In the television industry, there is intense competition between LED, LCD and plasma designs. With all the pros, cons, and counter argument, the question it boils down to is which one is better of the three?
After cutting through the hype, LCE, LED and Plasma each have their own merits and demerits. Below is a detailed step-by-step comparison of the features of all three technologies, and we will try to name the best of the three.
But remember that all three technologies will be explored generally, not indulging in excessive technicalities.
Also note that LG, Samsung, Panasonic and other tech giants manufacture Plasma TVs in multiple size ranges varying from 42 inches to 65 inches. Even so, Panasonic has a 150-inch Plasma TV. For most people, 65 inch is the limit. Plasma TVs work at 600 Hz, which is considerably less than 120 Hz and 240 Hz.
Meanwhile, the LCD TVs vary in sizes ranging from 32 inches to 90 inches. They are manufactured by all leading and struggling electronic giants. The primary difference between LCD TV and LED TV is that of CCFLs. LCD TVs use CCFLs while LED TVs use LED lights. The comparison is made on the basis of CCFL LCD TV since they still are present on the market, albeit out of production.
The benefits of expensive LCD TV are the 120 Hz and 240 Hz refresh rates which prevents the blurred motion notably seen in cheaper models. At present, there are three companies investing in plasma technology. The reason for this is quite simple: applications. As the electronic giants embarked on tech ventures (in this case, manufacturing TVs), they were faced with a decision to either:
- Develop a plasma TV screen facility for manufacturing large-size flat screens
- Build an expensive manufacturing plant to build all sizes of LCD TV
Hence, the decision was obvious for companies and most refrained in investing in plasma technology. With an LCD manufacturing plant, a company can develop LCD screens for almost all devices which isn’t the case with plasma technology.
Fast Facts about Plasma TVs
- They are cost effective
- They are suitable for darker settings
- There is no motion blur
- Best black on the market
- Not advisable for well lit rooms
- They are heavier
- They have a slight buzzing noise
- They have an image retention problem
Fast facts about LCD/ LED TV
- The angle of viewing should be straight
- Excessive motion blurs
- Problems with backlight uniformity
- Poor blacks
- Consumes less power
- They are thin TVs
- They are quite bright
- It is ideal for dark rooms/ well lit rooms
- They are the leading selling products
Compared below are the various categories under which LCD, LED and plasma TV:
LCD and LED TVs are the brightest televisions on the market. Plasmas TVs on the other hand aren’t as bright. But, plasma TVs are brighter than CRT televisions. Additionally, the CCFL also seem dim in comparison to LED and LCD TVs.
A prime concern here is the eyestrain. Such intense light in a dark room can cause eye damage. On the other hand, a plasma TV can generate similar effects in bright settings.
Another element is anti-reflective/anti-glare material of the screen. Plasma TVs have a anti-reflective layer which suits users better in comparison to LCD TVs having no anti-reflective coating.
Plasma TVs unarguably offer the best levels of blacks on the market today. In comparison, LED and LCD seldom have an absolute black, but plasma are darker at the end of the day. CCFL LCD TVs have the worst black level. It is due to the contrast ratio mentioned below.
Contrast ratio is the ratio of darkest image to the brightest one, which plays a pivotal role in picture quality and definition. TV with a high contrast ratio will gives a more realistic view and provides more depth.
Certain exceptions exist however, such as Samsung UN-85S9, which feels familiar to a plasma TV due to its advanced local dimming rear light. Moreover, some other LCD TVs have good local dimming for a huge price ($40,000), though they still lack the competency of their plasma counterparts.
Samsung for that matter has released few local dimming LCD/ LED TVs which are very expensive. On the other hand, edge lit models is its prime focus since they are affordable for both manufacturer and consumers. Moreover, local dimming LCD/ LED TVs are more expensive than plasma TVs. The consumers’ obvious choice is the edge lit LED/ LCD TVs.
There are certain exceptions where local dimming models perform better than their plasma counterparts, but it is very rare.
OLED on the other hand is an emerging technology, which may have better contrast ratio. It is a unique blend of both technologies. It combines three diversifying features into one TV:
- Ultra power efficiency
- Excellent picture quality
So, in conclusion, the plasma TVs have better contrast ratio compared to their LCD/ LED counterparts. The difference may not become visible in a store though.
The 4K HDTVs on the market are all LED/ LCD TVs. There are no 4K plasma TVs on the other hand. Companies are less interested in plasma investment when LCD/ LED market is booming. Resolution is only one element of a TV’s overall picture quality.
Motion blur is a huge issue with LED/ LED TVs where bottom tier products tend to be plagued with motion blur. Motion blur occurs when a picture in full motion blurs. The prime cause is the TV itself. Observed by most viewers, it occurs in LED/ LED TVs. For minimizing motion blur, 120 Hz and 240 Hz. When it is treated, a soap opera effect is created which further ruins the experience. The image formed is too smooth for the consumers. In case of plasma TVs, there is no motion blue to speak of since it doesn’t deal with the refresh rates.
For combating motion blur, the LCD TVs have refresh rates. Plasma TVs aren’t afflicted with motion blur as LCD TVs are, their refreshing rates are considerably low. Moreover, the style of image creation of both plasma TV and LED/ LED TVs are quite different. As the case with LED/ LED TVs with lower refresh rates, images began blurring resulting in lagging.
Viewing angle is a very important in quality of a TV. With LED/ CCFL LCD and LED TVs, watch from an angle rather than sitting in front of it, its quality can decrement significantly.
On the other hand, plasma TV doesn’t require a viewing angle. Additionally, the IP-LCDs provide a better viewing angle adjusting the contrast ratio and black level.
LED/ LED TVs are undisputedly the lowest energy consumption TVs in existence after the backlight is turned off. Following closely are CCFL LCD TVs having the same enough energy consumption levels. On other hand, plasma TV consumes massive energy when backlight is turned on. However, the energy consumption has been cut down significantly with improvements in technology.
In light of the pros and cons mentioned above, the obvious choice is LED TV over LCD and plasma TV.
Plasma TVs have officially met their demise. In 2013, Panasonic abandoned their production while LG announced ending production in 2014. All the electronic giants have switched to LED TVs for now upgrading from LCD TVs.
LED TVs which are analogous to LCDs capitalize the television market. Due to their range of advantages over LCD and plasma (except reduced picture quality), LED TVs are the obvious choice for most TV consumers.
For those consumers willing to overlook the side effects of plasma TV can enjoy stellar picture quality at an affordable price. They aren’t bright in day time and suit dark rooms more. They have a problem of image retention coupled with a buzzing noise recurring when bright scenes occur. For avid movie goers and TV show buffs, plasma TV is the obvious choice.
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