LCD vs Plasma vs DLP... etc.

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Dan M~, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. Dan M~

    Dan M~ Second Unit

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    I'm in the market for an HDTV, but I'm so confused.

    Can some please take the time to do a rundown of the various technologies, giving the pros and the cons of each technology and any special requirements, handling, set up/calibration each might require?

    I've been getting very mixed information from salesman and advertisements and need some actual feedback from the frontline as it were.


    Thanks,

    Dan M~
     
  2. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    Plasma TV's have gotten many times better over time. They are good for most everything you can throw a stick at; DVD, HD material, and gaming. LCD's are good for Higher resolution stuff, not so much DVD and network TV. DLP's are also good all around for most material.

    Cons of Plasma, they used to have short life exlpectancies, but changed some things to extend the life, i.e. the gas they use. ]
    LCD's still suffer dead pixels and look like crap with DVD.
    DLP's you have to change bulbs when they burn out and they aren't exactly cheap either.
     
  3. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    Since true HD signals are still in the minority (whether cable, sat or OA) it's going to come down to which technology (don't forget Lcos too) looks best to your eyes and at the same time fits your pocketbook. Room space and the ability to control lighting are also considerations. Any of the sets will need some degree of calibration after setup.....largely brightness and contrast settings.

    How large of a display do you want and what is your budget?

    Mort
     
  4. Dan M~

    Dan M~ Second Unit

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    Thanks for the help...

    I'm interested in a 50 to 55 inch set, HD capable (native 1080p on the wish list). I plan on doing a visual comparison, often very difficult unless they allow you to play with the settings. I want a set that will last me 10 years of daily use, cable, DVD, over the air. The room has some light issues (from the side). I am more interested in the technical aspects and limitations of each technology. For example, LCD sets are not considered defective until there are 4 or 5 "stuck" pixels? Plasmas are very fragile (I have kids)? DLP's can get "stuck" mirrors and the bulbs burn out after 1000 hours and cost 1/2 the price of a new set? What are the true, brass tacks facts about the technologies? Yes, I know improvements are coming out every day, so I'm looking for some guidance not influenced by sales pressures. What are the realistic concerns and advantages of each technology?

    I know that is a big order to fill, but I know this is the place that has the experience and knowledge to try and answer the questions.

    Thanks again for any guidance you can provide.

    -Dan M~
     
  5. Todd H

    Todd H Go Dawgs!

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    Since you want 1080P, that really only leaves three options...DLP, LCOS, or LCD. I think right now there's just not many 1080P plasmas out there (I could be wrong).

    You said there are light issues from the side. The LCD would probably handle that pretty well. The only problem with LCDs is that the blacks aren't all that hot. When watching an LCD in a totally dark room, the blacks will be more dark gray.

    DLP and LCOS have better blacks than LCD. The downside to both is that the bulbs will eventually have to be replaced. Another drawback with DLP is that some people see rainbows.

    My advice is to go check out a few 1080P DLP and LCOS sets for yourself. Check and see if you notice the rainbow effect on the DLPs. You'll just have to check out a few in person and see which one you like best. Good luck.
     
  6. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Dan

    We know you have the fortitude to look at some TVs and not fold under sales pressure [​IMG]

    After you have spent half an hour looking they pretty much start to leave you alone.

    Todd gave you the basics. Time to take a look-see. You can't "read" displays, any more than you can "read" speakers. You will know it when you see it.
     
  7. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    All non-CRT rear projection systems have blulbs that have to be repalced enventually, except for some just coming to market that will use LEDs as light sources. (These won't have to be replaced as often but will cost correspondingly more.) For DLP, LCoS and LCD RP a bulb for a typical 56" set will cost you about $200 to $250 - which is hardly "half the price of the set". Please try to avoid people who know so little or exaggerate some much as to make that statement. [​IMG]

    I like LCoS. (Sony SXRD, JVC HD-ILA, BenQ has a line, I believe, don't know the name.) True blacks, good contrast, bright even to watch in a bright room, no rainbows, no burn in, no screen door. Good viewing angle. Featherweight compared to CRT HD sets of the same size. Smooth film like image (once you've got it calibrated.) Pretty good with SD signals, better with SD digital, great with DVD, best with true HD. But watchable with all sources. Bulb life has been an issue (for a number of microdisplay brands and models) in the past, but my impression is that things have improved - if only because the manufacturers don't need the bad press.

    I realized that an anecdote is not evidence, on either side of the debate, but the only direct experience I have with these sets in my own. I bought a JVC HD-ILA (720p) last December. I figure the set is on an average of 7 hours a day, 7 days a week for 49 hours. In 44 weeks that adds up to 2156 hours of use. I have two months to run on the standard warranty and also went for the extended warranty with Best Buy (partly because of this potential issue.) I also spent $150 on a replacement bulb that I have on hand for when it eventually does break. I don't want to be without the set while waiting for a warranty replacement to show up. [​IMG] In any case I didn't let my slight concerns about that issue (which, as noted, applies to other types of sets as wall) deter me from buying.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  8. Dan M~

    Dan M~ Second Unit

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    Thanks again everyone for the inputs.

    One thing I have noticed is that all the large screens (Plasma, LCD, DLP and Lcos) all seem to have problems with motion. For static scenes they look great, but when there is motion they start loosing picture quality. For example they had a football game being displayed. Before the snap I could read the painted yard markers on the field and see the texture of the grass through the paint! It was beautiful, just like being there. Once the ball was snapped and the camera started panning (even relatively slow) the painted yard markers became un readable, never mind the textures. The edges of the players seemed to pixilated and lost their crispness. On an LCD the running player had a series of shadows (like edge enhancement echos) following the runner. It looked like a "ringing", but only behind his line of motion. On a NASCAR race being displayed, the writing on the track and the walls was smeared and almost disappeared when the camera was panning to follow the cars. On my 32 inch standard def CRT TV I can usually read such things even while in motion.

    I was standing maybe 10 feet from these screens, but I expected much better. Are these problems typical display issues or are they related to the filming and transmission of the signal? How do I separate the two?

    Thanks again for everyone's help.

    -Dan M~
     
  9. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Dan

    I think what you experienced is called motion lag. Unfortunately, I don't have sufficient experience to say which technology suffers least from this problem. Also, if you observed this on all the technologies, and it sounds like you did, then, it is a wash and you move on with your decision.
     
  10. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    There is also going to be some motion blur anytime you move a camera quickly. (Or turn your head quickly, for that matter.)

    Again, I wouldn't base much on what the hideously maladjusted sets at your average Big Box Store look like. Bad adjusments can create apparent artifacts. When DVD was a new format LD die-hards often "proved" that DVD was an inferior product and that pixelation and macroblocking were apparent on all DVDs by point out how crappy the display DVDs looked on the Toshiba Widescreen at their local Best Buy. And they really did look like crap, certainly at my local Best Buy. At least until I smuggled the remote control from my Toshiba widescreen into the store and set all the user controls to the same values as my VE-adjusted set. Suddenly everything looked terrific.

    "History repeats itself. That's one of the things wrong with history."

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  11. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Good point Joe. So there are 2 distinct reasons for the lack of clarity with movement, motion blur and motion lag. Very helpful.

    Tx
     
  12. Bob.S

    Bob.S Auditioning

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    With Plasmas the brand makes a HUGE difference too... Panasonic has pretty much been on top, and won't have near the issues you are describing. The other problem is the input... if the store is running 1080i Vs. 720P the motion won't be that great on any set while the slow/stills will look great.

    I have a samsung 50" plasma... it's pretty good with motion, but not as good as panasonic. Some brands are TERRIBLE with almost all motion. Top 3 brands for plasmas in my opinion are panasonic, samsung, and pioneer.

    My opinion overall: if you don't need the extra space a flattie is going to get you.... go with DLP. The prices are so much better in the 50"+ sets especially (relative to plasma or LCD) that you could replace the bulb at least 10 times and still be ahead of the game.
     
  13. peterac

    peterac Agent

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    Nobody mentioned that a downside to plasmas is glare from an outside window? Is this not a real issue with plasmas? A friend had me thinking this was a big concern vs. LCD.
     
  14. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Peter

    Plasma does have more of a reflection issue than LCD. So, if your room has uncontrolled light, plasma may not be the best choice. Each technology has its own problems. LCD may not have as much contrast or as good black levels as plasma. LCD is more expensive as you get into the larger sizes. Different strokes...
     
  15. Davis

    Davis Agent

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    My opinions are mostly based on looking at sets in the store. I am not a technical genius, but recently went through the same exercise as you.

    LCD and Plasma are brighter and than rear projection and have a much wider viewing angle.. They both last a very long time. I think panny plasma has a 60,000 hour half-life.

    Plasma seemed best in an uncontrolled lighting situation.

    Generally the rear projection sets have smoother pictures. A personal preference type of issue. They have great blacks and contrast.

    LCD usually has a better picture than plasma based on contrast, blacks and sharpness. The pixilation problem, however, really bugs me. I like football and basketball and can't stand the jagged edges.

    LCD is most expense, followed by plasma and then rear projection is the best value.

    Personally, I wound up with the Panasonic Plasma. Got a good deal, at the time, from Amazon. It worked out very well. One surprise that I had was how easy it was to set up. The remote is very easy. I might have wound up with an LCD set except that the Panny blacks sold me.

    I got a great picture even before running video essentials, although it was worth the extra time to run it.
     
  16. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Davis:

    This is intended less for you, since you've purchased a set and are happy with it, and more for those who are still shopping and read your post - because I have to seriously question a couple of points.


    This statement is very misleading since you don't say what screen size you're talking about. At larger size the latest LCD panels can be more expensive than plasma because of production yields and diffferences in the manufacturing process. (But more LCD fabs are coming on line and production technology is improving and thus improving yields, so that probably won't be true for too much longer.) But at other sizes LCD is comparable or cheaper. And at smaller sizes plasma isn't even an option.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  17. BrianTwig

    BrianTwig Second Unit

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    Joe,

    I am 95% ready to pull the trigger on the JVC HD-ILA HD-56G787. Taking wife to see tomorrow.
     
  18. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Sounds good Brian.

    Let us know how you like it [​IMG]
     
  19. Matt_A

    Matt_A Stunt Coordinator

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    Doesn't Plasma suffer from burn-in problems, similar to older CRT televisions? I would tend to gravitate towards the DLP or LCoS myself, just to avoid the possible problems with that.
     
  20. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Not a plasma owner but - I'm told that a) modern designs do much to mitigate this and b) that if you do at least a quick Avia or Digital Video Essentials adjustment to the set that the risk is further reduced.

    That said, I bought an LCoS in part because even the possibility of burn-in was more of an "issue" for me. I had the problem on my first widescreen set, bought before the days of the HTF and before I'd learned to turn TVs down from torch mode, and I've seen it on the CRT direct view and RP sets of several relatives - yes, including the ones I've calibrated. In their cases it comes from a tendency to leave the closed captions on all the time, and to watch a single station for most of a day. (My mom watches her soaps, game shows, news and most of her primetime shows on ABC.) All of these sets have permanent blocks in the lower part of the screen where the CC goes and some have station logos burned into them. I would never let anyone who I didn't know was going to be fanatical about protecting the screen to buy a plasma, which is why I plan to steer all these folks toward LCD panels, LCoS or DLP when it comes time to replace their sets. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     

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