Plasma vs LCD HDTV
Plasma vs LCD HDTV – Which HDTV technology is right for me?
This question usually surfaces when the decision is made to buy a HDTV – should I buy a Plasma or LCD HDTV? You’ve heard about LCD, Plasma, and Rear Projection, but what are the differences? What are the pros and cons of each technology? And which one is right for me? Here we try to distil the information and guide you to a better and hopefully the right decision.
Plasma screens are flat and they produce natural, vibrant colours with a high level of detail. Many tiny cells containing a mixture of noble gases in a Plasma panel are ‘lit’ at once, unlike images on conventional TVs that are scanned across the screen. The resulting image is sharper and brighter. This is great for normal room lighting and is comfortably viewed from most distances and angles. Even as you get closer to the screen, you will not be affected by changes in picture or color quality. They are only a few inches thick which allows flexible installation options. In addition to stand mounting, they can be hung on a wall or from a ceiling. All plasma TVs comes in a 16:9 widescreen format.
In terms of power consumption Plasma displays use as much power as a CRT television. The lifetime of the latest generation of plasma displays is estimated at 60,000 hours of actual display time, or 27 years at 6 hours per day.
Plasma displays do not use electron beams, as conventional TV displays do. They are therefore immune to the effects of magnetic fields. This allows for your home theater speakers to be placed near it without any audio distortion.
Advantages of Plasma over LCD:
- Larger screen sizes available – Plasma screens range from 37″ to 65” and beyond. In fact the largest plasma video display in the world at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show was a 150-inch TV manufactured by Panasonic
- Better contrast ratio and ability to render deeper blacks
- Better colour accuracy and saturation
- Better motion tracking (little or no motion lag in fast moving images)
Disadvantages of Plasma over LCD :
- Plasma TVs are more susceptible to burn-in of static images. The prolonged display of a menu bar or other static images over time can create a permanent ghost-like image of these objects
- Plasma TVs generate more heat than LCDs, due to use phosphors to create images, and consequently use considerably more power. It uses as much as 400 watts for a 50-inch screen
- Because of the use of millions of tiny pressurized gas chambers, it does not perform as well at high attitudes. At altitudes above 6000 ft the plasma screen emits a buzzing noise.
LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. It is an electronically-modulated optical device shaped into a thin, flat panel made up of a large number of pixels filled with liquid crystals and arrayed in front of a light source (backlight) or reflector. These function like a camera shutter, allowing light to either pass through or be blocked as voltage is individually applied so they change state to create an ‘image’. The colour is added to the LCD display through three filters (red, green, and blue) that are applied to each pixel. LCD TV screens always maintain sharp, clear pictures without reflection from artificial lights or bright sunlight through windows. It is often utilized in battery-powered electronic devices because it uses very small amounts of power.
This means flicker-free images for a more comfortable viewing experience with less eyestrain, even when viewing close-up. Also, since no static electricity is generated on a LCD screen it remains virtually dust free and clean for perfect viewing all the time.
Advantages of LCD over Plasma HDTV:
- No burn-in of static images.
- Cooler running temperature dur to lower power consumption. The average power consumption for a 50″ LCD HDTV is about 230 watts.
Check CNET’s list of Plasma and LCD HDTV consumption comparison chart.
- No high altitude usage issues
- Increased image brightness
- Faster response times – Useful for gamers. A response time of <16ms is sufficient for video-gaming
Disadvantages of LCD vs Plasma HDTV:
- Lower contrast ratio
- Not as good rendering deep blacks
- Not as good at tracking motion