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Advice: 42 vs 50 plasma for classic movie fan? (1 Viewer)

collectdvd

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Jan 20, 2007
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Scott Parker
I am finally buying my first HDTV. I have decided to go plasma and my couch is about 10.5 feet from where the tv will be mounted. I watch mostly old 4x3 classic movies, alot of black and white and about 40% of them are widescreen. I don't watch hardly any SDTV and don't have satellite, cable box etc. Also, no PS3 or Wii.

Based on the distance I'll be sitting and the fact that I will be using a Samsung upconverting DVD player for now, I am going to go 720p and save the money for other things. The player will output to 720p and 1080p.

My question is: since I'm watching mostly 4x3 SD content being upconverted to 720, should I go 42 inch or 50 inch plasma? At 10 feet am I going to notice pixel blocks, etc. with the 50 inch, and will the image be smoother at 42 inch? These are things that are difficult to gauge in the store since most of the content viewed is HD and 16x9.

Any advice? Thank you so much.

Scott
 

Worth

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Jul 17, 2009
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Nick Dobbs
A 50" set should be just fine at a distance of 10-11 feet. But if the majority of your viewing is going to be 4:3 material, you might want to opt for LCD over plasma. The black sidebars will eventually create uneven wear on a plasma. I wouldn't recommend plasma unless at least 3/4 of your viewing fills the screen.
 

John Mansor

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Jan 9, 2003
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I think the 50" is the way to go. I recently got a 50" and I sit at a similar distance. I am confused about the wear on a new plasma though. Everything I read is that burn-in isn't an issue any more with plasmas. Is that not true?
 

Worth

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Nick Dobbs
Everything I read is that burn-in isn't an issue any more with plasmas. Is that not true?
While plasmas have improved with respect to temporary image retention, they are still susceptible to uneven wear, or "burn in." It's just the nature of the technology and there is no way around this. The phosphors get dimmer over time, so any portions of the display that haven't been exercised as much as others will appear brighter. The same is true for CRTs. How long it takes will depend on a number of factors - how much the display is used, how high the contrast is set, the particular make and model of the set etc. But eventually - whether in six months or five years - you'll get uneven wear from displaying black sidebars the majority of the time. Now if you vary your programming and watch material that fills up the screen a majority of the time, it shouldn't be an issue.

And for the record, I have nothing against plasma and would recommend one most of the time for most applications - just not this one.

If you're not interested in HD for the foreseeable future and most of your viewing is 4:3 material, I'd personally recommend perusing Craigslist or similar classified listings and picking up a really good 32-36" CRT with a 16:9 mode. Many people are clearing their old sets out and they can be bought for under $200 dollars. Might be a good interim solution for a few years.
 

Jesse Skeen

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Apr 24, 1999
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I recently saw an LG plasma set at Sears that had an antenna hooked up and was showing TV broadcasts instead of the in-store ad thing shown on the other TVs. Right away I could see a station's 'bug' logo burned into the screen (why I don't watch TV anymore, but that's another story) as well as burn-in from the black side bars shown during 4x3 shows. When I switched the channel to a standard-def digital channel or one of the low-power analogs still on the air here, it showed those with gray bars on the side, supposedly to prevent further burn-in but I find the gray just too distracting.

I didn't note the brightness and contrast settings but they didn't seem too outrageous- since I watch a lot of 4x3 content I most likely won't consider a plasma.
 

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