Plasma and LCD Flat Panel Advice for Home Theater Video Displays
The "Kissin' Cousins" - Plasma and LCD Flat Panel Displays From all outward appearances Plasma and LCDs are very much related - like first cousins so to speak. They are both slim and lightweight, have bright images with rich color reproduction and both can be hung on a wall much like a picture, artwork or a decorative mirror. Also they are both rather expensive compared to conventional televisions. However the technology associated with each type of image display is what sets them apart and makes the differences in their images.
Plasma TV Pros and Cons
Plasma TV displays have many thousands of very tiny gas-filled cells that when electrically charged illuminate a phosphor coating to get their color much like the pixels on a conventional television. Plasma screens are thin and light enough (although not real light) to be hung on a wall like a picture frame. Plasma display images allow a wide viewing angle, are very bright which enables them to be viewed with moderate ambient lighting present and have exceptional color depth and image detail.
Disadvantages of Plasma Technology Plasmas, like CRTs are somewhat susceptible to burn-in of static images. Also the life-span of a plasma set relies upon its little "gaslights" longevity. At about 30,000 hours or so a plasma TV will lose nearly half of its brightness. That is only about five years of moderate use with an average of six hours a day.
Another issue with Plasma TVs is that they produce a bit more heat than LCDs. Plasmas "little light bulbs" burn hotter than the florescent illumination lamps found on many LCDs -- giving a slight nod to LCDs in that category.
LCD HDTV Pros and Cons
As noted an LCD flat panel display is a cousin - of sorts - to a plasma display. LCD displays are also bright with very good color reproduction and image detail. Likewise they are light and very thin and can also be hung on a wall like a picture frame. Here's where the plasma and LCD flat panel display family tree branches diverge - LCD displays do not rely on little gaslights to illuminate and produce the image but rather are electrically charged red, green and blue colored liquid crystals which form the pixels that are illuminated from behind much like the screen on a laptop computer. Liquid Crystal Displays are not susceptible to image burn-in like a conventional CRT tube TV. Newer LCDs do have about the same color depth and some better models have nearly the same noticeable contrast ratio of plasmas. Therefore when comparing plasma and LCD flat panel displays - there is a very slight advantage to plasmas but the gap is closing with each year's new model lines.
My latest take on the Plasma vs LCD debate A lot has happened over the last year or so to close the gap between the two cosmetically similar but technologically different types of HDTVs since I first compiled this info page back in early 2006. Take a look here at -- Plasma vs LCD HDTVs.
A further note about plasma TVs over fireplaces It seems a trend of late is to hang plasma TVs over fireplaces. It's not a practice I would advise as there is a considerable amount of heat (and smoke/soot from wood burning units) produced and that all rises upward. I don't know of any official study on the subject but logic dictates that additional heat is not good for an electrical device -- especially one that is already as hot as a plasma TV. Therefore if you want to have your video display over your fireplace and you are choosing between a plasma and LCD flat panel TV perhaps you should opt for an LCD over it's "hot blooded cousin" the plasma.
Notable LCD TVs
Samsung 1080p TVs - Best LCD TV of the Year is VERY Impressive The 2008 Samsung LCD TVs are the most crisp, vibrant and breathtaking TVs of the year or EVER for that matter. The surprisingly affordable TVs Feature deep, detailed blacks and incredibly vivid images. A new benchmark has been set for LCDs that rivals the best Plasmas panels.More on the Samsung LN46A650 and LN52650.
Samsung's 32" 720p LCD is "Great in the Bedroom" I've received quite a few requests for recommendations for a TV for the bedroom. The Samsung LN32A450 LCD 720p HDTV is a smaller TV that would make a great choice for the bedroom, office or even smaller family rooms. Its relatively economical price makes it worthy of a serious look. Read more here Samsung LN32A450 LCD TV.