Best HDTV's: Plasma VS LED

Which is the superior HDTV Technology?


  • Total voters
    91

dalekphalm

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This is just for my own curiosity more then anything. I've had some people post on another forum (linustechtips) that were trying to convince someone who was looking for a new TV that plasma was a horrible idea. I, and most videophiles that I've spoken to, all agree that Plasma is still king.

I'm curious what everyone else thinks about this.

Please post whether you think Plasma, or LED technology makes the best HDTV, and why you think this.

I'm excluding OLED because it's not available at a reasonable price to consumers.

Now for me:
Plasma

Why? Superior blacks and colour plus naturally good motion playback is just too hard to pass up for me. I don't game on my HDTV, so any potential input lag is a non-factor in my personal HT setup.
 

mavere

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I'm planning on getting a new TV by the end of the year, but it's really frustrating that there's no such thing as a no-compromise TV. The top-end LCDs won't even touch high-end plasmas's black-levels and light uniformity, while the top-end plasmas don't do very well in bright environments and come with higher input lag.

The one option that seems just about right (Samsung's F8500) has almost every reviewer mentioning a buzz that becomes "only" somewhat noticeable at 15 feet away (wtf?!). I'm sorry, but if it were the other way around and my speakers were affecting my TV's image, I'd expect everybody to be damn pissed. There's no reason this should be acceptable.

/rant
 

Medion

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Plasma is an evolution of CRT technology, wheres LCD (LED is not a display technology, it's just a backlight option for LCD) is made up of many panels, each with inherent strengths and weaknesses.

Plasma offers the best picture quality and motion. No LCD panel can compete. However, it has many flaws that LCD technology does address.

Burn-in - If you do any extensive gaming where a HUD will display on screen, or you watch the same channel (ticker/logo), you risk burn-in. I've got a friend with a beautiful plasma with a permanent ESPN ticker on it due to the NFL draft.

Heat/power consumption - If this matters to you, plasma is not the way to go. LCD uses less, even moreso if you have an LED backlight as opposed to CCFL.

Size/weight - LCD w/CCFL is thinner/lighter, and LCD/LED is even moreso.

Basically, Plasma offers the better picture quality. LCD has it beat in technical features, environmental consideration, and convenience. Which is the better technology is highly dependent on your planned usage. When I bought my LCD in 2008, it was because I was a game who watched a lot of sports television. Now, I watch primarily Netflix/Hulu/OTA antenna and Blu-Rays from Redbox. I haven't booted up a game on my HDTV in over a year. If I were buying today it would be a Plasma.
 

Megalith

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pioner-kuro-logo.jpg


End thread.
 

Jagger100

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I've looked at Plasmas and swear I see momentary time-related artifacting and occassional flutter. And they are also seem grainy in terms of size pixel as percent of screen. So a lot of that artifacting and flutter might be a momentary moire effect on my vision or there is both. These effects seem considerably less on any LCD I've seen at the same price point.
 

Etherton

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Plasma - unless you want motion blur & washed out blacks.
 

dan87

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Plasma - unless you want motion blur & washed out blacks.

Yes, but then you get the 'dirty whites' of plasma.

One isn't better than the other for all use cases. Plasma also have way better 3D than LCD but also suffers from ambient and direct sunlight since the front is glass.
 

Xinmosni

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^

Think OP meant LED-backlit LCD (non CCFL)

As for edge vs full, I see so many airheads rave over the dimensions and weight of a panel long before ever asking whether it's edge-lit or not. In 90% of cases: yes, it is, which is why it doesn't cost an asston and why Best Buy and other chains are able to continually push LED over all other display types.

A cheap Plasma is just as bad as a cheap LED-backlit LCD in my book, though, but even worse since most cheap LED-backlit LCDs are at least 1080p (most "cheap" plasmas are 720p and very old now)...

I voted for Plasma, but only because DLP and Laservue are dead :( (well, and they weren't listed ;-))
 

wra18th

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Plasma. Panasonic Viera plasma. I have a 40" Sharp Aquos and my Panasonic plasma kicks it's ass. I also have a Samsung 72" DLP which looks great but the plasma looks better.
 

dalekphalm

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WTF is a LED TV?

It's an LCD. The OP is confused. The LEDs are used to back light panel. That being said, are you talking about a fully backlit panel, or edge lit.

^

Think OP meant LED-backlit LCD (non CCFL)

As for edge vs full, I see so many airheads rave over the dimensions and weight of a panel long before ever asking whether it's edge-lit or not. In 90% of cases: yes, it is, which is why it doesn't cost an asston and why Best Buy and other chains are able to continually push LED over all other display types.

A cheap Plasma is just as bad as a cheap LED-backlit LCD in my book, though, but even worse since most cheap LED-backlit LCDs are at least 1080p (most "cheap" plasmas are 720p and very old now)...

I voted for Plasma, but only because DLP and Laservue are dead :( (well, and they weren't listed ;-))

The OP is not confused and does indeed know that LED is a backlight technology.

However, for the sake of Simplicity, I labeled it as LED. The reason being is that it's pretty much impossible to find a high end CCFL LCD TV these days. Anything "high end" is generally LED.

The merits of Back lit vs Edge lit are certainly worth discussing though. From my understanding, back lit LED are better, except for the level of thinness. Thinness however doesn't bother me, as pretty much any HDTV these days are plenty thin.

As for alternate TV technologies, yeah they weren't listed because you can't buy them new. Also projectors are a completely different technology with different characteristics and requirements (larger viewing surface, etc), and the average person wouldn't consider buying one, which is why they weren't listed either.
 

Tyler-Durden

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Panasonic Viera ST series plasma TVs are amazing. I picked up the P50ST60 over the weekend. It bitch slaps my Viera L37DT30, which is Panasonic's top of the line LED backlit TV. My biggest concern with getting a plasma was the reflection effect, but it's near nonexistent on the ST series.
 

Xinmosni

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This ^^^^ Followed by The Panasonic ST60. To bad they aren't making them anymore.

And why would they, when idiots (no offense, Village Idiot) get all hyped over quantity over quality?

Not to mention all the morons who need to mount their TV on the wall... only to have a TV stand underneath for all their shit. Seriously now?
 

Etherton

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And why would they, when idiots (no offense, Village Idiot) get all hyped over quantity over quality?

Not to mention all the morons who need to mount their TV on the wall... only to have a TV stand underneath for all their shit. Seriously now?

Quantity over quality in a TV argument? :confused: Are we talking about the Black Friday sheep?

As far as the TV stand - not everyone has the money or know how to put their equipment in a hidden media cabinet (closet). I see it all the time in homes. The term morons might be a little harsh/misplaced here...
 

Dextar

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suffers from ambient and direct sunlight since the front is glass.

Only if you end up buying a cheap one but even the cheap plasmas look better than the cheap LCDs. I have a 50' Panasonic Plasma that I bought in 2008 and I've yet to have a single issue with sunlight or ambient light because of the anti-glare it has on it and the picture clarity is amazing.

I have three plasma TVs in my house because of the picture quality for the price! <3 Panasonic.
 

dandragonrage

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It's an LCD. The OP is confused. The LEDs are used to back light panel. That being said, are you talking about a fully backlit panel, or edge lit.

The OP is confused because that's what the electronics manufacturers intended. They should never have been allowed to sell an LCD TV with LED backlights as LED TVs just because there are LEDs in the TV any more than having an LED power light for the TV should qualify it as an LED TV. The main technology, as you said, is still LCD, and they should be required to sell them as LCD TVs. LED backlight should only be allowed to be a secondary point, which must specifically be explained, or it should be false advertising.

Anyway, either way, plasma. Better blacks, better colors, but heavier and more power usage. And potentially not as long lasting, but still pretty good in that respect these days. Oh, and more image retention on plasmas (but LCDs can get it too) but it's usually temporary. Permanent burn-in is still possible but rare.
 

Schro

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When I was doing this comparison a bit over a year ago, I preferred how the LED backlit LCD's looked and purchased accordingly. I found the plasmas to have 2 main issues - they were very dark compared to the LED backlit LCDs (not good for the room it was going into) and second, my eyes saw a lot of flicker in the picture (much like a CRT at a low refresh rate) that seemed like it would become uncomfortable. It was the Panasonic VT60 (or was it 50?) that I was looking at and ended up with a Sharp 60LE633U
 

dalekphalm

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The OP is confused because that's what the electronics manufacturers intended. They should never have been allowed to sell an LCD TV with LED backlights as LED TVs just because there are LEDs in the TV any more than having an LED power light for the TV should qualify it as an LED TV. The main technology, as you said, is still LCD, and they should be required to sell them as LCD TVs. LED backlight should only be allowed to be a secondary point, which must specifically be explained, or it should be false advertising.

Anyway, either way, plasma. Better blacks, better colors, but heavier and more power usage. And potentially not as long lasting, but still pretty good in that respect these days. Oh, and more image retention on plasmas (but LCDs can get it too) but it's usually temporary. Permanent burn-in is still possible but rare.

As I've stated in a previous post, I'm not confused about the technology, but if I had made the poll "Plasma VS LCD" there would have been people who were confused by that.

Yes I know that the underlying display technology and panel are LCD based, and that LED is only the backlight technology, but for the sake of simplicity, I refer to them by their backlight technology (aka: LED).

This is because 1) Most people associate LCD with the lower end, featureless (and often lower quality panels) CCFL HDTV's, whereas they associate LED with the higher end HDTV's with higher quality panels and features. This is of course a generalization, but it also leads into:
2) Pretty much no major consumer brand sells a "High end" CCFL backlit HDTV anyway. At least, I've NEVER seen one in any brick & mortar store, nor have I seen one referenced by reviewers. In the last 5+ years, LED has dominated the high-end LCD space for HDTV's.

Also, any tech person, such as yourself, should inherently know that when I reference LED HDTV's, you understand that they have an LCD panel technology. Regardless of what "never" should have happened, LED referencing as it's own "type" of TV did happen, but us in the tech enthusiast world understand this difference.
 

Herushan

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I didn't like Plasma in the early 2000's but the technology has improved a lot since then. I just got the 60" ZT60 which has better viewing in the light then my 32" Sharp LCD that I had with a non glossy screen. It is a shame Plasma is on the way out now with the wonderful blacks and all. I guess OLED will be the next big thing.
 

defaultluser

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When I was doing this comparison a bit over a year ago, I preferred how the LED backlit LCD's looked and purchased accordingly. I found the plasmas to have 2 main issues - they were very dark compared to the LED backlit LCDs (not good for the room it was going into) and second, my eyes saw a lot of flicker in the picture (much like a CRT at a low refresh rate) that seemed like it would become uncomfortable.

I did the same thing for the exact same reasons. I went to hh greg and I could see flicker from all the plasmas, both Samsung and Panasonic!

Also the room I put the TV in has lots of windows, so a strong backlight and matte screen were absolutely critical. You can't get that on Plasma!

I would actually be disappointed if I had to buy today because so many stupid TV makers have copied the dumbasses who make laptop screens, and made most of the LCD screens shiny :(
 

Kelvarr

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I did the same thing for the exact same reasons. I went to hh greg and I could see flicker from all the plasmas, both Samsung and Panasonic!

Also the room I put the TV in has lots of windows, so a strong backlight and matte screen were absolutely critical. You can't get that on Plasma!

I would actually be disappointed if I had to buy today because so many stupid TV makers have copied the dumbasses who make laptop screens, and made most of the LCD screens shiny :(

The biggest difference being you can change your laptop LCD screen if you so choose!
 

Dextar

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Anyone who is seeing "flickering" with Plasma TVs was not looking at them properly setup, I have two cheaper panasonic plasmas in our bedrooms and neither of them have a flicker nor does my main plasma. The LCD might look good in a brightly lit room but when you go to watch movies at night you're going to kill your eyes with that super bright backlight.. I'm just not a fan of LCDs for TVs at all and I sold a LOT of them to people "because they look brighter".

My father went and bought a TV the same year I bought my plasma without me (he had to have it that day and I couldn't go) and the sales people where he purchased it talked him into a high end Samsung. Each time he visits he tells me how he regrets his purchase and should have listened to me because my TV looks beautiful and I only have a PZ80U! I can't even imagine what the VT/ZT65 looks like now, eventually I'll buy one.
 

dandragonrage

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Anyone who is seeing "flickering" with Plasma TVs was not looking at them properly setup, I have two cheaper panasonic plasmas in our bedrooms and neither of them have a flicker nor does my main plasma.

My Panasonic P50G10 flickers somewhat badly with my PC but not with other stuff... I don't think you should generalize like that. Some people also claim that DLP "rainbowing" doesn't exist, but as someone who EASILY saw that in most DLP setups, I call BS...
 

Dextar

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My Panasonic P50G10 flickers somewhat badly with my PC but not with other stuff... I don't think you should generalize like that. Some people also claim that DLP "rainbowing" doesn't exist, but as someone who EASILY saw that in most DLP setups, I call BS...

Do you have it running with VGA or HDMI? I have my laptop hooked up to my PZ80U which is a model year or two older than what you have an I have zero issues. Check your cable(s) and make sure they are all snug or try new ones.

As I said, if you're seeing flicker on a plasma it's not setup properly or you're full of it, the refresh rate is HIGHER on a plasma than on an LCD so you'd never be happy with an LCD if you did see the flickering because you'd see it on both. I sold the cheap low end TVs when I worked retail and in the three years of running the department I NEVER saw an issue with one of the plasmas flickering, you could see it on some of the low end vizio TVs but that's just due to them being low end cheap TVs.

If you really want a decent experience to see the difference, I've heard Magnolia Best Buy stores take decent care of setting up their TVs. Check out the VT60 or ZT60 but make sure you are wearing a hat to contain your mind that's being blown.
 

dandragonrage

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Do you have it running with VGA or HDMI? I have my laptop hooked up to my PZ80U which is a model year or two older than what you have an I have zero issues. Check your cable(s) and make sure they are all snug or try new ones.

As I said, if you're seeing flicker on a plasma it's not setup properly or you're full of it, the refresh rate is HIGHER on a plasma than on an LCD so you'd never be happy with an LCD if you did see the flickering because you'd see it on both. I sold the cheap low end TVs when I worked retail and in the three years of running the department I NEVER saw an issue with one of the plasmas flickering, you could see it on some of the low end vizio TVs but that's just due to them being low end cheap TVs.

If you really want a decent experience to see the difference, I've heard Magnolia Best Buy stores take decent care of setting up their TVs. Check out the VT60 or ZT60 but make sure you are wearing a hat to contain your mind that's being blown.


^ summarized: "blah blah blah I don't see plasma flicker blah blah so you don't either blah blah" (p.s. don't care if you don't like the "blah," and you're not dealing in facts, but I am in fact dealing in facts. It's a fact that I see flicker in my plasma when I hook my PC up.)

Plasmas do not have a higher refresh rate. Sub-field drive is not refresh rate.

I see the flicker with HDMI. And I know what I'm talking about. And the rest of us don't really care if you believe us about the flicker or not. Haven't tried the VGA input on the TV. I don't care even if it works with the PC without flicker, as it's still analog video, which blows.
 
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Dextar

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Obviously you don't and you're too foolish to admit it. "blah blah blah" Really? Are you twelve? I actually back up my statements with FACTS not, "I know what I'm talking about!".

You're right, it's not a refresh rate exactly but here maybe this will help you.
http://hometheater.about.com/od/televisionbasics/qt/What_A_Plasma_TV_Sub-Field_Drive_Is.htm
"However, one thing can be stated objectively, Plasma TVs definitely have better motion response than LCD TVs."
So again, if you're seeing a flicker on a Plasma you'll see it on an LCD, that or you're comparing a cheap plasma to an expensive LCD.

Again, something is wrong with either your PC, your HDMI cable, or your TV. Three plasmas, all different models (granted they are all Panasonic) and I don't have a single issue. Doing a quick search online says it could be a setting wrong on your TV, if it's set to 48Hz, so maybe you have the settings incorrect?

Feel free to look for yourself: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1128052/p...p50g10-and-tc-p54g10-owners-discussion-thread If there was a wide flickering issue, it would be posted here. Which it's not.
 

7th Angel

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Do you have it running with VGA or HDMI? I have my laptop hooked up to my PZ80U which is a model year or two older than what you have an I have zero issues. Check your cable(s) and make sure they are all snug or try new ones.

As I said, if you're seeing flicker on a plasma it's not setup properly or you're full of it, the refresh rate is HIGHER on a plasma than on an LCD so you'd never be happy with an LCD if you did see the flickering because you'd see it on both. I sold the cheap low end TVs when I worked retail and in the three years of running the department I NEVER saw an issue with one of the plasmas flickering, you could see it on some of the low end vizio TVs but that's just due to them being low end cheap TVs.

If you really want a decent experience to see the difference, I've heard Magnolia Best Buy stores take decent care of setting up their TVs. Check out the VT60 or ZT60 but make sure you are wearing a hat to contain your mind that's being blown.

I LOVE my 1 year old VT50, and wouldn't trade it for any current LED/LCD, but there are times when I DO see flicker. So, please enlighten me on why you think I'm "full of it" or why you think mine isn't "setup properly."

It's hooked up to a DirecTV HR34 HD DVR via HDMI to a Yamaha RX-471 receiver, with HDMI out to the TV.

I look forward to what you have to say.
 

Dextar

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I LOVE my 1 year old VT50, and wouldn't trade it for any current LED/LCD, but there are times when I DO see flicker. So, please enlighten me on why you think I'm "full of it" or why you think mine isn't "setup properly."

It's hooked up to a DirecTV HR34 HD DVR via HDMI to a Yamaha RX-471 receiver, with HDMI out to the TV.

I look forward to what you have to say.

Are you using the 96Hz option? What I could find some people were seeing an issue with that setting, if not I would contact Panasonic while your TV is still under warranty. If you're already out at least maybe they can give you some help, especially seeing as how you have a VT series.

Flicker is not normal.
 

7th Angel

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Are you using the 96Hz option? What I could find some people were seeing an issue with that setting, if not I would contact Panasonic while your TV is still under warranty. If you're already out at least maybe they can give you some help, especially seeing as how you have a VT series.

Flicker is not normal.

I am using the 96Hz option and there is nothing wrong with my TV. I'm just VERY sensitive to flicker. I can see flicker in CRT's running less than 85Hz. At times I can see flicker in fluorescent lighting. My Panasonic active shutter 3D glasses flicker if I wear them during a daytime movie. However, I have never noticed flicker from them at night. I'm sure I'm not the only one sensitive to flicker and to state that people like us are "full of it" ain't right...
 

The Lurker

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I didn't like Plasma in the early 2000's but the technology has improved a lot since then. I just got the 60" ZT60 which has better viewing in the light then my 32" Sharp LCD that I had with a non glossy screen. It is a shame Plasma is on the way out now with the wonderful blacks and all. I guess OLED will be the next big thing.

Where did you pick it up?
 

Herushan

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Where did you pick it up?

I got it at a Magnolia center inside a Bestbuy, and had it shipped to me. They do not move much on price but you can get some extra 3D glasses for free though.
 
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Verge

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Are you using the 96Hz option? What I could find some people were seeing an issue with that setting, if not I would contact Panasonic while your TV is still under warranty. If you're already out at least maybe they can give you some help, especially seeing as how you have a VT series.

Flicker is not normal.


Depends on the eyes. I see flicker on every plasma. Can spot them a mile away.
 

Schro

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Are you using the 96Hz option? What I could find some people were seeing an issue with that setting, if not I would contact Panasonic while your TV is still under warranty. If you're already out at least maybe they can give you some help, especially seeing as how you have a VT series.

Flicker is not normal.

Every plasma on a store display that I've seen has been noticeably flickering to me. I also tend to notice CRT flicker under 85Hz (though, 75Hz is serviceable).
 

defaultluser

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Every plasma on a store display that I've seen has been noticeably flickering to me. I also tend to notice CRT flicker under 85Hz (though, 75Hz is serviceable).

Same here, except I can't stand less than 80Hz. Plasma TVs are made for the 95% of people who do not have this problem. I know they could fix this problem (it's the cost of the driver circuitry, not the display tech itself), but they won't, so they don't get my business.

I do worry about OLED TVs being direct drive/duty-cycled, because display makers may choose to go with a slow refresh or high. If they make the refresh low enough there will again be noticeable flicker (e.g. my Sansa Clip+). But I have hope because some major devices have no flicker (e.g. the Samsung Galaxy S series AMOLED displays), so maybe they will drive the TVs fast enough :D
 

dandragonrage

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Every plasma on a store display that I've seen has been noticeably flickering to me. I also tend to notice CRT flicker under 85Hz (though, 75Hz is serviceable).

I could see (and often hear) 60Hz CRT from across a room and in high school I would walk into a classroom and go immediately to the PC and change the resolution if I saw 60Hz (I was an official computer tech in high school so teachers didn't really mind me "messing with" PCs in their room for a couple minutes if I wasn't missing their lesson). If anything, when I wasn't actually USING the PC, the noise was worse. I am the type of person who can walk into a house and immediately be able to tell if an old TV or CRT monitor at a low refresh rate is on, even if it's not in the front room. But I could literally see major flicker from across the room looking at the monitors with 60Hz refresh rate. Some monitors were worse than others depending on how the screen was made, as some monitors/TVs were made such that the image fades off faster from the phosphors than others, making flicker worse.

Sometimes I'd walk into my dad's house, hear CRT noise, walk directly to his room and turn off his TV if he wasn't using it (because he was the type to leave it on all the time which annoyed me in multiple ways) - and I NEVER had false positives (thinking the TV was on, walking in there, only to find it not on). I no longer live with him, and there are no CRTs in my home, so fortunately this is pretty much a non-issue today. I'm also a bit older, late 20s, so my high-frequency hearing is not as good as it was, but it's still easily enough to hear CRT whine from a TV or a monitor running at too low a pixel clockspeed.

At home I was using 21-22" CRTs for years before I went to LCD, and for lower resolutions I'd need 100Hz to not see flicker (and 120Hz to really look good). 85Hz I saw a little, 75Hz a fair amount, 60Hz unusable.

For the higher resolutions I usually used, like 1600x1200, 85Hz was acceptable more-so than it was at lower resolutions. 75Hz wasn't too bad on the higher resolutions, but not good, and 60Hz was again unusable.

So yes, it definitely depends on the person. I can see CRT flicker, DLP rainbowing, and sometimes plasma flicker (in the case of my plasma with my TV, the flicker isn't as bad as a 60Hz CRT, but it's close). But hey, Daxtar doesn't see it, and he only talks facts, so we must be wrong, David.
 
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Zangmonkey

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The "CRT noise" has absolutely nothing to do with a 60Hz refresh rate. It has to do with noise powering flyback transformers.

The noise is directly related to the quality of electronics in use. LCD's don't exhibit this *as much* because they use comparably low voltages to produce the image.

If you could "see" 60Hz flicker then you would see all AC lighting flicker, too, as our utility frequency in the US is 60Hz.

The flicker you see on screens is either poor quality electronics or a frequency setting which is different than the intended setting for the device.
 
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