New tv?

Well it looks like the not so old Samsung 50 inch plasma is on its last legs. It has a blue vertical band running down the left side and repair folks are telling me it is likely the display panel which cost as much or more than a new TV to repair. So what are you folks liking these days as the best TV for home theater? This is a set up with an oppo 103 and NAD integrated amp and Sonus fabar toy towers. We are looking for a 55 inch set and are wondering if plasma is still the best way to go? As always thanks for any suggestions.
For my money, nothing beats a Plasma...still. Last Christmas we snapped up a 60" LG on sale for $800. It retailed for $1400 and usually sold at $900 in stores and online. It was one of LG's cheaper 60" Plasmas. The upper-end picture response resolution-wise is just a tad softer compared to the 50" Samsung it replaced (same panel problem as yours), but the colors are better (more accurate with more of them and better saturation). What I like most about the LG is the "ISF" controls that allow a pro calibrator (like Geek Squad or ISF) to quickly and completely adjust everything with a higher degree of accuracy. However, the controls were just easy enough for a geekhead like me to get in there for a while on my own and come away with something much better than any stock setting. So, I haven't been tempted to go that route yet. Together with a boatload of power conditioning (mainly bought for the 2-channel audio), the color and overall performance is the best I've yet seen. Also using the Oppo 103.
Panasonic Plasma
Definately the Panasonic Plasma unless you need a thinner display or a less reflective surface or will be using it extensively for gaming.

FWIW, a few years ago Panasonic bought all of Pioneer's Kuro tech and have integrated much of it into their plasma's.
This is an FYI, not a recommendation as I've never seen one, but the new 4k ultra high def sets are falling in price. A brand called Seiki has a 50" model available for app $1100.

I still use plasmas, and like them the best. I've got 2 LG's. A 60, and a 42. Both get a ton of use, and still work perfectly. Both are about 6-7 years old. The 60 was their top model when I bought it, and was about 6k retail then. You can get a better set now for 1/4 that or less. I still love the Sony. Have had them too. I'm just still hooked on plasma. I highly recommend the LG. Never used the Panasonic, but read good things about them.
Thanks folks, that's helpful. Kinda interested in a Panasonic this time around maybe. Just wanted to be sure that LED wasn't better at this point. Wonder how long I have before the panel in the Samsung gets really bad?
Fun week, plasma troubles, dishwasher is making noise, and washer started leaking........there goes the budget for those Avalon Ideas........
IMO, LED's still can not rival plasma tech concerning black level, which of course means truer colors. Also, although LED's can output more brightness they can not out do a plasma in dynamic contrast which is any fully black image next to a fully white image on the screen. Also I've seen demonstrations that most LED's will only do 1080p on a still image. If the image is in motion, as in a slow pan, they will drop down to 1080i.
If plasma fit your needs best:

Just a bit of caution; many newer TV's don't have analog audio outputs. I'd think twice about new cheap 4K's;
I was at Best Buy the other day and what I thought was a plasma was a LED TV and it had fantastic black levels and vibrant colors. I have a Samsung plasma and love it and yet here was a LED TV with comparable picture quality and mine is only 8 months old and was highly regarded. My," the times they are a changing".

Fast forward just a few minutes and I'm looking at a Sony 4K TV and my jaw drops. End of story.

It was fed via USB with a 6 GB contraption so it was truly displaying 4K and all I can say it will be my next, and last TV I ever buy. Granted, nothing made today, disc format wise, is 4K capable, but Blu Ray players like OPPO can output 4K.

This reminds me of how people put down 1080P since nothing really was up to it at the time and yet the picture did look better when the TV was 1080P capable. I've got the feeling it's just around the corner. The Sony goes for $5000 but will probably be discounted at least $1000 by years end and this is for the 51 inch model. It's all I'd ever need with that kind of resolution.

My advice is to go out and find a demo of true 4K on this Sony and then decide if you can wait it out. It's that good.

All the best,
I have 55" Samsung LED with edge lighting. It is just excellent. Black levels are as good as the best Plasmas while sharpness is stunning. Brightness and contrast stay during day in bright room (adjusts itself). The only problem is that Samsung comes from factory with weird colors and huge contrast. I was able to find settings that somebody posted after calibration of identical TV. I entered it (lots of settings) and it worked.

Be careful if you plan to connect TV digital audio to DAC since some TVs (like Panasonics) output only Dolby, perhaps assuming your home theater has sound processor. If you have only 2 channel PCM DAC look elsewhere. Samsung has menu selection for the oputput.
The industry consensus still seems to be that plasma provides the best picture quality and the Pioneer Kuro sets are the ones to beat.

Check out the HDTV Shootout...
AFAIK Kuro doesn't exist since 2010. Some of technologies were sold to Panasonic and used in Viera line.

I can easily recognize Plasma in large stores because of its yellowish white. The fact that plasma, in the review, scored higher for contrast or speed doesn't make difference to me because they all have too much contrast, brightness and speed to start with. My Samsung has 240Hz refresh rate but it is only useful for sports. Movies at this rate have this "soap opera effect" - they look like video. 24 frames/s "magic" is gone. Higher than 240Hz rate, that plasmas are capable of, is overkill IMHO.
I was in similar situation and got a panasonic 60" (GT) plasma from Magnolia to replace my very nice but old yet very well regarded Philips 50" and I could not be happier with it. Panasonic plasmas are great.
There is no Samsung LED tv what is able in giving a cinema smooth image. 1,5 year ago I had to teach people who work for Samsung what the difference is between plasma and LED. I explained all the difference in image. For a person who is taught how to Judge a screen. LED IS FOR DUMMIES!!. Plasma is superior in speed, 3d image. There is a lot more depth. LED backlight filter the cinema look of a movie. Movies look if they were taken with cheeep camera's. I showed this tot he people of Samsung. They were amazed, they never noticed it. Many people with less knowledge these days!!!!
One thing I miss in europe and like a lot about the US is the honnesty about screen's. In the US there are enough articles that plasma is better. And yesss it is. Oled will become the new standard. But this year you are still better of with plasma. I would go for the new topmodel of Samsung Plasma. I sell both Samsung and Panansonic. Samsung is sharper and is better in white. White is the most difficult colour for plasma. Panasonic has less white colours. This was the main reason why I went to the Samsung side after Panasonic plasma's. I hate the plastic material Panasonic uses. Samsung does this also a lot better with better materials. Tomorrow I have to install a GT60 Plasma of Panasonic.
As I have posted previously I believe that Plasma is the best way to go. However if you do want to consider LED I strongly recommend that you make sure that pixelation caused by motion is not bothersome to you. I, as well as about half of my customers notice it easily, to the rest it does not seem to bother them. Find two LED's in the size you are considering that are side by side, one having a 240hz refresh, the other 120hz and check it out for yourself. Some claim that it only makes a difference with sports but I find that there is plenty of high speed motion in action movies that require a higher refresh rate as well.

As far as waiting for newer tech, 4K is sharper, even with current sources as they can upscale the image. However it does not "knock your socks off" like the OLED tech that MAY BE just around the corner in large screen formats.
I forgot one important thing: Samsung is a lot more powerfull in ansilumen compared to Panasonic. Pansonic did improve it compared to last year. But Samsung does this still a lot better. There is almost no content in 4k. At this moment it doesn't matter. In the movie theaters it will come quite soon. But before broakcast is in 4 k, we are many years further. Wenn you see in the past, that this is the main reason why new formats go very very slow.
Jjrenman, when I set mine to highest rate (240Hz) movies look like video made by home camera (soap opera effect). There is a reason why movie makers still record exactly 24 frames/s while technology allows for much more.

Perhaps I can train my brain over long time but for now fluid motion at 240Hz looks HORRIBLE. Watching one movie in this mode I felt like seeing "behind the scenes" TV program - all magic was gone. I switched back to low rate and the movie came back. It is nice to have it for sports but I'm not sure how much difference 600Hz offers vs 240Hz.
Colour realism; led is not able in giving realism in colours. Like the colour green. Use a pro camera and record gras. Take a look at the gras in real and to a led screen. The difference is soooo big. Even wenn people give me the best led for free I would not use it. The same a depth. Led often almost look 2-dimensional. Led screen's are sold a lot only cause of less knowledge. Brightness per 1cm2 by plasma is bigger compared to led. People often think that led is a lot brighter. Because the get the wrong information. Wenn I tell the differences most choose for plasma. And not because it is my own preference.
Kijanki, you're correct about the Pioneer Kuro. That's what's so remarkable that after 3 years it's still a reference for image quality.

Plasmas in general are not bright. That's their only disadvantage to LCD -- viewing in bright rooms is poor. LCDs sell well to the general public because they pop on a brightly lit showroom floor.

Refresh rate isn't a distinguishing factor between plasma and LCD.
There is plasma and there is LCD. Who makes an LED TV?
when I set mine to highest rate (240Hz) movies look like video made by home camera (soap opera effect). There is a reason why movie makers still record exactly 24 frames/s while technology allows for much more

Lets not confuse pseudo higher frame rates with native rates, as in if you can turn it off it is not the native frame rate. IME, my comments only apply to native frame rates.

Also, frame rate, in video terms, and frames per secound, in film terms, are not the same thing. Our eyes can not differentiate between individual still images when the frames per secound are above 16fps or so. Although original movies used a lower FPS it was moved up to 24 FPS. Now if a TV would create an entire still image and then presented them it at 24 FPS or more (read still images per secound) this whole discussion would be moot. The problem arises in how TV images are drawn. If you look up close at a very large flat panel that has a low frame rate you will easily notice how the image will start pixelizing or breaking up, when presented with fast motion. The problem is probably more in the scaler circuit than in the frame rate of a LCD/LED TV but either way the higher the frame rate the faster the scaler.

At this point I will restate that some of my customers were unaffected by any break up or blurring of the image while others find it very objectionable. Not all that different from those who say MP3 files sound just fine while others feel there are issues with them.

For the record most of the newer panels use a psuedo higher frame rate which can actually cause as many issues as they solve. It may be what you mean by a soap opera look. I actually had a customer that was very unhappy with his picture until after much exploration we discovered that the video artifacts created by the pseudo higher frame rate was an issue for him. He turned it off and has been a happy camper ever since.

Finally, I will be tickled pink with either choice the OP makes if they are very happy with it. I was just merely mentioning some of the things an informed buyer should check out before they make a decision.

Bob, That is hard to understand - why to stop making something that was the best. On the other hand quality of all TVs improved so much that any choice would be good for me. Sharpness is so high, without any artifacts, that I can see tiny scratches on football players' helmets. Colors seem very accurate and natural to me, while brightness and black levels are amazing (I use only fraction of the brightness). There might be better TVs, according to tests and measurements, but I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Another point is quality of broadcasting. Live sports are often very high quality but movies are pretty bad. Even with just regular DVD quality I can see dramatic difference in sharpness, colors and noise between them. Best are very good (so it is possible) while most of them are less than perfect. Why to even bother with Blu-ray when movie is noisy?
There is plasma and there is LCD. Who makes an LED TV?

LED is really an LCD diplay using a LED to backlight the panel instead of a flourescent tube light bulb. Some of the the newer panels add to the confusion by calling them LCD/LED Tv's which although is more accurate is not anyless confusing.

There is only limited number of frames/s in TV transmission. Many stations like FOX or ABC broadcast everything in 60fps 720p. When 24fps movie is broadcasted they just repeat frames. Digital TV set adds (interpolates) additional frames, so if you set it to 240Hz it will add 3 interpolated frames to each "real" frame. It would be even better if TV would send movies in original 24fps because TV would be able to interpolate, especially at 120Hz that is even multiple of 24fps.

I don't thing that images are "drawn" anymore. Each pixel on the screen of LCD TV has corresponding bit in frame memory buffer and whole frame appears at once. Frames itself are very sharp even with 24fps because shutters in film cameras are very fast. The problem is transition between frames that appear to be jittery with fast motion. If you smooth it up too much, tossing in too many interpolated frames, you'll get "soap opera effect". I'm still trying to find optimal setting for movies on my TV - not too fast and not too slow.
I don't thing that images are "drawn" anymore. Each pixel on the screen of LCD TV has corresponding bit in frame memory buffer and whole frame appears at once.

Correct. I apologize for the over simplification. You are also correct in that there is a conversion that happens when showing a 24fps film on a video screen. The simplest is often called 2:3 pulldown but there are much better versions available.

At this point it seems that we both have a problem with trying to smooth up the image to much. However I believe that happens more with the "psuedo" or an artificially derived higher frame rate, not a display with a very high native frame rate. Again, FWIU, you can turn off any artificially drived higher frame rate NOT a high NATIVE frame rate. Just like there is nothing in a plasma that allows you to turn off their Native 600hz frame rate.

Here's agood article, for those so inclined, on frame rate.
I still think my Panasonic plasma beats anything else other than that Pioneer Kuro that I have ever seen. Nice to hear the Samsungs have improved. However, I think it is still true that Panasonic's customer service is considered FAR better than Samsung. Never had a problem with my Panasonic, though, in almost four years now.
Jjrenman, Great link, thank you. It would appear that plasma vs LCD is a little bit like inkjet vs. laser. Laser cannot create shades of gray (or color) so it uses halftoning - pretty much the same as one used in publishing (newspapers magazines etc). Plasma halftones by manipulating time instead of space for black or white dots. To me it would sound really like only 60Hz rate but eyes might see it differently. As I sad before - any new TV would be good for me. I decided on Samsung because it looked better in the store but half of TVs there are set wrong and work much better at home. Perhaps I would like plasma more - who knows. I had older Samsung DLP before and this new LED is much better. Originally I planned for Panasonic but it doesn't have 2 channel digital audio out.

This article mentions at the end silly claims made by sales people and I think they are absolutely right about it. A lot of idiots there in sales (young and old). I think that it is getting worse every year. A while ago I asked for plastic Toslink in Best Buy and they couldn't find anybody in store who knew what it was, until I finally found it myself. The worse is when instead of saying "I don't know" they make up things.

Again - great article.
I have a Fujitsu plasma that is at least 10 years old and Sony's xbr lcd from 2 years ago. Not too close. Fujitsu plasma is still better in all respects.
Today I installed a new Panasonic plasma. GT60, black were stunning and yess they are more dynamic in light over last year. But Samsung is still sharper and there topmodels have more output in light.
Bo, once the TV has been on for I believe it is 200 hours, you should have it professionally calibrated, unless you know how to do this yourself. I watched the guy do it, and could do it myself now. I could not believe the difference this made. But it has to break in first before this can be/should be done.
Yess it does, and I use a device to calibrate. First we have to wait for this. But that will not solve the output in light issue. Plasma will become more smooth after breaking in. Samsung plasma looks a lot more different than Panasonic Plasma. I prefer Samsung over Panasonic, no doubt about it. Also from this screen I do not like the cheep material on the Plasma. The more expensive Samsung use better and a lot more appealing material Panasonis uses.
LED is really an LCD diplay using a LED to backlight the panel instead of a flourescent tube

Yes, I know, I asked so that someone else would explain that. Thanks.
Bob, That is hard to understand - why to stop making something that was the best.

At the time LCD prices were dropping like a rock relative to plasma and Pioneer, not being the size of a Panasonic or Samsung, just couldn't absorb the market losses.

A friend of mine has a Kuro and it's quite an impressive set.
One day later I have to admit that the Panasonic GT60 is
exeptional good. Blacks are f..awesome, was already more fluied than the first day. Colours are greet. Depth is because of the blacks also very good. You must be a big fool to buy a LED screen!!! Screen's with a lot of flaw's!!
Bo, I'd be interested in your opinion of the Panny vs. the Sammy once the former is broken in and calibrated and what the major differences are. Thanks for any thoughts.
I still have not seen the New topmodel of the Samsung Plasma. Maybe I will buy one this year. I still use the Samsung PS64D8000. 2 years ago this one was a lot more sharp and had a lot more light output compared to the VT30 of Panasonic. Last year model E8000 had a very low light output. A big mistake of Samsung. The thing I still don't like about the Panasonics is the material they use. It still looks cheep and plastico fantastico. Lastb year the output still was not a lot. This year this is a lot better. Samsung clames to have the best blacks and light output of a screen this year. Could become the new for me....
I think I will order the Samsung PS64F8500 this week.....I took my decision....I will make a review over a few weeks.
Why F8500 over ZT60?

- looks; on the wall it looks 3 times more expensive than a zt60. Material and shape are superior over Panasonic ZT60.

- Light output is superior. This part is a lot more important than the best black levels. This gives you much more quality and pleasure in watching tv during daytime. Why magzines and the internet tests do not talk about this.

White is the most difficult colour for plasma. White is a lot better at Samsung plasma.

Options; a lot more complete, many more features

Many magazines and also internet review forget some very important parts which are more important than the things they test. For example the VT30 had a very irritating low light output. Watching during daytime irritated me very fast. I did not see any test who talked about this big flaw.
IME, light output is only more important than black levels in a room where you can not control the ambient light. If that is the issue than LED's are even better as they do not have as a reflective screen surface as a plasma and are capable of even more light output.

Without excellent black levels as well as evenly spaced "shades of gray" a TV has no hope of accurately rendering a color image properly. Kuro's did both of these things better than other plasma's available at the time. Panasonic now owns the Kuro tech and has been integrating it into their plasma's over the last two years.
Yess I know about this. The F8500 is the first Plasma with a light output of a LED screen. This makes it during daytime a lot more pleasant to watch. This is a very important part. We are not talking only in my house, in most of every person there house. The other thing is sharpness and speed. The Panasonic is a lot better in this part this year, but Samsung is still better in this part as well. Ofcourse with both ( F8500/ZT60) you cannot go wrong.
I've gotten over my lust for the Sony 4K after talking to a B&W rep about the capabilities and use with an OPPO Blu-Ray player.

Bo is right about the Samsung 8500 plasma series. Here is another review:

I have to concede and be more practical so with the brighter whites and overall performance, not to mention my current use and experience with my Samsung 7000 Plasma (which is no slouch), I give the nod to the 8500 as well.

All the best,
The other important thing what I miss is: sharpness. Samsung is a lot sharper than Panasonic. For me this is a lot more important than the best blacks. Light output is also much more important. The other problem of the Panasonics is the fan noise. Samsung is more silent.
Next week I will receive the F8500. a few weeks later I will write a review about it.
Cool. Can't wait to hear your thoughts.
Just wait and see........
This year's contenders for flatpanel shootout included three plasmas and three LED-lit LCD TVs. The models were:
•Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 65-inch Plasma HDTV
•Samsung PN64F8500 64-inch Plasma HDTV
•Panasonic TC-P65VT60 65-inch Plasma HDTV
•Sony XBR-65X900A 65-inch LED-lit LCD Ultra HD TV
•Panasonic TC-L55WT60 55-inch LED-lit LCD HDTV
•Samsung UN55F8000 55-inch LED-lit LCD HDTV

As was the case last year, the plasma TVs outperformed the LED/LCD sets overall, by a fairly wide margin. Even the mighty 4K "Ultra HD" Sony LED TV was bested by the three 1080p plasma sets from Panasonic and Samsung. Of course, we did not view any native 4K content (of which there is currently very little) on the Sony. Doing so would surely have highlighted its strengths in picture detail. But one might have expected its greater resolution and scaling would have given it an edge over the competition even on regular HD material. It turns out many other areas of display performance are more important than the number of pixels, so the Sony finished off around the middle of the pack.
One day ago I was on the AVS website. There was a discussion about the ZT60/VT60 and F8500. So I thought I will make an account as well. Mannnnnnn I was very popular.....hahahahahaha. I asked people with there expierence in HDMI cables. I said I tested many and there is one which is by far the most convincing. They all believe in calibrate your screen but not in difference between hdmi cables. They did not appriciate my thoughts about cables. I even got banned from the website. And no I did not insult any person. Maybe a website not for persons like me?