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Large Format TV Options? 118

Posted by Cliff
from the dlp-vs-lcd dept.
pipingguy asks: "I'm planning to purchase a large screen TV and I'm leaning toward DLP at this time. After doing research on-line, I'm more confused than before. One thing I don't like about DLP is the relatively limited vertical angle for best picture viewing. LCDs don't seem to be as bad in this regard, but my understanding is that LCD is more expensive per inch. What is the current state-of-the-art for DLP? I'd rather buy a smaller TV with a better picture than one with a larger picture that is less appealing to the eye. And what about the thousands of tiny mirrors in DLP units? If these are mechanically moving parts, isn't that a likely source of failure (so says a Sony rep who wanted to sell me a LCD projection TV). Thanks for any advice/experience you can provide."
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Large Format TV Options?

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  • When I was shopping around, I began leaning toward DLP, particularly because there are monitors out there that do full 1920x1080 resolution. More pixels have to be better, right?

    Well, when I started comparing DLP and Plasma side-by-side (I was looking at 50" models, BTW), I looked at the detail of both, and even though Plasma theoretically had fewer pixels, the amount of detail was much superior. What I noticed was that DLP pixels are very "fuzzy" (presumably from the projection aspect of DLP), whereas the Plasma was razor sharp from the direct-light aspect.

    When you also factor in that Plasma is far brighter with a much better viewing angle, I decided to spend the extra money for the Plasma screen. Of course, only you can decide if the additional quality is worth the extra money, but it worked out that way for me.

    I didn't really look that closely at LCD. The Plasma seemed superior enough that if I was going to go for a "sub resolution", then I'd go Plasma.

    • Plasma is far brighter


      The day you bring it home. But it's all down hill from there.

      Maybe my info is out of date. What's the half-life on the brightness of a plasma screen these days?

      -Peter
      • I was pretty sure that was a non-issue these days, but here's a reference: it's apparently 60,000 hours [plasmatvbuyingguide.com] now.
        • Oh how I hate 'half-life' numbers.

          They'd be fine if you could demonstrate true exponential decay, but in reality there is typically a steep initial drop before the curve begins appear exponential. Does it matter if it took 60,000 hours for your set to be at half brightness if it took 1500 hours to be at 60% brightness? Clearly all sets aren't that bad, but the 'half-life' statistic can be seriously misleading.
          • Actually, if you RTFA, it addresses that issue...

            Now, there are varying degrees of phosphor ignition along the way (the same way a CRT fades). Dissipation begins the moment you turn the set on. After 1000 hours of usage a plasma monitor should measure around 96% of its original brightness, which is barely noticeable to the naked eye. At 15,000 to 20,000 hours the monitor should measure around 80% brightness, or to state is technically, 80% of the original phosphors (gases) are being ignited.

            Frankly, I

            • Frankly, I think the issues with plasma screens are way overblown.

              Though it may surprise you after all my bitching, I agree. I just hate that they call it 'half-life', when it's not, and every manufacturer's sets have a different curve. They should have a graph in the literature.

              CRTs have the same problem, and nobody worries about it.
    • I considered plasma but having kids and a wife who doesn't care about potential burn in, went with a 42" LCD unit from Toshiba. It's surprisingly good at all angles. The only downside is the smearing of fast moving objects, but it's not really noticable unless you are looking for it.

      For me, the limitted viewing angle on the DLP was the deal killer. With a large screen the, edges are out of the sweet spot. Plasma had worrisome burn in. The current generation LCDs was a pleasant surprise. Personally I

      • Personally I would have gone with CRT but it seems in Japan, you can no longer get tubes bigger then 28".

        Sounds familiar, I was originally looking at replacing a 25" CRT with a 36" but then comparing prices with the LCDs and DLPs I decided to go bigger and forget the CRT (plus they were pretty limited in what you could get even at the 32" size.

        The idea of moveable mirrors kind of concerned me until someone pointed out that it may be easier (and cheaper) to replace the mirror unit on a DLP than to replace th
    • DLP uses a weird technigue called wobulation to get 1920x1080. Plus you may have been looking at a non-1920x1080 signal source.

      Personally I don't like DLP - the color wheel effects give me headaches. I would never recommend DLP because of the color wheel.

      My personal favorite is SXRD...
      • According to this link [hometheateradvice.com], if you are willing to shell out the $$ you can get a DLP projector that uses three DLP chips and does not use a color wheel.
        From the link: "For an idea of price ranges: Canada's Electrohome will ship a three-chip 2048x1152 pixel model for about $40,000."
      • I have a Panasonic 50" DLP (PT-50DL54), which has an 8 segment colour wheel - its not as noticeable as the 6 segment colour wheel (I've never noticed it at all).
    • Did you watch anything with fast motion in it? Every picture on a plasma screen I have seen breaks up into a bunch of block if there is motion. You will hate that if you watch sports or action movies.
      • Video compression (Score:3, Informative)

        by tepples (727027)

        If you're getting blocking artifacts during periods of high motion, then it probably has 0 to do with your TV. It's more is likely to be a video compression problem. It takes more bits to represent a rapidly changing scene, and if there aren't enough bits, you get blocks. Are you watching digital cable, satellite, or cheap DVD? Some channels, especially less popular ones, tend to be sent overcompressed.

        I'm guessing that a lot of people who get a plasma TV tend to upgrade to digital cable or satellite at

    • No 1080p inputs yet (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mustang Matt (133426)
      True 1080p resolution TVs don't have 1080p inputs yet. A couple of HP displays do but they aren't displaying the full resolution properly.

      Save your pennies until this fall if this feature is of value to you.
      • both the westinghouse 42" 1080p LCD panel and the Scepter 42" 1080p LCD pane actually take 1080p inputs via hdmi/dvi. Of course there are no A/V sources for 1080p really out there yet other than a computer :)
    • Brightness is an adjustable setting ;) What is relevant is capabilities. I work in a department that deals with analysis of MRI images; it requires a lot of precision of color depth. Projection monitors are preferred because they have the greatest depth, especially for dark colors.

      At home, I got a 53" DLP last summer for $780 thanks to the magic of ebay. It has been a charm with everything except for some overscan on the DVI input.
  • by sirket (60694) on Saturday May 20, 2006 @11:55PM (#15374255)
    The the mirrors in a DMD (Digital Micromirror Device- used by DLP's) are under little stress and rarely fail. Most have undergone extensive testing and failure has never been a significant problem. Go to several stores, look at the available models- read the reviews for each unit and manufacturer and buy whichever one looks best to you.

    -sirket
    • The biggest issues with DLP are:
      • Rainbows - some people see them, most don't (under normal conditions). If you don't see them in the store, you're not likely to see them at home. There are ways to "try" to see them you can use in a store. Newer versions use more segments in the wheels, higher rpm, etc to reduce rainbows.
      • Power up time - DLPs can take up to 30 seconds to turn on. A few models just introduced use LEDs instead of lamps, and power on in circa 5-7 seconds.
      • Bulb replacement costs - Not cheap
      • by Malor (3658) on Sunday May 21, 2006 @06:14AM (#15375204) Journal
        Judging purely from anecdotal evidence (ie, just my eyes).... if you are sensitive to screen refresh rates on a CRT, avoid DLPs like the plague.

        I've always been sensitive to monitor refresh rates.... I see flicker all the time. A regular 60hz refresh bothers me a lot. Gives me a headache. 75hz is the absolute minimum acceptable refresh on a CRT, and 85hz is fine, even under fluorescents. At home, I liked to shoot for 120Hz, because that matched well with nearly everything... it gave me the smoothest possible motion. I imagine that might not work under fluorescents, but I never had a work CRT that could go that fast. (I'm all LCD these days.) (Strangely, I have never been sensitive to the 30hz video refresh rate, and I have no idea why.)

        DLP makes me want to claw out my eyes and run shrieking from the room. I can point out exactly which sets are DLP from a hundred feet away. If you are at all sensitive to CRT refresh, you MUST go see DLPs in person, and you absolutely must make sure you have an ironclad return policy. The saturation and color on DLPs is a little better than LCDs, and they tend to be cheaper, but a display that gives you motion sickness is no good, no matter how cheap it is. :-)

        If, for some reason, you can't demo a set, then LCD is the safe choice... it will always work, and all your guests will be able to use it comfortably. Plasma is also a good choice, as long as you realize that it does wear out eventually. And, of course, there's always CRT-based units. They don't get as large as the other technologies, but they have amazing image quality and are very cheap, because they're the redheaded stepchild.... people think CRT is automatically inferior, just because it's old tech.

        The major downside, at least to the Sony CRTs, is that they are incredibly heavy. You'll need help installing even a small screen. But the colors are rich and vibrant, the blacks are dead black, and the resolution is far better than the CRTs of old.
        • DLP makes me want to claw out my eyes and run shrieking from the room. I can point out exactly which sets are DLP from a hundred feet away. If you are at all sensitive to CRT refresh, you MUST go see DLPs in person, and you absolutely must make sure you have an ironclad return policy. The saturation and color on DLPs is a little better than LCDs, and they tend to be cheaper, but a display that gives you motion sickness is no good, no matter how cheap it is.

          Here's the big problem with DLP sets up till now: b
        • I have a comment about the Sony CRTs.

          They *are* incredibly heavy. But they are soooooo worth it. After I left for college, my father went out and bought a 32" Sony HDTV CRT. And it is the most beautiful screen I've ever seen. I've got a 23" Apple Cinema Display which I watch all my movies and HD video on, and it doesn't even compare to the Sony in terms of picture quality. Not to mention, the Sony tv interface is so well thought out. The little extras, like the scrolling mini-screen on the side (thi

        • I've never had a huge problem with 60Hz refresh on CRTs (though PAL's 50Hz is painful once you get up to big sets). But DLP, even though I don't see rainbowing, gives me an enormous headache after about 30 seconds or so. I can't see the refresh, but obviously part of my head knows it's there, or it wouldn't feel like someone is trying to stick needles in my temples.
          • That's funny. I'm the exact opposite. 60Hz monitors drive me nuts (and I had to take the GRE on a computer with the monitor refreshing at 60Hz). My DLP doesn't bother me. Maybe a cheaper tv would, but I don't have any real complaints about my 50" Samsung (although better vertical viewing angle would be nice for when I am walking around in the room).
        • Strangely, I have never been sensitive to the 30hz video refresh rate, and I have no idea why.
          video is interlaced so you get a field rate of 60hz even though the frame rate is 30hz (reduce theese to 50 and 25 if your in a pal country), i'd imagine field rate is more important than frame rate for this (since to some extent the two fields blur into each other).

          As you've noticed a 60hz field rate on a TV with slow phosphers is not a problem, 60hz on a computer monitor intended for higher rates most certainly i
        • Followup a couple of weeks later, for later readers.

          I was at Fry's this weekend and I looked at their DLP sets. Every single one of them now looks fine to me. I can't see flicker at all. The first generation of DLP sets was horrid, but the ones that are out now are beautiful. I have very refresh-sensitive eyes, and these things are now rock-solid. I've always been the pickiest person I know about refresh, so if it's okay for me, I think it'll be okay for anyone.

          As long as it's a recent model, I wouldn'
      • Rainbows - some people see them, most don't (under normal conditions). If you don't see them in the store, you're not likely to see them at home. There are ways to "try" to see them you can use in a store.

        I never saw it in the store but I have experienced it a little (really little) at home. The worst movie I saw it in was Batman Begins and also every once in a while in CSI. It seems if there is a dark scene with small amounts of white I will see it but it is really rare. I could see how it would be annoy
  • Consider a Projector (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Depending on your setup, a projector might be best for you. My bro has one, giving his home theatre a nice 8-foot screen. It works with his TV, computer, and videogame consoles, and cost much less than a big screen of comparable size.
    • this is off topic, but what does he use as a TV tuner? We get free basic cable so I dont want to get satellite, or digital cable, but I'm tring to convince my roomate to buy a projector for like games and movies and stuff. I can't find a stand alone TV tuner...
    • ... unless you can accept the compromises, like not being able to use it in a lit room.

      I have an LCD panel and a projector. The projector is a good one, but is just not bright enough to use in the daytime without pulling the blinds.

      The panel is **waaaaaayyyyyy** brighter, and while much smaller, is used during the day or early evening.

    • Moreover, the money most people fork over for a plasma ($2000-$5000) can buy a projector that ranges from excellent [projectorcentral.com] to fabulously excellent [projectorcentral.com].

      By the same token, a highly decent projector [projectorcentral.com] can be had for $1000. Even $500, the cost of a mediocre 4:3 TV, will get you a nice little 4:3 projector [google.com] that is at least as good as the TV if you don't mind the 2x DLP rainbows.

      (Note: the MSRPs listed on ProjectorCentral should be cut in half to get street prices; ask Froogle. On top of that, the AE900 even has an addition
  • by suv4x4 (956391)
    One thing I don't like about DLP is the relatively limited vertical angle for best picture viewing.

    DLP is a projection technology, how could it possibly be limited in viewing angle (?!)
    • Re:DLP (Score:2, Informative)

      by dimfeld (247690)
      It probably has something to do with the nature of rear projection, but it's definitely there. My DLP TV is great as horizontal viewing angle goes, but the vertical viewing angle could be a bit better. I only notice it when I stand up though, and since I don't watch TV standing up, I don't mind so much.
      • since I don't watch TV standing up

        Do you play video games? Do you play Dance Dance Revolution or other games using a floormat? Do you plan to buy a Wii console?

        • Good point. Yes, yes, and yes. Actually, so long as I don't play DDR too close to the TV, it looks nearly as bright as normal. I don't really notice the brightness difference unless I'm moving up and down. Of course, the graphics in a dance game are simpler than in most other games, so it's hard to say how it'll be in a more graphically complex game. The TV stand I have leans forward just a bit though, so when I fix that, it should be better.

          Overall, I think plasma might have a better picture, although
  • LCoS (Score:4, Informative)

    by jonabbey (2498) * <jonabbey@ganymeta.org> on Sunday May 21, 2006 @12:21AM (#15374367) Homepage

    I bought a Samsung DLP unit, but had to return it due to strobing rainbow effect. It was a really great image, though that was in part because Samsung was doing a very high level of algorithmic sharpening, which can cause halos around some images. But I really couldn't move my eyes across it without seeing the trailing rainbows.

    I didn't see this effect in the store at all, but at home the awareness of it really did build up. If you are interested in DLP, you might look at the new units that use high speed LED arrays instead of a high intensity white light bulb to handle the color.. these new ones still flash the colors in sequence, but the sequencing is much faster, and it really and truly is supposed to be below the perceptual threshold for everybody.

    I wound up getting a Sony SXRD LCoS set swapped out for the Samsung DLP.. the SXRD was more expensive, but the resolution was higher (true 1920x1280p), with more digital connectors, and better firmware. The SXRD sets are similar to DLP in that they are digital microdisplay projectors, but they use three LCoS color panels instead of a color wheel spinning in front of a micromirror array.

    If you want a good place to read heated and informed opinions about the various choices on offer, check out http://www.avsforum.com/ [avsforum.com].

    Good luck!

    • Re:LCoS (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Osty (16825) on Sunday May 21, 2006 @01:06AM (#15374517)

      I bought a Samsung DLP unit, but had to return it due to strobing rainbow effect. It was a really great image, though that was in part because Samsung was doing a very high level of algorithmic sharpening, which can cause halos around some images. But I really couldn't move my eyes across it without seeing the trailing rainbows.

      Different people are more or less susceptible to the rainbow effect. Personally, the only time I ever notice it is if I try to play Doom 3 on my Samsung DLP. The combination of a very dark image and fast horizontal movement makes everything crawl with rainbows. Interestingly enough, I haven't noticed it on any other first-person shooter games (Halo 2, Perfect Dark Zero, BF2:MC, Metroid Prime) or any other games (racing, sports, RPGs, etc). I can force myself to see the rainbow effect if I put in a movie, go to a dark scene, and rapidly move my head back and forth. Since that's not my normal viewing style (spastic head movement is not normal), I'm happy with my DLP.

      I didn't see this effect in the store at all, but at home the awareness of it really did build up.

      Store displays are set up in such a way as to minimize the rainbow effect (has to do with store lighting, demo material, etc). If you can see it on a set in the store, you're going to constantly see it at home and should stay away from that model. If you're concerned about rainbow effect, find a friend or colleaque with a DLP and see if they'll let you demo it in your home. That's the best way to know if you'll see it or not. Of course, if you're going to demo stuff in-store, you should bring in your own viewing material. When I go TV shopping, which admittedly doesn't happen all that often, I like to carry a couple DVDs (something with action, like Saving Private Ryan, and Avia [ovationmultimedia.com] at the very least). If a store won't let you demo a set with your own material, go somewhere else. Also, if a store won't negotiate on price, go somewhere else. By bringing in internet-based pricing on the 50" Samsung DLP I was looking at (in-store price $2100, online price $1800), I was able to negotiate a free stand ($300 value) while buying the TV at the in-store price (thus essentially paying $1800 for the TV, without having to pay for shipping).

      If you are interested in DLP, you might look at the new units that use high speed LED arrays instead of a high intensity white light bulb to handle the color.. these new ones still flash the colors in sequence, but the sequencing is much faster, and it really and truly is supposed to be below the perceptual threshold for everybody.

      Newer equipment is always better than older equipment, even if you still go with a traditional color wheel and bulb. for example, from the HL-P series to the HL-R, Samsung added more color sections to the wheel and made it spin faster, thus significantly reducing the possibility of rainbow effect for most people. The morale of the story is to know what model you want to buy (usually the newest, not last year's model), and make sure that's the one you're actually buying (big box stores like Best Buy are notorious for selling sets from two model years ago at current model prices).

      I wound up getting a Sony SXRD LCoS set swapped out for the Samsung DLP.. the SXRD was more expensive, but the resolution was higher (true 1920x1280p)

      I assume you mean 1920x1080p, not 1280p. But anyway, I'm not sure now is the right time to go 1080p. The price of 1080p sets is still significantly higher than a 720p set, and you're going to have a hard time finding 1080p sources (assuming you buy a set that can actually accept 1080p signals ...). If you're buying the TV to be a dedicated PC monitor, that'll work all right. Otherwise, any signal you're going to use will have to be upconverted by the TV, with

      • Newer equipment is always better than older equipment, even if you still go with a traditional color wheel and bulb. for example, from the HL-P series to the HL-R, Samsung added more color sections to the wheel and made it spin faster, thus significantly reducing the possibility of rainbow effect for most people. The morale of the story is to know what model you want to buy (usually the newest, not last year's model), and make sure that's the one you're actually buying (big box stores like Best Buy are not

    • The rainbow effect you see in fast moving motion is caused by the spinning color wheel on older DLP rear-projection TV's that can't keep up with the fast motion.

      Fortunately, that problem will soon be a thing of the past. Thanks to switching from a light bulb to very fast-switching LED light sources (a good example is Samsung's new HL-S5679W), we don't need the spinning color wheel anymore, which results in even very fast motion being displayed smoothly.
    • IMHO parent is 100% correct. I spent 3 days and 5 different shops looking at TV's and the one TV that we kept on coming back to was the Sony SXRD 60" it also supports 1080P (not true 1080p though). The black levels were the best, and the colors were so vivid compared to the rest. The 3 chip LCos is the way to go, if you want the picture quality.

      But don't take my word for go out and see it first, then find a deal online, in fact we got ours for $2999 delivered and basic setup (which involved plugging in 3 wi
  • it all depends (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    it all depends on what you want

    if you are only going to be using this TV as a TV, picture quality is best by far on a plasma. if you might use it with a home theatre PC I would go with an LCD tv. if you want a tv that is going to last a long time i would still go with CRT, or perhaps DLP. if you want a huge screen and dont mind spending hundreds a year on a replacement bulb, go with a projector. if you are going to be watching in the dark and close to the screen all the time an LCD is best on the eyes. if y
  • my $.02 (Score:3, Informative)

    by tfm55x (109613) on Sunday May 21, 2006 @12:27AM (#15374394)
    I've owned a DLP projector for 4 years now, and I've recommended Samsung and Mitsubishi DLP rear-projection televisions when asked. Some of my motivations: Plasma is subject to burn-in -- LG incorporates a 'dot-crawl' feature in their plasma displays that moves the image over one pixel, then up, then left, etc, to help mitigate this. If your panel suffers burn-in, you're out the cost of replacing the major component in your television/monitor. With DLP/LCD, you're only ongoing cost is replacement lamps, and they last quite a while. /. also reported that Samsung is close to releasing a DLP display driven by an LED light source. When choosing between LCD and DLP, one thing I might recommend reading about is how well the LCD panel retains its color purity over time. Granted, I saw this on the TI DLP site, but they demonstrated degradation in color purity over time of the LCD panel vs. DLP. There's more information at http://dlp.com/dlp_technology/dlp_technology_white _papers.asp [dlp.com] (FWIW, I am an interested consumer. I do not work for TI, nor for any manufacturer of consumer/professional electronic equipment)
    • I would have to agree with the parent, I've owned a Samsung DLP for over two years, never had to replace the bulb, and my family has been happy with it. With the exception of extreme viewing angles - and you wouldn't want to watch TV from those angles to begin with - the picture quality has been incredible, and we have been very happy with our HDTV.

      With that said, I must warn you about burn in, and remind you that it is more of a problem than many would like to tell you. I am sure you already know that
  • by Hamster Lover (558288) * on Sunday May 21, 2006 @12:37AM (#15374424) Journal
    I looked around for weeks comparing sets, watching every make and model and reading everything I could get my hands on. In the end, I decided on the Sony Wega KF-E50A10, which is a 50" LCD rear projection TV. No matter what technology you choose - LCD (some manufacturers call it LCOS), plasma, DLP or CRT -- there are tradeoffs and advantages for each. In the case of the Sony, LCD technology has the potential to produce a pixelated, screen door effect and lower overall brightness and contrast. With a three LCD arrangement the Sony Wega is able to virtually eliminate the screen door effect and is able to overcome the contrast issue with a high brightness lamp, the only flaw to the set in my opinion as it will require replacement every so often. What sold me on the Sony was the quality of not only the HDTV picture, which I think is superb, but the quality of standard definition on cable or satellite. Hands down the Sony produced a far better picture than just about any set I looked at, except a very expensive Panasonic model I don't recall at the moment. Most salesmen are glad to blab about the quality of the HDTV picture, but rarely bring up SD picture quality and given the amount of HD content out there I estimated that I'd spend about half my time watching SD material. The dirty secret of most HDTVs is that SD looks like absolute shit on most of them, but the Sony uses an averaging algorithm that does an extremely good job of making SD broadcasts watchable.

    I skipped plasma due to the cost and the fact that I felt the picture had the most pronounced screen door effect of any HDTV technology. I liked DLP, but since most HDTVs use a single chip DLP solution there can be a noticable shimmering rainbow effect on the edges of objects during movement as a color wheel must be used to display the full range of colors. I noticed it on several models and decided to skip DLP for the time being and noted that DLP sets will also require costly replacement of their high brightness lamps, just like LCD. Three chip DLP sets, one DLP chip for each of the primary colors, red, gree and blue, would eliminate the rainbow edge effect, but don't expect anything like that for less than $30,000. At some point three chip DLP will be standard, but it will be a while. I really liked the CRT rear projection sets I looked at and they were several hundred dollars less than LCD, plasma or DLP, but everyone I talked to that had one found that picture convergence was a problem (more so than SD rear projection TVs) and that static picture burn-in could be an issue (although I am told that doesn't happen anymore). Also, CRT rear projection TVs are heavier and bulkier than LCD or DLP.

    I don't know about the overall reliability of DLP, but I do have a DLP projector that is a few years old and haven't noticed any loss of picture quality or missing pixels. If the quality of the SD picture wasn't as good as it was on the Sony, I would have bought a DLP TV, but nothing I saw with the DLP technology matched the quality of the SD picture from Sony. I don't think that's a limitation of the DLP technology itself so much as Sony finding the best method to display an SD quality picture on a HDTV.
  • I went DLP... (Score:2, Informative)

    by kernelistic (160323)
    I decided to get a Samsung HLN617W (61.7") DLP back in 2003. While most of my friends had recommended against DLP, I was so impressed by the quality of the image and the workmanship of the unit that I went for it. I am currently using it to type this text.

    My friends that went with plasmas are now on their second TVs and a couple have had heat issues with their newer units ($5k Pioneer & Toshiba units, vintage 2005, no less). Anyone that recommends plasma needs to get one and use it as a computer monitor
    • you're bombarding phosphorus on a plexi/glass plane).

      Didn't CRT manufacturers solve this problem 15 years ago?

    • As for LCD, I have heard a number of complaints about the viewing angle in mixed lighting. .... LCD also has issues with bad pixels - ... causes a "ghosting" effect ...

      I have a Viewsonic N2750W LCD and no complaints. Not one dead pixel and the viewing angle is at least as good as projection compared to the DLP systems we looked at. No alignment issues. The image quality under higher light conditions also impressed me, as we saw it under full flourecent lighting and not in a "dark" part of the store to

  • What I found out... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Yez70 (924200)
    DLP typically have a 170 degree viewing angle (almost perfect) and run $1000 less than the same size LCD. Repair involves replacing the bulb (around $150) every 3-6 years. Lightweight (60 lbs) and thinner than the old projections (12-14 inches).

    LCD pixels burn out - a few aren't a big deal, more get annoying.... LCDs are thinner. (4-5 inches) Typically a 180 degree viewing angle.

    Plasma is best for larger screens - 60 inches plus, but Plasma gas leaks over time causing dulling - replace your TV time. :( P
    • 60lbs is hardly 'lightweight' unless you're talking about boxers.
      • You obviously never had to move some of the early generation HDTV triple CRT projection units. A friend of mine bought a 65" unit that had to weigh 170 lbs. The thing was a monster. We had to build ramps to get the thing off the semi trailer and onto a pickup truck which we backed up to his deck and used ramps to roll it to the house. Getting it over the door sill was an engineering feat.

        So yes, a large HDTV monitor weighing 60lbs is VERY light. Most sets weighed 100lbs or more.

    • by Osty (16825)

      Plasma gas leaks over time causing dulling - replace your TV time.

      What? No [howstuffworks.com]. Plasma displays use phosphors to generate color, just like a CRT. Also, just like a CRT, those phosphors decay over time. They're prone to burn-in, just like a CRT. Think of a plasma display like a mix between CRT and LCD. You have a grid of individual subpixels just like an LCD, but those sub pixels are are made up of light-emitting phosphors just like a CRT. How those phosphors are energized is different (that's where t

    • I've never had a dead LCD pixel that wasn't stuck on or off from day one. (Which is why I only buy them from places that allow unconditional returns... no "x # of dead pixels is OK" BS.
  • AVS Forum (Score:4, Informative)

    by MeanMF (631837) on Sunday May 21, 2006 @01:05AM (#15374513) Homepage
    The AVS Forum [avsforum.com] is a great place to ask questions like this.
  • I went with LCD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metamatic (202216) on Sunday May 21, 2006 @01:09AM (#15374526) Homepage Journal
    Then again, my TV probably doesn't count as "large". If you want a 50" behemoth, LCD is still prohibitively expensive.

    I initially liked the idea of DLP, but it has some problems:

    - On many sets, latency is an issue. This was a killer for me, as I had to be able to play video games on the set.

    - The bulbs need replacing, and they're a few hundred bucks each, so the ongoing cost is higher than LCD.

    - The sets make noise. I'm really picky about noise, I don't want anything with a fan in the living room.

    - The micromirrors don't generally fail, but the high speed rotating bits do.

    - The rainbow striping can be a bit distracting.

    - Visibility in daylight is problematic.

    The downsides of LCDs:

    - Contrast ratio not as good as DLP, but getting close.

    - Price is high if you want to go over 40".

    I don't see response time as an issue on the latest generation of LCDs. Certainly I've had no problem playing ultra-fast racing games. Picture is vibrant, strong saturated colors, and the brightness means there's no problem with daytime viewing. I haven't noticed viewing angle being an issue either, certainly no more so than it is with DLP.

    The downsides of plasma:

    - Short lifetime.

    - Gridlike mask over the picture.

    - Can't use it for video games.

    - Not a good idea to use it for extensive viewing of letterboxed material.

    - Heat, energy consumption.

    Downsides of CRT:

    - Weighs a ton.

    - Energy consumption, heat.

    - Takes up lots of space.

    - Full of nasty chemicals, you'll pay someone to take it away at the end of its lifetime.

    If you need a big screen and can't afford LCD at that size, projection LCD might be an option.

    Interestingly, each technology seems to have one company that has a clear lead. Sharp are the technology leaders for LCD. Samsung are the leaders for DLP. Panasonic are the best for plasma. Sony are the best for CRT. I haven't seen enough LCoS sets to conclude who's the leader there...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I've measured the latency of a Samsung DLP for playing video games, and it was about 150 ms with an analog input signal (the usual thing people hook up from a PS2/Xbox/Gamecube). That's 9 frames of lag at 60 fps, which can have a significant effect on gameplay.

      Providing a digital input signal cut that by half, but it can be still hard to play fast-reaction time games, and requires component video cables and progressive-scan output support from your game and console.

      It seems that DLP technology necessarily
    • Downsides of CRT:

      - Energy consumption, heat.


      I'm not so sure.

      I did some tests and found my 32" Philips CRT draws 120W.
      Most LCD computers monitors are around 100W so the power consumption (and thus heat output) are similar.

      • did some tests and found my 32" Philips CRT draws 120W. Most LCD computers monitors are around 100W so the power consumption (and thus heat output) are similar.

        They must have drastically improved CRTs recently, then. My last CRT was noticably warm if you held your hand above it, whereas none of my LCDs are.

    • A couple of misconceptions in your notes. Likely you're the victim of a sales associate who wanted to convince you to buy a higher priced set...

      DLP has the lowest latency of the competing technologies. The color rotation in modern sets is better than all but a few very high end desktop LCDs for computers. The larger the LCD, typically the lower the latency. However, the rule "you get what you pay for" applies here as well as anywhere else. Try to stick to LG or Samsung's higher end models. In DLP, sta
      • Also, LCDs blow bulbs just like DLP.

        Yeah, but a DLP bulb lasts 2000-3000 hours, whereas the expected lifespan of an LCD backlight is 20,000-30,000 hours.

  • About six months ago, I bought a 50" Hitachi LCD. Previously I had a 43" Hitachi projection HDTV that worked flawlessly for me for five years, and I decided to stick with Hitachi for the new one. My father is now enjoying the old one, which still works flawlessly.

    The only sorta "gotcha" with the LCD, is that the fan noise is sort of obnoxious... but I only notice it when there's no other sound in the room -- if I mute the receiver, or when it's cooling off. When my 7.1 surround sound is on (not even cra

  • by danpbrowning (149453) on Sunday May 21, 2006 @01:40AM (#15374605)

    I'd rather buy a smaller TV with a better picture than one with a larger picture that is less appealing to the eye.

    You should consider conventional tube TVs. Consumer Reports found that the Sony KV-34HS420 ($1200) had HDTV picture quality that could only be matched by $3000+ Plasmas, and $5000+ LCDs/DLPs. This is a very recent development; last year the only wide screen HDTV conventionals were mediocre.

    The downside is that they're smaller (34-inches), very heavy (200+ pounds), and voluminous.

    One thing I don't like about DLP is the relatively limited vertical angle for best picture viewing

    None of the alternatives can beat conventionals in that metric.

    • This will hopefully change in another year when (if???) Canon/Toshiba rolls out their large-screen SED television -- a display that has the viewing advantages of CRT, but in a flat-panel weight/form-factor. Let's hope that it'll be reasonably priced!
      • by sam1am (753369)
        According to people in the know from both Canon and Toshiba during NAB2006, these [canon.com] are not coming any time soon. 2008 at the earliest is what they said. (That said, the demo of this tech earlier this year was simply amazing.
    • I have a philips 32" conventional CRT HDTV that I love. Not quite "Large-Format" - but direct view CRT is the best image by far out of all the technologies I've seen.
    • One thing I don't like about DLP is the relatively limited vertical angle for best picture viewing
      None of the alternatives can beat conventionals in that metric.
      I can't speak for vertical viewing angle, but for horizontal viewing angle I find my current 42" plasma is better than any CRT I've seen. I'm amazed how well you can see it from side on.
  • Have you considered getting a projector instead?

    We recently spent about $1000 on a InFocus DLP projector and love it. The picture is large enough (100" diagonal where we placed it) that we can have a dozen friends over to watch a movie. When we turn it off, it goes away, rather than continuing to dominate the room.
    • I agree wholeheartedly. This is about home *theater* right - so why not do it properly and use the same tech as theaters do? I bought a projector 2 years ago and would NEVER go back to a silly little TV. It is almost exactly as good as going to the cinema, without the irritations.
      Seriously: with your own projector, movies take on a whole new level of quality and immersion and you can enjoy ANY movie, not just the tiny selection currently at the cinema.

      Good LCD projectors like the Panasonic PT-AE900 are a re
    • I'd also suggest looking at a DLP projector.
      I purchased an Optoma 739 for $1000 a year ago April and I consider it the best electronics purchase I have ever made. It has been on 24 hours a day since as I work from home and I use it as my computer monitor and television (using a HDTV cable box as the tuner).
      This model is bright enough to use in a room with two lit floorlamps, is extremely quiet, bulb life is very long (it hasn't burnt out yet!), and the bulbs ar
  • What type of screens work as a computer monitor for a video presentation/Powerpoint/some web browsing.
  • by Ankle (633399)
    Just a warning with LCD Projection sets. Roughly every four to six months you will need to replace the lamp which costs ~$400 CAD (at least for the one used in the panasonic unit I have). They are considered consumables and not covered under warranty.
    • Lamps in LCD projection sets are rated at 5-10,000 hours, minimum. To be replacing twice a year you'd have to leave your TV on 24/7, and have really bad luck with bulb life. Average expected life, with normal viewing habits (I dunno, 4-6 hours per day) should give you 4-6 YEARS of bulb life.

      Yeah, replacing bulbs sucks, and they can be in the hundreds of dollars, and yup, they're not warrantied. But 4-6 months? I'd return that TV pronto. Something's either wrong with the TV, or you're running it inside of yo
    • This is nonsense for the vast majority of LCD RP sets. I've had my Sony Grand Wega 50" LCD RP set for almost 2 years now and have yet to replace a bulb. Others I know have had similar experiences.

      Some people who had earlier versions of Sony LCD RP sets suffered from a bulb burnout defect like the one you describe. But this is a defect in a specific set or line and the correct solution is to get a replacement unit from the manufacturer.

      As the other respondant said, if the bulbs are rated for 10,000 hours,
  • Go there. It's like Slashdot for home theater nerds.
  • The data available on the web can allow you to compare some attributes those products but it will not tell you what you really like and will spend money on. Look at different display technologies. Have the sales people plug in different things into the display to see how they look. Note the differences between how normal TV, 720p and 1080i are rendered. Play with the options to see how they change the picture. Note the lighting where the display is demoed. Is is too dark? Then it might be that the d
  • Since there are plenty of comments so far, I'll keep mine short. I'll second the Sony Wega rear-projection LCD someone else mentioned. My parents recently picked up the 55" version and it's very nice. It has a fairly easily replacable bulb (not sure what the life is like) and the light distribution is uniform. Looks great with standard and HD content. I personally have a 32" Syntax LCD that I got for 700 bucks a while ago. Again, HD and SD content look great. There is a small amount of light leakage in the
  • There's a 42" LCD [costco.com] for $1999 that does 1080p. That's significantly larger than the 32" analog 4x3 set I have now and given how much wall space I have to put a set against I doubt I could fit anything larger than 50" anyway.

    Also, I would hold out for a set that can receive 1080p via digital inputs, and display it at 1080p. The first generation of 1080p is quite tricky (some receive only up to 1080i and internally convert to 1080p, check AVSForums) but I don't think there will be a better home theater video
  • by Phaid (938) on Sunday May 21, 2006 @11:09AM (#15375896) Homepage
    I decided to get a large screen TV this past Christmas. Here is how I went about it.

    First, I learned about the technologies. That part was easy, and obviously you don't need me to repeat all the material that's out there. I boiled it down to either LCD rear projection, DLP, or plasma. I wasn't interested in CRT rear projection due to the price, weight, and need for professional alignment / calibration, LCD because of the size limitations, or CRT because of the size limitations and weight / size.

    Second, I went to stores and evaluated different TVs which use different technologies. You can read AVSforum and all of the various professional magazines about this stuff, and they will measure black levels and white levels and everything else, but really those evaluations are nearly uselless. Those sorts of technical reviews myopically focus on individual aspects of the picture and their ratings rarely consider the overall image quality. The quality of a TV picture is really subjective, so it should be evaluated that way in terms of your buying decision. It's not always easy to do this in stores, but I decided that if I was going to buy a $1500 - $3000 tv set, the retailer was either going to help me do that, or not get my business. So I brought DVDs with me of a couple of movies that I am well familiar with and which had characteristics that would help me decide. These included:

    Spider Man -- Action movie with very vivid colors and tons of sweeping action, to verify color and motion reproduction.
    Sin City -- Probably the most black ever in any movie, good for, obviously, measuring black levels.
    The Fellowship of the Rings -- an excellent, very sharp DVD transfer, just for image quality and again because I've seen it so many times.

    (Yes, I realize that DVDs will display at 480p on these sets, and HD is 720p or 1080i, but the majority of programming I'll watch on this TV will be DVDs, and DVDs are the only media I can really control. Besides, the store always has Discovery-HD or that awful Charlotte Church video fed across all their HD sets, so it's easy to compare among the HD feeds.)

    Then I went to the stores. I looked at rear-projection LCD and DLP first, since they had some compelling advangages -- similarly priced and lightweight. As it turns out, neither of these was that great. Both of those suffer from poor black levels (black looks gray) and restricted viewing angles (if you're not pretty close to perpendicular to the screen it will look dim). In addition, DLP sets have a sort of shimmering optical effect that I noticed and just didn't like. The best of the rear-projection sets was the Sony KDFE42A10 LCD RP -- it definitely had the blackest blacks and the best color reproduction -- but even so, I wasn't completetely satisfied watching movies like Sin City on it, and I still hated the picture degradation when sitting more than 45 degrees off center from it. Still, it was just about good enough. But I needed to look at plasmas.

    So I went and looked at plasmas, and it was just absolutely night and day. I had spent a good deal of time looking at the rear projection sets, and each usually was better than the others in one aspect. But the plasma sets were almost all universally better than the RP sets. Colors were more vivid, blacks were blacker, the picture was smoother despite the physically lower resolution [1], and there were absolutely no shimmering effects. They weren't all free of artifacts, to be sure: some of them seemed to have slower response times, and got jaggies or pixelation in fast-moving scenes in Spider Man or when the Discovery-HD feed showed waterfalls for example. The best of the pack overall turned out to be the Panasonic TH-42PX50U. It was about $8000 higher than the Sony RP-LCD, but its picture quality just couldn't be denied, and that's what I wound up purchasing.

    And about plasma... I read all about burn-in and screen lifetime, and decided neither was a big issue. I was careful to keep
    • It was about $8000 higher than the Sony RP-LCD

      Obviously I meant $800. Oops.
    • ...jaggies or pixelation in fast-moving scenes in Spider Man or when the Discovery-HD feed showed waterfalls...

      Actually, that's an artifact of MPEG encoding. I watch a lot of nature shows and can't tell you how many times I've seen that in shots of running/rippling water, even on my vintage-2000 56" SDTV. On smaller or blurrier screens you don't tend to notice it as much, but on any sort of large or higher-quality display, it's painfully obvious. So if you feed an SD signal to a very high quality plasma dis
    • The best of the pack overall turned out to be the Panasonic TH-42PX50U. It was about $8000 higher than the Sony RP-LCD, but its picture quality just couldn't be denied, and that's what I wound up purchasing.
      I really, really hope you meant $800, because otherwise you overspent. A LOT.
    • Just a couple of observations.

      #1: If you saw LCD's with better black levels than DLP, then either the DLP model sucked or more likely the STORE set the brightness levels WAY up to attract attention to the TV's.

      #2: Plasmas. The biggest problem I have with these is the concern of burn-in. Over at AVSforums there's lots of threads dealing with this, but the jist of it is that you have to be careful for the first 1000 hours or so at LEAST. The biggest issue is watching ANYTHING that puts black bars on the

  • by Hootenanny (966459) on Sunday May 21, 2006 @04:45PM (#15377088)
    I have researched this question out of my own interest in the past couple of years, and let me divide your question into two parts:

    1. Should I buy a DLP, LCD, or DILA? These competing display technologies all have their strengths and weaknesses. In an effort to be objective, the *general* consensus for DLP units are that they offer higher contrast and a sharper image, but at the cost of the "rainbow effect". LCD units offer more vivid, saturated color, but at the expense of higher black levels. DILA units, called SXRD when under the Sony brand, tend to share the strengths and weaknesses of LCD's. Now for my subjective opinion, I prefer an LCD because I am quite happy with the rich image, and the rainbows of DLP color wheels render them unwatchable for me. Even on DLP's with a high-speed color wheel, although the alternating red, green, and blue components of the image are not consciously visible, I found that I get a headache after watching it for 90 minutes or so. So I strongly prefer LCD's to DLP's, although this is a question on the order of Ford vs. Chevy, domestic vs. imported, Windows vs. Mac, Ginger vs. Mary Ann...

    2. Should I get a flat-screen, rear projection, or front projection unit? This is another important question that you didn't explicitly consider in your post, but it's essential when you want a large-format screen. A flat-screen, which may include LCD's and plasmas, may offer the most vibrant and saturated image, but at a higher cost per inch of screen real estate than other options. Rear projection TV's pass light through an LCD, DLP, or DILA filter to form an image on the back side of a (usually) black screen. Front projection TV's can create an image of arbitrary size, depending on the projection distance, with a tradeoff between image size and quality. The Achilles heel of front projectors is ambient light - the image gets washed out when it must compete with other light sources. Projection units tend to give you more image for your money than flat screens.

    After extensive research, I selected a Sanyo PLV-Z4 for my TV. It is an LCD front projector with good contrast with future-compatible features (particularly HDMI with HDCP) and an attractive price. I painted a neutral grey screen using Screen Goo. I found that the image is sparkling when the room is completely light controlled, with deep blacks and rich color. I use a screen diagonal of 84", even though the unit could be enlarged to 100" or so, because I prefer image quality over size. My living room is flooded with ambient light, so I convinced myself that I should be doing other things during daylight hours, like working or being active outside. Ambient light problem solved. 8)

    What works for me may not necessarily be the best thing for you, but I've been quite happy with it. Good luck.
  • I've been reading with interest about the new LED DLP system that Samsung will have out soon (within a month I hear), instead of a mechanical color wheel filtering a white light, it apperently has Red/Green/Blue LED's which can switch on/off very fast, will last 20,000+ hours, and will be cooler and more efficent; (less heat, no need for a fan, etc.)

    So the set will be quieter, use less power, produce less heat, be brighter, much less 'rainbow' effect, last 10x longer (no bulb to burn out, no phosphors to bu
  • I'm curious, have you ruled out a rear projection set? These aren't quite as sleek and stylish as the newer flat-panel formats, but they're based on reliable technology.

    I've had a Toshiba 40H80 for about 6 years now. You've probably seen them, they were used in a lot of Best Buys as early HD demo models. At the time I got it mainly because it was the most affordable true HDTV I could find, and despite reading a few mixed reviews online mine has been great. I've been watching actual HD broadcasts since abou
  • and I've been very happy with it. It's fairly basic as projectors go, but it does the job well enough for me, and although I can see the rainbow effect it doesn't bother me.

    Best way to demo the rainbow effect is to get a small patch of light colour surrounded by a lot of dark. Then you can look rapidly left to right and as your eyes move you'll get the different R,G and B parts of that light spot. The effects are similar to mouse trails.

    I think whether or not the rainbow effect bothers you could depend o
  • What's wrong with the old fashioned tech?
  • Hi, anyone up to date with the availability of OLED TVs? The promise is great, the colours are magnificent, the power consumption a nuclear plant or three less than of all other technologies (especially CRT and Plasma), and it's the flattest technology available. However, I still have no firm availaibility date for those.

    Cheers, g.a.g
  • Resolution is important -- the current mainstream HDTVs only do 720P. They advertise support for 1080i, but they do it at 720p. Pixels squish and "fuzzy pixels" (is this what you saw? Might have been due to a NON-NATIVE screen resolution)interlacing... yum!

    Be sceptical of the media used to demo TV's... if you were viewing the same media on 2 TVs that support different resolutions, one of these TVs has an artificial resolution. You would need 2 streams of media for the same content, but different resolutions

  • Thanks for all the replies (I'm the original poster/asker).

    AVS Forum has been recommended, but that is a flashy, blinky place with confusing instructions for newbies.

    I spent 10 minutes carefully explaining (after registering and getting the email response) and then was confronted with some sort of error message. Uh-huh, Okaaay.

    The following is what I tried to send:

    http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/21/0 1 38248 is the article I posted to Slashdot and I was referred to here.

    Since you gu

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