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Joe Lenox
09-27-2006, 6:37 PM
Can someone please tell me witch is better and why???? I want to get a new tv and I really dont know what to do....any information would be appreciated.

Joe Pelonio
09-27-2006, 7:06 PM
I spent some time looking at them recently.:eek:

I am more confused than ever, people say plasma's better than LCD, then say the LCD lasts longer and costs less to run. Then there's HDTV, EDTV, DLP, HDMI, I finally gave up. Someone explain it!

Cecil Arnold
09-27-2006, 8:05 PM
Recently bought an LCD, and will try to give it a shot. There are full TVs and they are called HDTV because they have a tuner. Then there are all the others (oversimplification) that must have a box (tuner) from the cable co. or the dish co. Even if you get a HDTV (with a tuner) you will still get a set top box from the cable co. so they can limit what you are getting over the cable. Lets not even talk about EDTV as it is not as good as HD and will be replaced by HD in the near future.

As was explained to me, in the larger set types, you will find plasma to be more prevalent. Plasma is also a heavier unit. LCDs are just now starting to become available in larger screen sizes--40-55" which has been plasma territory. My 40" LCD weighs less than 50 lbs and can be easily wall mounted, while a plasma of the same size would require a reinforced (and usually extra cost) wall mount.

There has been discussion in the past about plasma colors becoming duller over time, as well as talk about LCDs having "dead" crystals. IMHO most of these concerns have been addressed by the manufacturers, but remain in the sales forces repertory in order to sell the higher profit item, but then I've always been a cynic.

Tim Burke
09-27-2006, 9:36 PM
In comparing LCD vs. plasma, I assume you are referring to a flat panel LCD rather than a projection LCD.

In the plasma vs. LCD comparison:

1. Size - the largest LCD flat panel I have seen so far is a 46". (Projection lcd's get much bigger, but are deeper). Plasma's go much larger.

2. Brightness - both are good, but plasma's are supposed to be brighter.

3. Viewing angle - LCD's, just like computer monitors, have a maximum side viewing angle before the picture washes out. The plasma doesn't.

4. Light source - the lcd's have a replaceable backlight that will last a few years. The plasma pixels are their own light source, so if a pixel goes out, it's out for good. Not sure of the plasma pixel life.

5. Energy - plasmas use more energy.

6. Contrast - Plasmas have more contrast than an lcd.

7. Sharpness - (this gets debateable) - I think the lcd gets the nod here. Plasma pixels have black outlines around them. Up close, they are visible IMHO.

I like lcd flat panels over plasma. I think plasmas are fine for large public areas like bars, but up close I think lcd's are sharper. Even though there are some measurable factors that are better on a plasma, the end result is what looks good. Go to a store where you can see a plasma and an lcd side by side.

I currently have a Sony lcd projection that looks great, but in a few years I plan to upgrade to an lcd flat panel.

As far as tuners go, there aren't too many tv's that don't have built in HD tuners, a.k.a. ATSC tuners. Not to be confused with NTSC tuners, which are the current analog tuners in conventional tv's.

As noted already, if you plan to get your programming from cable or satellite, you will probably use an external box, so the tuner won't matter. It is possible to use the built in tuner with digital cable if your tv supports a cable card. You can actually save a few $$ per month since you won't need to rent the HD cable box. Around here, you can rent a cable card for a couple $$ per month vs. about $10 for the converter box. However, you lose interactive features such as pay per view and on screen tv guide.

Tim

Tim Burke
09-27-2006, 9:50 PM
I spent some time looking at them recently.:eek:

I am more confused than ever, people say plasma's better than LCD, then say the LCD lasts longer and costs less to run. Then there's HDTV, EDTV, DLP, HDMI, I finally gave up. Someone explain it!

HDTV - High Definition TV. This is the good stuff - high quality, widescreen.

EDTV - Extended Definition TV - Not worth much. Just standard resolution tv that is digital rather than analog.

HDTV and EDTV are video signal formats, not to be confused with display technology like lcd, dlp, and plasma.

DLP - Digital Light Processor - One of three types of projection tv's. The others are the conventional RGB gun and LCD projection. The RGB gun is the original projection technology. Inexpensive, not very bright, poor viewing angles. LCD and DLP priojection are pretty much equals, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, both of which are minor. Both look good.

HDMI - High-Definition Multimedia Interface. A connecting cable and plug standard that has digital video and audio in one connection. This is the purest way to get a video signal to your tv from an external video source. The original digital signal is DVI, which is basically the same thing as a digital signal from a computer's digital video card to a digital monitor.

I have a computer in my family room that has a DVI output fed to the tv through an HDMI to DVI cable.

BTW, the best place to buy HDMI and DVI cables - www.monoprice.com (http://www.monoprice.com). Avoid buying them locally - the markup is horrible. I had a 15 foot HDMI/DVI cable delivered for $15 including shipping. Locally that would be around $75 to $100!!

Tim

Karl Laustrup
09-27-2006, 10:05 PM
Thought I'd throw my $1.298 in the fray.

For our new home I bought all new flat panel TV's. The main one in the living room is a 42" Plasma. We have a 32" LCD in our bedroom which is mounted to the wall. I had electrical and cable put in at what I hoped would be the right height and it was. These two TV's are HD and I have a separate cable box for each and get all the HD stations that are available, which isn't a whole lot. But, what we do get in HD is absolutely wonderful.

Now, I think the Plasma has a sharper picture than the LCD, especially in HD. The Plasma can be viewed from a much greater angle than the LCD, so it makes a better TV for family viewing.

Karl

Bruce Page
09-27-2006, 10:45 PM
Joe, visit crutchfield.com and read up on the different technologies. Just reading some of the various reviews on Amazon.com is another good source info. There’s a lot of good information on both sites. I have a 32” Sony Bravia XBR in the bedroom that has phenomenal HD picture & great sound quality. I’m about to spring for the new Sony 46” XBR for the living room.

Jeffrey Makiel
09-27-2006, 11:41 PM
I just bought a 42" plasma. I also have a small LCD in the kitchen that's about 1 year old.

The plasma is superior to the LCD. The LCD has two issues:
1. Fall-off angle. That is, if you view it on an angle, it begins to look gray. And the LCD I bought (a Sony) was the best of the crop.

2. LCDs have ghosting. When the image moves, you can see a minute ghosting effect. This is cause from the little liquid crystal diodes (that is, LCDs) not being able to change color quick enough. This is improving, but it's not there yet.

As mentioned in the previous posts, plasma tvs give off a lot of heat. Most are now coming with a built in tuner and attached speakers. However, if you have high definition cable that uses a "set top box" or "cable box", the built in tuner is bypassed. You can install a cable card if the TV accepts one, but I was warned from a knowledgible source that these cards are troubelsome. Also, if you have a surround sound system, the tv speakers are not used. Keep this in mind when buying a tv and how you plan to hook it up.

Plasma TVs now sport a 2 year warrantee for some. I could not tell a quality difference between the various manufacturers. So the warranty and price were driving factors.

It is also nice for the TV to accept an HDMI cable input. Most do now. This is a superior cable that is all digital. The only problem is trying to get a set-top box from the cable company that outputs HDMI. Otherwise, you will be installing "component cable" which is OK but not optimum.

Lastly, wall mount brackets are not included with the TV. They are a separate purchase which costs around $80 for a 42" to 50" plasma.

cheers, Jeff

Jim Becker
09-27-2006, 11:49 PM
No ghosting on my Sharp Aquos LCD, Jeff. And it's two and a half years old! Your advise about the listening environment is spot on...if a home theater system is to be used, invest in the screen, not the "attachments".

I agree that this is a tough choice as each format has advantages/disadvantages. I like both LCD and Plasma, but opted for LCD. It was the right one at the time, especially relative to the deal I got. (I can also lift the LCD myself...something that would be difficult with the much heavier plasma variety!!) And you know...the DLP systems aren't too shabby either these days if you can afford the extra depth, etc.

Jeffrey Makiel
09-28-2006, 12:21 AM
One thing I forgot to point out. If you have a set-top box from the cable company, a surround sound/DVD player and a TV, you will have three remotes.

I would also like to point out that the remotes are not 'standardized' as one may be led to believe if you are thinking of programming the generic buttons on one remote to handle the other remote's functions.

My family has found this very frustrating and overly complicated. One time I grabbed one of the remotes and inadvertently pressed a button. It was about 10 minutes before I undid whatever I did. I cannot imagine upgrading my 79 year old Mom to a system like this. One way to avoid this is to use the built-in tuner and speakers that come with the TV, use regular definition cable and accept some loss of quality.

-Jeff

Norman Hitt
09-28-2006, 4:31 AM
One thing I forgot to point out. If you have a set-top box from the cable company, a surround sound/DVD player and a TV, you will have three remotes.

I would also like to point out that the remotes are not 'standardized' as one may be led to believe if you are thinking of programming the generic buttons on one remote to handle the other remote's functions.

My family has found this very frustrating and overly complicated. One time I grabbed one of the remotes and inadvertently pressed a button. It was about 10 minutes before I undid whatever I did. I cannot imagine upgrading my 79 year old Mom to a system like this. One way to avoid this is to use the built-in tuner and speakers that come with the TV, use regular definition cable and accept some loss of quality.

-Jeff

Boy, Jeff, you're sure right about the "Extra" Remotes. Late last year they got a 42" Sony Bravia HD LCD Tv at my Daughter's house (and they are fortunate to be on Fiber Optics Cable), and they have to use TWO Remotes, and one night after the others went to bed, I inadvertantly hit "Something" on one of the remotes, and after fooling with it for over an hour (since I had not been briefed on the system's idiosyncracies), I gave up and went to bed.

I will say that I never noticed ANY of the problems mentioned above for this type of TV, the viewing angle is great all around the den, the picture is fantastic, including the colors, and one thing that was a real surprise is that they have a large skylight in their den that had always been a real problem on the other Tv's at a certain time period during the day, but with this Tv, you don't even notice it. I still don't know how that works.

One thing to mention about the projection type TV's is that the projection bulbs are only good for about 400 to 500 hrs, IIRC, and they cost $400 + to get a replacement.

Tim Burke
09-28-2006, 6:17 AM
One thing to mention about the projection type TV's is that the projection bulbs are only good for about 400 to 500 hrs, IIRC, and they cost $400 + to get a replacement.

Bulb life is easily 5000+ hours. Not sure about that price either. My Sony's replacement bulb is just under $200, and is user changeable. There's an access door on the back, bulb just unplugs.

Glenn Clabo
09-28-2006, 7:22 AM
After many viewings...and research...we went with Plasma. The viewing angle was primary...but I believe the picture was over all sharper. I think is a personal call...but IMHO I haven't seen an LCD that matches the Sony plasma. Of course we did pay a big price for it also.

Russ Filtz
09-28-2006, 8:40 AM
I think the newer sets are better, but if you or your kids will do gaming on the set, I would avoid plasma. It has had a history of burn-in problems. I think it still could be an issue even with the newer plasmas.

I would seriously look at DLP or LCD for my choices, with DLP given the nod. Once 3-chip DLP gets cheaper and into the consumer market, I think it woill dominate. Most current models are 1-chip designs.

You could also do a DLP projector (front) and go huge! >100"

Art Mulder
09-28-2006, 8:51 AM
About 2 years ago, when the costs for plasma were still crazy high, (as opposed to now when they are just really high :rolleyes: ) and LCD tv's were still in the 17" range... I had a colleague who looked into things and instead bought himself a projector.

Not a projection TV, but an actual digital projector. It was maybe 1/4 the price of a 42" plasma TV, and gives a picture that is 5ft diagonally on the wall.

I haven't looked into this myself, but I would think that this is still a viable alternative, worth checking out if I was in the market.

Jim Becker
09-28-2006, 11:18 AM
One thing I forgot to point out. If you have a set-top box from the cable company, a surround sound/DVD player and a TV, you will have three remotes.

True...although you can acquire a programmable remote system like the Phillips I bought and make it work in an integrated fashion with everything at once. This has satisfied my needs, although I'll mention that my daughter tends to pull out the original remote for the DVD/HT system as she likes to "micro-manage" her viewing sessions with things I never need to use...and didn't program into the big remote... ;)

Jeffrey Makiel
09-28-2006, 11:35 AM
When I looked at the new generation of Plasmas, I found that Plasmas have really reduced in price again.

I also found the colors more vibrant on the units that boast a 10,000 to 1 contrast ratio. When explained to me, this means the blacks are blacker and the whites are whiter. Knowing this now, I was able to understand why I was seeing a subtle difference in color quality over 6,000 to 1 rated units. This also happend when my LCD computer monitor was upgraded at work a couple of months ago with a new LCD monitor with a higher contrast ratio.

I also understand that burn-in on plasma TVs are basically a non-issue these days. My friend, who sells and installs home systems, told me that even if the screen has a stationary image for a very long time, the screen will heel itself. Looking thru the manual for my new plasma, there was no mention of burn-in. However, I'm reluctant to test this theory.

But, to be honest, I could have went with a plasma or a LCD, with the slight edge given to the plasma due to view angle issues of a small room. Projection TVs were out due to space limitations.

-Jeff :)

Lou Ferrarini
09-28-2006, 12:12 PM
Go to avsforum.com. They have lots of good info on this, but be prepaired to spend some time. I did about a year of research before I bought my 50" Panasonic plasma and boy am I glad I did. There is a lot of conflicting info out there and a lot of the sales people at the bix box stores don't know what they are talking about. I actually had one tell me the gas in a Plasma TV had to be recharged every few years.

Ken Consaul
09-28-2006, 1:50 PM
KL said:
The Plasma can be viewed from a much greater angle than the LCD

I saw an ad over the weekend for an LCD that claimed a 178 degree viewing angle. It would appear the LCD manufacturers have cleared that hurdle. Sorry, don't remember the brand.

Bruce Page
09-28-2006, 2:56 PM
KL said:
The Plasma can be viewed from a much greater angle than the LCD

I saw an ad over the weekend for an LCD that claimed a 178 degree viewing angle. It would appear the LCD manufacturers have cleared that hurdle. Sorry, don't remember the brand.

That would be the Sony. I looked at one at the store and was impressed.
Another feature that I like about the LCD's over the Plasma is the glare free screen.

Joe Lenox
09-28-2006, 5:53 PM
Thanks for all the information ....it has helped me a lot. When your going to spend that kind of money I like to be better informed. As always someone on this forum has good information on almost any subject...Thanks again

Jim Becker
09-28-2006, 10:08 PM
Joe...the bottom line is "look at them" and pick the type you LIKE the best!!!

Jerry Olexa
09-28-2006, 10:19 PM
Joe, I'm pretty analytical and usually do much research before I buy on a major purchase. But on my recent 56" HDTV purchase, I spent about 10 days only. The best advice which helped me close it out quickly was: GO SEE the tv's in the store in use side by side. For me, the decision was easy after that. The quality of the picture was the deciding factor and we all now love it...BTW, be sure your set is equipped to handle the coming 1080P resolution vs the 1080i now in most sets and signals...Enjoy!!

Norman Hitt
09-29-2006, 12:26 AM
Bulb life is easily 5000+ hours. Not sure about that price either. My Sony's replacement bulb is just under $200, and is user changeable. There's an access door on the back, bulb just unplugs.

You're correct on the hrs, I guess I got the dollars in my head and left of a zero, But every place we researched before the daughter's got their TV were FIRM on 4,000 to 5,000 hours useful bulb life, and as late as January of this year, Most of the bulbs I priced when we were considering a large TV for our house, were still close to or over the $400 mark. With all the varied schedules of the occupants of their house, their TV is going about 20 hrs/day, so they would have been needing a new bulb every 8 to 10 months, but they fell in love with the Bravia anyhow, so it didn't matter.

Russ Filtz
09-29-2006, 8:48 AM
One thing you must do when looking in the stores is get them to reset the controls back to normal. Many times they have the brightness/contrast, colors, etc. cranked up to scorching levels. You can make on set look better than another simply by playin this game. Better to have all at similar levels. One other trick is to bring in your own DVD that you are familiar with.

Plasmas may not burn as much, but the statement that they "heal themselves" still tell me they do! Plasmas are similar to CRTs in that the gas does have a finite life and will dim over time, but not every 3 years! Probably more like 10 before you could tell even a little difference.

The other techs have similar probs, like a dead/stuck pixel on LCD, or tiny mirror on DLP (haven't heard much on DLP "pixel" failures though). Lamps on projectors also go out and aren't cheap, etc.