View Full Version : plasma vs. lcd vs. dlp

02-02-2007, 08:22 PM
I was just into best buy trying to help my dad purchase a tv and realized that i was very overwhelmed. I realized that hd tv isnt going to do you much good with out an hd cable package unless you watch a bunch of dvds. In this case the tv will basically be used for watching regular cable and sports. No surround sound and no dvd player will be attached. He is looking at around 42 inches but needs to stay under 50 inch.

Maybe some insight, if anyone has any could help us through this. I wasnt sure which would be better, plasma, lcd, dlp. So many choices. I think for now dad is going to stay with analog cable. If he cant find a happy medium he may just throw his hands in the air and give up.

The tvs into best buy are very misleading because they have very high quality cables and lighting and all that jazz. We where surfing the channels trying to see what some of the local channels would look like and we saw oprah, she looked like a bad version of micheal jackson. So these fancy new hd tvs on analog stations is nothing to brag about.
So again, any help would be great.

02-02-2007, 08:34 PM
There's a lot to look at. Consumer Reports had a breakdown of the different technologies a few months ago, I think I still have it at home. Watching a DVD won't get you HD, you need a special player like Blue-Ray or (can't think of the name) the other one :) The different TVs have different advantages/disadvantages. LCD seems to be near the top of the heap price/performance right now. The one thing that bugs me with all of them is that you can still see 'pixalization' (or things get chunky) when there is fast motion across the whole screen. My friend Gary (at Summit Sound in Bangor 947-4434...shameless pitch) said that there's another technology, coming out in about 3 years that won't break up with motion. He's a good one to talk to about this stuff, doesn't have a huge selection, but has some good tv's and advice. That's where I buy all my home stuff.
There are some really good deals out there right now, but just remember, 3 months after you get that great deal, it will be in the paper for $500 less. Just like buying a computer :(

02-03-2007, 01:09 AM
We pondered several options when we got ours. We finally went with a Samsung DLP projection TV. 50" or 52", I forget. We still love it.

I don't have the best of cables hooked up to it. We don't have digital cable. But, I made a homemade thumbtack and wire antenna on the back of the entertainment center to receive local HD programming. So, we can easily see the difference. But even so, we can't justify paying the extra apx. $15 a month for digital cable for the better picture. Most of the viewing we do where we care is DVDs, which are nice as they are. VHS movies show up a little worse where they are blown up. I guess for us, the larger picture is worth more than the super clear picture. Even though that is sweet, too!

If you'd like to stop by and see the difference, give me a holler and we'll work something out.

Cache Maine
02-03-2007, 08:49 AM
Did you build that entertainment center Dave?

02-03-2007, 09:15 AM
Did you build that entertainment center Dave?

Yes, I did. Hopefully we don't move soon, because the only way it could be taken off the second floor is though a hole in the wall!

02-03-2007, 10:48 AM
Nice photo of the Norridgewock Bridge on the monitor.....:)

02-03-2007, 10:50 AM
Nice photo of the Norridgewock Bridge on the monitor.....:)

I was wondering how I could integrate this post into both this thread and your photo thread... :)
You guessed right! Now it's your turn to post a picture of your TV showing a mystry photo!

02-04-2007, 10:05 AM
When I bought my big screen a few years back. I went to Tweeter, the experts in the audio/video world. I met a nice guy who gave me all the RIGHT answers to my questions. Turned out he also had the best deal. Go figure. We bought a Mitsubishi " rear projection " best at the time. My only advice now is stay away from PLASMA. LCD has the best picture in a well lit room. So yes you even have to take account of what the room looks like. How many windows and does the sun shine through them alot? DLP can be a maintenace nightmare, if your not careful. Good luck and let us know.

02-04-2007, 11:03 AM
I will agree with T2H on the lighting issue. We have 7 windows in this room which originally just had the old fashioned pull down white shades. We have since converted to wooden blinds and now viewing at any time of day is great. You need to be able to control your lighting with LCD/Plasma more so than you do with conventional CRT.

02-05-2007, 10:25 AM
It just so happens that in the past few weeks I've been doing some research on TVs . . . mostly because I have some extra time on my hands at work . . . well that and like most guys I love electronics (in fact I have a column on this coming out soon) . . . and the fact that I'm lusting (that's right, lusting . . . not desiring, not thinking about . . . actual lusting) for a larger screen since bigger is always better, right?

In any case, Dave, here's a few of my thoughts in no particular order.

HDTV . . . once you see it you'll notice a definite difference -- especially on sporting events. However, as you mentioned, you have to have a way of getting the HD signal. For my "old" (three or four years now) ginormous Samsung CRT (this thing weighs a ton incidentally but only has a 30 inch widescreen) which has a built-in HD tuner (this is important since some TVs are still sold that are only HD-ready and don't have the HD tuner built in) I use standard coax connected to a roof antenna to get my signal. The difference between the analog and digital signal (not to be confused with HD signal) is amazing . . . and when a program is aired in HD the image is even more impressive (although I've noticed that sporting events really seem to do well with nationally-broadcast HD shows being a bit better than the standard digital broadcast). WABI comes in great and I rarely use the analog signal that they broadcast. Since I'm in a fringe broadcast area WLBZ, WCSH and the CBS affiliate in Portland show a half decent analog broadcast, but the digital signal is hit or miss depending on the weather (I have also been told that several stations (as of a few months ago) were not transmitting the digital signal on full power. It may be possible that if your Dad doesn't want to buy a roof antenna, but would like to take advantage of the digital and HD signal that he could get by with rabbit ears or similar set top antenna system (the antenna, not the actual ears of a bunny rabbit) . . . but I don't know if you can receive the signal where he is . . . as a rule of thumb, in most cases if you can receive an over-the-air signal currently you should be able to receive a digital signal as well. I also should mention that the rest of my viewing is done through a non-HD Direct TV satellite TV service which provides digital broadcasting which also is very sharp.

DVDs . . . You said Dad doesn't watch any DVDs . . . but as mentioned DVDs aren't HD unless you go with the Blu-Ray or HD-DVD players which cost some change.

DLP . . . from what I've read this system seems to offer the most bang-for-the-buck. You'll get a TV set that offers a great image. What you won't get is the ability to hang it on the wall (la-ti-dah, right . . . I imagine your Dad probably could care less), it's a lot less weighty than the convention CRT (although CRTS probably offer the absolute best bang for the buck) and you can get relatively large screen views for a much cheaper price than plasma or LCD. I will confess that I have not looked much at DLPs for two reasons . . . 1) I am hoping that when Heidi and I remodel our living room we can get a fireplace and install a flatscreen above the fireplace (providing that there is enough clearance and the heat issues are not problematic) and 2) I will confess that I am sometimes leery of brand new technology and I'm waiting to see if there are any problems with the colorwheel and mirrors on the DLPs before I make the move.

LCD . . . this seems to be the most popular choice . . . perhaps due to the fact that we are very familiar with this technology since many of us have LCD monitors and the smaller LCD TVs are fairly affordable. These TVs are excellent for viewing in light-saturated areas as they are very bright. As Sudonim mentioned, there have been some issues with blurring with fast-moving action and a "screen door effect" . . . some "experts" say these problems have been resolved with the latest generation. Many agencies that rate TVs have given the Sharp Aquos line of LCD TVs high marks with a plasma-TV like image. Newer LCD TVs are growing larger . . . but of course the price tag has gone up along with the screen size.

Plasma . . . many video-philes consider plasma to be the ultimate TV. The smallest plasma is 37 inch with 42 and 50 inch being more common. Experts say the colors are more vivid with plasma, but that they are best seen in low-light conditions. Issues of burn-in (station logos on the screen, a static video game image such as a life meter, etc.) and longevity (plasma TVs originally did not have long life expectancies, but are now good to go for many, many years) do not appear to be as much of an issue now with the latest generation of plasma TVs. These TVs do tend to run a little warmer according to some users and may use more electricity. A good choice according to many experts is the Pioneer or Panasonic line of plasma TVs.

Well, I don't know if this has helped or just confused you more Dave. Final thought . . . take a look at the TV yourself and see what looks best to you . . . and remember everyone has an opinion on what is best.

02-05-2007, 10:32 AM
Here's a great explanation of HDTV, types of TVS and how to receive these signals.

02-05-2007, 10:35 AM
Here's a section that explains some of the pros and cons to the various TVs.