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Are Plasma TVs the Next BetaMax?

CmdrTaco posted about 8 years ago | from the sure-why-not dept.


Lev13than writes "An article in the Toronto Star questions whether the battle between LCD and Plasma is the next VHS vs. Beta: "LCD is now in plasma country, and this means war — a war some say plasma can't hope to win". Rationale for LCD's victory include plasma's burn-in vs. LCD's ruggedness, improved images and falling prices. While the Beta analogy isn't particularly helpful (since both technologies play the same content), the article does raise interesting points."

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LCD backlights will fade unevenly (5, Informative)

non-sequitur (179054) | about 8 years ago | (#15944229)

And when they do, they're prohibitively expensive to replace.
Since so many of these are new, they won't fade for about two years - if Plasma is still around, you may see the tide change....

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (1)

dnoyeb (547705) | about 8 years ago | (#15944237)

So your going with a "grass is greener" theory? Since there are more LCD owners you will have more going from LCD to plasma due to issues with LCD aging than from plasma to LCD due to issues with plasma aging?

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (5, Interesting)

non-sequitur (179054) | about 8 years ago | (#15944319)

I suppose I don't like to see judgement until all the evidence is in, and I think it's very difficult to get a balanced view on anything noawadays - including things that seem very straightfroward.

I have a Sony CRT-based HDTV, and I really would love a flat-panel big screen. I think right now I'd favor LCD, but that preference is partly based on hearsay about Plasma (supposedly high power and supposedly short life), not direct experience.

I have had direct experience with LCD, and I love it - except for the uneven fading of the CCFL backlights (maybe LED would improve this?), and the poor image quality when viewing non-native resolutions (which is improving with newer technology, and is mainly a problem only with PCs or SDTV).

I haven't really warmed up to DLP - poor off-angle viewing and relatively dim image - but I can see the economy in it.

So, I'm torn - each have strengths and weaknesses, but I'd hate to see one drop out simply because some information wasn't brought up.

I imagine if people knew that Betamax was capable of better image quality without breaking backward-compatibiltiy, it might have trumped VHS (okay, there was also the closed-source problem, and the legendary porn industry influence).

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (2, Interesting)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 8 years ago | (#15944522)

I'm torn - each have strengths and weaknesses

In situations like that I go to shop and buy first thing I like.

It's pointless to worry about future problems. Solve problems when they come: burned out plasma or dimmed back light both are not lethal to human life ;-)

I sort'a can relate to your problems. I'm going to buy TV that autumn. And most likely it would LCD: prices are now start at €800 for 32". Since I haven't found decent review I would just buy cheapest one of my preferred brands - Philips or Panasonic. And then will face the music.

P.S. Honestly I more worried about that "HD-ready" v. "HDMI" thing. It's kind'a scary to have thing at home you do not control. In VHS time, I successfully avoided that braindamaged Macrovision, but now with HD it seems that I have not much choices left.

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (4, Informative)

innosent (618233) | about 8 years ago | (#15944490)

Or you could do what I did, avoid the whole issue completely and use a DLP projector. You have to replace the bulb every 3000 hours or so, but even after several bulb changes, I couldn't find a comparable LCD or plasma for less, since my 10' diagonal screen still isn't available with flat panels. I spent about $800 for the projector, and the cost of the bulbs ends up being around $0.05/hr to use it, a number which is perfectly acceptable to me.

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944240)

Nice first post, and on topic above all

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (2, Insightful)

Linker3000 (626634) | about 8 years ago | (#15944257)

...and if backlight fading becomes a problem, expect manufacturers to make it an easily replaceable option - just like changing a fluorescent tube (which it generally is) - more opportunity for the manufacturers to push 'spares' that the videophiles will replace every month or so.

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (2, Interesting)

non-sequitur (179054) | about 8 years ago | (#15944337)

I wouldn't hold my breath - manufacturers always prefer that you replace the whole appliance, unless they can reap both higher gross and higher margins from replacements.

Replacing the CCFL backlight is not cheap for a laptop - how can it be cheap enough for a 42' or bigger screen?

Even if it was easy to swap out, the margin must be high for the manufacturer to benefit, so the savings would not be passed on to the customer.

let's hope I'm mistaken....

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (2, Interesting)

bsane (148894) | about 8 years ago | (#15944375)

the margin must be high for the manufacturer to benefit, so the savings would not be passed on to the customer.

I have no idea whether or not swapping out the backlight is feasable, but your wrong about the economics.

If it can be done someone will probably offer it. If its seen as a benifit then it will be sought after by the consumer, and non-replacable LCDs sales will fall.

There is plenty of competition in the TV market and there is no mega-corp making decisions about whats available and whats not (other than the MPAA and the broadcast flag :-) ).

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (2, Interesting)

non-sequitur (179054) | about 8 years ago | (#15944435)

You may be right - we won't know for a while.

I agree it CAN be done, but don't forget that to replace it will not require both a manufacturer (of the backlight), a cooperative TV manufacturer, and most likely a competant installer.

#1 - The backlight manufacturer wants to profit from the market. The backlight manufacturer may be the most motivated in this scenario. It's possible that the TV manufacturer may be the middleman, but that's going to drive the price up even more.

#2 - The TV manufacturer will need to design the panel to be easily disassembled. This doesn't come for free. Extra parts, hinges, snaps, fasteners, stiffeners, connectors - whatever. It's almost never going to be as cheap as an integrated part.

#3 - The consumer may be able to install the backlight, but more likely (due to the size and fragility), the consumer will have to have a competant installer do it. Most likely as a hou$e-call.

I'm being overly cynical, and maybe I'm wrong...

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (2, Insightful)

bsane (148894) | about 8 years ago | (#15944458)

The point though is that there are multiple #1s and #2s competing for business. If a replacable backlight gives them an edge they will do it.

No one has anything even approaching a monopoly on TVs, there is pretty fierce compition.

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (2, Interesting)

Jeremi (14640) | about 8 years ago | (#15944344)

And when they do, they're prohibitively expensive to replace.

True... I wonder why some manufacturer doesn't make an LCD display with an easily replaceable backlight(*). I'd pay extra for a display if I knew I wouldn't have to throw it away in a few years.

(*) Actually, I have some ideas as to why, but they are too cynical to be worth repeating here

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (2, Insightful)

non-sequitur (179054) | about 8 years ago | (#15944388)

I don't think it's overly cynical though. If it's Sony,or LG, or Proton, or anybody - the company must do what's best for the bottom line (it's a legal obligation to the shareholders of publicly held companies, and the main objective for privately held companies).
And what's best for the bottom line, is often not what the educated consumer would prefer. But it does tend to keep the economy rolling. It keeps the money in the air - where more of it can be snatched up by the powerful (and idustrious) few.

That's a good thing (5, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 8 years ago | (#15944362)

for the TV industry, sell a product that needs replacing every few years. Worked for bike racks. Yakima and Thule used to sell racks so durable they were only replaced when someone bought a new car and you couldn't buy compatible roof clips. Nowadays critical components are made of cheap plastic that'll wear out in a few years (and good luck buying just the components). I gather it works well for cars too. What's annoying is all the landfills full of busted consumer goods. I mean, would it really be that hard to design these things to be repairable? Probably no more so than making a refillable ink cartridge.

Re:That's a good thing (3, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 8 years ago | (#15944513)

What we need is a different model. Like sell expensive high quality products, but offer service options and payment plans. You pay off your TV after a couple years and you can hang onto it for a while. the company produces fewer TVs reducing their overhead but charges more for them.

Now the trick would be how to get such a model to compete with the existing model of disposable devices. It hasn't worked for printers even though everyone is aware that desktop inkjets and laserjets are a rip off. You can pick up a 8-10 year old office laser printer for only about double the price of a new cheapo laser printer, and the old "beast" might take up more space in your home but it will probably last another 10 years and be servicable. and you can usually put around four times more paper in it, so you don't have to fill it up as often or find a place to store your half-used reams of paper.

I don't know anyone who actually went out and bought an old laser printer in preference to one of the new junk ones. so I'm guessing this isn't working out either.

Cars are higher quality now then they were in the late 70s to mid 80s, at least American cars. car makers realized that you don't have to make a cheap car that falls apart. you just make a car that completely collapses on any impact as a safety feature. most cars eventually succumb to a collision. then you can sell those people a new car. This new model seems better than the Ford Pinto model of cars.

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (1)

soft_guy (534437) | about 8 years ago | (#15944401)

I have used laptops considerably older than 2 years and they look OK to me.

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (1)

non-sequitur (179054) | about 8 years ago | (#15944468)

Good for you. What's "OK"? Will a TV you pay $2500 for be "OK" when the brightness of the screen is inconsistent, with a $1000 BlueRay DVD player as a source?

I've got a Samsung 170MP 17" LCD monitor/TV that is uneven as hell, I've got a Thinkpad T42 that's already faded in the corners, and I'm using a Dell 2001FP that's noticeably dimmer and uneven compared to the one-year-newer Dell 2001FP next to it (dual-head card, and they've been swapped as a test).

I could go on with what I've seen, including 3 large-format LCD TVs, but they're not mine, I don't have the model numbers etc.

They do fade. It may not bother you. Yet. But a 17" panel is very different from a 42" panel.

Fade? (2, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 years ago | (#15944427)

LCD backlights will fade unevenly...And when they do, they're prohibitively expensive to replace. Since so many of these are new, they won't fade for about two years - if Plasma is still around, you may see the tide change.

Mine is going on 4 years and no fade at all.

One thing I never liked about plasma was the power consumption. Do they still suck 300+ watts and emit a lot of heat?

Re:LCD backlights will fade unevenly (1)

TigerTim (968445) | about 8 years ago | (#15944452)

Do you have any evidence for this statement?

Very similar to ISDN in the USA (2)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | about 8 years ago | (#15944474)

I've always thought of Plasma as the ISDN of TV technology -- it's an 'in-between' solution that is less than ideal and expensive, but provides a level of capability that early adopters and the rich are willing to pay for. Eventually it will pass from the scene, but for a limited number of people for a limited amount of time, it will do the job..

If Plasma is betamax (5, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 8 years ago | (#15944243)

Then my CRT must be a wax cylinder :(

Strangely enough, it doesn't suffer from uneven fade or blurring and has survived years with the kids knocking against it and still looks damn good.

I must really be behind the times if I want to pay more money for something with less quality and features...

Re:If Plasma is betamax (1)

hackstraw (262471) | about 8 years ago | (#15944354)

I have 7 letters to add.


Granted, its not as thin as plasma, but no picture is better.

Re:If Plasma is betamax (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944392)

CRT is a dinosaur. Resolution is poor, it's a pain to keep a quality image, and the things are ridiculously large and heavy. You still get your old-timers claiming they're the best technology out there, but they are absolutely not. Latest gen DLP, SXRD (Sony LCOS), and LCOS in general destroy it in almost every metric except possibly black levels (and that's close now). LCD and Plasma are still better in resolution and sharpness and the form factor makes them a much more attractive option for 99% of people.

So you be happy with yours, that's fine. But they're a dying technology and they're not dying because of a fickle or uneducated market, they're dying because they're horrifyingly large and difficult to maintain properly.

Re:If Plasma is betamax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944421)

Maintain properly?? What maintenance does a CRT require?

You wipe the dust off the screen every now and then, same as an LCD or Plasma. As far as any repairs go, you pretty much toss all of these technologies in the garbage if they stop working since they're either prohibitively expensive to fix, or they simply can't be fixed.

Re:If Plasma is betamax (5, Insightful)

Bastian (66383) | about 8 years ago | (#15944525)

I wouldn't say that CRTs are horrifyingly large. They're just horrifyingly large if you want them to be. I'm perfectly happy with my 24" TV, and I don't think I'm the only consumer on the planet who doesn't feel the need to have his living room be commanted by some gigantic Picture Box of Doom.

The resolution doesn't bother me since it's the same as the resolution of my TV signal and I'm not going to waste any time crying in my beer because I lack the ability to represent one image pixel with four pixels of my TV's display. Yes it's true that the resolution of the TV signal I'm getting may increase beyond what my CRT does in the future, but that future date keeps moving back, the price of LCD and flat panel TV's keeps going down, and it just doesn't make much sense to me to pay a lot for something before it's useful to me when I can be patient and pay less by not buying it until I need it.

I'm not sure what you mean by "it's a pain to keep a quality image" and "difficult to maintain properly." I've had my CRT television for ten years, I haven't lifted a finger to do any maintenance on it aside from wiping the dust off the screen every so often, and as far as I can tell it is still working just fine. I don't even bother to turn off the TV when I'm going to go wander off with a videogame paused while I spend an hour and a half cooking, eating, and cleaning up after some fancy dinner. Meanwhile, the estimates for lifetime that I've been hearing for plasma displays make it sound like ten years would be a pretty good life. Not sure about LCDs.

Re:If Plasma is betamax (1)

Danathar (267989) | about 8 years ago | (#15944434)

Yea, and if it's even a moderate sized LCD it probably takes a forklift to move.

Re:If Plasma is betamax (1)

Hercules Peanut (540188) | about 8 years ago | (#15944496)

I must really be behind the times if I want to pay more money for something with less quality and features...

Well, you can't buy a CRT over 36", nor an HDCRT over 34" anymore. While I understand your feelings about CRT superiority, if you don't think bigger is always better, not only are you behind the times, you're living on another planet.

I predict.... neither. (1, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | about 8 years ago | (#15944244)

Of the currently commercial available technologies, I'd predict that DLP will be the long-term winner.

Re:I predict.... neither. (2, Informative)

jbreckman (917963) | about 8 years ago | (#15944463)

DLPs require fans to keep the bulb cool. This can produce unreasonable noise while trying to watch something.

I had a Toshiba 46" DLP a couple months ago with two sets of fans in it. One was on when the TV was on, which was very loud. You had to run the TV way up just to make sure you could understand everything.

The other was on whenever the TV was plugged in, even when it was "off". You could really hear it across the room. (They claimed it was to "keep the bulb cool". To which I asked "Can I unplug my TV?" "Yes" "So then why does the fan need to be running???")

Quiet fans are something that a lot of manufacturers don't really pay attention to. (I know Toshiba didn't) Even if fans start out quiet, they often get louder as they age.

(Toshiba claimed the fans were "silent", and tried to fix it. Naturally they broke the TV more when attempting to fix it, so they authorized a refund and I bought a Samsung LCD and love it)

Anyway, my LCD is actually "silent", and I love it. Unless DLPs become fan-less I'll never buy one again.

I bought a Rear Projection TV (2, Interesting)

Simon (S2) (600188) | about 8 years ago | (#15944245)

It costs less than a plasma or LCD, has no Burn in, needs less electricity and works great. I've choosen the Sony KDF-E50A11, and i've never looked back. The only downside is that every 6000 hours i have to change the lamp, which costs about 180,00$.

(This is not a commercial, i'm just a happy customer :))

Re:I bought a Rear Projection TV (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | about 8 years ago | (#15944349)

Agreed, I also have a 50" Sony LCD rear projection set and it's fantastic. I've had mine for about two years, maybe two and a half, and haven't had to replace the lamp yet.

Re:I bought a Rear Projection TV (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944387)

They do have burn in, a more permanent type of burn in. I have a rear-projection TV and the manual indicates that in order to avoid burn-in, it should not be used with video game or computer systems for extended periods of time. way-remove-burn/ [] has a bit of discussion about burn-in on rear-projection tv's.

Re:I bought a Rear Projection TV (4, Informative)

SydShamino (547793) | about 8 years ago | (#15944398)

I have a plasma TV, which I chose over rear projection, DLP, and LCD.


1. Rear projection CRT may look the best, but they are way too bulky for the space. I wanted a sleeker TV, not a bigger one than my old standard CRT.

2. My wife sees the rainbows on DLPs. It's less obvious with higher-priced models (where the color wheel spins faster), but it renders them unwatchable for fast content (like sports or action movies) for her.

3. Plasma versus LCD came down not to their performance with hi-def content, but with their performance with standard content. I've had my plasma TV for more than a year, and most stations I watch are still standard def. In my opinion, standard def TV looks better with plasma than with LCD. I looked at lots and lots of TVs, and I switched them in the stores to standard def broadcasts instead of leaving them on the hi-def channel the retailer wanted to show. Of course standard def content looks worse on a big-screen TV than on a small TV, but the static and artifact pixels were far more visible with LCD than with plasma.

This whole discussion is silly, anyway. Both types of TVs can play the same content, as can rear-projection TVs, DLPs, and even those polymer TVs in the Slashdot article yesterday. There's no reason they cannot all co-exist in the marketplace. As long as there are people like me who dislike LCDs, there will be a market for them. (I don't even use LCD computer monitors - CRTs still look so much better it's unbearable.)

Re:I bought a Rear Projection TV (1)

BoberFett (127537) | about 8 years ago | (#15944480)

I bought a rear projection HDTV also. Yes, it's huge and bulky. But for the price and picture quality, it can't be beat. $1000 for a 42" 16:9 set with amazing an picture, I wasn't about to spend two or three times as much for what I considered to be a big step down in picture.

Re:I bought a Rear Projection TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944530)

isn't bulky a relative term? I have a 50" rear projection LCD. It is deeper that a pure LCD flat panel by 3 or 4 times, but compared to what a CRT that size would look like it is pretty slender.

Plasma TVs are incompatiable with cable boxes!?!? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944250)

For the betamax comparision to be used, plasma TVs would have to use completely different inputs than an LCD one.

Re:Plasma TVs are incompatiable with cable boxes!? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 8 years ago | (#15944258)

I guess it's too much to ask an AC to read through the full summary: "While the Beta analogy isn't particularly helpful (since both technologies play the same content)..."

No (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944252)

An article in the Toronto Star [CC] questions whether the battle between LCD and Plasma is the next VHS vs. Beta

VHS vs. Beta was a battle in which a consumer who made the wrong choice was left with hardware that increasingly ceased to be useful, because it wasn't supported. Choosing a plasma or an LCD screen isn't remotely comparable because both will continue to function regardless of who "wins". This is a silly article.

Duh (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 8 years ago | (#15944293)

Great Job Restating the OP:
the Beta analogy isn't particularly helpful (since both technologies play the same content)

Re:Duh (3, Insightful)

Hope Thelps (322083) | about 8 years ago | (#15944318)

Yes. Even the submitter agrees that the question posed by the article, the question that forms the basis of the summary, the question that is stated as the headline, "isn't particularly helpful". This isn't just silly, it's absurd.

Re:Duh (2, Insightful)

BoberFett (127537) | about 8 years ago | (#15944379)

So if the submitter thought the title was incorrect, what's the point of the damn article? Why was this even posted?

Re:No (1)

Hallucienda (893346) | about 8 years ago | (#15944346)

I was just thinking exactly the same thing!

Re:No (2, Informative)

Eric Falsken (919615) | about 8 years ago | (#15944483)

I just got a new Samsung 50" Plasma. I've used almost nothing but my 360. There are always little health bars in the corner. I was very worried about burn in, but I think burn-in has been completely debunked arround here. There is no such problem in modern plasma screens. My model isn't even the latest and greatest with the "dedicated game mode". It just works.

VHS vs. Betamax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944254)

If you mean "both provide basically the same functionality with no overwhelming superiority of one technology over another", then yeah, it's a VHS vs. Betamax battle. Of course, the outcome will also be decided by which one can show porn the best.

Re:VHS vs. Betamax (3, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 8 years ago | (#15944285)

> the outcome will also be decided by which one can show porn the best.

That just isn't so. The super-high-end TV market is driven by the sports fanatics. For every one wall-sized unit sold to a movie nut, ten are sold to (American) football nuts.

The future for plasmas... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944265) nebulous at best and far from neutral.

Re:The future for plasmas... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944428)

Sorry you haven't been modded up yet. I got a chuckle out of it...

Awful Quality (4, Insightful)

segedunum (883035) | about 8 years ago | (#15944267)

I've seen many Plasma TVs, and even LCD ones, in many electronic stores and the picture quality of all of them is absolutely shocking compared to an ordinary CRT. Colour, in particular, is a problem.

Yes, they're slightly cool looking, they save space and they're lighter, but I've seen more than one person shake their head sceptically when they've seen the picture quality and then looked at those 'HD Ready' logos slapped all over them. Quite frankly, I think both of them are Betamax, but I think a Betamax versus VHS comparison is wrong. They're both crap.

Re:Awful Quality (1)

NineNine (235196) | about 8 years ago | (#15944297)

Not only is the color wonky, but with both plasmas and LCD's (I write this on a laptop), there's a tiny window in which you can look at the picture and see it correctly. Ever have a few people try to look over your shoulder at something on a laptop? It's nearly impossible, unless everybody gets down at the same height, and you adjust the monitor. Right now I'm watching a regular CRT TV from almost sideways, across the room, and I can see it just fine.

I agree with you. I think they both suck, and CRT's are the way to go for a quality picture. LCD and plasmas are both downgrades, in my opinion. Once the gee whiz factor of a thin TV or monitor goes away, you're left quinting.

Re:Awful Quality (1)

EndlessNameless (673105) | about 8 years ago | (#15944316)

This probably has more to do with the fact that most retailers have zero staff who know how to properly operate their products or adjust settings. I've seen some terribly misaligned projection TVs at big-name electronics retailers, and it takes all of 5 minutes to run through the convergence procedure. All you need to fix these problems most of the time is the remote control and a few minutes of time from someone with half a clue. Sadly, the lack of a clued-in individual is an expense they're not willing to pay, and in your case it may have cost them a sale.

If there is any doubt whatsoever about this explanation, you can always go and adjust a TV yourself. Or start asking the sales drones vaguely technical questions. If you're lucky, there might be one guy in the department who knows jack, and everyone else knows to run and find him when you progress beyond the standard retail realm of buzzword bingo.

Re:Awful Quality (3, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | about 8 years ago | (#15944423)

No, its because the tech really does suck. The dynamic range is poor compared to a crt. That's why you'll almost always see them demoing with animated movies,or scenes with large areas of similar colurs.

The same people who think LCD and plasma displays look great don't notice the annoying artifacts in satellite tv broadcasts either.

Re:Awful Quality (2, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 8 years ago | (#15944399)

I own a Samsung 19" CRT monitor which works perfect and because of same reason as yours I really hope CRT doesn't become unavailable when it dies. I have even thought about a secondary (or primary) 21" CRT additionally. It is really hard to figure why would one buy a LCD display while he/she has lots of space to spare at home. LCD display/monitor just became fashion, it was intended for offices where space matters. A bank accountant can live without "pure white" of course.

However there is an easy way to figure if LCD/Plasma finally reaches to colour correctness of CRT. Those "set photos" from Holywood. If you see Holywood finally switches to LCD from the classic, amazing quality small Sony CRT monitors, it is time to think about LCD or plasma as an option.

Plasma is good for large HDTV home displays. E.g. 42" , 50"'. It is not very clever to have a 50" CRT you know and if you project it (back projector even) you need to have a dark place all the time.

If anyone buys one of those monsters, make sure they are at least "720p" (HDTV) btw. I have seen some PAL/NTSC Plasma/LCD with cheap prices. They are NOT cheap, you will figure it in 3 years when HD becomes common and you watch excellent HD programs on NTSC or PAL resolution by seperately purchasing HDMI adapter.

You know what would really kill both LCD and Plasma? If this stupid BluRay vs HD-DVD war ends with no winner. E.g. no $120 BluRay or HD-DVD player device ships.

Re:Awful Quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944405)

In stores often the brightness is cranked up to maximum to make the image look vibrant, correct balance be damned.

Re:Awful Quality (3, Insightful)

RonnyJ (651856) | about 8 years ago | (#15944406)

I've seen more than one person shake their head sceptically when they've seen the picture quality and then looked at those 'HD Ready' logos slapped all over them.

In my experience, this is mostly down to the TVs not displaying HD resolution material. A good 'HD Ready' set will easily highlight the relative lack of resolution in DVDs, let alone on standard broadcast television. A normal TV set can easily look a lot better on these type of broadcasts, simply because the display isn't as sharp.

Video Games (5, Informative)

ArizonaKid (893047) | about 8 years ago | (#15944275)

There is one plasma at my condo; however, it belongs to my roommate and the rules are no video games. CNET had an article which stated the first hundred hours are the most critical to prevent burn in, and after that time it's ok to play video games. However, the majority of manufacturers still recommend in their operators manual for plasmas not to play video games. The article's mention of burn-in is a constant worry, especially with news stations that leave thier logo up all day. For my XBOX 360, I still don't know what to get. I really don't want the size of a DLP; however the LDCs I have played on still leave some "trails" and are quite expensive. Does anyone have any recommendations for gaming? I have to be ready for Madden 07 this Tuesday.

Re:Video Games (1)

ArizonaKid (893047) | about 8 years ago | (#15944290)

I meant LCDs...still getting used to my new MS Wireless Natural Keyboard. Dammit Bill

Re:Video Games (1)

Dogers (446369) | about 8 years ago | (#15944320)

Try the samsung r7 range. MS uses them in the X360 demo booths here in the UK. They look great! :)

I'm planning on getting one soonish, once I get paid for all the recent overtime. The only downside to them is they only have 1 HDMI port, but meh!

Re:Video Games (1)

Stuart Gibson (544632) | about 8 years ago | (#15944380)

I run my 360 through a Samsung 26" and it is fine. The newer Samsung (the r7 range) has a dedicated gaming mode to further improve this. To get technical, the demo pods (at least all the ones I have seen) use the 23" LE23R51 which has no HDMI socket, just component, though the 26" version does have one. Great set though and fine for gaming and media centre duties.

Re:Video Games (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#15944429)

This is why I stick with CRT. Most people can't afford a nice size LCD, so they end with a 23 inch LCD. When, for the same price, they could have a 32 inch CRT.

Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944358)

There is one plasma at my condo; however, it belongs to my roommate and the rules are no video games.[...]Does anyone have any recommendations

Tell him: "Don't buy expensive shit if you're afraid of using it. That even worse than false canniness. If not retarded."

But you can keep using your plasma (4, Insightful)

Vince (4999) | about 8 years ago | (#15944277)

There's a big difference here - if you bought a BetaMax deck, you couldn't get new movies, but if you get a Plasma, you'll be able to use it through its whole lifespan. The availability of plasma displays in the future shouldn't affect your purchasing decision now.

This isn't a good analogy (2, Insightful)

bonvoyage (844410) | about 8 years ago | (#15944280)

I don't get this comparison at all. To me, the big deal with something like Beta vs VHS is that once you make a purchase, you're committed to a format. That isn't the case here. The manufactures, I suppose, could see it this way because they have to commit quite a bit of their resources to produce one type or the other, but to the consumer it doesn't matter. If, rich bastard that you are, you invest in a whopping big plasma TV now, and find that it doesn't suit your needs in a few years, you're not going to feel like you're stuck using plasma TVs. You'll buy the TV that suits your needs... it won't be like you've got dozens of Beta tapes sitting around to influence your decision.

Re:This isn't a good analogy (1)

thsths (31372) | about 8 years ago | (#15944306)

> I don't get this comparison at all. To me, the big deal with something like Beta vs VHS is that once you make a purchase, you're committed to a format.

Exactly. Betamax vs VHS was a question of compatibility. LCD vs Plasma is only a matter of technology. And consumers care about compatibility, but they couldn't care less about technology. So there is no comparison :-).

I think it is becoming popular to cite Betamax whenever you run out of something to say.

Re:This isn't a good analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944453)

You're right, it's a terrible ananlogy. The plasma TV is more like the Delorean. Really cool, but pricey enough and flawed enough that most people buy something far more sensible, and ultimately will likely be short lived, but famous for years to come.

More like ISDN in the US (5, Insightful)

G-Man (79561) | about 8 years ago | (#15944300)

I've always thought of Plasma as the ISDN of TV technology -- it's an 'in-between' solution that is less than ideal and expensive, but provides a level of capability that early adopters and the rich are willing to pay for. Eventually it will pass from the scene, but for a limited number of people for a limited amount of time, it will do the job.

Re:More like ISDN in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944336)

Most enterprises use PRI ISDN lines for their phone systems. I would say ISDN is very, very big and it will not be going away for at least another 20 years.

Re:More like ISDN in the US (1)

G-Man (79561) | about 8 years ago | (#15944384)

I should have clarified -- ISDN as a *consumer* technology. Yes, it has soldiered on in the enterprise sphere, but it's window as a consumer technology was very narrow, and quickly eclipsed by DSL and cable modems.

SED televisions will be a strong factor (3, Interesting)

EulerX07 (314098) | about 8 years ago | (#15944308)

Personally, I expect SED to win over the high-end because it shares the strenght of CRT televisions with the large screen size and small form factor of LCD/Plasma. The middle-end should be split between LCD and the better DLP projections, while the low-end will be the cheap DLP projections and whoever can put out the smaller tvs for the best price (read: who gets the walmart account).

Anyways, they should have at least mentioned it to make their story complete from a 2006/2007 point of view.


Re:SED televisions will be a strong factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944403)

My thoughts exactly = I will wait for SED and keep the CRT till then - thank you very much....

War? (-1, Offtopic)

chris_eineke (634570) | about 8 years ago | (#15944309)

"LCD is now in plasma country, and this means war -- a war some say plasma can't hope to win"
I'm sorry, but unless (hundreds of) thousands of people die, defense contractors are sucking on the government's tit, and those who don't support the 'war effort' are ostracized because they are freedom-hating pinko nazis, you can't call it a good-ol' war.

Come on folks, it's time to prop up the economy that doesn't really exist with the racket that's called war.

I also thought that LCDs were the best choice .. (2, Interesting)

namityadav (989838) | about 8 years ago | (#15944310)

.. when I started my hunt for a HDTV. But TVs in my budget had a huge difference in PQ between LCDs and Plasmas (With Plasmas being the clear winners). So I ended up buying a plasma. I think that for now (And for near future), plasmas are still going to have the best PQ. And don't forget the status symbol that plasmas are. If Joe has heard about HDTVs, he'd want to buy a plasma because (a) For a lot of people, an HDTV means plasma (Others are look-alikes), and (b) PQ in a plasma makes him see the difference between SDTV and HDTV even from up-close. Not so much with LCDs and DLPs, and (c) He knows that if he buys a 'Plasma', he'll get a 'Whoaaaa !!!' from his friends. But just an 'Eh!' if he bought anything else. Eventually, LCDs will evolve to plasma quality and will get cheaper. At the same time LCDs will have lesser issues, better resolution, less power consumption, longer life and lighter weight. So people will start moving for them. But looking at the slow pace of evolution in this field, I don't see that happening very soon (At least a couple of years). DLPs and its sisters are just stop-gaps. These technologies are not going to stay for long. LCDs will eat every other technology for lunch as soon as it becomes affordable.

This is a wrong comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944313)

To call this a beta vs vhs battle is completely wrong
Beta was far better than vhs but lost in the price war Vhs being cheaper of course.
This seems to be just what the consumer needs to help drive down prices
as both technologys are very expensive although they are getting better picture wise.
I'll be keen to see samsungs new slim crt which is also HD ready.

A lot of the article is PR/Marketing crap (5, Insightful)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about 8 years ago | (#15944315)

Most of that information is dated (screen sizes especially since 65" LCD's can be found from several companies).

And a lot more is PR crap/scare-monger to try and sway the consumers to their line of products. As stated Sony doesn't make plasmas anymore, so of course they will be advocating LCDs since that is ALL they make!

There are "good" plasmas and "poor" plasmas, just like there are "good" LCDs and "poor" LCDs. Giving pure PR crap like this trying to compair your top of the line LCDs against mid to poor quality plasmas is as I said, pure crap. Hell, even Sony plasmas (you know the ones that Sony hasn't made for 18 months which are now at least 2 generations of technology old), Sony THEMSELVES rated them for 60,000+ hours! So how the hell are they now spouting this crap of 40,000 hours when compairing their brand new LCD's against "supposedly" brand new plasmas? Yes, that is correct, they shopped around for their numbers probably finding the cheapest plasma in existance and compaired its technical features against a name branded LCD.

Again, most of this article is about trying to get consumers to purchase their own products. You don't see Panasonic, Philips, or Pioneer putting this kind of crap out there because all three of them produce both LCDs AND plasmas. They will give you more straight up answers as to which one to use for your situation. Not this kind of PR sh--- err --- stuff that Sony is spitting out because they ONLY have LCDs and need to try and drive as many people as they can to purchase them otherwise Sony is left out of the market...

Re:A lot of the article is PR/Marketing crap (4, Insightful)

dfghjk (711126) | about 8 years ago | (#15944360)

"As stated Sony doesn't make plasmas anymore, so of course they will be advocating LCDs since that is ALL they make!"

That argument would make sense if Sony never made or couldn't make plasmas. It makes much more sense to say that Sony doesn't make plasmas because they don't believe in them.

"You don't see Panasonic, Philips, or Pioneer putting this kind of crap out there because all three of them produce both LCDs AND plasmas."

Of course not. You wouldn't trash your own products even if they were trash.

"They will give you more straight up answers as to which one to use for your situation. Not this kind of PR sh---..."

No they won't. It's all "PR sh---".

It doesn't matter how a set is made. It only matters how it performs.

Yep, burn in dooms plasma (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 8 years ago | (#15944321)

The plasma makers say it doesn't happen any more, but they still warn against watching too much 4:3 unstretched content, and those channel bugs still end up burned in to the display. As LCD goes up in size and quality and down in price, it will push plasma out of the running. Sure, the LCD backlight will fade, but it won't burn in and it doesn't matter what you display (thus no reason to watch distorted content).

DLP, LCD projection and CRT (projection or direct) aren't really competing for the same niche because they aren't thin panels. CRT also has the 4:3 burn-in issue.

Re:Yep, burn in dooms plasma (1)

soft_guy (534437) | about 8 years ago | (#15944441)

It is possible to create thing panel DLP. Here's an example of a thin panel DLP [] . They quit making them because DLP is too expensive to compete in that market.

Stupid analogy. (0, Redundant)

Angostura (703910) | about 8 years ago | (#15944333)

Both plasma and LCD accept the same media. The entire world can opt for LCD, the manufacturers can stop selling plasma and your plasma TV will continue to work just fine. Betamax owners on the other hand were lumbered with an arguably technologically superior machine which became progressively less useful as the studios and media manufacturers removed support.

Neither's good enough (5, Interesting)

Bertie (87778) | about 8 years ago | (#15944348)

Neither plasma nor LCD are good enough to persuade me to part with my cash. Why should I pay about twice as much as I would for a CRT when the quality's not as good? Plasma's got the burn-in problem, and the power consumption's colossal. LCD screens can't do proper black. Neither cope well with anything but their native resolution, and both completely fall to pieces when there's any kind of fast action on the screen.

The way I see it, they're both stopgap technologies that are persuading impatient people to part with their cash until they can iron the creases out of SED or OLED technology and get them production-ready.

trifling subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944351)

The USA is going to hell in a handbasket are you're worrying about displays. []

TFH trolls need TV's, too (0, Offtopic)

halivar (535827) | about 8 years ago | (#15944389)

The USA is going to hell in a handbasket are you're worrying about displays. []

Hey, it's still important. In order to fully appreciate the minute photographic evidence in "A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Moon", you need to make sure you have a quality TV.

Not true HDTV... (3, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about 8 years ago | (#15944353)

All I know is a lot of what I see being called "HDTV" can't do 1080i or 1080p. The units come with a resolution of 1366 x 768 and I consider that "crippled, almost HDTV".

Re:Not true HDTV... (2, Insightful)

tokki (604363) | about 8 years ago | (#15944407)

There are new LCDs (I haven't seen any plasma) that are true 1920x1080, which will do 1080p. The 1366x768 can do 720p and 1080i. 1080i is interlaced, and interlacing (why we still use it is beyond me) reduces the observed resolution by about 30%, so 720p is roughly the same as 1080i. At Bestbuy at least now, you can see demonstrations of 1080p (only Blu-ray does 1080p I believe, HD-DVD only does 1080i) on a 1080p LCD screen. Holy shit, it looks nice.

Re:Not true HDTV... (3, Interesting)

gatzke (2977) | about 8 years ago | (#15944520)

720p and 1080i at the same frame rate are about the same amount of information / s. 720p is actually a bit more than 1080i even though 1080i results in a higher resolution (although half the image is displayed per pass). The argument is 720p is better for fast stuff (sports) while 1080i is better for other stuff.

With the right processing, you can interpolate the 1080i to 1080p nicely, I think.

I personally like high res stuff, so I am holding out for 1080p capable display. There are some nice LCDs for less than $2k right now, but plasma is very spendy in 1080p.

I have a 2650x1600 LDC by Dell at work. Now that is a sweet machine. No 1600p video out there that I know of...

Re:Not true HDTV... (2, Insightful)

crabbz (986605) | about 8 years ago | (#15944411)

720p is a valid HD mode and many people would argue better than 1080i. I wish they had dropped interlaced video modes for HD and went with 1080p30 instead of 1080i60. []

Mabye like gas vs electric vs steam. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944355)

Early in the development of the automobile it wasn't obvious what kind of power plant would prevail. Electric cars were a good deal more civilized than gas or diesel ones. Steam was a better understood technology and had the edge as far as development went.

Once the electric starter and automatic spark advance were developed, the contest was over.

Plasma might become better with more development but I don't think it will get the chance.

Large Screen Options (1)

pipingguy (566974) | about 8 years ago | (#15944402)

For the consumer market, probably Plasma is dead. LCD TVs are coming down a lot in price and DLP is getting better with the viewing angle issue.

No, obviously the next betamax... (0, Offtopic)

porkmusket (954006) | about 8 years ago | (#15944410) BluRay.

Not particularly helpful (5, Insightful)

xigxag (167441) | about 8 years ago | (#15944432)

That article wasn't very informative or insightful. I'd give it a 2 if it were a comment on /., and that's only on the strength of mentioning the 40,000 hour plasma lifespan vs. 60,000 for LCD.

What I'd really want to know is, specifically, what's the verdict with respect to plasma burn-in? Sony says it's problematic. (And if that's true, why were they selling plasma screens for so long?) Panasonic says, "You get what you pay for." Is that supposed to mean burn-in's not a problem on high-end sets?

With respect to LCDs, okay, so ghosting's less of a problem. Can we be more specific? Just how much has the response time improved? And what about contrast ratio? Viewing angle? Sunlight? Jaggies?

Regarding both formats, what happens at end-of-life? Do they just get dimmer and dimmer? Is there some kind of hard failure in the mechanism that renders the set completely inoperable after a certain amount of time? (E.g.I had a desktop LCD monitor which started to balk at coming out of powersaver mode, until one day, it just refused to come back on at all.) Are product lifespans going up, and to what extent? Either lifespan is fairly impressive, we're talking about 4.5 to 7 years of continuous round the clock usage, and probably twice that given typical usage patterns.

And other than a brief mention in the sidebar, there's nothing about future display technologies that might eclipse both plasma and LCD.

Point being, this article might be helpful to a lay person who reads the Star, but it isn't really suited for a tech audience. Why is it on Slashdot?

Wrong, Entrenched Ideas on Technology (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944437)

As a writer of an article, one should do more than research the televisions of one company and base all aspects of technology on it. That company, would be Sony as indicated by the author of this article as it is the only manufacturer that is being represented.

This article is filled with entrenched ideas of plasma technology from about half a decade ago, when LCD televisions were prohibitively expensive and small.

It does not need to be restated that this article has no resemblence to the Beta vs. VHS wars as all televisions will continue to be able to display a standard picture, but here are the wrong ideas being perpetrated by this author.

Plasma's burn-in has been eliminated due to algorithms developed by both Samsung and Panasonic to essentially shift on-screen images ever so slightly to avoid a single image to stay in one place. In fact, even if you blasted a pure white image on the screen to purpose for a day (a standard accident, perhaps?) then the technology can even cure that over a day period of standard use.

Black bars will not cause burn-in on today's plasma televisions. Television station logos that sit non-stop in the bottom-right corner are the only culprits. Even most stations have figured out to shift the logo a bit or make it transparent enough that the older plasma television crowd will not have burn-ins.

Sony abandoned its plasma television technology because it just couldn't win. Sony was using glass from another manufacturer, which is a very expensive part. Consumer Reports and CNet routinely choose Panasonic plasmas as the very best because they manufacture the key plasma television components. Likewise, the article states that Sony abandoned it in favor of LCD technology. Sony also abandoned the tube television technology which was a cornerstone of the company's name. One would imagine a specialist, nay a leader, in tube television technology would have been most adept at establishing plasma technology.

Plasma televisions are not hot. Hovering one's hand above the vents of plasma televisions today reveal no more heat than a standard television, except suspiciously on brands such as Sony or Akai. Go through a Best Buy and feel the lack of heat emanating from a Pioneer, LG, Samsung, or Panasonic. In fact, Samsung did use to have fans to cool its plasma, but over time it has been eliminated.

Now for some editorializing... I pass by three plasma televisions every day in a work environment. A Samsung plasma hangs suspended from a ceiling displaying a static computer display giving graphical and textual read-outs. The display never changes interface except a screensaver comes up every thirty minutes. It does not have burn-in when somebody gets caught surfing the web on it by accident (I always find that one funny). A Sony plasma hangs in the boardroom, it is hardly on except for a teleconference, and it works day in and day out with just a face on it most of the time. A Panasonic plasma plays video non-stop in the breakroom and is only turned off at night. That display is smaller than the rest at 42 inches, but it is phenomenal color-wise and it hasn't failed either. Plasma technology is not terrible. It's very good. LCDs do not offer lighter weight or thinner enclosures than plasma (so far). LCD panel televisions will defeat plasma in the situation where it becomes thinner, lighter, larger, and more beautiful displaying images (this encompasses the entire image quality and motion playback attributes) in a fast enough time with a matching price to plasma on size. The problem is that plasma if you look online is far cheaper than an equivalent LCD panel television. Retail chains are making a load of money off of plasma units in-store. LCD television technology is priced exactly as it is worth in both on and off-line venues.

I'm just glad the author of the article didn't compare this to the Wii vs. Playstation 3 war or the Zune vs. iPod war.

No, they are not (1)

daBass (56811) | about 8 years ago | (#15944438)

Are Plasma TVs the Next BetaMax?
No, they are not. LCD is the better technology, whereas in the VHS vs. BetaMax wars the lesser technology won on price and the better tech dissapeared. (or, more acurately, was relegated to the pro arena)


Danathar (267989) | about 8 years ago | (#15944446)

Sure, CRT's are cheap and great, but have you ever tried to move a large CRT? You need a crane! or 4 beefy guys from the gym.

Being a scrawny nerd with no muscle tone makes moving CRT's a problem. It's primary reason I dumped my nice 19 inch CRT monitor for an LCD.

mod me off topic (1)

xoundmind (932373) | about 8 years ago | (#15944470)

I'm not sure this competition really matters.
The real deal will be when we are all wearing universal glasses (with earbuds included). Ones that will be able to recieve inputs from our moble computing device. It will function as our complete data center: PC, TV, streaming video, gaming console, etc. The unit will simply be a 1 pound keyboard with a minumum (flash memory?) drive to connect to the central server. In terms of sharing data with other viewers - instead of crouching over a monitor together - well, I'll let you security freaks in the audience work and the encryption and authentication aspects.
Of course the logical extension will be when all of this gets replaced with contact lens units.

Size... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944478)

Once 50" LCDs become common place, Plasma is dead.

And articles like this... (1)

HeXetic (627740) | about 8 years ago | (#15944487)

... are why I pretty much filter out tech-related stuff when I read the newspaper (I'm in Toronto). It's like I tell my mom and dad: anything tech-related that you read about in the newspaper or see on the nightly news, I already know about and what you've heard is wrong, anyways.

But the power consumption of Plasma TVs is obscene (1)

TigerTim (968445) | about 8 years ago | (#15944488)

A far more concerning problem with the proliferation of gargantuan TV sets is their ridiculous power consumption, which is greater than that for LCDs by 50% [] (comparing constant area).

The cost of ownership of a Plasma should therefore be a significant factor in any decision to purchase one. And need I say anything about climate change?

OLEDs anyone? At least you don't lose half the transmitted intensity to the polarizers.

Aspect Ratio!!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944501)

We're talking about a population who will pay $5000 to forever watch the same crap low definition signal but now at the wrong aspect ratio. Almost every installed LCD/Plasma I've seen has the standard low def signal stretched out to fit the snazzy widescreen. If people can't even get that right how can we expect them to intelegently choose one tech over another? Or a better question; Why bother with HD at all when 90% of the pop can't even tell that the TV they watch day in day out is grossly distorted?? I also wonder if average Joe Dumbass is morbidly obese partly because he thinks it's the norm, after all everybody on TV these days seems to be really big (wide) and they're all popular...

the law (1)

xx_chris (524347) | about 8 years ago | (#15944506)

Beta is a format and plasma is a technology.
The principle of competitive exclusion applies to formats.
The law of supply and demand applies to technologies.

Not similar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15944507)

Beta v. VHS (like consoles) depends a lot on 3rd party software (movies) and how they are released. Plasma and LCD will, for the foreseeable future, cater to the same audience and there won't be the pressure from movie makers to go one way or the other. If plasma can maintain its price to be competitive... this is all that will matter.

1920x1200 highend canvas (1)

lowenstein (996640) | about 8 years ago | (#15944515) []

you will never look back

Digital Projectors? (1)

AaronPSU777 (938553) | about 8 years ago | (#15944528)

Am I the only one that thinks digital projectors could leave both these technologies in the dust? I know there are some drawbacks (high cost, bulb life), but as far as the big-screen pissing contest goes digital projectors are untouchable.

It's comical listening to your friends brag about their 60 inch bigscreens and then you have them over to your place and watch their egos crumble when they first set eyes on the 12 foot screen hanging on your wall.

Not only that but the hardware is highly portable; you can easily take it to a party or some other event to set up for guests. And it takes up very little space in your living room. You can even use it to give business presentations on the road.

Until we can buy rolls of OLED wallpaper to turn entire walls into digital displays I will be sticking with the projector.
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