Of LCDs, Plasmas and Projections

Written by  on December 18, 2006 

Over the past few months, I have a few people asking me about what is better – LCD, Plasma or Projection TV of any sort.  Here’s my take:

  • I hate rear projection TVs – it’s prone to alignment problems (even today), viewing angles, and richness in colour.  Though I have to admit the new 3 LCD technology such as the JVC DLA and the Sony SRXD is making this problem go away.  I will get to DLP in a few secs.
  • Front projection – I remember calling them the 3-eye monster!  It’s not so bad if it doesn’t generate so much noise and have a light bulb replacement cost associated.
  • LCD TVs – it used to be expensive, now it’s cheap but depends on the brand and resolution.  I got lucky to have purchased an Acer AT3705-DTV TV which doubles as my giant monitor.  All LCD TVs in my opinion should have VGA, DVI-HDCP, HDMI, and of course the standard component and composite inputs.  DTV/CableCard is not in Canada yet, so complaint to your local MP/CRTC rep get Canada in the digital TV age.
  • Plasma – aren’t they so pretty?  They were great when they came out, since LCD screens were so expensive to manufacture.  Now?  The only difference is the richness of the colour and viewing angle – even then it’s not so significant.  You will be able to buy a bigger Plasma panel cheaper than LCD panel due to the different manufacturing methods – at least for the next year.

Here’s what I think of DLP – thanks Texas Instrument for creating the underlying technology, Digital Micromirror Device, but why the colour wheel?  I guess back then it was too expensive to put 3 DMD chips in a single projector and have it combined through a prism.   Did economy of scale get in the way of innovation?  DMD is a much better technology for light transmission (since it’s reflective and not translucent), and no visible refresh since each pixel is a micromirror – it’s your ultimate no-ghosting image system.  Having the colour wheel spinning at 180 times per second is just anonying, since I can see the vertical bars when I move my head side-to-side while looking at a DLP projected image.

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