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Glossy vs. matte screen for my environment (1 Viewer)

Evan Mann

Oct 14, 1999
I'm trying to determine if I'm going to be better off one way or another when it comes to glossy screen vs. matte screen for my room.

The sliding glass door is on a patio which has an overhang. If you look out the door from within the room, you are looking south. The door is on the backside of my house which faces west. So there is never directly sunlight through the door due to direction of the door and the overhang on the patio. THe door has verticals that, when closed, block almost all light transmission (except for seepage between the slats). The verticals are typically closed when we watch TV during the day. If they are open, the sunlight comes in and illluminates the entire room fairly evenly. There's just general brightness from the sun, no particular concentrations.

On either side of the couch are end tables with a 60w equivalent flourescent bulb in them. They have a clotch type, off-white shade. Those lights are pretty much ALWAYS on when we watch TV.

As far as TV's go, I'm looking at 50" Plasma or 52" LCD within the price range I'd like to stay of $2000 or less (ideally). Could go as high as $2500.

Given the 50-52" size TV, the width of the set varies from 48" to 52", which is not even as wide as the couch. So my end table lights will not be directly across from the screen, but the cross room glow of the light will still bleed over into the TV screens dimension.

Plasma's are obviously all glossy. For LCD's, I have two options I'm looking at, Samsung 6 series, 52", A630 matte screen, or A650 glossy screen. Due to demand, the A630 matte screen is $400-500 MORE ($2000-2100) then the A650 glossy screen ($1600). No specific Plasma has been designated, but it would be something Pioneer or Plasma obviously. Would need to be as good/better as the Samsung 6 series LCD obviously

So I have a general glossy vs. matte situation I'm trying to consider given the room environment. And that glossy vs. matte isn't just as simple as Plasma vs. LCD, as I have a glossy vs. matte choice within the LCD themselves. There is a substancial cost savings within the 2 LCD options themselves.

So, what do you guys think as far as glossy vs. matte in this environment?


Supporting Actor
Jan 28, 2001
Denver, CO
Real Name
G. Alan Brown
A glossy screen will give you a slightly better image from the TV than one with an anti-reflection coating or treatment. Plasmas still offer a superior over-all picture than LCD, in my opinion. This article may help you understand all your viewing environment characteristics better: CinemaQuestv2.0 , note particularly the NIST graphics that depict various screen reflection behaviors.

Best regards and beautiful pictures,
G. Alan Brown, President
CinemaQuest, Inc.
A Lion AV Consultants Affiliate

"Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging"

Brent Hutto

Supporting Actor
Aug 30, 2001
Well if you're going to leave two 60-watt lamps on, basically right by your head, when you're watching TV you're going to need something as bright as possible. Even moreso if there's any light seepage at all during afternoon/evening viewing with that south-facing glass door. I guess you'd want something matte finished for a nonglare effect with the screen but a matte finish can't work miracles when there is light hitting the screen at basically the same near-perpendicular incidence as your eyeline. So the brighter the screen the better.

Personally, I'd also get that sofa out from the wall. You're not going to have any possibility of rear surrounds and all of your surround sound is going to be bouncing off that wall just a foot or so behind your ears. Plus you'll be 10-11' back from the screen unless the TV is well out from the wall. Keep in mind the picture (not the frame of the TV) of a 50" television is about 43" wide so your drawing depicts a ratio at or just under three screen widths. I find the viewing experience much more involving and movielike at 2-2.5 screen widths which would work fine if you can leave a foot or two of space behind the sofa.

Evan Mann

Oct 14, 1999
The samsung LN52A630 (matte) has a 40:000:1 contrast ratio and the LN52A650 (glossy) has a 50:000:1 contrast ratio. The panels are identical, the contrast ratio difference is due to the matte vs. glossy. I looked into the 7 series, same exact panel/glossy screen as the A650 but with more gadgets I don't need. The 8 series has the same specs, but the overall set is thinner than the 6/7. Research leads me to believe it's still the same panel, just different packaging. I can't find a brightness rating in any of the Samsung 6/7/8 sets.

On the Plasma side, it seems like something like the Panasonic TH-50PZ850, TH-50PZ800U are within my higher price range, or the TH-50PZ85U being much closer to the LN52A650 price Both sets listed with a native contrast of 30:000:1 and Dynamic of 1,000,000:1.

Costco also carries the Pioneer KURO PDP-5010FD, and given that I am going to get $1100 store credit for returning my Vizio due to it dying on me, that set is a viable option as well. There's also the newer PDP-5020FD which looks to be at the peak of my range at $2500 as a possible option.

So given these sets as examples, is the Plasma brighter? As far as overall PQ, I will be completely happy with LCD or Plasma. I am coming from a Vizio L37HDTV which has been slowly dying for a year and a half now. The sets I am considering are just leaps and bounds superior every which way.

As for the audio, the couch is a little away from the wall because it's a recliner couch, but not a lot. My current surrounds (NHT SuperOne's) are angled into the center of the room. I'm going to revamp the audio setup as part of my entire upgrade, but that's after the TV portion.

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