[mythtv-users] OT: LED or Plasma (was Advice on choosing a TV)

Andre mythtv-list at dinkum.org.uk
Sun May 9 16:15:08 UTC 2010

On 9 May 2010, at 16:25, Paul Gardiner wrote:

> I'm confused now! After reading through all the great advice in your
> replies, I was seeing the sense of not making too much of the choice
> based on viewing in shops. I've been reading a lot of reviews and
> forum discussions. That led me to settle on a Panasonic Plasma
> TX-P50G20B. But I thought I should at least see one before I
> committed. I visited a shop today, and had them show me it
> playing various content with varying sources. It looked great, but...
> the one thing that's now derailed my thinking a bit was a side-by-side
> comparison with a blu-ray of Avatar between a plasma and a led tv

Be careful, "LED" TV's are actually LCD with LED backlighting, so almost all of the usual LCD problems persist! Only OLED is really LED TV.

Most flat panels look great driven from a top quality Bluray, which is great if all you watch is Blurays... Many shops still demo animated movies heavily, motion is slow and clean, colours simple and saturated, poor colour accuracy goes unnoticed, poor motion rendition can't be seen.
What does it look like driven from the source you watch the most, in the UK some shops refuse to demo TVs on Freeview (DVBT) because they know how bad it can look! 
When I bought a new TV a couple of years ago I took along a DVD (made from MythTV, not re-encoded) so I had some examples of live real life SDTV with all the issues that causes, was a real eye opener and got around the shops saying "we don't get a good off air signal in here".

There is usually most difference between poor bitrate SDTV across different sets, incidentally with MythTV a good vdpau card can make a poor set look reasonable which is handy, the most expensive part of a modern TV is the scaling and de-interlacing hardware, if you use MythTV that's usually not used.

Also blurays are encoded at a low frame rate 24fps which LCD(LED) flat panels can cope with well, the original movie is shot with generations of experience in making 24p look great too. Most live TV is 50fps or 60fps and shot with this in mind, or sometimes with little in mind!! GENERALLY Plasmas and DLP cope better with 50/60fps, GENERALLY LCDs accentuate individual pixels better but if the source is poor quality often seeing every pixel discretely isn't a good thing. You are supposed to watching the picture not counting the pixels individually ;-)

Lack of 1:1 pixel (or scan) mapping can make an image look slightly soft, ensure you are comparing apples with apples.

If you mostly watch movies, drama and high budget TV series, these are all shot at 24p or 25p and will look great on LCD, if you mostly watch live TV and Sports the Plasma or DLP usually looks better.

Personally I haven't yet seen any LCD that doesn't make me reach for the off switch including so called "broadcast grade" LCDs but I'm very sensitive to mangled motion thanks to 20+ years of working in Sport and News TV.

> (TX-P42G20b and TX-L42D25B). The led looked superb. I was expecting
> the colours to look more vibrant in shop lighting, but it looked
> like it was in a far higher resolution, with so much more detail.
> Is that likely to be down to shop lighting, or are leds inherently
> sharper than plasmas? I can't imagine how. These were both 1080
> panels. Would I find under more normal lighting conditions
> that the Plasma's image was just as sharp and detailed as the
> LED looked in the shop? Is there some difference in the layout
> of pixel elements or the image processing that makes the difference?

What you want in the shop and what you want in your home three months later are often different things.

There are many artefacts that go unnoticed for months or even years but cannot be un-noticed once seen...


> Paul.
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