First time flat panel buyer looking for a 50+ inch TV

I’m looking to get a new TV. It will be 50+ inches in size. My current TV is hosed, and rather than repairing/replacing the individual parts, I’ve decided to go for a new one. The busted TV is an OLD Toshiba projection TV. I missed the whole HD craze. Now, obviously, whatever TV I decide on will be 1080p. So, my first decision has to be Plasma or LCD. Which do you recommend?

It will be in the basement, which is fairly dark, and will be used for watching SD and HD channels, sports (F1, NBA), and movies (DVD right now, no Blue-Ray). So I have a bunch of questions. Motion blur: I looked at a 60Hz vs 120Hz demo for LCDs, and noticed the 120Hz picture looked sharper (during movement at least). Of all the stores I was in, I couldn’t really compare Plasma vs 120Hz LCD (playing the same thing) to see a difference, if any. How serious of a problem is this for sports? Now, what about contrast and colors? Looking at various Plasma and LCD TVs, I noticed that generally, the Plasmas were darker, while the LCDs were brighter. This time, I could only compare an HD channel feed, since they didn’t have Plasmas and LCDs hooked up to a Blue-Ray player. So which has better picture, generally? Plasma or LCD? Also, burn-in. I’ve heard that it is a definite problem, and that it isn’t a problem. What is the reality of the situation? Do they have programs that “wipe out” the burn-in or not? Does the pixel rotation stuff (moving the image one pixel up/down/left/right) actually help? And finally, power use: I heard Plasmas draw significantly more power than LCDs, and I’ve also heard that the difference ends up being a few dollars a year.

Basically, I am looking for an all purpose TV, and I obviously want the best image quality I can get. My main concerns with Plasma are burn-in, power use, and heat (unless I am wrong to assume that more heat leads to quicker degradation of electronic equipment?). My main concerns with LCDs are motion blur and image quality (compared to Plasma). Finally, what about LED LCD TVs (or are they just called LED instead of LCD?)? Is a 120Hz LED TV comparable to a Plasma in terms of image quality and motion blur?
I have not decided on a definite budget yet, because… it depends on what exactly I’m getting, and how long I think it will last. I’d appreciate any help. I’ve read some LCD/Plasma comparison guides online, but I’m hoping to get more detailed information here.

The differences in performance between LCDs and plasmas are almost negligible at this point where there are minor advantages and disadvantages to both.

[B]Plasma (Burn-in)[/B]

Newer plasmas are less susceptible to this thanks to improved technology and features such as screen savers, but burn-in can still be a problem. However, after a few days most burnt-in images will fade & mash; they are no longer permanent.

[B]LCD (Video Memory)[/B]

Burn in is one of the most commonly misunderstood concepts regarding television displays. Burn in is a phenomenon associated to television products, where a static image left on the screen, over time, can permanently wear itself into the display. This phenomenon is generally associated to phosphor based television displays, such as tubes, CRT rear projection, and plasma.

A common question is if LCD televisions are susceptible to burn in. The most common answer to this question is no, LCDs are immune to burn in. However, this answer is somewhat of a half-truth. It is a fact that LCD displays are immune to phosphor wear, simply because LCD televisions do not use phosphor to create a television image.

LCD displays have certain characteristics that do not make them completely immune to static images. On LCD displays it’s kindly referred to as “video memory.” LCD panels use a complicated process of organizing liquid crystal molecules into a twisted or untwisted state, which allows polarized light to pass through the liquid crystal substrate. Over time, it is possible the liquid crystals can “get used to” the state of twist they are in, causing a static image, similar to phosphor burn-in, appear on the screen.

You’ll only get video memory buildup on an LCD television if you try to do it on purpose.


LCD finally caught up to the quality of plasma with the introduction of LED-backlighting. Instead of lighting the screen with fluorescent tubes, as is traditional, it uses banks of LED lights. There are two types of LED lighting: direct and edge. Direct back-lighting results in better images as manufacturers are able to turn sections of the screen lighting off & mash; meaning better contrast. Edge-lighting is as it sounds, using a series of LEDs along the edge of the screen to light the LCD panel. The TV then uses mirrors and light guides to illuminated the screen. Most thin LCDs will use this method. Look out for more LED-backlit screens this year, but they are NOT a new category of screen, and not to be confused with OLED.

Motion blur is not as significant with the newer 120hz LCD TV’s

I would put this LCD on your list of Tv’s to consider.

[U][B]52" Toshiba 52XV545U[/B][/U]

[B]The Good[/B]

[li]Elegant double skin high-gloss black finish[/li][li]CineSpeed 10-bit LCD panel[/li][li]ClearFrame 120Hz anti-blur technology with 5:5 pulldown[/li][li]SRT upconversion improves the look of 480i/480p/720p resolution sources[/li][li]AutoView automatically adjusts the picture based on ambient room light[/li][li]4 x HDMI v1.3 — accepts signals up to 1080p (60Hz, 24Hz)[/li][li]Optical digital audio output for Dolby® Digital[/li][li]Detachable swivel stand/wall-mountable (bracket not included)[/li][li]ColorBurst™ Wide Color Gamut CCFL - Same lighting used in high-end Sony HDTVs.[/li][li]5:5 pulldown / 24P support[/li][li]Semi-matte screen helps reduce glare[/li][li]Gaming mode that drastically reduces blur from high-speed console (PS3, Xbox 360) gaming.[/li][/ul]

[B]The Bad[/B]

[li]Lower contrast ratio than competing Samsung A650/A750/A850 lines, but negligible.[/li][li]Speakers aren’t that great[/li][/ul]

[B]Note:[/B] The 42″ 42XV545U uses a LCD panel made by LG/Philips where as a the 46″ 46XV545U and 52″ 52XV545U use LCD panels made by Samsung; the Samsung LCD panels have slightly better contrast and response time.

[U][B]Toshiba 52XV545U Specification Sheet (PDF)


I bought the 55" Samsung LN55A950 a while back and am totally in love with this set. It’s 120 Hz, Led back lit and has a ton of other features. Amazing picture in both HD TV and high def (BD and HD-DVD). This set caused a stir on the AVS forum when it was introduced, people were comparing the Kuro (plasma) to this TV and there was never a decided winner. Personal preference I think. If you are out looking around be sure to check this one out as well. I aslo looked at the Kuro but don’t like the pasty whites the Plasma tv tend to produce. My dislikes for the LN55A950 are off angle veiwing and the speakers sound like they are in a tin can although I don’t use the tv speakers much. Good luck in you endevour.:slight_smile:

Well I’m a plasma fan, to me especially for movies it’s the only way to go. I guess if you are part of the George Lucas, shot on video breed, you may prefer the unnatural video look that 120Hz LCDs impart to movies, but for me I like movies that don’t end up looking like game shows. They also seem to handle SD programming better than LCDs. My two, 3+ year old Panasonics have been running 12 hours a day/7 days a week, displaying mostly sports from ESPN and the like (with the almost constant ticker/logo running across the bottom) and have absolutely no burn in and look identical to the day I bought them.

With rich detailed blacks, a natural realistic picture and no motion lag what’s not to like. :slight_smile:

If I were you I’d have a look at Sony’s W-series which are very good all purpose TVs, as people mentioned before 100/120Hz is quite “awful” and you should use 24p instead. If you want something cheaper Sharp’s D64 series are nice too. Unless you have a lots of post processing on you wont have “blurring” unless it’s a crappy panel. PDPs generally looks better on SD material than HD due to the fact of lower resolution (panel resolution) but you can get 1080p PDPs these days although I would recommend you getting a LCD. In general a PDP (42" and above) draws about 100W more than a LCD, I’m not familiar with prices of electricity in US but I would guess that they’re higher than here.

I bought a 50 inch Panasonic plasma and I love it.
I looked at lcd but I like the fact that mine has a glass surface unlike lcd.
It’s not a big deal but I have two curious dogs who like to watch TV, and a paw has been placed on our old CRT tv screen before.
I think plasma is more kid proof, dog proof.

Stay away from the phillips 52"… I’m having a lot of problems with mine…

I still have old (8 year old) Pannasonic “6” series 42 inch plasma. Usually on over 8 hours a day and still running fine. Although 720p (1080 wasn’t out back then).

Am now looking again and will more than likely go with another Panny (pioneer a little too expensive for me). This time at least with their 58 inch. Check “” for extensive topics.

Good luck.

I have Pannasonic 52. It works very well.

Pioneer KURO Plasma, see it, love it, buy it :iagree:

Update, currently looking at Panny 65 inch going for around 3500 delivered.

Great reviews and without Kuro pricetag.

Larger than 50", the cost per inch goes up dramatically. You can get similar performance for a lot less in a rear projection unit. Far lighter, run cooler and consume far less energy too. I’m extremely happy with my Samsung LED 61". Can be had for near to 1/2 the price of a similar plasma or LCD. Also good to note that the difference in total image area between 58" and 65" is pretty small.

[QUOTE=CDan;2280232]Larger than 50", the cost per inch goes up dramatically. You can get similar performance for a lot less in a rear projection unit. Far lighter, run cooler and consume far less energy too. I’m extremely happy with my Samsung LED 61". Can be had for near to 1/2 the price of a similar plasma or LCD. Also good to note that the difference in total image area between 58" and 65" is pretty small.[/QUOTE]
Which model do you have? I’m waiting to see what Consumers Report has to say about the new LEDs, unfortunately it will be years before they can get a handle on reliability.

From their latest study the Samsung rear projectors did not do very well (although they were better than the other players). 19% reported either having been repaired or had a serious problem. Compare that to Panasonic plasmas at 2%.

I wouldn’t base any electronics purchase on a Consumer Reports review. Even the reliability ratings don’t take into account things like user stupidity. CR is fine for rating vacuums and cars.

Visit the AVS display forum and read up on specific models, keeping in mind that user stupidity is a factor in 90% of problem reports.

Mine is a Samsung HL61A750 LED DLP. Once properly calibrated, these sets easily rival plasma and LCD over-all. But every type display has it’s pluses and minuses. I’m willing to accept some small differences for a price that’s WAY lower. If you’re out looking at sets, keep in mind that they are not calibrated in stores so picture quality is poor at best. The plasmas and LCDs are deliberately set up to visually “pop” and draw people in.

I also recommend that when comparing performance, you use SD-DVD quality video, not HD. That’s the only way to really compare how well a set can process video. They all look good with HD video input.

Good choice for size. The official specification for real High Definition is for a screen size between 50" and 60" with a resolution of 1080P. I have a Pioneer Plasma KURO 50". It does everything possible with the best picture and accurate colors. It is like looking out the window. I have cable, OTA, satellite, PC, and Blu Ray. Everything is perfect.