Plasma and LCD televisions have been with us for some time; both experiencing popularity in homes across the land. The current industry conjecture is whether LCD will become the predominant technology in the future, mainly down to energy efficiency issues that have arisen after yet more European legislation on energy consumption. Hopefully the following article will detail which technology represents the best option for consumers.
Both plasma and LCD televisions are identical in form, naturally both are thin and have a flat screen and in the majority of cases are stunning to look at and a stylish addition to any home. Within the televisions themselves however there are markedly different technologies in operation to produce moving images. Obviously both plasma and LCD televisions are a great improvement on the CRT TVs of old, but do the differences between the two technologies seriously affect the buying decision for consumers?
Plasma televisions operate as a sandwich of tiny liquid crystals between two sheets of glass. These hundreds of thousands of pixels are controlled by specific current changes that affect shade, colour and brightness. With the use of a backlight the changes in shade are displayed on the screen. It is only when all of these crystals are altered rapidly that an image becomes visible.
Plasma televisions on the other hand have a similar glass sandwich but instead of liquid crystals contain a gas such as xenon or neon. Once again current is passed through the gas and this created an image, it is only when this image is passed through a layer of phosphors, representing each primary colour that the true image is created. This process requires considerably more power than LCD, meaning plasma is far more wasteful.
Understandably the two technologies have a variety of advantages and disadvantages. What follows is a categorical analysis.
First is the size and weight. Normally plasma televisions are available in larger screen sizes, particularly fifty inches or more. Typically plasmas are heavier than LCDs but this is marginal. At the moment plasmas have the edge in terms of screen sizes but technological developments are rapidly changing this situation.
There is not much to call between the two technologies when it comes to picture quality. Most experts believe that plasma televisions have better black levels that LCDs but it is evident that LCD TVs produce a sharper image, especially in smaller screen sizes.
A common problem with plasmas is image burn. This is when a residual image is displayed on the screen after the image has been shown for extended periods of time; normally this is a network logo or for gamers the screen display of their favourite game. This is not a problem for LCD models.
Viewing angles for both types of television are about 160 degrees but it is generally understood that plasmas have a slight edge. In terms of glare, normally an LCD TV performs better in brighter environments although due to the poorer black levels, people who watch television in the dark would be better suited with a plasma.
In terms of lifespan the understanding is that while an LCD television can guarantee around sixty thousand viewing hours, around seven and a half years of continuous viewing, plasmas will normally suffer sooner. Some plasmas have been reported to lose half of their brightness after around twenty thousand viewing hours.
It is hoped this article has highlighted some of the differences between plasmas and LCDs. As a consumer the choice is difficult but with recent reports stating that plasmas are almost thirty percent less efficient than LCDs it is understandable that those with an environmental conscience and a keen eye on their household bills will opt for the LCD path.
Technology expert Thomas Pretty studies the key differences between LCD and plasma televisions and advises consumers on which variety makes the most sensible choice.