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Plasma Series

Plasma vs LCD TV - A Comparative Summary

We have prepared a summary list of the conclusions arrived at in the respective detailed discussions. This Plasma vs LCD TV summary list aims mainly to serve as an easy-to-follow reference guide when doing comparison-shopping between these two technologies. It summarizes the most important differences between plasma televisions and LCD HDTV sets.

Plasma vs LCD TV: Size and Price

Size ADVANTAGE:

Both technologies are playing on level ground. However, the available options when it comes to compare plasma vs LCD TV sets, depends on the screen size.

You have more choice within the plasma TV domain for screen sizes greater than 50-inch. Partly, the reason is that though production costs and retail prices have come down for both technologies, yet plasma still has an edge as far as production cost and capacity goes.

On the other hand, at the smaller screen size, i.e. at 37-inch, LCD is the dominant technology, while anything smaller implies LCD if what you are after is something stylish and slim (less than 4 inches in depth).

Price ADVANTAGE:

Here, the playing field is leveling at a fast rate. Up to very recent, plasma was the obvious choice for all screen sizes where collision between these two technologies occurs; this is no longer the case.

In general, plasma still leads by a good margin only at the bigger screen sizes - 50 inch and upwards - with this pricing advantage getting more pronounced as one approaches the 60-inch diagonal. Against this higher price tag however, LCD HDTVs generally come with more pixels per display panel.

At the smaller end (37-inch up to 44-inch), the price advantage when it comes to plasma vs LCD TV sets, starts to shift more towards LCD TVs. Even though plasmas and LCDs are practically selling at the same price tag, LCD TVs deliver more pixels for the same screen size.

 

Plasma vs LCD TV: Picture Considerations

Overall Picture Performance ADVANTAGE:

Here our thumbs up in this plasma vs LCD TV comparative analysis go to plasma televisions even though both technologies are extremely close in terms of overall picture performance.

In other words, both plasma and the latest high contrast TFT-LCD flat panel displays are capable of excellent picture quality - with bright, crisp clear images, high contrast levels, and excellent color reproduction. This means that both technologies are suitable as a TV screen, but...

Plasma TVs still have an edge over their LCD counterparts when it comes to displaying deep blacks - thus enjoying better contrast and detail in images when dark and light content is shown simultaneously.

Generally, plasma color richness and naturalness will prevail in rooms with controlled lower to normal lighting, while LCDs will be better in brightly lit rooms due to their inherent anti-glare technology.

Plasma vs LCD TV Viewing Angle ADVANTAGE:

What used to be a clear advantage for plasma displays is becoming more and more a non-issue especially with the latest generation of LCD televisions, however...

Do not always assume that viewing angle is no longer an issue when comparing plasma vs lcd TVs, especially if the viewing angle is not specified. The tendency – in particular with the cheaper LCD TV sets from unknown manufacturers - is that the deterioration in picture quality with off-axis viewing is more accentuated with LCD than with plasma displays.

Our advice: It is always best to check especially when buying some cheap 'unbranded' LCD TV. If you are buying online, check first the return policy, and opt only for a reputable brand.

Viewing Distance ADVANTAGE:

This is a non-issue when it comes to plasma vs LCD TV sets. None carries any advantage as long as you are within normal viewing distance for your screen size and your viewing distance is more than approximately 9 feet away from the TV screen.

However, the pixel size and shape of an LCD panel yields a smoother picture than an equivalent size plasma display. This means that if you have a too short TV viewing distance, an LCD television may be a better option as its pixel structure is less visible.

Picture Resolution ADVANTAGE:

Up to very recent, LCD televisions used to deliver more in terms of pixels per screen size. When comparing plasma vs LCD TV sets, it was only at the extreme larger end of the scale that plasma and LCD display resolutions met.

However, thinks are starting to change. A case in point is a 50-inch model supporting full 1080p HDTV resolution from Panasonic.

 

Plasma vs LCD TV: Functional Issues

Image Retention ADVANTAGE:

LCD TVs enjoys a technological advantage; they are not prone to burn-in, and image sticking in LCD TVs is often completely reversible, but...

Burn-in is no longer much of a concern as it used to be with plasma televisions up to the recent past, especially for people with normal TV viewing requirements. Similarly, image sticking with LCD TVs is unlikely to take place under normal home entertainment use.

 

Computer Use ADVANTAGE:

LCD, both as a result of their non-susceptibility to burn-in, and because of their ability to display detailed graphics better.

Plasma vs LCD TV Lifetime ADVANTAGE:

This is a non-issue with either technology. In fact, both plasma and LCD TV sets come with a quoted half-lifetime of around 60,000hrs. Even if this were just 30,000hrs, it would imply more than 14 years of use at 6 hours a day. And this when the average household in the US replaces their TV set every 7 years!

In other words, both plasma and LCD TV sets make use of extremely stable and reliable display technologies. As such, lifetime is more dependent upon manufacturer quality rather than upon display technology.

Bad Pixels ADVANTAGE:

Plasma - because even though some manufactures are offering a zero bad pixel policy, yet LCD displays still have a higher tendency of developing bad pixels during use.

Pixel Response Time ADVANTAGE:

Plasma - because even though LCD technology has improved such that this is becoming less of an issue, yet LCD has still some way to go to achieve the same level of pixel response times as phosphor based displays. More on LCD TV response time can be found here:

Power Requirements ADVANTAGE:

LCD TV Sets consume less electricity. Comparing the power requirements of plasma vs LCD TVs would soon show that an LCD panel consumes typically 30% to 40% less power than an equivalent size plasma display.


Plasma vs LCD TV Sets - Making the Choice:

So, who wins the 'Plasma vs LCD TV' battle? In reality, there is no winner - there is a market for both plasma TV sets and LCD HDTVs:

Plasma gives you a bigger screen for your dollar, deeper blacks, and better pixel response times. LCD TVs do not suffer from burn-in, use less power, and at the smaller end of the scale (at under 37-inch), LCD is your only way forward if what you want is something slim and stylish. Sharp LCD HDTV

It is all a question of knowing what are the advantages and limitations of each with respect to your specific needs.
 

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