Published on December 1st, 2012 | by Tawann Guice2
Lifestyles Defined Presents: Samsung LED Vs Panasonic Plasma TV Product Review
In a world of tech toys, gadgets and eye candy nothing brings a sense luxury and personal accomplishment to the kingdom of a Man, while infuriating his marital counter part all at the same time, like the unboxing and wiring of a brand new-expensive-high-definition-flat panel-football displaying monster. I can say that in most cases the bigger, the better; and coming with a price that sometimes hits you in the pocket as well as the ear drum. (see: how NOT to anger your spouse) Sometimes in our choice of what Television to purchase, we become faced with one of the ever present difficulties like; what type of T.V. do a buy and for that matter; which one is the better? Well hopefully I can shed some controversial light on these issues. So come on and have a seat, kick your shoes off, and take a walk with me.
Lesson 1: The Plasma T.V.
What is Plasma? A plasma display panel (PDP) is a type of flat panel display common to large TV displays 30 inches (76 cm) or larger. They are called “plasma” displays because the technology utilizes small cells containing electrically charged ionized gases, or what are in essence chambers more commonly known as fluorescent lamps. The very first prototype for a plasma display monitor was invented in 1964 by Donald Bitzer, Gene Slottow, and Robert Willson.
When it comes to Plasma televisions two names come to mind and are held high in their mastery of this technology, Pioneer and the subsidiary company; Panasonic. About 15 years ago, it was the goal of Pioneer to usher in a new age of television viewing pleasure, and who better than a company with the name “Pioneer”?! With the already clunky projection televisions on the market and in the many homes across the globe, the introduction of a t.v. that maximized overall product performance while minimizing the amount of space the product would take up would seem to be a God send. Over time this tech would find its way to other companies, but no one seem to be able to pull off such quality; with the exception of one by the name of Panasonic. In a little over 10 years and after the coming of more energy efficient televisions like liquid crystal display (LCD), it would seem as if plasma would meet its match, and resulting in Pioneer to cease any further production of plasma t.v.’s. Panasonic would now take over all production, and almost single handedly revive the Plasma t.v. industry by releasing new and improved products based on tech provided by Pioneer. You would see other companies like Samsung produce Plasma type televisions but would pale in comparison.
- Capable of producing deeper blacks allowing for superior contrast ratio
- Wider viewing angles than those of LCD; images do not suffer from degradation at high angles like LCDs
- Less visible motion blur, thanks in large part to very high refresh rates and a faster response time, contributing to superior performance when displaying content with significant amounts of rapid motion (though newer LCD screens have similar refresh rates, but that also introduces the soap opera effect).
- Earlier generation displays were more susceptible to screen burn-in and image retention, recent models have a pixel orbiter that moves the entire picture faster than is noticeable to the human eye, which reduces the effect of burn-in but does not prevent it.
- Earlier generation displays (circa 2006 and prior) had phosphors that lost luminosity over time, resulting in gradual decline of absolute image brightness (newer models may be less susceptible to this, having advertised lifespans exceeding 100,000 hours, far longer than older CRT technology.
- Screen-door effects are noticeable on screen sizes smaller than 127 cm (50 in); the effect is more visible at shorter viewing distances.
- Use more electricity, on average, than an LCD TV.
- Do not work as well at high altitudes due to pressure differential between the gases inside the screen and the air pressure at altitude. It may cause a buzzing noise. Manufacturers rate their screens to indicate the altitude parameters.
- For those who wish to listen to AM radio, or are amateur radio operators (hams) or shortwave listeners (SWL), the radio frequency interference (RFI) from these devices can be irritating or disabling.
- Due to the strong infrared emissions inherent with the technology, standard IR repeater systems cannot be used in the viewing room. A more expensive “plasma compatible” sensor must be used
C|NET: Video review of the Panasonic Viera TC-P50G20
Lesson 2: The LED Display Television
What is LED? An LED Display is a flat panel display, which uses light-emitting diodes as a video display. An LED panel is a small display, or a component of a larger display. They are typically used outdoors in store signs and billboards, and in recent years have also become commonly used in destination signs on public transport vehicles or even as part of transparent glass area. LED panels are sometimes used as forms of lighting, for the purpose of general illumination, task lighting, or even stage lighting rather than display. There are two types of LED panels: conventional (using discrete LEDs) and surface-mounted device (SMD) panels. Most outdoor screens and some indoor screens are built around discrete LEDs, also known as individually mounted LEDs. A cluster of red, green, and blue diodes is driven together to form a full-color pixel, usually square in shape. These pixels are spaced evenly apart and are measured from center to center for absolute pixel resolution. The largest LED display in the world is over 500 meters long and is located in Suzhou, China, covering the Yuanrong Times Square. The largest LED television in the world is the Center Hung Video Display at Cowboys Stadium, which is 160 × 72 ft (49 × 22 m), 11,520 square feet (1,070 m2).
A number of companies are in line for some of the best made LED display televisions. Samsung arguably leads the charge with Sony and Sharp following closely. Dollar for dollar, anyone searching for their Sunday living room best would almost usually go with a Samsung for their competitive prices, quality t.v.’s and product reliability. With one of the thinnest LED display screens to date, Samsung seems to be taking the market by storm. Having made its intro right off of the heals of the still thriving LCD television, LED is now marketed as the go to in home display for delivering that above par picture quality right to your living room. Seemingly the only thing missing would be movie the theater ushers.
- The viewing angle on LCD Televisions with LED back lighting has improved dramatically to plasma-like levels of 75 degrees with no contrast level degradation on some of the best ones.
- The black levels on the best new LED TVs has improved to plasma like black levels while contrast levels still lag the best plasmas buy hundreds of post calibration points
- Brightness on LED based LCDs is better than the traditional fluorescent bulbs
- LED TVs will have better consistency of color information over time than traditional LCDs
- LED backlit Televisions should in theory have a better lifespan than traditional LCD TVs or plasmas.
- LED TVs with local dimming use more energy than traditional LCDs. It’s not much, about 100W for a particular size range.
- LED Televisions with discreet backlighting can have lots of dimensional depth to the cabinet. With recent reviews were one would have a 6″ depth to the cabinet – making it less wall mount friendly.
- LED TVs are quite a bit more expensive than traditional LCD TVs.
C|NET: Video review of the Samsung UN55D6400
Now that I have take you through the hype about the two types of televisions in question, lets get down to the grit of it all!! I am currently running both a Samsung Series 6 model 55” LED and the Panasonic Viera TC model 50” Plasma. Both televisions render optimal pros with almost similar draw backs.
The Panasonics delivers blacks that the Samsung seems to be unable to achieve even with picture darkening technology. In the (Bat Man) Dark Knight test, movie scene transition was flawless, while images that flew across screen was viewed without a blur or blemish trailing. (otherwise known as ghosting) Achieving the best picture setting took no more than a matter of minutes. Mind you this is prior to me applying the THX mode and being thoroughly satisfied with that alone. Then there was the “Gamers test”! Again I say, flawless! Washed out colors and overly glossy pictures were not a factor with the Panasonic. As for that surfacing menace that seems to torcher gamers world wide, while at the same time pose a disaster to kill death ratios (k/d) known to many as “Gamers Lag” would be totally absent. Yet as the Plasma seems to be on top of its game, it is not without it own set of annoying downsides. Sound quality with the Panasonic was more than just lackluster, it was downright disgusting! Its so bad that it almost seems to be the companies ploy to sucker buyers into purchasing a Home Theater System. Then there is this buzzing sound that only gets louder as the screen gets brighter. An unfortunate side effect of plasma panel televisions; comparable to keeping a Bee’s nest in the room with you while watching t.v. Lastly the heat that is generated from the t.v. is something not too dissimilar from that of a space heater. Now add this to a ninety degree summer day and you might just swear you saw a camel walk across your living room floor.
The Samsung was like a breath of fresh (COOL) air entering my home. The most amazing thing to see right out of the box was how thin the television was. I mean really and truly, I have own thicker cellphones! Accompanied by the the Samsung’s slim frame, was much more modern design than the Panasonic. No thick borders just near edge to edge display. The colors were lively and the speaker quality reminded me of how televisions of old used to be without the aid of a home theater system. Outside of the t.v. being 3D ready there is also a really cool feature called Anynet+ which allows for almost any Audio/Video device to be controlled via Wi-Fi connection. The drawbacks; of which this t.v. seems to have an abundance of, are more annoying then anything else. As lively as the colors are, overly saturated comes to mind when viewing the screen. Sure you can fix this but who really wants to spend the many hours (as it took me) to find the best viewing setting for their brand new t.v. Two words, Plug and Play! On to another anomaly that seems to plague my very existence, “Motion Plus”. I like to refer to this feature as, “The Ricer Effect”! You know like when a person puts something into a car to make if faster than it is in its’ normal state, then boasts that the car is better than all other cars because it now goes as fast. REALLY?? Anyway, Motion Plus is used to correct a Jittering that is usually seen during camera panning. Lastly, the monster shows its ugly face in the Samsung! Yup, you guessed right! Gamers Lag!! Corrected only by a feature called ‘Game Mode’ there is no other solution for gamers lag, and the use of such feature; noticeably degrades the picture.
So now after having read (almost) all there is to know about Plasma and LED televisions, as well as my comparisons of the two models, which one is the better of the two? Well according to CNET both televisions rate almost the same despite their size differences. Both offer a range of features while offering an almost identical amount of flaws. Still for the money and picture quality I personally have to favor the Plasma over the LED; simply for the reason that when we as consumers purchase a new T.V. it is for the obvious, picture quality! Taking nothing away from the Samsung; having offered a remarkable picture, it simply doesn’t render the same authentic movie quality picture that the Panasonic does. Adding a feature to a device to make it perform better, does not make it better, and we see this with Motion Plus and the Game Mode featured in the Samsung. All in all, better TVs are sometimes based on how much money you would like to spend on one. Still for those looking for an economical choice; these two televisions will more than suffice.
Thanks for reading…Tawann!