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karsha_gw

plasma vs. lcd vs. dlp AND hd vs ed

19 years ago

I've been thinking of getting a new television and was leaning towards a plasma. Had read that plasmas still beat out LCDs and DLPs in the 42" and larger. I also never cared for rear projections because the viewing angle played into the quality of the picture. Did some research and found many good reviews for a 42" Panasonic plasma. It's ED, not HD and therefore less expensive. CNET gave it a better rating than the Panasonic HD saying that although it wasn't as good high def, it was very close and had better black than the HD. Then, a co-worker, whose husband works for Sony, told me that Sony will be discontinuing it's plasmas in the near future and will instead be concentrating their efforts on LCDs.

What's your take on this?

Thanks for you help.

Comments (39)

  • 19 years ago

    There is definitely a difference of opinion, you will find, when it comes to EDTV vs. HDTV. Also, each TV display technology (DLP, LCD, Plasma, CRT) has it's fans and detractors.

    For me, personally, I wouldn't go with an EDTV. The world is moving to HDTV. The pace of the conversion is definitely picking up speed now. I see that most of the Network primetime lineup is carried in HD, and more and more cable channel content is following. It will probably be another couple of years before the majority of TV is carried in HD format, however. But still, if I'm going out to make a substantial investment in a TV that I hopefully will have for the next 5-6 years, why should I miss out on the brilliance of a full HDTV signal?

    Having said that, it really has to come down to personal preference. You can go crazy reading all the forums, and rating sites and still be confused...as you seem to be now. I believe that all the technologies will still be around for years to come.

    Do your shopping homework. Go to a store with a large selection of different TV's and see for yourself which one looks best to you. Make sure you look not only at HDTV shows, but regular shows as well.

    Many HDTV's don't do a great job with regular TV signals, but the stores will only show you an HDTV signal, unless you ask to see what standard TV looks like. Bring along your favorite DVD, and play it on the different TV's. The key is to have some sort of common reference point for comparison.

    Also, be aware that plasmas have burn-in problems, so if you are using the TV for video games, it's not a good choice.

    One other very important consideration...are you willing to pay the extra cost of the HDTV programming? It's true that you can get free HDTV from your local channels with an antenna, but that doesn't include all the cable networks. If you don't currently have digital cable, you will have to upgrade. If you currently have satellite, you will need new equipment, AND you will need to spend more per month to get some of the HDTV programming. If you are not willing to pay extra every month for HDTV, and you can't get the local signals over the antenna, don't waste your money on an HDTV set, just go with the EDTV.

    My father is in that prediciment right now. He has a special discount rate with DirectTV, and when he signed up, he decided to go with the HD dish and HD decoder box. He bought an HDTV as well. But now, he found out that he can't get any HDTV programming unless he gives up the special discount rate and signs up with the full Total Choice programming, which will cost him $15/month more. Yes, he should have read the fine print and realized this beforehand, but it's very confusing and it wasn't explained to him at all. Be careful that you understand exactly everything you will need to actually receive and view an HDTV signal in your home.

  • 19 years ago

    mwkbear,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I will definately take your advice and tips for comparing the various TVs in the store - I especially like your idea of bringing a DVD and about asking the store to switch from an HDTV signal to a regular signal. I hope they are willing to do it. If not, I'll go elsewhere.

    Luckily, we already have digital cable. We actually don't have a choice, it's digital or nothing. Here's a silly question, but how can I determine which channels are HD and which are not?

    Thanks again for all your help!

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  • 19 years ago

    You'll have to ask your cable company what they are broadcasting in HD at your house and what you can pay extra to get. My cable company only offers 3 channels so I use DirecTV. Be prepared to be disappointed.

    And I also would stay away from EDTV. HD has substantially higher resolution.

  • 19 years ago

    No problem, Karsha.

    I'm in the process myself of deciding between buying an HDTV now, or waiting. So, I feel your pain ;)

    Anyhow, to answer your question, you do need to ask your cable provider which channels are in HD in your current package. Also, keep in mind that just because you are getting an HD channel, not all the programming on that channel is in HD format. For example, you might be getting the local CBS digital station on your cable, and most of the popular prime time shows (Raymond, Two and a half men) are broadcast in HD. However, most of the rest (daytime soaps, news shows) is NOT HD. At the beginning of the shows, they will flash a little notice at the bottom of the screen such as "Presented in HDTV, where available".

    The only real way to tell is by seeing the difference. If you are watching an actual HD broadcast in HD format, it's easy to see the difference. If you are looking at the picture and thinking to yourself "that doesn't look any different from any other TV", then it's not an HD picture.

    So, just to recap, for HD, you need an HDTV monitor, an HD cable box, access to an HD channel (either by paying extra, or as part of your regular service), and finally, the show you are watching has to have been PRODUCED in HD format.

  • 19 years ago

    mwkbear and pilma99 - thanks for the info about calling my cable company to ask what is broadcast in HD. I see both of your points regarding more and more being broadcast in HD. I will take another look at HDs. I recall good seeing good reviews on a Hitachi and a Pioneer, so that's a start and I'll go from there.

    mwkbear - I'm thinking like you - perhaps I should just wait a little while longer to see what happens.

    The funny thing is that I don't watch much television at all and I almost never what videos. I don't let my kids watch much at all and if they do it is mostly videos - don't think they care if its HD or not LOL, they are only 4.5. Mainly, I wanted a plasma because they are so thin and the 36" Sony Wega we currently have takes up so much room.

    Anyone out there have a plasma or LCD that they really like?

    Thanks so much.

  • 19 years ago

    All good advice here. Rather than repeat, I'll throw in one more. Stay away from plasma, esp. if you have kids watching videos and video games. Such sources are most likely in 4:3 format -- not 16:9 HD format -- and you will get burn-in from the black bars on each side. Same thing will happen with a plasma if you watch SD programs (standard definition AKA 4:3) that you do not stretch using the TV controls to fill the screen.

    A burned in screen will show bright ghosting bands on each side and your TV is ruined. Same thing can happen along the bottom from CSPAN and CNN and Headline News from the streaming newsticker. One month of that a few hours a day and you will be really PO'ed at yourself!

    LCD and DLP are not subject to burn-in, but they each have their own issues unique to them. With LCD it's refresh rate and blurring/pixilation on fast sweeping scenes like a pan across a hockey game or a sweeping car chase. Also black levels can suffer.

    With DLP some people see rainbows from the corner of their eyes due to the color wheel inside that bounces the light off of the miniature DLP mirrors.

    See link at bottom for a good primer -- don't enter a store uninformed, esp. if it's Best Buy or Circuit City! ;-)

    Here is a link that might be useful: Comparing CRT, LCD, Plasma and DLP Displays

  • 19 years ago

    DallasBill,

    Thank you so much for the insight. I was concerned about the station banners at the bottom of the screen, but never even thought of the black bars along the sides of the screen. This would be a problem for us as we do watch SD and I don't like how it looks when it is stretched. Thanks also for the link.

    Back to the drawing board....

  • 19 years ago

    I have an almost-three-years-old Panasonic 42" HD plasma panel. I've not had any trouble with burn-in. I don't stretch SD. I've never been one to leave my TV running for hours at a time if I'm not actively watching it, but I've not taken any special care in regards to my plasma . . other than turning the picture settings down from the factory 'torch' levels so that the brightness and contrast are correct for the lighting in my room.

    I saw a plasma panel running advertisements at a mall kiosk yesterday. I have no idea how long it has been in use, but I didn't see any burn-in.

    Warnings about burn-in is THE most common advice given against plasma panels. It certainly can happen, but not as easily as everyone is being led to believe. I have to wonder how many of the anti-plasma establishment actually has experience with them, and how many are just going on heresay.

  • 19 years ago

    DADoES... you are lucky. Every single professional or enthusiast flat screen website/forum/magazine since plasma has become a consumer mainstay has detailed this issue. It is the same issue one has had with rear projection CRTs for years -- burn-in due to black bars and static images or 1-position streaming tickers.

    It's physics... you quote one observation + luck. How you continue to roll the dice is your decision.

  • 19 years ago

    PS...RE: I saw a plasma panel running advertisements at a mall kiosk yesterday. I have no idea how long it has been in use, but I didn't see any burn-in.

    That statement alone details that you do not know what burn-in is. If the panel is filled entirely with images that change every few minutes, then nothing is going to burn in.

    However, if the panel is filled with images that only EVER fill the 4:3 area of the 16:9 screen, you most definitely will have burned in borders. BUT, you will never see them in the mall because they are always BLACK and there is never a 16:9 image across it to show you what ghosting damage was done via those bars.

    Plus, that assumes a mall kiosk is plasma to begin with. I highly doubt it. They are all LCD around here, as it's infinitely cheaper -- and they don't have to worry about burn-in.

    Make sense now??

  • 19 years ago

    Actually, just to add to the information (or confusion), many new Plasma TV sets have special burn-in prevention technology which actually moves static images a few pixels at a time, to prevent the problem. I'm not sure how well this may or may not work regarding the black bar issue.

    However, I thought that the black bars were actually the absence of any picture at all? In that case, if the plasma pixels are not operating in those areas, how can they burn in?

  • 19 years ago

    Thanks again for all the great info. I was under the same impression as mwkbear, that the black bars are absence of a picture. That's why I never thought of it as burn in problem.

    DADoES - How do you like the Panasonic over all? It is one of the ones I am researching.

    I still can't get it out of my mind that supposedly Sony is discontinuing plasmas all together.

    I'm probably fretting over this too much.

    Thanks again!

  • 19 years ago

    Karsha,

    Don't fret so much. Just be prepared. It's technology, and like most technological innovations, the offerings change rapidly and there's always something "new and better" around the corner.

    Whatever decision you make, rest assured that the manufacturer will announce a fantastic new model with bells and whistles galore, for $500 less than you have just paid.

    If you want a new TV, just decide on your budget for it and pick the one that looks best to you. Then, do yourself a favor and DO NOT look at any sale circulars or HDTV websites after that. That's a good way to drive yourself crazy.

  • 19 years ago

    MkwBear, I was at the TV store today and asked the sales person to put the TV on a regular channel and he said he couldn't, something about looping. I also said something about bringing my own DVD and same excuse. I asked him if they use a special DVD to show on their TV and got the same kind of answer. A shopper may do better to visit a local TV store instead of a chain. We have a local store here that has been selling TVs for 40 years, I am going in to talk to them. This salesman said the reg channel show up just as good, then hesitated and said almost as good. Our living room TV is very, very old and I think the tube is going.

  • 19 years ago

    Jonesy,

    Don't buy the TV without looking at Standard Definition broadcasts. Of course the big chain store doesn't want you to see anything but the best picture, because maybe you won't want to drop $3000 on a TV if half of what you watch looks worse than what you watch now.

    When he says "looping", he means that the TV isn't connected to a live broadcast, it's replaying an HD tape of some sort. If they won't let you test it the way you want, go somewhere that will.

  • 19 years ago

    What happens when there are black bars on the side for a 4:3 picture is that the unlit area DOESN'T get any 'wear' and thus comes through as BRIGHTER than the rest of the screen when a 16:9 picture is displayed. My Panasonic has settings for the sidebars to be white, light gray, dark gray, or black. A lighter sidebar helps give equal 'wear' to the area with the trade-off of being a bit distracting.

    But I'm an idiot (per DallasBill) so what the hell do I know . . . probably best if I take my plasma out to the back yard and whack golf balls at it so I can make the anti-plasma establishment happy by reporting that it's all busted.

    I'm not saying burn-in doesn't happen. It surely does under the right conditions. I recall reading of a plasma in a children's playroom that was left on for several days and there was burn-in from a station logo. Or maybe it was from a video game, I don't recall, it has been a while since I read of the incident. I think that's an extreme example of abuse. Anyone who spends $3,000 or $7,000 or $10,000 for a plasma panel should make the effort to educate himself on how to properly care for it.

  • 19 years ago

    By the way, I occasionally switch my sidebars to white or gray for a short while, but I leave them black most of the time.

  • 19 years ago

    "But I'm an idiot (per DallasBill) so what the hell do I know..."
    DAD: Please don't put your words in my mouth. Nobody here called you an idiot.

    There are two issues w/ black sidebar burn-in on a plasma (or a RPTV CRT) that does not shift pixels (very, very few do that).

    1) When watching unstretched SD/4:3 material, as stated by DAD, but expanded upon here: the sidebars are not "unlit" They are on and they are inserted by the TV itself. They are black or gray or white on the SD/4:3 material on an analog channel. As such, said bars are are saturated "on" at that color for the entire time you watch such. The only difference being that the lighter shades do not cause burn-in as fast as black does.

    2) When watching upconverted SD material on a digital (1080i/720p) channel, the sidebars are part of the transmitted image. They cannot be removed unless you have a set that stretches digital feeds -- most sets lock on full and do not allow that. If you do not stretch it, the same burn-in, this time with black transmitted bars, occurs.

    That's the double whammy you have to deal with with burn-in on a plasma. You may be able to get around it, but can your wife and kids and the SD material and the video games get around it?

    You do not ever have to deal with such on an LCD or a DLP... you have to deal with the the other things I linked to earlier. They will affect your image, but will not ruin your TV if you or your family are careless w/ SD material.

    Only you can decide once you have this knowledge... and that's being smart... it's not being lucky and it's avoiding being an idiot.

  • 19 years ago

    DallasBill,

    May I ask what type/model tv you own and how happy are you with it?

    Still haven't had a chance to get to the electronics store to test them in person, but with so many out there, I'd like to have a few in mind to start off with.

    Thanks!

  • 19 years ago

    I have a 3 year old Mitsubishi 46807 RPTV -- 46in. I use stretch mode almost exclusively, even for SD, to avoid burn-in. Bust mostly it's for DVDs and HDTV. It is going into the new media room when the house is finished next month as it will be used exlcusively for 1080i upconverted DVD player and for HD only -- it's been ISF calibrated and will shine in there.

    I have ben an A/V nut for years and have investigated the following and will likely go with one of these:
    Sony Grand Wega KF-50WE620 - 50" LCD, rear projection
    Samsung 403T - 40in LCD
    Samsung LT-P468W - 46in LCD
    Samsung HLP5085W - 50in DLP
    Samsung HL-P5674W - 56in DLP

    I am avoiding the Mits DLPs because, although highly rated, they have a highly reflective shield on them and the room it will be in has lots of windows.

    I am leaning towards either the Sony 50" or one of the 2 Sammy DLPs. The TV will be in the main living area and used moslty for TV/HDTV and the occasional DVD when my wife and I want to watch something different. Also for pictures from streamed from the media server via cat-6.

    It has to be a DLP or LCD because my wife is not gung-ho with having to pick aspect ratios to stretch away black bars. She also watches CNN and HGTV a lot and I don't want to have to worry about ticker and logo burn-in. Plus, we are not laying out 2500+ on a set that could be ruined if she chooses to watch all her SD stuff in unstretched 4:3.

    Follow along in AVSForum.com and HomeTheaterSpot.com and you can get all the first-hand feedback you need.

    Good luck! ;-)

  • 19 years ago

    Karsha... just a follow-up FYI... avoid the Sony... it's last year's model and is subject to early lamp burnout.

    I'm down to the 2 Sammy DLP's.

    And, just a note for you on DLPs re: rainbow effect I mentioned upthread. This is sometimes seen with DLP sets (only) and can be an annoyance to some. I have not seen it yet. But good advice has told me to spend at least 1/2 hour watching your set(s) of choice in the showroom before committing. Ask for a chair if they don't have one. Look to the side like you would in a conversation w/ a spouse/friend during this time. Make sure your eye level is at mid-screen while watching.

    That's when you will see the rainbow effect *if at all.*

  • 19 years ago

    Thank you, DallasBill.

    Just happen to briefly stop in at Circuit City yesterday and saw 2 of the plasma sets I have researched. One is the Panasonic TH-42PD25U/P an EDTV, the other is a Hitachi 42HDT51 an HDTV. The store had an SD program on and just as I've read, the Panasonic ED had a much sharper and better picture than the Hitachi HD. Will be going back to compare them hopefully with a DVD and on HD programming.

  • 19 years ago

    DallasBill,

    I currently have a JVC 42" EDTV plasma that has the automatic pixel shifting feature. It can be adjusted for standard or fast shifting or off. Do you think this will greatly reduce burn in when viewing SD broadcasts along with lowing the brightness of the picture?

    Every TV I've ever owned ALWAYS has the brightness set WAY to high for my preference. On the JVC I have it almost set to the lowest setting and it's still vivid and bright. I would think lowing the intensity would save a bit on the burn in or possibly the life of the TV? Do you have any thoughts on this?

  • 19 years ago

    The Panasonic TH-42PD25U/P often gets higher marks then HD sets from lesser manufacterers, especially when displaying SD content.

    Plasma TV Buying Guide has a fantastic article that discusses EDTV -vs- HDTV. I am leaning very heavily towards EDTV rather then HDTV, primarily because of these reasons from the article:

    So, is it really worth it to shell out extra for an HDTV?
    As you decide whether you want (or need) an High Resolution plasma, you might want to consider the following:

    (1) DVD material may look better on an EDTV 853 X 480 plasma because it matches perfectly at 480p with the 480p native pixel resolution of the plasma. This depends more upon the manufacturer than it does the resolution.

    (2) 90% of the content available to viewers -- whether on TV or on DVD -- is NOT high definition.

    (3) EDTVs sometimes (again depending upon the manufacturer) have higher contrast ratios, which make for better-looking dark scenes.

    (4) Good quality EDTV plasma TVs can display HD content nearly as well as HDTV plasmas can. This would seem counterintuitive, yet the relative "fullness" of an HD signal makes it easy for an EDTV to display that signal -- and to do it fairly well. There is not much more than a 10% difference in picture quality between EDTV plasma showing HD content and HDTV plasma displaying such content.

    (5) The manufacturer quality should be of more concern than the resolution of the plasma display. Purchasing a plasma from a quality manufacturer can make the biggest difference of all. I would rather have an EDTV 853X480 plasma TV from Sony, Panasonic or Pioneer than an 1024X768 HDTV plasma from lesser Taiwanese, or Korean manufacturers even for the same cost.

    (6) Displaying comuter images will look better on the higher resolution display where video processing is not as much of a concern. This is especially the case for static images. The extra expense of the higher resolution plasma display will be well worth it for these uses.

    Here is a link that might be useful: EDTV -vs- HDTV

  • 19 years ago

    hbw248... yes, turning it down from "torch" mode will vastly improve the life of any plasma or CRT RPTV. The pixel shifitng also helps avoid burn in.

    ED vs HD:
    On the DVD thing, I am going to say 'poppycock' because the internal scalers in any HDTV are going to upscale an already great 480p DVD output just fine. And, if you have a CRT based HD set where you can select native 480p display, you are even better off. Or, if you have a scaling DVD player to watch it at 1080i, well... no argument.

    For the price of HD-ready sets nowadays, I do not understand why anybody only wants to travel 1/2 way down the road, and sit there staring at the pot o' gold 50 feet away, but they can't have it because they have already saddled themselves with an ED set.

    But then, it's not my money or my living room. ;-)

  • 19 years ago

    Hi,

    I'll pop my head into this discussion once more, because I've been doing a LOT of research, trying to figure out what TV to buy.

    One theme I've seen on the forums is that the 42" Plasma TV's which are sold as "HDTV-Ready", are not HDTV's. Even though they are marked as such, they still don't have enough pixels to be considered "true HDTV". An "HD" 42" Plasma set is only 1024 X 768, wheras a 50" plasma is 1368 X 768 or more.

    So, in your analogy, buying a 42" plasma HDTV is like travelling 2/3 of the way down the road and seeing the "pot o' gold" 35 feet away. You still haven't reached "Nirvana". But, for the privilege of going that extra 15 feet, you have to pay an additional $1500.

    I think the bottom line is this...check it out with your own eyes. Go to the store, look at a good EDTV (like Panasonic) against it's HDTV cousin. See for yourself what the difference is, if you see any at all, and then decide if that difference is worth $1500 to you.

    Same goes for whether you want Plasma or DLP or LCD. Go to the store and look at the pictures and see which one looks best to you, and if you are ok with the limitations of that particular technology.

    In my case, I've decided on a plasma tv, because I don't like the way the picture on DLP and LCD rear-projectors drops off so severely when you view from off center. If I want to have friends over to watch a movie, that will be a problem. I also don't like the whole light bulb issue. They are very expensive to replace, and they don't seem to last as long as the manufacturers would have you believe.

  • 19 years ago

    DallasBill,

    Thanks for the reply! This may be one of the reasons most of my TV's have lasted so long.

    mwkbear,

    I have to agree with you that seeing is believing when choosing a plasma. I looked at the one I currenty own compared to several others brands that cost over $1500 more than the JVC EDTV. The JVC looked substantially better than some of the other more expensive HD brands. The Panasonics also looked great.

    With technology changing ever so fast I figure in several years the cost will sharply drop off and something better will be out there at half or below the current pricing. More HD programming will also be available. I'm rather disappointed at how little HD there is right now. I long for the day that all programming will be in 16:9 and not have to fiddle with aspect ratios.

    Personally I couldn't justify an extra $1500+ for something that's going to be quickly outdated along with rather limited HD programming availability. I know a few posters would make it sound as if an EDTV is inferior to an HDTV and that I'm missing a huge difference in picture quality. My eyes tell me otherwise!

  • 19 years ago

    A few points:

    Some true HDTV monitors are 4:3. However, they must be capable of showing a 16:9 image with full HDTV resolution (letterboxed, of course). It is lines of resolution that counts.

    A Digital TV that is able to "display" TV signals in HDTV-resolutions of either 720p or 1080i is HDTV-Capable. It has nothing to do with the pixels, per se -- it's the resolution.

    1080i and 720p sets are both HDTV sets and both display differing amounts of pixels.

    Most major TV shows are transmitted in HDTV, are free OTA and available every night in the U.S.

    No matter what one says, an EDTV is simply a "super SDTV" and no more -- and I agree it's your personal choice and your eyes.

    More info here:
    http://www.hdtvinfoport.com/HDTV-Basics.html
    http://www.hdtvinfoport.com/hdtv-resolutions.html

  • 19 years ago

    DallasBill,

    Thanks for the info and interesting links.

  • 19 years ago

    Buy your TV at Costco and it will never break or get old or have burnin problems. Never. Doesn't matter what model. Doesn't matter if it's plasma or lcd or tube. Their return policy is so generous, if you are ever unhappy with it, return it, and they will pay you back or give you in store credit so you can get your next TV fresh off the shelf. It is an upgrade path with built in equity.

    I am real happy with the Sharp Aquos we have right now. It replaced a Phillips which replaced a Sharp which replaced a Sony. I particularly like that I can pick the thing up with one hand. Our biggest complaint is it is a little too modern looking for our furniture. :)

  • 18 years ago

    I see that this thread began in April and it's not July and I have the exact same questions. Don't you long for the simple days of buying a tube tv for a few hundred dollars? Blacks were black, sports were not an issue and my kids play gamecube games and there is no risk to the tv. Is this technology an improvement at this point? I'm finding it hard to tell. I don't want to sacrifice blacks, picture resolution and response time and spend thousands of dollars. I want to spend as little as I need to get a good tv, not something to brag about. I was looking at the Panasonic 42" edtv and at the Sony Wega 50" but both are dismissed above as inadequate. I'm unwilling to take a chance on DLP. Please help me!

  • 18 years ago

    First of all, do you need a 42" tv? You can still buy an "old fashioned" tube TV, but HDTV-Ready, as large as 34", I believe. You can get a 30-34" tube HTDV for under $1000 in some cases.

    If you want a 42" TV, there's nothing wrong with the panasonic ED plasma. It's got a great picture that would probably blow away your current analog TV. It really doesn't matter if it's not 100% "Pure" HD. Does it look good to you? It will give you many hours of TV watching enjoyment, regardless of whether it's HD or ED. Forget about "sacrificing blacks, response time", etc. Does it look good to you is all that matters.

    One possible fly in the ointment...LCD tv's are coming down rapidly in price, and Syntax/Olevia is introducing a new 42" direct-view LCD hdtv this month. I believe the list price for it is $3600. The 37" tv they have available now has a very nice picture, and this might be worth you checking out.

  • 18 years ago

    I long for the simple days as far as buying a TV goes. Our old TV is still perking along and my husband doesn't want it replaced until he or it dies. For months now, I have been looking at TV's and talking to clerks to learn as much as I can. I read in here that the picture is not as good unless you go to HD, the life is only 7 or 8 years, etc., but the last clerk I talked to said those statements are just not true. He said he just finished a company school program and they told the sales people that based on the latest tests, the new TV's should last 41 years. So who do you believe? I will admit you hear more about the lemons than the good TV's. We are moving to a new home and I would love to have our newest TV put in the living room for my husband and put one of the plasmas or LCD widescreen in the basement for me. I have always thought it was money that kept people from buying what they want, but now am convinced buying a TV is to much of a struggle for me.

  • 18 years ago

    Get a tube HDTV. The best picture with the fewest downsides is still a tube tv. Large tube tvs are coming out with a wider angled gun narrowing depth of a 34" screen TV to 15", about the same as a DLP.
    Even better, do not buy any TV until late next year. There are more developments coming, and prices are sure to plummet on current techs, and there will be far more choices with less drawbacks, esp. in the mid-high end market.
    While the above paragraph is basically true for any electronic component, it is more so this year then ever in the TV arena. Wait if you can.

  • 18 years ago

    Jonesy,

    You are making this decision WAY too complicated for yourself.

    If you are OK with a 30-34" sized tv, buy a HD tube tv.
    If you need a larger size, like 37-42", buy a plasma tv. If the budget is not a problem, get the HD version. If budget is a problem, the ED plasma tv is just A-OK fine, as long as you have looked at it in the store and you like the picture it has, don't listen to the "pundits" or the salespeople. Plasmas now will last just as long as tube tv's used to (10 years or so, 60,000 hours).

    I'd stay away from DLP and LCD projection TV's for two reasons. First, the lightbulb they use, which can burn out after a year or two, if you watch tv alot, and it costs upwards of $400 to replace it.

    Second, these tv's have a narrow viewing angle. Watching it at just a little bit above or below center, or left and right of center, the picture drops off fast.

    The direct-view LCD tv's are also very nice, but right now, in the 37" and up sizes, plasma is still king.

  • 18 years ago

    I hear so many contradicting comments that I take them all with a grain of salt, except what the gentleman from our local TV station told me. Budget is not a problem, but I don't want to pay $2,000 for a TV and have it only last 7 years. Also, I don't want to pay what cable charges for HD service. I keep thinking by 2015 cable with have cheaper alternatives.

  • 18 years ago

    Jonesy,

    To be honest, with technology the way it is now a days, in 7 years you'd probably want to get rid of the TV anyhow, and upgrade to something better.

    Meanwhile, the plasma tv's now sold will last you as long as a tube TV would. Also, all the larger TV's now are sold with built-in digital tuners so you can get HD programming off the air with an antenna for free. If the budget is not a problem, and you want to watch prime time shows and DVD's in Digital and HD formats, go for the plasma.

  • 18 years ago

    If budget really isn't a problem, and you can afford to wait a while, a new technology called SED is on its way. The result of a collaboration between Toshiba and Canon, Surface emitter Electron Display sets use electron emmission technology just like a CRT (so the picture quality is every bit as good), but since the electron emmission is from the surface rather than a gun, SED sets will have a flat screen form factor, something like 4cm or so. These will be the new standard for light, slim, flat screen displays. The picture quality will blow LCD and plasma away (real blacks, very short recovery time for pixels so no blur in fast images), and will use less power than LCD or plasma, too. And they'll be 1920 x 1080.

    Sorry to complicate your choice even more, but if you can wait these sets really sound like they'll be worth it. From what I've read production has already started, and sets will be available end of this year or early part of next. Pricing should be comparable to plasma, and the first models will be in the 40-50 inch range.

    If you need something right away, I personally like plasma. CRT is too small and heavy, LCD doesn't have true blacks (neither does plasma but it's better than LCD), and RP sets have too small a viewing angle.

    As for ED vs. HD, if you can afford it I'd go HD. I compared the Panasonic sets and, while the ED picture looked good, I saw "jaggies" around the text that wasn't there on the HD, and the HD sets seemed to have better depth.

    Personally I'm waiting, only because I can't currently afford a good plasma HD, especially when SED is less than a year away.

  • 18 years ago

    oh nooooo.... why did I read this thread to the last post ???
    I was ALL set to price the Sony 40" LCD XBR...
    then I thought... oh well - one more look into my good old THS site and see that others have to say about plasma vs LCD...
    and then I saw this thread... then I read it to the end...
    then I saw the ktool's talk on SED... went googled on it and now I'm hooked.... on SED technology....
    it just reminds me my shopping for my gas stove during my kitchen renovation 3 years ago... I was all set for my Mile gas stove, then I came for a last look... and a year later, I became the proud owner of a diva induction cook top..... oh noooooooo ! history repeats itself... again !!
    take a look at these reviews... how can I not wait for one of those SED to come on the retail market ? soon - I hope!

    Here is a link that might be useful: reviews on the SED technology....

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