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

Andre mythtv-list at dinkum.org.uk
Mon May 10 09:42:16 UTC 2010

On 10 May 2010, at 09:20, Paul Gardiner wrote:
> The thing is though, I wasn't standing in front of the LED thinking wow I can see every pixel, I was thinking wow, what detail! My other half said "this is better than seeing it in 3D". That's why I'm having
> trouble committing to a Plasma, although I think all the advantages
> may make it still the best option.

All my Broadcast Engineer friends have Panasonic Viera Plasmas, except one who has a Samsung LCD, oh and one who won't give up his SD CRT, says it looks better than HD on a flat panel!

I recently (Christmas) was asked to choose a flat panel TV for my Mother, the only TV shop I can walk into without feeling motion sickness is a Panasonic Shop! She didn't like some details of the bezel so a Panasonic Plasma was out, grey matte bars was a no-no and she can't stand stretchyvision. In the end she came home with a Samsung 40C6000 edge lit LED LCD, it took a firmware update and three separate attempts at calibration before it looked ok, nearly went back to the shop! When I visit I still see failures of the motion adaption software every two or three minutes (it's mostly turned off) and blacks change colour every other scene change, the usual stuff with LCDs. The only other contender was a Sony (can' t see the model available now), that had much better colour stability once adjusted to a reasonable setting by eye but much much worse motion adaption failures and looked truly awful on any non film source with the motion adaption turned off, the Samsung looked ok without it. 

Mum thinks it's great, the Sky+ HD box not so great ;-)

>> 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.
> That's what make this so difficult. And three months later it's difficult to return a set.

Go look at friends TV's ask them if they still have it set the same as they did when they bought it, are they still happy with it?

The thing with the Viera's went like this; one Engineer sees one in a shop after 3 years of trying to find something to replace his failing Sony CRT, about 3 years ago now, the first models where they extended the colour gamut a little and they stopped banding too much. Word got around so now I know 5 Engineers with the exact same TV.

I also have three friends (non engineers) with the exact same Projector I have, Optoma HD80. There were small things about the Vieras that bugged me and I didn't want a big screen TV dominating my living room. The only thing that bugs me with the HD80 is I have to re-calibrate every few months because the colour balance changes slightly. I'm also able to use it to assess codec and camera setup issues for customers, can't do that with any LCD or Plasma TV.

The general attitude among Broadcast Engineers I've met is "Every flat panel TV is fundamentally crap" so if someone finds something that is less crap at a fair price they all jump.

>> There are many artefacts that go unnoticed for months or even years but cannot be un-noticed once seen...
> I hear you. That's what led me to build three different frontends to drive my CRT before I was content.

Ah, then you are a critical viewer, good ;-) also bad because you will eventually see the problems that exist even on the finest most expensive TVs.
Forget about auditioning with DVDs (even the Matrix) as the motion in them is cleverly portrayed at 24p, you need some Live TV, a game show or late night chat show will show up motion portrayal problems better than the fastest Hollywood action movie.

I took a laptop along to check if 1:1 1920x1080 at 50hz and 60hz was possible from DVI->HDMI, I see from the TV model that you are in the UK, be wary that some panels will accept 50hz but still scan internally at 60hz, (I found a 15,000 3 chip DLP projector that did that!!) it's rare now but really horrible for 99% of European TV.

Good luck, you'll need it.


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