Five HDTV Myths and Misconceptions
Despite the fact that a recent Nielsen survey found the number of households with televisions has declined for the first time in twenty years there are still plenty of reasons to buy a new HDTV set including the fact that they are better and cheaper than ever. Unfortunately, many consumers may not have all the correct information about HDTV sets so we thought we'd offer this list of common HDTV myths:
Myth 1: Don't Buy a 720p TV
In a market where 1080p sets are more the rule than the exception this bit of buying advice bears some truth however the fact remains, for sets smaller than 37-inches or for those who sit far away from a larger set it may be very hard to tell the difference between 1080p and 720p. Another consideration is the fact that almost all the programming coming in over the air, on cable, or via satellite is either 1080i or 720p. The content that does come in 1080p will be from a Blu-ray player, game console, or receivers or DVD players that upscale video to 1080p.
Myth 2: You Must Have
HDMI 1.4 to Watch 3D

The latest standard for HDMI, the cable and connection that carries digital high definition video and audio, is 1.4a which is becoming standard on many new sets. HDMI 1.4 added support for 4K TVs which won't be here for awhile, Ethernet, Return Audio Channel and FHD3D (Full High Definition 3D). FHD3D is the format used by 3D Blu-ray players and will only work with HDMI 1.4. If you are only going to be watching 3D programming from your cable or satellite provider, HDMI 1.3 high-speed, Category 2 cables support a high enough data rate (10.2 Gbps) to make this variation of 3D work. For those without HDMI 1.4, you can buy converter boxes which should be cheaper than buying a new TV.
Myth 3: Plasma TVs are Better for Watching
Sports Because of Their High Refresh Rates

Plasma TVs are in fact better for watching fast action programming like sports but not because they refresh 600 times a second. Refresh rates have become a marketing specsmanship game with Plasma manufacturers countering high LCD refresh rates with their own 600 Hz rate. Unfortunately, they all tend to mislead the consumer. Plasma TVs work by making a tiny speck of phosphor glow similar to your old CRT. Phosphors don't stay glowing for long which is why the have to be energized 10 times (sub-fields) for every frame or field which happens 60 times a second (hence 10 x 60 = 600 Hz). The fact is, the frame rate is still 60 Hz but because the phosphors can be turned on and off so fast (< 2ms.) means you have the TV is more responsive to fast changes and there are fewer remnants from the previous frame around to cause blurring and ghosting. To be fair, advances being made in LCD direct backlighting could help LCD TVs make fast action scenes look as good if not better than Plasma TVs
Myth 4: LCD TVs with Higher Refresh Are
Much Better Than Slower Refresh LCD TVs

Although manufacturers have made dramatic improvements in LCD switching times, liquid crystals are inherently slower to change state which may have resulted in Plasma TVs getting the better of them for displaying fast changing programming. LCD manufactures have been using innovative techniques to compensate for slow switching time including turning the backlights on and off (black frame insertion). Motion interpolation is another technique to bump up the refresh rate and it does a good job smoothing transitions between frames of fast action content but can also create a "fake looking" images on regular speed content. The fact remains, most LCD TVs are not capable of producing true 240 Hz true frame rates let alone 480 Hz however these higher refresh rates do become necessary for displaying 3D programming that relies on alternating frames like that used with active shutter glasses. That said, some viewers feel that even “pseudo” 240 and 480 Hz TVs look better than slower refresh models.
  Direct LED Backlit LCD TVs Should Change the Game
As LED backlights migrate from the edge of the screens to directly behind the screens and use "regional dimming" to turn off the backlight behind selected zones or regions blurring and ghosting issues should become almost non-existent.
Myth 5: Plasma TVs Degrade Quickly
There is a common misconception that the phosphors in Plasma TVs degrade over time resulting in reduced brightness. While older plasma TV may have suffered from phosphor-related problems like burn-in and degradation those problems have been addressed on newer sets. Today's Plasma HDTVs are rated for over 70,000 hours before its pixels become half as bright (half life) which translates to about 8 years of continuous use or over 50 years of average viewing time.
  Tip: Although Plasma TVs have very long life spans these days if you want to get the most out of your Plasma TV make sure you turn the brightness/contrast down from the default "showroom" levels.  
Which HDTV Should You Buy?
Now that you have a better understanding of some common HDTV myths you're probably wondering whether you should buy a Plasma or LCD TV? They’re both looking attractive these days with vendors like Panasonic offering a high quality and good valued 3D Plasma TV while the greater selection and competition in the LCD market has created some very good values in everything from smaller 720p sets to large LED edge-lit LCD sets. LCD TVs have taken advantage of the fact that since LCD screens are used more widely in everything from computer displays to automobile displays advances have come faster for LCDs than Plasma displays furthermore, despite how good Plasma TVs look they are typically going to be heavier, thicker, and use more power than their LCD counterparts. Don't forget to check out Retrevo's HDTV section where you'll find reviews and recommendations for all the latest HDTV sets.

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Electicity consumption?

All else being equal, which consumes less current, LCD or Plasma?

Is the difference substantial?


TV refresh rates

I fail to grasp the need for fast refresh rates on TV screens. We watch movies at 24 frames/sec and our persistence of vision causes us to see movement as though it were perfectly continuous. Even silent movies at 16 frames/sec have barely perceptible flicker. NTCSC television runs at 30/sec with no problems. What, then, is the point of 60, 120, 240, or even faster? It looks to me like just another game of one-upmanship. This is very reminiscent of the stupid fads that once dominated audio, such as frequency response to 100 KHz and distortion levels orders of magnitude below what the most "golden" ears could detect. Is this just one more demonstration of Barnum's Law that "There's a sucker born every minute?"

Jonathan Allen

Refresh rates

As someone who has spent a lot of time in front of a computer monitor I can tell you, higher refresh rates matter. They matter so much that traditional theatrical 35 and 70mm projectors actually increase the number of times the shutter opens while a frame of film is in the gate 2 or more times to reduce the amount of flicker. This is problematic in that it requires a much brighter illumination source..which makes a lot of heat...but I digress. Douglas Trumbull, inventor of the Showscan system which involves shooting and projecting 65mm at 60FPS, did a lot of experimenting with the emotional effect of film shot at higher framerates and found that 72 FPS was the maximum at which measurable emotional impact could be resolved, and "institutions such as Snell have demonstrated 720p72 pictures as a result of earlier analogue experiments, where 768 line television at 75 FPS looked subjectively better than 1150 line 50 FPS progressive pictures with higher shutter speeds available (and a corresponding lower data rate)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frame_rate

While I'm not certain 240 FPS is really not more than enough, with the 3D content hitting the shelves...being able to provide a true 60Hz refresh to each eye is very much preferable to the 30fps effective rate which would otherwise be derived from alternating scan lines to each eye and dividing 60 Fields per second into 3D content.

CRT Hi Def.

I have a 4 year old Sanyo Hi-Definition 1080i TV with flat screen CRT that produces a brilliant and absolutely perfect picture. Its a bit heavier to lug around but once set up I know it will outlive the LCD and Plasma units by years. It has HDMI, S-Video and surround sound outlets. My friends have had nothing but trouble from their LCD and Plasma TV's and the cost to repair them is always more than they are worth, and in some instances exceed the price of a new TV. I think marketing has taken over the TV industry and they are selling technical details that have zero bearing on the longevity of the TV that nowadays seem to have a lifespan of 2.5 years at the most. I was told by a TV repair shop that Samsung has the most problems of any TV and they pointed to about 6 Samsung relatively new TV's in for repair. My experience with Samsung has been awful. The last Hi-Def I had was their DLP rear projection TV that cost nearly $4,000 and after 3 years ended up in the Dumpster. It had continious major problems with its 'color wheel' and audio and video boards and they proved to have the absolutely worst service I ever experienced and a 'don't call us, we'll call you' attitude.
I'll stay with the other name brands that put their money into engineering and not into marketing.

@Vinny -- Dude, my Sammy HLP5085 is over 6yrs old

Sorry to hear you had a problem with your DLP set. But it must have been a pretty early model. Samsung was really early to market with big DLP TVs back in the early 2000s. Mine was at least a 3rd generation model in late 2004, when I got it. Not much HD content in those days -- but man o man, when you I got something in High Def it was unbelievable on my DLP. Blew away the Plasma sets and little CRTs.

My DLP picture is still terrific. I did have to replace the lamp in 2009 (it lasted 5 years). This TV is turned on and off multiple times every day, it averages about 6-8 hours on time per day and more when the grand-kids are over. Its also connected to a HT PC with nearly a gb of HD content and with a digital camera we use for video calls and meetings. DLP has zero issues with burn in, my computer can sit a times for hours on with areas that have no moving content -- no issues none.

I can't say enough about Samsung TVs and DVDs (my up converting DVD player is the same age and still works perfect too). I used to swear by Sony, but after some really bad experiences in the 80s and 90s, I gave up on them for the "big stuff". Everyone I know with a Samsung TV (DLP, LCD, LED and Plasma) has nothing but praise for them. I know 16 people for sure and not to mention a few bars and a bowling alley all using Samsung TVs. The people and businesses are not taking their sets down for repairs and their pictures are all spectacular.

One place we visit often has 3 Samsung sets outside on their patio -- in Michigan! Here we commonly see massive changes in temps and humidity nearly every day. Their patio is open (with infrared heaters) from as early as March to as late as November. I mean how much worse can it get than that?




Plasma rules

I agree. I have both LCD and Plasma, the older plasma has the best picture, no question. Clarity and color.


Plasma's have no endurance.

My first big screen was a plasma and we watch alot of TV and it started having problems after only 3 yrs and my Brothers Dell broke after only about 4 yrs and the picture was never really as sharp as the 1020's we have now, and everyone I know that owns 720's never admit how nice the 1020 LCD's are until they own one, so keep your Plasma's but stop selling us on how superior they are, they are getting so cheap now cause everyone is jumping on the LCD 1020's now.

Avaya mls-18d phones

I have a mls-18d phone and I'm trying to program the intercom on and indidividual station, when I do, it keeps putting it as an outside line. Does anyone have any suggestions to solve this problem


Yes your phone is Not a

Yes your phone is Not a Plasma nor a LCD TV. You might want to try a phone forum that will get you an answer faster than posting in a blog about TV's. Jussayin.

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