#1  
Old 12-10-2011, 07:49 PM
First time Plasma tv owner, any tips or advice?

I'm getting my first Plasma TV for Christmas. A Zenith 42 inch. I've been all over the internet and some of the stuff I've read makes me wonder if this was a mistake.

I was wondering if you all had any tips or advice.
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  #2  
Old 12-10-2011, 07:58 PM
LCD/LED would have been a better choice BUT plasma is cheaper to buy. Downsides are possible burn ins, they get warmer and use more electricity and they do not have as good viewing angles. That is why most places are giving them away almost.

However, depending on how your tv room is setup, it will make a great tv and you probably wont have any complaints if you are coming from a standard crt tube tv. I looked at several plasmas myself but I actually ended up getting a free 42" LCD. My father won one in a contest and he already had a 60" flat screen so he just gave me the 42" since he only wanted one tv. If not for that, because of my budget I probably would have gone plasma myself. I understand the burn ins are not as common as they used to be so that might not be as big as concern as it was when I was looking.

If you have the extra though I would go ahead and take that back and get a LCD tv, or LED if you have even more to spend.
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  #3  
Old 12-10-2011, 10:46 PM
Make your screen dark in settings and do not watch anything with bars or logos for a long time. It will avoid any ghosting. It's suggested that you do this for 200 hours of watching. If you do it right, the detail that black colors will show will be amazing.
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  #4  
Old 12-10-2011, 11:40 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovieMaster View Post
LCD/LED would have been a better choice BUT plasma is cheaper to buy. Downsides are possible burn ins, they get warmer and use more electricity and they do not have as good viewing angles. That is why most places are giving them away almost.
Burn-ins are no longer an issue, at least if you have a decent plasma. I've had my plasma TV for a little over a year now, the most I've seen is some quick ghosting when I turn on the TV from the last images (generally from the black bars on movies) but that fades/can't be seen as soon as I start watching something. If you play games for days on end that have the same health bars, etc on the side burnt in, then it's true that you will get a bit of image retention. But from everything I've read and everything I've seen, this will not last. While I don't play a lot of games, I've played a few for many hours at a time on the TV and never had a problem beyond some slight retention until I start watching something else.

It is true they are generally cheaper to buy and more expensive to run. It is not true that they do not have as good viewing angles. Actually, it's widely acknowledged that plasmas have constantly dominated LCD/LEDs in this category; only recently have LCDs/LEDs closed the gap (http://www.ledvsplasma.com/led-vs-pl...-viewing-angle).

The main advantages of a plasma are that motion is far smoother (i.e. when the camera pans on an LED/LCD, it can be hard to watch. You won't have those problems on a plasma) and as a general group, colours are far better with deeper, richer blacks.

If you look at the Value Electronics list of the best TVs of any given year, plasmas widely dominate (this is a TV 'shootout' as attended and voted upon by professional calibrators, MPAA, National Association of TV Broadcasters, and engineers from CBS, ABC, and THX).

It is only this year that an LED TV has managed to come up ahead at the front of the pack - the Sharp Elite, but that TV will set you back $5000 U.S. for a 60". The #2 and #3 picks are both plasmas and while still expensive, significantly cheaper than the Elite (the Panasonic 65VT30 for around $3000 and the Samsung 59D8000 for around $2000). And most videophiles still consider the Pioneer Kuro, a plasma made in 2008, to be the best TV ever made (and unfortunately, only available through resale since Pioneer moved out of the high-end TV market).

Now all that said, this is just a general guideline for plasmas vs LEDs. Your individual TV may have its own problems of course and whatever your price range is, there could be better LEDs in that category. Unfortunately, I haven't heard of the Zenith so I can't help you on a specific level. I have the Panasonic 65VT25 (last year's Value Electronics shootout winner) and while it does have some minor issues (occasional floating blacks and minor colour banding if you're using the 96Hz mode), I was aware of all of them before I bought it and I have been extremely happy with it.

My general recommendation would be: if you're a heavy gamer and are worried about image retention, go for an LED. If you're more into using your TV for movie watching and want the best picture quality, you're more likely to get it with a plasma.

Last edited by JCPhoenix; 12-10-2011 at 11:57 PM..
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  #5  
Old 12-11-2011, 02:58 AM
Yeah, JC touched on what I wanted to. Plasmas have traditionally smoked LCD/LED when it comes to motion. I went the LCD route, bought a highly rated brand in '09 and still get some buyer's remorse when seeing a plasma at a restaurant. Of course, my reasoning was glare and weight so I'm sure I made the best choice for myself but damn the colors, blacks and motion I always see on those sets is ace.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HoboJoeBob View Post
I'm getting my first Plasma TV for Christmas. A Zenith 42 inch. I've been all over the internet and some of the stuff I've read makes me wonder if this was a mistake.

I was wondering if you all had any tips or advice.

For me, it's all about the calibration. You most likely will get the set with everything at a factory default. After you get your set going, do a Google search for your brand and model number then "calibration" "settings." This will make so much difference. CNET and AVSforums are two places I've found where people seem to know whats's going on. If you are really comfortable with doing this, you could also order a calibration disc and try doing it yourself, as your setup might be better than online recommendations due to your personal room lighting. I've found recommended settings to be just fine -- keep in mind that you may have to go through as tastes can differ - some people like darker picture or warmer colors, for example.

Another thing, depending again on how comfortable you are with this -- look into 'hacking' your TV through the service menu. A lot of TVs can access a hidden menu through button combinations on the remote. This will unlock a lot of settings. Now, this is something intended for service technicians, but a lot of times there are things within your understanding. In my case, I had the a Samsung model that didn't have the extra features of it's higher priced counterpart. Everything about it was the same except it was missing things like PIP, playing movies through the USB input, network access -- Simply enough through the service menu I just "switched" the model number to the higher end one and bammo - everything was enabled. It seems that it's cheaper for Samsung to make everything mostly the same (mine is missing an ethernet port) and just disable features in the software then charge different prices.

Enjoy the new set, man!
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  #6  
Old 12-11-2011, 04:29 AM
I haven't read the long posts above, so I'm probably repeating things.

Plasma handles blacks as well as or better than LCD/LED (which are the same thing, essentially). Newer LCD TVs have a level that's comparable to the quality of a great plasma, though. It's to the point where even heavily discerning videophiles will have a hard time noticing the difference in color reproduction/quality.

Plasma cons:
typically heavier
use more energy

Pros:
Better handling of "natural" framerates. 24 frames per second plays more naturally than an LCD
Cheaper, especially in quality versus price range. But there are gems and duds from either side of the fence.
Don't need that annoying "smoothvision" crap that gives me a headache on LCDs. Some would see this as a con. Plamsas aren't reliant on matching frames with the refresh rate (such as 24 frames per second being impossible on a 60/120hz TV because it isn't perfectly divisible, meaning frames need to be added to make 60 frames per second).


As for burn-in; like others said it's not a big deal these days. You will see "image retention", where a static image will temporarily ghost on the screen. However, it's difficult to cause actual "burn in". It's about as likely as a CRT TV back in the day, which rarely occurred.
For the first 200 hours, just make sure you have constantly moving pictures on the screen, and keep everything FULL SCREEN until those 200 hours have passed. That's the most time-critical moment in avoiding burn in.
I use my plasma with my PC plugged in. To help with reducing burn in, I have my desktop rotating pictures in my pictures folder every 10 seconds; I hide the desktop icons and right-click view them only when I need something (or open explorer which is even lazier); and I reduced my START menu to only be viewed when I move my mouse cursor over it. That way, the screen is always refreshing images and nothing is static except my web page (which I move around the screen every few minutes).

Other than that... I honestly like plasma TVs more than LCD. I have been looking around for a new TV for a year from now, and I am still leaning towards a plasma. LED/LCD kind of get on my nerves.

In the end, look at ANYTHING within your price range, tweak settings to your liking and just go with what you can afford and what will make you happy.

Last edited by KcMsterpce; 12-11-2011 at 04:38 AM..
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  #7  
Old 12-11-2011, 09:53 AM
I do this for a living (wholesaler). No offense, but Moviemaster is wrong and everyone else is pretty much correct. Nice job KC, Post, and JC.

I have an lg plasma. LG makes the Zenith. It is their lower end no frills line. good bang for the buck. I was watching all three Lord of the Rings over Thanksgiving weekend and I noticed some burn in with the Encore symbol. Think of it like a wipe board. Just play something with motion and it will go away and away it did.

Like others said, plasma is hotter and uses more juice. It also reflects light more, so if you are in a very bright room get an LCD or LED.

Picture quality is better on plasmas. Look at the facts. Plasma is 600hz. LED are as high as 240, but most low end are 60hz or 120hz. The hz refers to the refresh rate. So if you watch a lot of action movies or play games, you will get less quality with an LED or LCD. You will notice that many LEDs have gaming mode. That is to help correct the refresh rate issue, so your games look better. Plasmas do not need that at all.

In a size such as a 42 inch it does not matter so much. Just make sure it is 1080p not 720p and if pos get 120hz. Go by price and it won't matter. When you get up to 50, 60 or larger you will want a much better set. Non hd stuff looks like shit on any tv when you blow it up to 60 inches (i have a 60) and that is not the tv that is the content. I would not buy the Zenith, but if it is such a good deal, youy prob cant go wrong. But trust me on a small 42 inch size it does not matter so much.
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  #8  
Old 12-11-2011, 03:40 PM
Plasmas are great TVs. I went the plasma route because all of the LCD TVs of the time didn't come close to achieving the natural color and deep blacks that the plasma did.

The only true downside of plasma is the possibility of burning a static image into the screen permanently. Like what has already been pointed out, this isn't really as big of a problem as it used to be with older TVs. I've had my plasma TV for two years now and have yet to experience permanent burn it (and I play video games for hours, and even have fallen asleep while bluray menus played on the screen all night). The worse I get is image retention (ghosting), and even though it is annoying, it goes away after a few minutes.

Just make sure you break in your TV before you play video games or have any kind of static image on the screen for too long. I spent my first month only watching movies with the image brightness turned way down. Then after the break in time was up, I cranked the picture settings up and everything has been beautiful since.

IMO, Plasma >>> LCD. Though LEDs do come very close, and I've even seen a few high end LED TVs that match plasma.
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  #9  
Old 12-11-2011, 04:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverload View Post
Just make sure you break in your TV before you play video games or have any kind of static image on the screen for too long.
What do you mean by breaking in?
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  #10  
Old 12-12-2011, 01:42 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoboJoeBob View Post
What do you mean by breaking in?
Refer to:

Quote:
Originally Posted by KcMsterpce
For the first 200 hours, just make sure you have constantly moving pictures on the screen, and keep everything FULL SCREEN until those 200 hours have passed. That's the most time-critical moment in avoiding burn in.
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  #11  
Old 12-12-2011, 02:15 PM
How do I keep everything full screen? Aside from a few dvd's I own that have both full screen and wide screen all my dvd's are in wide screen.
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  #12  
Old 12-13-2011, 12:45 AM
HDTVs are a 1.78 aspect ratio (also called 16:9). Many movies (and almost all widescreen TV shows) have that display setting.
If not, somewhere in the options you can make your display "force fullscreen" or something to that effect. You might see words like "forced, cropping, zoom".
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  #13  
Old 12-13-2011, 01:36 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erroneous View Post
I do this for a living (wholesaler). No offense, but Moviemaster is wrong and everyone else is pretty much correct.
Umm I was only off on the viewing angles, everything else I said is correct. The plasmas I looked at just did not look as good as the LCDs I was looking at, at the time. Maybe they were cheaper, maybe it was the setup but when I checked from different viewing angles they just didnt match up as well as the LCDs.
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  #14  
Old 12-20-2011, 08:15 PM
Just set my new tv up today. Man I'm getting a hardon just looking it.

Got my picture in full screen mode (zoom). Watching movies with subtitles is going to be a pain but I'll cope.
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  #15  
Old 12-20-2011, 08:47 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoboJoeBob View Post
Just set my new tv up today. Man I'm getting a hardon just looking it.

Got my picture in full screen mode (zoom). Watching movies with subtitles is going to be a pain but I'll cope.
Don't worry about that. You don't HAVE to have fullscreen viewing 100% of the time for the first 200 hours.
A couple/few hours here and there will not be a problem at all. Switch things up a bit. After a 2-hour movie NOT in fullscreen, make your next show something that DOES fill up the screen.

Here's an extreme example of improper initial break-in of a plasma:

A friend of mine got a plasma for his parents. They plugged it in, and left the grey bars on the sides because all they did was watch television. They never once watched anything fullscreen, so a couple months later he went back and saw their TV; it was ruined because they weren't taking proper care of it. The unused sides of the screen that the standard TV ratio doesn't need were burned in.

This is an uncommon scenario, though.
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  #16  
Old 12-22-2011, 02:41 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoboJoeBob View Post
Just set my new tv up today. Man I'm getting a hardon just looking it.

Got my picture in full screen mode (zoom). Watching movies with subtitles is going to be a pain but I'll cope.
??? Just make sure you have an HD cable box or sat receiver and watch the HD tv channels.
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  #17  
Old 12-22-2011, 05:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoboJoeBob View Post
Just set my new tv up today. Man I'm getting a hardon just looking it.
Welcome to the club. Plasma tvs always invoke hardons. When I'm making love to my girl, I'm thinking of the plasma.
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