Consumers often face the dilemma of choosing between a Plasma TV and an LCD TV, for the most part because both TV types are two of the best options currently available in the market, as far as home entertainment is concerned. However, although they are quite similar in their features, particularly in their slim profile, there are also major differences that need to be addressed when considering buying one type or another.
Plasma TV Technology
Plasma TV technology is based on a matrix of thousand cells of neon-xenon gas that produce the display as soon as the TV receives precise voltage of electrical power. In effect, it works on the principle of fluorescent light bulb, which produces red, green, and blue phosphors as soon as it is electrically charged and emits light that creates image. These red, green, and blue phosphors are broadly known as a pixel and are responsible for the television image viewers see.
LCD TV Technology
LCD (Liquid Crystal Displays) TV is based on liquid crystals that allow the light to be filtered between two sheets of polarized glass. As soon as precise voltage of electrical power passes through the liquid crystals, polarization changes as the crystals rotate because of the light that comes through. This creates the TV display. Because LCD TV does not use any phosphors, less power consumption is needed for its operation, less radiation is generated from the screen and considerably less heat is produced than a Plasma TV.
Why a Plasma TV is better than an LCD TV
(a) Better contrast ratio
The contrast ratio compares the brightest white and the blackest black on a screen. Alternatively, it can be defined as the number of shades of grey displayed on a viewing display. For instance, a 1500:1 contrast ratio means that the brightest white of the particular TV is 1500x brighter than the darkest black. The higher the contrast ratio the brighter the white colors and the darker the black colors displayed on the screen. Therefore, a contrast ratio of 3000:1 is better than a contrast ratio of 1000:1.
Typically, Plasmas TV have a higher contrast ratio than LCD TVs. However, a contrast ratio can be also a misleading feature to compare between the two TV types. Even if it a Plasma TV and a LCD TV have the same contrast ratio, the actual contrast between the brightest white and the darkest black might be completely different.
(b) Better colour accuracy
Colour accuracy is based on the gray scaling on TV. The higher the gray scaling, the richer the colour accuracy on a TV screen. Typically, gray scaling in Plasma TVs is higher than in LCD TVs. This happens because Plasma TVs do not filter the white light like LCD TVs do; instead, they produce color directly at the light source. Therefore, color accuracy and vibrancy in a Plasma TV are maintained in considerably higher levels than in an LCD TV.
(c) Better viewing angle
Typically, the viewing angle on a Plasma TV is 180-degrees. This means that the higher the viewing angle the better the picture quality when viewers sit horizontally to the TV screen as if they would sit directly in front of it. Unlike Plasma TVs, the viewing angle for an LCD TV is 120-degree.
(d) Better motion tracking
Motion tracking is, in effect, the response time that a pixel can change its color. This means that the higher the motion tracking, the better the picture quality in fast-moving images. Typically, the response time for a Plasma TV is 240Hz as a result of higher contrast ratio and gray scaling. Unlike Plasma TVs, the response time of an LCD TV is 120Hz.
Besides, Plasma TVs have greater availability in large screen sizes and have a better ability to render deeper blacks.
Why an LCD TV is better than a Plasma TV
(a) No burn-in of static images
When there is a static bright image for more than 30 minutes on the TV screen it may cause burn-in or image retention. This means that the phosphor in a damaged pixel is prematurely aged and cannot glow with the same strength as the surrounding pixels. This leads to temporary image retention, which can be washed out after several hours of TV play. Unlike Plasma TVs, LCD TVs do not face the problem of burn-in of static images because there is no premature aging of cells.
(b) Less heat generation and power consumption
LCD TVs generate less heat than Plasma TVs and less power consumption because they do not use any phosphors to create the image.
(c) Longer display life
LCD TVs have longer display life than Plasma TVs, reaching approximately 100,000 hours as opposed to Plasma TV that reaches 60,000 hours.
(d) Lighter weight
In same screen sizes, LCD TVs are lighter than Plasma TVs. This facilitates wall installation.
Besides, LCD TVs are a better option for those who consider buying an Upscaling DVD Player, Blu-ray Disc, or HD-DVD. LCD TVs have 1920×1080 pixel resolution at screen sizes between 37 and 42 inches and cost less than Plasma TVs. Finally, LDC TVs do not have any high altitude issues or screen glare issue in brightly lit rooms.