Plasma TV's...Am I Missing Something here?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Brian Thomas, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. Brian Thomas

    Brian Thomas Auditioning

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    Hi, I'm brand new to the forum, I like to lurk on many forum genres but rarely feel strongly enough about an issue to post.
    The reason I've come across this forum is in my search for hardware and ideas about my own HT, which is in stud form right now. By-the-way, I've seen a couple of examples of very well designed and excecuted theatres in the photos section of this board. Nice jobs!
    Getting down to business, I read with enthusiasm your ideas and opinions about different display types, most certainly because I am about to fork out the $$$ for my own. I am more than a little surprised, however, because it appears that plasma has not gone over very well received on this forum. Maybe it's my own naive eyes playing tricks on me, but, when I walk into (insert any large electronics or small HT retailer here) I ALWAYS gravitate to the plasma HD TV's. After staring in awe at these for mere seconds I have zero interest in looking at anything else, ever...this is a recurring issue.
    Yes, OK, we've all read the pros/cons of all of the display types, and I'm sure most will agree regarding plasma's most notable drawback right now....it's CO$$$$$T, but when it's all said-and-done, aren't all of us (most of us) looking for the most appealing screen image possible? Maybe it truly is my untrained eye, but whenever I make a visual comparison, it appears that a plasma screen FAR exceeds the other technologies, and I mean just STOMPS them...no, not just stomps them, but calls them names at the same time.... and says bad things about their mothers...WHOOPS! Got carried away there.
    Anyway, like my title asks...Am I missing something? On another post, after someone showed interest in buying plasma, someone else asked something to the effect of "Why would you even consider plasma?" I don't think their comment was quite that direct, but I think I was reading between the lines fairly accurately.
    So, gentlemen, what gives???
    Thanks much.
     
  2. Chad B

    Chad B Stunt Coordinator

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    Plasmas tend to deal with bright room light better than rear projectors, so in most store displays they enjoy an advantage. They would usually be a pretty good choice for many bright living rooms. In a darkened home theater setting, however, the roles are often reversed.
    I've only run across one plasma (a Panasonic) that I thought would make a great home theater display. It stood out from the others because it's blacks were darker, richer, and less washed out than the others I've seen. It also had accurate colors after calibration.
    They are also scarily prone to burn in- more so than CRTs.
    So, they have their strong points: they look good in brightly lit rooms, have super wide viewing angles, and their geometry and convergence will absolutely blow away that of an uncalibrated CRT. In my opinion, their weaknesses are: very prone to burn in, usually washed out blacks, and sometimes inadiquate ajustments in their service menus.
     
  3. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    I've been lead to believe that CRT based systems still rule as far as ultimate PQ (for "image aficionados").

    But hey, if you have unlimited $$ to spend, go for the top-of-the-line plasma - it not doubt would be great. [​IMG]
     
  4. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Jim,
    While correct they are not a perfect solution for everyone. I would be very happy with a plasma but the cost is ridiculous. I mean a 42" HD version is around the same cost as most 65" crt's... You are definitely paying for the "hang on the wall cool" factor. Hrm 65" Mits for $2,500 or a 50" Panasonic Plasma for $5k. Not too hard of a decision for me. I'll take the $2k+ and go upgrade my audio system too boot.

    Seeing a 60" plasma on cribs last night with a craptastic bose system nearly made me cry.

    The "I can't see your speakers" Phenomenon is a side affect to the whole Plasma is cool deal.

    Don't get me wrong, I've seen lovely pictures from a Plasma but they need to drop the price down ALOT for it to be within reason to consider. I'd pay a 10% premium to have a "hang on the wall" set but not nearly a double the price premium.
     
  5. John S

    John S Producer

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    All displays have pro's and cons. Plasma does do well / better in most stores lighting. They alsoe tend to setup source feeds to them a little better, cause they want to sell them.

    I like plasma's, but not all plasma's are created equal either. I have seen excellent ED Panny's blow away lower end HD plasmas.

    If you like Plasma best, then plasma it is for you. The biggest concern I see around here with plasma displays, is the fact they are maybe the easiest to burn. You will also get some image lag on them, upon closer scrutiny.

    Just not sure, what sort of comments your really looking for in this thread.

    I like the technology a lot myself, but I don't think I can ever afford it. When replacing my current display, hopefully many moons from now, I know I will be going to FP, which does out perform Plasma to my eyes, once a certain price point is exceeded on them.

    My only additional comment would be, that at least Panny plasmas, sure do deliver the color, that alone is enough to sway many people to it judged best by their eyes, my eyes too, to a certain extent for sure.
     
  6. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    I've had my HD plasma for a little over a year and have been very happy. Zero bad pixels, zero ghosting or burn in and good PQ on both SD and HD input. Do to WAF reasons, mine is on a stand vs hanging on the wall......and to top it off I had to get an amoire made to house it to boot....go figure. I have mine in a small to medium sized room and often watch at off angles. That and my lovely brides' inclination to always let the sun shine in, made it the most viable technology for my situation. If I were a game machine player I might have gone a different direction.

    Mort
     
  7. John S

    John S Producer

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  8. Steve_L_B

    Steve_L_B Stunt Coordinator

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    We've had our Panasonic plasma for 21 months now and I can't imagine having anything else (except maybe a larger plasma). We have absolutely no signs of burn-in or ghosting and the picture is still as stunning as the day we got it. I often survey the various displays at the local Magnolia Hi-Fi, and I still do not see any displays of comparable size (although the Sony 34" XBR widescreen direct view is awsome) that offer the overall picture quality of the better (Fujitsu, Panasonic, etc.) plasma displays. Plasmas are expensive, but IMHO, they offer the best overall performance for a general purpose HT display. Plasmas always have perfect convergence, geometry and focus, three parameters that require continuios periodic adjustment in crt RPTVs. They also have vertical and horizontal viewing angles that no RPTV can approach.

    If you've got the space and intend to use this strictly for HT, then I'd seriously consider a front projector. There are some excellent choices in both DLP and LCD that are much less expensive than a plasma.

    Regards,
    Steve
     
  9. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Well, yeah; the "Wow-it's-so-THIN!" factor doesn't mean anything to me. For the same money I'd much rather have a FP. But then I watch no broadcast TV -- only DVDs (and the occasional VHS). [​IMG]
     
  10. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Several things:

    1) With a Plasma you not only pay a premium price ( about four times as much for a given screen size), but you have to pay a fair amount for a wall mount kit or a stand. If you are going to get a stand you lose out on the innate thinness of a plasma. Also, if you don't have the plasma professionally installed on the wall you could be in for a rude surprise one day.

    2) The room light issues with front projectors may be going away. There are new screen technologies coming on line that absorb white light rather than reflect it. They only reflect red, green and blue. Seen at the latest big trade show, CEDIA, they blew away the viewers.

    3) CRT RPTV is a mature technology that has been perfected and the economies of scale are in place. You can get a great 65 inch CRT RPTV for $2,200 delivered. You can't get a a 65 inch Plasma at any price. And if you could, it would be $8,000-$10,000 plus a very expensive wall hang kit, plus installation.

    If cost is no issue Plasma is great. For the rest of us, that is the reason RP TV is still the best seller.

    Artie
     
  11. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Still WAY TOO EXPENSIVE.
     
  12. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Keep in mind that in order to get that ultra-clean installed look that we're all used to seeing on TV and in magazine ads - all of your video cables need to be routed through the wall, and new jacks added BEHIND the set. I think there are a lot of plasma owners who never realized this until they get theirs wall mounted, and suddenly there's a big fat component cable, a stiff awkward coax cable, and maybe some old-fashioned red/white/yellow cables dangling from who-knows where. Not quite what they had in mind...

    Just another thing to consider...

    -Jason
     
  13. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Yep, I agree with all of you.

    Ya' know, I'm actually glad I can't afford a top-of-the-line plasma...![​IMG]
     
  14. Steve_L_B

    Steve_L_B Stunt Coordinator

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    Partly correct: a 65" Panasonic plasma is currently being offered by several online vendors, although I'm not sure if any actually has them in stock. The going price is indeed about $11000. Of course, 61" and 63" plasmas have been available for quite some time from several manufacturers.

    Wall mount kits for 42" and 50" plasmas can be found for less than $200. That's not terribly expensive relative to the $2000 and $4600 prices respectively for those size of plasmas. I have no idea what a mounting kit for a 65" goes for.

    Plasmas are indeed more expensive than RPTVs, however, they are usually also criticized for issues such as shorter lifespan, burn-in susceptibilty, poor black levels, and generally inferior picture quality. All of these were legitimate issues in the past, but plasmas produced in the last few years (especially those based upon Panasonic glass) have virtually eliminated all of these problems. Panasonic now claims that their panels have a 60,000 hour rating to half brightness (27 years at 6 hours per day of usage) and are no more prone to burn-in than CRT displays. Additionally, the black level on Panasonic plasmas has been measured at 0.15 nits, nearly as low as a high quality CRT display. Improvements in the panel drive electronics and scaling and deinterlacing circuitry have eliminated motion lag and other processing artifacts. And, as I implied in my previous post, plasmas are virtually maintainance free (CRT based RPTVs do require periodic adjustment of convergence, geometry and focus to look their best).

    Plasmas do command a price premium for their sleek form factor, but IMHO, they offer picture quality that generally exceeds most other display types. It's a matter of personal choice and budget, but I do not believe that plasmas (at least some plasmas) sacrifice PQ for style and "cool factor".

    If I had room for it, I would probably opt for a good FP set-up for my HT, but our relatively small living room (14' x 22') does not accomodate furniture and FP or a large RPTV very well. This makes a plasma perfect for our situation.

    Regards,
    Steve
     
  15. Ryan Wishton

    Ryan Wishton Screenwriter

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    The Panasonic EDTV Plasmas are actually not half bad for SD & DVD. They are fine with HD too.

    The actually handle standard better than a true HD does. For someone like me who barely wants to watch the shows in HD (not enough for me yet), it might be a good alternative.

    I could always sell it in a year or so when others come down.

    Black levels are fine. The price is ok, but not fantastic. Sound is average and I would have liked better. I have considered one because I dont want RP CRT (I dont like the boxy take up the entire room atmosphere, never did), and I was just never a fan of the pic much. Maybe I never saw one properly adjusted. No one I know knows anything about that. These people leave theirs with max contrast and factory settings.

    I also like the Sony XBR960 and a few higher end tubes, but these things weighs a ton.

    Once you cross $6000+, then I start to really like them. But, yeah right. lol.
     
  16. Joel()Les

    Joel()Les Agent

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    I find it interesting that no one is arguing that picture quality of a an LCD RPT or DLP set is better than plasma. Is the general consenus that a $6k 50" plasma (Panasonic/Pioneer) going to outperform a high end 50" RPT(Sony/Hitachi/Samsung) set using LCD or DLP?
     
  17. Ryan Wishton

    Ryan Wishton Screenwriter

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    Joel,

    LCDs are find for HD. I have seen some with a beautiful HD pic. Same with DLP. If only thats how everything looked.

    Here are my problems.

    I have liked a DLP pic. For someone reason viewing a DLP makes me physically sick. Gives me an ill headache feeling after a short while. I dont know why. Plus the rainbow effect which I havent seen yet, but am frightened by. Not to mention if anyone else has these problems that views the set.

    LCD. I am actually looking maybe for the bedroom. They are getting better, but are not perfect yet. I tend to watch darker movies with dark scenes (horror/action/etc), so the no true black level would bother me. This is improving each generation though.

    Then you have the screendoor effect. I never even knew this existed until reading about. Now I wish I never did. I see it on my laptop and mini gaming portables now.

    LCD tends to be horrible with standard signals as well which is what I still watch the most. Take the Sharp Aquos $3000+. Beautiful HD pic. Some of the worst stardard signal pics ever.

    It would be different if everything was going HD right now, but that will take many, many years.

    I tend to like pics on Flat Panel displays above the 4K mark. Then again, the stores could have just set them up this way on purpose.
     
  18. Steve_L_B

    Steve_L_B Stunt Coordinator

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    Ryan,
    Be aware that plasmas also exhibit a "screen door effect" when viewing them at close proximity. It's not as significant on the HD models, but it is very apparent on an ED plasma display at distances less than 8 feet. At about 10 feet, most people (including myself) can no longer see it. Also, the Panasonic ED displays do look great with HD if your viewing distance is greater than 10 feet. At that distance, the difference in PQ between the HD and ED models is barely discernible to most people, and IMHO, it's not worth the extra $1000 to $1500 for the HD display.

    Regards,
    Steve
     
  19. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    CRT Tubes, weight and bulk aside, are the still the easy, current kings of the value meets performance marker, imho.

    If I bring to you a Sony KV34XBR960, ISF calibrated and tweaked down to the nth degree, I very seriously doubt you're going to be able to bring me anything remotely in its price range that has as good a PQ as that. Tubes are still a tough act to follow, especially when you start talking about how far your money gets you.

    I can get that TV for well under $2000 right now. $2000 doesn't get me jack squat in LCD, DLP, LCOS, or especially plasma. That says it all right there, imho.

    That new HD plasma from Panasonic blows me away when I walk in to the store and see it, but it's well over $7000 and they still haven't overcome how fragile plasma is. Too expensive, too fragile, too many flaws still.

    Question: If any of you had to place a bet, which technology would you forecast as eventually unseating the almighty Tube? Feel free to answer either "none" or "something that isn't around yet" because I'm tempted to go with either one of those answers myself. [​IMG]
     
  20. DonBerry

    DonBerry Auditioning

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    I just got back from buying a Mitsubishi PD-5050. On the showroom it looked the best. I will see how it looks at the home on friday. Can't wait!!!!
     

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