I just purchased a 50″ Panasonic GT50 plasma display yesterday. Here is how I made my decision. The last TV I purchased was a DLP projector with a 91″ screen about 10 years ago. Now, in my little 1 bedroom apartment, it is overkill. Besides the bulb is dead and I was reluctant to replace it for around $300 when it isn’t the most practical solution for my needs. Projectors in my opinion, are the best but come with a whole slew of problems. You need the right viewing room with no windows, or at least heavy curtains to keep out the light. There is a need to mount the screen and projector. You must deal with a fair amount of heat and noise (although I’m sure newer projectors have made this less of an issue).
I wanted to stay away from LCD and LED because the technology just isn’t the best for smooth color transitions and refresh rate. What’s left is plasma. Still the best in flat panel displays. I was able to pick up a 50″ with all the normal apps like YouTube, Netflix and so on for only $1,000. You can download a free phone or tablet app to sling photos and video to an from the display using your phone or tablet. And also change channel remotely. There is also an SD card for viewing photos and many video types. Setup of the display was extremely fast and simple. I went into the “Pro” video settings and turned off all the extra crap for smoothing out the picture and making the motion look “too crisp”. Why would I want a movie to look like a live news cast? And somehow that smoothing technology (to me) looks like it’s running at a faster frame rate without speeding up. Bugs the crap out of me so that stuff gets the switch. The first video I watched was the trailer for Wolverine on YouTube. It looked damn good. Then The Amazing Spiderman was on and I hadn’t seen it before. Very fluid motion and very little artifacting was noticeable. I did see some banding, though that was likely from the broadcast compression.
I chose this panel partially due to it’s dual processor for smoother operation. The processors are there mostly for the 3D function which I may never use, but that’s OK.
So why not wait a few more years for the prices to come down on 4k displays? Because there won’t be enough content shot in 4k or higher. Most everything is in 1080 or 720 so the picture would have to upscale. But, down-sampling a 4k image to 1080p will end up looking slightly better than a 1:1 1080p image. I don’t have any proof of this but I’ve talked to some smart people about it and I believe it to be true. At least this display should last me longer than my projector.