• 0

title:TV Technology for a New Age: Plasma vs. LCD TVs

title:TV Technology for a New Age: Plasma vs. LCD TVs

author:Scott Foreman
date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:20

You’re ready! You’ve been working hard and saving a ton of money. Now you’re ready to buy a brand new Flat Screen TV. Hopping in the car, you head off to the local electronics store and just take it all in. There must be a million sets for you to choose from, but ‘come rain or snow or dark of night’ you’re leaving with a flat screen TV.
You feel good as the sales rep approaches you. No pressure. You tell her that you want a flat screen and would like to see what they have available. The first question she asks you is, “Are you looking for an LCD or a Plasma?” Uh…you’ve just been defeated. You have no idea what the differences are or even what questions to ask.
Relax, there is a lot to know, but you don’t have to work in the industry to make an informed decision.
First, let’s start on the same page. Both Plasmas and LCDs are called Flat Screen TVs. Yes, there are larger, thicker rear projection TVs using LCD technology, but that’s NOT what we’re talking about here. We are referring entirely to the thin TVs that you might be inclined to hang on your wall.
I won’t go into the technology behind the two types, but I will say that they are so thin because neither uses the old tubes that you associated with TVs twenty years ago.
Let’s take a brief look at the characteristics of both Plasmas and LCDs. Then we’ll compare and contrast. Finally, I’ll try to boil down what situations might need one type or the other.

Come anywhere from 32″-63″ with the 40-44″ range being the most popular.
Measure 4-6″ thick regardless of size screen.
Cost anywhere from $2,000-$20,000 or more.
Can display high definition (HD), DVD, and standard TV pictures with lots of Brightness and Contrast.
Weigh as much as 125 pounds and can be difficult to mount on a wall.
Tend to have problems in high altitudes.
Use a lot of power and generate a lot of heat.
Good for viewing in bright rooms.
Can suffer “burn-in” if the TV image is static for a long time.
Don’t have a track record for repairs or overall hours of use.


Measure from 14-46″ in screen size.
Thin and light and may be wall mounted.
Can double as a computer monitor.
Tends to have a narrow viewing angle. If you’re off to the side, the picture may look washed out.
Last for around 50,000 viewing hours.
Picture has poor contrast level, so black colors and fast motions are not well shown.
Can cost $400 for a 13″; $800 for a 17″; $1,200 for a 20″; and $1,600 for a 23″

I’ve listed just a few of the more prominent traits of both types of TVs. Let’s take a look at how they compare.

Inch for inch, LCDs cost more than Plasmas.
LCDs don’t come in large sizes. Plasmas don’t come in small sizes.
Plasmas can suffer burn-in. LCDs can’t.
LCDs tend to have a poor viewing angle while Plasmas have a wider viewing range.
Plasmas do better with brightness and contrast.
LCDs are lighter than Plasmas, inch for inch.
LCDs can be used as computer monitors. Plasma TVs can’t.
Plasmas are able to support the lower tier digital definition (Enhanced Definition, or ED) better than LCDs. As a result, it may be worth saving money by buying an ED Plasma.
Plasmas may have problems in high altitudes. LCDs don’t.

Which TV is right for you? That’s an excellent question, but like all good evaluations, it requires some extra insight. In order to determine if you should get an LCD or Plasma TV, please think about which issues are important to you?

If you need a 14-32″ screen, go for an LCD. If you need a 47-63″ TV go with a Plasma.
If cost is your only concern, buy a plasma.
If a lot of people will be watching the TV at one time, the Plasma’s wider viewing angle may be the best bet.
If you play a lot of video games or do anything that could leave a constant image on your screen for a long time, LCDs are your choice. They don’t suffer burn in.
If you want your TV to double as a computer monitor, go with an LCD. Make sure though, that it has the right computer connections. Not all LCDs can do double duty.
If picture quality is your only consideration, go with a Plasma.
If you watch a lot of sports or action movies, a Plasma may have a better picture for you.
If you live in a high altitude, the LCD may be better for you.
If weight is a concern for you, go with the LCD.
If power consumption is a concern, the LCD is a better purchase.

As you can see, there is no obvious answer as to which type of TV is better. If you fall into any of the categories listed above, your decision between a Plasma TV and an LCD TV may be much easier. If you don’t, then it’s a bit more arbitrary.
Regardless, we urge you to take a look at the displays in your local electronics store. Even if you don’t intend to buy the TVs there, you still want to know what to expect when you get the TV home.
If you’d like a little more detail and a few specific examples, please feel free to visit: http://www.home-movie-theater-guide.com/big-screen-tvs.html
In the mean time here’s wishing you success, fun, and happiness in doing that which you love.
Copyright 2005 Flamworks, Inc.
Scott Foreman Home-Movie-Theater-Guide.com
This article may be reprinted for use in newsletters and websites provided that the information box is kept intact. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: articles@home-movie-theater-guide.com