Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

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Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:42 pm

Finally time to recognize the future here and buy my first flat-panel. I've read all of the guides and as many reviews as I can Google, but still cannot make the choice between the two technologies. Here are the expected operating parameters:

Wide field of view will be required, as this will be a corner installation with possibilities of a 45-degree viewing angle (+2 Plasma, -2 LED/LCD).
Most viewing will be SD or HD versions of network programming coming from the (extra purchase needed) HD TiVo. (??)
3D is not necessary but I can afford it. (??)
I spend the winters watching hockey and want the speed and motion resolution (I think?) of plasma. (+1 Plasma)
I have a 13-yo daughter who thinks nothing of putting the TiVo on pause and disappearing for an hour or two (-1 Plasma, +1 LED/LCD)
Big French door faces south, so room is bright even with shades drawn. (-1 Plasma, +1 LED/LCD)

For the record at the moment, it's Panasonic plasmas vs. Samsung local-dimming LED/LCD panels. I'm willing to drop $3K on a 55" (or so) unit if I get what I want. Everything I read points me to plasma, but (even with the current comments about it not being an issue) I still worry about burn-in and black-level degradation over time with plasmas, especially given the TiVo-pausing habits of the spawn.

Please Mr. Game Warden, please tell me what season it really is?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:56 pm

In my mind plasma is the go-to choice with the single exception of a very bright room. It sounds like your situation isn't full-daylight, so I'd go with the Panasonic VT or GT series plasma.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:14 pm

I've been looking at the Panny VT but still worry about burn-in and black-level degradation. Basically, I need owners of those panels to tell me that my fears are misplaced because the viewing angle issues in my living room will make an LED/LCD problematic.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:26 pm

I have a VT30 55inch viera 3d and i love it.Havent had it long enough to have any burn in but it does have somethng in the video setup menu that takes 15 minutes that says something about recalibrating uneven blacks or colors.So far the picture is great,the blacks are beautiful 3d from pc is automaticly detected,SBS mkv and assorted video files including you tube.One thing if your closer then 2 ft away it makes tiny light dots all over the screen moreso with 3d but they dissapere with the 3dglasses on or if your farther then 2ft away.Nice to have deep deep blacks! a black screen barely will light a dark room unlike a lcd black sreen.movies with black bars on top and bottom, are black even in a dark room.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:30 pm

I think Viewing angle problems on LCD's are overhyped. I have a Westinghouse 42" LCD, and watch it from the 2nd couch which is >45 degrees off-axis a significant percentage of the time (maybe 30-40%). No noticeable PQ degradation.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:45 pm

I've got a 2010 55" Panasonic plasma (GT). It's been great, looks gorgeous with Blu-rays and Netflix. It's definitely not as bright as my friend's Samsung fluorescent-backlit LCD (also a 2010 model) but I don't like super-bright screens in general anyway. I haven't had issues with burn-in, even with video game use, but I did take some preventive precautions: from what I've read, the first 100 hours of use are the most susceptible to burn-in, so during that period of time I didn't play any video games, and played back a "plasma burn-in" DVD whenever I wasn't watching it.

My father-in-law has the 2008 or 2009 60" VT and it's absolutely stunning.

I think Usacomp is correct about LCD viewing angles - I believe all TV manufacturers use IPS panels nowadays, so it's not really an issue.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:45 pm

I'd ensure the TV had a built in screen saver, buy some curtains, and get a plasma.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:52 pm

I got a Sony XBR-55HX929 at the beginning of the month. 8)

Whichever model you choose, call US-Appliance at (877) 628-9913 before you buy. They have deals that are too low to advertise on the website.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:21 pm

Meh. I think I'd go with a 120 Hz LCD/LED panel, or 240 Hz if you're really worried about motion smoothness. Don't waste money on 3D yet.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:56 pm

I've got a 54" Panasonic Plasma S1 and you couldn't tear it away from me. It's still better than any LCD regardless of "Hz" rating. One disadvantage is that it is heavier than an equivalent size LCD, but not massively so (88 lb with base).
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:21 pm

Hell yeah, tell your wife to get some good curtains (wife out of the house for a while+kid needs new stuff) and get a plasma. Yeah I'd make sure you have a screen saver or if the TV has an auto shut off option when inactive.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:02 pm

Burn-in isn't really a big concern with a modern plama display. Most new models have screen savers that orbit a static display. Unless you are running the thing at full brightness and display takeoff and landing times on it like they do at airports, the problem is very over exaggerated. People confuse "image retention" with "burn in". Image retention is the tendency plamsa displays have to display high brightness data after they are powered off. People see this and go bananas, thinking that they have "burned in" that image. Take the -1 out of the burn in column for the plasma.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:02 pm

This may help you.... My wife and I have a nice little ranch house with a big window in the front (9'x6'). We also have a fireplace in our corner next to the window and we set the TV up on the wall over the fireplace. We couldn't do anything but LCD/LED. Here's why: my wife likes light. She gets moody if she doesn't have sunlight. I'm fine in the dark. So, we have curtains and all, but when there is indirect light, she wants the window blinds open.

We didn't have a prayer for plasma. I went with a 42" LG 42LV5500. Check out the whole LV5500 line. I love it. I can watch any format I've tried (I haven't tried ogg or mt2s) over the network (DNLA) or through a USB2 port. Moreover, its got a little gimmick called TruMotion for the 120hz refresh rate. I turn it off, EXCEPT for sports. I would go and look at this TV in person, were I you. It also has the coolest little "wii mote-type" thing I've ever seen. My wife uses this remote exclusively.

But, if you are looking for a 55", I would look 1 model up... the 55LV5600. This model has local dimming. It also does the 3D thingy (still not sold on it). Check it out in person, and if you get a good sales guy, they'll show you the remotes for it. The wii-mote thing is what sold my wife. And, its an IPS panel so viewing angles are a non-issue.

Also, the internet apps range from good to excellent. Hulu Plus doesn't stutter, but is slow to load. Netflix is pretty peppy. Amazon is very good. I haven't tried Vudu yet, but I've read good things.

The 55LV5600 is at amazon for $1,385. I got my 42lv5500 for $613.

Definately a wife-friendly TV.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:20 pm

Just remember that the ideal TV position is horizontally level with your eyes. I don't ever recommend an above-the-fireplace mounting.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:25 pm

Well, I'm the one opening the curtains (so I can see the dog when he presses face into the glass and begs to come in), so I'm sold on the ambient light issue. I can find the 55" VT30 for $1900 or so shipped from places with sufficient ratings and feedback to get me to buy. JAE's source says they're out of stock but it's worth a call if it shakes loose some extra pairs of 3D glasses with comparable pricing.

@Usacomp2k3:

No fireplace, so no problem. Will probably go with a wall-mount just so that the equipment cabinet can be smaller.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:55 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:Just remember that the ideal TV position is horizontally level with your eyes. I don't ever recommend an above-the-fireplace mounting.


I agree with this... unless you watch TV in a recliner. We kept getting headaches from tucking our chin.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:45 pm

Get you some Hd content or your own and go look at the tv's in question to see which ones you like.

The largest problem is that 99% of all content from both cable and satellite that I have watched just sucks and sucks bad because of the compression and motion artifacts. The better the TV the worse the problem. On cable here, the problem is less way in the morning when less people are watching tv, but during prime times the signal sucks and everything has terrible motion and compression problems. My own personal HD video looks awesome and just flat puts anything else other than some blurays to shame. I know what the resolution of my stuff is, and what the color space is. roughly 691 vl x 631 hl 4,2,2 color space. That should give you some idea of the suckage in signal you will probably have to deal with. We have time warner cable which is worse than the satellite stuff, but the family that has satellite still suffers the problems and the one family member has a nice 55"(*edit 50-55 not sure) sony and they complained mightily to me about something being wrong, and I checked their setup, and then broke the news to them that it is the nature of the beast... their is very little to no true HD programming that isn't ruined with compression or motion artifacts.

pay more attention to getting something that displays pixel for pixel and doesn't overscan. every one of them will probably come out of the box in some overscan mode, make sure it is defeatable.

lcd watching at night will drive you nuts, because of the "not quite black" areas of the screen that always show when there is a dark scene or area. I cope with that better than the artifacting.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:00 pm

cass wrote:pay more attention to getting something that displays pixel for pixel and doesn't overscan. every one of them will probably come out of the box in some overscan mode, make sure it is defeatable.

For ~$300 you can hire a professional to calibrate everything for you. For that nice of a TV, might not be a bad idea.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:10 pm

I'm on Comcast and a friend who lives within 3 miles of me has a nice TV and hockey in HD has never shown the compression artifacts I see every time I walk into Costco or BeastBuy. The scuttlebutt 'round here is that DirectTV offers a bit better HD image quality, but since Comcast is my only choice for broadband, I'll stick with Comcast.

I live in a fairly rural area and have never noticed any high traffic time congestion on the cable modem, so I think I'm OK there.

EDIT: I'd love to test the TVs in a proper setting, but that simply doesn't exist here in town or anywhere close, as BestBuy is the only B&M retailer selling top-grade TVs and they sure don't want to take their units out of torch mode and put them in a proper viewing environment. After all, spiffs are at stake here.

No, I'd probably have to head to Montreal (which induces market-segmentation model # issues) or Boston.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:54 pm

I'll corroborate what Cass has to say about HD- compression artifacts were easily visible on a 720p plasma. I'm also in agreement with USAComp on panel types. LCD's are brighter and sharper than plasmas, but they can't keep up with the contrast, black levels, input lag, or refresh rates; so for bright areas, or close viewing, LCD's are great, but for gaming and regular video content I feel that plasmas still have the advantage.

3D is a different story too. While I have excellent vision and don't have any problem with motion or the common 3D technologies used in theaters, I did find the active glasses used in Samsung's plasma 3D to produce eyestrain in less than an hour. Your mileage may vary, but it's something worth checking out; even though it's difficult to get a good TV without 3D you might consider spending more on the TV and less on a collection of glasses.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:31 am

The sole 3d flick I've seen was Tron:Legacy and I saw that in an IMAX theatre in Montreal (the 3D TV ain't for me, it's for the wife & spawn). It was clear to me after watching the sole 3D preview (Pirates # Whatever: The Quest for Cash) and then taking in the movie that there are proper uses of 3D and excessively gratuitous uses of 3D.

I don't know the 3D glasses tech at IMAX houses, but there was some definite eyestrain as the movie progressed and T:L didn't use 3D for the usual "throw a spear at the audience" cheap crap (unlike the Pirates trailer).
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:51 am

Captain Ned wrote:I don't know the 3D glasses tech at IMAX houses, but there was some definite eyestrain as the movie progressed and T:L didn't use 3D for the usual "throw a spear at the audience" cheap crap (unlike the Pirates trailer).

Imax uses ye olde linear polarization that has been around for decades. The biggest cause of eyestrain with imax is that you have you keep your head completely vertical, as any tilt will start to put the polarizations out of phase. Your active 3d glasses won't have that particular issue (neither does the passive real-D which uses circular polarization (clockwise/counter-clockwise)). The Dolby 3d technology actually uses colored polarization. The specific wavelength for blue (and red and green) that is projected for the right eye and left eye are 14nm apart and so the lenses in the glasses will each filter out the wavelengths of blue/red/green corresponding to the opposite eye.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:26 am

TheEmrys wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:Just remember that the ideal TV position is horizontally level with your eyes. I don't ever recommend an above-the-fireplace mounting.
I agree with this... unless you watch TV in a recliner. We kept getting headaches from tucking our chin.
It seems like a solution for this is an articulating mount that allows you to pull the whole TV down to a lower position for viewing, and then push it back up when you're not (or you want to enjoy the fireplace?) Obviously you couldn't do this if you had a deep mantle, but I'm thinking of something that works like an extension ladder (or like those old-style fire-escapes, where the ladder drops down when needed) -- does anyone make something like that? I've seen lots of mounts that allow you to pull the TV away from the wall, and plenty that tilt in various directions while remaining in the same plane, but not ones that allow you to move the screen down parallel to the wall. But it's not like I've gone looking either.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:58 am

I have a 2011 ST30 42". I like it, but it's not perfect. First, calibrate in some way, even if you just grab a config off a forum post from someone who had theirs properly calibrated. Main annoyances are dithering, buzzing, and gamma shifting. I will say the ST in the 42 size seems to have the least shifting of any of Panasonic's current models, but I do still notice it about once a week. Not too bad. The dithering bugs me the most, as a flat out IQ issue. Really apparent when running it as a monitor and comparing it to my LCD. The buzzing can be ignored for the most part, but every so often it gets to me. All and all it's ok. 3 complaints really isn't that bad considering the level of perfection I demand.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:28 am

Another kewl feature my 55 vt30 has is mosquito noise reducion,that takes the blockyness away from low quality video source like say a compressed dvd,the blockyness is pretty much gone but om my 47 inch LCD the blocks are very apparent.Plus any ipad/iphone possibly driodphones will work as a remote with the viera app....nothing fancy basic controls.It came with a 720p skype camera that works great on the tv,tried it on the computer but had to use a generic driver/software.Also tv is internet capable,along with my bluray player.this is kinda a must since firmware updates can be frequent especially on the bluray player.Antother nice thing is you can use a usb keyboard on the tv,I used a wireless logitec with no problem.
As for 3d content i knoew comcast has a little,along with fios verizon,but direct 3d has the most i think and on top of that they have 1080p signals.BTW Avatar in 3d "i only saw it in 2d" is amazing,give everything scale,the forest is alive and deep,wave your hand in front of your face to get the bugs away:) One scene in paticular i though was really neat.when neteri is laying on that log in the trees before she pulls the bow out to kill a lost jake sully,she is camoflaged kinda with 3d since branches and stuff are in the way,you acually have to look through the depth of cover to see her.A very neat effect.Plenty of bugs wife was itching,but no stupid 3d like spear coming at you,the 3d give you great depth and scale and sometimes stuff like the spear.
the glasses that came with the tv are ok,but since the store was outta my free pair i had them mailed to me, 3 days later these awesome glasses come 26grams very light and comfortable,the original glasses are guest glasses now:)
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:13 am

Go plasma unless you're bothered by the visual artifacts of that technology (some call them plainbows, and boy, if you can see them, THEY SUCK).
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:37 am

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
cass wrote:pay more attention to getting something that displays pixel for pixel and doesn't overscan. every one of them will probably come out of the box in some overscan mode, make sure it is defeatable.

For ~$300 you can hire a professional to calibrate everything for you. For that nice of a TV, might not be a bad idea.



Poor man's calibration=buy a popular model, search the review web sites that publish their calibrated settings (like CNET or the AVSforum), punch them into your new TV, save yourself $300. Not ideal, but free.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:56 am

cjcerny wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:
cass wrote:pay more attention to getting something that displays pixel for pixel and doesn't overscan. every one of them will probably come out of the box in some overscan mode, make sure it is defeatable.

For ~$300 you can hire a professional to calibrate everything for you. For that nice of a TV, might not be a bad idea.



Poor man's calibration=buy a popular model, search the review web sites that publish their calibrated settings (like CNET or the AVSforum), punch them into your new TV, save yourself $300. Not ideal, but free.
Alternatively, you can spring for a $30 calibration disc (like Video Essentials) and do the calibration yourself. It won't help you with grayscale, but you can probably find settings on the 'net that should get you close.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:12 am

LCD and LED panels have been improving significantly over the years, but honestly they are merely attempting to make their screen look like a plasma. Yes, plasmas are hot, thicker, and can suffer from image retention / burn in, but honestly if you want the best and most accurate picture, plasma is the way to go. I've had a plasma for a few years and have played some older games on it that have health bars and what not on the screen for like 8 hours straight and have suffered no damage to the TV whatsoever.
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Re: Which do I want, Plasma or LED/LCD?

Postposted on Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:45 am

VinnyC wrote:LCD and LED panels have been improving significantly over the years, but honestly they are merely attempting to make their screen look like a plasma. Yes, plasmas are hot, thicker, and can suffer from image retention / burn in, but honestly if you want the best and most accurate picture, plasma is the way to go. I've had a plasma for a few years and have played some older games on it that have health bars and what not on the screen for like 8 hours straight and have suffered no damage to the TV whatsoever.
Plasmas have the best blacks, but as far as color accuracy goes, they don't have any advantage. In fact, lots of plasmas out there have some pretty darn terrible color accuracy.
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