LCD or Plasma?

With the trend going towards wide-screen flat panel displays for televisions, a potential buyer may have themselves confused on which type to buy and why. LCD (liquid crystal display) and plasma are the two most popular technologies. Both use different technologies to achieve the crisp, colorful images in the flat screen world.

You may ask, LCD or plasma? I am going to compare the two in order to inform those without technological smarts. There are several categories in which TV’s are typically compared. The first is viewing angle. This deals with what happens as you move further to the side of the television, no longer viewing it from the front. LCD beats plasma with a viewing angle of up to 175 degrees. The plasma TV can get viewing angles of up to 160 degrees though, so the difference is not substantial.

Available screen size is also something to consider. If you want a huge TV, plasmas come in larger sizes than LCD televisions, but the exceptionally large ones are extremely expensive and not sold for use in the home. Affordable plasma screens go up to 63 inches while that number is 45 inches for LCD’s. LCD televisions up to the size of 100 inches, competitive with the largest plasma size, are possible but also not available or affordable to the average consumer.

Another factor is screen refresh rate, which is how quickly the monitor handles rapid movements onscreen. LCD and plasma technologies are very close here, though plasma has a slight advantage.

Brightness and contrast is a big issue when comparing plasma and LCD displays. Plasma TV’s have a slightly higher level of contrast while LCD TV’s appear brighter and reflect less light. The difference between the two technologies is not especially noticeable and they are on a fairly equal playing field.

When it comes to unit weight, LCD televisions are the clear choice. Plasma screens are heavy and often need extra support when mounted on a wall. LCD TV’s are thinner and lighter, also using less power. Plasmas also are very fragile, making the installation process more difficult.

Plasma televisions can suffer from screen burn-in caused by static images. After extended periods of time, the image can leave a permanent after-image on the screen. Recent technologies have aimed to reduce this phenomenon. Plasma displays can also be affected in high altitudes due to stress put on the gas in the pixels.

Some say that LCD is the way to go as the technology is ever-increasing and improving. Really, it is a personal choice. Your best bet is to go to your electronics store or browse online, look at televisions and compare prices before deciding on your next investment in home entertainment.

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