The big "How do I choose an HDTV?" thread.

FWIW I have a Samsung LCD with a glossy panel and light is a little bit of an issue there, so it's not like glare is strictly a plasma thing.

Also, I think LED is still hype.

kuddles wrote:

So it looks like I'm biting the bullet this coming Friday because my old 37" is most definitely dying. It's basically down between the plasma Strangeblades bought or a 55" LED which will cost a little more but I was impressed with in the store.

Pretty much the only thing I'm wringing my hands about with the LG plasma is the recurring complaint online about the glare. While there will be no light directly opposing the screen, I do have a rather large window area on one side of the room, and usually leave a light on at the other side. I don't drive so if it turns out to be a huge problem when I set it up it will be a huge bitch to return. I know people have been saying words like "reasonable light control" and "very bright room" but I have absolutely no clue where my living room fits under those considerations.

I don't think the light on one side would be distracting, but the large window might if it gets a lot of sunlight and you prefer not to keep the blinds closed.

As Fedaykin says, LED is basically marketing hype for a different kind of LCD-backlit technology, but if you like the picture quality, that's all that really matters. Just keep in mind the the story probably has very different lighting/viewing conditions than your home will, and often the stores set the TVs to "Torch" mode, blasting the screen to its max brightness and most vivid color settings to try to make them stand out. This setting would probably blind (or at least cause headaches) you at home.

Beyond that, whatever you get, try to learn about how easy it is to turn off the TV's "picture enhancement" settings, and how bad the input lag is if you're going to use it for gaming.

I know about the skepticism you should bring to show floor setups. I just meant that the comparable LED LG set I looked at seemed pretty reasonable, meanwhile I would be buying the plasma sight unseen.

kuddles wrote:

I know about the skepticism you should bring to show floor setups. I just meant that the comparable LED LG set I looked at seemed pretty reasonable, meanwhile I would be buying the plasma sight unseen.

Go with the plasma. You will not regret it. (this statement not a guarantee of satisfaction)

I tell you, television buying feels so stressful. Since showroom floors are misleading, all I'm going on is people's words and trusting anonymous people is driving me crazy. Do these issues actually exist? Will I be the type of person who actually notices them? Who knows!

For the plasma I'm looking at: Plenty of people say the color is beautiful, plenty say the whites aren't very white. Some say the picture quality is great, others say there is very obvious vertical banding. Some people say the glare is minimal, others say it's so distracting if there is any light in the room they decided to return it.

For the LCD I'm looking at: The blacks are either awful or just fine. The light dimming either works great or causes really bad artifacting. There are youtube clips proving how bad the input lag is for this model, there are others proving how it's non-existent.

Plasma is nice. LCD is nice. The people who have concerns tend to be visual nerds from what I've been told. Fine for them but for average viewers like me and like you(?) I think either choice will be fine. Just make sure its HD 1080p. And go with plasma.

kuddles wrote:

I tell you, television buying feels so stressful. Since showroom floors are misleading, all I'm going on is people's words and trusting anonymous people is driving me crazy. Do these issues actually exist? Will I be the type of person who actually notices them? Who knows!

For the plasma I'm looking at: Plenty of people say the color is beautiful, plenty say the whites aren't very white. Some say the picture quality is great, others say there is very obvious vertical banding. Some people say the glare is minimal, others say it's so distracting if there is any light in the room they decided to return it.

For the LCD I'm looking at: The blacks are either awful or just fine. The light dimming either works great or causes really bad artifacting. There are youtube clips proving how bad the input lag is for this model, there are others proving how it's non-existent.

Take a trip to Strangeblades' pad to check it out

It shouldn't. If you play games and don't have a large amount of light pouring in in reflected view of the screen, get a plasma. Don't think about it any further. We have some decent sized windows to the left and right and the only time it's a bother is off angle viewing when my parents are over and I'm sitting at about 50-60 degrees off head on. BTW, there's no color quality loss at angles with Plasma. Much better for guests.

mrtomaytohead wrote:

BTW, there's no color quality loss at angles with Plasma. Much better for guests.

True, although some LCDs are a bit better than older sets.

And I've yet to see an LCD that doesn't look noticeably juddery on fast motion or fast camera pans. Maybe it's just a pet peeve of mine, but that annoys me a lot.

Strangeblades wrote:

Plasma is nice. LCD is nice. The people who have concerns tend to be visual nerds from what I've been told. Fine for them but for average viewers like me and like you(?) I think either choice will be fine. Just make sure its HD 1080p. And go with plasma. ;)

This entire post is perfect. If this TV is a big upgrade for you, as my LCD was for me, you can't really go wrong. My Samsung LCD is beautiful, and my friends like watching games on it with me. That said, every hardcore TV aficionado I know prefers plasma, and I've come to agree. My next TV will be plasma. My LCD will still look great, and will be a great second TV.

I think long term both current style LCDs and plasmas will be superseded by better stuff. Probably in about 5 years or so.

MannishBoy wrote:

And I've yet to see an LCD that doesn't look noticeably juddery on fast motion or fast camera pans. Maybe it's just a pet peeve of mine, but that annoys me a lot.

This is what drove me to getting a plasma.

kuddles wrote:

I tell you, television buying feels so stressful. Since showroom floors are misleading, all I'm going on is people's words and trusting anonymous people is driving me crazy. Do these issues actually exist? Will I be the type of person who actually notices them? Who knows!

For the plasma I'm looking at: Plenty of people say the color is beautiful, plenty say the whites aren't very white. Some say the picture quality is great, others say there is very obvious vertical banding. Some people say the glare is minimal, others say it's so distracting if there is any light in the room they decided to return it.

For the LCD I'm looking at: The blacks are either awful or just fine. The light dimming either works great or causes really bad artifacting. There are youtube clips proving how bad the input lag is for this model, there are others proving how it's non-existent.

Modern HDTV's are very good..generally you can't go wrong with any one of them from a good manufacturer. (some no name LCD TV's can be pretty awful)

But as nice as a good LCD TV is. Plasma is better. I've had and have both. Doubly so for video games and movies

Do they make vt50s in anti-glare?

As far as I know, it's in all their 2012 models. I don't know if it's technically an anti-glare finish, but there's something that makes it far less worse than usual (and as someone who just looked at them side-by-side, it's noticeable for sure). The only plasma that actually uses a very special anti-glare finish in their glass is LG, but only in their extremely expensive models.

Well, I read too many comments about people having great difficulties with that LG plasma due to the high reflection and just felt it was too risky.

But...as a cinema buff and a gamer I realized that was the one and only reason I was afraid of that technology. So I spent a little more than I originally planned and got me one of these yesterday: A 55" Panasonic plasma that includes anti-glare and has been getting incredibly positive responses online.

First impressions are that the image is stellar. You guys are right in that there is something about the richness in colour and depth perception that just feels cleaner than the LCDs that more than makes up for the lack of striking brightness I got used to. I plan on watching the Criteron Bluray of my favourite film (see avatar) just to make sure I'm correct in this feeling. Thanks for the assistance.

kuddles wrote:

Well, I read too many comments about people having great difficulties with that LG plasma due to the high reflection and just felt it was too risky.

But...as a cinema buff and a gamer I realized that was the one and only reason I was afraid of that technology. So I spent a little more than I originally planned and got me one of these yesterday: A 55" Panasonic plasma that includes anti-glare and has been getting incredibly positive responses online.

First impressions are that the image is stellar. You guys are right in that there is something about the richness in colour and depth perception that just feels cleaner than the LCDs that more than makes up for the lack of striking brightness I got used to. I plan on watching the Criteron Bluray of my favourite film (see avatar) just to make sure I'm correct in this feeling. Thanks for the assistance.

Congrats. You can now join the ranks of those who have HD TVs and who look down on those without. We are the 1%.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

Do they make vt50s in anti-glare?

The VTs also only have 1 pane of glass, which helps reduce glare by cutting down on internal reflections.

kuddles wrote:

Well, I read too many comments about people having great difficulties with that LG plasma due to the high reflection and just felt it was too risky.

But...as a cinema buff and a gamer I realized that was the one and only reason I was afraid of that technology. So I spent a little more than I originally planned and got me one of these yesterday: A 55" Panasonic plasma that includes anti-glare and has been getting incredibly positive responses online.

First impressions are that the image is stellar. You guys are right in that there is something about the richness in colour and depth perception that just feels cleaner than the LCDs that more than makes up for the lack of striking brightness I got used to. I plan on watching the Criteron Bluray of my favourite film (see avatar) just to make sure I'm correct in this feeling. Thanks for the assistance.

Keep me posted on your experience with that model, I was going to pull the trigger on one at the end of the month.

I'm starting to feel really serious about getting another TV (we only have one). Looking for a new main TV. Any reason to consider anything besides a Panasonic VT50?

Fedaykin98 wrote:

I'm starting to feel really serious about getting another TV (we only have one). Looking for a new main TV. Any reason to consider anything besides a Panasonic VT50?

The GT50 is a lot cheaper for 95% of the same TV?

If that last 5% is important to you, then no, get the VT. I'm having a hard time personally deciding the VT is worth it over the GT at the 60-65" model prices.

Yeah, the price premium for the VT over the GT is huge, and the picture quality difference will seem minor to most.

Thin_J wrote:

Yeah, the price premium for the VT over the GT is huge, and the picture quality difference will seem minor to most.

Main thing that I wish was on the GT that the VT has is the 96hz 24p playback.

Amazon has a chart of the differences here.

MannishBoy wrote:
Thin_J wrote:

Yeah, the price premium for the VT over the GT is huge, and the picture quality difference will seem minor to most.

Main thing that I wish was on the GT that the VT has is the 96hz 24p playback.

Amazon has a chart of the differences here.

This is the only thing that irritates me about Panasonic, that they impose this restriction on sets in the US and not where PAL is the standard. My mid-range set does 96hz/24p. And the PAL tvs handle NTSC just fine anyway, so there's really no difference hardware-wise.

Chairman_Mao wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:
Thin_J wrote:

Yeah, the price premium for the VT over the GT is huge, and the picture quality difference will seem minor to most.

Main thing that I wish was on the GT that the VT has is the 96hz 24p playback.

Amazon has a chart of the differences here.

This is the only thing that irritates me about Panasonic, that they impose this restriction on sets in the US and not where PAL is the standard. My mid-range set does 96hz/24p. And the PAL tvs handle NTSC just fine anyway, so there's really no difference hardware-wise.

Right, that's pretty obviously some firmware/software differences put in there just for product differentiation. I doubt there's a set cost to make a set run 24p properly.

Thinking about going from a 46" TV to a 60-65" TV with a deal Amazon's having right now. I was assuming I'd go Panasonic GT series as I don't want to pay the premium for what you get on the VT. But looking at the Cnet reviews this year, it sounds like the ST version has virtually the same picture, minus a THX mode that sounds unspectacular and probably not worth using, a touch remote, and more HDMI ports which I wouldn't use as my receiver does my HDMI switching.

Any reason in my situation to NOT get the ST and save the $400 or so?

I hadn't really kept up with this years models very much. I suppose I need to go to AVS if I get serious.

MannishBoy wrote:

Thinking about going from a 46" TV to a 60-65" TV with a deal Amazon's having right now. I was assuming I'd go Panasonic GT series as I don't want to pay the premium for what you get on the VT. But looking at the Cnet reviews this year, it sounds like the ST version has virtually the same picture, minus a THX mode that sounds unspectacular and probably not worth using, a touch remote, and more HDMI ports which I wouldn't use as my receiver does my HDMI switching.

Any reason in my situation to NOT get the ST and save the $400 or so?

I hadn't really kept up with this years models very much. I suppose I need to go to AVS if I get serious.

I just bought a 55" GT and it's being delivered tomorrow. And yes, AVS is the place to go for detailed info. That place has been invaluable to me as far as education and decision making.

Phishposer wrote:

I just bought a 55" GT and it's being delivered tomorrow. And yes, AVS is the place to go for detailed info. That place has been invaluable to me as far as education and decision making.

What pushed you to the GT over the ST? In some years, it's had a better panel, better glass on front, etc. This year it seems about other things or settings vs picture quality. Katzmaier says that calibrated, they're virtually the same picture as the STs.

I know it has some feature improvements, but most of them just don't matter to me in my setup as far as I can tell. But I know everybody has different needs.

I just upgraded to the 60" GT myself.. couldnt justify the tiny upgrade that the VT has.. but it does seem the ST pretty much has everything the GT has minus the THX and the 24p playback.

TheGameguru wrote:

I just upgraded to the 60" GT myself.. couldnt justify the tiny upgrade that the VT has.. but it does seem the ST pretty much has everything the GT has minus the THX and the 24p playback.

That's what I'm looking for, I thought in the reading I did that the GT and ST were the same on how they passed the 24p tests. They did OK at 60Hz, but had some artifacting. Katzmaier talked about the GT's smoothing effect on 24p, but wasn't a fan.

EDIT: I'll just dump his talk about those features here:

Video processing: Like its 2011 and 2012 brothers, the TC-PGT50 passed our 1080p/24 test on its 60Hz setting. It cadence was smooth and properly filmlike, indistinguishable from the look of the other sets in our lineup that handled 1080p/24 properly. As usual, I found that the 48Hz mode flickered too much to be watchable.

On the other hand, I did notice some artifacts from 1080p/24 sources in 60Hz mode. On the Digital Video Essentials test Blu-ray I noticed shifting lines and minor instability in the downtown Philadelphia buildings during an upward-facing pan. I also noticed an instance in "Sherlock" at 38:40 in which the bookcase in the background flickered a bit during a quick pan. These types of artifacts are rare, and in my book easily worth the trade-off to get true film cadence, but of course the Samsungs and Sony didn't show them at all.

Panasonic's Motion Smoother delivers three options, Weak, Medium, and Strong, and as usual I found all three relatively distasteful and preferred to leave the setting off.When engaged, Motion Smoother caused an improvement in motion resolution in our test pattern (see the Geek Box), but it's not worth the smoothing in our book because any blur was impossible for us to discern with real program material.

I was curious whether the dual-core processor helped with smoothing related artifacts but one quick test seemed to indicate it didn't. When the red car takes the corner at 3:43 from "I Am Legend," I saw the same breakup along its trailing edge in dejudder mode with both the single-core ST50 and the dual-core GT50. Similar artifacts caused by quick-moving onscreen elements also looked the same on both sets.

The GT50 passed our 1080i deinterlacing test with 3:2 pull-down set to On, but not when I used the default Auto (and, despite what the menu explanation says, this setting does affect HDMI sources).

I mentioned in the VT50 review that its processing extras, said to improve motion resolution and shades of gradation over the ST50, yielded no improvement in my tests. I didn't run all of these tests on the GT50, but since it shares those extras with the VT50, I feel safe assuming it it also offers negligible improvement. I also did not test the 1080p Pure Direct function since the content it requires to realize any benefit (4:4:4 uncompressed component video) is rare.