Direct-view, LCD, Plasma, and rear-projection HDTVspart of materialism by Philip Greenspun; updated October 2005
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For all televisions, these are good features:
Another interesting direct-view television is the Samsung SlimFit TX-R3080WH. The image quality isn't quite as good as the better Sony televisions, but the set is inexpensive and only about half as deep as competitive tubes of the same size.
Sharp is the traditional leader in this market with its Aquos line. If you're looking for particular features or, in some cases, a lower price, the Philips line can be recommended as well.
LCDs larger than 32" start to get ridiculously expensive and plasma or rear projection will be cheaper.
Here are some links to high-quality LCD TVs in various sizes:
Good LCD TVs with built-in DVD players:
Here are some good plasma TVs:
My dream way to have television in a living room would be a coffee table whose top flips up to reveal an LCD monitor. The smaller LCD televisions have a standard wall-mounting bracket so it should be possible to manufacture a table that could be used for many years with different televisions.
It is probably worth revisiting this page and updating it as the technology has moved on somewhat.
LED TVs have become affordable, although these are just LCD panels with LED backlighting they do have some advantages in terms of energy efficiency and better blacks.
OLED TVs are still very expensive and 3D TV is coming...
I guess this article is almost impossible to keep current : )
-- Tony Bright, January 11, 2010
Phil, as a photographer, you might just be concerned with image quality. When it comes to flat screen digital display devices, there is only one that I would ever wish upon my family and friends for TV and movie watching purposes:
The reasons are numerous. But how about we start with the most important one:
Longevity. Plasma (good ones from Panasonic and Pioneer in particular) have the highest MTBF, more or less equivalent to the older CRT sets, many of which could last as long as 20 years or more with no significant degradation. LCD and DLP cannot even begin to approach this. They suffer dead pixels within only a few years. Their lighting source, when it dies, may not be serviceable. Basically, if an LCD or DLP set dies in any way after 5 years, it becomes landfill because there is no way youıll be able to fix it.
All the other reasons are technical, performance related deficiencies that impact image quality, such as:
-60 Hz refresh limitation saddles you with 3:2 pull down error for ever with film sources. Like judder? -Poor pixel rise time and associated artifacts -high image noise and associated artifacts -poor contrast ratio -fake black levels -cartoonish color accuracy issues -poor viewing angle -physically delicate (easily damaged by probing fingers)
I could go on. NONE of these issues apply to plasma. Plasma is phosphor based. I has the best viewing angle. The best color accuracy. The best black level and gray scale. They can run at either 60 Hz or 72 Hz for video or film based sources. And so on.
And they last 20 years.
There is simply no contest. I would never recommend DLP or LCD to anyone, even those who canıt afford a nice plasma set. Save your money up for the plasma. While certainly uber-high tech, LCD and DLP sets are just so much consumer electronics landfill in the long run.
P.S. Note that for practical purposes, one must choose either LCD or DLP for projection displays, which have largely replaced CRT based sets which reigned supreme (and still do for many aficionados) until just recently. Even then, these digital projectors suffer from very high cost of ownership (expensive light bulbs) and have serious longevity problems of their own. Problems that CRT projection owners happily live without!
-- Stephen Burgess, April 2, 2010