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Plasma or LCD?

In the past, I have heard everyone downplay plasma television over LCD television. Today, I really wanted to know what is the technological difference. In searching, I found a side-by-side technical comparison between the two in an editorial article called, "Difference between Plasma and LCD TVs". I was quite impressed by this chart and quite disappointed by the assumption that I, and many people, made to downplay plasma. The chart include comparison between Screen Size, Thickness, Viewing Angle, Burn-in, Screen Refresh Rates, Colour Saturation, Contrast Ratios, Product Life-span, Weight, Transportation and Shipping, Production Costs and Price, Power Consumption, and Performance at High Altitude.

That's a lot of categories to consider. But I can sum it down really quick: plasma is way better than LCD if performance is all you care about. Plasma beats LCD in every performance category, including screen size, refresh rate, color saturation, and contrast ratio. If you don't care about anything else except performance, plasma is the way to go.

However, if you have a few constraints and can only live with yourself if you meet these constraints, then you might consider LCD. Space constraint: LCD is about 2/3 thinner. Static image constraint: LCD has no burn-in effect. If you must display static picture or use your television as a virtual window, then you must use an LCD. Product life constraint: LCD lasts twice as long. Must move constraint: LCD is lighter and simpler to transport. Environmental constraint: LCD save 45% to 50% more electricity. So if you are an environmentalist, then LCD is your choice. Altitude constraint: If you live above 6500 feet, you'll want an LCD.

So if none of these constraints effects you, go out and buy yourself a plasma TV and enjoy the higher performance for a lower price . . . until . . . your electricity bill shows up.

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 19 Jul 2005 14:17:10 -0700

Hi Chieh!

Enjoyed your writeup on plasma. I am seriously considering a 42 inch Panasonic plasma (TH-42PX50U). We live at 4750 ft elevation so am trying to determine if this will significantly impact the performance of the set over time. I may have to contact Panasonic to get an answer. Will definitely get a 5-year extended warranty especially with the altitude factor. Any thoughts?


James Sahr
Tue, 24 Jan 2006 18:52:44 -0800

Thanks Chieh,

It's very nice of you to go research all of this stuff for me.

I am taking my time and thinking about it carefully, and I appreciate the help you're giving me.

I personally am favoring an LCD due to the reduced weight and power consumption. Since you're a camera enthusiast, I assume you will also evaluate the digital options available on TV's. Some of them have SD cards and will automatically run a slideshow that you can control with your remote when you put in a card with pictures on it.

I don't believe there is any better way to see digital pictures then on a high resolution HDTV, and this is super convenient.

I want audio systems that work with my mp3 player and video systems that work with my camera.

As a side note, though I'm not currently interested in a new audio system, I've noticed that the prices have come down a lot. You can get a decent one for $250.00. Now I'm not talking about a Bose system of course, but it's a 1000 Watt system with 5 speakers, sub-woofer and the main unit that can dock with your ipod.

Not a bad deal.

Fri, 03 Aug 2007 15:43:02 +0000

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