Plasma PQ v. CRT?


Standard Member
Hi. This may seem a rather strange question but I would really appreciate an unbiased answer. I am yearning to buy a plasma (probably the new Hitachi 5000) but it would have to be mail order as there are no plasmas in any store near or far from where I live. My problem is that magazines such as What HiFi state that even the best plasma such as the Pioneer 434 will have only the same picture quality as a good £500 CRT. Is this really true? As I don’t know much at the moment could anyone who has moved to plasma or LCD let me know what justifies spending up to £3000 more for a screen that may have worse picture quality than a good CRT (or is it?). I would imagine that sexiness may be a key factor but are they really worth buying now or should I wait another year or two. I originally assumed that plasmas would have the best picture quality until I started reading the AV magazines. It’s a lot of money to spend so I would love some comments. I have Sky and a 4-year-old Toshiba DVD. Many thanks.:confused:


Well-known Member
Worse may be a slightly wrong word, though each technology has its pro's and con's. Plasma's suffer from poorer contrast levels, depth of field and some exhibit more noise than others. However, the latest generation plasma's have never been better and are always improving. Plasma's are more expensive to make generally but as consumer demand rises, prices fall (I remember when a 50" would cost £12,000). Another thing is that it is harder to maintain a quality image on a 42 or 50" screen which you simply wouldn't pick up on a standard 28". I recently acquired a Panasonic PWD6 and haven't looked back since. With the highest quoted industry contrast ratio it produces a much better cinematic picture than my old CRT could ever deliver.


Well-known Member

I was very worried about moving from CRT to plasma, but I recently took the plunge and also went for a Panny 42PWD6 like Dean. I researched things quite a bit and even went to a few forum members houses to see how good/bad 'real' TV looked. I was also worried that my wife would think the picture was actually worse than before :suicide:

The thing you need to appreciate is that pictures from Sky or NTL are genreally not that hot, especially when blown up to 42" size. This is why the picture on smaller CRT's is often said to look better. I am pretty sure if you could get a 42" CRT that their pictures would be much more comparable. The Panny also has very good contrast, which is often another trait where CRT is meant to be better.

Personally, I am glad I moved over and I am honestly very pleased with both normal TV and DVD. I would suggest that in order to get a 'great' TV picture, it is probably worth investing in good cables and a decent RGB converter to get the best out of the Sky/NTL boxes. At the end of the day though, if the feed is poor (e.g. low bandwidth channels) then there is nothing the plasma or converters can do to help with this.

Yes 3k is a lot of money, but if you look for a good quality model and make sure you look for the optimum ways of keeping picture quality high with good cabling etc. then I am sure you will be able to get a great picture for normal TV (I did)...however it will always be a slight compromise due to limitations of the source.

For my own setup, with a good NTL channel or good DVD input I am blown away with my recent purchase and it has made my home cinema complete :smashin:

I would defo recommend you try and see the plasma you are interested in showing normal TV pictures (ideally from the same source as you will use at home) in addtion to DVD's. It should be taken as read that DVD will look brilliant. :)



Active Member
Hi Richardfred,

This is a very difficult question to answer objectively. I recently purchased a Pio 434, replacing 2-3 year old 28 inch Panasonic. The problem is that the definition of "picture quality" isn't really just based on one thing. Apart from being bigger, the image is sharper, more consistent across the screen, with perfect geometry. On some sources, with some types of picture it looks breathtaking: far far better than anything I ever saw on my CRT. Pirates of the Caribbean, for example, was just a joy to watch. Films like Gladiator look *so* much better.

On the flip side, some things look far worse. As you will have read I'm sure, plasmas are ruthlessly revealing of poor sources. So TV can look anything from excellent to appalling. And by appalling, I mean far worse than on my old CRT. Dark scenes can cause problems as well, at least on my Pio, although I believe Panasonics are better with that.

So to answer your question: there isn't really an answer!! It really depends on what's important to you. One of my friends has an expensive 32" Sony CRT (can't remember which) and he reckons the plasma is much better, from what he's seen. DVDs that he's sampled on it have blown him away. I can well imagine others being underwhelmed though, especially if they were hoping to see "Sex and the City" look better than ever before. Chances are it won't.

Do I miss my CRT? Sometimes, although to be honest that lessens with each passing day. Basically, CRT has some foibles that used to annoy me, plasma has different foibles. I'll grant you that it is frustrating with TV sometimes, but it rarely bothers me now.

Was sexiness of the screen and its space-saving attributes a major factor? Yes.

Am I glad I bought the plasma? Yes.

Incidentally, where are you based? There are various places in Dublin to go see plasmas, and I can certainly think of at least one place where you'll get to see a pretty good set-up. Give me a shout if you need some recommendations here.

I wouldn't dream of buying anything that costs this much sight unseen. If you're really fed up with not being able to see screens set up properly here, maybe you could consider a weekend in London or Edinburgh. If you're paying 3 grand for a screen then a hundred Euro or less for a flight seems like a pretty sound investment...

Final thought. When people first see a plasma, they frequently go up *really* close before stating that it looks s**t. Why people do this is beyond me, but I really think that some of the plasma-bashing comes from these kind of experiences. To be objective, go really close to a CRT sometime. You'll probably be amazed at the amount of noise and artefacts you can see. Now imagine them magnified. I'm convinced that if CRTs were available in 42"-50" sizes, they wouldn't look so hot...

Best of luck,


Edit: As I was typing this, others got in ahead of me and said some of the things I have written above. I hope you're not getting too bored reading such similar responses :D

But while I'm back here, I would also like to say that you shouldn't believe everything you read in magazines. They're entertaining reading, but that's generally where it ends...


Standard Member
Thanks folks. I really appreciate your replies which have made matters much clearer for me. I now want a plasma! Si, I will take your advice and travel first to see what I am buying so let me know where you recommend in Dublin. Thanks again.

Cabo 5150

I have a Panny 42" series 4, running component inputs from a reference level DVD player. IMHO it's the smoothest and most cinematic picture I've ever seen, and believe me, I've had a number of CRT's previously. Regarding TV viewing, I'm running a netgem freeview box into the VGA input via a special lead with a scart at one end and the VGA at the other, this allows me input an RGB signal and gives excellent PQ, way better than other TV configurations I've had.

Stephen Wilde

Active Member
A good plasma is now better than CRT. Try standing close to a CRT and you will see just as many defects.Smaller size always makes the picture look better because the defects are smaller. That applies to CRT rear-pro and LCD. Just sit as far away as you need to in order to perceive the pq you can accept.


Distinguished Member
Hi Ricardfred

I went from a 32" Panasonic CRT to a 42" Series 6 Panasonic Plasma and its one of the best things i`ve ever bought.

Like yourself i was very cautious about purchasing after reading comments about normal tv viewing but i`m really glad i made the jump, I find the picture very good on Sky and Freeview even an analogue source (DVD recorders tuner) is excellent.

Ok as mentioned above if its a low bandwith channel then it can be a bit soft but still perfectly watchable but when you get a good channel or watch a DVD then its fantastic and the cinematic impact of a much bigger image makes a lot of difference.

One piece of advice if you do make a trip to see some screens make sure its with a dealer who display them properly and knows how to show them at their best, As i`m sure a lot of the bad press they get is from people not seeing them displayed properly usually in the local electrical multiple store :rolleyes:


Cheers, Carl


Standard Member
One to bear in mind tho, Plasmas have a life expectancy, CRT's don't.


Ali, you make me laugh! Do you have shares in CRT technology? It is highly likely that a plasma will last at least as long, or longer, than a crt. 30 000 hours you quote yourself. This is known as a 1/2 life, half brightness and contrast, not instant death. CRT does exactly the same thing for the same reasons, phosphor ageing. 30 000 hours is 5 hours a day for about 14 years.

Bernard Barnett

Active Member
Ricardfred, you've had some good advice here - apart from aligamer's which as Maw says is tosh - but please bear in mind you're getting advice from the converted, especially as you've posed this question in the plasma forum. If you'd asked in the CRT forum you might have got some different responses. My own three-hapence worth is that a top-class CRT will beat any plasma for pure PQ except on DVD. But it's hard to find a top-class CRT and even the best have problems. The great advantage of plasma is its display size, connectivity, DVD performance and, as somebody's said, sexiness. It's true that you can get all the size advantages of plasma and the ultimate quality of CRT in a projector, but from what I've read (no personal experience) they're very hard to keep in perfect adjustment. Somebody please correct me if this is wrong.

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello all

Panasonic 6 Series - 60,000 hours to half brightness; CRT production will have stopped way before then :)

Best regards



Joe, thanks for that, Bernard, you are right on projection, even modern dlp units are IMHO as good as CRT, infocus 5700 being a good example at plasma price level. But, you do have to seriously darken your room, so really they are not a day to day TV replacement, unlike a plasma. I use mine 3-4 days a week, and plasma, an assortment of demo units, at other times. If I can't bring a demo plasma home, we do quite miss it, they are so convenient.


Active Member
Well I came from a 37" Mitsubishi CRT which was the "Daddy" when I bought it 14 years ago, and it was still producing some of the best picture from RGB sky and DVD I have seen.
I just a few weeks ago bought a Plasma, and I knew the picture quality was not going to be as good, but the qulaifier is, CLOSE UP.......just how far away do you sit from these image devices folks? Any screen regardless of size will look crap closer, why do you think edit suites never use large monitors for edit work! Even in a production suite usually the old 4:3 monitors were a maximum 19" and they were 8 or 10 feet away from the desk!
My plasma looks fantastic at normal viewing distances for a 42" screen, the Mitsubishi looked even better closer but we never viewed it closer! It was viewed from the same distance, we didnt have the seating any closer to the screen with the 37" CRT, you buy a screen size depending on room size surely?
I wouldnt buy a 19" monitor screen for my room no matter how sharp it looked!!!!
If you are going to sit further than about 10' away from your 42" then it'll look as good as your CRT (sharpness).
I am more than happy with changing from 37" CRT to 42" Plasma, it was time for a change at the very least! LOL
BTW we also have a projector and 8' screen in the same room of course thats doesnt look as sharp as the Plasma but then go to any cinema and really look at the sharpness of the picture and you'll realise what we have been viewing at home is far superior.
Its all about percieved quality in the end.

If you dont sit too close to your proposed Plasma you will be more than pleased.

Best regards David


Standard Member
Thanks again for all this information. Its really interesting. The life span doesnt worry me as I imagine that in a few years there will be something bigger and better that we just have to upgrade to! One thing that is of interest to me is that there seems to be great feedback on the Panasonic 6. Having done a bit of browsing I found this glowing article
Can anyone tell me if this the same model that peolpe are talking about and have in UK?


Well-known Member
Yes it is!!!

You can get the PWD6BX and PW6BX here in the UK. The PW6 is a consumer home version (silver) and the PWD6 is the commercial business version (black/charcoal).

Models are pretty much identical apart from colour and the PWD6 has a few more picture tweaks and slightly different emmision standards.

Have a chat with the following if you want the Panny 6:

Liam @
Joe @

Good luck!


P.S. Yes, it is a great screen!!!

The latest video from AVForums

Samsung QN95B 4K QLED TV Review
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom