The buying of large-screen TVs has absolutely skyrocketed lately. It seems that everyone wants one – and with good reason. The large-screen TV has come a long way from those faded-out behemoths of old that took up half your living room and never really produced a picture of decent quality. Now, however, especially in combination with HDTV, you can get not only a nice, large picture, but a crisp, clean one too.
Once you decide that you’re ready for a large-screen TV, you quickly discover that you only really have two main options – a plasma TV or an LCD TV. Plasma TVs were first on the scene, but the recent mass production of LCD TVs by major manufactures has put LCD TVs pretty much on equal footing with plasmas. That said, you will still have to make a choice.
If you’re like most people, you not only have no idea how the two differ, you don’t even know the areas you should be considering in order to determine how they differ. But they do indeed differ, and knowing the difference is extremely important if you’re going to get the TV that’s right for you.
You can essentially boil the differences between plasmas and LCDs into twelve basic points. In some areas, plasmas will win out. In other areas, LCDs will win out. In yet other areas, it will depend on your own personal taste in order to decide who wins out.
The twelve ways plasma TVs and LCD TVs differ are the following:
1. The first is a technical issue, and may seem a little boring, but it really does affect other areas. Plasmas TVs are made of chemical compounds called phosphors. LCD TVs use millions of liquid crystals.
2. The next section is related to how big the TVs are and the availability of larger sizes. You have a wider selection of larger-size TVs with plasmas (though LCDs are catching up).
3. The next section is “small size,” which is also important. Plasmas don't come in smaller sizes, which you will need for places like the kitchen.
4. Next is viewing angle. Plasmas tend to have a wider viewing angle (though, again, LCDs are catching up).
5. Although the manufacturers may not like to admit it, each “can” suffer from certain problems. Plasmas can suffer from burn-in effect; LCDs don't.
6. Another problem area, but for LCDs, is “delay.” LCDs can produce a jagged figure when in motion. Plasmas tend to do better. HDTV improves this dramatically for both.
7. The next area is life span. You can replace the light source with an LCD, thereby bringing your original picture back. With plasmas you can't.
8. In the next few sections, the theme of “picture quality” is considered. First, color: LCDs produce sharp, lively colors. Plasmas produce warmer and more accurate colors.
9. Next is brightness levels and the TVs ability to handle different lighting. LCDs tend to do better in bright-light conditions.
10. Also related to picture quality is “black levels.” Plasmas tend to produce blacker blacks.
11. Another area to consider is contrast range. Plasmas, "technically," produce a higher contrast range.
12. Last, and certainly not least, is price. At the moment, plasmas tend to run a little cheaper, but this is changing rapidly as LCDs flood into the market. By the time you read this, in fact, there may be no difference at all.
Essentially, which one is right for you will all comes down to taste: What potential negatives will you not really notice? What positives do you want more of? What do you really want the TV for – movies, sports, news, regular TV shows? Both plasmas and LCDs have strong advocates in their corners. Both have deliriously happy customers. But those happy customers are only happy because they knew what they wanted before they made their purchase. If you want to make the right choice, you’ll have to decide what it is you want and which of the two TVs can best give you that.
About The Author
Plasma vs. LCD TVs: To learn more about these two technologies and how your own personal tastes and viewing habits will affect your choice, read the full report at http://www.plasma-vs-lcd.com. You might also be surprised to learn that plasma TVs are like peanut butter and LCD TVs are like jelly. Yes, really. Read the report.
This article was posted on October 13, 2005