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Have Plasma's caught up?


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#1 of 17 Dwight Amato

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Posted July 09 2003 - 04:06 PM

I was asked by a friend today to help her look for a new set for her. She is leaning towards plasma. Everyone I know wants a plasma TV. I tell them that the picture is not as good and it really suseptible to burn-in, and that unless they need the space they should consider an RPTV.

At least that's how things were two years ago when I purchased my 47" HDTV. Have plasma's caught up now and am I just spitting out rubbish? I've actually taken time aways from messing with my system and started enjoying it, so I've been out of the loop for a while. Of course, it helped once I finally had the set ISF'd 6 months ago.

Any quick updates for me?

#2 of 17 PatrickM

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Posted July 09 2003 - 04:39 PM

I don't know if they've necessarily caught up but the price point for what you get has still not hit what I would call the sweet spot.

If you have aesthetic or space considerations its a good way to address them but the value equation is still a little off in my opinion.

If you have space, a CRT based RPTV is still the best value.

Patrick

#3 of 17 Rick_Brown

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Posted July 10 2003 - 01:57 AM

Dwight, I think you were asking about picture quality and burn-in, not value, right? There are many plasmas that are "near-HD" quality, like 1024 x 768 and a few that are full HD quality. The latter are very costly. Most will up-convert lower quality signals to higher resolution, so they can do a great job on regular cable signals.

Burn-in remains a concern, but less so, based upon what I've been reading.

#4 of 17 chris_clem

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Posted July 10 2003 - 02:32 AM

What about concerns regarding plasma tv's half life? Do they all really dim to half intensity after about 10000 hours or so? This is what is preventing me from pulling the trigger on one (the thought of my hefty purchase being crap after a few years of use!) Posted Image

#5 of 17 John_F

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Posted July 10 2003 - 03:48 AM

Dwight,

As far as picture quality, I think the best thing to do is to demo one. Just make sure you are using a good source. When I looked at plasmas, I had a very hard time finding a place for a good demo; At 4 out 5 places DVD's looked bad, but at the fifth place, DVDs looked fantastic.

"... I tell them that the picture is not as good..."

I disagree. I have a plasma (43") and an RPTV (40"), and I defenitly prefer the plasma to the RPTV for picture quality.

"... and it really suseptible to burn-in ..."

I am not worried about burnin. I would say that, in general, plasma burnin concerns are blown out of proportion, and that most plasma owners do not consider it a problem.

"... and that unless they need the space they should consider an RPTV... "

If given the choice of a plasma or RPTV, I would pick the plasma (regardless of space considerations).

If you feel like doing some reading, check out the plasma forum at avsforum.com. Also, all my comments are about the latest generation of plasmas.

chris_clem,

"... What about concerns regarding plasma tv's half life?..."

I think most plasma owners consider this a non-issue (I don't worry about it). I have yet to see a plasma owner post about how there dull there picture looks not that they've had there picture for xxx years.

Regards,
John FLegert

#6 of 17 Daniel Becker

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Posted July 10 2003 - 08:03 AM

It still seems that plasmas a little too new to say they're "worry free". If you think about it Plasmas have really only been around for a few years now. Thats not that much time. Personally I won't consider buying a plasma for a couple more years. By that time i'll be confident they've worked out most major problems.



Quote:

"I am not worried about burnin. I would say that, in general, plasma burnin concerns are blown out of proportion, and that most plasma owners do not consider it a problem."


You may not be worried about burnin but that doesn't mean it can't happen. I wouldn't even consider telling someone to play a videogame on a plasma. Your just asking for trouble.


IMO plasmas are still products that still mainly appeal to the wealthy consumer. Meaning if you can afford to spend the money on a tv that will possibly have some major problems a couple years down the road you might as well buy one. As for everyday tv users who enjoy games, tv, and movies I still think larger direct views or good RPTV are the way to go. In a few years my opinion will likely change though.



Dan.B

#7 of 17 Rick Anderson

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Posted July 10 2003 - 10:36 AM

Plasmas have a major cool factor, but for me it came down to the fact that for $4000 I could buy a 42-inch NON-HD plasma screen with a so-so picture, OR for a thousand less I could buy a top-of-the-line Sony 57 inch HD RPTV with a great picture. In the end, it was a no-brainer. Yeah, if I had $20,000 to spend I would have gotten a 60-inch Pioneer Elite HDTV plasma screen...but I didn't have $20K to spend, I had about $4K.

#8 of 17 Jeffrey_Jones

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Posted July 10 2003 - 11:17 AM

Hello,

I agree that plasmas are very expensive but I think they offer the best picture quality of any display device available today. I've been looking at a lot of displays lately and I cannot find anything that looks better then a properly configured Panasonic 42" plasma...HD or ED. I can't provide a scientific reason but I find the plasma display to be so much more realistic, warm, detailed, film like...I love it.

I wish I could say that burn in will never be a problem but I know that I can't. I will say that I have not seen any burn in on any plasma that I've looked at in the stores and several friends of mine (avid gamers) have never had a problem. Ghosting is a small issue but it goes away very quickly. I don't think that burn in is any more of an issue with plasmas then with most RPTVs. A little common sense and it shouldn't be a problem.

I really wanted to like the DLP sets when I first started reading about them but just didn't see the picture quality that I wanted at any resolution. LCDs are out for me until they significantly improve their picture quality and drop the price on larger displays. RPTVs are big and bulky in general and I have never been satisfied with the picture quality. Standard tubes are too small, too heavy and in my opinion, the picture quality isn't as good as plasmas.

My plan is to wait for another 20% off Dell deal and scoop up a 42" ED Panasonic plasma. I could be waiting for some time Posted Image

Thanks,
Jeff

#9 of 17 Jorge M

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Posted July 11 2003 - 04:36 AM

Quote:
I wouldn't even consider telling someone to play a videogame on a plasma. Your just asking for trouble.


Would you recommend a RPTV instead? I think plasmas, while not immune to burn-in, are much less susceptible than RPTVs. I have seen quite a number of RPs with burnt-in images, but never a plasma.

#10 of 17 Rick Anderson

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Posted July 11 2003 - 07:22 AM

Jeffrey Jones said:
I've been looking at a lot of displays lately and I cannot find anything that looks better then a properly configured Panasonic 42" plasma...HD or ED.

HD sure, ED definitely not. Just about any good HD RPTV is going to have a better picture than just about any ED plasma, given the proper picture source.

#11 of 17 Rich H

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Posted July 11 2003 - 09:08 AM

Dwight,

Caught up? Man, in my (and many other people's) view they surpassed the over all picture quality (impact) of anything near their size quite a while ago (I'm thinking back even almost two years ago, when Panasonic finally produced plasmas with good black levels).

A good plasma produces, to me, the most realistic, natural-looking image available. It's just my opinion of course, but it was one formed by doing very extensive comparisons of all competing display types in controlled conditions over the last couple years. I found that the slight edge some CRT-based displays had in black level reproduction was handily offset by a good plasma's overall clarity and reach-in-and-touch-it realism.

Frankly, now I feel that some technologies are just starting to catch up (such as the amazing clarity and pop some DLP/LCDs produce...although I still don't care for the black level performance, among other things).

Take a look at the pictures of DVD movies playing on my plasma (click ling below my name) and you'll get an idea of the life-like quality of a the plasma image.

Rick Anderson wrote: "Just about any good HD RPTV is going to have a better picture than just about any ED plasma, given the proper picture source."

Disagree, big time (although it might depend on exactly what "the proper picture source" is that you're talking about). The Panny ED plasma can look incredible with HD images, with a level of clarity and vividness that is more thrilling than HD on quite a few HD RPTVs I've directly compared it to (especially the CRT models). Others over at the AVSforum have found the same. Many have replaced RPTVs of various stripe with Panny ED models and have preferred the plasm image.

As well, I've done extensive comparisons of the Panny ED plasma to such RPTVs as the lauded Pioneer Elite and Hitachis, using my reference DVDs. I found both types of display had wonderful qualities. However, overall I preferred the Panny plasma which has to my eyes a richer, more alive, more solid and palpable-looking image. It just looked more realistic and engaging on that level. On the RPTVs my DVDs look like pretty good approximations of film. On my plasma it's more like the films "come to life," like watching the real action through the actual camera lens.

I'd understand why anyone would choose either RPTV or plasma, of course. To each his own.

#12 of 17 Rick Anderson

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Posted July 11 2003 - 10:17 AM

Well Rich, I specifically compared the Panny 42 inch EDTV plasma to the RPTV I wound up buying and the reason I went for the $1000 cheaper Sony RPTV was that the picture on the Panny was sub-par when I viewed DVDs, regular TV and HDTV on it vs the Sony KP57WV700. And when compared to the Pioneer Elite HD plasma as a benchmark, the Panny looked just sick.

#13 of 17 Rich H

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Posted July 11 2003 - 10:35 AM

Interesting how subjective this stuff is.

I compared to those items too, and had a choice between the Pioneer Elite HD plasma (43" version) and the Panny ED..and yet I still found the Panny ED won the day. The Pioneer plasma had more "pop," but the Panny ED had better black level performance and an overall smoother, more artifact free performance (and a more natural look, the Pioneer colors, even after calibration, strike me as exaggerated).

Being a plasma/av junkie, I've done the comparison between these units so many times I've lost count and the impression of each plasma's strengths remains constant.

Not that anyone else should feel as I do.

But given that you've described the Panny ED's picture as "sub par," even with DVDs, and your "the Panny looked just sick" comment, I heavily suspect you haven't seen what the Panny Ed is capable of when properly tuned, in a careful set-up. Most people haven't.
(In my comparisons with the Pioneer/Sony/Hitachi RPTVs, and Pioneer plasmas, each was in a dedicated set-up, hooked up to very high end equipment, and all displays were ISF calibrated, and I had control over surrounding lighting. So I believe I am basing my opinion on seeing those displays perform in optimum conditions).

I don't for a second think you should believe me or change your opinion. But do have a look at some of my screen shots...I think they tell some of the story about the clarity and life-like image from this plasma when set-up right. Would you not agree at least that one would have to start with a pretty life-like picture in order to get these kind of screen shots? (As opposed to "sub par" or "sick?).

Cheers.

#14 of 17 Jeffrey_Jones

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Posted July 11 2003 - 11:22 AM

Hello,

Quote:
HD sure, ED definitely not. Just about any good HD RPTV is going to have a better picture than just about any ED plasma, given the proper picture source.


I'm not trying to convince anyone of what I believe. I obviously have a different opinion then you do but it is just that, my opinion. There are no hard and fast rules here...we all need to form our own opinion based on our own viewing experience.

In my opinion, the ED Panasonic plasma has a better picture then any RPTV that I have seen. I also think it has a better picture when watching DVDs then the HD Panasonic plasma. When viewing HD material the HD plasma has a slight advantage but not enough to justify the price difference to me.

Thanks,
Jeff

#15 of 17 Peter Kline

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Posted July 11 2003 - 12:43 PM

Aren't Plasmas poor in black level. Also don't they need to be viewed in a lighted room rather then a dark one? I've seen them on display at a local Sears and they look nice but a good DLP rear projection unit looks better to me.

#16 of 17 Rich H

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Posted July 11 2003 - 01:06 PM

Peter,

Plasma black levels have improved quite a bit from the bad old days.

The Panasonic plasmas, and those based upon the Panasonic manufactured glass (such as several new Fujitsu plasmas) have excellent black levels - not *quite* as dark as the better CRTs, but dark enough to satisfy someone like me who insists on good black levels before spending a dime on a display. In fact, this week Panasonic is introducing their newest plasmas which have even better black level performance, which should make for an even more amazing image. (Sorry to keep doing this, but...take a look at my screen shots and you'll see the current plasma model has an excellent contrast level). Many plasmas still look better in a lighted room, but I find the Panasonic brand actually takes off, looking better in a darkened room, which is how I watch movies (hence my requirement of good black levels).

I just compared DVDs on the new Samsung DLPs to my plasma. Calling it as I see it, the DLPs were awesome in some respects - clarity, brightness and detail most of all. Where I found them to fall behind my plasma was in DVD performance...there was more noticeable processing or scaling to the image...a bit more noise, less solid looking over all. Also the black levels were not as deep and satisfying (and also had a noticeable bluish cast). Also I still find a beaminess to the picture - I find myself conscious of the not perfectly even illumination (as I do with all RPTVs). Finally, I find the Samsung DLPs have a sort of Krazy Kartoon Kolours things going on, at least out of the box. I tried my best to reduce this effect but couldn't (at least in the store). So overall I found my plasmas image more natural and realistic. But still loved what the DLP excelled in.

YMMV, of course.

#17 of 17 Dwight Amato

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Posted July 11 2003 - 02:31 PM

Wow guys, thanks for all the replies. I guess there is more to Plasma's then I thought. I do believe that the majority of 'joe-sixpacks' out there looking at these sets are doing it for the size and wow factor rather then the picture quality. I guess that's why I've ignored these sets for so long.

I too always thought that plasma's did not put out a good solid black. I will have to go to a good HT store and check them out to myself. Who know's, perhaps my next set someday will be a plasma...





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