Most people who want to upgrade from a conventional TV are terribly confused as to which to choose: a plasma TV or an LCD TV. How do you pick?
Well, they’re quite similar in many ways. They are flat, big, have a sharp picture and are expensive. But there are some differences, leaving aside the obvious technology differences.
Advantages of Plasma TVs over LCD TVs
Plasma TVs have blacker blacks and whiter whites than LCD TVs (called a high contrast ratio). If that’s a concern for your viewing habits (such as if you view scenes that have dark and light images at the same time), plasma TVs have the edge here over LCD TVs. But LCDs are getting better, so this may not be true for much longer.
Plasma TVs have slightly more accurate color reproduction than LCD TVs, at least for TVs that have the same number of pixels. But in bright ambient environments, LCDs will be better. For most people, the diffference is indiscernable.
Plasma TVs can typically be viewed from a wider angle than LCD TVs. Generally, this is 160 degrees for plasma TVs and about 130 degrees for LCD TVs. In addition, beyond 90 degrees the LCD picture degrades, particularly in holding the blackness of black.
Plasma TVs, as a whole, don’t last longer or less long than LCD TVs. LCD TVs are somewhat less likely to have screen “burn-in” than are plasma TVs. See our disussion on screen lifespan for more information.
Most importantly, a plasma TV of the same size and other characteristics as an LCD TV will, on average, cost less than a comparable LCD TV.
Advantages of LCD TVs over Plasma TVs
LCD TVs are clearly superior to plasma TVs for use as a computer monitor, even a very large computer monitor. Plasma TVs are technically not as well able to handle computer inputs, so their text typically appears jagged on a computer. But for moving images, such as for computer games, plasma TVs produce a better image, in part because LCD TVs can leave a trailing effect during fast moving action on the screen.
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