Plasma vs. LCD: Response Time and Input Lag

Which display type do you own / intend to purchase?

  • Plasma

    Votes: 63 75.0%
  • LCD

    Votes: 26 31.0%

  • Total voters
    84

Garret

Standard Member
I had provided the following answer in another thread and thought that my little guide could prove useful for those debating between Plasma and LCD displays, specifically for gaming use:

1) Reponse Time is the time taken for a pixel to change value and back again (effectively in an LCD display, how quickly the pixels shift to allow different amounts of light to pass through).
- In simple terms, the lower this number the better as it means the pixels will shift quicker; therefore displaying fast-paced motion with less visual artefacts than a display with a higher pixel response time.
==> Response Times tend to decrease with advances in display technology

2) Input Lag is the delay in time between a signal being input to a display and that same signal being displayed on-screen.
- In simple terms, the lower this number the better as it means the display will take less time to display what you are inputting (a typical example is when moving the mouse cursor on a display with high input lag, the cursor appears to lag slightly behind your own hand movement). Even milliseconds make a difference to those highly susceptible to input lag.
==> Input Lag tends to increase with advances in display technology

Input lag is caused (partially but significantly) by digital signal processing (post-processing of an input signal before it is displayed on screen).
TV manufacturers tend to develop newer and more processing-power demanding DSP techniques over time, which add to input lag when active.
For this reason, newer TV models tend to have higher input lag figures than their previous generation counterparts (however, nearly all TVs nowadays have a 'Game Mode" picture preset which disables most of the post-processing effects in order to reduce input lag).

To avoid confusion, it is important to note that the two are independent of each other.
A display can have a high response time but low input lag, and vice-versa. Ideally, you should be looking for a display with both a low response time and low input lag.

As mentioned previously in this thread, Plasma displays will beat nearly all LCD displays hands down when it comes to BOTH response time and input lag. However, part of the reason that Plasma displays are not the industry leading technology (that title belongs to LCD) is due to a phenomenon called "Image Retention"; permanent IR is called "Screen Burn-In".
If a static image (an image that doesn't move, like the TV channel logo displayed usually in the top right-hand corner or your health bar in a videogame) is displayed for extended periods of time, the Phosphor components may overheat causing a "shadow" image that remains visible on-screen at all times, even with the power off.

Early Plasma displays were plagued by this phenomenon making them completely unsuitable for videogames and computer monitor usage due to the amount of static images displayed.
However most recent Plasma displays have built-in techniques to avoid Image Retention (such as pixel-shifting, among others) making them much less susceptible to burn-in.

A typical modern-day Plasma display will have a higher contrast ratio, a lower response time and lower input lag than a typical LCD display.
Considering the display size you are looking for (40-42"), a Full HD Plasma display will also be A LOT less expensive than the equivalent LED backlit LCD.
However energy consumption is much higher among Plasma displays.

For what you are looking for (a low response time, low input lag display for use with Xbox 360) I would have to agree with vickster, go with Plasma and you certainly won't be disappointed!
That's why, in your own words you "feel a big difference motion wise when playing Fifa on the Xbox 360 for eg. from my 50hz to my mams 600hz?? " :)

But if you are dead-set on LCD as you mentioned, try and find an LCD with IPS panel technology.
IPS panels (generally) tend to have the lowest response times and lowest amounts of input lag among all three LCD panel technologies (TN, IPS and xVA). I will not go into detail on LCD panel technology as it will more than triple the length of my post...:suicide:
The major TV manufacturers that use IPS panels are LG, Panasonic and Philips (only the European Philips models).
Hint: LCD displays in sizes of 37" and 42" are a safe bet for those coveted IPS panels, neither of the other two panel technologies are manufactured in those exact sizes.

Plasma
Pros:
- Less expensive
- Low response times
- Low input lag
- High contrast ratio
Cons:
- High energy consumption
- Still susceptible to IR and burn-in
- Some people can notice the "screen flicker" effect
- Harder to find specific models nowadays due to the increasing popularity of LED backlit LCDs

LCD
Pros: - Low energy consumption
- Much less susceptible to IR and burn-in
- Easy to find specific models
Cons: - Higher Reponse times causing motion blur
- Higher Input lag can make gaming unenjoyable on some models
- More expensive
- Contrast ratios still not quite up-to-par with Plasma

At the end of the day though it's very subjective, everyone has their own preferences / thoughts as to what constitutes a good display.
Do further research before you purchase, don't just run into your local retailer and let the salesman convince you that your Xbox will cause a Plasma display to have a permanent ammo-counter; that's unlikely to happen nowadays.

One important question to ask yourself before deciding on Plasma or LCD:
Will you take the time to properly calibrate the TV after your purchase? (this can take more than a couple of hours to get it right)

If your answer is no, you need to seriously consider Plasma. Out-of-the-box performance of Plasmas will not disappoint you, whereas I can't say the same for LCDs.

Even though I have been unashamedly promoting Plasma displays thoughout my post, a properly calibrated LCD with a high-quality panel will reach similar levels of performance. I have a 42" LCD with an AS-IPS panel that makes my trousers feel tighter everytime I spin up Crysis :eek:
 

scottthehat

Distinguished Member
I have a sharp 42" 1080p lcd which is 6 years old it has 6ms response time, and have never had any problems with the xbox 360 or my ps3 on it, as for the input lag on aint a clue but never noticed any lag with it what so ever.
also never noticed any motion blur.

I also have a sammy 59" plasma which has a unput lag of 32ms and if you use hdmi and name it as pc its goes down to 16ms, have used it in both modes with the ps3 and not noticed any diference and both work with no problems or no noticible lag.
 
Last edited:

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
I had provided the following answer in another thread and thought that my little guide could prove useful for those debating between Plasma and LCD displays, specifically for gaming use:

1) Reponse Time is the time taken for a pixel to change value and back again (effectively in an LCD display, how quickly the pixels shift to allow different amounts of light to pass through).
- In simple terms, the lower this number the better as it means the pixels will shift quicker; therefore displaying fast-paced motion with less visual artefacts than a display with a higher pixel response time.
==> Response Times tend to decrease with advances in display technology

2) Input Lag is the delay in time between a signal being input to a display and that same signal being displayed on-screen.
- In simple terms, the lower this number the better as it means the display will take less time to display what you are inputting (a typical example is when moving the mouse cursor on a display with high input lag, the cursor appears to lag slightly behind your own hand movement). Even milliseconds make a difference to those highly susceptible to input lag.
==> Input Lag tends to increase with advances in display technology

Input lag is caused (partially but significantly) by digital signal processing (post-processing of an input signal before it is displayed on screen).
TV manufacturers tend to develop newer and more processing-power demanding DSP techniques over time, which add to input lag when active.
For this reason, newer TV models tend to have higher input lag figures than their previous generation counterparts (however, nearly all TVs nowadays have a 'Game Mode" picture preset which disables most of the post-processing effects in order to reduce input lag).

To avoid confusion, it is important to note that the two are independent of each other.
A display can have a high response time but low input lag, and vice-versa. Ideally, you should be looking for a display with both a low response time and low input lag.

As mentioned previously in this thread, Plasma displays will beat nearly all LCD displays hands down when it comes to BOTH response time and input lag. However, part of the reason that Plasma displays are not the industry leading technology (that title belongs to LCD) is due to a phenomenon called "Image Retention"; permanent IR is called "Screen Burn-In".
If a static image (an image that doesn't move, like the TV channel logo displayed usually in the top right-hand corner or your health bar in a videogame) is displayed for extended periods of time, the Phosphor components may overheat causing a "shadow" image that remains visible on-screen at all times, even with the power off.

Early Plasma displays were plagued by this phenomenon making them completely unsuitable for videogames and computer monitor usage due to the amount of static images displayed.
However most recent Plasma displays have built-in techniques to avoid Image Retention (such as pixel-shifting, among others) making them much less susceptible to burn-in.

A typical modern-day Plasma display will have a higher contrast ratio, a lower response time and lower input lag than a typical LCD display.
Considering the display size you are looking for (40-42"), a Full HD Plasma display will also be A LOT less expensive than the equivalent LED backlit LCD.
However energy consumption is much higher among Plasma displays.

For what you are looking for (a low response time, low input lag display for use with Xbox 360) I would have to agree with vickster, go with Plasma and you certainly won't be disappointed!
That's why, in your own words you "feel a big difference motion wise when playing Fifa on the Xbox 360 for eg. from my 50hz to my mams 600hz?? " :)

But if you are dead-set on LCD as you mentioned, try and find an LCD with IPS panel technology.
IPS panels (generally) tend to have the lowest response times and lowest amounts of input lag among all three LCD panel technologies (TN, IPS and xVA). I will not go into detail on LCD panel technology as it will more than triple the length of my post...:suicide:
The major TV manufacturers that use IPS panels are LG, Panasonic and Philips (only the European Philips models).
Hint: LCD displays in sizes of 37" and 42" are a safe bet for those coveted IPS panels, neither of the other two panel technologies are manufactured in those exact sizes.

Plasma
Pros:
- Less expensive
- Low response times
- Low input lag
- High contrast ratio
Cons:
- High energy consumption
- Still susceptible to IR and burn-in
- Some people can notice the "screen flicker" effect
- Harder to find specific models nowadays due to the increasing popularity of LED backlit LCDs

LCD
Pros: - Low energy consumption
- Much less susceptible to IR and burn-in
- Easy to find specific models
Cons: - Higher Reponse times causing motion blur
- Higher Input lag can make gaming unenjoyable on some models
- More expensive
- Contrast ratios still not quite up-to-par with Plasma

At the end of the day though it's very subjective, everyone has their own preferences / thoughts as to what constitutes a good display.
Do further research before you purchase, don't just run into your local retailer and let the salesman convince you that your Xbox will cause a Plasma display to have a permanent ammo-counter; that's unlikely to happen nowadays.

One important question to ask yourself before deciding on Plasma or LCD:
Will you take the time to properly calibrate the TV after your purchase? (this can take more than a couple of hours to get it right)

If your answer is no, you need to seriously consider Plasma. Out-of-the-box performance of Plasmas will not disappoint you, whereas I can't say the same for LCDs.

Even though I have been unashamedly promoting Plasma displays thoughout my post, a properly calibrated LCD with a high-quality panel will reach similar levels of performance. I have a 42" LCD with an AS-IPS panel that makes my trousers feel tighter everytime I spin up Crysis :eek:

Nice post just a couple of things.;)

IR (Image Retention) and burn are not the same, heavy IR isn't burn.
IR is a buildup of charge making the phosphorus glow for a longer period than they ideally should, this is 100% normal and is always there just 90% of the time it doesn't last long enough to notice it.

Burn occurs over a prolonged period of displaying something static, you would need to abuse a set to get it now or be unlucky and have a fault. The reason burn in is dark isn't because its over heated or burnt literally, its basically an area that's become dimmer over time as its been used more than the surrounding area.

With cons of LCD you could also add poor viewing angles and light uniformity issues.
Also active 3D I believe is better on plasma due to the response time differences.

Plasma do indeed cost more to run, but use power differently so aren't using more power all the time, in fact often plasma may use less power. If cost is an issue the the purchase price needs to be considered as plasma are cheaper to buy so it would take several years to recoup the extra cost if an LCD, amount depending on type if LCD of course.

With plasma you could also add in the constant some can see phosphor trails.
 

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
Hmmmm. If only plasma manufacturers could totally eliminate screen burn in...........sorry I'm dreaming again.

Burn in has almost been eradicated, IR is a byproduct of how the tech works, they can lessen the chances of persistent IR so its not seen as much but IR technically will always be there the same as light uniformity issues with LCD.
 
Scooby2000 said:
Burn in has almost been eradicated, IR is a byproduct of how the tech works, they can lessen the chances of persistent IR so its not seen as much but IR technically will always be there the same as light uniformity issues with LCD.

Like most people it's the burn in that stops me from getting one. If the burn In can't be fixed, then maybe we just have to wait til LCD or LED becomes on par with plasma in all areas. In some aspects they are a little.
 

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
Like most people it's the burn in that stops me from getting one. If the burn In can't be fixed, then maybe we just have to wait til LCD or LED becomes on par with plasma in all areas. In some aspects they are a little.

They won't, they can't, two very different tech. OLED and Sony's CLED are the only way, both are per pixel like plasma and not LCD.

Burn is so rare, you're more likely to have other issues on ether plasma or LCD than get burn. Many have posted they have burn but don't its IR. Im not saying its not annoying, I've had a set myself that retained all the time, however it did improve over time. As annoying as persistent IR can be, it is temporary. A set that has burn after little use would have to be faulty. I can understand the apprehension but you're almost as likely to get burn on LCD now, Id not be gaming as I do on plasma if burn was a real issue, Id definitely not be recommending plasma to my mates as I do.
 

scottthehat

Distinguished Member
was playiing f1 for 4 hours yesterday and not a bit or ir in sight.
 
Hmmm. A lot of people who buy a new tv are regular viewers who don't bother to calibrate their set. So if they don't get BI as often any more, how would a calibrated plasma last? Quite long I guess.

Btw, don't LCDs have more detail in still images, and plasma has more detail in moving images as it's something to do with it's tech reacting?
 

Pistachio

Member
Useful post - thanks.

I think the problem is not enough reviews include measurements on input lag on particular models and how it varies as the size of the panel changes - makes comparing and making a decision more difficult

For me the benefits of LED were about the slimline design and less reflective screen - but went with plasma in the end
 

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
Hmmm. A lot of people who buy a new tv are regular viewers who don't bother to calibrate their set. So if they don't get BI as often any more, how would a calibrated plasma last? Quite long I guess.

Btw, don't LCDs have more detail in still images, and plasma has more detail in moving images as it's something to do with it's tech reacting?

Not detail no, they have a sharper static image, plasma doesn't blur with motion like lcd so appears sharper. Plasma also has higher motion resolution at 900 and 1080 as opposed to around 300-600 on LCD, not sure but think some may get to 800 now, needs confirming though.

The thing you need to remember is LCD was developed to display static images and plasma to display motion, hence some of the pros and cons if both.
 

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
Useful post - thanks.

I think the problem is not enough reviews include measurements on input lag on particular models and how it varies as the size of the panel changes - makes comparing and making a decision more difficult

For me the benefits of LED were about the slimline design and less reflective screen - but went with plasma in the end

LED sets are just as reflective but I know what you mean.
What set did you go for?
We do have lag figures in our reviews but it needs explaining more as the new figures are very different. Our reviews do tend to touch on pros and cons of each tech though.
 
I know this thread is about plasma & LCD, but normally, how do projector technologies fare with input lag and response times? I believe there are DLP,LCOS and LCD.
 

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
I know this thread is about plasma & LCD, but normally, how do projector technologies fare with input lag and response times? I believe there are DLP,LCOS and LCD.

I've read they aren't great for gaming, but would also be interested in a comparison if OP is ok with that?
 

Only777

Active Member
Doesnt the hx853 have a lower input lag than a gt50 , so not all plasmas have lower input lag

also im sure i read the hdtvtest review of the hx853 could process all 1080p lines of motion with motionflow activated so i think lcd/led is catching up in a lot of areas?
 

Insanity202

Distinguished Member
Only777 said:
Doesnt the hx853 have a lower input lag than a gt50 , so not all plasmas have lower input lag

also im sure i read the hdtvtest review of the hx853 could process all 1080p lines of motion with motionflow activated so i think lcd/led is catching up in a lot of areas?

It could diaplay 1080 lines of motion res but suffered with some artifacts.
It also had a input lag of 23ms. A good result but higher than a plasma eg st50 at 16ms and cheaper to buy.
 

tazmago

Distinguished Member
It could diaplay 1080 lines of motion res but suffered with some artifacts.
It also had a input lag of 23ms. A good result but higher than a plasma eg st50 at 16ms and cheaper to buy.

Well according to the AVF reviews (measured with the new technique):

GT50 = 45ms input lag
ST50 = 47ms input lag
HX853 = 42.7ms input lag

:confused:
 
Last edited:

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
Doesnt the hx853 have a lower input lag than a gt50 , so not all plasmas have lower input lag

also im sure i read the hdtvtest review of the hx853 could process all 1080p lines of motion with motionflow activated so i think lcd/led is catching up in a lot of areas?

Looks like I need to do some reading.:smashin: Id be impressed if it can display 1080 lines in motion as clear, if that's the case the LCD is indeed catching up as plasma isn't perfect with motion itself. Be interested in knowing what artifacts the system produces and if having it on adds to the lag, Im guessing it does.
 

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
Well according to the AVF reviews (measured with the new technique):

GT50 = 45ms input lag
ST50 = 47ms input lag
HX853 = 42.7ms input lag

:confused:

It does seem a bit hit and miss with lag readings, it is impressive through, is that a 40" or bigger?
 

tazmago

Distinguished Member
It does seem a bit hit and miss with lag readings, it is impressive through, is that a 40" or bigger?

That was on the 55HX853 review. I always thought plasma had lower input lag, so I'm a little confused with those readings. Most reviews around the web generally show the Panny plasmas (and Samsung) to have lower input lag readings, so does the new AVF (supposedly more accurate) measuring technique take other factors into account? I did notice that the numbers generated on this site are a lot higher that reading taken by other sites.
 

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
That was on the 55HX853 review. I always thought plasma had lower input lag, so I'm a little confused with those readings. Most reviews around the web generally show the Panny plasmas (and Samsung) to have lower input lag readings, so does the new AVF (supposedly more accurate) measuring technique take other factors into account? I did notice that the numbers generated on this site are a lot higher that reading taken by other sites.

Best asking whoever did the review.
Sure the Sony wasn't done with the old method? What dates on the review?
 

tazmago

Distinguished Member
Best asking whoever did the review.
Sure the Sony wasn't done with the old method? What dates on the review?

No, here's a quote from the 55HX853 review specifically concerning gaming:

Our new LagTest device has been throwing up some illuminating readings and the trend seems to be that the numbers are a little higher than previously thought. The device measures lag plus panel response for a more realistic number, after all we can’t react to something on-screen before we see it, and with LED/LCD panel response is more of a concern than it is with plasma. That said, we measured the Sony HX853 at 42.7 milliseconds making it a more responsive gaming panel than the 2012 Panasonic Plasma’s we’ve tested so far.
 

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