LED vs LCD vs Plasma – What to Buy?

Plasma vs. LED vs. LCD Flat Panel Televisions Guide

 Trying to determine what flat panel TV to buy can be a daunting task. During this fall season you may be considering inviting friends and/or family over to your house to watch a big game, or you simply may be wishing to get the best picture quality for your favorite family sitcom.

Whatever your entertainment desires may be, you don’t want to make a poor investment when it comes to this pivotal household family object. Trust me, no one wants to be the guy on the street with the little TV or the fuzzy picture.

This article is meant to guide you through the cumbersome process of getting the most bang for your buck when considering where to invest your money.

You may be surprised that a plasma television, for instance, is not the obsolete object many LCD companies are claiming them to be.

In determining the right television for your household, you want to make sure you have the latest and most accurate information free of bias and misnomer.

And if you need to consolidate remotes with a universal remote, check out our Logitech Harmony review here, or our Magic Wand remote here.

The Good the Bad and the Ugly – Plasma vs LCD vs LED Flat Panel Televisions Plasma Models

Not long ago the plasma television became an extremely attractive choice in comparison with some of the bulkier and heavier models that were considered mainstream for the time.

However, recent LCD and led marketing campaigns have done a great job at discrediting the full value offered by the plasma competitor.

For instance, many lcd competitors will argue that plasma TVs consume more energy, which may be true, but due to recent innovations, this hardly seems to be a deal-breaker.

Furthermore, a common complaint against plasma sets is that they do not fair well in a room with bright lights or window glare.

Again, such a complaint may have been more true in the past, but at this current stage, technological improvements have greatly mitigated such effects.

Thirdly, many of your friends may discourage you from buying a plasma set because they don’t last as long as LCD or LED sets. This is actually a factual statement, but plasma TVs are still able to render 20-30,000 thousand hours of viewing without losing half of their initial brightness.

For those of you who are not math experts, that means you could watch 5 solid hours of TV each day for the next 16 years before you start to notice ill effects. It might be safe to say that you will be looking for your next TV set prior to that time.

What is often overlooked when considering a plasma set is that you are getting television which will typically have a brighter native or static contrast ratio than its LCD counterpart.

What is the difference between static and dynamic contrast ratio?

Both ratios are certainly important and it depends on the length of the scene and the nature of the program you are watching that will determine the difference. A higher static ratio will offer better picture quality during shorter scenes or quick transitions within the program, whereas a higher dynamic ratio will entail more vibrant colors during prolonged scenes.

Such a comparison leads to a further strength of the inherent power of a plasma.

Normally, you can plan to get darker and deeper shades of black which provide a beautiful picture, especially during a sporting event.

However, it must be noted that plasma screens will leave traces or imprints of past scenes, and you must not leave your TV paused for longer than 20 minutes if you are wanting to avoid permanent burn-in marks in your screen.

LCD Models

As you may know, LCD and LED models have been winning the marketing war in the TV world due to some attractive options.

The question you will have to answer is whether the features and benefits of an lcd are worth the extra money you will throw down for an equally sized plasma.

What are the benefits of purchasing a Liquid Crystal Display?

First, it is important to note, as stated earlier that LCD models will provide you with a longer life than the plasma. Also, there is no concern of pictures being burned into the screen, and LCDs still tend to be a bit lighter than their plasma competitor, which may come in handy if you are looking to mount a TV to your wall.

Some gripes with the LCD, however, come into play when you consider they use mercury as an integral part in portraying their images.

Thus, if you are one who is environmentally driven, this may be a point of concern for you (though you need to be concerned about contact with your TV, as an actual hazard for you or your family).

Moreover, some people complain that the LCD doesn’t offer quite the contrast and therefore the vibrancy of colors proffered by its plasma counterpart.

I currently have an LCD television upstairs and a plasma downstairs, and I can attest that the plasma offers a richer overall viewing experience, especially when using a high speed smart TV box, yet one thing you must know is that this comparison can be an extremely subjective experience.

Furthermore, there is not a standard measure in the industry to determine the dynamic contrast ratio in a set.

Therefore, you cannot necessarily compare TVs with the same specs across the board, especially since some of the companies test their TVs in darker rooms than others.

This brings me to an essential point of consideration, which is the best manufacturer to choose.

You can never go wrong with the 2 leading television producers in the market place today, Samsung and LG (both South Korean companies), or the well-known names of Sharp, Sony, and Panasanic.

I currently have a set from both LG and Samsung, and I have been extremely pleased with picture, longevity, price, and user friendliness.

As an attempt to compete with the superior native resolutions embodied by the plasma option, LCDs have done much to increase the refresh rates (the number of times in a second that the display hardware draws the data) of their TVs to provide for more seamless and lucid transitions.

Thus, when considering a TV purchase, you must not overlook the two contrast ratios, the refresh rates normally indicated by a Hz, size, and manufacturer.

LED Models

Without delving into a ton of esoteric jargon that you will not understand, it is important to note that LED models are simply LCDs, but better.

Though some manufacturers do not state as much, LED tvs do not in fact offer a true led display; but rather, they provide led back-lighting which can be broken down into 3 distinct kinds.

What you need to know is that led TVs normally exhibit an innate ability to distribute light over the viewing screen in a picturesque manner, they consume less energy (thus providing a lower power bill), they are environmentally friendly, as they don’t use the mercury, and they weigh much lighter than do LCD and plasma sets.

Ultimately, what you must determine when looking at an LED, is whether you want to pay the exorbitant amount that they tend to require at the time of purchase.

As proven by the history of technology, new cutting edge items like computers, cell phones, and others always start out extremely high and eventually come back down to earth where the middle class can take advantage of such luxury items.

Conclusion

If you are the type of person who has to have the best, then you may want to pay the utmost to ensure that your TV brings in the flocks of neighbors who can rave about your new beauty.

However, if you are just looking for something solid, big, and beautiful to gaze upon, then you can purchase with confidence a plasma or LCD.

Two years ago, I purchased a fifty inch Samsung TV and some home theater speakers, which was only capable of offering 720p definition (1080i being the highest). However, my neighbors still rave about my purchase today saying they wish they had gotten something bigger and brighter.

In truth, I paid less at the time than a friend who bought an LCD 42 inch model. I also think my screen and picture are superior to his, even though he boasts a greater definition measurement, which simply refers to the number of pixels in a given space.

However, you go, be sure to consult the important variables upon which I have focused in this report.