It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

: So I’m thinking about buying a big, honking flat-screen TV so I can corrupt my morals yet more. Was debating between LCD and Plasma. David Pogue in The Times says go for the LCD. What do you say?

  • Angelos

    LCD. Brighter, longer-lasting, lighter, better picture, and on and on and on.
    Here’s a good summary: LCD v. Plasma.

  • Angelos

    I have a 57″ Sony, big projection beast sitting on the floor. 1/3 the price, and I have a big living room, so it doesn’t look out of proportion.
    If you have space issues, or just really like the gadget factor of a wall-mount, I completely understand. But I don’t think the extra money’s worth it for a flat-panel, especially with the technology issues.

  • Erik B

    If you have the space, I recommend a traditional tube TV. I just got a Samsung Hi-Def Ready Widescreen Flatscreen set.
    It was 1/3 the price of LCD or Plasma and will last longer.
    Oh, and make sure your set has the hi-def receiver installed. It’s cheaper than buying the receiver separately.

  • Hunter McDaniel

    My recommendation would be to go for some kind of microchip rear-projection – LCD, DLP, or D’ILA. These sets are not quite as thin as direct view plasma or LCD, but they are a LOT cheaper for any given size. IMHO, direct view plasma and LCD are the right choice ONLY if you need to stick the TV on your desk or mount it on the wall.
    And you almost certainly want a TV that is much bigger than what you are used to. Most of the benefit of high-definition is lost on a smaller set. Depending on the size of your room, a 50″ to 60″ set is usually the ideal size. And that is the point where plasma prices head for the stratosphere.
    Just my $0.02. BTW I can’t stand Stern but you are so so right to be worried about the liberty issues involved.

  • Michael

    60″ plasma TV? Skip the conspicuous consumption and buy a book instead. In fact, you’ll be able to buy a hundred or so books.

  • Hi Jeff, if you really want the TV now, I think you should get the lowest cost possible for the LCD. I think that this crop of LCDs have pretty rich margins considering the scale economies the manufacturers enjoy … with new models coming into the market throughout next year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a price war a la CallVantage vs. Vonage.

  • ronbo

    If you were in the Samsung showroom you probably saw their DLP projection TVs. IMHO, only way to go for large screen sizes.
    Really big flat screens are v. expensive and the DLP sets are not very deep (can’t hang on the wall, of course).
    I just ordered the 61″ DLP, looking fwd to HD.
    Best regards.

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Jeff Jarvis
    RE: Flat Panel?
    How pass

  • Tom

    Chuck, I’ll take any Bangs you’ve got lying around, I need to rewire. Seriously, go with the LCD, Jeff.
    If you’re not stuck on the hanging up of your television, the projections are not so deep anymore, and are actually made to be cornered in a lot of cases. Got a 57″ and I love it to death.

  • LCD if you’re thinking under 45″. I’m not 100% that that is the “break-even” point – but I know there is a line of demarkation where LCD’s are better than plasma’s. When you exceed that critical point, it’s a crapshoot. LCD’s don’t fade over time, and are considered better for HD applications I believe. I don’t know what the big push with plasma’s is, I think they’re still around b/c they’re a cheaper alternative, and you can get them in “bigger” big-screens. *shrugs*
    LCD is the better technology at the end of the day, but you pay for it.

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Tom
    RE: I’m “Sorry”
    “I’ll take any Bangs you’ve got lying around.” — Tom
    They’re busy playing my collection of New Age mp3s via my SLIMP3, at the moment. Besides, they are my alarm clock. The computer randomly selects gentle wake up music. Plays it for an hour and then selects “get your a– outta bed!” stuff and plays it for an hour.
    RE: Furthermore, On Video
    Why settle for 57″ when you can have 115″ (or more) for less? The only limit is the size of your wall space.

  • What does HD look like on a 115″ screen? I bet garbage, considering the resolution is the same as on my 19″ LCD computer monitor.
    Also, I remember doing stuff like that in college (graduated in ’00). That James Bond multiplayer game had just come out. We’d sneak into classrooms over the weekend/evenings and set up the nintendo 64 on the projection apparatus. The only cool thing about it was the characters were as big as we were. Pixels were the size of lego’s though.
    If you want to hear what the “pro’s” are saying, check out – that’s where I did a lot of my research. Having a friend who performs Home Theater installations helps as well.

  • Jim S

    My research says that if you’re buying now the best bang for your buck would be DLP.

  • I work in the research lab of a company that just won an Emmy for its LCD TV sets, so I might be a little biased in my appraisal. This company also uses blog ads to push its product, and has an interesting strategy of connecting these blog ads with TV ads and a web site with a quirky little puzzle to hype interest in the product. But I’ll just stick to the technology.
    A projector is fine if you have a media room dedicated to watching movies with the requisite sound system and all that. I’m not sure that anybody wants to watch Capital Report on a 100 inch screen; I certainly don’t. So let’s assume we’re talking about a TV set to go into the average den for watching the average mix of cable news, sporting events, sitcoms, and movies. All you need to do that with standard TV is a 27-32″ CRT, and anything more than that is overkill because of the limited amount of information in the program broadcast into your house.
    High-definition TV is way cool for sporting events because you can pick up details that you can’t see at all in standard def, such as the rotation of a baseball pitch in slow motion and the arc of a fly ball hit to the outfield. Much of the detail is distracting, however, like beads of sweat on the pitcher’s face that we’re seeing because the cameramen are still playing by the rules of standard def. I don’t think HDTV would add much to cable news or sitcoms, but it’s a plus for movies because of the wide-screen format.
    In theory, you should be able to populate a screen 2-4 times as large as your standard def with high def images with no loss of resolution, but do you really want to dedicate that much of your house to a TV set? Maybe in the future when the camera work has caught up with the technology, but not today.
    So I’d recommend a 42″ LCD set with a built-in tuner and a card slot for expansion and options. The height of that image is comparable to a 32″ 4×3 CRT. You can already get digital cable-ready tuner cards and limited PVR’s on a card, and shortly you should be able to get wireless networking so you can use a PC in another room as a program source for your TV. Blogging on your TV isn’t impossible with the right set of equipment, for example.
    LCD is way superior to plasma in all the technial dimensions, and its lifetime cost of ownership is lower because plasma will burn out in 2-3 years and consume more power along the way.
    I hope this helps.

  • Tom O.

    The brother of a good friend does custom home video installations for a living, he said to avoid plasma altogether. One client of his, who bought a plasma screen before the WTC attacks, kept it glued to CNN for the two weeks following 9/11 – the burn-in from the logo and the bottom-screen crawl was quite visible and apparently irreversible. Angelos’ link to above would seem to confirm this (though newer models are supposedly less succeptible). So if you’re a news junkie and watch a lot of Fox/CNN/MSNBC et al, or you’re going to hook it up to a videogame console, avoid plasma.

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: fat kid
    RE: At 115″
    “What does HD look like on a 115″ screen? I bet garbage…” — fat kid
    Haven’t tried it at 115″…yet. But at 80″ it looked fine, with the DVI connection. With S-video it’s not as good.
    Hope that helps.

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Richard Bennett
    RE: Dedication
    “A projector is fine if you have a media room dedicated to watching movies with the requisite sound system and all that.” — Richard Bennett
    Good point. I do have to put up black-out shades to keep down the afternoon sun. But since they only run about $5 each, that’s not much of a problem.
    Again, having a big enough room is a factor. One does have to have the requisite stand-off distance. A small apartment or a house with small rooms might not work out very well.
    As for the sound system, well, that’s an issue in any scenario; plasma, LCD or projector.

  • To: Chuck

    Haven’t tried it at 115″…yet. But at 80″ it looked fine, with the DVI connection. With S-video it’s not as good.

    Ah so! Most excellent point about the DVI! I believe we were operating the N64 from an S-vid source (at best), if not some stupid RGB thing. DVI (and it’s successor) are VASTLY superior – though again with the GIGO. You’re always going to be limited to whatever the broadcast is.

  • That being said
    *insert mini thread jack*
    Anyone else playing the new Half Life 2? I have friends who need dramamine for it! Craziness.

  • Jay

    Hey Jeff … didn’t you say some time ago that you don’t really watch TV anymore? So why bother?

  • Wes

    If you’re going the non-plasma TV route, I’d recommend a DLP over an LCD tv.
    I just got a 50″ Samsung DLP projection TV for around $3k.
    The DLP TV’s I saw (@ Best Buy,Cirtuit City, Tweeters, Costco) had a better picture than the LCD counterparts.
    The projection tv’s these days aren’t overly humungous, and they can be $2k/$3 cheaper than plasma.
    Don’t forget to ask about the S-video cables (instead of coax), HDTV package from the cable co. & wireless home theater system! You neeeeeeed it, and it’s Christmas!

  • h0mi

    Someone clarify this for me please:

    LCD TVs with refresh rates of 16 ms or higher show very little noticeable artifacts.

    So that refresh rate has to be a lower number or higher number?
    My gut says lower #.

  • chuck traxler

    Wait a couple of months for the NEW TECHNOLOGY.
    DLP Its an LCD screen with a single light source and I believe fiber optics. It’s the next step and will be better than this generation. Check out the new Samsung 50 inch

  • Mike G

    I will echo the votes for DLP.
    LCD looks great in a store because you can crank up the brightness so high it blows everything else away. But it’s like staring into a neon sign all night.
    DLP on the other hand is subtle. On a brightly lit showroom floor it sucks. Put it in a decent room for home theater, where ambient and window light is properly controlled, and it’s an oil painting come to life.
    One other issue. LCD gets dead pixels. I would hate that.

  • James C.

    DLP is the best bang for your buck by a long shot.

  • Jim

    A post over at engadget says plasma burn-in is a myth (and they crucify the Times’ David Pogue for subscribing to such lies).
    they say: “You want some LCD issues? How about inferior contrast ratios, unnatural color recreation (which you do sort of mention but poo-poo quickly), fixed pixel sizes that don