first Plasmas for years now 12-16 hours a day and are still going strong. Technology has progressed a lot since then.

revenuee
Dec 4, 2003, 09:55 PM
some good stuff guys... i've learned more in this thread then i could of hoped to through extensive research ... now i have a starting point of things to research... (burn, contrast, the gas) ... but please go on ...

benixau
Dec 5, 2003, 12:08 AM
Originally posted by xjenkc

D. 5 years expected life? NO. Airports have been running some of the first Plasmas for years now 12-16 hours a day and are still going strong. Technology has progressed a lot since then.

Thats just it. The home TV shouldn't see that much usage over the space of a year. If the plasma is always kept on then in theory it will never die since it is always moving and being kept hot.

The other problem is that home TVs are not turned on and left on. They are turned on and off and on and off and This is very very bad for any electronic device let alone the plasma tv.

A home plasma tv (which we are talking about) will last about 5 years before needing to be replaced. This is what was being asked. Home tvs are not made to commercial usage standards.

I think either way you are going to spend a lot of money on either solution so get the one that best suits YOU. If you dont need to hang it on the wall then get and LCD. Otherwise, if you do, or you want your 150yr old grandma to be able to carry it then get a plasma.

By the time it comes to replacing either, I suspect most of the arguments for or against that have been posted here will be null and void.

mcl
Dec 5, 2003, 02:04 AM
Originally posted by benixau
Thats just it. The home TV shouldn't see that much usage over the space of a year. If the plasma is always kept on then in theory it will never die since it is always moving and being kept hot.

The other problem is that home TVs are not turned on and left on. They are turned on and off and on and off and This is very very bad for any electronic device let alone the plasma tv.

A home plasma tv (which we are talking about) will last about 5 years before needing to be replaced. This is what was being asked. Home tvs are not made to commercial usage standards.



As the owner of a $8000 MSRP plasma (a 42" Panasonic TH-42PHD5UY), someone who maintains millions of dollars of electronics for a living, and an electronics engineering hobbiest, I can say this about that:

Frequent powering on and off electronics is bad for them because the compents are constantly heating up and cooling down, which can cause chips to unseat, solder joints to separate from the board pads, and so forth.

This is the "bad" you're referring to. This is not, however, the "bad" to which people are referring when they discuss the supposed "5-year plasma life". Those people are talking about a loss of brightness and sharpness; in essence, the plasma picture "fading" over that 5-year span. That mythical effect has nothing to do with frequent power-cycling.

And it is, as far as every plasma owner and most plasma engineers can tell, exactly that: A myth.


And, just so you know, equipment left on all the time is just as likely to die as equipment turned on and off. In fact, it's often more likely to die should power be accidentally or intentionally removed after a long period of constant use. And the longer a piece of equipment is powered on, the more likely it is to experience an accidental power loss.

MacMumm
Dec 5, 2003, 02:10 AM
There is some great information in this thread on different display technologies. I just have a few comments to make...

I am surprised I haven't seen much on here about Fujitsu. They are essentially the inventor of plasma, and completely ahead of the curve on everything dealing with it. They have one 42" model that isn't even HD, but has such a high brightness level that you cannot tell the difference. As for burn in, it depends on the set as to how long it will last. If you go down to your local Costco and buy a Sampo for $3,000 you will be lucky to get 5 years out of it. The Fujitsu has a "half-life" of approximately 15 years. This meaning that in 15 years (at 5 hours use a day average) it will have lost half of the brightness. However, after that 15 years, it is still brighter than most plasma sets out of the box.

LCD is a great display, except for one. You have to watch horizontal movement on a lot of them. You wil notice they look a bit blurry if there is quicker action moving on that plane. The on I have seen that is the best at not showing this is the Mitsubishi 30" LCD, which is about $5,000 but does include speakers and is HD ready.

DLP is an intersting technology. It takes up a little less space than a digital rear projection, and the picture is near that of a plasma and LCD. The one thing I have heard about them is that the bulbs can go out after a few years, and could cost $300-$500 to replace.

LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) is a very spendy technology right now. I'm sure it will drop in the near future. I have heard great things (except the price!) but have yet to see one of these in person.

I hope this helps! :)