Making the Right Choice: LCD TV or Plasma TV?

Well, soon it will be. Although, Plasma and LCD panels look the same, the technology behind them is different. Plasma is a phosphor-based technology where tiny gas plasma cells are charged by electrical voltage to create a picture. LCD or liquid crystal display screens, on the other hand, are more of a transmissive device and are made up of liquid crystal sandwiched between two glass plates. By changing the amount of electrical charges that are passed through the crystals, an image is produced.

One of the original differences really was screen sizes. Plasma TV boasts of screen sizes ranging from 32 inches to 60 inches. And they can even create larger than that. Meanwhile, LCD TV displays seem to be within the 13 inch to 46 inch range. But due to recent technologies, manufacturing bigger LCD screens have become more affordable. Soon this difference will no longer exist, but for now, let’s say that Plasma can come in bigger sizes than LCDs.

Again, another difference that is slowly being changed is the viewing angles. Plasma displays used to have better viewing angle, while LCD screens will often show some color shift when viewed too far of an angle. However, with regards to display, Plasma has better contrast because it shows deeper blacks and has brighter colors since LCD usually have some light leakages which affects the color saturation of the display.

The costs of owning an LCD screen has gone down to the level or very close to the market price of Plasma display units. LCD screens were used to be more expensive than Plasma, but today are becoming very competitive in price, size and resolution.

I mentioned resolution, although LCD used to brag before that it has more resolution than Plasma displays of the same size. However, high end Plasma units can practically display the same number of pixels on a screen than LCDs. Plus, the quality of the image in a Plasma seems better than in an LCD’s.

LCD screens are thinner and lighter than similar sized Plasmas. The LCDs have an edge in that aspect. Also, LCDs are generally more energy efficient, since they are able to consume less power than Plasma screens. On the average, LCDs use almost half of the power from Plasma TVs.

The issue of Plasma screen’s total lifespan is also worth mentioning. Today, Plasma models will be able to lose half of its brightness between 30,000 and 60,000 hours of viewing. But LCDs have a guaranteed 60,000 hours of viewing before noticeable lose of brightness is observed.

Another problem with Plasma TVs are the so-called burn-in image which happens when the screen stays too long on a static image. This problem is non-existent with LCDs. Moreover, Plasma screens are affected when brought in higher altitudes. The reason is the gas inside the unit is being stressed by atmospheric pressure affecting its performance. LCDs do not have this problem.

So, which one will you choose? Personally, I will choose an LCD screen over the Plasma simply because of the less power consumption and the fact that I won’t be using big screens anyways. But for huge screens, Plasma seems to be a better choice.

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