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Plasma v DLP (Black Levels)

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by Ruby, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. Ruby

    Ruby
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    From looking at this forum, it appears that Panasonic and Pioneer (6th generation) models produce the best black levels (and by this I mean black levels during very dark scenes and little to no lighting in your viewing environment). Is this correct and how do other brands of plasmas compare to Panasonic and Pioneer when it comes to black levels? I'm after a 50" plasma and my budget just about stretches to the Pioneer 506XDE (the latest Panasonics seems to cost a little when you factor in the additional equipment required).

    Black levels during dark scenes are very important to me. DLP TVs were reputed to have very good black levels, so I thought that I would try them. However, having sampled a Samsung and Sagem DLP, I can honestly say that the black levels during dark scenes on them were awful. Therefore, I have now switched my attention to plasma in the hopes of achieving better results.
     
  2. superpixel

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    I take it you want a HD-ready 50" screen.

    Forget the Pioneer - it's still one of the worst for black levels in no ambient light, a real glow-in-the-darker. Plenty of high street AV shops stock Pioneer plasmas in demo-rooms, so you can try it and see.

    I think Panasonic and LG have the best blacks I've seen at 50" in the dark. I really like the 50" lg telly in fact...hopefully I'll have one in the home in the next few weeks to give a full review. I can have my pick of any 50" plasma, yet I'm going for the LG, it's that good.
     
  3. Ruby

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    The new Pioneer's really that bad? Well, I guess it's back to the drawing board. How's the Panasonic 50PV500 and can it do high definition via HDMI? Also, which particular LG model are you referring to?
     
  4. Rahmorak

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    Pio 506 blacks are meant to be comparable to the Panny blacks, maybe slightly worse but very debatable. However people that have compared the Pio 506 vs LG processing have found the Pio far superior.

    If you are after a HD ready TV with killer looks then I dont think you can go wrong with the 506 (which many people regard as THE Plasma TV for now), if you want more control, the absolute best PQ, and maybe a scaler in the future then look into the Panels (Panny PHD, Fuji XHA, Pio MXE etc).

    Either way, I cannot stress enough that you really must demo the units before buying.
     
  5. Jazz Monkey Jr

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    The Panny can do hi-def throught HDMI, 720p, 1080i etc.
    My 42" PV500 is spot on, and the blacks are top, this plasma shines when there are no lights on in the room, very cinema like.
     
  6. Rahmorak

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  7. Ruby

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    mal600908,

    Does the PV500 come with a HDMI connection and are there any other drawbacks that I should know about?

    Also, anyone know about a good place to see some demos in the Midlands area?
     
  8. superpixel

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    Rahmorak, you quite rightly stress the importance of demoing, but have you seen the Pioneer 506 and LG 50PY10 yourself, and if not where do your opinions come from? I don't think anyone can truthfully claim the 506 has near-Panny blacks and that the LG processing is poor, at least no-one who's properly tested these sets.

    Ruby, the LG model I have seen is the RZ-50PY10. This is HD-ready via DVI. A new model the 50PX4D is being launched with Freeview, HDMI and memory card slot though.
     
  9. Rahmorak

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    superpixel check the review by Rich Harknes in the US, highly respected.
     
  10. superpixel

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    I take it that's a no then!

    And as it happens, Mr. Harknes findings are remarkably similar to my own - extremely subtle differences from the 5th gen, but the differences being darker blacks in ambient light, a cleaner picture and a richer picture. Exactly what I found.

    I however also tested the blacks in a completely dark room (rather than one with a large open window!), here it was obvious they are still pretty rubbish.
     
  11. Rahmorak

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    Sigh, I am happy that you prefer the LG to the Pio but that doesn't change the respected opinions of other people that have seen the Pio in action, and from which I am allowed to make rough summaries.

    To quote R Harkness suummary:
    OK the degree of improvement may not be noticed by many but then most people I know don't see the plasticy skin/flat hair/compression artifacts in digital transmissons. Whichever way you look at it, R Harkness really likes this panel so to say "forget it" is being a bit silly.

    Reading several reviews by people that have seen the plasmas in action, the general consensus is that the blacks are improved. Whether or not they are as good as the panny is debatable, but if there is room for debate then they are probably close enough that the majority of people will be happy with them. (of which you are obviously not one)

    In truth a number of people are very impressed with the 506, no it is not perfect but they believe there are definite improvements over the 505 which many people are happy with.
    On the other hand, I find the LG tends to have less consistent praise (incl. a friend of mine who said it is nowhere near as good as my Fuji 50 and who wishes he had gone for a different screen).

    I never claimed to be a definitive authority on the Pio/LG so I am not sure why you are so upset, e.g. "Pio 506 blacks are meant to be comparable to the Panny blacks" and " However people that have compared the Pio 506 vs LG processing have found the Pio far superior." (e.g. Harkness).

    Not once have I claimed a definitive answer other than to stress the need for a demo. On the other hand statements like "Forget the Pioneer" help no-one, the OP may love the new Pio, it is up to them to decide.

    R
     
  12. superpixel

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    i'm not upset :cool:

    i genuinely wasn't clear whether you'd seen the Pioneer or the LG - at least we now know you haven't tested either.

    yes, ruby should forget the pioneer. it's not in the top two of plasma blacks, probably the bottom two, and in a dark room it glows more than many a DLP projector I've seen. and i don't give two foot-Lamberts whether richard harkness likes it or not - it's irrelevant to the thread.
     
  13. kev777

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    errr.. I'm sitting here watching my new Pio 506 (sky TV actually) and the blacks are the same as the frame itself.. you cant get blacker than that!!
     
  14. Ruby

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    Looks like the only way I'm going to determine with absolute certainty whether the Pioneer's black levels are good enough for me is by seeing it for myself. Does anybody know a good place to demo it (ie. somewhere were it is set up in a dark room) in the Midlands area?

    Also, what exactly are the differences between a Panasonic 50PV500 and a 50PHD8? Is it just that the 50PV500 comes with a TV tuner, while the 50PHD8 doesn't.
     
  15. Rahmorak

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    Absolutely the best way. One other thing to watch for when demo'ing the Pioneer is panning scenes. Some people (like myself, MAW and a few others) find the judder worse than the Panasonics, whereas many people don't notice it at all.
     
  16. gizlaroc

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    The PHD8 is far superior in picture quality, nearly every post in here discuss' the TV vs the Panels. The TVs are great if you need it all, but if you have a sound system and a tuner (sky/cable/freeview) then go for the Panel, you will be impressed.

    The problem I have with the Pio 6th Gen screens is not with DVD or HD but Pal SD material, the processing on Pal is still not great, and obviously US reviews miss that out.
    Same with the Panny panels, one thing we all want is native over HDMI at 50hz, non of the US reviews mention this. All I am saying is you have to read reviews from different countries and really think about it for a second.

    The 506XDE was going to be my next screen, and I must admit I had deceided before I had seen one just by reading a couple of posts from others who had seen it, but after demoing one it really isn't for me. You must view these things yourself, they all have their negatives, it is just a case of finding one whose negatives don't bother you.
     
  17. Ruby

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    I've visited just about every major electronics store in Coventry and could only find one 6th generation Pioneer XDE on display (which was at Comet). My findings were as follows:

    The store was well lit and all the plasmas were showing the same feed (adverts for Sky). The store had a 436XDE on display. I didn't really see any dark scenes, but the blacks on the Pioneer did seem better than all of the other plasmas on display with the exception of the Panasonic 42PV500. The Pioneer and the Panasonic were some distance apart from each other, so it is difficult to say for sure, but the blacks looked about equal to each other.

    Of course, my observations could mean absolutely nothing if the Comet staff haven't used similar picture settings on each model. It's really difficult to judge how good black levels are going to be in darkened viewing environment when you can't replicate that environment at Comet (or any other major electronics store for that matter).

    I wonder, what is the general return policy for online stores - will they let you return a plasma if you decide you don't like it?

    By the way, does these (http://www.digital-point.co.uk/model.php?ID=2175 or http://www.sselectricals.com/model.php?ID=2175) seem like a good deal?
     
  18. oliverlim

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    Does anyone know or tried and is certain if the 6g Pio or 8g Panny can accept native rate for 50hz and 60hz via DVI/HDMI?

    I have a outboard scaler and want to use it for deinterlacing and scaling,

    Thanks!
    Oliver
     
  19. gizlaroc

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    Neither of them do. :(
     
  20. aarontp

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    Hi,
    I had a 505xde but recently got rid of it as it couldn't cope with an HTPC plugged into the VGA input or via DVI to HDMI and the blacks are not to the standard I wanted. Played around with power strip and the picture was still bad with fast moving scenes watching a DVD or playing a PC game. Tested on loads of PC's which works fine on every other plasma/LCD apart from this model pioneer (even got another 505 with the tuner out of a box and had the same problem.)

    Question now is it worth buying the 506xde or now the Samsung SP50L7HX as everyone seems to be raving about the DLP's but I don't know as much about DLP's as I do plasmas! I was always concerned about DLP picture quality and viewing angles. Might even be worth waiting for SED next year but I personally am not sure to now get the 506XDE of the Samsung SP50L7HX. Anyone with DLP experience can compare it with a plasma please? I ain't bothered about the price of the 506XDE but just want the better picture out of the both technologys! :eek:
     
  21. Ruby

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    aarontp,

    I owned a Samsung SP50L7HX DLP for about a week. If black levels are important to you, forget about this model. The blacks on the Samsung are good until you get to a dark scene, where they begin to appear slightly brownish. I couldn't live with this, so I sent the TV back and got a Sagem 56 instead. The blacks on this were slightly better, but still not brilliant - so I sent this back and got a full refund. The rainbow effect was visible on both the Samsung and the Sagem.

    So after having tried DLP, I have decided to move on to plasma because DLPs seem incapable of producing decent black levels. Like yourself, I'm considering the Pioneer 506XDE, but several threads on this forum have made me lean towards the Panasonic 50PV500 as it has better blacks and less judder.
     
  22. aarontp

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    Thanks for the info Ruby. I didn't want to look at the Sagem due to no HDMI although I have read it produces a slightly better pic than the Samsung. I am personally finding it difficult as my experience of the poor 505 handling of HTPC's and as you have heard the blacks are still not as good as the Pani. But, comparing the overall picture quality from my experience of comparing plasmas the Pioneer 505 was better (apart from the blacks) than the Pioneer. Annoying that there isn't a decent plasma around for this kinda of money. I know the Fuji is a good contender but I didn't think it was as good as the Pioneer. If the 506xde delivers for the HTPC's than that will be my purchase I would think. Going to test both the 506 and the 50PV at an AV show in Manchester in October (going to take a PC and plug it in) and see the results. A bonus for the 506 is the dual HDMI connectors, one for Sky HD and my HDMI DVD player and then the other for the PC either using the current DVI to HDMI setup with Powerstrip or the new HDMI PC graphics cards when they are launched next year. If my old 505XDE didn't have the problems with the HTPC picture problems then it would still be in the lounge as I personally felt the picture through HDMI was lovely :) Oh well, decisions decisions! Back to the testing of the TV's again!
    That is :censored: bought the rainbow effect you saw on the DLP's. Isn't it something to do with the persons own eyesight that some see it and some don't? I think there is a £20k projector (Marantz) that guarantees there is no rainbow effect... But £20k is alot!
     
  23. Ruby

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    To be truthful, the rainbow effect wasn't that big a deal for me with the DLPs, even though I could see it. At the end of the day, the poor black levels were the deciding factor for me.
     
  24. ddlooping

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    Hi all. :hiya:

    I've spent a few hours at a friend's yesterday, watching a few HD demos and documentaries on its 42PV500 (+200 hours useage).
    At best black looked like fairly dark grey. :(
    We even try turning the brightness all the way down, but this failed to bring any improvement on black levels.
    No effect whatsoever on blacks below ~40%.
    I had previously made the same observations on a 37PE50 and a 42PE50 - playing a DVD -at my local Bennets shop.

    This brings two questions:
    - is there a setting in the service menu that would allow for blacks to be blacker?
    - would the PWD8/PHD8 have deeper blacks?
     
  25. aarontp

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    Since AV mags go on about the DLP's being "great" I was out and about and tested one.
    Well, I tested the Samsung SP50L7HX DLP against a Pioneer 506xde and I wasted an hour of my life that I want back. The DLP needed to be boxed back up and thrown into the back of a warehouse in Brazil somewhere so no one would be horrified as I was! I couldn't believe the picture quality of the DLP via an identical HDMI DVD player used on the DLP and the plasma :eek: The DLP black was toilet brown and the viewing angle was terrible and the stand (looks nice online), where would one stick a quality centre speaker?How the :censored: can some of these magazines rave about DLP's (and I think I read a DLP Toshiba got a great review in a mag although the resolution was crap!) as they cannot compare to a decent plasma. Someone is giving these magazine reviewers a back hander to say how good these DLP's are. Maybe in a years time they will be decent but my god, Ruby you were so wise to send both of them back and I feel sorry for you to have been put through the pain of having them in your living room!
    At the moment Pioneer 506XDE all the way (as long as it performs well with HTPCs perfectly via VGA and/or HDMI). :clap: Ruby - I didn't see any problems with the blacks or any screen judder and I was testing battle star galactica (new series) on the 506 for alot of dark scenes and fast moving action. Comparing to my old 505xde I personally thought the blacks are blacker but not a huge difference, it is a stunning looking TV :)
     
  26. aarontp

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    Ruby - "I wonder, what is the general return policy for online stores - will they let you return a plasma if you decide you don't like it?"

    From of my friends experience - Comet are a pain in the bum (within 28 days I believe you have the right to ask for a refund but I ain't no legal eagle) but John Lewis are cool about it. Suppose its down to the store after 28 days isn't it? I would have thought its harder to return it to a store which is an independent retailer than a large retailer (obviously again excluding Comet and the like!)
     
  27. Kazman

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    Aaron, did you use any calibration tools for the DLP TV's you tried?

    I have a Sagem HD-D45 and the black levels on there are superb, at 720p the picture is amazing, better than any Plasma TV I have seen.

    I used AVIA to configure my picture, DVE is also very good for this, many people try to configure the picture without any such calbration tools. Even when I go to look at TV's in store, I take my AVIA disc with me, as you are most likely guaranteed to find that the in store set up has been incredibly poor.

    I can't stand the pixelation effect one see's on Plasma TV's hence going for DLP, and I can't see rainbows so all is well :)

    Fellow forumites are more than welcome to come and have a gander if they so wish :)
     
  28. Demon

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    I would suggest people who want to check all the DLP/Plasma's for black level pop into comet, where most branches have a great SKY HD Demo (From a PC with a HDMI Distribution block)..

    I was looking at the 436XDE/42PV500 and some of the DLP's (Sammy 50L7H..)

    I did tweak them as I wanted, for low black level, although with the myriad of optins, this can be difficult, there are so many picture enhancing tweaks that can be turned on/off, it took some time to get it how I wanted...

    Anyhoo, my own opinion is that the 42PV500 just frationally shades the 436XDE for absolute black level on a completely black screen.. setup plays a lot with this.. however the Pioneer has much more dynamic range/visible contrast which means in normal viewing, the blacks seem blacker then the panny.. swings and roundabouts.. to get the black level detail from the panny you do need to increase the black level a bit.. which then negates things..

    I personally wouldn't base my decision between these 2 plasma's on black level, they are both more the n good enough...
     

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