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Making The Right Choice - LCD vs Plasma
Flat Panel TV's such as LCD's and Plasmas offer up amazing picture quality and without the space issues of Projection or standard CRT Tubes.
Pros and Cons
Both Plasma and LCD TV's are thin, lightweight and easy to move, with most being wall-mountable, providing drastically greater options for home theatre setup. Both boast long display life's of about 60,000 hours or roughly 20 years if used 8 hours a day although this can vary according to other environmental and use factors. Additionally, both offer HDTV options in 720P, 1080i, and 1080p depending on size of screen.
Considerations of Plasma TVs include excellent picture quality, wide viewing angles, and they are usually available in screen sizes from 37 inches to 60+. However they do tend to have glass screens that can reflect room lighting.
Considerations of LCD TVs include excellent picture quality, have matte screens for less external light reflection, and they are usually available in screen sizes from 5 inches to 50+. However their viewing angles aren't as extreme as plasmas.
What should you consider before purchase?
LCD televisions are currently available in a variety of screen sizes and dimensions. LCD TVs are now available in screen sizes exceeding 50 inches. A larger viewing area will often provide support for higher resolutions. LCD TV screen sizes are measured in inches along the diagonal of the screen.
Native resolution is the maximum resolution (detail level, in pixels) an LCD television can support. An LCD television typically provides the best viewing experience when working in its native resolution.
Aspect ratio is the width to height proportion of a display. Non-widescreen LCDs have an aspect ratio of 4:3, similar to a standard monitor's aspect ratio of 5:4. Widescreen LCDs boast 16:9 or 16:10 dimensions to better display movie formats.
The response time is the speed at which an LCD television's pixels change from one color to the next and back again. Response time is measured in ms (milliseconds). The quicker an LCD televisionâ€™s response time, the less likelihood there is for ghosting or after images appearing when displaying fast-paced images (games and movies). We recommend 8ms or better for high-performance gaming and multimedia applications.
Brightness (luminosity) is often measured in candelas or cd/m2. Most LCD televisions today can provide over 500 cd/m2, which is more than sufficient for normal use. Games and movies may benefit from somewhat higher brightness levels. A higher contrast ratio allows a monitor to provide a greater range of dark and light details.
Contrast Ratio is the degree of variation of the whitest and darkest parts of the image, is a very important factor to note. If the LCD TV has a low contrast ratio, dark images will look muddy and gray, while light images will look washed out. A good contrast ratio to have in an LCD TV is 1,000:1 or higher.
Almost all LCD-TVs have built-in NTSC tuners, with some feature dual-tuners for PIP functions. An increasing number of new LCD-TVs also have built-in HDTV tuners.