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Home Theatre | Projectors: What are the Differences between a Plasma TV and a LCD TV?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What are the Differences between a Plasma TV and a LCD TV?

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Have a satellite system and now want a flat panel TV?

So you have gone out and purchased a Dish Network or Direct TV satellite system. When you got home, you realized that although you have a high definition receiver, your TV isn't compatible. You have eyed those flat panel TVs in the store but don't know which one to buy?

Two of the greatest changes to the world of televisions are the plasma TV and the LCD TV. Both offer slim and sleek designs and enable unique placement, such as above a fireplace or mounting on a wall. Gone are the days of the bulky CRT (cathode ray tube) televisions or rear projection; long live the flat panel!

So how does a plasma television work?

First introduced in 1964, improvements in processing and manufacturing have made the plasma television one of the best. Differing from other television technology, such as LCD and CRT, the image is created by combining all three colors within each pixel. The signal is sent by a charge through the electrodes sandwiched between two glass panels. This changes the state of the plasma gas inside and makes the red, green and blue phosphors glow, creating light on the picture screen.

You can buy plasma televisions in either Extended Definition (ED) or High Definition (HD) resolutions. ED panels can input full HD content 1080i (interlaced) but output 500p (progressive) resolution. If you are planning to use the plasma with primarily high definition and/or with a computer, consider the HD model. If you are using it mostly with DVD, regular satellite, or cable, you will find the ED model looks great. A good ED model will outperform a poor HD plasma television, so choose a good manufacturer.

So how does a LCD television work?

The LCD television creates a picture by using a system called Twisted Nematic (TM). It is a naturally twisted crystalline structure that reacts to electric currents in predictable manners. These electric currents cause the crystal to untwist to different degrees based on the voltage given. These TM crystals are stuck between panes of polarized glass and the untwisting allows varied amounts of light to pass through.

If you are looking for a flat panel television, here are the guidelines. Below 32 inches, buy a LCD, above buy a plasma. LCD panels are available in larger sizes but the cost and quality of image will make a plasma more attractive.

Plasma televisions are better able to display fast movement without any trailing. As wel, plasma televisions have a much greater contrast ratio than LCD televisions. Panasonic lists their plasma televisions at 3000:1, while the best LCD tends to be only 1000:1 contrast ratio. The plasma television has a greater angle of view and better color saturation too.

One area where the LCD television has an advantage over plasma is in screen integrity. You need to be careful with potential burn-in on plasma, but not on the LCD TV.

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