There are a number of opinions surrounding the debate between plasma or LCD as the screen type of choice. Constant advancements in both types of technology make this decision even harder.
Today we’ll run through the strengths and weaknesses of the two display types and then help you to decide which is the best for you.
If you are looking at a screen of about 40-46inches, then the plasma and LCD screens are around the same price. However, as you go larger the price differences start to show. Plasma screens become cheaper than LCDs as we go size. Also plasma screens can be built larger than LCD screens, due the the manufacturing process. For a home cinema setup, if you are looking for something around 50-60 inches, then a plasma screen is the choice for you in terms of price.
One of the long standing advantages that Plasmas have held over LCD screens is the ability to show true blacks. LCD screens, due to their backlighting tend to display blacks as greys. This means that plasma screens will typically show a deeper and more vivid image. The untrue black colours of an LCD are most evident in a dark room, so a plasma is better in home cinema environments. There is some argument that LCDs perform better in lit environments because plasma glass is more reflective but this is less of a factor. Both LCDs and plasmas have recently evolved new features that change these arguments. LCDs have developed LED Backlighting, which improves the quality of blacks with improved backlighting technology. Some plasmas now have glass with anti-reflective coatings for better performance in bright rooms. The wider viewing angle of plasma screens still puts them at a small advantage in this area though.
Most Large LCD and Plasma TVs will show the high-definition 1080p modes with ease. LCD screens do have a slight advantage in their ability to run higher resolutions. This is one of the reasons they dominate the computer screen market. The larger screen sizes will require a scaler processor to fit the image of your DVD or Blu-ray to the size of your screen. The cheaper brands may not have the best processors and can look a bit strange when put side by side with the better names in TVs. This is something to be mindful of when purchasing either an LCD or plasma.
The main thing people are talking about now is 3D screens. So far, plasmas seem to have the best track record in producing reliable 3D images. As 3D becomes more widespread, we should see more and more improvements in it.
While there have been some improvements and fixes, plasma screens still can suffer from some burn-in. Screensavers and the nature of TV and movies make this fine, but this does tend to make plasma screens less suitable for computer applications. If you intend to have the screen connected to a computer a lot, then LCD is the winner. Burn-in is not permanent now like it used to be, but can be annoying.
Overall, for home entertainment systems, plasma is still the winner. The main reason to opt for LCD is if you intend to use the screen a lot of computer applications as well. Plasmas will generally provide the best performance and value for money in the 50inch and over market.
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