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Camy

LCD vs PLASMA - HELP!

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Call me a buffoon, but I'm very confused and need help - all comments and guidance most appreciated.

I want to buy a TV around 37" - 40".

Firstly, is LCD better than Plasma? I heard that Plasma screens need re-gassing (whatever that is) every few years. Secondly, which brand is best value for money - or are they all much of a muchness?

It's like a minefield for the unwary, and I thought some of you might know more.

Cheers,

Camy

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Call me a buffoon, but I'm very confused and need help - all comments and guidance most appreciated.

I want to buy a TV around 37" - 40".

Firstly, is LCD better than Plasma? I heard that Plasma screens need re-gassing (whatever that is) every few years. Secondly, which brand is best value for money - or are they all much of a muchness?

It's like a minefield for the unwary, and I thought some of you might know more.

Okay, I can actually talk at great length about this.

Plasma's picture is better. There's not much dispute about that, but you WILL pay for it. Usually an extra $1000 (?500) more.

LCD is less expensive and the picture is almost as good but you experience ghosting of images. This is most noticeable in high-speed moving red pixels. Watch an explosion and you will see what I mean. This is a limitation of the techology. If it bugs you, then LCD isn't for you. That's why I bought Plasma.

Plasma is a gas with a lighting system. If that light burns out, it'll set you back $1000 or more to fix it. Make sure you use a good surge protector to protect your equipment. The old argument about the light growing dim over time still holds but we're talking 10+ years now. I got mine when they were relatively new and it's still fine.

Look at your viewing angles. Pretend you're on your couch in front and they're all good. Sit at a 45 degree angle (like your friends might off to the side) and look at the picture. Not all sets are equal. Cheaper LCDs suffer terribly here.

There are two resolutions 720p (most of which do 1080i) and this is sufficient for all over the air broacasts. ALL. Without exception. Mine is a 1080i Sony. I did not opt for 1080p because of the price. The 1080p makes a HUGE difference when watching Blu-Ray (or HD-DVD legacy) media. Otherwise it's of no practical value.

Make sure you have AT LEAST two HDMI input ports and one composite (R, G, B, W, Y) jack. A coaxial in is useful as well as digital audio.

Pioneer rocks but you'll pay. Panasonic is good. Mitsubishi as well. Sony was great and are still good but not fantastic. Off brands not so much. You need to know who makes them. Vizio is crap. Polaroid is made by Goldstar. This is one area where buying a proper brand isn't the worst idea. Don't get an extended warranty.

Make sure you get HIGH QUALITY connector cables but you can get them online for $20 as opposed to $100 for an HDMI cable.

I can answer more questions if you like. Ask away.

DLP technology sucks as do rear projection units. Avoid these at all costs.

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I agree with much of what WBMS says above. My partner and I wrote all the electronic reviews for Consumers Digest magazine for 20 years, until they fold in the late 1990s, a victim of the cutback on newsstand mags around the country.

The quick cut to the chase answer: the only LCD monitors I'd consider buying are the new backlit LED models. That's a very cutting edge technology, so it's not widely available yet. I think Plasma has the edge in picture quality, but only with certain models. I like the top of the line Panasonic Viera plasmas overall, and I think 42"-50" is the best compromise for picture size. Expect to spend at least $2K, but shop around. And be sure the monitor can reproduce true 1920x1080 resolution. Anything less is bogus and not real HD, in my opinion.

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I think LCD is best because it runs cooler than plasma and in terms of electronics, that usually means longer life.

When it comes to TVs these days, you get what you pay for in terms of quality electronics, sound, ability to interface with other systems (like stereos & PCs) and useful life. If you have the scratch, I suggest go with a screen size suitable to your diggs and go first class.

My Favorite OEM

I reccomend LCD

We got my Dad a 46" Mitsubishi and he loves it. Watching pro football on HDTV left me black&blue with sore joints. The superbowl was awesome on it.

I have a standard tube type 27" Mitsubishi TV I bought in 1986 in my bedroom and its picture is as good now as it was on day 1. They don't make coomputer monitors anymore but I reccomended them to many of my customers. I installed hundreds and never had to send one back. Many users that in line for a systems upgrade insisted on keeping their Mitsubshi monitors.

If you watch TigerDirect closely, those TVs are usually between 999 and 1200.

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Thanks all. Lots of good advice pushing me towards a large something or other. I've still no idea what I'll end up with, but it helped.

Cheers!

Gosh, Camy, you understood some of that? Wow, I didn't. Still no idea, not that I'm buying a two thousand pound TV this week or anything.

I'll try my own question.

Okay, this whole 'HD DVD' 'blu-ray' thing, does it mean and or all of the following:

1) HD TVs are different from non HD TVs

2) HD TVs only play HD DVDs

3) non HD TVs don't play HD DVDs at all

4) HD and blu-ray are synonymous

5) normal TVs will play HD and/or blu-ray

6) what IS 'blu ray' and how does it relate to all this HD and new broadcast stuff for Jan 2009

7) What CAN'T you play on a 'regular' good TV with a (non HD) DVD or VHS player?

8) Techo fads come and go, which of any of the above (assuming I get the explanation) do you guys think will win out? Eg Betamax was ten times better than VHS but lost out on the market, LaserDiscs make a beautiful picture but also died out. Incidentally, can I play my LaserDiscs on any of this new gadgetry?

9) What do you need to play an HD DVD and/or a blu-ray whatever it is? New set and new players?

10) Blu ray is ___________________________.

One of my best friends just bought one of these satanic machines and I have to say, the picture is beautiful and screen humungous but so was the pricetag....something two grand? prob plus extrans, she was trying not to freak me out. But, I mean, it's a television....

Thing is, I'm mad for films and watch them constantly (VHS and DVD) so am wondering if they'll play on the stuff coming on sale in near future--like when the DVD (non HD) player dies or summat.

:icon6: Baffled Bunny

AL FRANKEN WAS JUST ENDORSED ON THE FIRST BALLOT AT THE DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR MINNESOTA STATE CONVENTION!

FRANKEN CAMPAIGN WEBSITE

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Gosh, Camy, you understood some of that? Wow, I didn't. Still no idea, not that I'm buying a two thousand pound TV this week or anything.

I'll try my own question.

Okay, this whole 'HD DVD' 'blu-ray' thing, does it mean and or all of the following:

1) HD TVs are different from non HD TVs YES

2) HD TVs only play HD DVDs NO, THEY WILL PLAY REGULAR DVDs PLUS BLU-RAY (BLU-RAY WON THE BATTLE AND HD-DVDs ARE A RELIC.

3) non HD TVs don't play HD DVDs at all CORRECT

4) HD and blu-ray are synonymous THEY ARE NOW, AFTER BLU-RAY WON OUT AS THE STANDARD

5) normal TVs will play HD and/or blu-ray NO, THOUGH THERE MAY BE AN ANALOG ADAPTOR AVAILABLE. NORMAL TVs WILL PLAY DIGITAL SIGNALS IF YOU HAVE AN ADAPTOR (AND YOU CAN USE A $40 GOVERNMENT VOUCHER TO HELP PAY FOR THEM) OR YOU GET YOUR SIGNAL THROUGH A CABLE OR SATELLITE PROVIDER THAT CONVERTS DIGITAL TO ANALOG

6) what IS 'blu ray' and how does it relate to all this HD and new broadcast stuff for Jan 2009 BLU-RAY IS NOT THE STANDARD. AS POINTED OUT IN AN EARLIER POST, YOU CAN GET AN INSANELY HIGH DENSITY OF PIXELS THAT WILL GIVE YOU A WONDERFUL PICTURE.

7) What CAN'T you play on a 'regular' good TV with a (non HD) DVD or VHS player? YOU CAN'T PLAY A BLU-RAY, HIGH-DENSITY DISK.

8) Techo fads come and go, which of any of the above (assuming I get the explanation) do you guys think will win out? Eg Betamax was ten times better than VHS but lost out on the market, LaserDiscs make a beautiful picture but also died out. Incidentally, can I play my LaserDiscs on any of this new gadgetry? BLU-RAY HAS ALREADY WON OUT. I SUSPECT SOMEBODY SOMETIME WILL HAVE A DEVICE TO LET YOU USE YOUR LASER DISCS. AS I UNDERSTAND IT FROM MY LOCAL BEST BUY SALESMAN, A GOOD BLU-RAY PLAYER WILL BE ABLE TO ENHANCE A CURRENT DVD AND PROVIDE A BETTER PICTURE. IT MIGHT BE ADAPTABLE FOR A LASER DISC.

9) What do you need to play an HD DVD and/or a blu-ray whatever it is? New set and new players? ACCORDING TO THE SAME BEST BUY SALESMAN, WHAT YOU NEED IS A BLU-RAY PLAYER OF SOME BRAND AND A PLASMA OR LCD SCREEN--THAT IS, IF YOU HAVE AS I DO YOUR STEREO SYSTEM SET UP TO HANDLE 5.1 SURROUND. THE COST NOW FOR A BLU-RAY/PLASMA SETUP IS NOW ABOUT $1600, BUT THAT WILL DROP.

10) Blu ray is THE FORMAT FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF VIDEO PLAYBACK DISKS. UNLIKE YOUR DVD PLAYER, WHICH TAKES A DIGITAL DISK AND CONVERTS IT TO AN ANALOG SIGNAL FOR THE EXISTING TELEVISIONS, A BLU-RAY PLAYER WILL TAKE A DIGITAL SIGNAL AND PLAY IT ON A DIGITAL PLASMA OR LCD SCREEN. YOUR DVDs WILL PLAY IN A GOOD BLU-RAY MACHINE AND BE ENHANCED, SO YOUR DVD COLLECTION SHOULD ONLY LOOK BETTER. I DON'T KNOW ABOUT VHS TAPES, BUT I SUSPECT SOMEBODY WILL FIGURE OUT A WAY TO CONVERT THEIR SIGNALS TO DIGITAL SO THEY CAN BE PLAYED THROUGH A BLU-RAY PLAYER -- BUT WHEN? I SUSPECT THAT THOSE VHS/TV COMBINATIONS CAN BE HAD FOR A SONG THESE DAYS, SO TO PRESERVE THAT COLLECTION YOU MIGHT THINK OF BUYING ONE OF THOSE IF YOU DON'T PLAN ON KEEPING YOUR SEPARATE "ANTIQUE" TELEVISION AND VHS PLAYER.

One of my best friends just bought one of these satanic machines and I have to say, the picture is beautiful and screen humungous but so was the pricetag....something two grand? prob plus extrans, she was trying not to freak me out. But, I mean, it's a television....

Thing is, I'm mad for films and watch them constantly (VHS and DVD) so am wondering if they'll play on the stuff coming on sale in near future--like when the DVD (non HD) player dies or summat.

:icon6: Baffled Bunny

[

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TR asks many questions:

1) HD TVs are different from non HD TVs

2) HD TVs only play HD DVDs

3) non HD TVs don't play HD DVDs at all

4) HD and blu-ray are synonymous

5) normal TVs will play HD and/or blu-ray

6) what IS 'blu ray' and how does it relate to all this HD and new broadcast stuff for Jan 2009

7) What CAN'T you play on a 'regular' good TV with a (non HD) DVD or VHS player?

8) Techo fads come and go, which of any of the above (assuming I get the explanation) do you guys think will win out? Eg Betamax was ten times better than VHS but lost out on the market, LaserDiscs make a beautiful picture but also died out. Incidentally, can I play my LaserDiscs on any of this new gadgetry?

9) What do you need to play an HD DVD and/or a blu-ray whatever it is? New set and new players?

10) Blu ray is ___________________________.

I work with HD every day at my "day job," for (arguably) the biggest post house in LA. Major, big-time, showbiz. I wrote for a dozen magazines for twenty years reviewing and reporting on electronics gear, mainly high-end consumer video (VCRs, videodisc players, monitors, and so on). I know this stuff inside and out.

Some quick answers:

Don't confuse digital TV with HDTV. They can be different. All HDTV (nowadays) is digital, at least in terms of recording or transmission; not all digital TV is HD. Some stations -- particularly certain ABC affiliates -- are guilty of transmitting at lower resolutions, but still in widescreen. They're technically HD, but only barely.

There are 36 different technical varieties of digital TV, some of them no better than current standard def, some higher-def than HD. As I said earlier, if it ain't 1920x1080 resolution, to me, it ain't real HD.

Some BluRay players have standard def outputs, but the manufacturer has the ability to turn these off. I don't see the point in watching a BluRay player in standard def. To me, it's time to throw all the old CRT sets away, or at least give them to charity or an electronics recycling firm.

All BluRay discs can output HD. You have the choice between a 24p signal and a 30i (or even progressive) signal on some players, but the differences are minimal on consumer equipment.

The digital transition in February, 2009 has nothing to do with BluRay. BluRay is a home video format; the digital transition essentially means that channels 2-13 are going away, and analog TV is going away in the United States. It's being done so the government can make billions of dollars selling this spectrum space to telecom corporations and internet firms.

I'd say in general, HD pictures look better than standard-def pictures. But not all HD is created equally. Some of it totally sucks. A lot depends on where the images originated. If it was badly shot, on cheap equipment, then the HD images look bad.

Laserdiscs are dead. Go over to eBay and check out what old discs and players sell for now. Sadly, there is very little nostalgia or value in old equipment or software like this. I spent many, many thousands of dollars on laserdiscs in my time (conservatively, I bet I spent $60K-$70K), and DVD killed it off in one year, from 1997 -- when DVD was first introduced -- to 1998. I also have a closet full of Betamax tapes, but that's another story.

Yes, you need a new player and an HD set to play BluRay discs. But in theory, you can use the BluRay player to upconvert your old standard-def DVDs to HD. It's fake HD, but in some ways, it can look better than it looked on your old set.

If you're on cable, you'll still be able to watch standard-def for a few more years. And you can always get a cheap ($50) converter box to watch new HD shows on old standard-def sets. But the wave of HD is upon us, and all standard def is going away. That means VHS, DVD, CRT TV sets, laserdiscs, and so on. Gone, dead, zippo.

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Pioneer still has a five-year old DVD/Laserdisc player on their website, only because they're afraid of being sued by users if they finally drop it. Even Sony waited five years longer than they had to when they officially cancelled Beta.

If you want a stack of 100 free laserdiscs (all major films), I'll ship 'em to you for nothing -- provided you pay for media mail postage.

I agree that Dell, HP, and Viewsonic don't make the best monitors out there, but they're not terrible. Vizio is the cheapest monitor company out there, and their stuff isn't horrible -- but I would recommend buying only their 1920x1080 displays.

One thing I will say: the worst LCD monitor out there today is probably better than the worst CRT monitors were in the 1990s. In other words, overall video quality is not as bad as it used to be, and there's better value in displays today. I remember when my beloved Apple 23" Cinema Display sold for $3000... now it's $899 and falling. So you get a lot more bang for your buck now.

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Mostly what Pec said but I would still stick to brand names at this time in their life cycle. My local retailer says the return rate for Vizio is very high but not as bad as some of the off brands "Spectra" or "Insignia" and the like. If there is a problem with such an expensive toy, I'd be wanting a big company behind it.

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Oh, yeah, those no-name Chinese monitors are terrible in terms of reliability. Don't forget, BTW, that most LCD displays use florescent bulbs for illumination. It's a total pain in the ass when the bulb goes bad. Plasma doesn't have that problem, but the early ones did have technical problems (gasses escaping, burn-in, bad colorimetry, etc.).

The new OLED displays look really great, and if they can just stabilize them from the evaporating color layer problem -- blue tends to go away after a couple of years -- that'll be the wave of the future. The LED-backlit LCD displays are also very nice; you can see them on some of the new Apple laptops, like the MacBook Air. I don't like the Air for a lot of reasons, but I can't deny that the display looks terrific.

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Camy;

It should be OK, but go watch it before you buy it. I'm a bit concerned about the 8ms response time. I'd look for something 5 ms or under. The slower the response time, the more you'll tend to see motion artifacts and pixelization. Watch the TV in the shop and bring some movies. Take some with a wide range of light and dark scenes so you get a feel for how the picture looks across its range. Also take something with a lot of motion in it. If the picture is clear and the motion looks smooth, and the colors are bright and vibrant without ghosting, you probably have a winner. One other thing to look for. Look to see if a black background is completely black. Some monitors show light leakage from their backlighting. This will show up along the edge as a white line that bleeds into the black (its really annoying).

Happy viewing!

Rick

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Abraxas gives good advice.

I have yet to see a LCD TV or monitor that wasn't set for too high a domestic ambient light environment. They most probably set these screens up in a brightly lit production line and this tends to make the light leakage that Abraxas describes more noticeable. Turning down the brightness and adjusting contrast can reveal if this will help make the blacks less prone to this effect while maintaining an evenly lit screen image.

Motion blur can also be tested on the title credits at the end of most movies. The ones that are in white text on a black background. Look for after-image or bottom blur on the letters of the credits.

The faster the movement of the credits as they travel up the screen, the more this defect will be revealed. On really bad screens the credits will movie in a jerky fashion. Try more than one movie as they do vary.

A lot of these technical nuances are things we learn, usually after we have parted with our money. :icon10:

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Thanks guys, now I'm even more confused! *laughs*

Okay ... so what I gather is this: LCD has a response time and the slower the response time is, the more you see motion trail.

Because of the technology Plasma has virtually no response time - ergo the picture is always sharp and has no trail ... however you get better blacks with an LCD. Also Plasma screens have a fan to dissipate heat, and the fan can be noisy and ruin the audio.

*sighs*

Why is life (buying a TV) so confusing?

What on earth should I get? Any suggestions? I don't want anything bigger than 42"

Oh! I gather that true 1080p is only for aficionados as they will never transmit in 1080p. So is standard HD (780) worth getting?

Thanks for all your help.

Camy

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Thanks guys, now I'm even more confused! *laughs*

Okay ... so what I gather is this: LCD has a response time and the slower the response time is, the more you see motion trail.

Because of the technology Plasma has virtually no response time - ergo the picture is always sharp and has no trail ... however you get better blacks with an LCD. Also Plasma screens have a fan to dissipate heat, and the fan can be noisy and ruin the audio.

*sighs*

Why is life (buying a TV) so confusing?

What on earth should I get? Any suggestions? I don't want anything bigger than 42"

Oh! I gather that true 1080p is only for aficionados as they will never transmit in 1080p. So is standard HD (780) worth getting?

Thanks for all your help.

Camy

Camy;

Okay, given the size you are looking for, DLP is pretty much out. That doesn't usually become an option till you hit 50 or 55 inch units, but you might give it a shot as DLP can be more cost effective than large LCD or plasma displays. Mitsubishi and Sumsung own this market at the moment, with Sony playing catch-up after dropping the development ball a couple of years ago.

For my money, 1080i or 1080p is the way to go. I think if you go to a good shop with your movies and then watch some blu-ray @ 1080, you'll be hooked. If nothing else, you should do this to see what the differences are. After all, your TV doesn't have to please me, Wibby, or anyone else: you have to be happy with your purchase. My only advice is that saving a few bucks today can come back to haunt you in a year or so, and I think that advice applies to 720p or a cheap model from some of the companies already mentioned. Stick with a brand name. Samsung, Sony, and even LG have pretty solid products.

As far as 720p is concerned, I think if you go watch some 720p, you won't see too dramatic an improvement over the analog PAL signal you are probably already watching.

An issue with plasma screens can be image burn-in if you use it as a monitor as well as a TV. Also, if you have any plans to live higher than 5000 feet in altitude, Plasma screens have been known to have a strange buzzing noise and premature failure problems at altitude. Still, the picture is a bit better than a comparable LCD, or was until the LCD response times started dropping below 10ms.

I'd look very hard at the 40-45 inch LCD displays, just look for the things I already pointed out from a specification perspective.

As for the rest? Life is all about choices...and the consumer electronics folks seem to want to make life as interesting as possible!

Cheers;

Rick

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Camy I suppose you have done this but I googled for

Best LCD TV UK

and came up with this page of possibles:

http://www.google.com.au/search?sourceid=n...=Best+lcd+tv+uk

One reply recommended nothing over 37cm. as a cinema projectionist I don't agree with anything less than the biggest you can afford. I would say your 42cm was right as a minimum.

As for the 1080, even if it is not being broadcast, you still will be better off with it for signals from other sources such as Blue-Ray and set-top boxes (subscription based signals).

Also it makes sens so you can feed the screen form the computer with 1080.

I advise you to look through the first few pages of links above to get a feel for the local market and then check back. some of the guys may know what not to get even they don't know exactly what will fit the bill for you.

Just my thoughts. Hope they help. :icon10:

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Abraxas gives good advice.

I have yet to see a LCD TV or monitor that wasn't set for too high a domestic ambient light environment. They most probably set these screens up in a brightly lit production line and this tends to make the light leakage that Abraxas describes more noticeable. Turning down the brightness and adjusting contrast can reveal if this will help make the blacks less prone to this effect while maintaining an evenly lit screen image.

Motion blur can also be tested on the title credits at the end of most movies. The ones that are in white text on a black background. Look for after-image or bottom blur on the letters of the credits.

The faster the movement of the credits as they travel up the screen, the more this defect will be revealed. On really bad screens the credits will movie in a jerky fashion. Try more than one movie as they do vary.

A lot of these technical nuances are things we learn, usually after we have parted with our money. :icon9:

Good advice! Our cable company, Comcast, has a channel to assist in setting HDTV sets. I don't know if it's any good; my dad doesn't want us to mess with how he set everything, so... whatever.

Colin :icon10:

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