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Old 02-12-2006, 19:44   #1
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Plasma vs LCD monitors

Does anyone know which is the best. Which one would last the longest. I've been told that plasma is expensive to fix, if need be, but I do like the quality of the picture.

The Admiral wants a big screen but I'm a bit shy of spending so much for something that will not last long. LCD is about 20% less, but why?
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Old 02-12-2006, 19:48   #2
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G'day Delmarrey

I take it this is for your boat?

I was under the impression that you can cut the power supply cable for an LCD and wire straight into 12 volt, as they are in reality a 12 volt device.

Not sure if this is the case with a plasma screen, but I have heard they have a problem with burning out pixels, and being hideously expensive to repair.

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Old 02-12-2006, 19:52   #3
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Hey Del

From the LCT TV Buyers Guide

http://www.lcdtvbuyingguide.com/lcdtv-plasmavslcd.shtml

Practical Home Theatre Guide

http://www.practical-home-theater-gu...vs-lcd-TV.html

From PC World Magazine

http://pcworld.about.com/news/Dec112002id107907.htm

We have an LCD Projector. Not Hi-Definition but not bad. NEC VT45. They sell for around $1500 nowadays. Medium to low end of the scale. Display screen is 100" Diagonal which pretty much takes up the whole wall in the basement. Combined with a $1000 Panasonic Home Theatre DVD it ROCKS especially the THX movies like the newest Star Wars movies. I've caught myself looking over my shoulder to see where the Pod Racers are coming from!

As for LCD Vs Plasma it depends on how much of a Videofile you are. From what I've read Plasma is sharper with deeper tones and better colour. How well they'd last on a boat I dunno but LCD's are used on laptops which are pretty robust.
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Old 02-12-2006, 20:19   #4
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You've entered the realm of my other hobby, home theater. There are a couple of significant differences that play a role in what to choose:

1. LCD has a lower fill ratio in the pixels. In other words, if you get close to the screen, you will see what is called the Screen Door Effect. This is a function of how the LCD chips are built. Plasma really has, for any practical measurement, no SDE.
2. Plasma has a better contrast ratio (how black is black in comparison to how white is white). LCD manufacturers have been significantly improving the contrast ratio in the last couple of years, though, such that it is rapidly becoming something that only a trained eye is really likely to detect. The net effect, though, is that "black" in LCD's is really a dark grey, whereas with plasma, it is pretty darn close to "no light", which is, of course, black.
3. Assuming you are talking about a flat screen type unit, for the same size, plasma will be heavier. This is because of the type and thickness of glass involved.
4. Cost. Plasma will be significantly more expensive for the size. They have gotten much cheaper recently, but so has LCD. LCD flat screens are essentially small projectors that, using mirrors, are reflected onto the screen. Plasma uses a special type of gas that is illuminated. The earlier models of plasma units have had instances where the gas was essentially "used up" and the unit gradually faded out over time. They say they have gotten much better in recent years and few people are now complaining of this. Plasmas are also subject to screen burn in if you leave the same image on the screen for long periods, so they don't work well for a PC monitor (LCD's don't have this characteristic and can used as a monitor, too). You really can't repair a plasma - you buy a new one.

There is another type of flat screen to consider, too, that being DLP. They have better fill ratios than LCD and better contrast ratio, getting quite close to plasma. They look great. Bit more expensive. One significant downside: except for the very high end, they use a color wheel (spinning wheel of colored panels) to get color. This is a mechanical device that can break. Also, some people (between 2 and 5%) report seeing "rainbows" -- this is an artifact of the color wheel and can be both distracting for those people that see them and can also induce headaches and eyestrain -- again, in a small number of people. Unfortunately, there's no way to know if you're one of them other than spend 2 or 3 hours watching one.

You might want to consider a different technology all together, that being a separate projector and screen. They have several distinct advantages. The projectors have gotten quite small, light, and have dropped tremendously in price. The quality of the image is just as good as the best flat screens. Of course, you have a screen, too, but it can roll up and be out of the way. The projector can either be mounted, or also packed up and put away when you aren't using it. You can get a very good LCD or DLP projector for between $1 and $2K US (High Definition quality). Of course, you can spend lots more if you want. A very nice manual roll up 45" X 80" screen can be had for about $125. If you are in a tight spot, you can have a screen custom made to a specific size by some of the companies. Then, you can have a really big screen.

Downsides to projectors: They do best in light controlled environments (although the brighter projectors handle ambient light much better than the dimmer ones, at least enough so that it is watchable). Bulbs will eventually burn out (but this is true for the DLP and LCD flat screens, too). You can expect to get between 2000 and 3000 hours from a bulb, depending on whether you keep the brightness turned up all the way, or use an economy mode (which usually has a better picture, too). Bulbs will cost between $300 and $400. For typical use, though, bulbs will last a long time. I've changed mine once, over five years of use.

An excellent, well-respected online dealer for both projectors and flat screens is actually quite close to us: Visual Apex. www.visualapex.com I highly recommend them (no, I have no relationship to them other than as a customer). Most of the brick and mortar stores do a terrible job of setting up their displays and I cannot recommend many of them. They often play games with the settings to make a high profit margin set "look" better than one with a lower margin. They will crank up the brightness, mess with the gamma curves, all sorts of things that will make you think one is better than another, but when properly calibrated the other set may actually be superior. It is a constant frustration for people interested in home theater. Another excellent online resource (home theater's equivalent to this forum) is www.avsforum.com

ID
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Old 03-12-2006, 01:09   #5
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If it is for the boat, LCD is the only choice. It draws the least amount of power and has the least amount of electronics in it. It can suffer from pixal loss, but that is not so common now.
Plasma does not like being banged around and waves and vibration will cause damage.
Projectors suck a lot of power.
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Old 03-12-2006, 10:07   #6
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I've got a 32 inch LCD on my boat, i love it. Very low draw, although I do now they technically run off of dc, i don't think cutting the cord and going direct would work, reason being, there is an inverter in the tv itself, that invert ac to dc, I don't think it would work if you inputdc. If you bypassed the interverter you could do it.

That said I just run it off the inverter and when i am on shore power i run it off of shore power.
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Old 03-12-2006, 10:17   #7
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"Projectors suck a lot of power" -- that used to be true, but with the improved bulbs and light paths over the last couple of years, is no longer. For example, a very popular LCD flat screen, the Sharp Aquos, draws between 250 and 400 watts in the 38 to 45 inch models. One of the most popular HD resolution projectors at the moment is the Panasonic AX100. Quite bright, very nice contrast ratio, small and light, draws 290 watts in full power mode, less in eco-mode (which most people use).

Nowadays, you won't find any significant power consumption differences between the LCD/DLP flat screens and projectors -- they are all going to draw between 250 and 350 watts at 110v. (Of course, the average 19" CRT type television will usually draw around 150.)

I completely agree with you about the plasmas -- they are the most sensitive to conditions and being banged around. LCDs, regardless of whether a flat screen or projector, will be the less sensitive, but panel alignment is important with them and can be subject to shifting.

What concerns me most about the flat screens, regardless of technology, is the weight. I see people putting these 40+" flat screens that weigh 60+ lbs and they don't seem secured all that well. Can you imagine that thing coming loose and flying around the cabin? No thanks.

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Old 03-12-2006, 11:03   #8
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The Sharp Aquos ID mentioned above is the only LCD I have found that really runs off 12 VDC. It comes with a power brick that plugs into AC and puts out 12 VDC. I have my 15" mounted in the aft cabin on a panel mount I got from Jack Rabbit Marine. I'm shopping for a larger screen for the main salon now and will be sticking with Sharp unless I find something else that runs off 12V.

Now if I could only find a good DVD player that runs off 12V ...
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Old 03-12-2006, 11:21   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auspicious
Now if I could only find a good DVD player that runs off 12V ...
Not the best layed out web site but they offer a multitude of mobile DVD players.

http://www.mp3playerstore.com

They're designed for land vehicles I guess but should work. I e-mail tech support to see if they'd be suitable for boats and they didn't know. There are some low priced models <$100 so the risk is minimal. We're looking at one of the overhad console models with TV tuner & DVD for our next boat.

http://www.mp3playerstore.com/stuff_.../IN-1500TV.htm

The features are getting better with FM wireless headphones etc. I think if they're inboard and not exposed to extremes of vibration & humidity they should work fine.
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Old 03-12-2006, 12:36   #10
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Plasma really takes a lot of power. A trawler friend with a genset has a big one and he says it uses as much power as his full sized fridge.
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Old 03-12-2006, 12:41   #11
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Thanks all

And Rick for the links. I've done a lot of reading now and have come to the conclusion that the new LCD-HD is best for all around use and the price (more $$$$) seems to reflect that.

Plasma is probably great at home for general use where power is not much concern and the distances from which one watches is more variable.

But, LCD is best for boats. Displays and gamming do better on LCD, better reaction time, lower power consumption, durability and weigh less.

The only advantage I find to plasma is it's brightness in the dark and it comes in a narrower cabinet for mounting on walls.

At today’s market my choice will be the LCD-HD..................................._/)
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Old 04-12-2006, 15:46   #12
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"We have an LCD Projector. "
Would you believe, last week I heard that Fischer-Price, the toy company, is making a rugged one designed for kids, with a DVD player built in and a projection size of 60" or so, for about $299 now?<G>

Last I heard, plasma generates more RF, has blacker blacks and brighter colors, but *will* very definitely go dim faster. Some folks say as little as five years of heavy use may be time to replace them. YMMV but a long warranty would be nice.
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Old 04-12-2006, 22:38   #13
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That life span was for the first few generations of Plasma. The latest generations from about 3yrs or so ago now boast about 30,000hrs. That is many many years of viewing in anyones books.
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Old 05-12-2006, 20:30   #14
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Thanks, Wheels. That's a lot more than last time I'd heard. Still...I'm not going to plunk multiple grand down on a home theatre screen.<G> Ask me again after I rob the bank, ergh, win the lottery. Yeah, I said lottery, not bank. Remember that.<G>
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Old 05-12-2006, 20:55   #15
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I still haven't figured out if this thread is relating to home or boat option's.

my new cat will have a fair amount of room an a reasonable amounnt of power, but not enough to run plasma, projector's etc

Dave
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