Plasma vs LCD
Who wins and why?
Doc Greene, president AV Expert
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1) Brightness: The great thing about plasma is not only that the picture is bright; it is a light emissive device. You have over 1 million picture elements (pixels) that emit active light all the time unless the picture is black, in which case they emit virtually no light. This means the picture level is perfectly constant from corner to corner, and top to bottom.
2) Long life: Modern Plasma technology offers a viewing life under normal conditions of 60 thousand hours. Allowing for 3 hours of viewing per day 365 days per year that is about 54 years for the average viewer.
3) Exceptional speed: Plasma gas and phosphors change state much more quickly than Liquid Crystal. This means less blurring and other picture artifacts when watching fast motion like sports and action movies.
4) More accurate color: Because nearly all LCD displays are back lit, light transmissive devices this means that color is dependent on the fluorescent style lighting behind the display. These usually have very cool color temperatures of 13 thousand degrees Kelvin or even higher, which means it is a very blue picture tone. Most name brand Plasmas have a color temperature of 6500 degrees Kelvin which is the average color of daylight. In simple terms this means more accurate flesh tones.
5) Extreme viewing angles: Plasma is viewable up to 89 degrees off axis in any direction with full color and brightness. LCD experiences both color shift and loss of brightness at 30 degrees off access left to right and 10 degrees off access vertically.
6) Burn In.: It is possible to "burn-in an image on plasma, BUT, it takes things like never watching it full screen or leaving a video game up for 3 days. In the video game scenario it is possible to repair burn-in like this by running full screen full motion video for 72 hours.
7) Persistent images: LCD has this problem. If you watch a few hours of sports where they have a graphic in place for some period of time you may notice the ghost of this image persisting on other program material. The fix, of course, is to turn off the display for a minute and turn it back on.
8) Price: For small displays 40 inches and under then LCD wins hands down. For displays larger than 40 inches Plasma wins. Especially in the 42 inch category.
9) Reflections: LCD does work better at eliminating reflections for windows if you can live wth the other issues I outlined earlier, but for plasma this problem can be controlled with articulating mounts and window treatments.Back to Top