Advice needed on LCD vs Plasma

skorpien

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 14, 2008
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Hi all,

I've been batting this idea of purchasing a new, larger screen TV for my living room and am needing some advice on which technology to go with. I've narrowed down my choices to two TVs, an LCD (LG 47LH55) and a Plasma (Samsung PN50B540).

I'm aware that LCD is the dominant tech, and I'm not wanting to get into the whole "Plasma is dead" debate, but I was wondering which of the two would be better for gaming. I've read that plasma has a near instantaneous response time, better colour reproduction, better contrast and that the burn-in issue has been resolved in the latest plasma models. However, I worry about colour fading and longevity. In essence, I want a set that will give me a great gaming and movie watching experience, but also one that will last a reasonable amount of time without significant decrease in quality.

I'm sure I'm missing more than a few facts, which is why I'm hoping you all will be able to lend your knowledge as well as your opinions. Everyone I talk to seems to have a negative opinion of plasmas, even though I keep reading online that it's unjustified. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

dhc

macrumors regular
Jan 10, 2006
168
0
UK
I spent SO much time on a similar dilemma earlier this year...

Long of the short is that I ended up going for a Panasonic Plasma. SD and HD broadcasts look great, DVD & BluRay look amazing. PS3 and XBOX - no issues at whatsoever. Would I buy another Plasma? No. Why? I'm so worried about image retention (burn) it drives me insane! You can't see any ghosting when there is colour on screen, but there is visible (albeit temporary) ghosting against the black.

Drives me mad, you may be of better stock :eek:
 

eddyg

macrumors 6502
Sep 5, 2003
331
0
Christchurch, New Zealand
I've had an nec plasma for 5 years and it has seen a lot of use. I have no issues with burn in. And would buy a plasma again because of the better blacks and softer picture than lcds.

Note that I bought a very expensive commercial grade plasma.
Cheers Ed.
 

skorpien

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 14, 2008
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Thanks for the replies :)

dhc, so the ghosting/retention thing you see on your TV is temporary? You haven't seen anything that would suggest that there's been permanent damage done? I think I'll be okay with the ghosting if it happens on my set so long as I know it's not going to be permanently damaged. Also, this will probably be my last plasma as I'm sure OLED will be more affordable by the time I'm in the market for a new TV.

eddyg, do you mind me asking what make your plasma is? And where would I go about purchasing commercial grade plasma/what price would it be?

Also, can anybody comment on the quality of Samsung plasmas? I know LG is one of the best for LCD TVs, which is making me reluctant to go with another manufacturer, but since Pioneer is out of the running (for the most part), the closest highly recommended plasma manufacturer I came across was Samsung.
 

dynaflash

macrumors 68020
Mar 27, 2003
2,119
5
fwiw, I have an older (albeit only one year older ) lg 42" lcd. I then a year later bought a 50" panny plasma ( one year ago ). Imo, the lg lcd has a better picture in the end but only by the slightest of margins. I do not notice better blacks on the plasma, as well i also detect no "ghosting" or burn in on the plasma. These days imo its a very fine sliver of difference in terms of picture quality and that is a toss up left to the individual viewer.

Now, ten years down the road ... who knows ?

Like most things ( including video encoder settings ;) ) I would let you're eyes be the judge and go the route that suits you.
 

bt22

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2009
299
5
Alabama
skorpien,
i was curious if you have considered the LED LCD by Samsung. I am "told" it has the same picture qualities of the Plasma without the burn in issue. My original intention was to buy a plasma, but the local Circuit City and Best Buy's recommended i buy an LCD which i did... Samsung 52" 850 series. I have often regretted it mainly because i have just as much reflection on the screen as i think i would have with the plasma which they all said i should only buy a plasma for a room with no windows. i think i would consider the new LED if i was buying now. my 2 cents...
 

skorpien

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 14, 2008
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skorpien,
i was curious if you have considered the LED LCD by Samsung. I am "told" it has the same picture qualities of the Plasma without the burn in issue. My original intention was to buy a plasma, but the local Circuit City and Best Buy's recommended i buy an LCD which i did... Samsung 52" 850 series. I have often regretted it mainly because i have just as much reflection on the screen as i think i would have with the plasma which they all said i should only buy a plasma for a room with no windows. i think i would consider the new LED if i was buying now. my 2 cents...
You make a good point, but cost is a huge reason why I narrowed down my choices to LCD and Plasma. I would love to purchase an LED TV, but it's just not in my budget :(

Panasonic make the really good plasma TVs these days AFAIK. Used to be Pioneer, but they've since exited the market :(

Otherwise an LED backlit LCD TV would be a good way to go.
Again, cost is why I went with Samsung for plasma. The only cost comparable Panasonic plasma I was able to find at local retailers isn't even full 1080p. I live in Canada, so Amazon or Newegg is out of the question since the Canadian sites don't stock a large selection of TVs for some reason.

Unless there's a specific reason not to go with Samsung for plasma, I just might go down that route. I haven't really heard much to make a case for the LG LCD though... Even though it's 240Hz and has 2ms response time...
 

VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
114
Vancouver, BC
I thought Plasma was all but dead... but from this thread, it appears to be alive and kicking!

When I purchased my LCD two years ago, no one was recommending Plasma. What's changed?
 

skorpien

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 14, 2008
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Plasma is dead... LCD is better for gaming, because of the faster refresh rate and more development into LCD vs. Plasma.
Faster refresh rate? Really? The Samsung I linked to is 600Hz. And response time for a plasma is at 0.001ms (or something along those lines). In comparison, the LG I linked has 240Hz refresh rate and 2ms response time. Unless I'm missing something, the plasma is blowing the LCD out of the water with those specs...

And besides, I don't want to get into the "Plasma is dead" argument (as stated in my first post).
 

Error Type -43

macrumors member
Sep 16, 2003
77
0
I thought Plasma was all but dead... but from this thread, it appears to be alive and kicking!

When I purchased my LCD two years ago, no one was recommending Plasma. What's changed?
Nothing's really changed. It's just the myths about plasma technology has been debunked. New "features" found on LCDs to correct slow refresh rates such as 120hz/240hz has never been an issue for plasmas since its inception. Burn-in was a concern early on but, as mentioned earlier, isn't a problem with the current-gen models. You might still see image retention (which is different from burn-in), particularly on LG and Samsung models. But if you go with a Panasonic, specifically their S-series or better, you won't be disappointed (Pioneer sourced their plasma panels from Panny before they exited the market).
 

tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
6,507
3,427
Plasma is dead... LCD is better for gaming, because of the faster refresh rate and more development into LCD vs. Plasma.
This is simply not accurate. You can't compare refresh rates listed for LCDs vs. plasmas as the are using different techologies and are measuring different things. The benefit of plasmas is the absence of motion blur--LCDs will suffer from motion blur (though to varying degrees depending on the model).

I'd still say the future for plasma is certainly grim--they are limited in size, are heavier/thicker and use more energy but I for one prefer the picture quality. Spend the same $ on a plasma or LCD and I'd bet the plasma is a better value, though I doubt it'll stay that way much longer.

To the OP, I have a 50" Samsung plasma I picked up about 18 mo. ago and I love it. I watch a lot of sports and action flicks and play some video games so I choose it over a comparable LCD for reduced motion blur. Picture quality is great, colors pop and I've had no burn in issues. In fact, I accidentally fell asleep with the menu for an xbox game on the screen overnight and had no resulting burn in.

Granted, if I was shopping now and had the budget for it, I'd probably be tempted for a new LED backlit LCD. ;)
 

Cloudane

macrumors 68000
Aug 6, 2007
1,578
167
Sweet Apple Acres
Difficult subject! I went through this earlier in the year.

From what I understood of it, plasma is lower resolution usually, so if you want to use a computer on it you might be better off with LCD. Whilst plasma is still supposed to be very slightly better quality picture for TV stuff.

Given the weight, the slight danger of plasmas (if it ever ends up flat on its face, it's toast) and the fact that I wanted to use a Mac Mini with it, I went with LCD. No regrets. But there's very little between them I believe.
 

skorpien

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Original poster
Jan 14, 2008
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To the OP, I have a 50" Samsung plasma I picked up about 18 mo. ago and I love it. I watch a lot of sports and action flicks and play some video games so I choose it over a comparable LCD for reduced motion blur. Picture quality is great, colors pop and I've had no burn in issues. In fact, I accidentally fell asleep with the menu for an xbox game on the screen overnight and had no resulting burn in.

Granted, if I was shopping now and had the budget for it, I'd probably be tempted for a new LED backlit LCD. ;)
Thank you for your reply. Glad to see somebody actually using and liking a Samsung! My budget won't allow for a Panasonic let alone an LED backlit LCD...

Do you notice any ghosting effect on your TV?
 

xxBURT0Nxx

macrumors 68020
Jul 9, 2009
2,189
2
Go plasma... you will not be upset. Much better picture quality than an LCD. I wouldn't get the samsung though. When compared side by side with the panasonic models, the samsungs were a lot more dull and had a washed out picture. The panasonic is much more vibrant.

I personally have the tc-p50x1 which is a 50" 720p panel. Picture quality is great, and I got the set for $800. If you want to go the 1080p route, i think it was like $1100 for the 50" Panasonic model.

However, you should know that television and stuff is not broadcast in 1080p, so unless you are using a bluray player. But if you are in a budget crunch, there is nothing wrong with a 720p panel... they still look great.
 

skorpien

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jan 14, 2008
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Difficult subject! I went through this earlier in the year.

From what I understood of it, plasma is lower resolution usually, so if you want to use a computer on it you might be better off with LCD. Whilst plasma is still supposed to be very slightly better quality picture for TV stuff.

Given the weight, the slight danger of plasmas (if it ever ends up flat on its face, it's toast) and the fact that I wanted to use a Mac Mini with it, I went with LCD. No regrets. But there's very little between them I believe.
Thanks for the input :) The plasma I'm looking at is full 1080p so resolution should (theoretically) be the same as a 1080p LCD TV, correct? I'm looking to use it strictly for TV, movies (BluRay) and gaming. I'm not looking to hook up a computer to it so that's a non issue. And considering I have no pets or kids (and will make my friends buy me a new one should they knock it over), I think I'm safe for the falling flat on its face thing haha.
 

basesloaded190

macrumors 68030
Oct 16, 2007
2,691
5
Wisconsin
Go plasma... you will not be upset. Much better picture quality than an LCD. I wouldn't get the samsung though. When compared side by side with the panasonic models, the samsungs were a lot more dull and had a washed out picture. The panasonic is much more vibrant.

I personally have the tc-p50x1 which is a 50" 720p panel. Picture quality is great, and I got the set for $800. If you want to go the 1080p route, i think it was like $1100 for the 50" Panasonic model.

However, you should know that television and stuff is not broadcast in 1080p, so unless you are using a bluray player. But if you are in a budget crunch, there is nothing wrong with a 720p panel... they still look great.
amen to that. I hope this doesn't turn into a 720 vs 1080 thread, but i couldn't agree with what you said more! (p.s I am a 720p panasonic plasma owner)
 

Xapphire13

macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2009
212
0
South Australia
Go plasma... you will not be upset. Much better picture quality than an LCD. I wouldn't get the samsung though. When compared side by side with the panasonic models, the samsungs were a lot more dull and had a washed out picture. The panasonic is much more vibrant.

I personally have the tc-p50x1 which is a 50" 720p panel. Picture quality is great, and I got the set for $800. If you want to go the 1080p route, i think it was like $1100 for the 50" Panasonic model.

However, you should know that television and stuff is not broadcast in 1080p, so unless you are using a bluray player. But if you are in a budget crunch, there is nothing wrong with a 720p panel... they still look great.
I'm pretty sure some television over here in Australia is broadcast in 1080p... and almost certain its broadcast in 1080i at least.
 

srexy

macrumors 6502a
Nov 19, 2006
536
1
Don't know what your budget is but you need one of these basically.

http://www.visualapex.com/plasma/plasma_details.asp?chpartnumber=TH-50PF11UK

I've had my 7 series version (720p) now for 4 years in constant use - great room/HT room/viewable from kitchen/Oprah viewing etc. - and it shows no sign whatsoever of burn-in. Yes you do get slight ghosting against dark backgrounds if the backgrounds remain static but it's not burn-in and is very temporary.

*Note - the commercial Panasonics have no speakers.
 

tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
6,507
3,427
Thank you for your reply. Glad to see somebody actually using and liking a Samsung! My budget won't allow for a Panasonic let alone an LED backlit LCD...

Do you notice any ghosting effect on your TV?
Ever so slightly noticeable ghosting on occasion, much as srexy mentioned in his post. To be honest, I really don't notice it, had to take a look again after I read your post.

For reference, here's a link to the model of plasma I have, no longing available as new model's have replaced it.

An FWIW, Panasonic does make the best plasmas on the market and if you can get one on your budget (though I'd stick to 1080p at the size you're looking at), I'd go for it.
 

xxBURT0Nxx

macrumors 68020
Jul 9, 2009
2,189
2
I'm pretty sure some television over here in Australia is broadcast in 1080p... and almost certain its broadcast in 1080i at least.
I doubt it's broadcast in 1080p, but since you are in AU i guess it is possible. Only 1080p content you can get broadcast in the US is on demand 1080p movies from DirecTV. Either way, your 720p set will play 1080i content just fine. Too many people play into the marketing of 1080p Full HD...
 

Xapphire13

macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2009
212
0
South Australia
I doubt it's broadcast in 1080p, but since you are in AU i guess it is possible. Only 1080p content you can get broadcast in the US is on demand 1080p movies from DirecTV. Either way, your 720p set will play 1080i content just fine. Too many people play into the marketing of 1080p Full HD...
I'll check later on tonight. And I know for definate Foxtel HD is 1080i (Foxtel == Sky or w/e you have in America). I'll post back later to whether i'm right or wrong about television broadcast =].

EDIT: Just checked some digital channels and here are the Australian broadcast resolutions

Nine HD - 1080i
SBS HD - 720p
Seven HD - 1080i
One HD - 1080i
ABC HDTV - 720p

So I guess you were right about it not being progressive, but looks like were moving towards 1080 in australia.