Print 75 comment(s) - last by exdeath.. on Aug 9 at 12:09 PM

Sony gives up on plasma

Sony has announced plans to exit the plasma TV market. The company has been facing increasing pressure in the market and it doesn't own any plasma display panel (PDP) plants to support its business. Sales for Sony PDPs for fiscal year 2005 were down 67% compared to the year before and the company has failed to disclose its targets for the current fiscal year.  Coupled with the enormous amount of backing Sony has committed to LCD, the move to exit the plasma market was almost inevitable.

With PDPs now out of the picture, Sony can now focus its efforts entirely on LCD TV production where it has seen much success. Back in February, DailyTech reported that Sony was number one in global sales for LCD TVs for Q4 2005. To keep up the momentum, Sony and Samsung invested $2 billion USD into the expansion of their jointly owned 7G LCD facility. The investment increased monthly production by 50,000 units per month. Sony is seeing large profit margins for LCD TV panels of 40" and above so the company is focusing on that sector of the market and is preparing for 8G. DigiTimes reports:

In a bid to secure more panels with which to win the large-size TV battle, Sony has signed a contract for the construction of an eighth-generation (8G) TFT-LCD production line through S-LCD, a joint venture with Samsung in July. The new plant is targeted to start production in fall 2007, with a monthly capacity of 50,000 glass substrates.

Earlier this year, Sony had to issue a recall for over 400,000 of its Bravia flat-screen and Grand Wega rear-projection LCD televisions. It was found that affected models wouldn't turn off after prolonged usage.

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RE: Quality
By exdeath on 8/7/2006 4:09:28 PM , Rating: 3
LCD grainy? Not.

Hmm most LCDs are 1280x720 or 1920x1080 and most PDPs are 852x480 or 1366x768.

The only thing PDP has over LCD is black level but that is going away quickly as LCD contrast and backlighting improves. Other than that:

---LCD has FAR better color (to me PDP always looks like 256 color dithering; lots of banding and breakup in what should be smooth color gradients)

---LCDs support higher resolution and tighter pixel spacing per given screen size due to the design of PDP pixel/electrode structures which requires rather large pixel cells

---current LCDs have fast enough refresh rates now days that ghosting isn't a problem, though this isn't fair to compare to PDP as I've experienced nauseating ghosting on PDPs as well

---LCDs do no use hot plasma gasses and high temperature phosphor, thus no permanent image burn in. If you think it’s a myth or that the problem has been solved by current generation products, ask yourself why vendors are touting image shifting and screen saving functions which aren't necessary on any other display technology including CRT? If burn wasn't a problem they wouldn’t need these features in the first place!

This is my unbiased knowledge of both PDP and LCD as I have neither; I have a 720p LCD and a 1080p SXRD front projector.

RE: Quality
By jskirwin on 8/7/2006 4:32:55 PM , Rating: 3
Ghosting isn't a problem?
I'm not pro, but whenever I see images on LCD I see ghosting. A few weeks back the stores had on the World Cup (beats me why - this is baseball/(US)football territory) and the ghosting was so bad on the units I could barely stand to watch.

The Panasonic TH-50PX60U was simply gorgeous. It was bright from all viewing angles, sharper than the LCD and no ghosting.

Honestly I'm no fanboy of either tech and am happy to watch the prices fall as the quality improves. But if I had an extra $3k that day, that Panasonic would have been mine.

RE: Quality
By RamarC on 8/7/2006 4:42:30 PM , Rating: 2
I've got a Sony 50" LCD and don't find ghosting a problem at all. When watching broadcast content, there's always the chance that the problem lay in the feed. Compression artifacts are common in some broadcast feeds and they may have been squeezing its excessively for the satellite bounce.

Watch FOX's NFL football, NASCAR, or better yet, hockey this season to get a better benchmark. The black puck/uniforms on white ice will definitely point out any ghosting. If you're buying a set, ask them to put in a copy of video essentials and some HD discs.

RE: Quality
By Samus on 8/7/2006 6:19:17 PM , Rating: 2
A Panasonic Plasma literally abliterates any competition from any LCD manufacturer. They have unbelievable picture quality.

RE: Quality
By BladeVenom on 8/7/2006 7:11:31 PM , Rating: 2
As long as you can ignore the humming sound plasma TVs make.

RE: Quality
By Xavian on 8/8/2006 2:03:57 AM , Rating: 2
this is the truth, Panasonic Plasma's put every single LCD TV i've seen to shame. The Contrast and sharpness on a panasonic plasma (even in 720p) is amazing. The only drawback of plasma's is that its difficult to get them up to 1080p resolution since the 'pixels' or rather cells on a plasma are much larger compared to LCD's.

Until the glaring overbearing brightness on LCD's is fixed (probably with OLED's no doubt) i will go with plasma for any TV purchase i make.

Then again, i wish SED came out, since that seems to be the best of both worlds.

RE: Quality
By Xavian on 8/8/2006 2:06:24 AM , Rating: 2
oh and screen burning is simply not a problem after approximately 200 or so hours of use. For those 200 hours i would put the plasma on something that has no permanant logo's or static images.

Once you have completeled 200 hours of burn in, you'll never have to worry about screen burning for the remainder of the plasma's life.

RE: Quality
By DCstewieG on 8/7/2006 4:44:32 PM , Rating: 2
This is my unbiased knowledge of both PDP and LCD as I have neither; I have a 720p LCD...

Did you mean you have a 720p DLP?

RE: Quality
By exdeath on 8/7/2006 5:42:05 PM , Rating: 2
No its a 720p LCD projector and a 1080p SXRD projector.

But the 1" HTPS panels in a LCD HD projector are in no way comparable to a 47" LCD flat panel; so it stands that I don't have either a PDP or LCD panel, just a LCD projector.

RE: Quality
By bigboxes on 8/7/2006 5:11:47 PM , Rating: 2
This is my unbiased knowledge of both PDP and LCD as I have neither; I have a 720p LCD and a 1080p SXRD front projector.

No, you're not biased. :eyeroll:

RE: Quality
By exdeath on 8/7/2006 5:46:33 PM , Rating: 2
The points I have listed favor what they favor, it's not like I'm defending the one I bought because I own neither type of flat panel (and never will now that I know how great a 130” 1080p screen that is only 1” thick looks) If you think I favor LCD because I have a LCD projector, that is invalid, as the 1” HTPS panels in a projector are in no way comparable to the large format panels used in flat panel displays.

To say a .45 is bigger than a 9mm is not bias. The facts point out what they point out.

RE: Quality
By agent2099 on 8/7/2006 5:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't say burn-in is a complete non-issue on current Plasmas, but it can be easily avoided with a 5 minute education on the subject.

RE: Quality
By exdeath on 8/7/2006 6:11:57 PM , Rating: 2
I tend to treat PDP and CRT FP/RP the same when it comes to burn in, but in my experience PDP is even more prone to phosphor wear than even 7”/9” CRT rear projection sets.

It's inherit to the high temperature design which PDP inherits its 'plasma' name sake.

If you are aware of the problem and know what causes it, it can be avoided. For example, never set the contrast and brightness to greater than 50% (certainly don't keep it at 100% full time), don't leave it on 24/7 (use the radio if you want background noise), avoid static images, etc.

The most serious problem is for the heavy gamer, even heeding the above, playing games 24/7, avoiding static image display is next to impossible without limiting your title selection.

Generally plasma is ok if all you do is watch 16:9 video, even 4:3 video centered in a 16:9 screen is known to cause uneven wear.

RE: Quality
By exdeath on 8/7/2006 6:17:17 PM , Rating: 2
BTW I've seen PDPs on store shelves with the string "Component 1080i" burned completely out of the green, leaving a purple shadow in that text over the rest of the video; and this was with sets that couldn't have been on the shelves for more than 3 months given their new model status at the time.

Even CRT rear projection units don't burn in that fast with OSD and CC left on 24/7.

RE: Quality
By kkwst2 on 8/8/2006 1:54:43 AM , Rating: 2
What you're describing isn't burn in, it's uneven wear and isn't permanent. Burn in is etching into the glass/plastics in front of the phosphor panel. That's the only thing that is permanent and is almost unheard of on current panels from major manufacturers. It in theory is inherent to anything that emits light through a panel. It's more of an issue to plasma and CRT because of the intensity of the light and the materials used. However, including myself I know a dozen people with plasma sets, mostly Panasonic, and a few of them use them for extensive gaming. None have had a hint of ghosting, burn-in or uneven wear. It's just not a significant issue for home use. Maybe for commercial use, although we have several Panasonic plasmas at my work which show static images almost all day and don't have burn in.

Also, that wouldn't be caused by the input text of any name brand set, because they're all set to disappear fairly quickly. Perhaps if an external tuner is attached.

RE: Quality
By highlandsun on 8/8/2006 7:16:55 AM , Rating: 2
Uneven wear isn't permanent? How do you make it go away?

I was shocked to notice recently that there are "burn-in" patterns on my laptop's LCD, from a couple apps that I always have on (Trillian contacts in the top right, Seamonkey mail in the bottom right). The laptop is powered on 24/7 but of course the screen is only lit while I'm working on it, more like 12-15 hours a day. The borders of the windows are clearly visible on the screen after the display is turned off.

RE: Quality
By exdeath on 8/8/2006 10:17:47 AM , Rating: 2
LOL you make it go away by displaying the inverse pattern long enough to destroy the rest of the phosphor so the wear is even :P ie: in this case display 0x00FF00 at 100% brightness and contrast for a week constant :P

RE: Quality
By exdeath on 8/8/2006 10:15:58 AM , Rating: 2
The green phosphor was completely burned out. It was visible even when the screen was off. There was simply no more green phosphor where the words "Component 1080i" were displayed.

No doubt the idiots in the store left the OSD/menu settings to "always display"

Regardless of the precautions, I prefer to not even have to worry about it at all. Both my 720p and 1080p projectors look better than any flat panel ever will even at 4x the screen size. Though it is a bit nauseating after several hours of gaming on such large screens... though thats probably a function of not having wireless controllers for some of the legacy systems thus having to sit too close.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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