Choosing between a Plasma and LCD TV, a Technical Comparison

With the developments in high definition technology making it the new standard in both broadcast media and home theater setups, the question of which HDTV tech is better, whether an LCD TV or a plasma TV, has become more difficult to answer, as these rival technologies have advanced to a point where the differences between them in terms of displaying an image, become almost indistinguishable. Many who deal in high def TV’s, at least those that are not connected to a single manufacturer or technology, would often say that choosing between a plasma TV and an LCD TV is a matter of personal preference, of course, making such a choice would be hard unless one knew the differences of each in the first place.

Plasma TV’s get their name from the technology they employ to produce an image. A plasma TV’s screen is made up of millions of cells containing rare noble gas mixtures that when subjected to different charges ionize (become electrically charged) and illuminate either red, green or blue phosphors at different levels to produce different colors. LCD TV’s on the other hand, as their name suggests, are composed of a liquid crystal sheet that is sandwiched in between two glass panels that, when the right amount of electric charge is applied filter white light provided by either an LED or florescent backlight into either red, green or blue, thus producing, at the right combinations, the different of the visible spectrum.

In terms of picture quality, Plasma TV’s have historically performed better than LCD TV’s as each cell in a plasma TV is essentially a light bulb, producing a color when charged, and because it is “off” when not, creates a deeper black. LCD TV’s produce images by blocking white light, thus in darker environments, blacks in LCD TV’s will still appear rather brighter in comparison to plasma TV’s. In brightly lit environments, on the other hand, the difference between the two is minor. One should keep the amount of ambient light in the room where they’re supposed to install their TV in mind when choosing between the two. Plasma TV’s also display fast moving images better as they virtually have no response time (the delay it takes for images to be displayed on the screen). Newer models of LCD TV’s have greatly improved in this aspect, but can still experience motion blur when displaying fast moving images.

As for energy consumption, LCD TV’s generally use fifty percent less energy than plasma models, as it takes more electricity to power the individual cells in a plasma TV than it does for an LCD TV’s backlight. Even with the recent development of improved energy consumption in the newer models of plasma TV’s, they still require a third more energy than LCD TV’s of the same display size.

With the improvements in both technologies, the longevity of plasma and LCD TV’s are sually dependent on the manufacturer. Both TV’s can claim at least 100,000 hours of viewing time before pictures start to fade or dull, in the case of LCD TV’s the backlight begins to dim, though in some models these can be replaced, extending the life of an LCD TV indefinitely. Plasma TV’s on the other hand will inevitably lose its phosphoric elements on each individual cell, (though admittedly after a very long time of use) and these cannot be replaced.

There are other differences between the two technologies that can vary depending on the specifications of the manufacturer, thus knowing 100% which is better between them will still depend on who you ask. Manufacturers will of course promote their own models as the greater choice, and arming yourself with more information will help you separate the facts from the hype.


About Kalon Willis

Hello, My name is Kalon Willis. I am the CEO/Founder of I have been in the retailing industry for several years now and being considered an expert by many. I attended the University of Findlay seeking a bachelors degree in business and have gained great knowledge over the years. I am here to bring you the latest and hottest news on electronics, deals, and much more. Find us on Twitter: @EC_Electronics
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