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Comparing LCD and Plasma Flat Panel HDTVs


You might ask yourself or a salesperson some of these questions when comparing LCD and plasma flat panel HDTVs. Here is my two cents.
Add your two cents to the knowledge bank

What's so good about LCD and plasma flat panel HDTVs compared to other types?

Size. Flat panel televisions are thinner and lighter than direct view and rear projection TVs. They can hang on just about any surface with appropriate mounting equipment. They travel easy. They are easy to use for tailgating.

What's a weakness of LCD and plasma flat panel HDTVs compared to other types?

I used to think that technology of other TV types was superior to LCD and plasma just because manufacturers could fit more technology inside the unit. That isn't the case anymore because technology has gotten smaller and better.

I guess the weakness now is price. Many direct view and DLP televisions cost less than LCD and plasma competitors.

How does LCD differ from plasma?

Generally speaking, plasma has a better picture than LCD. They process motion better. They usually cost less, though high-end plasmas usually cost more than LCD.

LCD runs cooler than plasma and are more versatile. Plasma doesn't come smaller than 42" so if you want plasma then you have to go big. LCD doesn't have that issue. You can just about fit a small LCD in your pocket or hang a large one on your wall and see it across a large room.

Plasma has a reputation for getting burn-in, which is when a static image permanently remains visible on the screen. Not sure how true that is these days but the perception is still there and needs consideration.

LCD has ghosting, which is when a moving image has a tail following it on screen when it shouldn't. To counter this issue you can buy a 120hz LCD but those are higher in price than 60hz models.

What is your general opinion of LCD?

I think LCDs have the brightest future of any TV type. They are so much more versatile than any other type. You can use them virtually anywhere and buy them in just about every screen size.

I really like the 120hz LCD HDTV but do get concerned about the quality of some 60hz models. The problem is that the lower end LCDs just don't process motion as good. The low end images, analog and standard digital, don't always appear smooth.

That's a problem with a lot of HDTVs so I have to take that with a grain of salt. Most all look wonderful in HD. And, they should.

What is your general opinion of plasma?

The plasma industry doesn't have as many players involved in comparison to LCD. As a result I think it's less likely to find a real clunker in the bunch. That isn't intended for you to throw caution into the wind and buy a plasma without looking at it. It's just an observation.

I like plasma as a technology for watching movies and high definition. Plasma has such a beautiful picture when displaying images of nature in HD.

I don't buy into the burn-in issue. Most manufacturers take precautions against that now so it's near extinction.

They do run hot but it's not noticeable to me as an issue. A lot of businesses use plasma panels as billboards. That says something to me, either they're cheaper by the dozen or pretty reliable. Maybe a bit of both.

Final Thoughts

I kind of lump LCD and plasma in the same category just because they're flat panels. They look the same and cost about the same but they're different.

So, as a general rule I believe this:

If I'm going to play video games and want PC interactivity then I lean towards LCD. If I'm going to watch sports in HD then I lean towards plasma. If I'm going to watch movies and TV then both types are comparable with each other.

This might puzzle some people since I mentioned earlier that LCD has issues processing motion. So, I'll explain:

I like LCD for video game play because the video game source is controlled and of high quality. My concern with motion is with the images I can't control, like sports not in HD. The other reason is that video games have static images. To be safe, I prefer LCD but I know people with plasmas that play video games on them and don't have burn-in.

As far as would I buy flat panel over direct view or rear projection? I probably would but if I wanted to go real big then front/overhead projection would have definite consideration.

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