Do DVDs look better on Plasmas?

Home Theatre Systems

koushikp

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Hi guys,

Have been auditioning to buy a full HD TV for the last few days and here is my experience and the resultant dillema...

Was initially wanting to buy a 46" LCD..had zeroed in on the Samsung B550 model due to the huge discounts going on right now..my usage will be 60% XBOX 360 content (1080i), 20% HD content (Blu-ray and downloaded 720p movies) and 20% DVD movies (all original DVDs from 70mm)..viewing distance 8 ft-9ft..

On audition I found while for full HD content the 46" was fine at my viewing distance, the output for DVDs were really crappy on the 46" at 8-9 ft distance..so had more or less decided to go for a 42" seemed perfect for my purposes..since Samsung don't make 42", decided to go for the LG LH50 which looked nice for my "Transformer" DVD at my desired distance..

A friend suggested why don't I also look at Plasmas? Earlier I had checked the panny 42S10 on Bluray material side by side with LCDs and really didnt think that Plasmas were anything special...in fact I had liked the LCD output (Samsung B650) better..but when I put on the DVD on to it the difference between the Plasma vs. the LCDs were like night and day! (I am comparing the 40B550/LH50 and the Panny 42G10/S10) The Plasma just looked so much better, even at a distance of 6ft and of course much better at 8-9 ft...

So I am very confused...why is it that I dont find any diff in HD content and so much difference in DVDs? Is it that Plasmas handle SD material better than the LCDs?

Please share ur thoughts...
 

sanjay0864

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Other than the fact that I personally consider Plasmas in general to be far superior to LCDs, I have always found this specially to be true with SD material. The picture on LCDs just looks bad and artificial atleast with SD signals.
 

venkatcr

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Plasmas are technically considered better in handling colours and motion in 42 inches and above. This is because of the basic differences in construction method. In an LCD, the images are generated across small pixlels that are placed on the screen in an matrix. As a image moves across from one pixel to another, there is time delay from one pixel to die and another to light up.

In a plasma, a small area of gas is charged (or discharged). The gas changes it's state instantly giving you smooth colours and motion. Modern LCD, though, have reduced the switching time to few milliseconds, though there will always be a difference between, say, 2 ms and 0 ms. Since gas goes back to it's dormant state which is pitch black, the contrast of colours and motion will be vivid, and you should see no pixelation or blurs.

In your particular cases, I am not sure what really happened. The first time you did not like the DVD output, it is possible the retailer was not using a good player or good discs. Most retailers I have seen use crappy and pirated discs. It is also possible the retailer was using a bad connection between the player and the screen. I have yet to see many retailers use anything beyond composite cables. To see FullHD is all its glory, you have to use an HDMI connection.

I would advise redoing the auditioning with a set of parameters such as the same disc that your carry, good DVD players, and appropriate connections.

Cheers
 

koushikp

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In your particular cases, I am not sure what really happened. The first time you did not like the DVD output, it is possible the retailer was not using a good player or good discs. Most retailers I have seen use crappy and pirated discs. It is also possible the retailer was using a bad connection between the player and the screen. I have yet to see many retailers use anything beyond composite cables. To see FullHD is all its glory, you have to use an HDMI connection.

The first time when I saw the S10 plasma it was playing a Bluray connected through HDMI side by side with the Samsung B650 LCD, then I liked the LCd better..which I am sure was due to my personal preference for the type of output generated..The Plasma was warmer, more natural tones whereas the LCD was sharper and brighter, maybe a bit artificial, but I liked the way the LCD looked..

Thats my exact question...do you guys agree with what I found? That on full HD material in LCD vs. Plasma its a tie, maybe comes down to personal preference, but on DVDs plasmas are certainly a lot better?
 

sanjay0864

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The Plasma was warmer, more natural tones whereas the LCD was sharper and brighter, maybe a bit artificial

That on full HD material in LCD vs. Plasma its a tie, maybe comes down to personal preference, but on DVDs plasmas are certainly a lot better?
Do keep in mind that the excessively bright showroom conditions, can have a major impact on what your perception of the picture quality is. As stated by you, the picture on the Plasma is generally warmer and more natural. What you term as 'sharper and brighter, maybe a bit artificial' in the case of LCD, is majorly impacted by the overly bright showroom lights and the difference in sharpness and brightness will look overly bright and even more artificial, when viewed in normal home lighting conditions. Bottom line, the difference between Plasmas and LCDs is less with HD, but in the case of SD, the difference is much greater in favor of Plasmas.
 

just4kix

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kaushikp said:
Hi guys,

Have been auditioning to buy a full HD TV for the last few days and here is my experience and the resultant dillema...

Was initially wanting to buy a 46" LCD..had zeroed in on the Samsung B550 model due to the huge discounts going on right now..my usage will be 60% XBOX 360 content (1080i), 20% HD content (Blu-ray and downloaded 720p movies) and 20% DVD movies (all original DVDs from 70mm)..viewing distance 8 ft-9ft..

On audition I found while for full HD content the 46" was fine at my viewing distance, the output for DVDs were really crappy on the 46" at 8-9 ft distance..so had more or less decided to go for a 42" seemed perfect for my purposes..since Samsung don't make 42", decided to go for the LG LH50 which looked nice for my "Transformer" DVD at my desired distance..

A friend suggested why don't I also look at Plasmas? Earlier I had checked the panny 42S10 on Bluray material side by side with LCDs and really didnt think that Plasmas were anything special...in fact I had liked the LCD output (Samsung B650) better..but when I put on the DVD on to it the difference between the Plasma vs. the LCDs were like night and day! (I am comparing the 40B550/LH50 and the Panny 42G10/S10) The Plasma just looked so much better, even at a distance of 6ft and of course much better at 8-9 ft...

So I am very confused...why is it that I dont find any diff in HD content and so much difference in DVDs? Is it that Plasmas handle SD material better than the LCDs?

Please share ur thoughts...

When you are comparing Plasma with LCD, you must try to compare even models, though plasma is as different from LCD and chalk vs. cheese.

But what I mean is compare plasma of same size, HD capability and so on. It is universally accepted that plasmas produce black levels more faithfully.

But you have indicated that your main usage with XBox 360. Now plasmas have an inherent design flaw known as burn-in or screen etching. What happens is that when a certain image is consistently shown on the panel, the image gets etched or retained on screen (image gets burnt on the panel). Latest plasmas have been able to reduce this flaw to quite an extent but plasma technology will never make it go away completely. In games, the game control panel, scoreboard and other such stuff is constantly displayed. Plasma panels, therefore, are not recommended for static displays at airports, railway platforms, corporate reception rooms, etc.

Hence LCD is recommended.

On the other hand, if your main purpose was watching movies on DVD or Blu-Ray, plasma is simply superb. In India, plasmas are not popular and very few manufacturers make/sell full 1080p panels. I have seen plasma and LCD side by side in US retailer's showrooms (Best Buy, Fry's, Sams Club, Costco, etc.). The plasmas were way too good.

In your post you said you compared BD content on Panasonic plasma model. Now I am sure that the Panasonic model was 1360x768 model - effectively 720p. And you were comparing this with a 1080p LCD screen. This is not a fair comparison. Blu-rays will excel when shown on full HD models. But you found DVDs much better because black levels come out much better on plasma. Plasma has very high native contrast ratio (just forget about those b**s**t stuff known as dynamic constrat ratio).

But, it is not that LCD do not have defects. One of the main cause of worry on the LCD panel is the LCD pixel blow out. When this happens, the pixel stops showing all colours and instead it glows constantly in the same colour such as blue, red or green. There is no cure to this either.

Perhaps, I have confused you further. But to summarize, in my honest opinion, you should go for LCD.
 

adder

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in a hd ready plasma its possible but highly unlikely when comparing fhd plasma & lcd.

it can however be due to the settings,cables used ,whether the lcd was connected with a spliter or from the tv out of another tv.

when the backlight is set to max,in a source like dvd its going to show the upscaled artifacts much easily then a dim plasma.
 

koushikp

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@just4kicks...No it was a Full HD Plasma - Panasonic 42S10
@adder - yeah maybe a fair comparison would be by decreasing the brightness in the LCD..they were all on dynamic/vivid modes...or maybe I let my Cambridge 540D DVD player do the upscaling and then see how it looks like..

Frankly I was surprised to see the stark difference in DVD performance..I thought LCD tech has progressed enough, and so I am discussing it here to know everybody's opinions...btw any comment on my choice of the LCDs which I am considering? (40B550/46B550 and LG LH50)
 

adder

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@adder - yeah maybe a fair comparison would be by decreasing the brightness in the LCD..they were all on dynamic/vivid modes...or maybe I let my Cambridge 540D DVD player do the upscaling and then see how it looks like..

Frankly I was surprised to see the stark difference in DVD performance..I thought LCD tech has progressed enough, and so I am discussing it here to know everybody's opinions...btw any comment on my choice of the LCDs which I am considering? (40B550/46B550 and LG LH50)

if u have a cambridge 540d then let it do the upscaling,the best of tvs priced below a lakh still have inferior upscaling.
yes dynamic or any other factory settings aren't a fair way to compare,be it in lcds or plasmas.

of the lcds u have mentioned the B550A is better or a sony V550A.
 
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BLASTO

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I have a samsung B450 and the SD picture quality is better than LCDs costing way out of the price range. (Sony W?)

But I would attribute this to the 720p vs 1080p difference between the TVs and that the LCDs typically whitewash the display area with high brightness. Colour handling of the TV with 18 bit panel is also superior which might add to the experience.

Between S10 and other 1080p LCDs, It should ideally be a tie. Only contributing factors being imaging engine and upscaling capability.

And general consensus is that panasonic has an inferior upscaling engine compared to sony/samsung but produces stunning HD.

If the quality of HD video you are playing is good, it becomes hard to distinguish between capabilities of the TVs. And being exposed to loads of SD contents for so log will impact our judging capabilities of HD. Meaning it looks almost similar in similarly priced TVs until we get used to them in home environment. It is good to go by experts in this case.

But SD is what we are used to so much with our age old CRTs. We have a rough idea on how it looks when enlarged/scaled up. We are better equiped to judge this and if it matches our expectations, we are good to go.

My experience so far with my TV has easily surpassed my expectations based on SD content I was exposed to by CRTs. There are people who are not satisfied with their purchase compared to their CRTs (either in absolute terms or vis-a-vis price difference). You might want to keep that in mind while looking for your next TV.
 

zervinb

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Sony has now come out with new 2010 models, which are almost the same price or lower than last year's prices. They have the BX, EX and NX series. And different models in each series. EX400 is similar to last year's V series. EX500 is similar to last year's W series. BX400 is similar to last year's S series.
 

Shuvc

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But you have indicated that your main usage with XBox 360. Now plasmas have an inherent design flaw known as burn-in or screen etching. What happens is that when a certain image is consistently shown on the panel, the image gets etched or retained on screen (image gets burnt on the panel). Latest plasmas have been able to reduce this flaw to quite an extent but plasma technology will never make it go away completely. In games, the game control panel, scoreboard and other such stuff is constantly displayed. Plasma panels, therefore, are not recommended for static displays at airports, railway platforms, corporate reception rooms, etc.

Hence LCD is recommended.
Our Panny PV8 has seen extensive gaming usage in the last 1 yr hooked onto a PS3. 'Burn-in' is a non-issue. Does not happen.

Yes, one would see some 'image-retention' when you switch off the TV and observe the panel at some particular angles. Outlines of the control panel, scoreboard etc .. even the black bars on the top and bottom of movies. But this is also a non-issue. It goes away pretty soon on it's own. Burns/etches on the panel due to normal gaming/movies is fine with plasmas.

Static displays - yes there could be potential issues with that.
 

BLASTO

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Our Panny PV8 has seen extensive gaming usage in the last 1 yr hooked onto a PS3. 'Burn-in' is a non-issue. Does not happen.

Yes, one would see some 'image-retention' when you switch off the TV and observe the panel at some particular angles. Outlines of the control panel, scoreboard etc .. even the black bars on the top and bottom of movies. But this is also a non-issue. It goes away pretty soon on it's own. Burns/etches on the panel due to normal gaming/movies is fine with plasmas.

Static displays - yes there could be potential issues with that.

As hard as I have tried, I am yet to see even temporary image retention in my samsung B450 plasma. And not to mention, I have tried hard. :D

The TV is just ~2 months old but.

BYW, I have seen TIR in my earlier LG plasma almost daily but it gets washed away in 1/2 hour time after switching off.

Generally I have read panasonics are more resistant to TIR but recent samsungs are proving better in this department?

P.S: Not playing any kind of games but menu, static DVD screen, black bars for the length of movies are daily occurances in my case.
 

BLASTO

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Sony has now come out with new 2010 models, which are almost the same price or lower than last year's prices. They have the BX, EX and NX series. And different models in each series. EX400 is similar to last year's V series. EX500 is similar to last year's W series. BX400 is similar to last year's S series.

How is this information relevent to this thread? Can you please take care to post content in relevent threads?
 

psychotropic

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in the good old days it was the opposite, when i bought my samsung, the samsung was known to have better HD, but poorer scaling, even now I think in the budget segment both Samsung and Panasonic make excellent PDPs with each having their own strenghts. The Panasonic has better blacks (but do watch out for the strange problem that people seem to be reporting and which has caused CNET and ENgadget to withdraw their recommendation for Panny plasmas), and resists TIR better.....whereas Samsung has more accurate colours.

Either way you can't go too far wrong.

I've always personally preferred the picture on plasmas, for how they handle colour, detail, motion and so on, but LCD technology has caught up a fair bit and newer LCDs are quite good. At the end of the day you should go with whatever you liked, provided the comparison was under close-to-identical conditions.

And general consensus is that panasonic has an inferior upscaling engine compared to sony/samsung but produces stunning HD.
 

koushikp

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I've always personally preferred the picture on plasmas, for how they handle colour, detail, motion and so on, but LCD technology has caught up a fair bit and newer LCDs are quite good. At the end of the day you should go with whatever you liked, provided the comparison was under close-to-identical conditions.

I wish I could say the test was done under similar conditions..different places to check different sets under different lighting conditions...But I did carry my Transformers DVD in all the places..the opening scene is a good scene to check out blacks (the rotating cube in the nighttime sky), looked a LOT LOT better on the Plasmas..this of course goes with the assumption that HD material will look good everywhere, I have even seen a Haier LCD in Croma playing Blu-ray look acceptable on its own..

Since I got so obssesed with this decision I was reading up on the the net and found this very interesting article on contrast ratios, where among many other things it explains how just having deeper blacks is not everything (in fact it may ot even be that important) and actually the ability to accurately reproduce all shades of gray that gives the TV the ability to differentiate between darker areas in a challenging scene.

The Contrast Ratio Game: Playing with Numbers

this article actually solves a dillema that I had after I auditioned the Sammy B550 and Sony V550 side by side but never highlighted before..In one test DVD where they were showing slow moving test loops I saw that a shadow aapearing in a black signboard at the corner where the signboard bends, this shadow did not even appear in the Sammy B550 but appeared in the Sony V550, The Sammy black was definitely darker, but the whole signboard was black, the differentiation was not visible..will have to go back and investigate this again..both sets were set on vivid/dynamic..
 
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psychotropic

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don't test anything on vivic/dynamic mode.....ever.......check them out in 'cinema' or 'movie' mode with all enhancements such as "dynamic contrast" and stuff turned off.

I wish I could say the test was done under similar conditions..different places to check different sets under different lighting conditions...But I did carry my Transformers DVD in all the places..the opening scene is a good scene to check out blacks (the rotating cube in the nighttime sky), looked a LOT LOT better on the Plasmas..this of course goes with the assumption that HD material will look good everywhere, I have even seen a Haier LCD in Croma playing Blu-ray look acceptable on its own..

Since I got so obssesed with this decision I was reading up on the the net and found this very interesting article on contrast ratios, where among many other things it explains how just having deeper blacks is not everything (in fact it may ot even be that important) and actually the ability to accurately reproduce all shades of gray that gives the TV the ability to differentiate between darker areas in a challenging scene.

The Contrast Ratio Game: Playing with Numbers

this article actually solves a dillema that I had after I auditioned the Sammy B550 and Sony V550 side by side but never highlighted before..In one test DVD where they were showing slow moving test loops I saw that a shadow aapearing in a black signboard at the corner where the signboard bends, this shadow did not even appear in the Sammy B550 but appeared in the Sony V550, The Sammy black was definitely darker, but the whole signboard was black, the differentiation was not visible..will have to go back and investigate this again..both sets were set on vivid/dynamic..
 

BLASTO

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I wish I could say the test was done under similar conditions..different places to check different sets under different lighting conditions...But I did carry my Transformers DVD in all the places..the opening scene is a good scene to check out blacks (the rotating cube in the nighttime sky), looked a LOT LOT better on the Plasmas..this of course goes with the assumption that HD material will look good everywhere, I have even seen a Haier LCD in Croma playing Blu-ray look acceptable on its own..

Since I got so obssesed with this decision I was reading up on the the net and found this very interesting article on contrast ratios, where among many other things it explains how just having deeper blacks is not everything (in fact it may ot even be that important) and actually the ability to accurately reproduce all shades of gray that gives the TV the ability to differentiate between darker areas in a challenging scene.

The Contrast Ratio Game: Playing with Numbers

this article actually solves a dillema that I had after I auditioned the Sammy B550 and Sony V550 side by side but never highlighted before..In one test DVD where they were showing slow moving test loops I saw that a shadow aapearing in a black signboard at the corner where the signboard bends, this shadow did not even appear in the Sammy B550 but appeared in the Sony V550, The Sammy black was definitely darker, but the whole signboard was black, the differentiation was not visible..will have to go back and investigate this again..both sets were set on vivid/dynamic..

You are referring to shadow detail here.
Pioneer kuros are known for this. Next in line is the Panasonic plasmas.

Samsung eats out all shadow detail when dynamic contrast is even low. It should be off. (I have it off all the time). The Dynamic picture mode has it at High.

Ideal setting (for store demo) is to keep the mode to standard and switch of all dynamic black level enhancement things.

Having said that, samsung produces lesser shadow details compared to panasonic in my demo. Don't know about the sony.
 
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