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LED DLP vs. Plasma?


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18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 OFFLINE   AaronMK

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Posted April 01 2008 - 07:16 PM

I am trying to decide on a TV purchase. Right now it is coming down to the LED DLP vs. Plasma question. In short, the LED DLP is a much better screen size value, but I'm wondering if I would not be better off with a plasma display since I don't sit that far away (7' at most, and would move sofa closer for a smaller display).

The big decision is between a smaller plasma (42" Panasonic TH-42PZ77U) or a slightly more expensive LED DLP (56" Samsung HL-T5687S). Models came from budget and reviews (online and Consumer Reports)

The TV will be used for Wii and PS3 (games, DVD, and Blu-ray). I have made 1080p a requirement because I noticed the difference on blu-ray playback, and that is the main reason for wanting a new TV.

More specific questions:
1) For the plasma: I have had my CRT for nine years and never experienced image retention. That is based on mostly watching widescreen movies (ie black bars). Is this a good indication that image retention will not be an issue for me with a plasma?

2) For the LED DLP, is bulb life a real issue? Is that 20,000 hours in the specs the actual viewing time I should expect before having to replace the bulb and what do they usually go for?

3) Anything else I should be factoring in.

Thanks for the assistance!

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Doug_H

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Posted April 02 2008 - 06:39 AM

Aaron

If you play a lot of games you will want to avoid the Plasma because of burn in. They have gotten a lot better in that regard but still have issues.

The 20,000 hours is the expected life of the bulb, I am not sure of replacement cost though. These have not been out that long.

I have a 42" plasma in the living room now and I wish every day I had gone with a 56" DLP.
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#3 of 19 OFFLINE   JustMe

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Posted April 02 2008 - 06:54 AM

Size Matters, I have a 56 in DLP and wish I had gone bigger.

#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Jon Lidolt

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Posted April 02 2008 - 07:11 AM

I have a 52" DLP and am very happy with the image. They generally don't look that great in a brightly lit store, but I find that I prefer the "look" of the picture compared to plasma or LCD when viewed in a normal home environment. To my eyes at least, the LCD picture doesn't reproduce the subtleties very well - I find the picture a bit too garish. Not to mention that over 90% of digital theatre projectors are based on DLP technology.

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted April 02 2008 - 08:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Lidolt
Not to mention that over 90% of digital theatre projectors are based on DLP technology.
Yes, that's because DLP is one of the best projector technologies out there. However, it has nothing to do with comparison between LCD or Plasma displays which are different technology.
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#6 of 19 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted April 02 2008 - 09:10 AM

Aaron, with current Panasonic and Samsung plasmas, image retension is not as big an issue as it used to be. If you leave a still image on your screen for 10-15 hours, like pausing a game or movie, then yes, you may have a problem. If that did happen the newer plasmas have wash screens that can reduce or remove the effects of even that kind of abuse. DLP is also very nice, picture wise. My biggest bitch with them is the color wheel thing. They can be expensive to replace. Not to mention the mother boards, bulb replacement, etc, etc. For me, plasmas are a lot less to deal with and no where near as bad as people make them out.
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#7 of 19 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted April 02 2008 - 10:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by troy evans
Aaron, with current Panasonic and Samsung plasmas, image retension is not as big an issue as it used to be. If you leave a still image on your screen for 10-15 hours, like pausing a game or movie, then yes, you may have a problem. If that did happen the newer plasmas have wash screens that can reduce or remove the effects of even that kind of abuse.

But how well can such things work though? I thought plasmas are just lighting up the phosphors much like w/ CRT. If there is *real* burn-in (as in uneven phosphor wear), then there really should be nothing you can do to recover from that, no? Theoretically, the best you can do is use some method to try to apply the same degree wear to the less worn phosphors, but that doesn't actually mean *real* recovery -- it just means you'll end up w/ more even wear, which will still ultimately impact the overall PQ, no?

If uneven wear takes a very long time to develop, then that method of recovery would not be so bad (provided it can be done effectively and in reasonable amount of time).

But do current plasma displays actually employ some other more advanced phosphor technology that don't require such a fix for real burn-in? Do they actually have some real way to refresh the phosphors, not just try to create more even wear?

Quote:
DLP is also very nice, picture wise. My biggest bitch with them is the color wheel thing. They can be expensive to replace. Not to mention the mother boards, bulb replacement, etc, etc. For me, plasmas are a lot less to deal with and no where near as bad as people make them out.

Well, he did mention LED DLP, not just any old DLP that uses color wheel. Posted Image The LED tech should take care of most of those concerns though again we have to wonder whether they're actually at least as durable as plasmas for comparable PQ output for the life of the displays.

I'm considering LED DLP myself -- and the size-to-$$$ ratio does matter a lot. But yeah, it'd also be good to know how much it costs to replace the LED if/when it should die during the useful life of the display though I get the feeling one will be better off just buying a new display by then (provided the LED doesn't die prematurely).

_Man_
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#8 of 19 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted April 02 2008 - 10:08 AM

BTW, anyone know what is the rate of decay in light output for LED DLPs? Samsung lists 20K hours for their LEDs, but do you actually get nearly 100% output for the entire 20K hours? OR does it drop a whole lot (to say 70%) after about halfway into its lifetime?

_Man_
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#9 of 19 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted April 02 2008 - 10:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Man-Fai Wong
But how well can such things work though? I thought plasmas are just lighting up the phosphors much like w/ CRT. If there is *real* burn-in (as in uneven phosphor wear), then there really should be nothing you can do to recover from that, no? Theoretically, the best you can do is use some method to try to apply the same degree wear to the less worn phosphors, but that doesn't actually mean *real* recovery -- it just means you'll end up w/ more even wear, which will still ultimately impact the overall PQ, no?
I believe you are correct. My only experience with the screen washes was when a friend burned an image into his plasma. After leaving the screen wash on for about 3 hours we put up the all white screen to check for any retained images. There was no visible retension afterward. So, the technology does work. At least on his Panasonic plasma. I own a Samsung plasma. I've had it for 14 months with no problems at all. I watch widescreen movies all the time and have yet to see any image retension. This whole burn-in thing is really nothing new. The same thing happened with old CRT displays. People didn't notice it as much because they were watching smaller screens at around 19" to 32" that had limited resolution. Now, we have 40" and up with high resolution and the image retension is more noticable, but, not new.
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#10 of 19 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted April 02 2008 - 10:46 AM

Aaron, I have been considering getting a DLP projector. Is that a possible option for your needs?
" I think it's time we go to plan B". "What's plan B?" "That's the one where we don't do something stupid".

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   AaronMK

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Posted April 02 2008 - 02:35 PM

Quote:
I have a 52" DLP and am very happy with the image. They generally don't look that great in a brightly lit store, but I find that I prefer the "look" of the picture compared to plasma or LCD when viewed in a normal home environment.

I went to check out some DLPs tonight, and to, to my eyes, looked worse than I remembered them. Brightness just was not uniform across the screen unless I was far back. Judging from the stock it seemed they were being phased out. This was at Best Buy, so I am really hoping that it was a result of the lighting and the fact they did not have any LED models. But then my viewing area usually has a good bit of ambient light.

I really liked the look of the plasmas, even some of the LCDs. Unfortunately, I can never tell if the motion artifacts on the LCDs are a result of the low-bitrate source material or refresh rates.

After tonight, leaning toward the plasma but still open.

Thanks for all of the feedback.

Quote:
Aaron, I have been considering getting a DLP projector. Is that a posible option?

I wish! Maybe when I am in a more permanent residence and can build a room around it.

#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted April 02 2008 - 03:49 PM

Proud owner of a 1-year old Panasonic Plasma (720p), no regrets. The lamp-based DLP/LCOS sets just don't get me as excited as the flat panel TV technology, and until LCD flat screen models with good black levels get down to the plasma price levels for the comparable screen sizes, I'd rather save my money and go with plasma at this time (plus I find that backlight source of LCD models hurt my eyes over long periods of viewing these sets).

I almost cried when I saw that Fry's was clearing out their 2007 50" 720p Panasonic plasma sets for $1099.99 today. That's a great bargain.
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#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted April 02 2008 - 04:11 PM

The LED-driven DLP sets represent fantastic technology.

The red-green-blue LED array replaces both the color wheel *and* the lamp that conventional DLP RPTV sets use. The "light engine" (there is no bulb) is rated at 20,000 hours to half-life. After that the set will still be usable; it just won't be as bright as it was when you first turned it on.

The bottom line is the set will probably be obsolete before you have to worry about replacing the light engine!
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#14 of 19 OFFLINE   AaronMK

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Posted April 03 2008 - 07:54 AM

Ordered me a Panasonic Viera TH-42PZ80U 42"! Posted Image

Saw the DLPs in a dark room and still just did not like the look, but loved the plasma. Anti-Image Retention features for the later model were a good selling point.

Can't wait!!

Thanks for all the input!

#15 of 19 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted April 03 2008 - 08:07 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronMK
Ordered me a Panasonic Viera TH-42PZ80U 42"! Posted Image

Saw the DLPs in a dark room and still just did not like the look, but loved the plasma. Anti-Image Retention features for the later model were a good selling point.

Can't wait!!

Thanks for all the input!

Aaron,

Since you've decided to go plasma (and *that* model no less), did you check out the latest deal for the 50" version of the same display over on the Deals page? Only ~$1900(!) for that 50" set from 6th Ave Electronics.

I think if I were gonna spend somewhere in the ballpark of $1500 anyway, I'd want that extra 8" to get to a size that's closer to ideal for just another ~$400.

_Man_
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#16 of 19 OFFLINE   AaronMK

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Posted April 03 2008 - 08:27 AM

$1700 was my ABSOLUTE max. I was looking at that 50" on Amazon for $1950, which was still tempting, but would have been reckless considering my finances now.

I ordered mine for $1340 delivered.

In any case, thanks for pointing out the deal.

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   chuckg

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Posted April 03 2008 - 11:43 AM

I don't know 6th Ave, but weren't there some pretty scathing stories in the vendor whines section? I am glad to see that you stuck to your budget...it is sooo easy to say, "well, it's only $xx more" and spend more than you really wanted!
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#18 of 19 OFFLINE   DaleAV

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Posted April 04 2008 - 04:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Bolus
The LED-driven DLP sets represent fantastic technology.

The red-green-blue LED array replaces both the color wheel *and* the lamp that conventional DLP RPTV sets use. The "light engine" (there is no bulb) is rated at 20,000 hours to half-life. After that the set will still be usable; it just won't be as bright as it was when you first turned it on.

The bottom line is the set will probably be obsolete before you have to worry about replacing the light engine!

It's great leap in technology, but I am not convinced the picture is any better than the best top line DLP without an LED. The cost trade off is fair, considering no UHP lamp or a color wheel to fail, and no light fall off as a standard lamp ages.
The LED dimming used the latest Samsung LCD models, seems to be the biggest threat to plasma in terms of contrast. I don't think the DLP is in that running, LED or not. In fact no rear projection is IMO, but probably the latest SXRD came the closest (if you go by reviews) but quite a distant 3rd to the best plasma or LED dimming LCD.

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted April 06 2008 - 10:38 AM

Aaron:

Great news on your new set. Let us know what you think of it.

I have a Panasonic TH-50PX75U and couldn't be happier.

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