So your looking for a flat panel tv but cannot decide between LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) Or a plasma screen.. I have recently had the same dilema, so to help the rest of you out there who are in the market for a flat screen tv i have written this guide to help. So what are the major differences?
At the heart of the plasma TV are chemical compounds called phosphors. In a plasma TV, each pixel is made up of three phosphors – one red, one blue, and one green. These phosphors emit light when struck by beams of electrons. The intensity of the electron beam determines the amount of light emitted. It is the phosphors themselves that create the light your see on a plasma screen.
inside a plasma screen
LCD TVs use millions of crystals, which are suspended in a liquid that is sandwiched between transparent panels. Behind this liquid crystal sandwich is bright florescent light. The crystals are instructed to either let the light pass or not. Color filters are used to determine color that gets shown on the screen.
Inside a LCD tv
SO WHAT ARE THE STRENGHTS AND WEAKNESSES OF EACH TYPE?
Technicaly the above are the only major difference between the two types of TV sets. Now each different type has it's plus points and it's minus points, so really it is all down to personal taste. In the LCD vs. plasma TV debate, both types of TVs have always been about as thin as you could expect or even hope for, and so that isn't even really a question to consider between the two. If you like to nitpick, you can discuss the difference between three-inches and five-inches on different models, but when you're talking about a giant TV, that's almost ridiculous
For PLASMA TVs, the one "potential" negative point to is “burn in.” effect. Burn in is when an image stays on the screen for an extended period of time and then appears to get burned in to the screen. This could occur when you watch a movie that puts black bars around the edges so that it can maintain the look of the original movie in the theater. To keep this from happening, you could zoom in one level in order to fill up the screen. Burn-in could also occur if you're a news junkie and leave keep yourself constantly tuned to a news channel that runs a news ticker across the bottom.. For most viewers, however, burn-in will not be such an issue. Unless you keep your TV constantly tuned to a cable news channel, or watch an inordinate amount of movies, you won’t have much to worry about. For LCD TVs, burn-in isn’t a problem because they do not use phosphors so that completely emliminates the burn in problem. If you did get an image burnt into your plasma screen it is not possible to get it out and it will be there for the remainder of your tv's life.
A screen with a burnt in image. It is noticable at the bottom left of the screen (the black mark)
LCDs can have pixel problems – either a pixel is always “on” (lit up when the screen is black), or the pixel is always “off” (black when it should have color or be white). A couple of dead pixels here will not be noticeable, and manufacturers usually warn that a few dead pixels are common and therefore “allowed.” So though it's not usually a problem, you can still protect yourself by buying from a trusted manufacturer. If buying from a reputable company, you’re less like to have a problem to begin with, and if for some reason you do have a problem, a reputable manufacturer will take care of it.
This lcd has a stuck pixel! It stands out easily against the black screen.
Picture quality is certainly the most important of all the areas.. A person's taste is going determine what he or she considers to be a good picture. LCD TVs produce “sharper” pictures with colors that seem more vibrant, PLASMA TVs, give more realistic colors. With an LCD TV, when you walk into a room it's very likely to wow you. However after you've been in the room for some time, you might prefer the depth and warmth of a PLASMA TVs colors. LCD TVs, you could say, give you a sharp, primary colors type of feel. Plasma TVs give you subtler, warmer colors, but possibly more realistically accurate, So again it is a matter of personal taste.
Outstanding picture quality can be acheived on your lcd or plasma when hooked up to a hd source!
A Summary of LCD vs. Plasma TVs
Both LCD TVs and plasma TVs are as thin as you could hope for. In viewable screen size, though LCD TVs are getting bigger everyday, plasmas generally run larger. Once you get into the larger sizes, you will also find a bigger selection among the plasma TVs. Plasma TVs generally have a larger viewing angle than LCD TVs, however high-end LCD TVs do live up to their claimed 170° viewing angle.
Both LCD TVs and plasma TVs have good lifespan, but LCD TVs can technically last longer because their light source can be replaced. The low end for both LCD TVs and plasma TVs these days is 30,000 hours, with many going up to 60,000 hours before noticeable picture depreciation takes place.
Issues with Each Type of TV
Burn-in: Plasma TVs have a reputation of occasionally suffering from “burn in” effect. This is not such a problem for your average user, unless you leave your TV tuned to a channel with a continuous news ticker. A function called “white flash” can erase the burn in effect, but it takes some life off the TV's lifespan.
Watching Motion: LCD TVs can be susceptible to a delay that causes the outline of figures or objects to appear jagged or blocky when in motion. High definition TV greatly reduces this effect.
Pixel Problems: LCD TVs can be affected by pixel problems. This is not generally a problem with name brand versions, but it could still happen, definately worth getting the extra protection plan to cover this.
Color, Brightness, Black Levels, & Contrast
Color: LCD TVs are known for their sharp pictures and lively color. An LCD TV’s colors are vibrant and can wow you when you walk into a room. Plasma TVs are known for their wide range of colors and their accurate color reproduction. A plasma TV’s colors are warm and deep.
Brightness: Brightness numbers from manufacturers will mean little because they aren’t measured under real-life conditions. Your own viewing area will play into this considerably. LCD TVs have the reputation of doing slightly better in bright-light conditions.
Black Levels: Plasma TVs generally produce very black blacks whereas an LCD TV will produce a very dark charcoal gray. The very dark gray that LCD TVs produce is sufficiently dark for most people. Many would take it for black if not told otherwise.
Contrast Levels: Plasma TVs, technically, are known to have greater contrast levels than LCD TVs, however many see LCD TVs as being more vibrant, which seems connected to contrast, at least in the mind of most viewers.
LCD TVs are generally a little more expensive than plasma TVs when talking about the larger sizes. Prices for both, however, are coming down rapidly. You can get a 42'' plasma for around $1500 now and a 37'' lcd will run about the same, so PLASMA'S are a still a little cheaper. A 42'' LCD will run $2000 and upwards
The 5 Most Important Differences:
1. Plasmas TVs are made of chemical compounds called phosphors. LCD TVs use crystals in between to pieces of glass.
2. Plasmas can suffer from burn-in effect; LCD don't. LCD's suffer from stuck pixels.
3. LCDs can produce a jagged figure when in motion. Plasmas tends to do better. HDTV improves this problem dramatically for both.
4. You can replace the light source with an LCD, thereby bringing your original picture back. With plasmas you can't.
5. LCDs produce sharp, lively colors. Plasmas produce warmer and more accurate colors. .
I hope that this short guide has helped you make your mind up about your new tv. Really it will all be down to personal taste. I settled on the LCD. I feel the picture quality is a little better than the PLASMA'S. Also if you are like myself and play a lot of video games then LCD is the safe choice because they do not suffer from the Burn In Effect like PLASMA'S do. Whatever you decide, i hope you enjoy your new tv.