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I noticed something, am I right?

11-05-2009, 11:24 AM
After laying my eyes on a quality Panasonic plasma screen the other day and then comparing it to LCD's in the same theater room at BB, I noticed something that I've seen before but never noticed conciously.

I had always thought that plasmas looked "grainier" to me, meaning that usually the background of the picture looked pixelated, but not pixelated like "square digitized blocks" but more like little multicolored grains. It's hard for me to expain it any better than that. The foreground images didn't really seem to have this effect happening. I hadn't really noticed this problem on LCD tv's.

So the movie that was playing was Transformer's 2 on the plasma, but there was an LCD 90 degrees to the left of it that was playing monsters vs. aliens. While watching TF2 on the plasma, I saw that "grainy" effect going on again and I was VERY disheartened by it because the LCD wasn't doing it. I know everyone here says how plasmas are so much better than LCD, so I was confused. Was I the only one that saw this?

And then it dawned on my that I was comparing apples to oranges because of the MOVIE that was showing. It hit me like a sledgehammer. Most of the LCD's I've ever seen on display recently are always playing digitally rendered movies like M vs. A or Wall-e or Cars. But the plasmas I've seen are always showing movies with "real" people in them. Maybe not EVERY SINGLE TIME, but a good majority of the time.

So I thought deeper about what the problem might be and my theory is that in a non-animated movies are shot on film and so the "grainy-ness" I'm noticing is inherent to the film itself. But digital movies are rendered exactly that way, digitally. They are then put on film for distribution to theaters, but when they are put on DVD or Blu-ray, they are raw data just as they were rendered in the studio.

I did not get a chance to view the M vs. A movie on a plasma screen, but based on my theory I'm assuming that it would look as good as the LCD screen, with no grainy-ness detected. Is that right?

If so, then do they do that on purpose? Show digital movies on LCD's to try and make them look better than the surrounding plasmas because there is more profit margin in LCD? I'm sort of a conspiracy nut, and I always look for ways that I as a buyer am being manipulated. But I'm also picky as hell, especially when it comes to picture quality ( I already regret buying Dragon Age origins for my PS3 because the graphics suck and it runs choppy as hell, should have got it on PC)

So this could be me just being too picky. Am I on to something?

11-05-2009, 11:40 AM
I would be willing to bet that the plasma you were watching was not adjusted properly as so many aren't on the showroom floor. I own TV's from each technology (LCD, plasma, LCoS, DLP, CRT and so on) yet have never seen what you are describing and I AM a very picky viewer...

11-05-2009, 11:47 AM
OP is correct though, in that the animated films are always going to appear "cleaner" than movies made in actual enviroments
I have witnessed the graininess he refers to in various showrooms and I wager it has to do with the stores feed of the video....I have no grainy issues with my display

11-05-2009, 11:48 AM
In addition to Love's comment.

As you stated some movies have the "grainy" appearance as part of the movie itself. Most at different levels of course. 300 is just 1 of many examples of this. I have not seen Trans2 yet, but if I remember correctly from last years HD DVD of Trans1, quite a bit of the grain effect as well. Comparing an animated movie to this is in no way the same. Your statement of comparing apples to apples is quite the perfect analogy here.

11-05-2009, 11:48 AM
The people at Best Buy might have been trying to sell more LCD TVs than plasmas so they hooked up a standard DVD player to the plasma TV via yellow, red, white cables, and connected up a bluray DVD player to the LCD via HDMI.

I was at Best Buy one day and they had a Bluray DVD player Vs. standard DVD player comparison on 2 TVs side by side. The Bluray player was connected to the one TV via HDMI. The standard DVD player was connected to the TV via yellow, red, white cables, instead of component or HDMI. So of course the standard DVD at 480i looked way worse than the bluray player 1080p.

11-05-2009, 11:52 AM
Blu-ray.com is an excellent source for bluray reviews including how good the transfer is.

11-05-2009, 12:27 PM
In general I think a lot of stores do show animation movies on the HDTVs because they have no grain and look good on just about ANY HDTV. Film is made up of that grain you see and older stock tends to have more grain than newer stock as well. If they clean up the grain you can lose detail in the picture doing this. Directors also ADD grain on some scenes or in the case of the movie 300 they added a lot of grain to pretty much all scenes and overstated the contrast a lot for a special look the director wanted.

I believe these stores DO manipulate the PQ through various means (i.e. input chosen, picture settings, and content used for comparisons, etc) to try to get you to buy what THEY want you to buy.

11-05-2009, 01:22 PM
it's kinda funny..having the same CGI animated movie on all the TVs is what solidified my plasma purchase

in BB they had a bunch of tvs, plasma, LED, LCD all next to each other..I think they were all playing madagascar or some such..can't remember which of the 500 CGI movies that have come out in the last couple years that it was..lol

anywho, the LED and LCD were definetly brighter, but I noticed I could see more detail in the plasma...like wood grains as rendered in the movie....the brighter picture was just that..brighter...not 'better'...

so that's why I went with the plasma.....that's now in the friggin' shop after two months of viewing but that's another story..grrrrrrrrr..not gonna write the TV off just cause I was unlucky enough to get one with issues

Lee Stewart
11-05-2009, 01:49 PM
The last content you ever want to use for judging the PQ of an HDTV is an all CGI movie. As stated - you need to use a real life movie to make a comparison. One with very bright scenes along with very dark scenes.

11-05-2009, 06:17 PM
I'm glad you guys have figured out what I was trying to say. I'm glad that I'm not the only one that has noticed what I'm describing.

Perhaps indeed TF2 has purposefully inserted the grainy look for a more raw feeling. I only saw 300 once, and it was in theaters but I do recall a strange rawness and grainy look to the film. Not to mention the mostly monochromatic coloring, except for when the colors were SUPPOSED to pop.

I'm taking the old lady tonight to go look at the TV again. I will be requesting to see the TF2 again, a different blu-ray movie, and an animated blu-ray on the same panel. That should really help narrow it down and clear up any questions I might have about it.

Thanks for all the input so far guys. These forums are chock full of very accurate and useable knowledge.

11-06-2009, 04:28 AM
Every stinking time I go into Best Buy they always have CGI movies playing on most of their displays, it makes me sick to think I'm being manipulated! About the graininess that you sometimes see, I've seen some HDNet shows (Dan Rather Reports) without any grain and I'll tell you it looks too soft looking, some grain is needed so when you sit at the proper distance it looks detailed.