Which plasma should I buy?

jthorpe

Standard Member
Hi guys

First post here on avforums so I am hoping you guys can help me out.

I am currently looking to buy my first "proper" TV and have spent a lot of time researching and come to the conclusion that plasma is probably best for my needs (sport, gaming, low input lag).

I was wowwed by the vt30 and gt30 but have been seriously put off by the green tinge faults.

I have been looking at the d8000 51 inch also but have heard there are brightness popping issues and peeling issues....

Considering this is my first major spend on a TV, I was hoping you guys may be able to recommend something to me as I really have no clue what to go for!

I am looking for something between 46-55 inch and my budget is around 1500, although I would prefer to pay less than that where possible.

Any responses are appreciated.

Thanks
John
 

Canary_Jules

Well-known Member
You're right, both the Panasonics and Samsungs have issues. So it's really a case of 'choose your poison'! Motion issues, green tinge etc. with the Panasonics, or brightness pops etc. with the Samsungs. Nevertheless, both brands can look stunning. In my opinion, however, the best value proposition right now is the Samsung D6900 at around £850 or less for a 51". It has an image that's really close to a D8000 but at a much lower price. You can throw in a professional calibration and still have lots of cash to spare from your budget. Check out the AVForums review.
 

ArmitageShanks

Well-known Member
D6900 perhaps? For less than £1500, you can get the 59" version and the majority of the features from the D8000 (excluding the peeling filter, but I think they've fixed that now on the latest D8000s anyway).

As for brightness pops/fluctuations, both the Panasonics and Samsungs suffer from this to varying degrees. Samsung appear to have addressed it with their latest firmware, but seemingly at the expense of brightness and black levels.
 

jthorpe

Standard Member
How much is professional calibration and how much of a difference does it make?

What are the key differences between the d6900 and d8000 (in plain English please as I am a tech novice!)

AmritageShanks -- I have heard that the brightness and black levels after that firmware has caused significant problems? Kinda put me off?

I'll take a look into the d6900 if it's near on a par with the 8000, as it will allow me to buy a better blu-ray player (currently use a ps3 and heard the quality isn't anywhere near as good) and possibly an ipad or sound system!
 

Canary_Jules

Well-known Member
D6900 perhaps? For less than £1500, you can get the 59" version and the majority of the features from the D8000 (excluding the peeling filter, but I think they've fixed that now on the latest D8000s anyway).

As for brightness pops/fluctuations, both the Panasonics and Samsungs suffer from this to varying degrees. Samsung appear to have addressed it with their latest firmware, but seemingly at the expense of brightness and black levels.

I agree on the D6900. It's a cracking TV for the price. However, the latest firmware sadly hasn't fixed the brightness pops - I've seen it on all the D8000s and D6900 I've calibrated with the latest firmware. I'd also say from experience that the brightness levels have dropped after the firmware. That said, the Samsungs are still a lot brighter than the Panasonics so don't let that put you off.

The cost of a calibration from one of the AVForums Gold standard calibrators would be just over £200 which may initially sound expensive, but for that you're getting a calibrator into your home for up to 8 hours work optimising your TV. Much of that time is spent educating the client so that by the time the calibrator leaves the client has a good level of understanding of the mechanics of calibration. You also get the follow on support from having a relationship with the calibrator. Oh, and of course, you get a TV that has been tweaked to the max! A pro calibration does make a huge difference IMO. But I'm a calibrator so someone might say that I'm bound to say that! :) In which case check out some of the comments from forum members in the various TV threads who've had their sets calibrated. I don't think I've read one yet where the client has been disappointed by the results. I hope that helps.
 

jthorpe

Standard Member
Is this issue around picture lag true? I have read that plasmas was better than led for gaming? Why do plasma auger from picture lag for online gaming?
 

ArmitageShanks

Well-known Member
Is this issue around picture lag true? I have read that plasmas was better than led for gaming? Why do plasma auger from picture lag for online gaming?
No this is false - plasmas typically require a lot less internal processing than LCDs to deliver a good picture with motion, hence they have less lag than most LCD panels.

Plasmas can suffer from image retention though after prolonged gaming (typically around static parts of the image, things like score counters, HUDs etc). Personally I've never seen any IR on my D6900 (I don't run my display at full contrast and brightness), but I believe it could still occur.
 

ArmitageShanks

Well-known Member
I agree on the D6900. It's a cracking TV for the price. However, the latest firmware sadly hasn't fixed the brightness pops - I've seen it on all the D8000s and D6900 I've calibrated with the latest firmware. I'd also say from experience that the brightness levels have dropped after the firmware. That said, the Samsungs are still a lot brighter than the Panasonics so don't let that put you off.
I've been rather lucky - my D6900 brightness pops virtually disappeared after two or three weeks after getting the set. Not sure if its because I adjusted the picture settings, but they used to be really obvious and frequent (and typically reproducible), but now I hardly ever see one! And I'm still on an older firmware... :)
 

Canary_Jules

Well-known Member
I've been rather lucky - my D6900 brightness pops virtually disappeared after two or three weeks after getting the set. Not sure if its because I adjusted the picture settings, but they used to be really obvious and frequent (and typically reproducible), but now I hardly ever see one! And I'm still on an older firmware... :)

That's interesting. If you have it try popping in Dark Knight on Blu-ray and watch the opening title scene where there is a heavily blue tinted fire. Every time I've run that on a D8000 or D6900 the brightness pops at exactly the same point. The pop is easily visible in the black bars. I would say though that this is mainly where brightness pops are seen - in black bars. It's much more difficult to detect in 16:9 material.
 

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
OK to start plasma has lower lag than LCD, its the main reason for gaming on plasma. Plasma has better motion handling than LCD, with higher motion resolution and no blur. Plasma has a faster refresh rate than LCD and doesn't require the proccesing of LCD to handle motion. The issues with 30fps games is the same on LCD, the differance is the motion blur hides it.

Brightness fluctuation(its actually the contrast) I believe is no longer an issue on Panasonic sets, Ive never seen it on my 46"GT30 and those that did have it have claimed a firmware update fixed it. The 50hz issue I also dont notice on my set and I dont have the green splodge issue, contrary to what some on here would like people to know, the green splodge doesn't effect every set and the sets that are effected vary in the amount.

The Samsung D6900 is a cracking set for the money, but though true they go brighter than the Panasinics they cant creat the same black level, also out the box colour is a tad better on the Panasonics, also(though not by a huge amount) Panasonics are known to have less IR.

The cost of calibration varies depending on kit, its not a fixed price and can be up to £300.
 

deblee

Novice Member
The Samsung D6900 is a cracking set for the money, but though true they go brighter than the Panasinics they cant creat the same black level, also out the box colour is a tad better on the Panasonics, also(though not by a huge amount) Panasonics are known to have less IR.
0.

Even the budget ones are getting close though
According to US users some of the latest Samsung plasma's (budget models) are getting reported as having very good black levels, not sure if the UK version acheive the same (no UK reviews as yet) as you can see here
Blacks & Whites - Samsung PN43D490 Plasma HDTV Review
 

Grangey.

Distinguished Member

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
Even the budget ones are getting close though
According to US users some of the latest Samsung plasma's (budget models) are getting reported as having very good black levels, not sure if the UK version acheive the same (no UK reviews as yet) as you can see here
Blacks & Whites - Samsung PN43D490 Plasma HDTV Review

Samsungs are getting close Id never say anything different:) they arent as deep though this year. Theres pros and cons of both makes, with any luck Samsung will improve further on black level next year and be even more of a threat to Panasonic. This sort of competition is needed, I was hoping LG would keep improving but plasma wise the went nowhere this year. Theres former GT30 owners and VT30 owners in the Samsung threads that are more than happy with their D6900 and D8000s they do comment on black level though. There are other important aspects to a good picture and having a brighter set may also appeal to some, I like deep blacks though:).

If I seem a bit of a Panasonic fanboy to some readers Im not, just read my rants in the V20 owners thread:). If Samsung or indeed LG produced a plasma that gave me what I wanted this year I have not gone Panasonic.
I can well understand how people are happy with their Samsungs, especially if they had issues with their Panasonic as many had/have.
This doesnt change the fact that this year the GT and VT30 are seen as the best sets in most areas this year, with the D6900 and D8000 very close, to some better. 2012 will be very interesting, I hope Samsung dont let us down like LG, if they dont, watch out Panasonic.
 

deblee

Novice Member
I know what your saying and I agree (almost)
For top end then your correct but at the lower ranges I'm not so sure
One of the problems I have is that among the TV's in my price range (up to £700) only the 46ST30 seems to hit the sweet spot for size/picture quality/features etc.
So I will either have to find one without the green splodges and no fan noise otherwise I am stuffed, hence why for now I have asked JL for a replacement.
However if this has the same issues then I will be thinking of a budget model from another manufacturer iro £500 to £600 and this is where Samsung seem to hit the sweet spot
Samsung PS51D495 | 51 inch 3D Plasma TV HD Ready Freeview HD | Richer Sounds
 

ArmitageShanks

Well-known Member
That's interesting. If you have it try popping in Dark Knight on Blu-ray and watch the opening title scene where there is a heavily blue tinted fire. Every time I've run that on a D8000 or D6900 the brightness pops at exactly the same point. The pop is easily visible in the black bars. I would say though that this is mainly where brightness pops are seen - in black bars. It's much more difficult to detect in 16:9 material.
If only I had TDK to try this out. Can't say I'm a huge fan of the recent Batman films though, so I've never been tempted to buy it :rolleyes: Any other discs I can try?

I watch a lot of 2.35:1 material and I used to see noticeable brightness pops (for no apparent reason - one frame it's fine, the next it's suddenly gone grey, and then it gets reset on the next camera cut). I'm just thankful they've disappeared :) Like I said, I don't drive my panel that hard (cell light is nowhere near the levels I see in some people's calibration settings!) so that could be the reason it's not apparent to me.
 

deblee

Novice Member
If only I had TDK to try this out. Can't say I'm a huge fan of the recent Batman films though, so I've never been tempted to buy it :rolleyes: Any other discs I can try?

I watch a lot of 2.35:1 material and I used to see noticeable brightness pops (for no apparent reason - one frame it's fine, the next it's suddenly gone grey, and then it gets reset on the next camera cut). I'm just thankful they've disappeared :) Like I said, I don't drive my panel that hard (cell light is nowhere near the levels I see in some people's calibration settings!) so that could be the reason it's not apparent to me.

Yeh I notice that as well, lots of users seem to have Cell light quite high and Contrast at near max, no wonder owners report higher levels of overall brightness than the Panasonics:cool:
 

Canary_Jules

Well-known Member
Yeh I notice that as well, lots of users seem to have Cell light quite high and Contrast at near max, no wonder owners report higher levels of overall brightness than the Panasonics:cool:

My experience has been that the Panasonics' Professional 1 and 2 are typically much dimmer than the calibrated Movie mode on the Samsungs. Therefore settings also usually have to be maxed out on the Panasonics in these modes in order to get anywhere near the target of 35ftL for night time viewing - and even then they usually don't get as close as the Samsungs. That's why the Panasonic VT30 may have slightly better blacks than the Samsung D8000. It's all swings and roundabouts. ;)
 

Canary_Jules

Well-known Member
I know what your saying and I agree (almost)
For top end then your correct but at the lower ranges I'm not so sure
One of the problems I have is that among the TV's in my price range (up to £700) only the 46ST30 seems to hit the sweet spot for size/picture quality/features etc.
So I will either have to find one without the green splodges and no fan noise otherwise I am stuffed, hence why for now I have asked JL for a replacement.
However if this has the same issues then I will be thinking of a budget model from another manufacturer iro £500 to £600 and this is where Samsung seem to hit the sweet spot
Samsung PS51D495 | 51 inch 3D Plasma TV HD Ready Freeview HD | Richer Sounds
.

Something else that I think is really important to think about before buying a TV is what calibration controls the TV comes with. The ST30 comes with precious little in this respect. That means there's little to adjust beyond setting colour tone and tweaking brightness, contrast, color and tint (unless you fancy going into the service menu and adjusting the greyscale that way - but I certainly wouldn't recommend it unless you know what you're doing). By way of contrast the Samsung D6900 comes with a complete set of calibration controls including a working CMS - which means that you're going to be able to really get the very best from it with a calibration. Of course the D6900 is also a little more expensive.
 
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deblee

Novice Member
My experience has been that the Panasonics' Professional 1 and 2 are typically much dimmer than the calibrated Movie mode on the Samsungs. Therefore settings also usually have to be maxed out on the Panasonics in these modes in order to get anywhere near the target of 35ftL for night time viewing - and even then they usually don't get as close as the Samsungs. That's why the Panasonic VT30 may have slightly better blacks than the Samsung D8000. It's all swings and roundabouts. ;)

But on my ST30 I only need to go to around 70% contrast using Cinema mode to achieve a bright picture (for me) in my room, even in daytime, does the contrast control work differently in Cinema mode?
I was always advised on here to only go to 3/4 on the scale on previous plasma's, is this not the case now?
Also the point I was making was that Samsung may well be brighter but seeing as users max out contrast and cell light then maybe its expected
I wonder if Panasonic users max out their contrast as well then?
 

Canary_Jules

Well-known Member
But on my ST30 I only need to go to around 70% contrast using Cinema mode to achieve a bright picture (for me) in my room, even in daytime, does the contrast control work differently in Cinema mode?
I was always advised on here to only go to 3/4 on the scale on previous plasma's, is this not the case now?
Also the point I was making was that Samsung may well be brighter but seeing as users max out contrast and cell light then maybe its expected
I wonder if Panasonic users max out their contrast as well then?

Do you have a means of measuring how much light you are putting out? It would be interesting to find out how many Foot Lamberts your set is kicking out. Obviously you don't want too many so as to cause eye-strain but maximising the contrast range (without clipping whites or crushing blacks) is nevertheless really important. It may be different with the ST30 (I've not had to calibrate one yet - probably because of its lack of controls) but the Pro modes on the GT30 and VT30 are much dimmer than the other modes (which is quite frustrating). Obviously this does have the positive effect of lowering black levels though.
 

jthorpe

Standard Member
Thanks for the messages guys.

I am liking the look of the d6900 as the green tinge sounds worse than brightness popping (unless the popping is constantly, but it doesn't sound like it is).

Another important question for me - Does a warranty cover burn-in?

Also, how likely is it (from your experiences) that TVs of this price would have discount in the christmas/new year sales?

I have seen a 51 inch d6900, 3d blu-ray player, 4 pairs of glasses and 3 year warranty for £999, and it seems like a really good deal... what do you think?
 
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