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In this article, Digital Home presents five reasons why consumers looking for a flat panel HDTV 42” inches or larger should pick plasma over LCD. Edit by 57. (link dead, but topics discussed are relevant)

Archive link found by toleero. Thanks

http://web.archive.org/web/20090208195853/http://www.digitalhome.ca/content/view/1961/206/

I'm sure that this article will get a lot of LCD owners steaming mad so...


If you disagree then please objectively tell us why.

This thread will likely be read by a lot of people who are sitting on the fence trying to decide whether to choose LCD or plasma so this is your opportunity to objectively discuss why you agree or disagree.

Please note that off-topic, rude or inflammatory posts will simply be deleted.

If any LCD panel manufacturers are reading and disagree, please feel free to contact me and I will happily consider publishing a rebuttal to the arguments put forth in the article.

The goal of the article was to cut through the crap and try to get accurate information about the two competing technologies.

Cheers,
Hugh
 

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I found the article interesting and i agree with it. There is very important factor that often gets ignored during reviews or technology discussions: price.

A 4000$ 1080p plasma set might be the best performer but it's also out of the budget range of a lot of people. LCDs might not be as good but they are a lot cheaper (and easier to justify to the wife).
 

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I gotta agree with the Superior Black levels comment... the blacks on my Panny 50" plasma, especially throught the component inputs, are stygian black.... its unreal!!! Even the HDMI black is almost blacker than black should be!!
 

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I'll agree with the article when it comes to color fidelity and black levels. Each time I look at new TV's, LCD tempts me for its perceived reliability, high resolution, and lighter weight. But I find the plasma picture so much more realistic, including from various angles.

Even with the various advances, the backlit nature of LCD seems to raise the base level of brightness too much.

I worry about all the complex electronics in a plasma that are used to fire the cells in the panel. LCD electronics I believe are in comparison not driven as hard and less prone to failure.
 

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re: power consumption, I'm not so sure the benefits of LCD are a fallacy

Interesting article.

Isn't it possible to turn down the backlight (to reduce power consumption)? Sets I've seen have three settings for the backlight. Even turning down the brightness drastically alters the power requirements (see item #2 in this article). The article is talking about computer monitors, but the concept should carry forward to larger units. Obviously proper calibration is still key. It should be possible to achieve that without going full brightness and/or backlight (depending on the unit's placement of course).

As Neild noted, LCDs can be too bright, which generally relates to contrast settings. Lowering contrast settings also lowers the power consumption of an LCD.

All of that said, it's just theory (like DigitalHome assertion that power consumption is a fallacy). I'd be interested in some "real life" power consumption number comparisons between the two formats, at 42 and/or 47 inches, since that's an obvious overlap area in the two formats. After calibration, plug in a few HiDef discs (whichever format), and see the power that's chewed up.

Anything to highlight the green side of tech is a good thing in my view. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Regarding power consumption. There have been studies (sorry no link handy) but testing was real easy and is easily duplicated.

Take an LCD and Plasma panel of the same size and plug them into a device that measures the electricity consumed. Run the two sets for 24 hours with standard television fare and examine the results.

You'll find the LCD power consumption is constant while plasma varies up and down depending on how bright the image but at the end of it all the power requirements are essentially the same. Remember, power consumption numbers for plasma are generally peak numbers. Those numbers are not valid for calculating total power consumption, since they assume every pixel on the panel is turned on. In truth, a large percentage of pixels are typically turned off at any one time.

Again this applies to panels of the same size. Results can vary too depending on the make and model but if you really want to save electricity buy a smaller television!
 

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Agree on all points EXCEPT............

I prefer to watch my 4:3 programming with a black side bar (grey doesn't cut it). This probably constitutes 70% of my TV watching just becuase most stuff I watch is not HD yet even on HD channels. I get the odd HD program or anamorphic wide screen DVD and that is about it.

I can't imagine how the portion of my screen that's off 70% of the time is not going to show noticable color/brightness difference after a short period on plasma, and that it will not continue to compound endlessly as this type of viewing continues throughout months and years.

I don't think I'd be willing to put my money on Plasma because after seeing how the outline from a hockey game scoreboard can remain on the screen for a few minutes afterwards (yes I know they will go away), I can't imagine how black sidebars can not be permanently destructive (or at least require a sufficiently unrealistic amount of "corrective" full screen viewing).
 

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Maybe its just me, but before I bought my TV, I compared LCD's and Plasmas made by the same manufacturer, and I noticed absolutely no difference.
Important rebuttle point: I did these comparisons at big retailers (where I know they aren't that finely calibrated)
But nevertheless, I noticed no difference between LCD's and Plasmas.

My Aquos has a 4ms response time. I notice absolutely no jagging/ghosting while watching action movies/sports, or playing computer games.

Everyone always says LCD's don't display good blacks, but how many of these people are comparing new LCD's?? My blacks are truly black. Two of my friends have brand new plasmas (Panasonic Vierra, and Prima) and I don't notice better blacks on their tv.

I don't think the article compared apples to applies. Many of these reasons not to buy LCD's (and vice versa with Plasmas) don't really apply to newer models in my opinion. Just like burn in isn't an issue with Plasma anymore, angle/deep blacks aren't an issue with LCD anymore (unless you buy a cheapy walmart no name lcd I suppose).

I'd like to hear if people think I'm wrong. Some of you are in more of a position to compare TVs (properly calibrated) side by side, whereas I have to travel to friend's houses and judge based on memory.

Overall, I think this article is very misleading, biased, and outdated. I don't believe it is up to Digital Home's normal unbiased standards for information. But that's just my opinion.
 

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good, GENERAL info article.

i also would tell many family members to get a plasma for the overall value....

BUT, if the person is anything like me, watching 4:3 content a lot, use the tv as a primary PC monitor and to play A LOT of video games, then i would definitely tell them to go for a LCD.

i have had a plasma(in the past) and currently own a LCD and i agree that the +'s for the plasma are there, but FOR ME the +'s for the LCD are of far greater importance.

The LCD tv also has energy saving mode which lowers the backlight and uses A LOT LESS power(watts) ...i have a Kill-a-watt meter and with energy mode ON it uses 105watts(on HIGH) 145watts(on medium) of which 30watts is used by other items on the same powerbar and it can maintain that with not more than 10-15 watt jumps and with full brightness (energy saving OFF) its uses 240 watts.

i ONLY use the tv with energy saving mode ON(daytime medium, darkroom on high), the brightness is more than enough and actually helps with the black levels.

try it out at the store.
 

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I think that some of the 5 reasons to buy Plasma are based on out of date arguments.

Just as the article rebuts the 'burn-in' concern about Plasma, because Plasma TV's have improved in that area.....LCD TV's have also made strides to improve performance where there have been some previous shortcomings. The 5-points tend to discuss LCD as though the previous shortcomings still exist.

With fast response times, and newer LCD sets hitting the market with 120Hz frame rates, smearing/blurring is a non-issue. Even non-HFR LCD TV's hardly suffer from smearing the way they used to.

A mirror-like Plasma TV is going to reflect more light than an LCD panel, regardless of how bright the 'store' is. Sure, in the absence of light...a mirror-like surface might reflect the same amount of light as an LCD screen. But, few watch TV in a complete absence of light. And, the problem really isn't just the amount of light coming from overhead ( as it would be in a store ), it's sunlight shining into your living room directly off your television that presents the biggest problem for Plasma sets. How many people have windows in their living room? How many stores have huge windows which allow light in during the day? Have you ever noticed, that the TV sections in big-box stores are usually at the back where there is little in the way of outside daylight hitting the screens? I think the in-store lighting argument fails to take into consideration the real-world situation that most folks deal with in terms of daylight entering a living room.

And it may not be daylight/sunlight that's the issue. It could be that lamp in the corner, which reflects off your Plasma TV that drives you nuts. You could turn off that light to watch your plasma....or, you could buy an LCD TV.

Off axis viewing has been greatly improved on today's top LCD TV's. I suppose if you want to watch TV from a severe off-axis vantage point, a Plasma might be a good choice. Most people don't watch TV from severe off-axis seating. At reasonable off-axis seating, good LCD TV's perform just fine ( compared to Plasma Televisions ).

As for price points. There are numerous 'excellent' 46" LCD TV's available in Canada ( at Futureshop for example ) for $2000 and up. 50" comparable name-brand Plasmas aren't cheaper. In fact, they're often more expensive. Most folks have trouble telling 46" and 50" TV's apart....so comparing the price points of 46" LCD to 50" Plasma TV's isn't the apples to oranges comparison that some might say it is. That is because the size difference isn't that great or noticeable to most folks. As well, 52" LCD TV's with 1080p performance are very good value ( price-wise ) when compared to the cost of purchasing a 1080p Plasma in a similar size.

As for colour reproduction....The new HD colour standard, 'x.v.YCC', that's available on many new LCD TV's looks amazing. Combine that with newer backlight technology and HFR, and you've got a stunning LCD picture....with amazing colour, no visual smearing, good grey-scale gradation, and excellent contrast ratio. I've seen some Plasma sets with great blacks. I've also seen many with crushed blacks and poor detail in dark scenes. It seems far to generalized, to come out so strongly in favour of one technology....when clearly there are two in the marketplace that can deliver excellent viewing performance.

I don't have a problem with anyone stating an opinion or coming out with an endorsement of a particular technology. I've seen many outstanding Plasma TV's in my travels. I'm not against Plasma in any way. However, I can't agree with the premise that if you're shopping for 42" or over, Plasma is the 'only' way to go. Today's marketplace isn't yesterday's marketplace. I think people should consider both technologies and all the top-notch brands, when shopping for a TV 42" and over.

In conclusion, I think that the article isn't taking into account many of the latest technology improvements in LCD TV, with some of the 5 points which are quoted. This is my opinion of course, and no I'm not steaming mad about the article...even though I would personally disagree with it's premise.
 

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Regarding power consumption. There have been studies (sorry no link handy) but testing was real easy and is easily duplicated.

Take an LCD and Plasma panel of the same size and plug them into a device that measures the electricity consumed. Run the two sets for 24 hours with standard television fare and examine the results.
Sorry, I obviously wasn't very clear. I'll try again.

A properly calibrated TV is likely have to have lower brightness/contrast than the typical delivery setup. For plasma, torch mode means increased susceptibility to burn-in. For LCD, torch mode means much higher power consumption (see the link I included above).

Also, as isajoo confirmed, backlight settings affect the power consumption of LCDs.

So, I'm very interested in seeing a power consumption comparison not only between new plasma and new LCD, but also between torch mode, proper calibration, and also with different backlight settings. I fumbled making that point earlier.

Additional posts have indicated that viewing habits could be a deciding factor (4x3, gaming, computer monitor). Well, there's a tie-in for power consumption here too...hockey (not that anyone up here watches that...). ;) It's a rather bright sport--white ice and all. Information on the difference in power consumption during a typical hockey telecast would be interesting.

Others have pointed out new tech makes a difference. LCD power consumption has made strides, such as the development of LED backlit LCD panels (not sure which TVs have this, or will, but computer monitors are changing over). Another example of improvement is this 52" prototype, which apparently clocks in at approximately 85 watts. Of course it's not entirely relevant as it's future tech. Still, it shows where things are going.
 

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Here is a link from CNET to compare power consumption. http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6475_7-6400401-3.html

Some comparisons from the chart in terms of dollars per year to operate the unit:

Sony 52XBR2 LCD - $93.78 per year
Panasonic 50PH9UK Plasma - $95.49 per year
Pioneer PRO-FHD1 plasma - $108.08 per year


Panasonic 42PX60 Plasma - $75.11 per year
Samsung 4096 LCD - $73.43 per year

Plasmas in general are slightly higher but when you think about it, these are yearly costs not daily or even monthly. An increase of $2 to $15 per YEAR should not scare anyone away from plasma.
 

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Thanks for the link.

I would suggest that dollar savings should only be part of the reason. Lower power consumption between two comparable choices is a good thing in and of itself.

That said, I think the numbers on that CNet summary table are only of marginal use due to faulty testing methods at the time (emphasis mine):
To maintain as level a playing field as possible, we connect each TV via HDMI to a DVD player playing the disc, we reduce the volume control all the way to "0" (but not muted), and we leave the picture settings in their default positions.
Torch mode isn't how a TV should be used, and it affects the power usage numbers for both LCD and plasma (I stand corrected on an earlier assertion it affected LCD only). More on that difference in a bit...

CNET has since updated their testing methods:
Updated 07-02-2007: For our Juice Box tests, as defined below, we use the same DVD but perform up to four separate measurements: Standby, Default, Calibrated and Power Save.
See here for a description of that procedure. A "Juice Box" table is included when their TV reviews include that form of testing.

Unfortunately, the big 54 TV CNET Power Consumption table doesn't include any "Juice Box" numbers. Only the torch mode, default picture settings. Therefore, the table isn't entirely useful or relevant.

Here's some more info gathered from CNET that shows why their table is incomplete.

From an Aug. 24th CNET review of 5 50" plasmas, four of the reviews included Juice Box numbers, as follows:
Pioneer PDP-5080HD
Standby: 22.95 W (that seems awfully high...)
Default: 330.6 W (.31 W/sq.inch) $114.34
Calibrated: 228.56 W (.21 W/sq.inch) $83.35
Power Save: 253.72 W (.24 W/sq.inch) $90.99

Samsung HP-T5064
Standby: 1.28 W
Default: 321.62 W (.3 W/sq.inch) $98.45
Calibrated: 233.3 W (.22 W/sq.inch) $71.63
Power Save: 288.46 W (.27 W/sq.inch) $88.38

LG 50PC5D
Standby: 0.78 W
Default: 320.03 W (.3 W/sq.inch) $97.66
Calibrated: 289.15 W (.27 W/sq.inch) $88.28
Power Save: 247.63 W (.23 W/sq.inch) $75.67

Vizio VP50HDTV
Standby: 1.33 W
Default: 317.23 W (.3 W/sq.inch) $97.14
Calibrated: 197.48 W (.18 W/sq.inch) $60.78
Power Save: N/A


Now, some "Juice Box" numbers for three 46" LCDs and a 47" (not many CNET LCD reviews have these numbers yet):
Samsung LN-T4665F
Standby: 1.21 W
Default: 246.89 W (.27 W/sq.inch) $75.71
Calibrated: 80.53 W (.09 W/sq.inch) $25.19
Power Save: 108.69 W (.12 W/sq.inch) $33.74

Sony KDL-46S3000
Standby: 1.21 W
Default: 202.58 W (.22 W/sq.inch) $61.83
Calibrated: 111.17 W (.13 W/sq.inch) $34.07
Power Save: 61.56 W (.07 W/sq.inch) $19.00

Samsung LN-T4661F
Standby: 0.78 W
Default: 245.63 W (.27 W/sq.inch) $75.07
Calibrated: 113.52 W (.13 W/sq.inch) $34.95
Power Save: 111.31 W (.13 W/sq.inch) $34.28

Westinghouse TX-47F430S
Standby: 40.19 W default! (.72 energy saver)
Default: 278.86 W (.3 W/sq.inch) $109.99
Calibrated: 169.92 W (.18 W/sq.inch) $52.04
Power Save: 278.86 W (.3 W/sq.inch) $85.12

Westinghouse confuses the matter with huge stand-by consumption, and an energy saving setting that seems to do nothing other than drop the stand-by to a reasonable level. Perhaps the Vizio set is also an outlier (had the lowest ratings of the 5 plasmas).

Anyway, these numbers from CNET prove the point that calibration makes a difference. As would lowering the backlight on an LCD (CNET includes it as a power saving tip). They also demonstrate the power consumption benefits LCD are not just a fallacy.

Plasma power consumption drops with proper calibration, while LCD power consumption generally plummets with proper calibration. In the examples cited, average LCD power-on consumption dropped to less than half the default wattage, and in one case--Samsung LN-T4665F--fell to only a third of the original consumption. BTW, that also means the dollar savings are bigger than the earlier CNET table indicated.

So, to repeat:
I'm very interested in seeing a power consumption comparison not only between new plasma and new LCD, but also between torch mode, proper calibration, and also with different backlight settings.

If a source already exists out there, I'm all ears. Thanks!
 

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So it averages out to about $50 more per YEAR to operate a calibrated 50" plasma vs a calibrated 46" lcd.

OMG the extra $4.16 per month on my hydro bill is gonna break the bank!

Personally I think this whole power consumption arguement is overblown. The PS3 (according to many articles) runs at 380W when its in use but you don't see people using that as a reason to not buy one. I actually hooked mine up to a kill-a-watt and found it actually only uses 200W but still thats just slightly lower than the average calibrated 50" plasma.
 

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OMG the extra $4.16 per month
"You take your $4.16 and you go to the dollar store and buy 4 $1 items. now thats a LOT of money"
russell peters. LOL
x 12 months =a LOT of munchies for watching movies on your 50" plasma.

not to mention the excessive heat build up which u would have to compensate by running your A/C for longer.more $$$ ,another visit to the dollar store. :)
 

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Uh, I never said the dollars were astoundingly different, or that it would break the bank. I'm trying to point out that power consumption differences may in fact exist.

As for the PS3 tangent, its competition mainly comes from the XBOX360. The 360 and PS3 have fairly similar power consumption (see here). The Wii consumes about a tenth of what the 360 and PS3 do, but it's not really a comparable since it has drastically different capabilities. Besides, title sets are what sell game consoles. Throwing the PS3 into this conversation is a red herring. It's like mentioning that people buy BBQs even though they're less energy efficient than a microwave.

To be clear, what I said before:

Lower power consumption between two comparable choices is a good thing in and of itself.

OK? A 46" LCD and 50" plasma are quite comparable. And the difference in power used--while not excessive in dollar terms--is striking. Therefore, it does belong in the pros and cons columns of the two formats. That's the point. Power consumption is not the sole factor, but it *is* a factor. The difference is real, as opposed to a fallacy as stated in the article.

It's then up to everyone to determine how to weigh those factors as part of their purchase as an informed consumer.
 

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Im the happy owner of a 37" Plasma which the article does not recommend due to the lowish pixel count.I believe it has all the same benifits mentioned for the >42" units and those where the exact reasons for my selecting it over LCD's with which I compared it.
Now please correct me if Im wrong, but yes it does have less pixels but the individual pixels are smaller therefore detail should be as good as the bigger sets should it not?I find the picture to be very detailed.
Also would the fact that it's native resolution is 720 as opposed to 768 mean that there would be less scaling needed if using a 720p source?
 

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There's a huge difference in a 46" vs. 50". Saying most people can't tell the difference between the two is an outright lie. The only way you would hardly tell the difference was if you stood about a mile away. I notice a BIG difference between my 50" and my daughters 52" when I go over to her place. I know for a fact I wouldn't go any smaller than 52" next time around. The verdict is still out though which format I'd choose. I think in the next couple of years, the real men vs. the boys will be obvious. Interesting that Sony refuses to consider plasma, although when you look at their past (VHS vs. beta for example) they just have to be different.
 
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