LCD vs plasma vs LED TVs buying guide

Plasma vs LCD? What do the new LED TVs offer? We walk you through the process of picking up a new flat panel LED, LCD or plasma television.

This Samsung Series 7 television has LED edge-lighting to cut down on power consumption.

This Samsung Series 7 television has LED edge-lighting to cut down on power consumption.

A wide viewing angle is important if the television will be placed in a large living area or will be regularly watched by multiple people simultaneously — most of us will have family and friends around to watch the TV at some point!

In general, plasmas have better viewing angles than LCD and LED TVs, with their images remaining solid and colourful at wide viewing angles while LCDs suffer from colour shift and loss of brightness. This is not always the case, though, so it is best to compare panels directly against each other if possible. LED televisions have superior viewing angles compared to LCDs due to their decentralised backlight distribution.

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. LED-lit televisions using either a white or RGB LED backlight also offer a larger colour gamut than traditional LCD screens, due to an improved brightness source. Colour accuracy can be adjusted on almost all screens, whether you choose a plasma, LED 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.

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 incorporated into all LCD TVs on the market.

At present, our tests reveal that plasma TVs are still superior in handling fast motion, but the motion-handling of LCD TVs has improved greatly over the last five years.

LED televisions use the same motion processing technology as LCD panels, with all panels currently on the market using 100Hz refresh rates. As LED televisions are leading the market in technological innovations, they will usually employ the latest generation of motion processing technology available, making them a good choice for watching fast motion video.

Power

Most LCD televisions require a single fluorescent backlight to be lit. 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 300W. In a year of use this means the power bill for running a plasma will be 50 per cent higher than an equivalent LCD panel. Also consider the power-saving features of individual models — power-reducing features may make a plasma screen just as affordable in the long term.

Tags lcd tvshome entertainmentplasmaled tvs

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Campbell Simpson

Campbell Simpson

Good Gear Guide

33 Comments

Anonymous

1

Samsung LED Series 7

We paid for one of these on Dec 15th. It still hasn't arrived....very dissapointing. By the time we get it the "new technolgy", wont be very new!

arrrrggggh

2

How much is too much?!

Leonard

3

Great guide, I've been looking around for some good information on this topic for a while now and almost drowned in a sea of unhelpfulness; "This one sucks, this one is the best" to which someone else replys "No that one sucks, this is the best" This has really helped make up my mind, cheers.

Leonard

4

Then again... I guess that's what I get for checking yarhoo answers first...

John

5

Great article. Had a plasma and sold it with the house when I moved. Now want to replace. Much of the information conveyed here matched the information from a salesperson I met today, so makes me feel better about buying there if I do.

Nacholibreband

6

LED is good but we need cash :)
http://www.nacholibreband.co.nr

Mark

7

You might mention too, as pointed out to me that in stores most TV's are running a DVD or Blue-ray movie on screen
the quality is far different to normal TV it would be good to see normal Tv running through them I hear quality is a lot different.

Michael Mihajlovic

8

which is the longest lasting TV and how long is its average life span?

Bob

9

I would like to install a flat screen in my motor home and am curious as to which type would take the shaking caused by riding down the road.

Liz

10

For god sale it's a simple enough question which one is better all I want it's a simple answer not more jargon and tech info. Plasma, LED or LCD is all I needed not 5 yes 5 pages of info

Bill

11

Liz,

Plasma.

Bill

Ti

12

Bill - 10+++++!! LOL

Mike

13

The biggest issue with plasma is the reflections it produces. Next time you compare LED or LCD notice the fluorescent light in the showroom reflecting off the plasma. No so with the others.

Mike

Joffa

14

For someone like me just starting out to upgrade to HDTV, Campbell Simpson's clear and uncluttering comparisons are a revelation compared to so much of the writings of others on this subject. Congrats to Campbell on a very good job.

Joffa

James Keyes

16

Excellent article, Campbell. Simple explanations for increasingly complex consumer products. Thanks.

frustrated shopper

17

comparison shopping and adjusting the settings is a great idea, and the way it used to be. But at least in the Atlanta metro area there is virtually no where to do that. I have been to several Best Buys, and no one there can find a remote for even one of the TVs, let alone for multiple comparison. the popular practice of store pricing and then buying on line is eliminating the ability of stores to survive with competent sales help.

Carter

18

We supply DVB-S Set Up Box compliant with TV. If this TV comes with this Set Up Box will be perfect. Come to me here http://www.huaren-tech.com/en/contact.asp

Achint

19

I want to know which television is good LED or plasma

Nathan

20

We have recently purchesed a Samsung series 6 LED TV 50inch. We are very dissapointed with the quality and picture sharpness. Do not buy this product!!!!

ramesh kumar

21

I want to know which television is good LED or plasma, please suggest me.

Geoff

22

Ramish
LED in well lit room and uses less power than Plasma.
Plasma gives better picture for viewing motion e.g. motor racing etc. Horses for courses as they say.
As a motor racing enthusiast I prefer Plasma, but, be aware that new technologies are on the horizon. Soon (I hope) we may see the introduction of AMOLED technology (as per phone screens) used in TVs. If phone screens are any indication those TVs should be brilliant.

Bala

23

This article is not so good as this provides much of information that a layman cannot understand. All I want to know is which tv is good for what reasons in a simple table format.

Bala

24

the below site seems to be good:
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7-57344058-221/led-lcd-vs-plasma-vs-lcd/

Moni

25

Thank you very much Bala for the link for TV review

Cheech

26

I am planning to put a flat screen tv out side in a new out door bar and entertaining area but I am concerned about reflection. It is under cover on one side of the house, then with awning coming out.
What type would best suit this situation.

Andy

27

Never have I ever used a forum for my resesarch so please forgive if I break the techno rules... I am looking to buy about a "32 tv and i would prefer to have a built in DVD player. I know that TV/DVD combos do not come with WIFI due to differences in techno generations but i would like to know if i can make the TV/DVD combo into WIFI capable with a usb WIFI antenna. If so what make and model will allow me to do this.

avlisk

28

I can only speak to my 42" LED LG 120HZ set. Great picture, great performance, great price. I couldn't ask for anything better. 100% happy with it. I got the LED instead of plasma simply because I needed a matt screen due to a window right behind my seating. Zero window glare to report. Did I mention I love my LG LED TV?

sujit

29

i want to buy 32 inch HD LED TV, mu budget is Rs. up to 35000.
pls suggest me model number from SONY, SAMSUNG nad LG brand only.

i have not require smart tv.

i have some research about samsung model.
i want to share i also this.
SAMSUNG EH series closed now.
only one model continue.
1) it is UA32EH4003RMXL (Rs. 28,500) but in this model sound is poor.

now we search in F series only.

2) UA32F4100ARLXL - picture quality not good. as per user review on samsung site.(Rs 32,500 )

3) UA32F4800ARLXL - i dont like TV design (RS. 36,500 )

Now two models are left.
I)UA32F4500ARLXL - LED HD SMART TV - Rs 38,500

II)UA32F5100ARLXL - FULL HD LED TV - Rs 38,500

i think no require full hd tv in 32 inch and watching distance is already 10ft or above.

now pls suggest me which model i purchase ?
if i am wrong in any above statement then pls let me tell.

you can suggest me any other brand tv in my budget.

pls help me. i am confused.

Moni

30

Excellent information and inpeccable comments, which are still relevant in 2013!

Andrew

31

Must admit I'm a Panny plasma man, but gee! the LED/LCD's are not bad - the LED, rather than that cold, morgue like fluorescent backlight of the original LCD's really helps. The current Sony Bravia, although limited in its picture controls, is quite a beautiful tele to watch.

sathyanarayana

32

Hi sir this is sathyanarayana from hyd i am planing to purchase led tv this diwali please suggest me the best model and best features of led tv our budjet between 30k to 35 k,we are not use more internet on tv's .samsung and sony which one is the best and latest model ,please give me the suggestion ASAP

Lee Cox

33

Don't forget gaming. Plasma is far better at gaming than LCD. In high action games the superior refresh rate wins every time along with the far far far better contrast for games like COD.

I have a 50 inch LG plasma and its been great and continues to be so. Had it 5 years and can't fault it in any way. Watch lots of movies, sport and PS3.

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