Saturday, October 2, 2010

LCD vs plasma vs LED TVs buying guide

LCD, LED and plasma televisions may seem identical when you're in the store, but the similarities end once you look past the thin form factor and big screens.

LCD vs plasma vs LED

Plasma TVs use a sheet of miniscule individual plasma cells that create a picture when an electrical charge is applied — examples of plasma televisions include the Panasonic TH-50VX100W, LG 50PS80ED and Panasonic TH-P50G10A. LCD televisions, on the other hand, use liquid crystal compressed between two glass plates; an image is created when electricity is applied to these crystals. LCD televisions can range from cheap models like the Changhong LT4268TA to more expensive sets like the Sony Bravia KDL40W5500 and the Toshiba Regza 42RV600A. LED TVs use liquid crystal, but unlike regular LCD televisions they use a backlight made of hundreds of LEDs (light-emitting diodes) instead of a fluorescent lamp. The LEDs can be evenly distributed around the back of the television’s panel or situated in the edges of the screen to create a very thin display chassis. LED televisions include the Sharp LC40LB700X, Samsung Series 7 (UA46B7100) and Sony Bravia KDL55XBR45.
How well an image is displayed on a television panel — whether it is a Blu-ray movie, an HDTV broadcast or a high-definition video game — depends on a television's display technology and its image processing capabilities.

 Contrast ratio

A television's contrast ratio represents its ability to show detail in high contrast areas of the screen, in the form of minute gradations of colour and blacks or whites. For example, a panel with a low contrast ratio will struggle to show the higher or lower extremes of an image. In layman's terms, this means detail will be lost in bright areas as well as in dark scenes. In a Blu-ray movie, for example Batman Begins, the loss of detail in dark scenes will quickly become apparent.
Most manufacturers increase the contrast capabilities of their screens by dynamically altering backlight brightness. This allows extra detail to be shown in dark scenes and can be a life-saver for a panel with a low static contrast ratio. Some manufacturers have taken their estimations of this dynamic contrast ratio to excess, rating their screens at contrast ratios of 1,000,000:1 — and even higher. While these figures demonstrate the advantages of dynamic contrast ratio alteration, they don't need to be a big factor in your buying decision.
It is generally accepted that plasma televisions have better contrast ratios than LCD panels, due to the fact that a plasma television can completely deactivate the light source for individual segments of the screen. This means sections of the screen can be completely dark while others are displaying bright colour, unlike a traditional LCD screen which has a single backlight array that can only alter brightness levels for the entire screen.
The latest LED backlight technology allows the television to individually control backlight segments. This technology allows for contrast ratios similar to those produced by plasma television panels. However, edge-lit LED televisions — usually available in an ultra-slim form factor — will have lower dynamic contrast ratios than the backlit LED models so be sure to check this detail before you purchase.

Viewing angle

The narrower a television's quoted viewing angle is, the smaller the range in which it produces a 'perfect' image with no loss of contrast or colour. Many manufacturers quote an unrealistically high viewing angle — close to a full 180 degrees in some instances — but the best way to test this is to test the screens in person.
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 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.


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.


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.
LED television screens offer significant power savings over both LCD and plasma televisions. Energy-efficient backlighting allows LED televisions to have energy consumption of up to 40 percent less than LCD televisions and significantly less than a plasma screen. 

TV screen lifespan

In the past, plasma panels suffered from a short life-span before they lost significant amounts of brightness and image quality degraded. This has been overcome in recent plasma generations, with manufacturers rating their screens with a half-life of 60,000 hours. This means that after 60,000 hours of use, the screen's brightness will degrade by half — and with five hours of use per day this amounts to approximately 33 years. Put simply, plasma screens no longer suffer from a short lifespan.
The lifespan of an LCD television depends on the life of its backlighting bulb. These bulbs are often rated to above 60,000 hours in regular fluorescent-lit LCD panels, whereas new LED-backlit televisions have expected lifespans of over 100,000 hours. It is important to note that the end of this lifespan does not necessarily mean the screen will stop working; it usually means that the backlight will be able to provide half the brightness of a brand new model.
Previously, plasma television screens were hounded by image burn-in issues. Leaving a static image on the screen for a long period of time (such as a computer's desktop or a network broadcaster's logo) led to the plasma cells retaining the image. Improvements in plasma technology, the addition of functionality like screensavers and image-shifting, as well as power saving shutdown features, means the issue of burn-in effectively no longer exists for new plasma televisions. LCD televisions do not experience any of the problems previously found in plasma TV technology.

Price vs screen size

More than any other determining factor, it is tempting to simply pick the cheaper of either a plasma or LCD television when considering any given size. For screen sizes below 42in, we believe LCD screens are your best bet — you can pick up a 37in LCD for under $1000 if you shop around and look for special offers. Contrast and brightness shortcomings are less apparent in smaller screen sizes, while you will also generally find LCD screens below 42in have a higher resolution than their plasma equivalents.
If you are considering a large screen — 42in and above — as your home theatre centrepiece, be sure to check out plasma technology. Plasma panels do have the edge in terms of contrast and overall picture quality at these sizes, and are often cheaper than an equally-sized LCD counterpart.
LED televisions are generally available in similar sizes to LCD televisions, with larger screens also available in premium models. LED televisions generally command a price 20 per cent above that of an LCD television featuring an identical screen size and similar specifications. But when making a buying decision based on upfront costs, it is important to consider the total cost of ownership over the life of the TV. LED televisions’ power-saving advantages make them attractive prospect for long-term use.
No matter what screen technology you select, make sure you test it against its competitors — storefronts with multiple panels set up next to each other are great for this purpose — and be sure you are able to adjust settings to your own liking in store. While the specifications of a TV and the screen technology employed are important buying considerations, it is advisable to not buy blind and physically confirm that the picture and other elements of the television are satisfactory.


There are BIG CHANGES coming to the LED vs LCD tv market in 2010!! EVERYTHING IS GOING WIRELESS! No More cables running everywhere. The two manufacturers best suited for the switch are Samsung and LG. Make sure all of your audio and video components such as blu-ray players are wireless compatible.

What are the differences between an LED and an LCD tv? Which one is better? Those are questions I had and I bet you do to. LED televisions do have some distinct advantages vs a comparable LCD tv. Price and Environmental Factors are the two main differences. I have outlined the facts about LED televisions and LCD televisions in the tables below.The first difference that strikes me is the price.  Currently LED televisions are about 50% more than an LCD tv. However the price gap has been narrowing and will continue to do so. An LED tv uses light emitting diodes ad its source of light for the television. An LED tv uses these diodes to create a much more vibrant and colorful image. The blacks are truly black (not dark gray) and the colors are more realistic vs an LCD tv. LED tvs can achieve a contrast ratio of up to 500,000:1. They also in general have a higher refresh rate which will help when watching shows with motion such as sports or movies.


State of the Art Picture Quality
About 40% Less Energy usage than a same sized LCD TV
Mercury Free and a VERY Thin Design
Currently LED TV's Cost about 20-30% more


Good Picture Quality, but Images may "burn" in Display
Energy Costs run Between $150-200 per year to operate an LCD
Mercury IS used in Manufacturing Process
Cost is the Cheaper of the Two Choices

The second major difference between LED and LCD televisions is the environmental effect.  LCD televisions use mercury in the manufacturing process versus the LED tv which does not! Mercury is very bad for the environment. Mercury is also used in making solar cells but that is off topic. An LED hdtv will also use about 40% LESS power than the same size LCD tv. Power usage is the dark secret of all the new line of HDTVs. An LCD or plasma television cost between $10-15 per month to operate. That is quite high particularly if you have more than one. The tree hugger in me comes down firmly on the side of LED televisions.
The thickness and therefore the weight is the last major difference of LED vs LCD tvs.  LED televisions are about one third the thickness of the same size LCD tv. Correspondingly, the weight is about half. This could come into play when deciding how to mount your new HDTV.
It is my belief that LED televisions are vastly superior to an LCD tv. In one to two years time you will look back and be happy that you got the LED tv. I hope the article about LED vs LCD tv's helpful, and have a blessed day!

LED vs LCD tv

Plasma vs. LCD vs. Plasma vs. LCD vs. LED

The biggest television technology revolution since color, flat-panel TVs are replacing tubes as the direct-view televisions of choice. You can hang flat sets on the wall, on the ceiling or above the mantle in place of a trophy buck. The three major players in the flat screen game are plasma, LCD and LED, so we'll go over each type separately.

1. Plasma
LG PQ60-series plasma TV
With promotional prices starting at S$899, a coveted plasma TV is within reach of most shoppers. But now that you can get a 42-inch LCD for just S$200 more, plasmas have to depend on factors other than price to remain competitive against their LCD nemeses.

Picture quality varies greatly between different brands, so be sure to read reviews before you plonk down your cash. Most plasmas can produce near CRT-quality blacks, with excellent color and viewing angles. That said, some similarly sized LCDs and LEDs also have higher resolutions, delivering more details and smooth game graphics.

Burn-in: This occurs when an image--such as a network logo or letterbox bars--gets etched permanently onto the screen because it sits in one place too long. In our experience, this issue has been greatly exaggerated. The burn-in risk is greatest during the first 100 or so hours of use, during which time you should keep contrast low (less than 50 percent) and avoid showing static images for hours at a time. Many plasmas also have burn-in-reduction features such as screensavers and pixel orbiting, or functions to treat burn-in once it occurs, such as causing the screen to go all white.

Plasma lifespan: Most plasma makers today rate their latest models as having a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours before the display fades to half brightness. On average, that works out to more than 17 years before the set reaches half-brightness.

Best black levels; very good home theater image quality in best examples; wide viewing angle.
Slight potential for burn-in; reflective screen; lower native resolution than similarly sized LCDs and LEDs for entry-level models.
More 50-inch and larger full-HD models to come, cementing plasma's place as a favorite among videopiles and enthusiasts.

2. LCD
LG LH50-series LCD TV
Flat LCDs are extremely popular in screen sizes below 47 inches, thanks to their widespread availability and vast selection. Larger LCDs--as big as 70 inches--remain more expensive than plasma, but in the critical 40- to 42-inch size range, LCD prices have dropped precipitously to as low as S$1,099 during sales.

The LCD picture quality has historically suffered from poor black levels, but the latest versions are much improved. That's because LCDs cannot achieve true black since there's always some light leaking through the pixels. In this respect, color saturation is also affected as well.

Viewing angle: This is another LCD weakness compared to plasma. Some brightness and color shift can be visible when we watch from an angle that's far from the sweet spot right in front of the TV (to either side, above and below). Higher-end models based on In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology and derivatives such as Super-IPS and Alpha-IPS are known to perform dramatically better in this department.

Motion reproduction: LCD spec sheets often talk about response time, but in our experience, almost all newer LCDs have adequate response time to deal with fast motion. To further boost image fluidity, many vendors have also introduced 100Hz and 200Hz engines. Some of them are implemented using frame interpolation and/or backlight-scanning processing.

Higher resolution than comparable-sized plasmas; no danger of burn-in; available in a wide range of sizes.
Relatively expensive for 60-inch and larger panels; black level quality generally not as good as plasma due to backlighting; relatively narrower viewing angle.
Flat-panel LCD will continue to be the most popular HDTV technology, thanks to falling prices and strong manufacturer support.

3. LED
LG SL90-series LED TV
LED TVs are a subset of LCD panels. Rather than use conventional cold cathode florescent lamps (CCFL) to illuminate the LCD pixels, they employ tiny light-emitting diodes. There're two predominant types used by the vendors based on conventional rear (back) and the latest edge lighting with street prices starting at S$2,199.

Backlit LED TVs also support the local dimming function which independently illuminates different clusters of pixels. This produces plasma-like blacks in scenes with concurrent dark and bright details as opposed to global dimming used in edgelit models. That said, the latter employs fewer diodes, which allow for slimmer TVs and higher power savings.

Energy efficiency: An LED TV consumes the least power among all HDTVs with a substantial energy savings of up to 40 percent compared with a conventional lamp-based LCD model. The other major benefits of using light-emitting diodes include an extended panel lifespan, low heat emission and better eco-friendliness. The latter is due to the mercury-free design of these energy-efficient bulbs.

Ultraslim design: Another advantage of edge lighting is that it frees up space behind the screen, which significally reduces bezel depth, giving rise to a family of ultraslim panels measuring as thin as 29.1mm in width. Putting aside the "wow" factor, these lightweight displays are much easier to install. Some can even be suspended on a special steel wire wall-mounting kit, just like a photo frame.

Plasma-like blacks on top of most of LCD's advantages; high energy efficiency; ultraslim design.
The priciest among all HDTVs; limited screen sizes from 40-inch and above; relatively narrower viewing angle.
LED TVs will gradually replace their LCD counterparts, though the former is probably going to cost a premium in the following years.