Which is better, LCD or plasma?
December 15, 2006
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I'm looking to buy a 42-inch, HDTV, flat-panel TV. Please tell this novice: What are the differences, the pros and cons, the best deal to buy: LCD or plasma?
| | Ah, the classic HDTV question. The short answer, as far as we're concerned, is still plasma.
But of course LCD has its advantages, too, so here's the breakdown of each technology's advantages.
Plasma in general produces better home-theater picture quality, with deeper black levels and more saturated color. The picture on a plasma looks as good from far to the sides or from above and below as it does from straight on. Plasmas are generally a couple hundred dollars less expensive for the same features at the 42-inch screen size. Plasma also lasts just as long as LCD, and the dangers of burn-in are minimal (more info
LCD is better if you have a very bright room, say with windows facing the screen. That's not because the picture is brighter (both TV types can be very bright), but because the glass of a plasma reflects more light than the matte-plastic screen of an LCD. LCD picture quality is usually very good too, just not as well suited for discerning low-light viewing as plasma. PC inputs are more common on LCDs than on plasmas, and LCDs' generally higher resolution makes a big difference with PC display--although it's much less of an issue with HDTV.
If you want more in-depth info, check out our guide to flat-panel HDTV
a TV reviewer with five years' experience, has color bars and a resolution chart tattooed inside either eyelid.