Looking for advice - RPTV vs Plasma

Discussion in 'Displays' started by James T Morton, Jul 26, 2003.

  1. James T Morton

    James T Morton Auditioning

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    Some friends recently bought a Mitsubishi WS-65711 65" HDTV, and I have to say it's pretty impressive. I was considering going for plasma (50"), but apart from the obvious size/weight advantage, is plasma significantly better quality? I guess the question is, if money was no object, which would be the best choice, the Mitsubishi WS-65711 or (say) the Panasonic TH-50PHD5UY 50" plasma? Or (to throw another option in the pot), a Samsung SyncMaster 403T 40" LCD monitor?

    Thanks!
    James
     
  2. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    James,

    That's a tough one because you're really asking "which display technology is the best".

    And that question is tough to answer. Many agree that CRT offers the best possible picture quality (the mits). But the plasma and samsung (if I were you I'd look at their DLP models instead) have their pros as well - mainly light output and no convergence.

    I love my ISF'd mitsubishi and it is simply jaw dropping. But I also really like some of the plasmas I have seen as well.

    Maybe if you state what it is you want from a disply we can help more.

    -edit- if money were no object I'd still pick the mits RPTV simply because it offers a great picture and 65" really does provide a "theater experience" that you can't get with a 50 or 40 inch display.
     
  3. James T Morton

    James T Morton Auditioning

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    John,

    Thanks for the reply. What I'm looking for...hmm...I guess the following, in order:

    1) Great immersive experience for movies (guess bigger is better in this case)

    2) Best quality visuals

    3) Good performance in room with quite a lot of ambient light.

    4) Not taking up too much room (obviously plasma is a no brainer for this one)

    Thanks,
    James
     
  4. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

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    James,

    That's a tough choice and I'm betting you realize it's a totally personal one. I'd have to ask: Have you seen examples of both RPTVs and Plasmas under decent set-up conditions? By that I mean properly calibrated, in a dedicated set-up - not some split-off from a distribution box that is trying to feed 20 displays the same signal? Have you seen both RPTV and Plasma with your own DVDs?

    If so, what are YOUR impressions of the picture quality of RPTV and Plasma? There's just no way someone else can tell you which you are going to like better.

    That said, all I can offer is my own perspective. I've demoed a large number of plasmas, RPTVs and CRT direct views with my reference DVDs in controlled conditions (this includes ISF calibrated RPTVs by Pioneer Elite, Hitachi, Toshiba and Sony, among others). I chose a plasma and couldn't be happier. But again, that's not to say you would have chosen the same under the same conditions, because each technology has wonderful strengths as they relate to picture quality.

    For the bigger, more immersive picture, RPTV wins hands down. Plus, RPTVs more closely mimic the look of projected film if that is your aim (I personally find even the best RPTVs still smack of video blown up trying to fool me it's film...but I guess I'm just a cantankerous film nut).
    Many will also point out you'll get the best black level reproduction with a good RPTV too.

    But I prefer plasma for what I find to be a richer, more vivid, more natural and realistic image. On the level of pure luxurious eye-candy, I haven't seen an RPTV I prefer over a plasma. An RPTV better suits the goal of trying to mimic projected film. But plasma offers a sort of different but nonetheless addictive and compelling window-onto-the-film-set vibe. It's hard to say what will attract you more.

    Over on the AVS.com plasma forum quite a few people have replaced some very good RPTVs with plasmas, and even though the plasma is smaller all report they find they are even happier with the picture quality. But for others, image size will trump whatever charms plasma may have.

    If you go plasma, the Panasonic is a terrific choice. I'm a stickler for good black levels and only the Panasonic, and Panasonic-glass-based plasmas satisfy me on that count.
    I own the 42" Panasonic ED plasma and thanks to it's excellent black level performance it looks even richer and more dimensional in a lights out home theater scenario than it does with the lights on (which cannot be said of many other plasma brands, due to so-so black levels).

    If price is no object try the Fujitsu P50 50" plasma. Many regard it as the best plasma you can buy, and the best image you can buy anywhere around that size.

    From my perspective I'll rate your choices:

    1) Great immersive experience for movies (guess bigger is better in this case) - RPTV more immersive, more cinematic "I'm at the movies" feel. Plasma more realistic and "alive" looking - compelling in it's own way.

    2) Best quality visuals - I find plasma wins, but it's really a toss-up. Both RPTV and Plasma are compelling displays for different reasons.

    3) Good performance in room with quite a lot of ambient light. - I'd say plasma wins this one. Ours is in a sickeningly bright room - almost all window - and it serves us fine any time of day.

    4) Not taking up too much room (obviously plasma is a no brainer for this one). - Plasma wins.

    Best of luck.
     
  5. James T Morton

    James T Morton Auditioning

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    Rich,

    Many thanks for that long detailed reply - that's really helped me a lot. I actually haven't seen HDTV and plasma in a dedicated environment, or with my own DVDs, and I'm going to make that a priority for the coming week. It's a bit difficult to find large screen TV stores in my area (apart from the usualy Sears and Best Buys), but I will do some hunting. I'll let you know what I decided on!

    Thanks again,
    James
     

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