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New Larger TVs Favor LCD Over Plasma

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the shiny-writ-large dept.

Television 211

Information Week is carrying a Reuters story examining the shift towards LCD technology in recent large-screen television models. Though some analysts acknowledge that plasma displays have faster response times over large surfaces, the industry seems to be betting that consumers will prefer higher resolution images over time. From the article: "CPT's Wu agrees that plasma panels, especially 50-inch and larger ones, do excel LCDs in some aspects of picture quality, but he says the sheer size of the LCD camp will help LCD panels overcome whatever drawbacks they have in a timely manner ...With the 40-inch-class market gradually taken over by LCD TVs, plasma models need to migrate to the market for 50-inch TVs and above, but demand is not as well developed there, analysts say. 'The United States accounts for more than 70 percent of demand for 50-inch plasma TVs and larger. In other words, there is virtually no 50-inch-class plasma TV market outside the United States,' DisplaySearch director Hisakazu Torii said."

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Mine is bigger than yours! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999370)

50 inch tvs? GET LIVES!

Energy efficiency (5, Informative)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999376)

It may not be a factor in the US market, but here in Europe plasma's have a bad reputation because of their energy consumption.
Household equipment is rated in the shops on an energy efficiency scale, and LCD screens score much better than plasma.

Furthermore, plasma has a tendency to burn in. Of course every manufacturer and salesman will tell you that "this is no longer true", but once the problem has happened they are not so firm in their statements anymore.
This causes trouble when watching 4:3 transmissions in true 4:3 format (rather than stretched to 16:9).
It also sometimes causes station logos or newstickers to burn in.

Re:Energy efficiency (-1, Flamebait)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999398)

LCDs also burn in.

Re:Energy efficiency (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999428)

Can you point me to a website to back your claim? I've never heard of LCD's burning in.

Re:Energy efficiency (1)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999480)

Walk into any school computer lab with LCDs and put in a Ubuntu disk. You'll notice when the GUI starts to load that you can see the Start Menu faintly though the maroon colored wallpaper.

Hell, top menu bar on my 6-month old iMac has burned in.

It's not NEARLY as bad on LCDs as it is on most plasmas, but it's still there on almost every single LCD.

Memory (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999500)

LCD monitors do get imprinted but the image is lost when power is cycled. Perhaps you should switch the monitor off when booting into ubuntu.

Re:Memory (1)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999514)

Really? Neat. I'll have to look into that. I usually just throw the disk in, then hit restart.

Re:Memory (5, Informative)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999742)

LCD burn is fixable. Make a screen-sized white image and a screen-sized black image and run a slideshow of them alternating for a few hours. This basically 'flexes' the light-blocking bits in each subpixel and gets them unstuck. I used to work at Philips and that's how we fixed it on any of the monitors in the office.

Re:Memory (5, Interesting)

@madeus (24818) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999976)

I can attest to this actually being true for Plasma screens as well (though it works for slightly different technical reasons obviously). I came across this solution when I found this article on Apple.com [apple.com] when searching Google for more information on what to do about "burn in". It's not quite the as same burn in as on CRT monitors in that it seems to be readily reversible, the trend seems to be to refer to it as 'persistence', though that may be in part because 'persistence' doesn't sound as scary to consumers.

I get burn in on my Plasma (a 50") after watching BBC News 24 (which has a large bright red box with the news logo and time on it in one corner) or when leaving my PVR menu on screen for a few minutes or leaving it outputting my Mac Mini desktop for some time (the bright icons in the Dock tend to burn in). As per the manual, if I watch another channel - particularly something bright - it goes away quickly. How quickly it goes away depends how long it was displaying the image (I think that's actually stated in my manual too).

Plasma does seem much more susceptible to "burn in"/persistence than LCD, but for the moment Plasma displays are the only way to go if you are looking for a large set (because you simply can't by very large LCD's). Plasma sets are also typically quite a bit cheaper, which makes them attractive. Lastly, they are also brighter than both back projection displays and LCD displays - my Pioneer Plasma is brighter than my old 1,500 UKP Sony CRT! Plasma sets seem to be the only ones that are able to deliver a bright picture, even with bright direct sunlight bouncing right off them (not a major selling point perhaps, but I was impressed).

I completely expect LCD displays to ultimately take over from Plasma's though. They are (potentially) a fair bit sharper, and they don't generate nearly as much heat - having the Plasma TV on is quite literally like having a radiator on in the room - particularly if it's a bright image, it gets as hot as the bottom of my PowerBook G4. It's just a matter of time before they can be made cost effectively at large sizes with little to no defects. If I was looking for a second (smaller) display I would definitely consider an LCD as it is. That said, I still expect Plasma TV's will be around and selling well for another 5 years yet (not least because it's much better than back projection and it's still kicking around).

I'm not surprised the US is the only real market for large displays. Not only do people have larger houses in the US (than say in Europe or in Asia) - you shouldn't really go bigger than about 42" unless you have a decent sized room -, and have more disposable income (due to lower taxation) but things like electronic goods are just so much cheaper (down to due to a combination of low taxation and economy of scale, I assume).

e.g. The cheapest price for my 50" Pioneer Plasma on Froogle (or indeed anywhere else) in the UK was ~3,500 UKP (with near identical pricing in stores on the continent). It a bit more expensive than most, as it's noticeably above average in terms of picture quality. At current exchange rates, that's over 6600 USD. When searching US stores in Froogle it was not only less than 3,500 US Dollars it was more like 2,000-2,800 (just under 1,500 UKP). Definitely worth a weekend trip to NYC if you are looking for something similarly expensive (but more portable ;), like a new high end laptop.

Re:Memory (0)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000134)

I actually just picked up a 60" LCD TV for a mere $2800. Note that this wasn't a low-end one - this was the high-end Sony XBR2 SXRD model. (You can tell it's good because it has a lot of X's and R's.) Full 1080p and all. Cheaper models could easily hit $2k USD or less.

I suspect one of the reasons plasma screens still do well is that they're wall-mountable - the unit is something like two or three feet deep, so obviously that's not very practical unless you can knock a hole in your wall. But unless you need that, I'm not sure why I'd bother with a plasma now. LCD's kind of dominating.

Re:Memory (2, Insightful)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000310)

picked up a 60" LCD TV for a mere $2800. Note that this wasn't a low-end one - this was the high-end Sony XBR2 SXRD model.

That's not really comparable to a plasma TV since you're talking about an LCD projection TV, not an LCD flat panel. A fair comparison is that a 60" plasma is about $7K while a 65" flat panel LCD (couldn't find any 60") is about $8.5K. Back on the greater topic, personally, I prefer the image of plasma's to LCDs right now simply because of the image blurring. I watch mostly hockey and the bright colors on a white background makes for a lot of blur on the LCDs I've watched games on. On that note, I think LCDs will win out over plasma's if they get ghosting issues figured out -or- if they present such a price advantage that ghosting becomes tolerable.

Re:Memory (2, Informative)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000568)

For plasma sets, even heavy burn-in/persistance can be minimised by leaving a full-screen white image with the brightness turned up for a while. It'll reduce the total lifespan/half-life of the panel but when you've already got upwards of 60 000 hours to play with, that's not a huge drama. Some sets are already including this as a built-in feature. You don't need to alternate black and white as what you're attempting is to accelerate the aging of the panel so that the relative age and therefore loss of brightness between individual pixels is less significant.

For LCD's that are better than equivalent-sized plasmas, I will happily plug the Philips 42PF9831 (Although I prefer the smaller 37PF9731). The Ambilight backing thing makes it a bit unwieldy, but thanks to the scanning backlight, response times are down to 3ms (grey-to-grey, but still), and it's equal to any plasma I've seen for brightness and contrast. Apparently the new Sony Bravias are full of awesome as well, but I haven't checked them out yet.

I'm curious to see if anything comes of the laser TV thing that got posted on here a few weeks ago, but until then, the new generation LCD sets are the win AFAIC.

Unfortunately this stuff all still pretty pricey in Australia, so I'm sticking to my cheap ol' 68cm CRT set and dodgy 2nd hand InFocus DLP projector for movies.

Re:Energy efficiency (1)

CentraSpike (947642) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999502)

I own a Samsung 26" LCD that burnt in on the left edge of the 4:3 picture after around a year of use. This means that when i now watch 16:9 content, particularly with a predominantly light picture, i get a gray line where the left edge of the 4:3 resolution would be.

Re:Energy efficiency (1)

tripppy (921964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999608)

I work in A TV DEPARTMENT. We have two LCD's with BURN IN. No website. My word.

Re:Energy efficiency (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999550)

Other way around. Plasma screens burn and burn in bad. Don't use them with any game console, you're just asking for trouble.

.

Re:Energy efficiency (1)

oh_bugger (906574) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999674)

I saw an episode of CSI yesterday and they were using a plasma screen as a display for a computer, big no-no!

Re:Energy efficiency (4, Insightful)

Bertie (87778) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999828)

Possibly the most utterly stupid application of plasma screens I've ever seen is at Waterloo Station, here in London. A few years back they stopped using the old departure and arrival boards (you know, the ones where the train stations and numbers flip round like a Rolodex) in favour of HUNDREDS of plasma screens. At the time they were still retailing for thousands of pounds a pop. Needless to say, years of showing nothing but train schedules has left them pretty severely burnt in. And in my view, they were less readable than the old boards in the first place.

Another fine example of money being pissed up the wall in Britain.

Re:Energy efficiency (4, Informative)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000118)

Leeds spent many thousands on replacing old CRTs with LCDs, which worked roughly alright (Except for the fact that they were ran by Win2K and sometimes got interesting errors) except for, like you said, burn in after a year or two.

They have now been replaced with huge banks of LED displays, similar to those in airports (I believe London KX has done this as well), which are amazingly bright, incredibly readable, and 100x more reliable.

You mean these... (4, Informative)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000336)

made by data display [datadisplayuk.com] , a UK based company. I used to work on these displays. They also specifically mention the short lifespan of the plasma displays.

Re:Energy efficiency (1)

monsted (6709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000320)

"Thousands of pounds"... How much do you think it costs to build the rolodex-style board? I'm willing to bet that you can buy many plasmas for the same price.

Other than that, i would probably pick a nice consumer item like a 30" Dell LCD for the application, if i were to make something similar now.

Re:Energy efficiency (1)

plugholeUK (1029052) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000564)

It's all about being "hi-tech". No matter if existing solutions work, you're a luddite if you stand still too long. I bet the old style boards only drew power when updating, i.e. flipping over. The plasma screens require continuous power all day long.

Re:Energy efficiency (5, Informative)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999644)

LCDs also burn in.

No they don't. Plasmas suffer burn-in because they emit colors in the same way as a CRT -- using red, green, and blue phosphors. "Burn-in" happens when the phosphors age non-uniformly, such as when a static image is held in place too long. You can combat this by properly setting your contrast (TVs are set to torch mode in the stores because it looks better under the flourescents; at home you should have your contrast set to a much lower level) and by pixel-shifting, but you can't eliminate it so long as the technology uses a consumable resource for emitting colored light (phosphors).

LCDs and DLPs don't burn in because they use filters over white light to emit colors. DLP does this with a color wheel rotating anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 times per second, with the DMD adjusting for each window of the wheel to emit the correct amount of the base color of light (basic wheels contain red, green, and blue filters. Better wheels double up on the colors and often add several different shades of blue and green since our eyes are more attuned to those colors than red. Non-consumer high-end models have individual DMDs and filters for each color). LCDs have discrete filters for red, green, and blue, and the liquid crystal is set to a state to allow just the right amount of each through (thus you can do sub-pixel rendering, such as Cleartype font-smoothing). But it's still all about emitting filtered light, not emitting colored light from a phosphor. Your backlight may go out, but that's replaceable. Good luck replacing individual phosphors when they burn out.

Re:Energy efficiency (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999844)

Yes. They do. During a recent rollout of some electronic data capture systems in a hospital, we put in Microtouch M150 15" LCD touchscreens. These were left displaying a fixed graphic combo box for 5 days mid rollout, and 5 of 30 suffered very noticeable burn in. This isn't typical - we've used the same screens for 4 years at other sites without issue - but it does happen. First time I've seen it..

Re:Energy efficiency (5, Informative)

GTMoogle (968547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000386)

If it happens to 5 of 30, it's a manufacturing defect, although one possibly deemed acceptable (or went unnoticed). So a poorly made LCD can have issues with pixel response - it can probably even be fixed by massaging the screen while having it flicker through the color spectrum. YMMV. It works for dead pixels, at any rate. "L" stands for liquid, so gooshing it around may very well have restorative properties. I've never seen a burned in LCD, so I can't say from experience.

The point was phosphors have a lifespan directly related to their average intensity, and for plasmas it's measurable in a matter of years if not months (for the difference between neighboring pixels).

Re:Energy efficiency (4, Informative)

@madeus (24818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000098)

LCDs and DLPs don't burn in because they use filters over white light to emit colors.

Certainly DLP's don't suffer from burn in (though they have a lot of other issues of course, the infamous rainbow effect being the biggest problem - though things seem to be improving on that front) but the same can't be said for LCD TV's. Although Plasma screens seem to burn in more easily, LCD displays do suffer [apple.com] too [dell.com] , however mostly it seems to only be an issue with larger displays (e.g. 30" or larger - the sort of size used in LCD TV's). I am not sure why that is though.

Your backlight may go out, but that's replaceable. Good luck replacing individual phosphors when they burn out.

That's a bit of a red herring to be fair. As with the back lights on an LCD display, Plasma screen will indeed burn out eventually (mine is rated for something like 8 years continuous usage - i.e. so even if I watch 12 hours a day (which obviously I'm not going to) it should be good for 14 years, which I'm comfortable with. Good luck getting either replaced though!

The depressing reality is, unless you have a good 3rd party repair shop in your area that are comfortable with this sort of thing, or you are willing to take your TV apart yourself you are SOL. Vendors like Sony, Phillips (etc.) just don't want to know and that ones that will talk to you invariably give you a price that is equal to or more than the cost of a brand new unit (especially on smaller screens), and of course new sets of better quality will almost certainly be available for 1/4 of the price by then.

Example: I bought a brand new model 32" Sony CRT 8 years ago for 1,500 UKP (the most expensive set in the store as it happened). I'm going to give it to someone in the office who can use a better TV as there is almost no point in trying to sell it - you can get a better set for about 250 UKP now. It has a long-standing problem with powering up from being completely off (it's okay if you leave it on standby, but otherwise you might need to flick it on and off a couple of times), but it would cost about the same as a new set just to get that issue resolved.

Re:Energy efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000190)

> 1,500 UKP

Ukrainian whats? HTH [xe.com]

Re:Energy efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000226)

UKP == STG == ISO abbreviation GBP

[ Text to get around lameness filter. ]

Re:Energy efficiency (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999652)

As I understand it, the problem with comparing plasma and LCD energy ratings is that LCD's power consumption is independent on the image displayed, whereas plasma's consumption varies with the brightness of the image.

Manufacturers such as Panasonic claim that under normal conditions consumption is about the same. I simply don't know. But I suppose plasma's figures could look unfairly bad if consumption figures are calculated while the TVs are displaying a bright standard test pattern or set of colour bars

Re:Energy efficiency (1)

ghyd (981064) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999826)

New LCDs, with overdrive, can burn-in: http://www.behardware.com/articles/615-1/lcds-with -persistent-images.html [behardware.com] I hope that my beloved Diamontron still has a long life ahead, I don't want no lag (LCD are 20 to 60ms late on a CRT, if you add a radio mouse you'll quickly be at +120ms lag which is very very noticable and make any PC feel slugish), ghosting (yurk, overdrive helps, but then it burns in... great), weak refresh rates (which should hopefully be improved next year with the 100mHZ LCD), greyish blacks, etc...

Re:Energy efficiency (1)

larryj (84367) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000056)

I'm on my second plasma and I've yet to see ANY sign of burn-in. I even play a lot of games (Xbox, 360, PS2, Wii).

Re:Energy efficiency (4, Informative)

CaxDot (869821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000074)

The reason LCDs are outselling plasma displays is mainly that they are sold in brightly lit stores, where you won't easily see the enormous difference in contrast ratio. On the contrary, LCDs are fabricated to look black in direct lighting, while plasmas sometimes tend to look greyish.

Good stores should have dampened lighting in the TV dept. Plasmas are like projectors, you don't really see what they are capable of in bright light. Turn the lights down on an LCD, and you will see the disastrously poor contrast of LCD technology manifesting itself as glaring, grey areas that are supposed to represent black.

The other reason is that LCD are preadjusted to do a lot of clipping in white and black areas (which people don't always easily react to) to make the picture look less washed-out. If you correctly calibrate an LCD you will see this limitation quickly.

To further fool the customers, LCD vendors have a fantast-number called "dynamic contrast", which represents total contrast after frame-by-frame contrast distribution. It would be OK giving ut this specification, had they not omitted the real number. After all, "dynamic contrast 8000:1!" doesn't sound less cool than "contrast 5000:1". It's dynamic, like Batman & Robin. Too bad the real contrast is 1200:1.

So sure, LCDs may be better for use with a computer, but that is not the reason why they are winning the battles in the elecronics stores.

Why would anyone buy either? (5, Interesting)

Onan (25162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999402)


I'm not very much of a television watcher, but I do sometimes have friends over to watch movies and such. I recently picked up a projector, and now have a 100ish" display that becomes a blank wall when I'm not using it.

I'm pretty happy with it, projectors are hardly a specialty item any more, and I doubt it was significantly more expensive than a 50" plasma or lcd television. So I'm having a hard time seeing why anyone who wants a big display would ever purchase anything other than a projector.

Is there something here I'm missing?

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999426)

For a projector you need a large room with a suitable layout to project the image without people being and walking inbetween.
I think a flat screen without projection is more attractive in many cases.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (3, Informative)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999438)

Most people don't have a spare wall to use as a TV screen. Besides, many people don't have the space for a projector. You need to have nothing between the projector and the wall, which is difficult to realize in a small room.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999452)

I expect you also need quite a lot of room for a 50 inch tv.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (1)

Flaming Babies (904475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000042)

For a 100" projection, you'd need about 7.5 ft x 4.5 ft of blank wall space and a wide enough room to put the projecter 12+ ft away with no obstructions between.
For a 50" plasma, you'd need about 4 ft x 2.5 ft of blank wall space.
I'd say there's a significant difference in the required space.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (1)

colinramsay (603167) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999508)

And to get the best out of a projector you need a screen (which means the "blank wall" thing goes out of the window) and lower light levels than an LCD or flatscreen - which means curtains during the day or watching at night.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (5, Informative)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999516)

I find your comment puzzling. I live in Japan and many of my friends have projectors because their apartments are too small to be able to fit even a modest sized television. With a projector they can have a large screen while taking up very little space. Newer LCD projectors are no bigger than a regular sized laptop and fit easily on a shelf or projector mount. Add to this a screen that you can hang from the ceiling on some hooks, and you can get a 50" TV in a tiny space.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999574)

Most people don't have a spare wall to use as a TV screen. Besides, many people don't have the space for a projector. You need to have nothing between the projector and the wall, which is difficult to realize in a small room.

Unless your wall is uniformly white, you need a "screen" in front of the wall anyway. These can be rolled up, and only pulled down when in use, so putting it in front of a window would work fine. You can't mount a flat screen TV on the window.

A projector takes much less space than a TV set, so I don't see how you can have room for a TV but not a projector. And the TV needs to have nothing between the couch and the TV anyway, otherwise you can't see it. By hanging the projector over the couch, you'll be using the same "nothingness".

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999496)

I thought about buying a projector but I realized that I'm picky about image quality. With a projector, you really need to have a room where you can control the darkness of the room, particularly in the daytime, otherwise contrast and shadow detail suffers. Some projectors also make more noise than a TV due to the fan.

Furthermore, the cost of a projector is not merely the cost of the projector. A wall of paint does not provide an optimum viewing experience. When I was pricing projectors I was also pricing a proper screen, whether standalone or something mounted on the ceiling. And then there is the question of bulbs. Projector bulbs are not inexpensive, and they don't last anywhere near as long as an LCD backlight.

When I put the real costs together with the noise and image quality issues I decided that if I was going to spend the kind of money required for a projector or TV then in terms of quality and use experience an LCD TV was going to be the way to go.

Please feel free to correct me if the bulb cost and noise situations have improved.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999538)

What you're missing is 2-fold.

First you have contrast ratio. Unless you keep the display compleately dark, a black screen isn't really black. Normal lighting sources boost the dark areas and destroy contrast and to a lesser extent color balance. You can get around this by keeping the room compleately dark, but thats not really practical. It might be workable for movie night, but I'd hate to be forced to do all my TV watching in a dark room. Not to mention windows and other possible light sources that might not be under your control.

This issue could be resolved soon with a new screen that only reflects very specific wavelengths of light (namely the same exact RGB hues used in the projector). Since normal ambient light is somewhat evenly distributed amoung a broad spectrum of colors, only a very small percentage will be reflected from most sources and the screen looks very dark grey when the projector is off. However, since all of the light from the projector is in the wavelengths reflected by the screen its just as bright as on a normal white screen. This boosts the contrast ratio and eliminates most ambient light interference problems. Eventually, this will be the way to go for projector viewing, but currently, its still in the "is that a price tag or a model number?" stage and needs more development before being practical. (And I can't seem to find a link to a description of this screen, anyone else have better luck?)

Second you have space constraints. My walls aren't smooth and white. The rooms in this house are a bit odd, and I don't think I could easily find a large flat space thats unobtrusive, especially one that could have furnature arranged around it with room to put the projector far enough away. If you have such a space, then thats great for you, but it doesn't work for everyone.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (0, Redundant)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999542)

Not many people have room for a projector, hence the success of flat screen TVs. Also, what does a projector look like with the lights on?

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (5, Insightful)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999566)

I'm not very much of a television watcher, but I do sometimes have friends over to watch movies and such. I recently picked up a projector, and now have a 100ish" display that becomes a blank wall when I'm not using it.

Is there something here I'm missing?

There are a number of reasons why people don't want or can't use front projection.

  • Not enough room. You need to have a sizeable room for front projection if you really want to get to that 100" size. Being able to project the image is only part of the equation. Optimal viewing distance for a 50" set is between 6 and 10 feet (depending on HD or SD content). Do you really have a room big enough to accomodate a 20ft viewing distance for your 100" image?
  • Not enough control over ambient lighting. Front projection needs a relatively dark room, much moreso than a rear-projection TV (CRT, LCoS, DLP, LCD) or direct-view (CRT, LCD, Plasma).
  • Wife-acceptance factor. Try telling your wife that she has to make sure the blackout shades are down if she wants to watch her soaps or Oprah in the middle of the day.
  • You realize that size isn't everything. Sure, you can get a 100" display, but depending on the technology in your projector you'll likely suffer screen-dooring or pixelization (especially for low-end consumer-grade projectors). 1280x720 (16x9 720p) at 100" diagonal is 14 pixels per inch.
  • You realize that the price of the projector isn't everything. For proper viewing, you really need a good screen. A flat, white wall is merely "okay". A flat wall with special paint is better. A proper screen is best. Bear in mind that most people don't have truly flat walls, since drywall is usually somewhat textured. It might look flat, but project an image on it and you've suddenly got a bunch of little bumps causing little shadows all throughout the picture. A screen is really the way to go, and that's not cheap, especially if you want a roll-up model so it hides easily.
When all of the variables are right, front-projection is nice. Getting everything to come together for a proper viewing experience either requires extreme luck or large amounts of money. You can certainly go overboard, like a friend of mine who just put in a $15,000 theater, but even a modest projector + screen + blackout curtains will run you more than the $2000 I spent on a 50" rear-projection DLP.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (4, Informative)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999636)

There are a number of reasons why people don't want or can't use front projection.

I'm suprised nobody has mentioned lamp life yet. It's a pricy part and has a short life.

2. Video projectors have a very limited bulb life. In other words, if you are watching TV on your video projector about 3-4 hours every night, you would have to replace the light source bulb about once a year at 200-400 dollars a pop.

snipped from

http://hometheater.about.com/od/hometheaterbasicsf aq/f/htbasicfaq5.htm [about.com]

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (2, Insightful)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999662)

I'm suprised nobody has mentioned lamp life yet. It's a pricy part and has a short life.

Because you have the exact same problem with DLP sets, and a similar issue with LCD (backlight). DLP bulbs are replaceable, though they usually last 2-3 years before replacement. Buy yourself a good store warranty for $100 and you'll get a free lamp replacement out of it (the only time store warrantees are worth anything). By the time you need a second lamp replacement (around the 5-6 year mark), you may as well buy a new TV.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999820)

Because you have the exact same problem with DLP sets, and a similar issue with LCD (backlight).

It is true that DLP projectors have the same issue with lamp life. The article was comparing plasma and LCD which is why I didn't mention DLP sets. Both my laptops are older than 3 years old and get more than 3 hours of use per day. Neither has required a lamp replacement. The 1500 to 3K hour life of a high intensity projector bulb is considerably shorter than a typical cold cathode lamp in an LCD set.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000156)

Video projectors have a very limited bulb life.

I would hardly call it "very limited". I've been using my Sony projector to watch films about every other day for about three or four years and I haven't had to change the bulb yet.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999594)

I have both a projector and a big TV. The projector is great for movies, however, who wants to watch the news, for instance, on a big screen in a darkened room? Also, I get motion sickness if I play video games on the projector, but not with the TV.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (1)

SirSmiley (845591) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999612)

Projectors do have the drawbacks of being noisy (big fans to cool those bulbs!) and can cause distractions if youre sitting at certain angles from the light escaping the projector on the sides..blinding you...minor things however and we have been happy ...at work we run about 30-40 projectors of mainly infocus and proximas and the new ones are quite slick...however you do have to turn up the volume because the bulbs are extremely hot and the fans kick on often a cheap way to go though for HD (make sure to get an XGA or higher one)

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (4, Insightful)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999748)

> I'm having a hard time seeing why anyone who wants a
> big display would ever purchase anything other than a projector.

Because most people also use their TVs in the DAY or with lights on and projectors are absolutely crap in the daytime. The contrast ratio falls to next to nothing if there's any light in the room whatsoever.

The darkest black a projector can display is the black that you see when you look at a WHITE wall. Look at a nearby white wall NOW and decide for yourself if that's an acceptable BLACK level. If LCDs or Plasmas had a black level that bad, NOBODY would buy them and we'd all still be using CRT screens. The ONLY advantage of a projector is it's picture size, but the vast majority of people aren't prepared to cope with all the drawbacks just to get a bigger (washed out) picture.

Also, projectors are very difficult to site in the average living room. They need to go at the opposite end of the room to all your AV kit and preferably high up on a wall or ceiling. You either have to move all your AV kit to the back of the room and fire your remote controls backwards, or run a signal cable the whole distance of your living room to feed the projector.

They're great if all you want is a big picture in cinema-like blackout conditions, but they're hardly practical for the average family who needs to install it in a room with windows.

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999806)

it is about contrast. if you putting 2000lm to white wall, your eye adapts and grades the white wall as close to black. you obviously never seen a projector

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (1)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999852)

If you shine a 2000lm light through an LCD, 1-2% of the light goes through the BLACK areas. Assuming your eye somehow PERFECTLY adapts so you can see NOTHING in the room other than the image itself, the black levels are STILL crap. Even in a cinema the contrast ratio is still pretty bad. You can easily see light in the black areas very easily. You're obviously not very observant.

Smooth Moves (1)

Explodicle (818405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000448)

I think you're missing why we Slashdotters buy them. I've got one, and it DEFINITELY helps this awkward geek to be in the middle of a darkened, vacant movie theater with a woman. I even invested in a special darkening device [wikipedia.org] for use during the day!

Americans just need life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999884)

there is nothing on TV besides commercials and for movies projector is best.
Small 20-30" LCD powered by PC to display some news tickers, mails and family pictures is enough for daily tasks

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000072)

bulbs...

Re:Why would anyone buy either? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000602)

In short, because the darkest colour a projector can do is to shine no additional light onto your white screen.

So they're fine in a dark room, but a bit rubbish if your wife refuses to watch films at home with the lights off. Otherwise I'd have bought a projector, yes.

Mind you, my 32" Sony Bravia LCD is a bit gorgeous, and no more expensive than the fairly low-end projector I would have bought, anyway.

Finally, the problem with projectors is that they need to be at the opposite end of the room from the screen, and running the cables would have been a nightmare.

Not first post (0, Troll)

killa62 (828317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999404)

But I would have had 1st post if I had a faster response time plasma tv!

Re:Not first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999430)

But I would have had 1st post if I had a faster response time plasma tv!
And what would you do if you had a brain?
 

Hmm... (5, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999418)

I understand the arguement for LCDs, but "Plasma" just sounds so much cooler. In order to make sure that LCDs are the winnning technology, I propose that companies who make LCDs start referring to their displays as "Liquivision" TVs and high-def LCDs as "Extreme Liquivision Plus".

Also, they should put racing stripes on them.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999556)

I don't get why people think making TVs out of the liquid component of blood is a good idea anyway.

/off to get my Xtreem LiquivizN+

Re:Hmm... (2, Funny)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999668)

I think you've hit the nail right on the head there.
A mate of mine just knows that Plasma is the one to get, not this LDC (sic) or whatever...
I work with his partner, and have been educating her as to the benefits of LCD.
Recently they were out shopping and passed by an A/V store, so they went in for a look - he wanted to prove that LCDs were crap and Plasmas were without a doubt the one to get.

He walked purposefully into the store, had a good look over the various screens on display and then walked over to one, pointed it out and said "There, told you so, look at the picture. this is the one we're getting"

"Uh, dear... That's an LCD"

Power consumption! (3, Informative)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999446)

Plasma power consumption BAD
LCD power consumption GOOD

Sorry! (1)

Maddog787 (1021593) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999454)

Can't fool me - LCD definitely better picture than PLASMA. Try selling Plasma someplace else!

Re:Sorry! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000166)

I have to agree with this statement. I saw a 40" Sony Bravia at the store a few weeks ago and it was absolutely stunning. The picture was crisp and clear and the reds and yellows were so realistic it honestly seemed like I was looking out of a window.

I then went over to look at the plasma TVs, and they seemed blurry in comparison. I don't care what the "pros" say, that TV blew away all other LCD/Plasma TVs in the store.

Compare apples to apples (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000562)

I have never seen a LCD that matched an equivalant (same size, resolution, generation, and from a good manufacturer) quality plasma screen in sharpness. What you probably saw was a WGA or lower resolution plasma screen, or a piece of crap from an inferior manufacturer. I've seen some crappy plasmas that really suck as well as crappy LCDs. All are not created equal... you have to compare a good LCD to a good plasma.

A good plasma dispaly has 1) better black levels, 2) better contrast, 3) faster response to motion, 4) much wider viewing angle; and a 5) wider color gammut. A good plasma display will last longer than the backlight bulb in an LCD (although both will last several years with normal viewing times).

LCD is less expensive and lighter... those are their main selling points. Power consumption is lower, but not by an outrageous amount. My 65" Panny costs about $25 more a year in electricity than an equal sized LCD. I can make that up by replacing 10 light bulbs in the house with florescents. [yawn]

As for burn-in, that problem is practically eliminated for most uses in the newer good plasmas, which can detect a static image and pixel shift or vary brightness. For some uses, like commercial message displays and FNN all day long with crawlers, burn in is more of an issue, but that isn't the usual home viewer.

Finally, the large 1080p market is pwned by plasma... if you want to blow LCD out of the water, take a look at the newer 65 inch Panny 1920x1088 plasma, like the TH65PX600U.

SED anyone? (2)

PsyQo (1020321) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999458)

Personally I'm very interested in SED [wikipedia.org] screens, but there don't seem any products using it on the market yet. Does anyone know when we can expect such screens?

Re:SED anyone? (4, Informative)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999474)

From the Wikipedia article you referenced
In October 2006, Toshiba's president announced the company plans to begin full production of 55" SED TVs in July 2007.
So the answer to your question is July 2007.

Re:SED anyone? (4, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999534)

SED? What an unfortunate acronym for a display technology.

SED: /SED/, n.
  [TMRC, from Light-Emitting Diode] Smoke-emitting diode. A friode that lost the war. See also LER. [Not to be confused with sed(1), the Unix stream editor. ESR]

http://catb.org/jargon/html/S/SED.html [catb.org]

--
BMO

Re:SED anyone? (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999740)

Personally, my choice would be OLEDs [wikipedia.org] . Nut there a bit further off.

To hell with plasma and LCD (2, Funny)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999498)

I'm waiting for one of those VR sets they promised us back in the 90s.

Re:To hell with plasma and LCD (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999794)

Like this [3dvisor.com] ?

(I'm not affiliated with them, just used tried one of them)

Why does nobody ever mention DLP? (2, Interesting)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999520)

Why is it that every comparison of HDTV technology is always plasma vs LCD, with never any discussion of DLP? I know there are DLP sets, and some of my friends say that DLP provides a much better picture than either LCD or plasma. Why aren't these sets part of the comparison?

Re:Why does nobody ever mention DLP? (1)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999584)

It could have something to do with the fact that LCD screens are directly competing with plasma screens and not so related to DLP technology, which is only used in projectors. How would such a comparison look anyway?

DLP HDTVs (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999602)

I think because they're not flatscreens, and this is off-putting to a lot of people who want something they can mount on their wall.

I'm not entirely sure of this, but my understanding is that DLP "televisions" are really rear-projection TVs: they have basically a DLP projector in the back, shining on the screen. That means you also need to factor in bulb replacement costs.

I think those two factors, plus general unfamiliarity in the marketplace, has led to them being less popular. And then there's the issue of the key component only being available from one supplier (TI)...that may keep a lot of the low-cost TV manufacturers from getting involved, or keep prices artificially high, depending on how TI markets them.

Re:DLP HDTVs (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999700)

Also, single-chip DLP gives me an almighty headache, and I can't be the only one.

Re:Why does nobody ever mention DLP? (1)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999702)

You're not comparing apples to apples - please correct me if I'm wrong, but you can't have a flat-panel DLP screen hanging on your wall... a DLP is more like a rear-projection set (or used in a projector for a front-projector system)

Re:Why does nobody ever mention DLP? (2, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000452)

You're not comparing apples to apples - please correct me if I'm wrong, but you can't have a flat-panel DLP screen hanging on your wall

I'm not sure why anyone would find this appealing though. Where do you put your cable box, DVR, home theater receiver, DVD player, etc.? All that shit goes in the stand under my 32" CRT TV now. I don't know where the hell I'd put them if my TV just hung on the wall. I guess you could go crazy and build it all into shelves on the wall, but you'd still have the ugly cables hanging down from the back of the TV going over to your components unless you went nuts and cut holes in your wall and ran them down between the wall somehow.

Re:Why does nobody ever mention DLP? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999896)

DLP implies having a honking great big set in the room or an overhead projector of some kind. I suspect LCD is most often compared to plasma because the form factor is more comparable.

Correction to submission (0, Offtopic)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999546)

In other words, there is virtually no 50-inch-class plasma TV market outside the United States

In other words, there are virtually no television sets manufactured inside the United States.

Fixed that for you.

THE TRUTH (1)

tripppy (921964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999672)

in a dark room PDP's are awesome.
in a light room LCD's are awesome.

Running TV on them both for a year will use the same amount of power.
I work in a TV store and they both are pretty hot at 5!

LCD power VS. PLASMA
http://aus.hitachi.com.au/hitachi/content/assets/2 005-12%20Plasma%20vs%20LCD%20White%20Paper%20FINAL .pdf [hitachi.com.au]

Re:THE TRUTH (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999810)

Except that the pdf is clearly incorrect when it comes to LCD power levels in the hands of anyone who knows how to set up a TV correctly. My Sony Bravia has the backlight turned most of the way down, because you get much better dark shades that way. At that, it's genuinely using around a third of the power of my friend's Plasma.

50 inches, not surprised (2, Interesting)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999686)

there is virtually no 50-inch-class plasma TV market outside the United States,

OK, but how much 50-inch-class LCD market is there outside of the United States.
My guess is it's pretty limited as well, after all, 50 inches is huge. I have a large house by English standards, and a 50 inch screen would simply look idiotic in my lounge. Anything larger than about 32-35 inches is simply too big for most houses.

Re:50 inches, not surprised (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999712)

I was thinking that too. My front room is 11'x11' and there are tens of thousands of identical Victorian terraces around here. My 32" looks big in that room, a 50" would be ridiculous.

Re:50 inches, not surprised (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999756)

Indeed. American houses and rooms tend to be much bigger than the norm elsewhere. That was part of the reason behind the initially slow takeup of home cinema in general in the UK. An average lounge (12x18 feet or less) looks pretty full when you stuff in a big AV amp, 5 speakers, sub, DVD/laserdisk player and a 40inch TV. My old lounge was I think 10x12 and the home cinema gear took the entire width and 4 feet of that space leaving just 10x8 to stuff in a sofa, my PC, bookshelves and a gas fire.

Re:50 inches, not surprised (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999882)

Comparing UK lounges to American ones and pronouncing American rooms tend to be much bigger than elsewhere is rather silly - my first impression when I moved to the UK (from Norway) was that I'd never before seen such cramped, narrow lounges anywhere.... The UK suffer from high population density coupled with a legal system and regulatory system that have made it unattractive to build in height (London for hundreds of years even had a regulation preventing building higher than four floors).

As a result you get those ridiculous long rows of narrow terraced houses. You will find some of that elsewhere in Europe too, but a lot of countries does also have traditions for far larger rooms than the UK (often making up for it by fewer rooms - a house that would have two reception rooms in the UK would often be considered barely large enough for one in many other countries in Europe).

Re:50 inches, not surprised (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000000)

Indeed. I would blame it on the antiquated nature of Britain's housing, but it seems that a lot of the new houses being built have equally small rooms.

Personally, I'd like to knock through my two ~12' square reception rooms into one, but I think my landlord might have something to say if I did.

Re:50 inches, not surprised (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000052)

Actually rooms in central Europe tend to be bigger than in the UK as well, overall I have seen average houses in the US and central europe and they are pretty up to bar roomsizewise. I am not talking about mansions here, just general average middle class houses. Actually the roomsize even tends to be bigger here than in many suburb s in the US, but Plasma did not take off here, due to energy reasons.

Re:50 inches, not surprised (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000286)

>elsewhere is rather silly
Well pardon me for not visiting lounges in every country in the world for research purposes. Just going by what I've been told. I'm very happy you have a big one though.

eh? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999698)

'The United States accounts for more than 70 percent of demand for 50-inch plasma TVs and larger. In other words, there is virtually no 50-inch-class plasma TV market outside the United States,'

Funny how 30% becomes virtually nothing when analysts work their magic.

Re:eh? (1)

thona (556334) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999848)

Not really, it makes sense.

Note that he talks of MARKET, not sales.

Yes, there are 30% sold outside the US, but this in MANY countries. That means in many markets, which would have to get distinct marketing. in each country, sales are possbily to small individually to talk of a "market". Together, they are nice - but then, this is not ONE market.

Re:eh? (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999964)

The rest of the world has 20 times as many people as America, yet only 40% of the 50" plasma TV demand. This means America has over 46 times the demand than outside America. I'd say that counts as virtually nothing.

Re:eh? (1)

RasputinAXP (12807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000400)

The important thing is that you gave 110%.

Sport... (1)

Siener (139990) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999802)

I use my plasma TV for two things: Watching DVDs and watching sport. It is while watching sport that the faster response time comes into play. Although I love the higher res of LCD I've yet to see an LCD TV where you can watch cricket on without the ball becoming streak.

I'm sure there are some US Slashdotters who have the same experience with sports like baseball.

Say what you want (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999814)

I'll be standing over here, with either a highly compacted form of the DIY LCD projector (I'm working on making it near laptop-sized and dealing with heat issues) from Tom's Hardware, or I'm gonna be standing next to that Laser television with a big grin on my face as I pull resolutions higher than the meager 1366x768 most LCD screens come with, far better color gamut, and with no burn-in like a plasma.

Can't stand LCD (3, Interesting)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#16999934)

The problem is sharpness rather than slow updates.

I just bought a 42" HDTV capable plasma, and had to turn the sharpness down to 50%, as otherwise all non-HDTV contents, including DVD's looked extremely blocky and I could see the MPEG artifacts everywhere - the default image was far too clear. I shudder at the thought of how horrendous it would have looked on an LCD screen, as I usually notice the pixelation far easier on LCD screens than I do on plasmas.

Maybe I'll consider an LCD screen when I'm using all HD content, or if they start supporting adaptively blurring lower resolution content sufficiently.

Sharp images only works for me when the DPI of the source is high enough that you can't see individual pixels at normal viewing distances.

Yes, I realize that means that I've on purpose chosen a screen with a "lower" picture quality, but the end result is far better with 90%+ of the content available to me. And it was cheap enough to replace in a couple of years if a usable LCD screen (or other tech) comes along.

Re:Can't stand LCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000036)

I've found that most TVs tend to give the most accurate image with the sharpness level either set really low or completely off. If you had to turn it down to 50%, then you were getting a whole ton of artificial edge enhancement, which can ruin the picture quality. Chances are you're still getting far too much even at 50%. I'd try knocking it down to 10 or 15% and see how that is for a while.

Re:Can't stand LCD (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000076)

Maybe the problem is that you're sitting too close to your television?

I believe the ideal distance to sit from a TV was between 6 and 8 times the diagonal. For your 42" set that's roughly 6 to 8m.

If, for example, you're sitting 4m from the TV (a common distance in a living room in an appartment), it's not that surprising that you see the pixels on the image.

DLP moving parts fail... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16999968)

I have seen DLP TVs 'flickering' looking really bad on display in the stores after the TV stopped working properly...

I am wondering if LCDs outlast DLPs because LCDs have no moving parts?

As long as the back light - light bulb keeps working, LCDs seem to last a long time.

I am waiting for the LED backlit LCD panels - no light bulbs to worry about, faster response times,
more flexible brightness, and a sharper picture.

Plasma better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000054)

Those who have seen the high resolution Panasonic and Pioneer plasma TVs would never want to have LCD.

Just looking at the prices.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000212)

Sharp LC-65D90U 65-IN. Native HDTV 1920 X 1080 LCD TV has gone from 15,000 to 7,499 in one year.
Panasonic TH-65PX600U 65-Inch HD Plasma Television has gone from 15,000 to 7,149 in one year.

$300 bucks to virtually avoid burn-in? I'm sold. Plasmas just can't compete anymore.

ref: http://www.nextag.com/Sharp-LC-65D90U-65-83796107/ price-history-html [nextag.com]
ref: http://www.nextag.com/Panasonic-TH-65PX600U-65-510 580514/price-history-html [nextag.com]

I wonder how much the LCD will be in the next 6 months?

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