Need Help with Plasma Burn In vs. DLP Decisions

I am researching a possible a Plasma TV purchase (brand is to be determined) but I am getting conflicting statements regarding burn in problems. For example, from watching shows with the 4:3 aspect ratio, will I get burn in where the black bars were? In other words, how long can I watch these channels before I MUST change the channel to a full screen display? I have about 12 HD stations but many are not HD. For non HD stations, I was told to stretch to full display but this seems to distort the view. Does Plasma have other usage restrictions?

Fom a cost view point, does a Samsung DLP TV purchase make more sense than a Plasma? My local Retailer is recommending the Plasma since it looks better but many of my friends have purchased the Samsung DLP (50") and like it very much. Any comments on Plasma burn in and plasma vs. DLP would be appreciated. Thanks
I will not have your answers "for sure", but that is a reason I went with DLP also; I was told that manufacturers are resolving the issue you describe with Plasma TV's, I don't know if that is true or not. Some handle stretching the screen better than others, it bothers me way to much!

When you are in store looking at multiple TV's, you are splitting hairs you will never even think of once your TV of choice is home.

If you consider DLP, don't rule out Mitsubishi, they make a great DLP TV.

Who do you get 12 HD channels through, cable?

The plasma burn in problem is not what it used to be but you should still be cautious. I did not watch many programs in 4:3 format. I used the satellite stb format to stretch/zoom etc. When I did watch a program with the side bars I always switched stations during commercials. It is only the black sidebar that you should be concerned about. You could try to find a used DVDO Iscan hd+ as this will zoom to your specifications and you can zoom out the otherwise unremovable black bars on a digital ota transmission (if you use your rooftop for local hd).

Hope this helps.
There are two issues- one is after image retention--sometimes described as burn in, and the other is uneven phosphor wear, also described as burn in. You are discussing the latter. IN any case, I have used my plasma for over 2 years and the pic is perfect as evaluated by a widescreen reviewer who is part of our HT group. However I dont watch anything in 4:3; many DVDs have bars along the top and bottom however due to aspect ratio and my choice to see the dvd as was intended as opposed to zoomed or stretched.

It is important to avoid long periods of bars in the first 100 hours of plasma use. After that, the chance is greatly lessened for this problem. In fact, no plasma owners I know have this problem at all. Most plasmas have a reverso function- so if it does happen you can essentially wash your screen inside out- meaning white on ends black in middle; restoring even phosphor wear.

The only burn in I have seen is in older plasmas used in commercial settings with static screens, like airports with schedules of flights. Even the Panny Smithsonian plasmas, all three of them show no burn in despite continous daily use of the same material over and over again. Its in the future of flight area by a split open DC-3 with stairs going up.

DLP gives a distinctly less accurate picture- sorry to offend here, but between rainbows, lack of decent contrast ratios etc, there isnt anyway to get that looking through the window videophile picture. I actually dont recall anyone touting DLPs at CES 2005 this year- it was all plasmas, LCDs, and front projectors-- all of which are improving. I also personally dont like the physicial bulk of a DLP, although they are very lightweight ( I do like that).
in the same buying situation...looking at plasma & dlp.

looked at dlp's and got turned off by the "rainbow" effect... do have to say the price has gone down and the quality has gone up in regards to rear projections...

really like the plasma's but concerned about "burn in" is a concern.
Please review my post. I dont know of anyone who has a burn in issues with any plasma in the residential setting.

The ability to correct any issues exists should they come up. The only places I see burn in mentioned as an issue is in review magazines and periodicals that receive a great deal of advertising money from LCD manufacturers.
Three years ago, I took the leap of faith to purchase a Panasonic plasma. Up until now, I don't see any burn in. I watch HD channels on cable, but not that much b/c my box keeps getting tiling, i.e. trying locking in signals as signals do get dropped. Today, whether it is HD or non HD, there are always network logos on them. Thus, I should see burn in. However, I have not seen any burn in, and this is not a 'halo' effect, meaning to defend my purchase. If it lasts me another three years, I would be very happy b/c it's probably time for another upgrade, i.e. newer, better, and cheaper plasma. :> ) Let's see if it can stand against the test of tim. My two-cent thought.
I agree with Lej... I've had my Panasonic plasma for over 2 years now, and have had no issues with ghosting or burn-in. I use the "justified" aspect to stretch 4:3 images. At first it was weird, but you quickly forget about it.

I also watch movies "as intended" with letterboxing if the aspect does't match the 16:9 of the plasma. After watching a movie, I use the built-in screen saver for about 5 or 10 minutes as a "just in case" to prevent burn in or ghosting.

The other thing that I don't think anyone mentioned is to tune your plasma carefully. Out of the box the units are dialed way too bright and saturated. This helps sell units in brightly lit stores, but is just too unnatural in a properly lit HT or living room. By dialing down the "picture" setting, you will extend the life of your unit and get a much more realistic image.

Also, even in older plasmas, the half-life of the unit is something like 80,000 hours -- 10 years if you run it 24/7.
Sound and Vision magazine this year has been comparing the different technologies. The preferred was plasma, followed by DLP, and then LED. They compared on several factors. Worth the read.
As requested above, I get 12 HD channels from (Cable Company also provides me Internet and phone service). They are a small company and only service Walnut Creek, CA, Concord, CA and parts of Minnesota. Astound is in the process of being sold to Wave Broadband. Please see Thanks for the information above. My search continues but, most likely, I will hold until year end. cheers..
Due to cost more than anything other performance factor I bought a Sony LCD about 2 yrs ago, and I have been extremeley happy with it in all respects. That said, now that the prices for all have come down and I need room for a turntable, I am buying a Panasonic plasma.

I have helped about 6 friends purchase and install plasmas this past year, and the picture really is better. Well in my opinion. Also, if you just use a the simple screen saver functions on your TV and disc player (never hurts to be thorough), there should never be any burn in problem.

They are really all pretty nice. The Projection LCD's are still about 1/2 the cost of plasma, but all of the prices are down so much that it's less painful to buy a plasma now.
I stopped into tweeter store today and spent most of my time looking at the DLPs dipslaying discovery channel HD feed simultaneously. Obviously I had no control over settings of the displays at all. Ya know, some of the DLPs look pretty darn good! My clear favorite was the 50 inch Panny DLP I saw. I cannot recite the model number. It was the best one though. Second place goes to a 60 inch Sony. Third to Mitsubishi, and fourth to the SAmsung line. This is just an opinion obviously.
My $0.02 worth,

Have you decided on a screen size? In my own case, a large screen size was a high priority, and price versus screen size weighed heavily in my decision.

About 2 years ago I bought a 61" Samsung DLP and have been very happy with it. A smaller screen size just would not have been as enjoyable, for me. I liked the PQ of plasma, but in a 61" screen size the price was prohibitive at that time. You will have your own priorities and preferences.

One recommendation is to look at the new generation of 1080p native resolution RPTVs before making any decisions. The Sony 70" Qualia is available now, although it is expensive. Samsung for sure, and I believe others to follow, is in the process of releasing 1080p DLP sets at a much more affordable price than the Qualia. From what I have read, the PQ of the 1080p Samsungs is outstanding.

As requested above, I am looking at a screen size of 42" to 46". Based on the comments above, it looks like I am going to hold off my purchase until later this year (and maybe even next year). The plasma sets look great but I am concerned about the burn in issues and cost to buy. The TV technology is changing very quickly and my Sony XBR 32" looks okay to me. Thanks again for all your comments. cheers...
The Sony XBR (tube) TV's I have seen look great, so I understand your waiting. That said, next year there will be something to wait another year for, and so on...
While black levels are not up to plasma standards, backlit LCD displays in the 42" to 46" have come a long way. The other issue of motion artifacts due to the slow on-off response of the picture elements has also been improved. LCDs also have less of the "screen door" effect than plasmas. The screen door effect, necessity of viewing in a mode that fills the screen (creating geometric distortion),greens that are more flourescent yellow than green and high heat output, are, to me, the biggest problems with plasmas. But, overall, I prefer plasmas over backlit LCDs, rear projection LCDs and most rear projection DLPs.

My current favorite is a rear projection 3-chip LCoS set. I've just purchased, but not yet taken delivery of the Sony Qualia 006. Great set, but it is huge and heavy.
A few things here of interest;

1. LCDs have essentially small lightbulbs behind the screen. SO when one goes out it gives an uneven screeen appearance. Not truely a burn in, but looks like one depending on which lightbulb and where.
2. True flat LCD screens are very expensive at the 42 to 46 range.
3. Burnin on a plasma isnt a very probable occurrence. I'm the only one who is reporting seeing it on this thread and only on static 24/7 images.
4. SDE- screen door effect seems to be person dependent. Some people see it only up to 3 feet, but some see it at 6 feet. Most videophiles dont see any at 8 feet and none at 10 feet. No one in the Houston HT group could see it on my screen. View distance was about 7-9 feet for all.
5. The comment above about green push is a flat out falsehood for most displays. There was a previous Samsung model that had green push out of the factory, but thats it. Color decoders can theoreticlly be reset if not correct out of the factory although this is a service menu function. You are restting yellow blue and green and everything else is a mix of the above three. The real trick is maintaining true reds while getting brilliant yellows to be honest. High heat output; Energy use stats for each plasma model are catalogued on a thread at avsforum .com. The max watts numbers are declining each year and of course, only rarely is the max used. Most users are at half during DVD playback for instance. Plasmas do produce heat however no doubt.

And I'd love a Sony Qualia 006

You made some very good points. Particularly with the big LCDs, uneven lighting is an issue, and this is the case even if a light has not burned out.

I can see the screen door effect on a 42" plasma set easy at ten feet, but, unless I am really looking for it, it is really not a problem.

I still do think that greens are not quite right on plasmas, even one that is ISF calibrated. I agree that with most sets, red push is a problem. I also think most sets don't actually give you red, but something more like red-orange.

Yes, there is a difference in the heat put out by plasmas. I noticed that some of the newer Pioneers seem to put out less heat than other sets. It is easily noticeable just by standing in front of the screen.
Thanks for the reply. I use DVE essentials to calibrate with the filters. My green and red are spot on and I just dont see the push you are mentioning. The set is also spot on d65 as far as light. The only criticism I have is that my yellows, while good, are not quite as brilliant as they should be. My reds are not the typical red-orange you are describing, but true reds. I havent had the color decoder adjusted because I do feel that the red I have will indeed become more orange if I brighten up the yellow.

I havent yet seen an LCD I would want to replace my Plasma however. Their images are razor sharp but the looking through the window result I see on my plasma just cant seem to be reproduced by the LCDs I have seen, despite their striking clarity and sharpness of picture. I tried checking everything out at CES this year as far as this discussion and nothing I saw really changed my opinions, which of course, is all this is, just my opinions.

ISF calibration is another discussion. My comment; not all equipment is created equal, although the idea of standardization in approaching adjustments does make sense. ( not everyone agrees on this)
There is a thread on power heat and plasmas and LCDs at near the top. It restates what I have said. Some poster measured the power consumption on his plasma as averaging 140 watts but varying; being higher in all white snow scenes and lower in darker scenes. LCDs apparently consume energy at a more even regular rate. ( I dont know much about LCD power consumption firsthand myself).
I've had my 42" Panasonic plasma for nearly two years, and have no evidence of burn in. We watch about 50% high def 16:9 material, and the rest standard 'TV' in non-stretched 4:3 mode with dark gray bars on the sides (this was a setup option on this model). I can't stand stretched images. With this setup and viewing pattern, burn in isn't an issue. I also second the earlier recommendation of turning down the brightness and calibrating the monitor - better picture and longer life.

I have absolutely no regrets on the quality of the picture, and no desire to upgrade to anything else - - - except a larger plasma! :-)