Wondering which kind of TV to buy? This article covers the three most prominent brands of flatscreen technology, LCD, LED and Plasma.
Out of the current options for flat-screen TVs, the three most prominent display types are LED, LCD and plasma screens. Here's a quick list of pros and cons that may help with your purchase.
Plasma TVs are the most prominent and popular form of TV for home entertainment systems, and are one of the oldest types of flat-screen TV.
These have the best 'blacks' of flatscreen TVs, and give a wider viewing angle than LCD and LED, making them idea for home theater setups where some people may be seated at a wide angle from the television.
Plasma TVs have lower resolution than comparable LCD and LED TVs, and of all the flatscreen types, and they also have a reflective screen, making them a poor choice for viewing TV in rooms with native light. Plasma TVs have the highest risk of burn-in from displaying high-contrast images. It's good to remember that the risk of burn-in is at its highest point in the first few hundred hours of use, so keep the contrast low for a few weeks and stay away from staring at the TV listings channel.
LCD screens are typically used in computer monitors, where the natural nonreflectiveness and detail are key selling points, while ability to function in the dark and viewing angle are not.
Higher resolution than comparable plasma TVs, meaning you'll be getting a clearer picture for the cost. LCD TVs also have no potential for burn-in, due to the way light is processed. New models of LCD screens are being optimized for a much faster refresh rate, with some screens displaying up to 200 frames per second, allowing for much sharper motion than other types of television.
LCD screens have a narrow viewing angle, meaning that the image fades quite sharply as you move away from the direction of the screen. Due to the fact that all LCD pixels are backlit, even a black screen throws quite a bit of light in a dark room. LCD TVs are also more expensive than plasma TVs, so you'll be getting less size for a comparable price point.
LED televisions are the newest type of TV, adopting a similar use of polarizing crystals as LCD screens, while using LED backlights to allow for deeper blacks and to conserve energy. Some prototypes are being used in laptops to conserve battery power, while large LED screens are used for ultra hi-def viewing, though home entertainment spaces using LED TVs need to be rearranged to keep people away from unfavorable angles.
LED Televisions offer plasma-quality black tones due to a different method of lighting pixels, as well as all advantages associated with using an LCD screen, including refresh rates and lack of burn-in. Due to the fact that LED screens don't backlight pixels the way LCD screens do, LED Televisions use much less energy.
Expensive. Since LEDs effectively offer the best of both worlds (save maybe viewing angle), they're alot pricier than comparable LED and Plasma screens, often costing about double for a similar size. They also aren't usually available in sizes greater than 40 inches, so you'll have a much more limited selection.
For a typical home theater system, a plasma TV is probably your best bet. Currently the cheapest and most versatile in the market, these TVs offer optimal performance when lights are off and when people are seated at a wide angle. If you're looking to upgrade from a plasma screen without going larger, LED televisions can operate as home entertainment systems almost as well as plasma screens due to their ability to function in the dark, but an LCD screen is best kept exclusive to your computer.