Which HDTV Tech?

Looking at upgrading my TV sometime this year, and having a hard time figuring out which tech to go for…

  1. Plasma. You can now get 1080P plasmas in a decent size, and it sounds like burn-in isn’t really an issue much anymore.

How is gaming, though? Is the refresh rate fast enough for 360/PS3 gaming? Do plasmas still lose their picture quality in 4 or 5 years?

Other than those questions, biggest downside is price. I want a big set, and the jump from 50" to 58" puts plasma prices in the stratosphere.

  1. LCD. Current front-runner. Biggest problem seems to be off-angle viewing, but that’s not really an issue with my living room setup.

However, looks like size would be limited to 52". Not sure how much smaller that would seem than the old 56" I have now.

  1. DLP. I could go up to a 1080P 61-inch with LED projection for a very reasonable price. But I’m not sure how much the picture quality will improve over the 2004 720P 56" bulb DLP I have now.

Anyone here done a similar comparison lately? Loyd and Jason, can you get Robert to sign up and post a response? :)

Don’t forget that Plasma’s power consumption is almost 50% higher than LCD or DLP.

Sharp makes 57-inch and 65-inch LCDs. But it’ll cost ya.

Can’t say if plasmas lose picture quality in 4 to 5 years - I think I once calculated that it would take me 10 years or something to log the hours needed to significantly degrade performance, but then I don’t use my set much.

But my Panny has been great for gaming even though it’s only a 720P set. Never noticed any problems with refresh. Colors and blacks are great, no ghosting from quick motion, no problems with burn in.

I purchased Sony’s KDL46XBR4 (that’s 46", hence the 46), in April and I think it’s pretty incredible. I was jumping from a Magnavox 27" CRT purchased in 1993, though, so perhaps I’m not the best judge. Still, from the research I did, it appears to have been the best choice for me. I understand you want larger than that, but it wouldn’t work for the size of my room.

Viewing angle is not an issue that I can imagine. Unless you have seven or eight people regularly watching it strung out in a semi-circle or row in front of it, those on the sides aren’t going to notice anything about the viewing angle. As you say, it’s not much of an issue for you, so I’d ignore it. I can walk out of the room and view the tv from the kitchen at what I’d estimate to be a 50 degree offset and it still looks perfectly fine.

I picked up the LCD over Plasma because my living room, during day-time viewing, is quite light and at night I usually have a lamp lit in the room, at least. With constant light, I don’t have to worry so much over the blacks being blacker, and the lack of a glossy finish seems to cut down on the glare.

I never looked at DLPs and I can’t comment on gaming since I’m still waiting on the PS3. Anyway, thought I’d give you a brief summary from a recent experience, but I’m hardly more than your average buyer when it comes to tvs.

Yeah, this is basically why I got an LCD too – there’s enough glare in the daytime that I was worried about plasma being drowned out.

I ended up with a 42" Sharp Aquos LCD, and I’m really happy with it. Viewing angle seems fine to me, and the 360 looks great on it.

Samsung’s got a 57" LCD as well for the low low price of $6000.

Glare is the real drawback to plasma tech because of the glass front screen. I think plasma “pops” more than lcd, but ymmv.

I’m going to make a gross generalization here, but LCDs strike me as the best balance of price and performance. My neighbors have a 42" plasma that they shelled out nearly $3,000 for, and while it’s certainly bigger than my 27" LCD, my little Olevia blows their set out of the water both in terms of affordability and clarity. Plus, I don’t have to put up with annoying reflections off the glass.

The new Pioneers have optical grade plastic on the front that reduce glare considerably.

Also, prices have dropped considerably, particularly on the Panasonic plasmas.

Cost of the Panasonic 1080p Plasma is the same or cheaper than the cost of similar LCDs online.

You used to be able to get a 47" 1080p Olevia LCD for under $1,000.

If he’s had 4 years getting used to a 56" TV I think a 47" would be a hard transition. Since he specifically said he wants a big set, I think even a 52" will be a tough size downgrade even if the picture quality greatly improves. I think Denny’s best bet is to either buy that 61" DLP (which will both be bigger and also likely have a better image quality than his 2004 set) or wait another 8-12 months for 56" LCDs and plasmas to become more affordable.

But what is Olevia? Not trying to sound like one those guys that justify their purchases by rattling off about it until everyone agrees, but generally super-cheap is super-cheap for a reason, and not all cost is markup.

Sounds like it was a nice TV, but the panicked recent reviews are somewhat unsettling…

I have a 42" Sharp Aquos (LCD), and I’ve been pretty happy with that. I just helped a friend buy a new panel, and he purchased the Sony XBR4 because of the 120Hz tech - it’s pretty sweet.

When I was in the market, I briefly considered getting a DLP but decided against it. I’m part of the minority that sees rainbows on DLP screens, and it’s really distracting for me. I’m also a little concerned about all the mirrors in one of those things, and they’re way heavier than a LCD panel.

DLP is just slightly fuzzy to my eyes, it’s hard to pin down. But from what i’ve seen of them, there is just something a tiny bit soft with DLP screens.

DLP works by spinning a color wheel in front of a beam of light. The color wheel has a specific frequency. Some people – I’m one of them – can see a sort of persistence of vision effect on DLP-generated images, especially if I move my head from side to side. I get a headache after watching a DLP image for just a few minutes. Other people don’t seem to notice this at all, so your mileage may vary.

I’m also told that the technology is constantly improving, so maybe this isn’t as much of an issue now as it was when I last looked at DLP projectors, a couple of years ago.

If you’re concerned about viewing angles, then I can’t imagine why you’d go with another DLP set. I’ve been unimpressed with rear-projection sets except in places where you have very controlled ambient light conditions and restricted (center-only) viewing. That said, if it’s working for you already, then there’s no reason not to stick with it (you didn’t really say why you are looking to upgrade from your current set - is it just that you want 1080p)?

The two things that have steered me away from Plasma is glare and burn-in. People claim the the burn-in problem is solved, but the Samsungs we have here at work for gaming/video conferencing all have burn-in, and they are < 6 months old. And apparently there are some plasmas that don’t have glare problems (like the aforementioned Pioneers) but I’ve never seen one in the store (so, you can ostensibly get one that doesn’t have glare, but you’re heavily restricting which brand/model you can buy as not many plasmas have the anti-glare).

But, since you have a rear-projection DLP now, you probably have good control over your lighting conditions so maybe the glare isn’t an issue for you.

For me, getting a 120Hz 1080p LCD seems like a no-brainer, but that’s mainly because I don’t need anything larger than 52", and I have terrible glare problems in my room.

I own this set and am pretty damn particular about the quality of things I watch. I think the picture is fantastic and not just “for the price.”

From looking at the few 1-star reviews posted by ever-helpful Amazon folks, I see:

  1. “It broke after the warranty period and they wouldn’t fix it for free.”

Duh? Most of the time you’re SoL if something breaks after the warranty. Buy it with a good credit card that extends the warranty an extra year.

  1. “It’s working fine and I like it but the company might go out of business in the future.”

I guess this could be a legitimate concern. Typically if you buy something like this using a credit card with an extended warranty service you can just take the claim to your cc company and get reimbursed.

  1. “I’ve bought 7 and wouldn’t buy another one.”


  1. “Somehow the remote and all the cords weren’t in the box.”

This seems very strange to me in general. In my experience, and I’d imagine most people’s experiences with the set, it did come with a remote and cords. Maybe this guy bought it used, and if so that’s not the company’s fault at all.

I got a RP set back in Sept. from Panasonic (brand new product/tech) and now they’re not even offering it in '08. The best I can find is the AVS forum dwellers thing that RP tech isn’t as cheap vs. the flat panels that people covet, so the manufactures are switching to flat panel only displays.