Choosing televisions: LCD versus plasma

The last twenty years has seen a revolution in the technology behind televisions.  First plasma, then LCD televisions brought the size of screen previously only seen in public places like sports bars into the living room.  Now that the big screen is commonplace in the home, the market for large screen televisions has swollen thanks to demand – just look at the range of televisions now carried by major supplier Currys.co.uk.  The recently introduced LED TVs promise a step forward in LCD TV technology, while 3D televisions offering a whole new viewing experience are also breaking into the market.  However, we will leave beside these relatively new technologies for the moment, for as with all new technology prices are prohibitively high for many people at the current time.  Here we look at the choice between LCD and Plasma televisions.

Plasma televisions are the older technology, and several manufacturers have ceased production entirely to concentrate on LCD and LED TVs.  However, manufacturers like Panasonic still have a large range of plasma televisions, which have often compared favourably on several fronts with LCD TVs.

Plasma televisions tend to be able to produce deeper blacks and therefore better contrast in a picture, as well as often displaying richer colours than an LCD TV.  Additionally, plasma televisions typically offer a wider range of viable viewing angles, and thanks to the way that the technology works, faster response times.  The response time is basically the time it takes for the pixels on the television to turn from black to white and then back to black again.  A faster response should mean that the television is better able to handle fast moving action, without blurring or blinking images.  One of the main downsides of plasma televisions is the amount of power that they use, but as with most technology, ongoing product development is increasing energy efficiency all the time.

LCD televisions are seen as the future by many manufactures, and again, as the technology has developed some of the problems seen in earlier ranges have been vastly diminished or removed by the march of progress.  Historically, blacks have been the weak point, so when darker pictures are displayed the image can look a bit washed out.  However, most recent models can now produce deep blacks, and can compete in terms of colour richness with the previously superior plasma televisions.  When it comes to the critical factor of response times it is the same story again – go for a new, mid or upper range LCD television, and motion blur is unlikely to be a problem.  However, if you are looking to save money by buying an LCD TV from an older range you might want to go into a store to check the picture quality yourself when looking at fact moving action like sports.  For more information on the difference between LCD TV and Plasma, try looking at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LCD_television

Written by Phillip Hayard

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