Need New 50"-55" Display Advice - Black Levels Important - Plasma? LCD?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by dpippel, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    I've moved into a smaller place and my 57" Mitsubishi DLP is taking up WAY too much space in my living room. So, I'm thinking about a new display for the first time in almost 4 years and am looking for some suggestions. Let m e say right up front that I think DLP produces the most film-like image of any TV display technology out there right now, but I'm not in the market for another one. So I'm looking at either LCD or plasma. My criteria are:


    1) 50" to 55" size

    2) 1080P

    3) Good black level and shadow detail performance

    4) On LCD panels, no uneven backlighting problem (clouding)

    5) 3D not necessary

    6) Anti-reflective (non-glossy) screen surface preferred

    7) Price range $1000-$1500



    I've been less than impressed with LCD black level performance from what I've seen lately. Either everything is crushed or blacks tend to be gray. One thing that REALLY bothers me is the uneven backlighting that most LCD panels suffer from. It's very distracting and noticeable to me, and definitely a deal-breaker. I've noticed it on most of the LED panels I've looked at, both backlit (the few I've seen) and edgelit models.


    On the plasma side of things I'm more concerned with black level performance drop over time. I've read good things about the Panasonic VT30 models, but the 55" is outside of my price range.


    Any advice that you folks who have been down this path could send my way would be MOST appreciated. I'd like to avoid going through the hassle of buying and returning several displays until I find the right one. It's just not as easy as returning a Blu-ray player. :)


    Thanks in advance!!
     
  2. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Wow, I hear crickets in the display forum...
     
  3. TheBat

    TheBat Producer

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    I own the tcp50gt25 and its a great tv. I prefer plasma over lcd for the same reasons. Jacob
     
  4. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    I splurged on a VT25 last year and will never go back. Or look back. Or however the saying goes.


    You said the VT30 would be out of your budget, which is completely understandable, and since you don't have any interest in the 3D capability, you don't need to go there. I don't know what the other Panasonic plasmas are priced at now, but that's absolutely the first place I'd look.
     
  5. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Thanks for the feedback guys. I'm thinking about giving this panel an audition:




    Panasonic VIERA TC-P50GT30 50-Inch 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV
    It seems that you can't get most of Panasonic's advanced features unless you buy one of their 3D plasmas. The non-3D models are definitely lower end. I'm looking at this one specifically for its THX Mode.
     
  6. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Don't have any display model to recommend, but I assume your DLP is a big, old style, floorstanding model?


    If it's not floorstanding, you probably won't really save that much space going flat panel unless you plan on hanging it on the wall or similar (and probably keep not much underneath that would otherwise eat up all the freed space). Some folks even hang their DLPs on the wall since they're actually no heavier than flat panels and some are fairly shallow (like my Samsung LED-based DLP at slightly over 15" deep).


    When I bought my Samsung DLP ~2.5 years ago, I also considered plasma, but realized I wouldn't really save much, if any space w/ flat panel.


    _Man_
     
  7. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Thanks Man, but the 50" Panny plasma I'm considering is definitely less bulky than my 57" Mitsubishi DLP, which is a tabletop model BTW. Part of this is due to the smaller screen size and part of it is due to the Panny being shallower. The plasma will not be getting wall mounted.
     
  8. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    If you don't wall-mount the plasma (or get one of those dedicated racks that specifically emulate wall-mounting), you'll probably need enough depth on your TV stand/cabinet to handle the DLP anyway -- the pedestal base on flat panels tend to be quite deep. Only benefit in that case is you won't need a wide stand/cabinet, but what's there will likely still protrude about the same amount from the wall.


    _Man_
     
  9. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    I've seen the Panasonic in the flesh, and it's definitely not as bulky as the DLP. My problem isn't the piece of furniture that the display will sit on, it's the physical size of the unit. At 57" the Mitsubishi simply overwhelms the room. The 50" Viera will lessen that issue significantly.
     
  10. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Overwhelms the room? What size is the room? This might be the first time anyone has ever said they want a SMALLER TV.
     
  11. dmiller68

    dmiller68 Supporting Actor

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    I went from DLP to the Panasonic Plasma and couldn't be happier.
     
  12. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    I live in a restored cottage home built in 1944, and at 10.5' wide the LR is quite narrow. The geometry of the room puts the TV position only 6 feet from the couch, and a fireplace complicates placement.
     
  13. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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  14. dmiller68

    dmiller68 Supporting Actor

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    I have the 65" VT25. There was an article in Home Theater Mag a couple months ago that gave high marks to the GT/ST/VT and suggested the GT was the best bang for the buck.
     
  15. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    I guess if I'd noticed your sig I wouldn't have had to ask! Glad you're liking it. I've heard good things about the GT as well, although all plasma panels have their issues. But then what display technology doesn't?
     
  16. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    My 50" GT30 was delivered on Monday and I have to say that in general I like the display. Blu-ray in particular looks pretty stunning on it after a less than thorough calibration in Custom mode.


    Unfortunately I'm sending it back to Amazon for a replacement. The dealbreaker issue is an area in the center of the panel, about 10 inches in diameter and irregular in shape, that displays a light greenish discoloration when viewing a gray full screen slide. In other words, the background color of the panel is not uniform. Now that I know it's there I see it during normal viewing from time to time and it drives me crazy. There are also two very light vertical bars about 2 inches wide that extend from the bottom of the panel to the top on either side of the discoloration that are apparent on the same slide. Very, very discouraging.


    The other problem is that this panel was manufactured in March 2011 and suffers from the "fluctuating brightness" defect that plagues these Viera ST and GT panels. There's a fix for it, but I'm not going to deal with that on a display that has the above problem. Sooooo, looks like I'll be rolling the dice and hoping that the replacement panel doesn't have the same inconsistency.


    Have I mentioned that I really HATE shopping for a new display?
     
  17. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Ouch!!!
     
  18. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Ouch for sure. My replacement was delivered yesterday. This panel, also manufactured in March 2011, doesn't have the "green blob" problem, but the background color of the panel is still not uniform. It's visible mostly on monochromatic material (grays in particular) and manifests as very light pastel green and magenta areas of irregular discoloration. I'm definitely picky, particularly when I'm spending over a thousand bucks on a display, but I can't imagine that this is normal. Can anyone else who owns a 50"/55"/60" GT or ST Viera notice this "blotchiness"?


    The other problem with this plasma, besides the documented fluctuating brightness defect, is dithering. The banding on monochromatic areas of color is quite noticeable. While certainly not perfect, my 3 year old Mits DLP has none of these issues. No pun intended, but color me disappointed. I'm kind of amazed that even after years and years of refinement in materials, design, and manufacturing, consumers are still dealing with things like this in what should be mature display technologies. Makes me wish that the rumored flat panel DLP tech of several years ago had actually come to fruition.


    Sigh.
     
  19. dmiller68

    dmiller68 Supporting Actor

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    Interesting I know several people that have loved the ST versions. I have the VT and think the picture is far superior to my Mits DLP it replaced.
     
  20. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Maybe I'm particularly sensitive to the "blotchiness" problem and the dithering, but they ARE there and very distracting. Too bad, because I really want to keep this set. It excels in so many other ways.
     

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