Plasma versus LCD televisions

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by supermacdesign, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. supermacdesign macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2006
    Not sure if this is the right forum to ask but what is better? I am ready to make the big purchase for the home theater but after tons of reading I am just as confused as to which way to go as I started. I plan on purchasing a PS3 (with the new DVD technology, and the ability to display 1080i/p) in the future as well. I play a lot of games like on a Xbox 360 so I want the screen to refresh fast and be nice and crisp. I am just lost. I am looking at 42" and up to 60" possibly. Preferribly a 50" I guess. Not sure what to buy, or brand for that matter.

    Will I be able to plug my Imac in to a big screen like that?

  2. i.Feature macrumors 6502


    Apr 11, 2005
    Montreal, Canada
    Since you're going over 42" i'd probably say plasma... The LCDs i've looked at over that size just don't hold up in comparison.. but they are catching up fast...

    I recently settled on a 32 inch lcd myself and love it... although i've yet to game on it at all...
  3. superfunkomatic macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2003
    calgary, ab canada
    check out this cnet article - it has some helpful info.

    i bought a 42" LG flat screen plasma. it's great. i looked at the LCDs but plasma definitely had better, brighter colours, and more defined blacks.

    the panasonic plasmas had the best colour (marginally better than the LG i chose) but they had cabinets that were silver and plastic like TVs from the 1970s and 80s.

    yes, most have an interface to connect a computer by DVI, or you can get conversion plugs for DVI to HDMI and the like.
  4. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    some cheaper plasmas claim to be HD but are acctually low res, make sure you get one that is 1333x768 to 1280x720
  5. supermacdesign thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2006
    Thanks guys. Superfunk that Cnet article was great!
  6. e²Studios macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2005
    If you want the blackest blacks and the most vibrant true color you should go with a RPCRT, the technology has been there long enough to perfect it. Sure you need more space but my Directors series Hitachi is only 21" deep, not bad all things considered. It also beats the socks off of my Pioneer Elite plasma and the LCD in my kids room. RPCRT is still the best way to go for large home theatre screens, you get true blacks, vibrant colors, and more contrast and brightness than most LCD's or Plasmas. Don't get me wrong plasma and LCD are getting there, but they arent quite there yet. People are just so obsessed with size :rolleyes:

  7. TheMonarch macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2005
    Bay Area
  8. calebjohnston macrumors 68000


    Jan 24, 2006
    I've heard that over time Plasma screens start to blur images when you use it for constant game playing + computer use.

    I've also heard that I'm wrong often.
  9. MajereXYU macrumors regular

    May 11, 2005
    First, you need to know that LCD *Panel* technology is pretty much limited to 40" in size. Some makers have models as big as 60"+ but they are scarce and tend to be less interesting than plasma at that size.

    Secondly, go look at a 40" LCD by a reputed company (Sony, Panasonic, LG) and compare to a similar 42" Plasma by, again, a well known company (Pioneer, Hitachi, LG).

    Choose what your eyes like best.

    My personal choice (I work at a High-Fi audio/video retailer) would be a LCD *retro-projection* TV.

    Hitachi makes some of the best LCD RPTV's and the picture quality is stellar, you get 50-55" for around $2000. Only downside is size. You can't hang it to a wall and you need to have some free floor space, as it can't go on a shelf/table.

    Best way to test a TV is to bring your own DVD movies, preferrably one you know well / that has a good picture quality, like an animated 3D movie such as Finding Nemo etc.

    One thing to note about RPTV's is that you will need to change the bulb after around 6000-8000 hours of use, roughly every 5years of normal use (avg. 5 hours a day).

    It costs around $300 for a bulb and it can be changed by yourself really easily. By changing the bulb, you regain the same picture quality your TV had when new.

    Other types of TV's degrade with time, picture quality goes down with the years. A LCD RPTV degrades too, but when you change the bulb, it becomes like new.

    These TV's are HD, HDMI equipped, 16:9 and offer an awesome picture quality.

    go look at this : Hitachi Rear-Projection LCD HDTV

    Bottomline is:

    - Plasma and LCD are not competing formats. They are complementing each other. LCD panels usually stop at 40" and Plasma takes over from 37" to 60"+ so they both fulfill different needs

    - At comparable sizes, LCD offers a better picture quality (in my opinion)

    - Again, in my opinion, LCD feels more solid in the long term (failure rates)

    - If you don't mind loosing the floor space, a LCD RPTV has a really nice picture quality, much lower price, better lifetime (user serviceable lamp)

    - Look at Hitachi TV's, they are really high quality and the service is fantastic (and no, I don't work for them, just had really good experiences with them). As a retailer, it's the company we like to do business with best.
    The product is top notch and the service is fast and we never had any trouble with them since we started selling their products 50 years ago.
    We are in business since 1959 and have always sold Hitachi.

    - Lastly, I wouldn't think gaming on a Plasma on a frequent basis would be a wise idea. I hear that Plasma has a tendency to suffer from burn-in pretty easily.
  10. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    DLP II, all the way. You have to see it to know exactly what I am referring to. ;) :D
  11. groovebuster macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd rock from the sun...
    Con Plasma: The power consumption!

    Plasma TVs draw a lot of power, way more than LCDs! Even though you guys accross the pond are still not too concerned about energy saving in general, it might be still something to consider in your decision...

  12. Dave00 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 2, 2003
    A second on the DLP technology recommendation. I have a 50-inch Samsung which I bought a couple years ago, so it was more expensive and has lower specs than current generation DLP, but it still blows the socks off plasmas and LCD's in terms of picture quality. Still, you won't get the blackest blacks on anything but a CRT (that should change in coming years with newer flat technologies.)

  13. tutubibi macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2003
    My advice is to avoid rear-projection TVs.
    It is perpetual expense, replacement lamps cost $200-$500 depending on the model, sometimes they are hard to find.
    And with falling prices for plasma and LCD, I don't see the point of buying RP anyway.

    As for plasma vs lcd, I like plasma picture better but my only concern is loss of brightness over time. I would probably go with 45" LCD rather than 50" plasma, if money is no object.
  14. clykins90 macrumors regular


    Feb 9, 2005
  15. mfacey macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2004
    DLPs have terrible viewing angle's. Just because of that I'd steer clear. It really makes for an unpleasant experience unless you're sitting directly in front of it at the right height. Then the picture is pretty decent.

    I personally just bought a LCD TV on monday (should arrive on friday). If you're going for a size of 40 inches or less stick to LCD. The 32+ inch sizes are still pretty expensive but the picture quality really is getting very good. Blacks are near perfect and color reproduction is on par with the good plasmas.

    If you want 40+ inch go for plasma. When you're going for really big ones like 50 inch try to get as high a resolution as possible. Also don't get one that's too big for your viewing area. If you're only 6-10 feet away from the screen you'll notice pixels on the screen with bigger sets.

    Also pay attention to the different connectors it has. You'll want HDMI and component (in case your dvd player doesn't have HDMI). That'll allow you to make maximum use of the HD technology.

    Besides that try before you buy. You want to check the color reproduction and quality in the store before you buy. Chances are buying will be cheaper online.
  16. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    You have to be extremely careful with plasma t.v. sets. Many of them are EDTV devices that can't even do 720p. Plasma displays suffer from burn out, just like a fluorescent bulb, since both use charged gas.

    My 37 inch LCD t.v. isn't much better because, while it can accept 1080i input, it can only display 1366x768, limiting it to 720p.

    This set used to be my parents. They replaced it with a hybrid--a rear projection LCD made by Mistubishi. It's not thin because of the mirrored delivery system but the display is great with good colour and clarity. It also has dual tuners for analog t.v., something the other lacked. Because it's rear projection, it's got a much bigger display than would be possible for the price. I think the thing was $2499 for 52 inches and that includes a full range of inputs, including FireWire. They got theirs discounted heavily.

    DLP is good, though the first generation apparently had problems with life span. It also has sweet spots, making positioning a bit more difficult but things are getting better. Break all those little mirrors and expect a lot of bad luck, I think. It reminds me of beta software--looks good, but has glitches.
  17. mfacey macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2004
    At a few feet distance there is hardly any difference in resolution noticable between 1080i and 720p. 1080p is really very nice but waaaaaaaaaay too expensive still. Naturally the bigger your screen the more important the resolution. On a 32inch screen its not worth worrying about anything higher than 1366x768. A 37 inch is moving into a larger territory, but the ones I've seen operating at HD (1366x768) were very nice. If your budget is large getting a 1920x... resolution is great. But I don't think its worth the huge premium for now.
  18. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    finally someone who understands.

    HDTV is all about getting good resolution and bright/colorful images.

    LCDs and everything else pretty much can pull off the resolution, but suck when it comes to color representation and especially gradients.

    whats more is no one really has anything but HD digital cable as a source for HDTV sources, and what is EVEN more than that is 720p is cool, 1080i is better but of course 1080p is BEST....and yet there is no 1080p programming etc. So what is the point in hoppin on the HDTV bandwagon when the ticket price is so high.

    Ill wait until EVERYTHING is HD, then buy the crappiest TV they got, cuz it still will be HDTV.

    If HDTV doesnt end up being 1080p all across the board, its been a HUGE waste of time.
  19. mfacey macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2004

    I have to disagree. Everything in the US is going HD very quickly. Although its not at 1080p resolution yet, it is a VAST improvement over the old analog and even digital resolutions. You can't even compare the two. It definitely hasn't been a waste of time so far and if it stays at its current resolutioin for the time being I'll be very happy for the time being!
  20. superfunkomatic macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2003
    calgary, ab canada
    even "experts" have a tough time defining the difference between 1080i and 1080p resolutions, or at least trying to explain differences the average user would notice.

    HD programming on any of these sets is a huge upgrade from standard definition or digital broadcasting.

    Plasmas have a 1/2 life of 10 years, i'm guessing if these changes as much in the next 10 years as they have in the first 10, we'll be looking at completely new technology and having to upgrade anyway.

    if you can get 10 years out of a plasma, not have to have a 3-400 pound set taking up half your living room, and be able to wall-mount it - i'd go with a plasma over 40".
  21. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    You're right, of course. After waiting 27+ years, practically any resolution is better than standard. I see a bit of pixelation but then, everything is being interpolated, right?

    It'll be a while before everything really is amazing and inexpensive but at least, I can see a lot of details that I've been missing for all the time in the past.
  22. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Is it just me, or do others think that most of the plasma and LCD TVs they've seen look really, really awful? Honestly, I'd like to get excited by this technology, and like nearly everybody else, I've spent quite a bit of time ogling them in consumer electronics stores. But do they really display broadcast signals any better, or even as well, as a conventional CRT? Not from what I've seen.
  23. rosalindavenue macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2003
    Virginia, USA
    I tried to google and didnt come up with much-- are you referring to the new DLPs that dont have a color wheel? I know Samsung has one coming out in April.
  24. Lau Guest

    No I agree. Our big (CRT) TV blew up last year and we've been using my crappy 14" portable, with a vague eye on getting a new one, but as we're moving in a few months another great beast of a CRT is out, and frankly any (affordable) LCD we've seen just looks like a really bad picture quality. When you can get a decent flat screen CRT for £100, I'm not about to spend £300-400 on an LCD, with a far worse picture quality than aforementioned CRT. As long as we move into somewhere with a reasonable amount of space, i thnk we'll just get another CRT, and by the time that one blows up, LCDs will be more affordable and better quality.
  25. saunders45 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 29, 2004
    Screw that man. SED's are the way to go.

    "Being the number two TV manufacturer, Toshiba has to make a big move in televisions, and their push this year will be into SED (surface-conduction electron-emitter display) TVs, something that number one Sony doesn't have. The lineup will start with 50-inch screen sizes, featuring 1080 progressive support, 8600:1 contrast ratio, 1ms response speed, and one-third the power consumption of plasmas."

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