TV 101: LCD and Plasma Flatscreens

Both plasma and LCD TVs have their own advantages – plasmas can be watched from any angle, and an LCD doesn’t have issues with burn in.

If you are looking for any new flat screen TV, you may generally have to choose between a plasma or LCD television. We all know, old tube TVs are just about dead, and even those large rear projection HDTVs which were so popular 5 years ago are on the way out.

Here’s what you need to know about plasma flat screens: The phosphors that make the image that you seen on the screen illuminate all by themselves. There is absolutely no backlighting needed. For an LCD, the liquid screen doesn’t illuminate by itself. So, you need a bulb in the back to illuminate it.

Generally, a plasma TV has a better ability to show blacks. Simply because a plasma set has better control over where to show light on the display screen and where not to. In an LCD, the light source couldn’t be completely blacked out in a black scene, thereby giving a slight dark, muddy appearance to some blacks.

Nowadays, however, LCDs have made a lot of progress in delivering better blacks and better all around color performance. Plasma TVs typically look best in a dark room; you can get some reflection off of the screen of some plasmas. An LCD tends to perform better in a room with some light.

However, a plasma screen generally looks better from an angle. With the LCD, you often can’t see the image as well unless you are sitting straight in front of it.

A number of the early plasma TVs did have an issue with what is known as burn in. This is where a TV would show a static picture for some period of time. And the image would burn into the display. This would happen because some of the phosphors in that area of the screen got overheated.

Burn in can still happen with today’s HD TVs, however, these plasmas do not use as much energy as the early models. This makes it more difficult for the phosphors to have a burn in problem. We have found that even in store displays that frequently show an image for a long time, you don’t see burn in much anymore with plasma TVs.

You also should know that some LCDs had a issue with showing some motion in early models. You would get a blurring effect. This really is greatly diminished in more current models.

Both the plasma and the LCD are great choices. Keep in mind that in a plasma and LCD of the same size, the plasma will be less expensive.