Plasma or Projector

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by kashmir_singh, Feb 3, 2003.

  1. kashmir_singh

    kashmir_singh Auditioning

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    Hi, I'm looking to build a kick a** HTPC in the next few months. Although I've got alot of experience with PCs I'm new to the display side of things.

    I've read recent postings and no-one has asked this question so it's eithier blindingly obvious or falls into that bottemless pit of personal preference.

    Anyway the question is simply which gives a better picture - plasma or front projector. Budget is about $6K tops for a display. I guess seeing other responses I won't get a yeah or neah answer, so pros and cons would be most appreciated.

    Thanks
    Kash [​IMG]
     
  2. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Kash,

    Two very different display types here. Both CAN have outstanding images but they're really for slightly different types of environments. Plasmas are great for wall mounting or on top of tables, can be seen from all angles, don't mind ambient light, and can be sensitive to burn-in. And they're typically much smaller than FPTV images.

    An FPTV often will need a good degree of light control, a screen of some sort, and an ability to mount or stick the projector somewhere. But the image can be huge--starting at maybe 80" and go up to 110" or more.

    For casual viewing a plasma may be handier; for a controlled HT environment, a front project unit may make more of an impression (because of the massive image size).

    Either should be tweaked/calibrated to get the best possible image.

    BTW, will you be purchasing in Australia?
     
  3. kashmir_singh

    kashmir_singh Auditioning

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    Mike

    Yes I probably will be purchasing in Australia.

    From what you're saying a FPTV can produce the same quality picture as plasma but to a much bigger area although there's a bit more hassle in setting the unit up etc.

    Would a screen be absolutely necessary in getting the best picture or is a smooth white wall sufficient?

    Also how much maintenance/cost is associated with a FPTV.

    Cheers
    Kash
     
  4. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Kash,

    I tend to prefer front or rear projection over plasma's for a couple of reasons's, every plasma screen i've ever seen has had severe pixel exposure, meaning that you can see all the little dots that make up the image, it's very distracting IMO. And second, a front projector IMO tends to give a more faithful theatrical image simply because your viewing projected light, just as you are in theaters. The image tends to take on the characteristics of film which I love.
     
  5. kashmir_singh

    kashmir_singh Auditioning

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    Mike,

    What about FPTV instead of RPTV? The 6K I mentioned was US$ not AUS$ BTW.

    Would RPTV's be able to handle 720p or any other high res my graphics card can output?

    Thanks
    Kash
     
  6. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Not all RPTV can handle 720p.

    If you are doing movie watching then nothing can recreate the cinema feel like FPTV can. $6K will get you a FP that looks good for sure.

    You can use a wall if you want to. Check this thread ... Wall OK to use as projector screen?
     
  7. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Hi Kash,

     
  8. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

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    Personally I like the picture from a good plasma over most front projector systems. I do appreciate the theater-like experience created by a front projector. However, the best new plasmas offer their own charms that, for me, make up the difference. I've never seen such realism from a display as from some plasmas. The picture can just be ravishingly rich and "solid," in a way denied most projection systems (excepting the very pricey ones).

    My pal has a nice projection system, but when he comes over to see my plasma in action he's a bit envious: "My projector is great but it just doesn't quite do...THIS" he says.

    But it's all subjective, and I think everyone else in this thread is probably pointing you in the right direction.

    Rich H.
     
  9. Sean M

    Sean M Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, for $6k US, you can get a used, 8" Liquid Coupled CRT FP. Since you'll be using a HTPC anyway, the fact that a projector like this will require external processing is moot. If you have a totally light controlled environment, have the space, or ability to ceiling mount, for something so large and are willing to either hire someone to set it up, or have the patience to learn to do it yourself, you will be hard pressed to find a better image anywhere short of 9" CRT's.

    Of course, I'm biased in favor of CRT, as I own one, though only a 7", and I have yet to see a plasma that I liked. All the ones I've seen looked great in bright scenes, but have flattened out considerably when displaying scenes with low APL. I'm told the newer models do better at rendering dark scenes, but I haven't seen any that would make me change that opinion.
     
  10. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

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    Hi Sean,

    I agree mostly with what you think too. I don't think plasmas are "better" than FP systems (or RPTVs). I just tend to prefer them.

    You are right; some of the better new plasmas are doing very good black levels, such as the new Fujitsu 50" plasmas. While the best CRTs probably still edge out the Fuji in those last bits of black detail, for most people the Fuji is good enough in that area - which leaves the wealth of things plasmas do well to be all the more appreciated.

    One person over at the AVSforum owned a great CRT projection system with 9" guns. He says the Fuji 50" plasma he bought decidedely outperforms the projector for shear PQ and realism. Tom Norton of Stereophile Guide To Home Theater said, in his review of the Fuji plasma, that even though he had a $64,000 FP system on hand, he felt the Fuji's PQ was even better.

    My point is simply that I think it used to be a given that CRT-based displays looked "better" than plasmas. Now the improved performance of plasmas is pushing such discussions into the realm of subjective preference.

    Your system sounds terrific, though. You must have some envious friends!

    Rich H.
     
  11. Sean M

    Sean M Stunt Coordinator

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    Rich, yes, those are the glowing reviews to which I was referring. Though, if I remember correctly, the Fujitsu panels tend to be more expensive than the average plamsa, which would likely put the price somewhere close to double of $6k. I don't know for sure, I'm just guessing on this.

    I would love to see the Fujitsu plasma to see what everyone is talking about. Even better, I'd like to see something north of 65" at around $6k with the same PQ. Then I could very easily come over into the Plasma camp. But that's probably 2 to 3 years away.
     
  12. kashmir_singh

    kashmir_singh Auditioning

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    Just what I expected to be honest, it's mostly down to perception. One's own.

    I haven't seen to many plasmas yet and no FPTVs. I'm at the beginning of this journey and need advice so I have a vague idea of where I'm heading. I'm probably still 5-8 months away from making a decision but I enjoy researching things before buying. After all it is the most important decision a bloke makes - What TV to buy :)

    From what I'm hearing esp about the new plasmas I shouldn't narrow my criteria just yet. Any recommendations for sites that have good subjective reviews and news would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    Kash
     
  13. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Kash,

    Plenty of time there for research then. Have you spent much time at AVS yet? I think you'd find a lot of good info in their plasma, screens, and various projector forums (crt, $5K digital). You can pretty quickly catch on to what are considered, for a given technology, to be the better units around a given price point.

    For example, in plasmas for $6K it'd probably be the Pioneer 503CMX.

    In digital projectors, one contender would be the Sanyo PLV-70.

    For reviews (subjective) on projectors, take a look at www.projectorcentral.com.
     
  14. Eric C. Mylonas

    Eric C. Mylonas Stunt Coordinator

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    I own a Panasonic 42" HD and, simply put, the picture is stunning. There is no 'screen door' effect from as little as 6' away and the black levels are more than adequate (unless you're looking for the abyssal blacks which only a CRT can produce).

    As for burn-in, I've certainly seen ghosting on my panel, but I've played certain console games (static bars and all) for eight hour sessions and have not had a lick of permanent burn-in.

    I'd certainly recommend the avs forum as well--they're the group that convinced me to take the plasma plunge and I haven't regretted it yet.

    My pdp retails for ~5k, fwiw.
     
  15. PaulHeroy

    PaulHeroy Stunt Coordinator

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    Kash, I presume by now you've figured out that you're quite welcome in the lovely bottomless pit. [​IMG]

    I think a lot of it depends on your room setup, viewing preferences and style. I have a FP setup but not great lighting control, so it can't really replace a nice TV for daytime viewing. For that I also have a 36" CRT. But for movies on cloudy weekend afternoons, or any evening... that big screen impact is wonderful. On your budget you could get something like a Sony HS10 LCD or an NEC HT1000 DLP, and also have room left for a decent HD direct view or RP set.

    Yet I do see the plasmas in stores; they have really improved from 2-3 years ago, and fill me with geeky A/V lust. If you want a single display you can watch in any conditions without having to have a dim/dark room, plasma may be the way to go. I don't think you can get a good plasma larger than 42-43" on your budget, though.
     
  16. kashmir_singh

    kashmir_singh Auditioning

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    Yeah feeling strangely quite comfortable in this pit with the rest of ya.

    I like the suggestion of mixing and matching displays for conditions especially if you have a spare TV. Most daytime viewing is probably adequate on a normal TV (who wants to see 'Days of your lives' at 90" anyway!). Shit I'm not even at home during the day.

    At night time though you probably want to see the big match and a movie on the biggest screen possible.

    There doesn't appear to be one answer for all and I'm beginning to realise that there's probably not even one solution for one individual. To make matters worse I haven't even consulted the wife yet! [​IMG]
     
  17. Gary_Sc

    Gary_Sc Agent

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    Rich H,

    You cannot really compare a CRT based RPTV to a CRT based front projector. I know the person you are referring to and I read his posts. His CRT based RPTV did indead have 9" CRT's. The problem is that RPTV's do not have the same capabilities as a CRT projector. I would put my 8" NEC XG projector up against any consumer RPTV, even those with 9" CRT's. Why? Because the the internal components are in a different league. Everything from the lenses to the electronic boards are "higher end" in a projector. A good example is the focus. Even the high end RPTV's use electrostatic focus. In the FP world electrostatic focus is considered low end and the better front projectors use electromagnetic focus. The difference is pretty significant.
     

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