Plasma or LED

I want to purchase a 55 in. HDTV. I am not sure if I should buy a LED or a plasma. Everything (98%) I watch are shows I have recorded on my DVR. I would like to keep the price $2500 or less. Thanks

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Clarification Request
light control in the viewing space?

If the room is terribly bright, I would consider LED. Room darkening shades are a must for proper viewing IMO and E. Otherwise, you could possibly benefit from the better PQ of plasma, for less money than you would pay for the same size LED.

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Really depends on what you want


The difference between LED and Plasma (in terms of Picture Quality) is not that much anymore, as long as you get a good LED TV. The main things you'd be after in an LED that you won't get in a Plasma is energy efficiency, as well as good viewing in a bright environment. If it is a well-lit environment, you will benefit from the LED screen, as the panel in a plasma is glass, which reflects light quite well. If it is dark, a plasma generally performs better than an LED TV, though LED's are also great in the dark.

In terms of refresh rate, plasma TV's generally have a much better refresh rate, which result in good viewing of fast-moving objects, like sports. Most higher-end LED's have around 200hz refresh rate (which is excellent), though most high end plasma's have around 600hz or more. Of course, whether you can tell the difference between something being refreshed 200 times per second and 600 times per second is something that may come into play. In short, plasma is better for refresh rate, though the higher-end LED's are more than enough, especially for general TV-show viewing.

In terms of "white" whites and "black" blacks (ie, contrast ratio), both will perform well. The older-style LCD TV's had a problem with giving white whites and black blacks, but that was fixed in the LED tvs. Plasmas, on the other hand, are excellent with their contrast ratio.

You'll find as well, that most Plasma's will run a fair bit warmer than an LED tv (as they consume more electricity, and as well as the way the Plasma's actually output the colour) as compared to the LED (which uses LED's inside, hence the name).

Most importantly, when setting it up (slightly unrelated), the optimal viewing distance from the TV is about 3x the screen size. So, if the screen is 55", try to sit around 165" from the TV. This is, of course, a guideline, but it is best for eyesight and visual tracking of everything on the screen.

In short:
LED: Plasma
> Good for energy use > Not-so-good for energy use
> Great contrast ratio > Excellent contrast ratio
> Great refresh rate > Excellent refresh rate
> Great in light or dark rooms > Great in dark rooms

So, for what you're after, an LED would probably be better, but, read over this and make your own decision. No-one knows what you want better than you do!

Have fun!

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Refresh rate/response time/motion lag/etc

Keep in mind since you are referring to two separate technologies, comparing the 'refresh rate' numbers isn't really possible in a one to one fashion. The 600Hz plasma number you are referring to is the sub-field drive that should not be equated with the standard refresh rate notion on an LCD-LED. It's mostly marketing hype when LCD-LED manufacturers starting using the 120/240Hz ratings to move more their products. Bottom line, response time & motion lag performance is better on plasma panels.

Also keep in mind that LED panels can also suffer from nasty room reflections. Shades are a must for proper viewing environment. The bigger the flat panel, the worse the problem can be LED models are more forgiving because you can compensate with the brightness vs a typical plasma panel. Hence the plasma 'man-cave' lore Wink.


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Which Brand?

If I purchase a 55 in. LED, which brand and model would you recommend? I would like to keep the price $2500 or less. Some one has suggested I should look at the LG55LM8600. I want the one that will offer the best picture. I am in a dark area. Everything I watch are shows that I have recorded on my DVR. Would this make any difference on TV selection? Thank you for your time.

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Standard definition or High def recordings from DVR?

Just keep in mind that you will likely notice imperfections when you play back recorded standard definition content on your large, new HDTV. High definition recordings on your HD-DVR will generally look stellar, but the larger the panel, the more you will notice about the SD content. It won't make much difference whether you choose plasma or LED in this regard. The issue is somewhat stretched SD content viewed on large panels.

Also look at Samsung LED models in the same general price range when you look at this HDTV @ Best Buy (etc.). It's $1600-1700 ballpark right now. The LG would be a good pick and ships with the 3D glasses too, I think.

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which brand

Here's some reviews of 3d plasma and 3D LCD/LED models

Here's some LCD/LED/plasma and 3D LCD/LED/plasma reviews

You'll get an idea of prices and opinons. The people who responded to your question had very valid points. An important point you made is that you are in a "dark" area, meaning I guess, that the sun doesn't shine much in the room where the TV would go. Plasma may be a thought with the dark area as well as more bang for the buck, better wide viewing angle, better response time, etc. but the decision, of course, is yours.

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Yes. and to the OP...

...if you pick plasma and have a man-cave, go with a Panasonic. Will present a very strong (arguably, better) value vs the LED in the same price range. Best advice is to test out many HDTVs in person over time and take notes about what you like/notice. Don't use the big box stores since they do not have ideal setups for viewing content.

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A few more comments:

If I may add a few things:

While plasmas do use more power than LCDs, it might end up a little less that one might think. Plasmas use less power during dark scenes. LCDs usually do not. (LCDs with dynamic contrast ratio may use a little less). Also, it's recommended to have your plasma TV calibrated after installation. This will likely lower your power consumption as well. Often, the default settings are a little "hot" to make the picture "pop".

I'm surprised no one mentioned burn-in. Like an old tube TV, a static image can permanently burn into a plasma display, not a problem for an LCD. I understand that this is much less of an issue than it used to be. If you're not playing video games or using it as a computer monitor, then it's even less of an issue, but I have heard of bugs (network logos in the corner of the screen) burning into a display.

Plasmas are heavier. Not necessarily a problem, but something to consider when you mount it.

Not sure of this, but If you're looking for 3D on the cheap, I think that passive 3D with cheap glasses might only be available on LCD/LED sets.

Plasma TVs have a better viewing angle. Much, much better. If your room layout requires off-axis viewing for your audience, you may want to consider this or at least look closely in the showroom before you buy.

I don't have a plasma TV, but have been very happy with Panasonic products in the past. As was already mentioned, great performance for a great price, a lot of bang for the buck. I think, in general, plasma TVs are a little less expensive than LCDs, especially as the size goes up.

I last bought an LCD TV several years ago. For me, it was a toss-up between Sony and Samsung. I got the Sony.

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Starting to worry about Plasma screens.


I hear this issue too often. While the LCD is not immune to this, Plasma displays seem to really take the lead here.

-> My thought on this is that folk must not OVER INVEST in such things. Even warning them about the current designs are rarely made to last about 5 years doesn't seem to dissuade some.

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Not sure where you are getting your information from

Bob, you are fanning the flames where it's not even burning Wink. This sort of post (especially using 'duckduckgo'(?) as some sort of metric) seems silly at best.

I can assure you, the numbers of 'cracked screens', is not overwhelmingly happening on plasma models. Cracks from shipping damage, and simply end user damage, are on all makes/models. What's my source? A close friend/colleague who's an insider/corporate technical consultant for a very large U.S. electronics retailer. In summary, there's nothing to see here, folks.

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Tell that to folk that have the issue.

Look in the CNET SAMSUNG forum for starters. These sets are not cheap enough to write "nothing to see here, folks" unless you are a manufacturer.

About Duckduckgo. Since it does not track your searches, it's an alternative to google.

Do yourself a favor and check it out.

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So your claim is...

...plasma screens crack more easily? Just say it outright if that's what you are asserting.

We can agree to disagree in that case since my sources with valid real world info lead to nothing significant of that nature between the various types of panels. Sometimes the shippers/handlers/owners screw up, sometimes it is a defect, but most certainly not anything more significant w/ plasma. These are generally very large, brittle rigs, so you can see how things might happen.

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Who said I claimed this?

I'm offering it up for discussion. I'm putting it up for discussion.

The makers are not going to share if there is an issue here.

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I'm not sure you read what you write

"Plasma displays really take the lead here". You essentially insinuate as such regarding plasma. Not sure why though. I call hogwash where I see it.

Your point 'I'm offering it up for discussion' is understood. Better yet, let's put up 'Manufacturers are plotting against all consumers' while you are at it (ROTFL). On top of that, how about 'Aliens have a secret landing base on the North pole'.

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Plasma or LED

Choosing plasma vs. LED will be a function of what you really want to do with the TV - whether it is mostly for movie watching, or sports, or just an occasional gaming bout. With significant technological advances over the last years, many of the erstwhile very clear differences between the two have been reduced. For example, modern LED TVs provide a very good contrast ratio, excellent black levels and very good response times. Also, some TV brands like LG Smart TV boast IPS LCD panels that offer excellent viewing angles.

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