CES 2009: Despite LCD “Buzz,” Plasma TVs Could Be Your Best Choice

Posted by: Chris Martens at 9:09 pm, February 6th, 2009

What About Brightness? There’s no question that, when push comes to shove, LCD TVs can throw out a lot more light than plasmas can.  Even so, there’s a practical limit to how much light output you really need or can use (unless you plan on watching TV at high noon in a greenhouse…).  Nonetheless, an LCD TV would arguably be the better choice if you plan to do a lot of viewing in a very brightly illuminated environment.

But interestingly, brightness is one area where plasma technology is making strides to narrow (though not to fully close) the “illumination gap” with respect to LCD TVs.  At CES, several plasma makers announced two-pronged thrusts to increase light output while reducing power consumption.  The kinds of equations being talked about (in comparing 2008 models with next-gen 2009 plasma models) went something like this: “…you can have the same light output as before but at half the power consumption, or you can have considerably higher light output at the same power consumption levels as before; take your pick…” Panasonic’s Neo-PDP plasma TV lineup makes a good example, as new models are said to provide “…a brighter panel (with) double luminance efficiency…” (Italics are mine).



New Screen Coatings Extend Plasma’s Advantages: Some people argue that plasma sets sacrifice performance because their typically glossy screen surfaces too easily pick up room reflections, but not anymore. Today’s best plasma sets have exotic new screen coatings that not only help enhance black level performance and color fidelity, but that have an uncanny ability to reject room reflections (even though the screen surfaces appear to be glass-smooth—not matte finished).

Look at the photo of the 55-inch Samsung plasma set shown above and you’ll see that, even though the TV is displayed on a brightly illuminated pedestal and even though the photo was taken with a flash, there are few (if any) reflections visible in the screen surface. Note, too, that even though we are viewing the set from far off-axis, on-screen images remain clear and “watchable.”



neil.gader -- Sat, 02/07/2009 - 11:14

LCD technology is vastly superior to plasma as regards energy efficiency. They run cooler and use less AC–not a small issue when the electric bill arrives each month. Have plasma sets been addressing "green"  technology?

Neil Gader Associate Editor The Absolute Sound

Joe (not verified) -- Mon, 02/09/2009 - 12:00

As someone all ready stated, the big push (besides thinness) for 2009 Plasma TV models is power consumption.  The new Panasonic line is claiming HALF the power consumption as the 2008 line.  This is a dramatic cut which brings the power consumption levels of LCD and PDPs very close together when comparing similar size TVs.
Also, someone commented that PDP and LCD TVs use less electricity than CRTs...  as far as my knowledge goes and the stickers on the back of TVs this is not true. 2008 LCDs use about twice as much power as a similar sized CRT while the PDPs more than that.  I am not an electronics engineer but I'm pretty sure about this.
Finally,  anyone who is worried about the few extra bucks in the electric bill a Plasma TV will cost you... shouldn't be purchasing a $1000+ TV anyway.  If the few extra bucks is that big of a deal go buy a 26" crap LCD TV at WalMart for $400.

Eldon C. (not verified) -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 15:19

Plasma technology is vastly superior to LCD

Joe Moran (not verified) -- Sat, 02/14/2009 - 12:19

Power consumption was definitely an issue as recently as two years ago. But plasma TVs have been moving in a much better direction with energy efficiency, especially with last year's models. I own a 2008 Panasonic 50-inch TH-50PZ800U, and among its other features is Energy Star certification. Per C-Net's review of the set ( http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/panasonic-viera-th-50pz800u/4505-6482_7-32886472-2.html?tag=mncol;txt ), in the Juice Box table, this model uses 0.18 watts / square inch (191.44 watts total) when powered on, and a flat 0.18 watts in standby mode, for an estimated annual electric bill of $59.77 (which assumes 8 hours of use per day and the 2007 average price per kilowatt-hour).
Details on how C-Net performs their power consumption tests can be found here: http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6475_7-6400401-5.html?tag=mncol;txt
If I remember correctly, all of Panasonic's plasma models are now Energy Star compliant, and the handful of remaining plasma makers are also on that track. 

Anonymous (not verified) -- Wed, 02/25/2009 - 09:15

If you would have read the latest power consumption shoot out you would find your conclusion to be faulty.  Several plasma TV's are MORE efficient with power then LCD TV's and most are very close.  Your assesmant is flawed and shows your unprofessionalism.

ninjababez (not verified) -- Fri, 02/27/2009 - 18:09

LCD technology is vastly superior to plasma as regards energy efficiency. They run cooler and use less AC–not a small issue when the electric bill arrives each month. Have plasma sets been addressing "green"  technology?

plasma tv power consumption is dynamic, e.g. a 240 watts 32" LG plasma consumes less power than a 32" panasonic lcdtv.

Todd (not verified) -- Thu, 06/11/2009 - 04:40

Plamas have made great strides concerning power consumption.  I believe it was cnet who actually ran a voltmeter or power consumption meter for a lack of better words and found that the 2009 models consume only about $1 to $2 more of electricity a month on average.  Some where running the same as the LCDs.  A drop in the bucket as far as I'm concerned.

bornleader (not verified) -- Tue, 12/08/2009 - 08:37

How much does it cost to run a 32" Plasma VS. a 32" LCD HDTV

Paul Monticciolo (not verified) -- Sat, 02/07/2009 - 13:18

Unless one watches more than a few hours a day (who can if you have a job and other interests),  the additiional energy consumption is not going to be that great.  I will gladly pay a bit more each month watching my Pioneer Kuro Elite 60" plasmat set. . Trust me,  it is worth it. I will conserve energy in other ways.

Pat bowie (not verified) -- Sat, 02/07/2009 - 21:58

Neil, I thought The Absolute Sound was an electronics publication dedicated to the art and science of High End Audio and the pursuit thereof. I didn't realize it had become a "green" publication. Who cares if LCD is "more efficient" than Plasma? I would think most readers of AS don't. Of course perhaps I am wrong, from what I've read AS has sold out to the mainstream mentality. I pine for the "good ole days" when a tube amp was also central heating and the music was the most important and driving factor for AS. Pat

neil.gader -- Sun, 02/08/2009 - 15:15

I'm  not speaking for TAS when I reference being green, just myself. Actually I wasn't even considering High End audio in this equation although perhaps I should have. And I admit I'm guilty of a  double standard here but I would still guess that by virtue of the sheer number of televisions in use nationally  they demand far more energy in comparison to the number of high end systems.  Truth is, I hugely value high end gear while televisions, be they plasma, LCD, DLP, OLED, front or rear projector are little more than appliances to me. Sold out to the mainstream? What are you talking about? The fact that TAS now reviews a more generous mix of gear at a variety of price points only indicates the breadth of the current high end. And you don't need to be pining for the good ole days- Go buy yourself an ARC610T, the king of musicality and space heating.

Neil Gader Associate Editor The Absolute Sound

Lungo (not verified) -- Mon, 11/30/2009 - 09:59

Agreed. I have myself sacrificed ultimate video quality in order to have ultimate audio quality. LCD does the job well enough but sibilant sound would make me sick ...

Frank S (not verified) -- Sun, 02/08/2009 - 10:40

Neil has a point......it is but one factor to consider among the many.
Though, as with an amplifier or incandescent light bulb, the power that is not turned into sound or light is turned into heat.....which for most of us makes these devices 100% efficient 6-9 months of the year (depending on where you live)!!!

Anonymous (not verified) -- Mon, 02/09/2009 - 02:31

 It is true that LCD's are less power hungry in general, but plasmas are certainly making strides in efficiency.  The link below shows CNET testing of many panels, and you can see that many of Panasonic's 2008 models (some of the most efficient plasmas) have power/screen-size efficiencies that are as-good or better than most LCD's.  If the new 2009 panels are significantly more efficient, then plasma won't be too far behind the LCD TV's in effeciency.  Also, note that the yearly difference in electricity cost between a lower efficiency plasma (50" Visio XVT model) and high efficiency LCD (Sharp Aquos 52") is typically much less than $100 per year.  For many people, the tradeoff in efficiency may not be an issue, especially if  they go for a higher efficiency plasma. Hopefully the link works.

Dennis P (not verified) -- Mon, 02/09/2009 - 10:20

Of course Plasma's are better than LCD's they have been since LCD's came out. LCD's are trying to play the catch up game still, and soon when they do catch up OLED will already be out. The Pioneer Kuro 111FD smokes any LCD out there.

prepress -- Wed, 07/15/2009 - 15:41

 I would testify to this. At the time I got it, the 111 was simply better than anything else I saw, plasma or LCD. Next to the Pioneer, many LCDs simply didn't look natural. And this was in a more-or-less light-controlled environment.
LED is a big step up for LCD, and I haven't seen the very latest ones, but those I saw when I was TV shopping (last year) didn't have the shadow detail the Kuro did.

Chris Martens -- Mon, 02/09/2009 - 10:37

 Neil has a point, although I think the energy efficiency gap between LCD and plasma technologies is narrowing.
Again, several plasma makers announced 2009 initiatives where the rough math was as follows:
**Same plasma light output as 2008 for about half the power consumption, or
**A whole lot more light output than in 2008 for the same power consumption levels seen in 2008 models.
Personally, I can live with that differential, given that I was well satisfied with 2008 light output levels from plasma sets (in most real-world viewing scenarios).
David Birch-Jones, Playback's video guru, has pointed what might be the most important point of all: according to him, both technologies are considerably more efficient than the CRT sets they are (in many cases) replacing.
Chris Martens
Editor, Playback

Chris Martens
Editor, Avguide.com/Playback/The Perfect Vision 

prepress -- Wed, 07/15/2009 - 15:34

 I have a Pioneer Elite 111FD, and the manual states power consumption is 436 watts. but that is a maximum figure (as it probably is for most/all electronics); the display has never gone there. It typically pulls about the same wattage as the 27" XBR it replaced (240) or slightly more.

RW (not verified) -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 15:18

I have read a lot about the differences in enery usage between PDP's and LCDs, but here is my take. If I am spending $2000+  for TV I want the best PQ I can get. I am not buying the set to show off my "green" bona fides. If I have to install some CFL in the house and shut off the computer when I am not using it to feel good about myself and my "carbon footprint" I will. I don't think my purchase of a top of the line PDP is going to kill too many polar bears. I think we as a country have become too obsessed with the whole energy /global warming issue. Yes we should not be overly wasteful in our lifestyles and my family isn't, but we also don't have to give up our quality of life and move back into caves either.

jon v (not verified) -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 16:04

I don't know the correct power consumption figures but let's assume a 50" plasma averages 400 watts.  My kids leave far more than 200 watts of unnecessary lights burning at any given time.  Recommendation: get a plasma, enjoy a better picture at lower cost and yell at the kids more - Unless you have an issue like screen reflections that are solved by a less reflective lcd screen.

DFF (not verified) -- Thu, 02/12/2009 - 16:25

It's too bad that this discussion went off on a power consumption tangent, as there are other considerations that should be taken into account as well. I am referring specifically first of all to the problem of burn-in with plasmas. When I had a PDP I was changing the aspect ratio of the picture almost every time I changed the channel to avoid the possibility of burn-in. Now with my LCD I watch every show in the aspect ratio it was broadcast in. Another problem with plasmas which is hardly ever mentioned is that they must not be laid down. It was a rude surprise to me when I picked up my PDP at the store to be told that I must transport it standing up. We had to take it out of its carton to fit it in my car standing up. This could be a real problem for some people taking their PDP in for service.

gar (not verified) -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 00:50

I've had a plasma for two years now and never worried about burn-in, ever. One day early on I did see some image retention, so I know what that looks like, but I only saw it that once and it only lasted for a few seconds. I have never seen anything like it since. BTW, LCDs suffer burn-in. At least the ones in our office do. We have had to replace a few of them because the KVM menu had burned into them so much that it was distracting.
In actual usage plasmas don't use any more current than LCDs, since they draw current on demand rather than continuously like LCDs. If you watch skiing shows all day long the plasma will use more electricity. But if you watch movies and normal TV shows, the difference is insignificant. The latest generation just announced will likely use less energy than equivalent LCDs and they are going to get even more energy efficient in the future.
I'm not sure who would tell anyone that you couldn't lay down a plasma. I have done it several times when making changes to the hookups to it and the AV receiver behind it. However, you shouldn't transfer either a large LCD or plasma laying flat due to the fragile nature of the glass. Large panes of glass could crack if they suffer a hard enough bump. All the LCDs I have ever purchased have always been shipped upright for that reason. No one ships LCDs flat.
LCDs have made many strides in recent times, but I still appreciate the more natural appearance of the picture from my plasma vs my LCD. The plasma is thus in the main viewing room while the LCD is relagated to the basement for the kids to use for their video games. Every time I have to watch TV on the LCD I appreciate the plasma even more.
The only reason, IMHO, that people buy LCDs over plasma is due to the sales pitch and showroom displays, which typically make it difficult to judge the quality differences between sets. If one compares properly calibrated sets side by side in viewing conditions resembling the home theater environment, it would be very difficult to choose an LCD over a plasma. Plasmas are obviously superior. I have both. I wouldn't trade my plasma for an LCD if you paid me.

DFF (not verified) -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 13:07

There was a warning on the shipping carton of my plasma to keep it in the vertical position. The store person was simply reinforcing the warning. No such warning appeared on my LCD's carton. I will just have to defer to the respective manufacturers as to the fragility of their products. The burn-in that I was referring to was not image retention but  from the side-bars that appear when a 4:3 aspect ratio picture is displayed on a 16:9 aspect ratio screen. Some broadcasters fill them in when sending a 4:3 picture (NBC Nightly News for example), but when they don't it is advisable for plasma viewers to distort their picture if they don't want eventually to see an artifact of those oh so black side-bars. As to the blacker blacks claim for plasma displays, that has virtually lost its validity when made against the newer LED backlit LCD displays. By the way, what I have noticed in side by side viewing of plasma and (LED backlit) LCD displays is that the LCDs appear to have whiter whites. My personal preference would be for a less than absolutely black black rather than a dingy white. But that is just my personal preference.
I don't know why a sales person would pitch a LCD over a PDP unless the PDPs are more profitable. Apparently they wern't profitable enough for Pioneer, maker of the famous Kuro PDP. As to the showroom display making it difficult to judge the comparative picture quality; what could be the problem? Too much ambient light? Isn't that one of the knocks against PDPs - that they are best viewed in dedicated "home theater" rooms?
Newer PDPs may use less power than flourescent backlit LCDs but they won't use less power than LED backlit LCDs since they do not use power continuously either and LEDs are more efficient lights than flourescents.

Colin Mac (not verified) -- Sat, 06/13/2009 - 18:08

Plasma are more fragile than LCD's due to their  screen construction, any twisting of the panel will damage the screen (plasma cells). If you can ensure a flat surface and carry the unit in the original packaging then it will be fine to transport flat. Similarly, care should be taken during installation, any twisting is a no no!. Plasma picture quality will be better than LCD but just remember rubbish in rubbish out, all these new HD TV's rely on a good input signal. Until all TV broadcasts, DVD's etc. are of the highest quality you won't always get a great picture... and the larger your screen the poorer it will look if the signal input is low on quality.

Steve (not verified) -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 12:43

Do you really believe in that green crap? To me its just a way to start new jobs.

neil.gader -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 16:20

Have you looked at the unemployment figures recently? Some new jobs wouldn't exactly be a bad idea.

Neil Gader Associate Editor The Absolute Sound

neil.gader -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 16:18

This is starting to sound like the Beta vs VHS Wars. And we know how that turned out. I've got no dog in this fight but soon enough both plasma and LCD will be on life support.

Neil Gader Associate Editor The Absolute Sound

Bill G. (not verified) -- Fri, 02/13/2009 - 22:08

I was undecided between LCD and PDP until I walked into a showroom, and couldn't believe the reflections in the PDP screen.  I don't watch TV in a dedicated room, and it's not practical to turn off all the lights in my great room just to watch a show (there are others living here, too).  I'm absolutely delighted with my 65" Sharp Aquos--wouldn't trade it for anything else I've seen.  I can't imagine a better picture when fed by a Sony blue ray player.  As far as efficiency is concerned, perhaps the extra heat goes well in the frozen northland, but not here in sunny Florida.

neil.gader -- Sat, 02/14/2009 - 12:45

Bill G,
and not here in Studio City, CA either! Couldn't agree with you more. Plasma's are over.

Neil Gader Associate Editor The Absolute Sound

Paul Packer (not verified) -- Fri, 04/17/2009 - 03:13

Totally agree about reflections with plasma. Whatever difference there might be between LCD and plasma (and though I have both I haven't observed much difference), it means little if you can clearly see a faithful rendition of the viewing room in the relective screen. I would not now consider another plasma unless they can come out with a non-reflective screen. This one factor for me renders all other considerations moot.

Timothy G (not verified) -- Sun, 02/15/2009 - 18:12

I am absolutely stunned at the miss-informed public that still exists to this day when it comes to Plasma vs. LCD. There are applications for both technologies but when I read comments about glare, heat, burn-in and not being able to lie a panel on it’s side, I choke at the ignorance that persists.
Heat / Power: I read an article from Home Theater Mag in the past year or so that charted power consumption of Plasma vs LCD. And the difference for a 30 day test period was basically ZERO. Size for size some LCD’s use .50 to a 1.00 more or less and visa versa for plasma (Panasonic). Bottom line, there basically is no difference in power consumption. And if power consumption is related to heat output (which it sure should be) than how can one technology produce more heat with the same power consumption?? It can’t! Plus, I hear the new Pany’s are much more efficient than last year, hence they must use much less power than most LCD’s AND produce less heat!!
Glare: Please, have you seen the upper line Samsungs?? There’s more glare on those panels than any TV on the market with those shiny plastic screens. Are you kidding me?
Burn in: I have two Pany’s and no such thing as burn in for me in two years and yea I watch ESPN.
Brightness: Yes LCD’s are capable of more brightness, you can put 10000w fluorescent bulbs in them if you want and burn your retinas out. High brightness has never been a function of good picture quality. Most people don’t buy a car because it has a top speed of 230mph because they drive like crap for everyday driving.
Putting a Plasma on it’s side: I brought both mine home on the side. The issue is that they have a optical glass screen not a plastic screen and if you’re not careful transporting it and hit a pot hole on the way home you can risk a crack. But I laid one box on it’s side for 2 weeks before I opened it and nothing was wrong. Next someone’s going to tell me the gas can run out if it’s on it’s side.
I really don’t care what technology people buy, buy what you like but what is with the continual bashing of plasma panels, it’s like LCD’s have an inferiority complex and feel like they have to constantly knock down the better technology.
Give it a rest until you educate yourselves. Or at least, keep up with current advances in technology.

Daylightdon (not verified) -- Sun, 02/15/2009 - 20:28

In the past 4 years, I've had a Pioneer monitor, A Shard LCD, and then a Panasonic, which I still have. All came from Costco before their current 90 day exchange policy.
Even if their policy had not changed I would still have the Panasonic. It has the best color, best overall picture and is the coolest running of the three.
As far as the "GREEN THING" it's like global waring and the rest of the political nonsense of the politicians trying to run our lives!!!!   Chicken Little: "THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING!"
Hogwash! Stay out of MY HOUSE!!!

neil.gader -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 12:43

When gas goes back to four bucks a gallon or more in the next year or so perhaps you'll reconsider whether the sky is falling or not.

Neil Gader Associate Editor The Absolute Sound

artistx (not verified) -- Mon, 08/10/2009 - 18:33

Ignorance is bliss.

Anonymous (not verified) -- Tue, 02/17/2009 - 13:33

What about lifespan?  The last I read about it, LCD TVs can be expected to last much longer than plasma.  Does plasma still become dim and discolored faster than LCD?

Anonymous (not verified) -- Tue, 02/17/2009 - 13:42

Oh, and screen reflaction was a big deal for me, and also good black and white.  My new Philips LCD has black as black as black gets, and white as white as white gets.

alexander timoschuk (not verified) -- Fri, 02/20/2009 - 20:33

I hope this makes everyone very mad. I would especially like to get PIONEERS attention.

For those about to consider buying a high end TV please remember plasma TVs suffer from BURN-IN.

The owner’s manual on my KURO ELITE states that burning will happen and it is NOT covered by warranty.

In my viewing region, we have many stations that are broadcasting in 4x3 format.

I personally do not like watching stretches or elongated images. I prefer watching what is broadcasted.

After a short period of time the 4x3 area was burned in and visible vertical lines were PERMANENTLY  VISIBLE.

With a little help from Photoshop and iMovie I created a movie to wear out the areas beyond the letterbox.

Next time I see a pioneer salesman doing a demo he better watch out.

kodg -- Wed, 02/25/2009 - 18:16


Anonymous (not verified) -- Sat, 02/28/2009 - 21:46

 Plasma vs. LCD---Power consumption vs. efficiency 
These are really completely different topics.  You can’t really merge them. 
So, I’ll just talk about the picture quality between the two technologies. 
In terms of picture quality, there really isn’t a comparison.
Plasma wins HANDS DOWN.
You have to remember.  We are human.  Therefore, we see in a rather analog kind of way.  NOT DIGITAL.   
Have you really looked at the screen of the LCD?  Have you really compared the two side/by/side in the showroom with same content?   
Well, do this, and make sure the sales person goes away from you.  Take some time.  It will begin to show after a while.  You’ll notice the picture on the plasma is MUCH SMOOTHER, more movie house like.  And much easier on your eyes for long term watching.   
I watched the first half of the SuperBowl on a 52” LCD  (new, Sony)—then I finished watching the remainder of the game at home with my Panasonic 58” plasma—Serious  Difference. 
Like being able to listen to a very good pair of speakers for a long time, vs. a pair that sounded great at first and then later you just wanted to turn them down or even off.  Most of you here on this forum and other forums understand that.  Smoothness counts because as humans we get too tired of Bright, Sharp.  We wear sunglasses on bright sunny days, we like our houses with medium light.   
The plasma is more life like.   
LCD may get there.  But it’s a long, long ways away.

Anonymous (not verified) -- Mon, 03/02/2009 - 15:23

I'll briefly share my tale...
After months and months of research, I decided on the Sony XBR6 52".  After 2 days, I called the place I bought it from and begged them to swap it for a plasma (which, thankfully, they agreed to).  I now own the Panasonic PZ850U 50", and couldn't be happier.  Why?  Three major reasons:
1)  LCDs suffer from clouding and flashlight effects.  The backlight on the XBR6 was so uneven (yes, even on a Sony), that whenever a dark scene came on the screen it became terribly distracting.  Even my wife (who admittedly knows nothing about HDTVs) noticed the uneven backlight.  The store owner even came to my house to see for himself, and he admitted that it was unacceptable.  Get this: during an online chat with Sony Tech Support, the technician I chatted with said flat-out, "clouding is a drawback of the LCD technology.  If you want to avoid clouding, buy a plasma."
2)  LCDs have terrible off-axis viewing angles.  So trying to watch the news while eating dinner in the adjoining diningroom was all but useless. 
3)  LCDs have a certain type of "softness" to the image that you can't really understand until you see one next to a plasma.  Plasmas just have a "crisper", more saturated image.  If you're a movie buff like I am, plasmas blow LCDs out of the water with Blu-ray discs.
To disparage plasmas because of "burn-in", higher power consumption, and screen reflections is like disparaging a Toyota because it's gas mileage isn't quite as good as a Kia, it needs more frequent tune-ups, and the paint job isn't as shiny.  Whether or not that's true is irrelevant when what you should be buying is a car that will give you the best, most reliable mechanical performance for the money.  Better to spend the extra dough on gas, tune-ups, and wax jobs than on repairs and parts for an inferior product, I say. 
Oh, and "burn-in" is a misnomer anyway, since the phosphors are never "burned in", but are rather "unevenly aged" depending on usage.  So-called "burn-in" is extremely easy to avoid and almost as easy to remove, so the point is moot. 

kota (not verified) -- Wed, 03/11/2009 - 18:32

is a 720p Panasonic Viera 42" better then a 1080p Lcd tv, which has the best colors speed? please help buying tv soon

nick (not verified) -- Thu, 03/12/2009 - 10:20

I wouldn't buy 720, they won't even be on the market much longer. im far from a pro but if ur getting an HD TV  might as well sehll out the extra $ and get true 1080HD.

ColinMac (not verified) -- Thu, 08/13/2009 - 08:26

Just because a TV is capable of HD 1080 it doesn't mean that' what you'll get, bear in mind TV transmissions will not be 1080 for the forseeable future so unless you have a 1080p Bluray player in constant use a 720 TV picture is the most you will see. The extra money isn't worth it really and there's not much difference, you will be happy with the 720.

Sydney (not verified) -- Tue, 03/17/2009 - 09:20

 I'd like to personally thank Neil for hijacking the debate.  Seriously, Neil shouldn't even have posted anything since he admittedly considers televisions " little more than appliances."  Talk about "off topic" -unbelievable!  What did he offer the conversation? Nothing substantive regarding LCD v Plasma picture quality. He knows nothing about the topic. He's just trying to plug his publication and espouse his own political views -shamelessly. Can anyone really say they considered energy efficiency in their decision to buy LCD v Plasma? It's possible you did, but it was probably last on your list. Chris wrote the article about LCD v Plasma picture quality not "green" technology. Then Neil even goes on to mention high gas prices.  Save the global warming BS.  I'm so sick of people like Neil. This is an AV forum!  I haven't seen any global warming articles in his publication -because no one that reads it cares either. A typical 8 Watt Class-A amp will draw anything from 700mA to 2 Amps continuous. This equates to a quiescent (no signal) power dissipation of between 17 Watts and 48 Watts, based on a 24 Volt supply (+/- 12 Volts ). At very best, such an amplifier will have an efficiency of less than 35% at full power - at worst, this will be perhaps 15% or less. Such inefficiency is never a consideration in any audiophile's equation when evaluating the sound quality of an amp or even the purchase of an amp.
Now, back to the original topic, Plasma has always had a better picture quality.  It continues to be better and will be for at least the next cycle of electronic panel displays.   When comparing black levels, the choice is clear –or very black in the case of plasmas.

Jack Kessler (not verified) -- Sun, 06/14/2009 - 00:58

Actually, Sydney I did consider the consequence of getting an energy-wasting appliance versus a green one.  Perhaps you should too.   A large LCD television uses around 300 watts when it is on.  Assuming one has it on 3 hours and 20 minutes a day, that is one kilowatt-hour per day, every day.   The lifetime of a plasma television is estimated at 30,000 to 60,000 hours, and the lifetime of an LCD at 60,000 to 80,000 hours.  Assuming roughly 1,000 hours per year, or a little more in my example, unless one is young, either kind will last longer than you will - 30 to 80 years.  If one were to operate it to failure, the number of kilowatt-hours consumed would be between almost 10,000 and 25,000.  Quite a lot. 
You are quite right to say that the money to pay for those thousands of kilowatt-hours is really not all that important.  It is the energy itself that is important.  Most power plants in the world today operate by burning fossil fuel - oil, gas, or coal.   Those are being used and not being replaced.  Whether more are discovered or not, in the end there is a finite supply and we are ripping right through it.   Using fossil fuels is spending the world's savings.  Eventually they will be gone.
As to whether global warming is BS or not, I suggest a visit to the Athabaska Glacier on the Icefiield Parkway in Alberta this summer.   Aside from being set among arguably the most beautiful scenery in North America, it tells an interesting story.  The Athabaska Glacier is unique in that ordinary people can hike right up to it. and onto it  
Every year Parks Canada puts a concrete marker at the foot of the glacier.  As one starts the hike the markers are for the late 1940's.  One hikes a long way past the ever high markers which mark the retreat of the ice.   From the 1940 marker to where the foot of the ice is today is more than three quarters of a mile.   For the glacier to have reached the lower markers, it must have been not only a lot longer than it is today, but also a lot thicker. 
You can argue with me or with whomever you please and feel that you have made this point or that.  Try arguing with the Athabaska Glacier.

prepress -- Wed, 07/15/2009 - 15:20

 Your figures on flat-panel longevity seem low compared to what I've heard recently. Are you referring to half-brightness or panel life total?

BrianX (not verified) -- Tue, 03/24/2009 - 17:56

Sydney has a point about Neil hijacking the debate.  And, I also would discount somewhat the opinions of someone who describes video displays as mere appliances and expresses no interest in their quality. 
But, he simply expresses his own bias in stating that no one reading this publication cares about global warming.  For many readers, like myself, energy consumption is an issue along with picture quality, reliability, cost, burn-in, shinyness, etc.  Not everyone is as one-dimensional as he describes :-).  It was worthwhile for me to hear some of the energy figures cited on the newer plasmas.  The discussion provides good reason to re-consider the energy efficiency credentials of plasma. 
However, I still don't understand why plasmas get so many complaints about reflections.  Don't any manufacturers use anti-reflective coatings on their plasma screens.  Do such coatings reduce light levels too much for plasmas?

daylightdon@yah... -- Thu, 04/23/2009 - 16:22

Mr Gader did not comment any further on this subject!
Did we wear him out or did he give up!

prepress -- Sat, 06/20/2009 - 06:06

More recent plasmas are not as prone to burn-in as earlier models. Many incorporate anti-burn-in features as well. For plasmas, the pixels are most sensitive and vulnerable early on, so I believe one should use full-screen content primarily for the first 150 or so hours.  I had mine calibrated professionally at 162.5 hours, and watch everything in its original aspect ratio. Up to that point I did as well, but focused on full-screen content (HD channels). I have had no burn-in or image retention issues from day one.

TV Wall Mounting (not verified) -- Wed, 07/15/2009 - 06:08

Thanks for sharing this post

daylightdon (not verified) -- Thu, 07/16/2009 - 00:39

My Panasonic TCP50V10, arrived today.....it is GREAT!!!!

Alessandro Mol Luce (not verified) -- Mon, 07/20/2009 - 10:30

 Plasma is the men!!!    LCD is a little kid...grow muther fuc* grow

Anonymous3280 (not verified) -- Mon, 07/27/2009 - 00:56

I work in a high end AV store and get great enjoyment from reading forums like this, its almost as mutch fun as watching the Playstation and Xbox fanboys go at it.
Both LCD and Plasma and LCD have pro's and con's. I personaly have a Panasonic G series with the Neo panel and overall prefer plasma, 
I believe it all comes down to personal preference. To your average joe contrast ratios, brightness and black levels dont mean anything if they dont like the picture. I personaly think that one of the biggest selling LCD's is one of the worst for motion performance around(they also make a a gaming machine). As I said I prefer plasma for most sittuations particularly this latest generation but Im not going to hold it against someone if they prefer LCD.
I dont take it as a personal insult when someone tells me that they prefer the picture of the LCD over Plasma, which is the way it seems to be on the forum here,
Just get over youreselves people and respect that other people will have different opinions to your own. Its not like they are insulting your religion!!!!
Or maybe not, then I wouldnt have anything to laugh at on the slower days at work!!!

Alessandro Mol Luce (not verified) -- Thu, 07/30/2009 - 17:09

Plasma still the king

plasma installation (not verified) -- Mon, 09/14/2009 - 16:31

I prefer the smoother picture and deeper blacks of plasma.

Eclipse (not verified) -- Mon, 11/30/2009 - 03:13

Wow, such passion over tv types. Information sharing is good, but what is up with the over-reactions? Did any of you invent either if these technologies? Didn't think so. Long story short is most people want to feel good about their expensive tv purchase, they want validity and to feel confident that the thousands of dollars they spent was spent wisely.

I work in the media production buisiness, so here are the FACTS about both types of tv displays:
1. Both are flat, and both are thin. Plasma tv's tend to weigh more.

2. Both can display high-definition video and high resolution still photos. Plasma tv usually displays 1080p video at screen sizes 50" or larger, due to how plasma tv is manufactured.

3. Brightness: LCD has a much brighter picture, which is usually slightly harsher then plasma. Plasma tv is more similar in picture quality to CRT tv (old large square tv's).
Plasma does not tend to be as bright as LCD, which does two things: gives the LCD tv's a much brighter white colour, but also makes blacks appear dark grey and a little "smokey". Plasma, on the other hand, has much deeper blacks and better shadow detail, but white is much more muted. For example, if you watch a bright outdoor scene on a LCD tv, the sheer brightness of the tv gives an illusion that you are looking out a window with the light coming in from that window. Plasma looks as though you are looking out a window with a canopy over top, thus cutting the direct daylight from entering the window directly. You know it's bright outside, but the light does not glare in. Hope that analogy makes some sense.

4. Burn-in: easy question. LCD does not burn in period. Anyone who says it can is misinformed. Plasma CAN burn in, but not as easily as some say. Here is the deal with plasma: in the first 200 hours, plasma can burn in quickly, so use caution with static images and aspect ratios during this time. Run the screen wipe or "white screen" for about 15 mins or so after watching tv during this break-in period. After that, unless you leave static images on the screen for hours, you should be ok. Also, make sure to always leave the anti-burn in options on in your tv menu.

5. Motion video: LCD either blurrs or trails during fast moving scenes. 120mhz lcd's smooth this out, but make all tv and movies look un-natural, kind of like it was taken with a camcorder. Plasma looks similar to how the old picture tube tv's looked, no blurring or trailing, very natural with little artifacts (annoying block like pixelation) during the motion.

6. How long will it last? Answer: no idea. Claims suggest 60,000 to 100,000 hrs. Guess we shall see 15 years down the road if this is true or not. These claims are the same fir both plasma and LCD.

Hope this actually helps someone.

By the way, the audio guy who looks at tv as an appliance then makes opinionated comments on said tv's has no business working for any kind of publication other then a high school newspaper.

Lungo (not verified) -- Mon, 11/30/2009 - 09:55

Just remember Beta and VHS. Beta was significantly better quality system and technology. But disappeared miserably. Why? Because of the fact that price / performance ratio is what drives the video industry and not ultimate performance regardless of the price point. Therefore yes I agree plasmas are probably better but at 2-3 times a price? Not so sure anymore ... unless their price drops at the levels of the average LCD they will always be for people who do not care about the price and chase 'ultimate' in everything.

Eclipse (not verified) -- Tue, 12/01/2009 - 05:56

Actually, plasma tv's are less expensive then LCD on average.

Rickmano (not verified) -- Fri, 12/11/2009 - 00:16

Panasonic's new plasmas definitely trumps the LCD Tvs in terms of color naturalness and rendering blacks. Just got my Panasonic TC-P54G10 and am very happy with it.

LCD & Plasma TV Installer (not verified) -- Mon, 03/22/2010 - 16:01

Some interesting reading. Cheers! 

lcd installation (not verified) -- Mon, 03/29/2010 - 09:56

Most people choose with price in mind anyway!

TD160 -- Sat, 06/26/2010 - 21:35

Plasma TVs still set the “gold standard” that LCD TVs are chasing, How true you are! We have had a Panasonic 50 full HD plasma for over 3 years and still find at the AV shops plasma still has the best natural picture and costs less, most LCDs with LED backlight have a blown out picture that looks unnatural and cost more. As for burn in on LCD tv, if you turn of you screensaver on a LCD laptop/notebook you will burn in.

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