LCD or Plasma--brand suggestions

cookinmamaNovember 8, 2010

We are nearing the end of a remodel and it's time to put in the TVs. I can pick out tile, faucets and flooring, but I'm at a total loss when it comes to electronics. We pre-wired for internet, cable, and surround sound. Looking for 52" screen for the game room, where we will watch sports, movies and kids will play video games. 3D capability is not important. I've read great things about plasma but not sure if it's old school. CR says to consider plasma for price and quality. What do you say?

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Plasma has a shiny glass surface and isn't good if you have a bright room.

When we bought our LCD TV last spring, we started out by just staring at the displays at Best Buy and Costco. And I liked the product information at

Here is a link that might be useful: cnet

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 3:48PM
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Most LCD's televisons are going to be much more reliable than plasmas. My wife's twin sister is on their 3rd plasma TV (all different makes, Phillips cant recall the other 2) that broke. We still have our original Sharp Aquos 52" LCD TV and it still works great no repairs in 5 years or so, and we bought it before SIL bought her Plasma.

I also have a friend that has a Plasma, the High voltage power supply went out and the repair guy said it would have cost $3000 for the repair had he not had the extended warranty.

Some manufactures have already abandoned Plasmas, more may do so, alto the newer plasmas are better, they still draw a lot more power than do most LCD TV's.

Good luck on your decisions!


    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 8:44PM
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Personally, I would go with an LED-LCD. I'll explain briefly the characteristics of 3 choices to perhaps help you make a choice. You'll notice a big price drop this year on regular LCD and Plasma's because they want to reduce the supplies. I'll start with Plasma...every pixel on a Plasma tv gets used. Even the color black, is a color that gets defined on a pixel. Each of the pixels on the screen is a cell filled with a gas similar to neon that reacts to various voltages that provide the colors. Over time, the gas leaks out of some of the cells. It's not very noticeable at first but in certain scenes, you might see a tiny black dot that you may even think is a spec of dust at first. As more of the cells deteriorate, the problem gets worse as time goes on. The time span of course depends on the quality of the unit. You can expect to see this maybe after the 5th year. I'm not saying all will do it in that time span but eventually, the problem is inevitable.

A regular LCD tv is different. The screen is made up of liquid crystals. You can actually make an LCD display using a mixture of dish soap and salt sandwiched between polarized glass. When you introduce various voltages, you'll get images on the screen. The LCD must use what is called a "backlight". This backlight is similar to a florescent bulb. They are not user replaceable. I'm sure you've seen how over time, a florescent bulb starts getting dark on the ends and eventually it gets progressively worse. The same thing happens on the backlight over time. If you and your family watch the tv often, you may not notice it right away or, you'll find yourself fooling with the brightness and contrast allot. Again it could start as early as 5 years. I've seen them start after 2 years and some earlier, it depends on the quality.

The LED-LCD is the going thing right now. The liquid crystal are pretty much the same but the "backlighting" is LED (light emitting Diode"). LED's give a much better light and you'll notice the sharpness is very good. LED's have a tendency to last many years (some anticipated to 50 years or more, many know to last 25 years for sure). Yes, there is a possibility some can go bad sooner but for the most part, they are very reliable.

Visit anyplace like Wal-Mart, Sears, Best Buy, SAMS, Costco that has many of each type on display. You'll see the LED-LCD is much sharper. When buying, I recommend a non reflective screen. If you can get one with a flat finish around the edges, I think that would be better on the eyes also. Most have the glossy "Piano" finish around the frame and after a while, you get used to it and don't notice. But a non-reflective screen (flat) with a non reflective outer edge is what I prefer. Check them out when you are looking, you'll surely see what I mean. The LED-LCD is right now, the higher priced of the 3. If price is the preference, you'll see large screen Plasma and regular LCD really greatly reduced in price these days.

I hope this info helps you in your shopping and good luck!!!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 8:45PM
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My Panasonic plasma unit is 8 years old (9/28/2002). I've had no trouble with it. There are no dead pixels, other than the one that has been dead since day 1, but I looked closely a few mins ago and couldn't find it.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 11:39PM
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There are millions of each type set out there. When there is a problem, those are the typical problems. Many sets out there are still working fine but, over time, this is what you will typically experience. There are a lot of Plasma and LCD and even projection tv's (and older sets) out there with no problems at all and serve the users well. However knowing the characteristics of each type will give you an idea of what to expect. Quite frankly many of the sets experience similar problems in other areas. That is mostly because the components used are bought from the same manufacturer. I assure you, you can look at the circuit boards of several different name brands and find the exact same boards in them.

Power supplies and remote control circuits are big problems. This is mainly due to the fact they are energized all the time unless you unplug the unit. The down side to doing that is the stress of heating and cooling it would cause to some of the components. They are subject to surges 24/7 and no matter where you live, you have various surges or drops in voltages constantly. The components in many of these circuits are not robust enough to handle the constant bombardment and fail. And, I'm not talking about high voltage surges that a surge protector would detect. Most times it is an undersized or marginal capacitor although I have come across several that have had poor solder joints that worked loose or built a high resistance from electrolysis that just needed to be redone. You'd need a magnifying glass while going over the circuit to find them. Knowing which circuit and where it is located is they key.

I recommend anyone buying a tv today, to also purchase a good UPS to go along with it. They will protect from surges and low voltage occurrences and will save you from reprogramming or reboots on those units that need it. They'll also eliminate the stress on components that remain energized even when the unit is in the off position and are destined for failure from the stress of heating up and cooling or over-voltages.

I also suggest when you are shopping, hold your hand up near the screen of the various models and see for yourself which type produces the most heat and thus uses the most energy. I won't get into that argument, you can be the judge. You will find the LED-LCD to be a bit less energy consuming than other choices because LED's use very little energy. For the most part, everything else is pretty much the same as a regular LCD.

Good luck in your search!!!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 10:16AM
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i have a samsung and am very happy with it, it is an LCD model,my only advice is pick one you like and make sure it has a wired internet jack (rj 45)on it for future stuff and Netflix.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 8:25AM
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The motion artifacts present in all LCD TV sets drive me crazy: they tend to make fast-moving scenes blur, and that condition is present in one form or another in all LCD TV sets. Additionally, while LCD TV sets have vivid colors, few of them are actually color-accurate, tending towards pastel colors.

Also, LCD TV sets tend not to reproduce dark and black scenes very well, showing a loss of detail in dark scenes, and rendering blacks as a sort of dark gray. The newer LED-LCD TV sets are better in that regard than the older fluorescent-bulb LED TV sets, but they still do not match the blacks rendered in a good plasma or CRT TV set.

LCD TV sets look great in a TV showroom, but are not nearly as satisfying to a movie or video-lover as a well dialed-in plasma. Large screen high quality plasma sets are usually less expensive than comparably sized LCD TV sets

If you consult the Panasonic, Samsung or LG catalogs, you'll see that plasma TV sets are still very much a part of those companies' product lines, and are preferred by critical viewers.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 11:15AM
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Great thread, a lot of good info!!!

I'm seeing the price of both technologies drop way down. I wonder if these choices are going the way of the old 4 track tape player as opposed to the 8 track. The cassette and now the CD won out on those. Some would say the ipod won. Most folks tend to go with the easiest to procure, the simplest to carry home and plug and play and the less room or mounting difficulties as possible, and cost. How many "Beta" machines ended up in the junk pile, basements and attics because the alternative was smaller as well as other things. Beta was actually the better technology for hard core viewers.

I see where a lot of effort is being made toward the LCD matching Plasma color and rendering. So the look of Plasma appears as the standard but the other advantages of LED/LCD is the general direction things are moving? This is only my opinion. I don't know, I'm just guessing by what I am reading and seeing in the stores. I see a few Plasma's and a lot of LCD's.

I saw this in satellite technology. Motorola came out with the 4Dtv receiver a few years ago for those who use the big dish. The big dish gave the viewer first generation broadcasts which meant the best picture quality you could receive. This meant you would be getting the signal in it's purest form. Now today, the small dish, Dish Network and Direct TV for example, are the choice. Most people didn't like the big dish and the complexity of the receiver and went for the pizza size dishes. The user doesn't have to move a dish, it is smaller. The programmer receives the signal and retransmits it which even though second generation quality is much less perfect, the majority of users appear to be satisfied with it despite rain and cloud fade. Now Motorola has stopped supporting the 4Dtv and it has become a little more than a boat anchor even though it is the latest in technology.

I mention this because it appears that most users are not hard core serious "it's gotta be perfect" users. They are looking for the best price, best reliability in a decent set that is easy to install by the average person that all their other junk can be hooked to and, is easy on energy and gives the best satisfactory picture for most programming, for the price. The defenders of Plasma will advocate all of these traits, as will the defenders of LED/LCD technology. All I can say is stay tuned!!!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 6:54PM
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Thanks for all the information on this thread.

Sushipup -- is the post by wallinjoshh spam?

marilyn_irisman -- what is a UPS for going along with the TV? Is that a special kind of power surge protector?

I have just bought a 50" Plasma; first TV purchase in 14 years! The price seemed reasonable, meaning that for sure there is newer, hotter technology that's just hit the market. I'm hoping this trade-off will be reasonable. The set itself got good reviews. Reading reviews around the web suggest that set-type, pixel size and brand are not the only relevant parameters. Certain lines seem to do better than others (say, 50" Samsung vs 42" Samsung, same resolutions, etc).

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 5:20PM
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Just because there's newer technology surely doesn't mean your purchase is something from the dark ages. As you probably read throughout this post, there are numerous opinions and experiences regarding TV's. You still have purchased well within the latest technology and you will surely be very happy with the plasma.

A UPS is an Uninterpretable Power Supply. What that means is if the power goes out, any device connected to the UPS will continue to receive power for a period of time. Judging by your post here and another one I saw appealing for help, I won't go into all the mumbo jumbo of how it works. These units were originally designed for computers. They gave enough power to allow the user to shut down a computer normally instead of it just going dead when the power went out. I recommend them for all electronic equipment because surging, spiking and a lot of fast "off and on's" because of incoming power going out can cause premature wear on components. The UPS are also good surge protectors. You can buy these in varying price ranges. Generally the larger ones provide power for a longer period of time than the smaller ones. If you do not leave the TV on when the power goes out, a smaller, lower priced unit would be fine....about $30.00. If you have satellite programing, it helps to plug the tv and Sat. box into the UPS. That way when the power comes back on, you don't have to wait for the units to reload any programming. I use several units throughout the house that are in the $75.00 range. The use of the UPS per se, is my preference and opinion only, it is not a requirement. But they do save you frustration and protect your equipment. I bought mine at COSTCO and was so pleased because we have frequent outages that I purchased more from SAMS Club. Both clubs sell the same unit. You can get them at WalMart, Best Buy, Radio Shack, etc. The units I use are from a company called ACP. I also have 2 that are Hewlett Packards. They all work great.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 9:44PM
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I'd recommend a UPS also. We've had one on the computer and one on the TV for several years.
We had a power failure the other night with the power going on and off for about 10 seconds before it finally went off for good. That wouldn't have been good for either one.
The TV and computer kept running until I shut them off.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 8:59AM
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