What’s better than plasma (PLASMA) or LCD?
By frequency and intensity of discussions on numerous Internet forums, by gigabytes of articles, reviews and comparisons the question posed in the title of this article can be ranked on a par with the eternal questions of our country. Let’s bring our 18 cents in by comparing advantages and disadvantages to decide what to give preference to: flame (literally) or ice (conventionally).
For starters a bit of technical information.
How to choose a plasma TV
A lot of time has passed since plasma screens first conquered the Russian market. But even today quite a few people wonder “how to choose a plasma TV?”. Many of the younger generation, grown up with modern television formats, hardly remember the cartoons of what image quality they were brought up with in their early childhood. Much less do they really care what technology was used to make the TV screen that could often make out the “thoughtful face” of Russian Leopold the Cat or the smile of the transoceanic prankster Jerry the mouse.
The good old cathode ray tubes are a thing of the past, and now they’ve been replaced by new flat screens, among which the so-called “plasma panel” is very popular. Plasma (the second name of TV) came to us from the West and is firmly entrenched in the homes and apartments of our people, offices, conference rooms, small cinemas, and also serves as a great billboard on the streets and facades of buildings.
It is natural that such a fashionable trend in the development of television equipment has been picked up not only by well-known companies. the ancestors of the old kinescopes, but there are many new brands that are trying to take their niche in the development and implementation of new television technology.
How to choose a plasma screen and make no mistake? After all, such equipment is bought for a long time, and it is not cheap. Often our decision to buy something is influenced by criteria that have nothing to do with the quality of the product. Some are ready to pay a lot of money for a famous brand or unique design of TV set to boast in front of friends and acquaintances. Others don’t attach any importance to pathos and their TV is just a means of video information transmission.
But time moves inexorably forward, the technology is constantly evolving, and with it the demands to the quality of the transmitted video information are growing. No wonder that a good TV is no longer a luxury and nowadays even pretends to be in the list of almost essential goods.
But before you make your final choice for a specific model, you need to decide why you need a TV and what price you are ready to pay for it? The image quality of the plasma panel will be appreciated by fans of spectacular scenes, fans of dabbling with a gaming console, and even those who sit down in front of the screen just to watch the latest news. Choice of plasma TV, once available only to the wealthy, has become possible for almost any working person.
What is the first parameter with which we always start our search for a new TV?? Of course it is the size of the screen (diagonal). Plasma screen was originally positioned as a luxury TV and is designed for large rooms and halls. And that is why to find on sale a plasma screen with a diagonal size of less than 32 inches is almost unreal. And all the advantages of the new technology can be fully revealed on the big screen. If you need a flat panel TV for a small room, you should take a closer look at LCD models. Such parameters as brightness, contrast and sweep (refresh rate) of plasma panel are higher than those of LCD matrix. But recently some LCD TV producers are making great efforts to catch up with plasma screens according to these indexes. The competition between the two titans of the television world market is only just beginning. Let’s see what the new developments can surprise us with in the coming years.
What is the reason for the qualitative superiority of plasma panels?? The thing is that the pixels (dot image element) of a video matrix are inertial light sources themselves. Thanks to this the image is clear and bright, and when you change the frame quickly there is no glare (residual shadow) at all.
On the capabilities of TV can tell a lot about the input/output ports on its body. Although plasma panels are initially oriented to reproduce the highest quality video signal, you should still inspect the back wall for connectors. A modern plasma panel must have the latest generation interface, HDMI (for connecting digital video with high resolution and digital audio), supporting the HDCP protocol. There can also be S-Video, RCA, component and composite port. Sometimes it is possible to connect plasma panels to your computer’s video card via VGA and DVI connectors. But they are all the predecessor of the universal HDMI port and can be present in the TV for the possibility of connecting to video sources of earlier years. If you are going to connect a camcorder or other portable device to the TV, then pay attention to the presence of mini HDMI input. To describe the purpose of all the connectors would take a whole article with pictures. So we will not dwell on them in detail.
However, you should remember that monitors and TV sets have some technological differences. So if you want to buy a quality plasma panel, do not take the “two-in-one” option. Some sellers, when advertising their goods, deliberately make a point of converting their TV-set into a monitor with one move. Do not fall for this fishing rod. Almost all flat screen TVs have this feature. But whether you get a quality TV and monitor is another question. It makes sense to connect a plasma TV to your computer only for playing games or watching movies. Good choice!
TVs of this type display an image by backlighting liquid crystal screen with an LED matrix (LED).
Advantages. TVs led have the highest level of picture contrast (up to 1000000:1). Thanks to the LED backlighting is more realistic and wider range of colors, and saves up to 40% power consumption without sacrificing brightness. When working in “STAND BY” mode, the devices do not consume any electricity. LED TVs have a juicy and rich color reproduction.
Disadvantages. When controlling the backlighting there is a flicker frequency of up to 200 Hz. With prolonged viewing this phenomenon can cause a migraine in people with hypersensitive eyes. Also LED TVs have a relatively high cost.
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How often the screen changes per second is not unimportant for television. This update rate is measured in hertz. Most televisions have a setting of 60 Hz. This means that in one second the image is updated 60 times. It is obvious that increasing the scanning frequency will make the dynamic scenes as smooth as possible, rather than jerky. This is especially critical for games or sports programs.
Common 60 hertz screens are suitable for watching almost all content: movies, TV shows, TV shows. Screen with a frequency of 120 Hz will show the advantages in video games, but such pleasure will not be cheap.
Choose and buy a TV with high frequency scanning delivery in Russia
If we said that plasma panels were the pioneers of new technology among televisions, then liquid crystals were at the origins of all electronics in general. The first LCD display appeared as early as the 1970s. At that time they were monochrome screens on clocks, calculators, various devices. Somewhat later, the first notebooks with LCD displays appeared, but they were primitive works in the early days of the LCD era.
The first Lcd TVs began to appear in the early 2000s and became widespread in the mid-2000s.
Thanks to the small diagonals from 14 to 32 inches and affordable price they quickly became popular and overtook plasma screens in sales, although at that time they were much inferior in image quality.
LCD screen is based on liquid crystals which are placed between layers of glass or polymer plates. This layer of crystals forms a matrix with a huge number of pixels. The backlight behind the panel gives the glow, and the RGB matrix provides the colors.
LCD TVs can be fully cited as the reason CRTs are leaving the market (those thick boxes with the flickering kinescope). And although the picture quality of the kinescope was much better, the new technology has taken over. Since then a lot of time has passed and the quality of lcd has improved a lot.
- low power consumption (think of clocks that run on a single battery);
- no static voltage. it doesn’t attract dust and doesn’t electrocute;
- even a small screen can be made in Full HD resolution;
- low price;
- lightweight, and today it’s very lightweight.
- Contrast is worse than plasma and ice;
- limited viewing angle;
- insufficient black depth and contrast;
- The only “standard” screen resolution;
- Response time, that is, the time of image change is not the best.
Of course the pros and cons vary depending on the cost of a specific model and the level of the manufacturer. For example, premium brands will show excellent contrast, wide viewing angle, and all other data will be at a high level. And the cheapest models, on the contrary, will make the disadvantages several times worse, and their operating time is limited. Generally speaking, LCD TVs have a lifespan of 7-10 years.
What is plasma TV and technology
The schematics of modern plasma TVs, while having similarities with LCD TVs, have their own features.
The design of a plasma TV
A plasma panel (PDP. Plasma Display Panel) consists of millions of pixels filled with a gas (xenon or neon). The cells are placed between two glass plates. When an electric charge is applied to the cells, the gas changes to an aggregate state which in physics is called plasma. That’s what a plasma TV is all about. This is where the name of the technology comes from.
How a plasma TV works
The principle of plasma television is based on the phenomenon of gas glowing in cells when an electric current is passed through. In essence, a plasma panel is a matrix of miniature fluorescent lamps. Each cell is a kind of capacitor with electrodes and consists of three micro-lamps with ionized gas.
After the discharge, the plasma emits ultraviolet light. The red, green, or blue micro-lamp begins to glow. The ultraviolet radiation is trapped by the glass, and the visible light is converted through a scanning electrode into an image that appears on the screen of the plasma television.
The electric field is controlled by a computer. The brightness of each cell determines the level of voltage applied. In this way, almost any color and shade is obtained from the three primary colors.
The image produced by this technology is bright and clear. Each cell emits its own light independently and there is no need for additional lighting of plasma TV, in contrast to LCD congeners.
The size of the plasma cell is large enough. To create a small plasma TV with high resolution is technologically very difficult and economically unprofitable. Basically the devices are made with a diagonal of 42 inches and more.
Disadvantages of LCD TV
The difference between a plasma and an LCD TV is that the former has a lower real contrast ratio, not very good reproduction of deep shades of black, although the increased use of LED backlighting has narrowed this gap.
Does not track motion as well (fast moving objects can have lag effects). However, this is the case with the implementation of 120 Hz screen refresh rate and 240 Hz processing in most LCDs. This can lead to a “soap opera effect,” in which the sources of a movie’s content look more like a videotape of that movie.
The difference between plasma and LCD is also that the latter has an effective lateral viewing angle. On LCD televisions, you can usually see fading or color shifting when viewing positions are moved farther to either side of the center point.
Although LCD televisions are not at risk of burn-in, it is possible that individual pixels in LCD televisions may burn out, resulting in small, visible, black or white dots on the screen. Individual pixels cannot be repaired, the entire screen must be replaced if the fading of individual pixels critically affects the quality of the picture transmission.
LCD TV is usually more expensive than a plasma TV of equivalent size, although this is no longer a decisive factor, since plasma TVs are discontinued.
What is the difference between plasma and liquid crystal displays?
For those who are going to buy a new TV, the question of what exactly the difference between plasma and LCD is probably the most important.
As practice shows, any technology has both strengths and weaknesses, including plasma (PDP) and liquid crystal (LCD). It is important to choose the type of TV which disadvantages will seem insignificant in comparison with its advantages. To make the right choice between plasma and LCD TV, you should at least roughly understand the basic principles of their operation.
Plasma screen is a matrix consisting of a large number of small cones filled with inert gas. When a voltage is applied, this gas changes into a plasma state and makes the special phosphor, which covers the bottom of each bulb, glow with different colors.
From the three colored (RGB) colob-subpixel matrix each pixel is built on the screen of a plasma TV, capable of transmitting different shades of color palette.
LCD-matrix is an array of liquid crystal cells, which acquire transparency depending on the magnitude of the applied voltage. By the principle of work LCD-matrix is something similar to usual window blinds transmitting as much light as the angle of their openness allows them to do it. Only blinds do it all at the same time, while LCDs do it all separately.
Directly behind or on the sides of the LCD-cell array there are light sources, usually LEDs, and in front of it there are filters of three RGB colors, which give the light transmitted in the desired color.
As you have noticed, the difference between plasma and LCD is significant, and from the features of each technology derive their strengths and weaknesses. Let’s consider the most important of them.
Color rendering in PDP-panels is better and more realistic, because the phosphor provides a wider coverage of the palette. Also plasma panels have a higher level of image contrast and produce a real black color.
Lack of brightness is a disadvantage of this technology. Sunlight from the window can spoil the impression of viewing, some mirror image of the panel appears. This must be borne in mind.
LCD TVs demonstrate more brightness and richness of the picture, but the backlight of their matrix does not provide a uniform glow on the screen.
If you are a fan of sports programs and movies with special effects, it is better to opt for plasma, because LCD-cells have a certain inertia, sometimes leading to a blurring of contours of fast-moving objects on the screen.
For group viewing it’s important to have perfect viewing angles. Plasma technology provides wide viewing angles in models of any level, but to get similar capabilities in the LCD TV would have to buy a high-end device.
LCD technology allows us to produce screens of virtually any size for any operating conditions. But a plasma screen TV with a diagonal of less than 42″ you just can not find on sale today, and this imposes restrictions on their use in small rooms.
Here LCD TVs have a distinct advantage, because the LCD cells require very little power. Although plasma models do not consume much power, but still about 2 times more than their LCD counterparts. In addition, PDP panels are hotter and often require special cooling systems, the noise of which you can hear.
Design features and mounting
LCD panels are lightweight and thin, which means you can easily hang a TV with a huge diagonal, even on the interior walls of the room. PDP-panels are thicker and heavier, so they need more reliable and powerful ways of fixing them on the walls.
It is considered that the cost per square inch PDP-panels is more profitable to buy. However, this advantage is pronounced only in comparison with large diagonal LCD TVs, which belong to the premium class.
Summarizing all the numbers, we can say that plasma TV is the perfect choice for a keen movie buff who prioritizes naturalness and high picture quality. LCD TVs are more suitable for practical people who appreciate economy and durability along with good picture quality.
By the way, the question what is the difference between plasma and LCD, soon may lose its relevance, because under the onslaught of rapidly cheapening LCD-panels the production of PDP-TV sets becomes unprofitable. Some manufacturers have already announced a phase-out in this area. OLED televisions are already coming to replace it, we follow the development of this technology.
What to choose plasma or LCD TV
Technology of plasma, liquid crystal display (CCFL LCD) and LED TV production is well worked out now so they all provide high quality picture. And still what is better plasma or LCD?? There are pros and cons and plasma panels and brothers LCD and LED TVs.
Why Brothers? Because they use the same technology and differ only in the way they are backlit.
Plasma panels give quite a good picture: true blacks and realistic color reproduction, high contrast, wide viewing angles and short response time.
Disadvantages: The brightness is not high enough and it is not very comfortable to watch TV in a sunny room, high power consumption, large size.
“Screen burnout.”. Is the phosphorus combustion process in the cell. As a result, a frequently displayed picture, such as a logo, can be remembered on the screen. Plasmas do have this problem, but even the first models had a lifespan of 30000 hours (about 10 years). And today manufacturers claim lifetime panels comparable to LCD TVs.
Another minus. It is impossible to create a plasma with a diagonal size smaller than 32 inches. But the price of a large diagonal plasma is lower than the same diagonal LCD or LED.
CCFL LCD televisions have better brightness than plasma televisions and lower power consumption. Response time and viewing angles lose to plasma, but they are sufficient for comfortable viewing. The color rendering and contrast are on par, and they differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. Although it should be noted that the black color is not really black, rather a dark gray. This is due to the peculiarities of technology.
LED (LED LCD) TVs, also being LCD TVs, are thinner than CCFL LCDs due to the fact that LEDs are used to backlight the LCD panel instead of fluorescent tubes. It improves color rendering. The downside is the price. By this indicator, they lose out both to LCD (CCFL LCD) TVs and plasma TVs. In addition, these TVs have a certain unevenness of backlighting. This is a feature of LCD technology. But at this time this is the most advanced mass production technology televisions.
Knowing the pros and cons of all technologies you can decide what is better for you plasma or LCD TV.
P.S. The first fluorescent tube backlit LCD TVs (CCFL LCD) are already off the TV market. Plasma stopped being produced in 2014. LED LCD is still the main TV market. But a new technology is already coming to replace it. OLED. Declared of Oled TVs are very high. But they are already on sale. About the models that are coming to market in a special thread on our forum.