Sunday, December 22, 2013

What is the difference between Plasma VS HDTV?

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I am in the market for a flat panel TV. What is the difference between HDTV and plasma HDTV and what is deal with full 1080? I want a fairly large screen 50"+ within a reasonable price.

Plasma is a type of HDTV. I think you're asking about Plasma vs LCD. Read below for that breakdown.

"Full 1080" refers to a screen's native resolution. If you go into the detailed specs of TVs, you'll find that some have native resolutions as low as 1024x768, some are 1650x1024, and then, there are the full HD ones at 1920x1080. For smaller sets, the smaller resolution is fine, as you won't notice all the advantages of having 1920x1080. But at the desired 50" you mention, you do want the full 1920x1080 if possible. A 1650x1024 one wouldn't be too bad though, but certainly nothing smaller than that.

A cost effective and good quality 50" Plasma would be the Samsung PN50A550 or A650. For more elite picture quality step up to the Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ800u or TH-50PZ80u/TH-50PZ85u (they are better than the Samsung in picture quality but quite a bit more expensive too). The top dog for picture quality would be a Pioneer Kuro Elite, but you're looking at a $5,000 investment then (which is too high for most).

For LCDs, look at the Samsung LN52A650 or 52A750. Those would be the best in picture quality. Not super cheap, but I think amongst your best bang-for-buck options in LCD. Otherwise consider the Toshiba Regza 52XV545U. Or if you step down a size to 46", look at Samsung LN46A850 or LN46A550.


LCD vs Plasma

LCD - is the everyman HDTV. It is cost effective, hence its popularity. It is also lighter than Plasma. It tends to draw less power than Plasmas as well. It has a matte finish so is useful for rooms that have too much ambient light which can not be controlled. LCD whites are a bit brighter than Plasma whites (but how often do you crank your brightness to 100%). LCDs are considered better for gaming (but I don't think you'd be disappointed with gaming on a Plasma). LCDs are sharper in SD (think evening news instead of film); this isn't a good vs bad, its just a personal preference thing.

It has problems with fast motion though. That is why you see ones advertised with 120Hz refresh rates. This does not come close to Plasma though. So they aren't as good for fast motion (sports and movies).

Plasma - they have better blacks, contrast, and motion blur. They are better TVs, but you must pay a premium for them. Images look smoother. They have grader ranges in blacks/whites so you get greys instead of clumps of black and white. The colors in Plasmas tend to have more "pop" to them; this isn't a good vs bad thing, its just personal preference. Plasmas are great for fast motion (sports and action movies).

Plasma's are glass though so are glossy. They can have reflection issues if you are in a room with lots of light that you can't control (you can't turn off the lights and you don't own any blinds). Also for SD viewing they are a bit "softer" (think more like film less like the evening news). This isn't a good vs bad thing, its personal preference. Most plasma owners get used to it and don't mind it.

They do have to be conditioned. The gasses of new Plasmas need to be conditioned. All you have to do is keep the brightness/contrast cranked way down for the first 100 hours, then optimize, and you'll have a TV that blows LCD out of the water.

Plasma myth (1) - They experience burn-in. This is BS, those days are gone. Just condition the gasses and then use it as normal and you're fine. Also, the better sets have built-in features to prevent this (on top of the technology just generally being better now than say 5 years ago).

Plasma myth (2) - They have short life spans. This is more BS. You can leave your Plasma on 24/7 for 34 years before killing it. So do you think you'll still want/own the same TV in 15 years, let alone 30?

Plasma myth (3) - They won't work in high altitude because of problems for the gasses. This is again no longer an issue. Current Plasmas can be purchased and used in mile high Denver, and above, so you'll be fine where ever you are (unless you're living in the Himalayas).

Plasma vs LCD - One important note though is TV size. In 42" and above you see and get the benefit of the Plasma advantages. But 40" and smaller and the benefits are diminishing. So if you're going way smaller than LCD is likely the better option.

Plasma brands - Pioneer Kuro Elite is the best, followed by Pioneer Kuro. But these can cost as much as a small car. Panasonic Viera is the next best and is much more cost effective. Then I would go with Samsung.

LCD brands - I would stick with Samsung, Sharp Aquos, and Sony (but only Sony if its on sale, otherwise it tends to be overpriced). Sony stopped manufacturing LCD panels, they now buy/use the same ones used in the Sharp Aquos sets.

What does a TV resolution of 1080P mean compared to 1375 x 785?


I am looking at two TVs:

Pioneer KURO PDP-6010FD 60" 1080p Plasma HDTV

Pioneer PDP-6070HD 60" PureVision Plasma HDTV

The second one is 1375 x 785 and I would like to know the perceivable difference in picture quality between the two. Thanks.

If you are watching Blu-Ray or HD-DVD, then, maybe then, you will see a better picture on the 1080p.
If you're watching regular cable or satellite HD channels, you won't notice a difference.
Until 1080p sources are more common, you can save some money.
Google search interlaced, progressive, frames per second, for more info.

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