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LCD Specs Routinely Inflated – Plasma Still Better

by July 18, 2009

Plasma still gives a better picture than LCD, even after all these years. According to thorough testing conducted by DisplayMate.com and Insight Media, plasma scored consistently higher ratings than LCD. The test also exposed the revelation (that may come as no surprise to some) that many of your LCD display specifications are highly exaggerated. 

Which is better LCD or Plasma? The debate might be winding down these days as Plasma looks like it’s a display technology that’s on the way out. Now recent improvements have closed the gap in picture quality between LCD and Plasma. No more can LCD be damned as too slow now that 120 Hz has become cachet. Even black levels and contrast ratios are cropping up to plasma standards, there seems to be little resistance in the market for salespeople to pitch LCD as having just as good or better picture quality than competing plasma displays. But according to DisplayMate.com’s testing, we’re not quite there yet. 

LCD – Plasma Display Shoot-Out 

Displaymate.com’s LCD-Plasma Display Technology Shoot-Out rounded up a collection of 2008 model LCD panels from top brand-names including Sony KDL-52XBR4, Samsung LN-T5281F and Sharp LC-52D92U. In the Plasma corner was the Panasonic Professional TH-50PF10UK.

 DisplayMate Technologies testing could scarcely have been more accurate, conducted with careful scientific methodologies. The tests involved eight LCD panels, two Plasmas and a CRT Sony professional HD Trinitron Studio Monitor used as the reference standard. All the sets were precisely calibrated and the tested with spectroradiometer measurements and a number of panelists were used to view test patterns, photos and of course tons of High-Def video. 

Interesting results emerged from much of the LCD testing mainly showing that the printed specifications aren’t very accurate. For instance it seems to have become the standard to publish a 176 viewing angle: That’s the maximum angle at which a display can be viewed with acceptable visual performance. Tests showed that picture quality on LCD sets noticeably diminishes at 10-degrees but will fall to 50% picture quality at a 45-degree angle. The Panasonic plasma had no visible picture quality decrease until being viewed at a 45-degree angle. 

Most LCD manufacturers claim of their product that unless you’re seated 2-degrees from the edge of a screen you’ll see perfect image quality. In the words of DisplayMate.com: 

“For all current LCDs this is absolute nonsense.” 

Contrast Ratios is another critical but widely pumped up specification in LCD panels. It’s defined as the ratio of luminance the display is capable of; between pure bright white and pure dark black. Marketing departments representing these LCD makers claim impressive contrast ratios of 1,000,000:1 or 2,000,000:1. 

In reality the best contrast ratio found on an LCD panel was only 2000:1. The Panasonic plasma was able to must a contrast ratio of 3842:1. Let this be a warning not to believe those published specs if you’re in the market for a new HDTV. Believe your eyes over numbers. 

Although it’s true that plasma technology is on the way out of style with most manufacturers, many believe it still offers the best dollar-per-dollar picture quality for the money of any mainstream display technology. Enjoy it while it lasts because this could be Plasma’s last generation.

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About the author:

Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

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Recent Forum Posts:

3db posts on August 13, 2009 14:51
Specs on my Vizio model says the view angle both horizontal and verticle is 178 degrees. I didn't go to that extreme but I did go to at least 50 degrees off center with very little degregation in picture quality.

http://www.vizio.com/assets/0/92/440/94/118/de070116-91ba-4d18-b436-f3c168e03b53.pdf
08op posts on August 12, 2009 23:29
jostenmeat, post: 609438
Well, how old is your LG? Is it calibrated?

my lg is 1.5 years. i probably should but have no idea how, i just learned about that once i signed up here and thought it was only for pq.?.
bandphan posts on August 12, 2009 15:37
Orbitors rule. I have both displays hooked to the computer if I. Worried about burn in I could never watch Fox News, ESPNs, or pause porn (jk). I don't even get retention watching a marathon of star wars.
jostenmeat posts on August 12, 2009 14:47
08op, post: 609371
“”I can't believe people still talk about burn-in. I don't think you could burn in a modern plasma, even if you tried. Well, you'd have to try to even come close. Like, leave it on a static image for a week or two straight.“” jostenmeats quote.

i have a plasma and i wont hook up my computer to it because of burn-in. if i pause a dvd for more than 1 minute the “pause menu” at the top of my screen will be there for about 2-3 minutes after i start the movie again. i love plasma for pq, just dont wana ruin it.

Well, how old is your LG? Is it calibrated?
08op posts on August 12, 2009 13:07
“”I can't believe people still talk about burn-in. I don't think you could burn in a modern plasma, even if you tried. Well, you'd have to try to even come close. Like, leave it on a static image for a week or two straight.“” jostenmeats quote.

i have a plasma and i wont hook up my computer to it because of burn-in. if i pause a dvd for more than 1 minute the “pause menu” at the top of my screen will be there for about 2-3 minutes after i start the movie again. i love plasma for pq, just dont wana ruin it.
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