LCD or Plasma?
This question is a concern for everyone that makes the trip to an electronics store to purchase a TV. Stand in the aisle one day and listen to how many times sales associates have to explain the differences to customers, and they still walk away confused.
The disparity exists because we’re dealing with two rival technologies. As we progress through the advancements, the two major considerations of cost and size of TV are becoming less significant between the two. LCD TV’s are getting as large as Plasmas and the costs are comparable. You now have to look at how these technologies differ and make your choice based on how they apply to your application.
Plasma televisions are made up of many thousands of individual pixels. These pixels are cells that contain natural gasses and as an electrical charge is applied to them, they illuminate to the appropriate balance of colour required. This balance of colour is dictated by the software running and interpreting the information it receives. In essence, each cell is a tiny little light bulb altering in colour.
LCD televisions are made up of thousands of individual liquid crystal cells. The cells are sandwiched between two panels of glass with a light shining from behind. These cells receive information in the way of electrical voltage which causes the crystals to unwind to varying degrees, filtering the light shining from behind. In essence, each cell becomes a filter for the light shining through it, generating the required colour. This process is also controlled by software interpreting the information sent to it.
Both these technologies have pros and cons that make them suitable for different applications. Plasmas, being made up of individual little cells, have a wider viewing angle (approximately 160 Degrees) than LCD televisions (approximately 125 Degrees), and because each cell is individually charged, they produce better blacks and at greater angles. LCD panels being lit from behind, makes them ideal for brighter rooms and less capable of producing deep blacks, especially as the viewing angles increase. Having said that, technology is constantly improving on both sides and the new Samsung Series 9 TV’s are LCD panels lit by an array of LED in behind. These LEDs will turn off in areas that call for a black screen, producing deep black as well as vivid colours.
Another consideration when making a choice is the brilliance of fast moving images on the screen. Although much of this is due to the quality of the software and how it interprets and processes the image information, Plasma technology tends to be better at fast moving images. LCD’s still suffer slightly from a slower response time. This difference, however, is becoming more and more difficult to detect as these response times have substantially improved in Plasmas over the last several years. LCDs’ have more commonly been used as computer monitors in the past and in the present. This is because they are less prone to “Ghosting” or “Screen burn-in” if left with a static image on the screen for an extended period of time, and also because they display static images with better clarity and detail. Plasma manufacturers have worked hard to reduce or eliminate the “Ghosting” issue by incorporating new technologies in their products.
Before you make your decision on the type of technology you prefer, you also need to consider the location and placement of your new flat screen television. These flat screens vary from just over 1” thick up to several inches. If clean lines are imperative, then you may want to consider a slim-line TV. Also keep in mind that LCDs use fluorescent back lighting to produce an image. This requires far less power than it does to light each individual cell in Plasma televisions. As a result, your plasma TV may generate far more heat than an LCD TV and you need to consider where that excess heat will go.
The software and the processor in your television are extremely important to the quality of image produced. High quality televisions like Runco will open your eyes to what televisions can be, but they come at very high price. Understand your needs and make your choice wisely so that you can get the best from your dollar and your TV. Remember, technology is advancing at a great rate and what’s coming around the corner will most certainly blow your mind; like the Organic LED Technology which enables manufacturers to produce a plasma screen that is credit card thin and flexible.