LCD vs Plasma TVs: What screen technology is best for you?

We explain plasma and LCD TV technology including 100Hz, Dynamic Contrast Ratio and more specifications.

New plasma panels have high contrast ratios such as the 1000000:1 rating of the Panasonic TH-50PZ850A plasma television.

New plasma panels have high contrast ratios such as the 1000000:1 rating of the Panasonic TH-50PZ850A plasma television.

Colour

Colour is an aspect that is largely independent of the television's type, relying on the processing technology independent to each manufacturer and specific screen model. However, it is important to note that plasma televisions can in theory produce brighter colours overall. Colour accuracy can be adjusted on almost all screens, whether you choose a plasma or LCD TV.

Motion

There is much discussion as to whether plasma or LCD screens are better at handling fast motion — sports or action movies are a great example of video footage that moves across the screen at a fast rate. A plasma screen's ability to refresh each individual cell at a much faster rate than an LCD pixel refresh, means that plasma panels have an inherent advantage in displaying fast motion free of blur and jitter.

Importantly, new LCD screens can now update the image displayed 100 times per second — the often touted '100Hz' technology — which is double the standard 50Hz rate. This removes significant amounts of jitter from the LCD screen's image, resulting in a smoother and more visually pleasing picture. It is a great feature when watching sports where both the players and camera move often. The next generation of this technology doubles the refresh rate again to 200Hz but screens with this technology is not commonly incorporated into all LCD TVs on the market. At present, our tests reveal that plasma TVs are still superior in delivering fast motion on screen, but the latest LCD TVs have greatly improved the motion-handling problems experineced five years ago.

Power

Most LCD televisions require a single fluorescent backlight to be lit for the entire screen's brightness. Plasma televisions, on the other hand, require every sub-pixel to be lit individually. When you compare screens of equal size — plasma televisions consume more power than their LCD counterparts. A 42in LCD consumes around 200 Watts in normal use while a plasma panel consumes approximately 300 Watts. In a year of use this means the power bill for running a plasma will be 50 per cent higher than if an LCD panel was used instead. Also consider the power-saving features of individual models — power-reducing features may make a plasma screen just as affordable in the long term.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags lcd tvsplasma

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Campbell Simpson

Campbell Simpson

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?