Plasma, LED and LCD comparison

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Selecting the best HDTV technology for your needs could be difficult, but to help you make the right choice, we will pitch the most popular options against each other. Instead of breaking your head trying to figure out which one is the best, the most practical thing to do is to take a look at what LED LCD, Plasma and LCD offer so that you can decide which one suits your needs. They all have particular advantages and depending on what you are looking for, some would work better for you.

Before we start, it is worth noting that Plasma TVs are manufactured by Samsung, Panasonic and LG and they are available in sizes that range between 42 to 65 inches. Panasonic offers a 150-inch model, but in general, 65 inches is the largest model most people would get. When it comes to LCD TVs, the size can go up to 90- inches and you will find a large number of brands in this category. LED TVs are in fact LCD TVs that use LEDs as their light source, instead of the standard CCFLs.

Advanced LCD TVs feature refresh rates of 240 Hz, which makes the blurring of motion that usually affects LCD, less noticeable. Nowadays, larger models of LCD TVs are available for affordable prices as the same plant that manufactures LED TVs can be used to make other products like mobile phone screens. This means that companies don’t need to invest on a separate factory for these products and can offer better prices. Now let’s take a look at how each type of TV performs in the most important categories.

Brightness
LED LCDs are the leaders in this category and some models offer a level of brightness that is so remarkable, that it is beyond of what you get in a movie theatre. LCDs that use traditional CCFL are the second choice when it comes to brightness. On the other hand the brightness of Plasmas is disappointing, at least when compared to LCDs, which can offer up to 100 footlamberts. However, that level of brightness can be too much, specially if you are in a dark room. Plus, it is important to consider the antireflective material on the screen. If the antireflective coating in a plasma is good, it may be easier to watch it in room that has enough light.

Black level/ Contrast ratio
Plasma TVs come ahead in this category as they offer a darker image. However, LED LCDs are not too far behind as they can offer an absolute black if your turn off the LEDs. The contrast ratio will play a big part on this as well and plasma TVs have an advantage here. Contrast ratio is the ratio that separates the darkest part of the image from the brightest and it is a crucial aspect of picture quality. In general, the higher the contrast ratio of a screen is, the more realistic and deep it would appear. Plasma TVs tend to have a better contrast ratio.

However, there are some LCDs that can provide an equally good performance in this area. For instance, the Samsung UN-85S9 has a built-in backlight that gives it a contrast ratio close to what a plasma TV offers. The main downside however is the outrageous price of nearly $40,000 and even though, there are more affordable options, they don’t get contrast ratio right. At least, not when compared to a plasma TV, which is you can normally get for a better price.

A new technology that has the potential to offer remarkable results in terms of contrast ratio is OLED, which aims to become the ultimate option in picture quality, performance and design. LG 4k OLED TV is one of the first models available and its 4 Color pixel technology and curved screen make it one of the most advanced and unique options you can get these days. Expect to pay around $10,000 and keep in mind that 4k technology is still under development.

Resolution/ Motion blur
LED LCD gets the points here, thanks to the previously mentioned 4k technology (Ultra HD), which is currently only available in these type of TVs. While 4k is meant to offer a better resolution, the difference with 1080p or even 720p is not substantial so it is advisable that you don’t make your decision based only on this aspect. Besides, when it comes to motion blur, plasma TVs win over LED LCD and LCDs as they are not affected by this issue as regularly.

Motion blur occurs when an object in motion on-scree blurs. This may be caused by the camera when the TV show or movie was originally filmed, but most of the time is done by the TV itself. It is not something that would dramatically affect your viewing experience and it is not always noticeable, but it happens particularly with LED LCDs and CCFL LCDs. Since LCD TVs are more prone to motion blur, it is no wonder that they offer higher refresh rates to fix this issues. Plasma TVs don’t require the same levels of refresh rates since they don’t have the same problems with motion blur.

Energy consumption
If you are looking for ways to live a greener life and want to reduce energy consumption at your home, the best option is a LED LCD TV. By turning down the backlight, you can further reduce the energy consumption. However, it is important to keep in mind that the prices of LED LCD TVs are considerably higher than other options. You may save energy, but the initial investment is so substantial that you won’t really save a lot of money, not even in the long run.

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