Dimly lit room: Plasma, LCD, or DLP

Is plasma suited better for dark enviroments?
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I have last years Panasonic 50" plasma which has the non-reflective screen, which is no longer offered in the form I have. With it the TV works well in reflected light from windows [I have windows down one side of my viewing room] as well as dim conditions. All three will work well in dim light.
Both work well in dark rooms LED(IMHO)does it's best performance of picture quality in dark rooms. But for overall best picture(again IMHO)I would go for a plasma or at least a 120hz LED
I would go Plasma, LCD doesnt do blacks as good as Plasma and that contrast is where I feel the rubber meets the road, but lamps and such may reflect on a glossy Plasma screen so thats something to consider if you use lights in room at night.

If you dont have issues with lights (windows and such) and want to use for movies and non casual 12 hour per day use with many on and off cycles get a Projector, huge screen and surprisingly cheap cost makes the Projector a winner in the right circumstance. I set my 90in HD Projector system up for less then $1000.....thats way cheaper then any LCD or Plasma or even DLP rear unit and gets out of the way for music use.
If you do think a LCD monitor is best way to go pay attention to contast and hz rate, as Theo noted get 120Hz unit and the larger contrast the better as that is the difference between the blackest blacks and brightest whites.
As stated above all 3 work great in a dim environment. 120hz is only a factor if you watch a lot of live sports..other than that the difference will not be noticeable if you buy a Tier 1 LCD (Sony,Sharp,Mits,Samsung). The video processors are good enough in these 60Hz models..I doubt you'd see a difference for the extra cost of 120Hz.

Blacks will be better on a Plasma as a whole, but there are some trade offs that plasma lovers do not mention.

Though the blacks are a little deeper on my plasma, my LCD has better shadow detail. In other words, on dark scenes I see more detail on objects like buildings and the side of a person's face that is away from direct light.

This is also important and easily visible when you do a side by side comparison on the same material. As time goes on a plasma will grow dimmer(it will start to lose its brilliance).. an LCD doesn't.

A plasma is more susceptible to burn in... LCDs are not.

So you really have to look and decide what is most important to you and where to make a compromise.

Neither is perfect..both plasma and LCD have wider viewing angles than DLP. LCDs look best when viewed directly or from a tighter viewing angle than a plasma, similar to a DLP. Though not quite as critical as a DLP.

Pick your poison.
Plasma TVs are very energy inefficient. LCD TV are much greener.
A 42" class plasma will consume about the same amount of electricity for 3 to 4 hours of daily use as a modern full size refrigerator consumes in 24 hours. The WSJ says to add $200/year to your electric bill for the purchase of each large plasma (this obviously varies by location and usage). LCDs are more efficient, but still relatively high energy users. Roughly a third less than a plasma. Old-school CRTs are by far the more energy efficient.
LCD/Plasma power usage:
Plasma are best overall. As Chad says above - LCD's do not do blacks well at all. IMHO there is NO comparison (I own both)
Plasam burn in issue is not a factor as it used to be, and Green.....well thats more a political choice but for video use (and I assume thats what its really about) Plasam is still at this point the better option for total picture wuality. If you arw a green follower, or worried about Plasama reflective gloss screen then LCS is best.
I would take Plasma and hug a tree but thats just me.
"Though the blacks are a little deeper on my plasma, my LCD has better shadow detail. In other words, on dark scenes I see more detail on objects like buildings and the side of a person's face that is away from direct light."

Comparing the shaded areas between my XBR6 LCD and my Pioneer 151FD plasma the plasma is clearly better.

"This is also important and easily visible when you do a side by side comparison on the same material. As time goes on a plasma will grow dimmer(it will start to lose its brilliance).. an LCD doesn't."

Out of the box the XBR LCD was running at 8000 kelvin and the plasma was at 5750 kelvin. With both displays calibrated the plasma is clearly brighter. Modern plasmas now have a much longer lifespan than LCD.

"A plasma is more susceptible to burn in... LCDs are not."

Yes but modern plasmas now have firmware that greatly reduces the possibility of burn in.

Even with its high refresh rate my LCD has visible motion blur around object edges which by itself could be easily overlooked if it's you only display. During a high quality football broadcast the divots in the turf seem to be floating with the LCD.

Living with a modern plasma in the same house seems to magnify their differences to the point where I wouldn't recommend an LCD.
I think Vic sums it up well.
Of all the technologies we sell, we see far less problems with plasmas and LCD being better than DLP.

As for brands that I would recommend you look at: Pioneer, Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, then everything else....just my opinion.

Both technologies work great in low-light to dark environments. To me, I choose plasma over LCD in most cases as I like the deeper blacks only a plasma can give you....Pioneer and Panasonic are what I recommend, sell and own myself.
I agree that plasma has better blacks, contrast and brightness. However, for me, the larger pixels on plasmas are very irritating. Although they are only apparent on certain colours, when they are there, that's all I see. I can't seem to look past them so I prefer LCD. If I was going to get a plasma, I would look at Pioneer or Pansonic first. Of course, plasmas and LCDs may both disappear in a couple of years when OLEDs come out in larger sizes.
Phase, The more common question is which technology works better in normal ambient light. Plasma is the loser here. LCD outputs much more light. Ditto DLP. I would not worry about burn-in. Even the lowest priced plasmas have an orbiter or a white-out feature. This old 'wives tale' just does not apply anymore. Life span, same thing. If you put enough hours on a plasma to reach it's half-life, contact me and I will GIVE you a new set free!
Plasma burn-in is not a factor? You can get image retention from just leaving it on a channel that has a fixed image, such as a logo.

Yes the software may help to reduce burn in, but it does not cure it. I've already found this out the hard way.

Try to use it for anything other than watching moving objects. You'll find out just how good that software really works.lol
Connect a PC or game console to it..you'll be crying the blues! It is clear to me those who say this isn't an issue..hasn't put one to a REAL test.

Vic it's great if that's what worked out for you..not in my case...no dice. My LCD clearly had an advantage in the area stated and MY plasma has its as well. There is no one shot one kill here.

Plasma brighter than LCD?..huh..keep dreaming.
Gmood, I apologize if the tenor of my remarks came across as any sort of absolute. My intention was to pass on to the original poster MY first hand experiences with specific regard to my Sony XBR6 LCD and Pioneer 151FD plasma. Both displays are current products and both are placed in the same locations in two different rooms with the exactly the same exposure to the sun.

Again, with both displays calibrated and set to standard the plasma is clearly a brighter presentation. Selecting the LCD's vivid picture setting will produce a very bright more animated presentation which is difficult for us to watch. This vivid setting closely resembles the 'out of the box' setup of the LCD.

We watch many stations that display a logo and have used Wii and X Box 360 in conjunction with the plasma with no adverse affects or burn in.

Dreaming? I am a little hung over, but that'll pass and my plasma will still be brighter, IMO.
If burn in is really still an issue at all it will only happen if use of monitor is of a extremely lazy or stupid manner (leaving on for many many hours with a steady image for example) even most stations ID tag turns off during commercials and such so I really dont think alogo burn in is an issue. Maybe stations have changed the way they display logo's because of previous issues....either way burn in would be the last thing I would worry about, picture quality and reflection issues plus motion artifacts trump burn in by a laughable margin.
Lol..apology accepted Vic. You're lucky if you haven't noticed the image retention as yet. You're a brave man to play video games on a plasma! I don't know how long you've used it that way. If I were you I would use the LCD for those tasks. It will eventual show itself if used this way often. Try running an all white screen on the plasma if possible. If there is any image retention,it will show up like a sore thumb.

This is easily done for me as I have a good portion of my screen white when I'm surfing the net or doing other tasks on this PC.

Chad..certain channels still use logos that do plasmas harm..I do not know why? ESPN and TNT can be bad about this. That red logo during a long sporting event like racing..can leave a little image retention. I've had to use my screen wiper in the past to remove or lighten these images.

Again...some of us use our displays as PC monitors. I also use it to scroll through my music albums..it doesn't take long for ghosting to show up if you use a plasma for this. This isn't what someone told me or what I read. This is something I've seen for myself Chad.

Frankly, it is laughable to me for someone to give advice on something he doesn't own or have experienced in any way.Looking at it in the store or at a family members house doesn't count. ;-)

I welcome you to stop by and find ghosting artifacts on my LCD with TV recorded shows, movies or Blu rays...it simply isn't there. All of these TVs show ghosting on live fast moving sports..even a plasma. And no thanks I do not want a 300 pound CRT..I'll happily take the good with the bad using my flat panels.
If that was directed at me your off base, I own a LCD monitor, a LCD Projector, CRT HD and while my dad owns the Plasma I researched it bought it, hooked it up and maybe your not close with your parents but that doesnt I am not with mine and dont have many MANY hours of experience viewing his unit...calling me out on this was a low blow and you can mock me all you want but I wouldnt offer opinion if I didnt have experience, you worry about you and I will worry about me.
Ok back to important stuff and Phase sorry your thread has been hi-jacked.
There is no channel I know of at this time that leaves a logo on during commercials so every 10 minutes or so that logo is gone for several minutes, you can play games on Plasma and watch whatever you wish without worry if you do it like an adult who doesnt walk away from a game for hours. If you have a cheap or old model Plasma this may have been an issue for you but it isnt the case anymore and you need to quit passing bad information, false claims help nobody. LCD has more issues with motion blur than any other technology and that is simple fact.
I would suggest the O.P. google all these topics and research should quickly confirm that black levels are not up to par on LCD, there is no need to worry about image burn in or retention with todays models with normal average daily use and LCD suffers more from image blur during motion than any other technology, also that Plasma reflection from the gloss panel can be an issue........these are all facts not opinion.......fact.
Gmood would lead somebody to think Plasma is a really bad option, if it was that bad then why do so many love it and why is it even still for sale?.......wouldnt the bad press and opinion from the masses have killed it off long ago???? It has happened time and time again with other products so what is it about Plasma that is immune to common sense and bad publicity? The short answer is it isnt immune to bad press, it is a great product the market loves and thats why many advise its best option, LCD is getting better but getting better and actually being better are two very differnt things. cheers
Why in the world would I want to lead someone to believe a plasma is bad? I own and use them both. I never said I didn't like my plasma. I like using them both! I will not argue anymore about this. I know what using a plasma as a monitor will do..it ain't good. Why don't stadiums, offices, computer manufactures or billboards use plasma technology if burn in or brightness isn't an issue?

Regardless of who made it. My plasma is still considered current..not old by a long shot! If you only plan to use it for basic TV or Movies you'll be fine. If you plan to do other tasks in the future an LCD or LED are the better options.

At the current rate, TV broadcast,voice and the internet are going interactive. This means your TV will become a hub for everything. Internet,voice and television broadcast over IP ..is the future.

The newest DVRs are more like a PC than a basic cable box.
You totally miss the point Chad..time to step into the 21st century!
I would suggest the O.P. google all these topics and research should quickly confirm that black levels are not up to par on LCD

The December issue of Home Theater Magazine reviews the new 950 series Samsung LCD and they describe the black levels as being on par with the latest Kuro plasma sets. It would seem that plasmas long standing "black level" advantage may be short-lived.
Yes at the super premium extremes they are closing the gap, I just dont think they have in general. An LCD in a dim room is where the inferior blacks are going to be most noticed as everything looks grey but some wont notice or even be bothered by this. My career in hi quality sheetfed commercial printing has admittedly made me pretty picky about color....more so than most.
Maybe we all should wait and see what will be the outcome/upcoming trend after the Consumers Electronic Show in Las Vegas next week!!! The reason I went Plasma, was the viewing angle since my living room is narrow and sometime watch the tv from my kitchen... I couldn't do that with a LCD, I tried and it was disorted......
Any comments as to the quality of non-HD media (such as old movies on DVD - from 1940's, forward) when viewed on plasma vs lcd, and for various lcd's? Comments most welcome from those who have done their own side-by-side comparison. Particularly in a lighted room.
I watch the Financial news network on my Plasma all the time with that stock ticker running across the bottom of the picture. Sometimes the sets on 20 hours or more a day (I sleep with the TV on and it's located in the bedroom). I've had no issues with burn in, but I use the picture orbiter. Now, when I turn the set off in a dark room, I can see the picture for about 3-5 minutes until the gas cools off, but that's not burn in.