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Author Topic: Flat Screen TV pros/cons  (Read 1935 times)
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MonkeyFinger
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« on: December 24, 2004, 03:08:34 PM »

For someone contemplating a post-Christmas Christmas present for themselves, has anyone found a good site that explains the various pros and cons of the display technologies out there?  LCD, DLP, Plasma, whatever?  :? I have no clue if one is clearly "better" than any of the others, or if it's based on size or your threshold of monetary pain or what. Thanks!
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Chaz
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2004, 11:22:41 PM »

I'm doing the same thing.  I haven't found a single site with all the info, but from reading a whole bunch on the AVS forums, here's the conclusions I've come to.

Direct View: This is what you have now.  Generally best picture quality.  Very limited in size, ~40" being the high end, and very expensive in that range.  Also extremely heavy.

Rear projection CRT: Seems to be best bang for the buck right now.  Same tech that big screens have been using for years, so it's realiable.  Sizes range from 40"-~70".  Picture quality has gotten very good lately, with the black levels being the best of all the rear projection formats.  The viewing angle on many sets is less than you get on LCD and DLP, but has also gotten quite good.  Also, cabinets can be very large, though not as heavy as direct view sets.  This is the format I'm going with.

LCD: Same idea as most business PC projectors.  There's a transparent LCD screen, and a light is shone through it to project the image on the TV.  Prone to a lot of the problems that LCD monitors have: slight motion blur (I can see it, not everyone is bugged by it), black levels and white levels not so hot, potential for dead pixels.  One of the major plusses is that the sets are very small.  Slightly bigger than a plasma, but a lot smaller than RPCRTs.  Cost is definitely higher than CRT.

DLP: This is the newest format, and I'm actually not sure about the inner workings.  From what I do know, it involves a spinning color wheel that the light shines through.  Since it's new technology, it's prone to problems, and I'm reading a lot of reports of people having to have the guts of their sets completely replaced, and others whose color wheels create a whining noise.  Price is also the highest of the RP types.  Picutre quality is excellent, though it does tend to have problems with black levels as well.  Cabinet size is similar to LCD.  

Plasma: This is what rich people buy to show off how cool they are.  Overpriced, problematic.  Stay away.

As I said, I'm going with a CRT model.  Unless space is a consideration, you can get a much bigger set for a lower price.  Picture quality on the newer models is better than DLP or LCD, especially with black levels, and the tech is time-tested, so they're less prone to failure.  LCD would probably be my next choice, and Sharp's Aquos line looks very nice.  The sets are physically much smaller than CRTs, but the price is definitely higher.  I would hold off a few years on DLP.  It'll get there, but right now, there's still a bunch of kinks to work out.  They're making progress each year though.  

But don't listen to me.  The only way to know is to go look at sets.  When I was picking mine, I had about four in mind, but when I looked at them, this one just grabbed me.  Picture quality is a very subjective thing, and since it's your money, and your living room this thing will be sitting in, you'd better look at it first.  Definitely do your research before going to stores though.   AVS Forum is a good place to start.  Just be wary of the brand wars that go on in there.  Once posters have their set, they tend to be extremely loyal to it.  There is a lot of good info to be had.  Happy hunting!
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SkyLander
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« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2004, 01:43:01 AM »

You might want to take a look at the next generation of "micro displays" its like a rear projection unit but its only 16" deep.  Most have an LCD engine in them but you can find them with DLP or DILA. So the picture looks very good. Be prepared to replace a $300 lamp every 3000 hours. But that is the same for any type of projection unit , LCD or DILA or DLP.  Plasmas have been dropping in price with the introduction of large size LCD displays they are at a price sweet spot now if you want anything at the 42" size
If I was going to pick a unit I would go with the Sony Grand Wega 50 inch micro display. If you can find one with out the built in HD tunners you  can save $600 and its rated number 1 by consumer reports.


Hope that helps
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formixx
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« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2004, 11:24:07 AM »

Well, selling these TV's is what I do for a living, so I'll put in my .02.  For the most part the last two guys have it right, especially the breakdown of how the different technologies work.  I'll add that plasmas have overcome all of their problems except the relatively high cost.  If you need something 4" thin and bigger than 32", plasma is the way to go.  A good direct view LCD larger then 32" is going to cost more than a good 42" plasma, so I usually tell folks, LCD for smaller, plasma for bigger.  However, if 4" deep is not important, and you don't mind using some floor space, and it being pretty heavy, then absolutely go for a rear projection, and my recommendation is still for a CRT, especially considering the cost.  Sony and Hitachi make great CRTs.  With DLP, I've noticed a problem with reproducing standart definition TV, although they look great with HDTV.  LCDs do better at this, but still not great, and there is the dead pixel issue that DOES crop up a lot.  Look for a tv with a HDMI and DVI input, and maybe VGA if you can find it.  If not, go for the HDMI, it looks like that's winning and DVI is going away, at least in consumer electronics like DVD and such.  So, the final word is, for the money and the performance, rear projection CRT is the winner.  But take some of the money you saved, and find an ISF certified tech to come and calibrate your TV, it makes a WORLD of difference.
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MonkeyFinger
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« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2004, 04:51:46 PM »

Excellent information, everyone.  Thanks!  I've heard that January is a great time to buy stuff like this and that the Super Bowl drives alot of the sales.  We shall see...  :wink:

I found the official DLP website, oddly enough, here. There is a nice little demo of the technology if people are wondering how it works.  After seeing it, I'm still wondering... sheesh - microscopic tilting mirrors, a spinning color wheel... dang. Who would'a thunk it.  :lol:
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ravenvii
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« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2004, 05:03:31 PM »

Why hasn't anyone mentioned front projectors? They give amazing picture quality (good ones, anyway), and can go excess of 100". Not everyone has the right space setup for them (room that can be made dark, large blank space on wall, etc), but if you do, check them out!
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Chaz
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« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2004, 06:02:27 PM »

I was considering a front projector for a while.  I'd still like to get one at some point, but as you say, the space really needs to be right.  In the house I'm moving to, it'd take a bit of effort to make the room dark enough for one, and since I watch a good amount of TV in the daytime, it would probably be more trouble than it was worth.  In the future I'd like to have a theater room with a projector, but for sheer ease of use, I have to go with a standard RP set.
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Rich in KCK
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« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2004, 12:33:22 AM »

No one has mentioned burn in either.  DLP and LCD do not suffer from burn in if your playing games on them.  Plasma and RP CRT's do suffer from burn in.  I've had a RP LCD for a year now and have never seen or heard of anyone else complain about motion blur, there is however a screen door effect to it.  I also have no dead pixels at all on a 50" set and if you make sure to get a good warrenty a single dead pixel will get your set fixed if it bothers you.

LCD and DLP don't tend to display non-HDTV signals as well as the CRT sets do.  But my picture and the picture I've seen on the DLP's look a good deal better when it is a HDTV signal.

I wouldn't worry about the DLP technology being a problem and would make my choice between it or the RP LCD's.  The black levels are much better IMO as well.
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formixx
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« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2004, 12:07:24 PM »

From what I've seen, burn in never happens under normal usage.  And if it does, it goes away pretty quickly.  I deliberately burned in one of our plasmas by playing a letterboxed movie all day every day for three weeks straight.  Then when I zoomed it in, there was some visible wear where the bars were, but after playing it zoomed in for two days, the difference was gone.  So unless you plan on more abusive watching habits than that, forget about burn-in.  And I didn't mention front projection because to get it's performance anywhere near the other TV's, you need a dedicated dark room which not many folks have.  And the bulbs tend to burn out quicker, which means more $$.
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Bulletpig
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2004, 03:38:00 PM »

I would like to throw in a question related to this.  The wife and I are starting to kick around the idea of saving up for new BIG ass screen TV.  The stuff that scares us most is the whole lamp issue.

I have a friend that picked up a big screen and was talking to him but he said that they rarely ever watch it and his wife watches most of her TV in their bedroom on a regular CRT.  This would not be the case in my house.

Between my wife, kids, and myself I would guess that the tv would be on close to 5 or 8 hours per day.  When people are saying that the lamp is only 3000 hours that breakdowns down to basically buying a new lamp around every 12 months.  How much to do these lamps cost and with as much TV as my family watches do we still need to hold off?

Right now we have 36" CRT that is about 4 years old and is still running strong.

Thanks!

Pig
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Ibby
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2004, 06:52:40 PM »

My wife and I also have been discussing a new tv since our mainstay 27" CRT finally died.  We're willing to wait a year ( to let the technology mature AND to save up the cash) and have started paying more attention to the TVs at the store when we're browsing.

Since our TV will be on most of the day, and certainly well into the late evening hours, we'll probably be shying away from projection based units and going LCD or Plasma.  Who knows what prices will be like this time next year...
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croman
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« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2004, 07:27:57 PM »

Quote from: "Bulletpig"
Between my wife, kids, and myself I would guess that the tv would be on close to 5 or 8 hours per day.  When people are saying that the lamp is only 3000 hours that breakdowns down to basically buying a new lamp around every 12 months.  How much to do these lamps cost and with as much TV as my family watches do we still need to hold off?

Pig


I have a Rear Projection 65" WS and have had it for about 2 years now.  I have not had to replace anything.  I have had zero issues with it.
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