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Philips LCD and plasma screens win blind comparison test

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June 8, 2005

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June 9, 2005 There isn't a big screen manufacturer on the planet without a team of fast-talking, jargon-wielding product managers and technical experts who are all incredibly good at convincing you their brand is the most technologically advanced in existence. Which made it a refreshing change when Philips invited us to a blind comparison test – over 400 retailers and journalists were invited to go along and see its 42-inch Plasma and 32-inch LCD televisions placed alongside several other comparable brands and models in a ‘masked’ study. We were there – we participated – from a blind survey of 400 industry people 74% ranked Philips Plasma first, and over 60% ranked the Philips LCD first based on overall picture quality. The products tested were 42 inch plasma screens from Philips, Panasonic, Pioneer and LG and the 32 inch LCD screens from Philips, Panasonic, JVC, Samsung and Sharp.

We’ve never been to a press bash for a big screen manufacturer yet where we weren’t told that their screen is the best, which is fair enough – everyone tells you their big screen is best and there isn't a manufacturer on the planet without a team of fast-talking, jargon-weilding product managers and technical experts who are all incredibly good at convincing you their brand is really the most technologically advanced on the planet.

Which made it a refreshing change when Philip invited us to a blind comparison test – over 400 retailers and journalists were invited to go along and see its 42-inch Plasma and 32-inch LCD televisions placed alongside several other comparable brands and models in a ‘masked’ study. We were there – we saw it happen – froma survey of 400 industry people 74% ranked Philips Plasma first, and over 60% ranked the Philips LCD based on overall picture quality.

It was an incredibly ballsy effort for Philips – call everyone together, mask all the screens so that no-one knew which was which and conduct a blind test – as part of the media contingent, we were given carte blanche as to what we wanted to watch from an array of still and moving images and test patterns and after everyone was satified and and had filled out their scorecard, the black masking panels were removed and we got to see which brands lined up with which screens we’d already judged.

It’s the same way wine is judged and as we said before, it was incredibly brave of Philips to commit to the process knowing that once the voting commenced, it might have been embarrassing.

The ‘masked’ comparison was done with all brand names and distinguishing design features covered up, and only the actual screens were visible to the retailers who took part in sessions conducted by Philips from March through to May. These sessions were held across Australia in venues in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra. Brands and models for the comparison were chosen based on recommendations by key retail groups who were asked to nominate the best performers in the categories tested.

The models were displayed without any changes to their “out of the box” settings, as experienced by any consumer purchasing the product, with all models connected via component input with identical cabling.

In the research, a series of still and video clips were played simultaneously on each of the units in both standard and high definition, with participants asked to rank from first to last the screens they felt provided the optimal picture quality.

The figures, which have been independently analysed and processed by the market research company Omnicom Research, showed that the Philips 42PF9966 was chosen as the number one Plasma TV by 74% of participants, while over 60% nominated the Philips 32PF9966 as the number one LCD TV.

“The results from this national comparison are extremely pleasing and highlight the benefits that Philips technologies deliver to a consumer’s viewing experience. We have worked tirelessly in R&D; to deliver this advanced technology in an easy to experience product. Our retailers have now backed up our own beliefs with a strong vote of confidence in this range of Philips products,” said Muir Keir, Product Manager Television, Philips Consumer Electronics Australia.

The products tested were plasma 42 inch screens from Philips, Panasonic, Pioneer and LG and the 32 inch LCD screens from Philips Panasonic, JVC, Samsung and Sharp.

Products Tested:

Plasma TV: Philips 42PF9966 Panasonic TH42PV30A Pioneer PDP435HD LG DT42PY10

LCD TV: Philips 32PF9966 Panasonic TX32LX1A JVC LTZ32S2 Samsung LS32A33W Sharp LC32G2X

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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