Philips has claimed that its new LED-backlit LCD televisions are "much better" than the jaw-dropping Pioneer Kuro G9 plasmas. In a frank interview with TechRadar at IFA, Danny Tack, the director of technical marketing management at Philips, didn't pull his punches when it came to pointing out the flaws with Pioneer's plasma televisions.
"Our LED backlight product is better for a number of reasons. The Pioneer G9, black level-wise, it is good and on a par with our LED backlighting. But then, you have also light. I would say the plasma has about 50 per cent less light than the LCD so it's nowhere near as bright," said Tack.
"The third factor is motion. Motion – in the past, everybody said LCD is slower than plasma and for sure slower than CRT. But in the past two years, we have been able to bring LCD back with better motion sharpness than plasma," he said.
It all depends on colour
Tack said that it is a myth that plasma televisions have a faster response time, stating that it depends which colours are being measured.
"Plasma is not better than CRT. And the response time of plasma is different for each colour, he said. "So if you take only one colour – blue, which is the fastest – the response time is about a millisecond, or less. But when you take all of the colours into account, the overall response time of a plasma is around five milliseconds.
"Already last year, we brought LCD down to three milliseconds, and now this year we're down to two milliseconds response time. They're the fastest LCDs in the world, and so we have the best motion sharpness. Much better than the Pioneer."
Tack said that the image processor inside Philips televisions enables 'natural motion' playback, to make the moving picture as smooth as possible. He says the result is a seamless watching experience which is far beyond what the Pioneer Kuro can achieve.
"Take the judder that comes from film sources. We can make perfect natural motion. It is recognised in the industry that we are the best there. And that's also something that the Pioneer Kuro lacks.
"On colours we're ok – very similar to the Pioneer. But out of colours, sharpness, contrast and motion we're better overall. The contrast level and black level is the only place where Pioneer can keep up with us but not with brightness, and so their total contrast will be lower.
"So overall, on five elements, we beat them on four and are equal on the other."
Tack went as far as to predict the demise of plasma technology in the mass market. He says that LED backlit LCD TVs and OLED TVs will prevail as the dominant technologies, with plasma only surviving in extremely large panel sizes. More on this soon.