which technology really has the best picture


I've read about all of the technologies, and I've gone to look at them at Tweeter and Circuit City. However, mostly they don't have the DLPs and rear-projection LCDs next to the plasmas and flat panel LCDs, and the lighting in the stores is terrible. I feel like the plasma picture is a little bit better than the rear projections, but I wonder if the stores use picture settings to make it look that way because the flat panels are more expensive. Consumer Reports just rated a Toshiba DLP as having really excellent picture compared to flat panel (both plasma and LCD).

If the plasma picture really is better, I'll probably wait the year until 1080p is affordable. If not, time to buy a DLP or LCD rear projection. Is there any real agreement on this? I welcome any thoughts. Thanks. -Dave
dbw1
No rear projection TV can compete against a direct view TV. You will notice that rear projection TV's are slowly disappearing from stores. The only advantage they had was size. With plasmas, and now LCDs, both above the 50 inch barrier, the only advantage that rear projection TV's had is now gone.

You mentioned Toshiba's DLP. The head of Toshiba has stated that they are going to stop making all other TV technologies once their SED TV's come on stream. That's a pretty good clue as to what they think of rear projection, as well as plasma and LCD.

In addition, a lot of people feel that plasma's days as a mainstream product are limited, now that LCD's are increasing in size.

My crystal ball says that LCDs will dominate, with front projectors remaining as a niche product. CRT's, rear projectors and plasmas will slowly wither away. And if SED's are what they're hyped to be, and are priced properly, then LCD will die as well. Then we can look forward to OLEDs! The world keeps turning.
I have a rear projection 60" LCD and a 42" direct view plasma. Like them both but the plasma has a superior picture. Both are 1080i. I don't have any real interest in 1080P until the networks use it for broadcasting.
Hello,

The best is still the tube TV but after that it has to do with the environment you are putting the TV in, how good the scalar and optics are, how it is calibrated, and if the technology you choose is designed to be price sensitive or built for performance.

Let me know if you are still looking at this thread and I can go into detail of the pros and cons and why along with who makes the best in each technology.

Thanks,
Duane
For shear picture quality, the CRT is still the best.
This has been helpful so far. More specifics: I can't fully control the lighting in there, as there are four windows and two big openings that lead to other rooms with windows. There is daylight in the room, which is why I haven't looked at a front projector.

I do know that CRT conventional tube tv is still best, but i'm looking for at least a 50 inch screen. The room is 12 feet wide, 21 feet long, and the couch will be 12 to 14 feet from the screen. Every once in a while I have 20 or so people watching, but mostly it's just 2 to 4.

So, if plasma is really better, there are some great deals on the Panasonic TH-50PX60u now, but it doesn't do 1080p. Thoughts? Thanks. -Dave
>> No rear projection TV can compete against a direct view TV. <<

Say what? RPTVs and CRTs have, without a doubt, the truest blacks. And their color rendition, brightness, and contrast are at least as good.

Take a $2,000 RPTV, get it ISF calibrated (for $300-500) and it will smoke a $4,000 plasma. It will also outlast the plasma by 7-10 years.

Plasma is over-priced marketing hype targeted at yuppies with more money than brains. Spend some serious time at AvsForum.com and you'll see the light...

-RW-
I have 2 tv's in the same room. One is the 9"crt,65" Mits. My most recent purchase being the Sony Ruby,a front projetor. This was my 4th projector and it is the equal of the Mits.--and 92" is bigger!! This is their XRCD technology and while it ain't a Qualia;it is stunning. The picture washes out more so than the RPTV so naturally it looks better at night.
I have preorderd the Tosh.A2 and it might arrive this week or next week.
For some reason sd dvds look so much better on the Ruby so I can only imagine what HD-DVD will look like. So which is the better of the new technologies?? Sony SXRD would be my guess.---Of course I don't go to the stores all that much; or make that as much as many.
I finally had a point of curiosity cleared up. I was watching Sam Runco on a cedia type show. His comments were about how the stores have a higher bit rate feed so you get home and hook your set to a lower bit rate source and your tv won't look quite as clean.
The coming of HD_DVD and Blue Ray changes that. Now you will see the same PQ at home.
Hello Again,

I am responding because you gave me more info to go and because the post from Rlwainwright was incorrect.

Plasma is the best choice when there is a lot of light and you want to be bigger than 42".

LCD has the least amount of reflectivity but Plasma is bright enough to punch through even though you will see an outline of reflected light because the front is shiny.

In spite of what Rlwainwright said they are very reliable if you get a top model. All problems related to plasma have been because they purchased cheap ones.

Pioneer Elite makes the best Plasmas and are allot less than Runco, Dwin, Fujitsu, and Loewe.

Over the last 12 years I have sold over 300 Elite Plasmas and I have only had 3 fail and Elite replaced 1 of them out of Warranty and repaired the other 2. There is no other TV technology I have had that great of luck with.

Good Plasmas have the closest to tube picture quality because they use phosphorous just like tubes.

Duane
Actually plasmas perform better in the dark due to their contrast levels and ability to show shadow detail; an advantage lost in direct/ambient light. Also, in drker rooms glare is eliminated entirely.

The best technology I have seen as far as PQ is SED. Infinite blacks. I have no idea if it will be affordable at larger display sizes or even commercially available ( when/if). LCD and Plasma prices have had the more expensive years which likely helped with R and D costs but now its price drops and basically balls out competition.
11-10-06: Markphd
" No rear projection TV can compete against a direct view TV. You will notice that rear projection TV's are slowly disappearing from stores. The only advantage they had was size. With plasmas, and now LCDs, both above the 50 inch barrier, the only advantage that rear projection TV's had is now gone.

You mentioned Toshiba's DLP. The head of Toshiba has stated that they are going to stop making all other TV technologies once their SED TV's come on stream. That's a pretty good clue as to what they think of rear projection, as well as plasma and LCD."

I don't agree with Markphd. I'll put a well calibrated Sony SXRD RP up against any other non-front projector on the market and it will hold it's own. No, I don't own one or sell them. But I have been looking to purchase a new 55-60" TV and have looked extensively and read most of the reviews. But, that's looking through my eyes, your's may see something different. Also, the original post indicated that he/she was actively looking to purchase .... so what's SED technology got to do with the question? Anyone who's out auditioning units now certainly is not wanting to wait 5-10 years for large screen SEDs!

Whatever you buy will be greatly affected by the quality of the source material, the room, etc. My advice is, don't plan on spending big bucks for ANY technology without budgeting for calibration by a professional - and I'm not talking about the delivery guy from Best Buy.
Dbw1,

My $0.02 worth. The first thing I would do in your case is decide on screen size. If you are sitting 12' from the display, a 50" screen size is going to look like a postage stamp, especially in the context of a 21' long room.

I sit 9' - 10' from my screen. Currently have a 61" TV, but am planning on replacing that with a 71" TV- I'm a victim of the display size shrinks over time phenomenon!

IMO, if you want to try and recreate a theater experience, you need to size the screen accordingly. I suggest a screen size of 70" or larger.

Given you cannot control ambient lighting, I would avoid a front projector unless you want to get two displays, one for daytime and a FP for nighttime, but that ups the financial ante.

So I would look at RPTV versus flat panel. AFAIK, in this screen size, RPTV is notably less expensive. If you do go with RPTV, I would look at DLP versus LCOS (SXRD from Sony, DiLA from JVC), but not consider rear projection LCD or RP CRT. DLP and LCOS each have their own strengths and weaknesses. One is not better than the other, but individual preferences will lead people to prefer one over the other.

Good luck,
Bruce
If you don't have to have a flat panel, I wouldn't buy one. The SXRD by Sony has a great picture, and a more than reasonable price. If you read AVS forum, you will find that most of the flat panels have problems (banding, clouding, burn in). Not so for the SXRD. The Mitsubichi DLP is right there as well, but DLPs are not for everyone.
Northwoods-maine, I use a Sony as well, but it's an LCD. I thought it was the best taking all things into account. Better than plasma on some points, inferior on others, but overall, it was my preference; although, I thought the Panasonics gave it a run for its money. LCD's don't have the brightness of plasma, but I find the plasma pixels so large and obvious that I find it annoying. Like most pepole, I believe that CRT is the best picture, but the current version is dead, forget it. The market doesn't want it, and they don't come in large sizes. The reason why SED is getting so much hype is because it is a CRT based technology. So you get all the advantages of CRT, but in a flat panel. If it's properly priced, no other current technology will have an advantage over it on any point. And as far as waiting 5-10 years, the head of Toshiba said he plans to put it on the market in less than two, and he said that a year ago. Whether it's true or not, we'll see. It's OLED's that you will be waiting 5-10 years for.
Plasmas have the best image quality
I recall a visit by the head of Sony in which he said 40" was the limit of high quality CRT technology. My current monitor is a Sony 36 XBR.

I've toyed with the idea of a 70" SXRD RP, but after seeing a demo of Sony's new SXRD FP (VPL-VW50), I've concluded that a combination of a 50" plasma (Panasonic or Pioneer Elite) for casual viewing with a 100" pull down screen for movies etc. is the way to go. Nothing seems as immersive as FP right now, but the ambient light problem makes it unsuitable for casual viewing.

db
Donbellphd - You're on almost the exact same track with your thoughts as I am. I'm thinking 60' Sony SXRD for day to day viewing, and the Sony VW50 with 100" screen for special events, DVD concerts, etc. I had looked hard at the Sony "Ruby" but the $1,000. replacement bulbs put me off. From what I was told, Ruby's little sister (VW 50) has a different bulb technology with a more realistic replacement price. Plus I can buy both the RP and the FP for the same or less money than the Ruby. Now if I could just convince me wife that both of these have moved from the "want" category to the "need" category!
>>I am responding because you gave me more info to go and because the post from Rlwainwright was incorrect. <<

Hmmmm.

>> Plasma is the best choice when there is a lot of light and you want to be bigger than 42". <<

Where, exactly, in his post did he mention high levels of ambient light? And, this statement completely discounts the experience of 10s of thousands of very satisfied owners of mid to large screen RPTVs.

Face it, most every HDTV available, regardless of the technology used to display the image, looks quite good and will satisfy all but the most fussy and anal-retentive viewer.

>> My $0.02 worth. The first thing I would do in your case is decide on screen size. If you are sitting 12' from the display, a 50" screen size is going to look like a postage stamp, especially in the context of a 21' long room. <<

Wrong. I am sitting 11.5 ft. back from a 51" Hitachi RPTV in a room that is 26 ft. long. The picture is quite large enough. I would have preferred the 57" model, but funds at the time wouldn't allow for it. Nonetheless, the picture is absolutely large enough to provide a very satisfying viewing experience and I don't regret my purchase whatsoever.

-RW-
RW... don't sweat it, Duane is at it again. A long time ago he insisted that large flat panel LCDs were less expensive than plasmas (he was confusing flat panel lcd with rear projection lcd) and now he is spreading more misinformation. LCD with its brighter picture is clearly better suited for rooms with a lot of light (see the latest issue of Sound and Vision) and a 50" screen at 12 feet is fine, though 60" would be better for HD.

Personally, I prefer plasma over lcd with its better black levels and color saturation but I'd be hard pressed to buy one over a dlp or lycos display if space were not an issue.
RW, I would suggest we have different opinions, not that either is right or wrong regarding screen size.

To the original poster, Dave, I suggest you spend some time viewing different screen sizes at the viewing distance you will have in your room, and do that over different times to get an idea of what screen size you would prefer.

You've already seen two different opinions here. If you go to www.avsforum.com, you will find a lot of helpful discussions on screen size.

Bruce
RW,

The SMPTE recommended 16 X 9 diagonal size for a 12' viewing distance is 77.2", THX is 93.6". Of course these dimensions are aimed at achieving an immersive experience for movies, not just casual viewing. Even so, I prefer a diagonal size that is at least half the viewing distance, 60" at 12' at a minimum.

I think the most reasonable solution is likely to be reducing the viewing distance, and that works for near-field stereo listening as well. You might plan to sit so that you are at one corner of an equlateral triangle, the distance between your front LR speakers being one of the bases of that triangle. (You is intended to be generic.)

db
I used incorrect numbers in my previous post. SMPTE at 12' is 88.5", THX 107.4"

db