View Full Version : LCD or Plasma?

26th Jan 2006, 18:31
Can anyone tell me the difference between LCD and Plasma screen TV's. I saw an ad in todays paper for a 50" LCD flatscreen TV for only €2000 and it got me thinking that maybe the LCD's are of a lower quality than the plasma because of such a low price. Am I right?

Aswers on a postcard...

26th Jan 2006, 18:57
At that price, you could well be right... with any screen, best to try before you buy. Indeed, a newspaper-advertised LCD at that price could well have had a careful previous owner, if you get my drift.

Plasmas are beautiful but hate to be moved, so don't get one if you're considering moving house more than once in its lifetime. LCDs more resiliant but picture not quite as good (at least, when I checked) and, as you mentioned, cost much more per square viewable hectare.

Onan the Clumsy
26th Jan 2006, 19:04
Can anyone tell me when anything is scheduled to be broadcast that might make it worthwhile to actually buy a 50" LCD flatscreen TV


26th Jan 2006, 19:05
Women On Trampolines.

And you could view commercials for 60" flatscreens in near-actual size.

26th Jan 2006, 19:12
I went to a specialist local owned tv shop and asked him, "If money was no object what tv would he buy?"

This was directed at the entire stock, Plasma, LCD, Rear Projection, rear Projection DLP, CRT, Projectors, etc.

Without hesitation he said Plasma. He said the only time he would buy an LCD over a plasma was if it was being located in a bright room, LCD's give a brighter picture to compete with the ambient light.
The biggest downside he had with LCD's was the refresh rates, you get more motion blur on an LCD, just move your mouse around on an LCD monitor and you see it's ghost chasing it.

But both are still great pictures and cost would be a factor in everyday life. Are HDTV's available in the UK yet? if so it's worth getting one of them in preparation for DVD's that are HDTV compatible and also cable/sky etc. that are compatible, the picture is literally outstanding.

26th Jan 2006, 19:47
Just remember your plasma screen is time limited....after a certain number of hours it will not work.....usually a number of years but still not a very good return.

LCDs do not suffer the same handicap... picture quality 'may' not be as good.. they are pretty much unlimited...

Also if you want the best quality picture a good old CRT is impossble to beat...

White Hart
26th Jan 2006, 19:47
Just got a Sony 50" LCD rear-projection HDready for £1299 inc stand, 3 year warranty and delivery. It's in my conservatory, and I chose it because it doesn't reflect as much as other models. Picture is good - not as good as plasma I expect, but it does the biz for me. Let's see how long it lasts!

26th Jan 2006, 19:54
i bought a phillips 42" plasma at christmas from makro, picture quality is amazing and it has dual tuners, digital and analogue and is hd compatable so its futureproof for a while, £1100 bargain, best tv i've ever had

26th Jan 2006, 19:57
You will never beat the picture quality of a CRT though.

26th Jan 2006, 19:59
Best picture i've ever seen on tv was an LCD, by LG. Was HDTV ready and it had a memory card inside so it could demo HD tv, which was very impressive compared to plasmas in same shop.
Started to see had bad the picture was that we put up with now.
Refresh rate didn't seem to be a problem.
Me thinks the LCD will dominate the market soon, leaving a few plasmas on the shelf.
If you are in the UK what to see what Sky have to offer regard HDTV.

26th Jan 2006, 20:00
Can anyone tell me when anything is scheduled to be broadcast that might make it worthwhile to actually buy a 50" LCD flatscreen TV


Womens Beach Volleyball

Trust me on this one

Onan the Clumsy
26th Jan 2006, 20:11
Figure skating actually :E

futureproof I love it :ok:

26th Jan 2006, 20:18
Don't believe everything you here... my advice is to do some research on the net, find the ones with the best reviews in your price range (all types, projection, crt, plasma, lcd), consider where you want it (do you have room for a large crt or will it dominate your room too much?) and then finally go into a large high street store and get an idea for what you think looks good. Then buy online (but for god's sake if you're going to buy expensive buy HD! it looks awesome!) Don't believe any urban myths and get reviews from somewhere good like whathifi or similar (ZDnet.co.uk is quite good for online reviews)

26th Jan 2006, 20:21
Did a bit of research before I bought my 32" LCD and had it confirmed by the chap in the shop.

The plasma screens are normally life limited to about 5 years and that is based on a normal useage quota (varying slightly for manufacturer). Plasmas also suffer quite badly from screen burn if you leave a still image on them for any period of time. Some of them nowadays have a pixel shift screensaver which reduces the burn issue but doesn't totally irradicate it. As mentioned earlier, they are pretty poor in strongly lit rooms and can suffer badly from reflections. Plus, as also stated before, you have to handle them extremely carefully especially if moving house.

The LCD screens last significantly longer and are much better in brighter rooms, although some do suffer a little bit with the quality. This can be minimised by using a DVD Player with component video. Mine is Panasonic and I would be hard pushed to tell the difference between the LCD and the Plasma for quality, particularly with the pin sharp component images. I am led to believe by somebody in the know that it is very difficult to get screen burn on an LCD from a still image..... but maybe one of you hardcore tech folks can pass on the science on that one.

Not once regretted buying an LCD and not had a single problem with it!! :)

26th Jan 2006, 20:39
Had that dilemma a month ago too. Choose for LCD after seeing the new ambilight Philips 37" with pixel plus. Plasma does have indeed that screen burn issue and with these channel logo's it could be a problem. Besides plasma screens do use a lot more energy.

It's all about cpu capacity and that has improved dramatically the last two year. These LCD images are lightyears better then some years or even one year ago. Quality of LCD is more or less the same as plasma nowadays.

Having said that, 50" is big for LCD and I think that currently 42"is about maximum for a good quality LCD. This might limit your choice to plasma.

captain cumulonimbus
26th Jan 2006, 20:43
LSD is MUCH better than Panado.....oh Sh1t sorry wrong subject!:cool:

27th Jan 2006, 02:52
Was there a comment about "Futureproof?

Have a look, if this works as hoped LCDs and Plasma may not able to compete. If they can get the picture quality of CRT and the convenience of flat panel together it could be very good.
I've been trying to decide on a new monitor with Photoshop work a prime consideration. It seems that those in the graphics industry still favour CRT, although the top quality ones are becoming few and far between, not to mention very costly. If SED can bridge the gap it will be interesting.

B Fraser
27th Jan 2006, 03:56
Can anyone tell me when anything is scheduled to be broadcast that might make it worthwhile to actually buy a 50" LCD flatscreen TV :}

My ex went apesh*t when I bought one some years back. The house was full of her mates a few days later when Wimbledon started :rolleyes:

27th Jan 2006, 04:03
Just remember your plasma screen is time limited....after a certain number of hours it will not work.....usually a number of years but still not a very good return.
LCDs do not suffer the same handicap... picture quality 'may' not be as good.. they are pretty much unlimited...
Also if you want the best quality picture a good old CRT is impossble to beat...

This guy/girl talks a lot of sense.

LCD and Plasma are great if you've got money to burn. You might as well.

LCD is renowned to have lots of 'picture lag' unless you spend an arm and a leg, plasma just packs in after a while, but they havent been around long enough really to know exactly when.

If it's picture quality you're after, neither is a good option. Ordinary at best. LCD is dull, plasma pictures fairly fuzzy.

A chap we know who sells both LCD, Plasma & conventional TV's for a living (the guy's a perfectionist) said if you want great sound, great picture and longevity, AND maximise HDTV and digital sound, screw both the LCD & Plasma & go for a Loewe or similar quality TV.

Loose rivets
27th Jan 2006, 04:19
I have the use of a 60" Sony LCD, and I find it quite good. Remember that the HDTV signal is intended to be substantially better than DVD. To see the difference, go to a Sony shop and ask to see one of the HD cameras fed into HD T/V. Flip between the two.

The camera is out of this world; virtually all lens. Cost around £1,250 last time I asked.

The bulb in the Sony was $1,000 here for some time, but is now down to around $300.

The main fault I find with the LCDs, is during panning shots, the anti-glare surface of the screen, is visible as a stationary skin. But, it's more than I could have dreamt of when I was learning about T/Vs in the 50's

While I was home last summer, I had a Phillips 35ish may have been 42", flat screen to use. No fault of the tele, but the signal compression was just a joke. Bits of people's faces got left behind and buildings were like Leggo being constructed while you watched. Just daft. The flat panel on that was £800 if it bust.

Pixel loss is also an issue. It seems that the panel manufacturers will not guarantee some loss...you just have to accept it. There is a rule by which they work for warranty.

Curious Pax
27th Jan 2006, 06:26
I have had both LCD and plasma in the last 8 months! Bought a 42" Philips plasma last May, but it turned out that it was the item of choice these days for burglars, so after 8 days we had a break in and that got nicked - nothing else - it was a gang that had been doing them regularly. Much to my amusement they were seen kicking it to get it into the boot of the stolen Astra they were using, so won't have been any good trying to flog it down the pub.

Although we liked the picture we decided that 42" was a bit big for our lounge, and so we replaced it with a 38" LCD Toshiba, which we are really happy with, especially as it didn't get nicked! In my simplistic unscientific way I prefer the LCD picture, but that will be different for others, as the room/lighting where you are viewing, and what you watch will have a significant impact.

27th Jan 2006, 06:56
One of the best TV picture I ever saw was one of the first Sony Trinitrons back in the 1970s....

I have a small 15" 16:9 LCD kitchen TV and a smallish 24" 16:9 CRT TV. The CRT gives far better quality and I simply wouldn't want anything larger in the living room. The LCD and plasma screen TVs I've seen in the local TV shops just do NOT give the quality of a good CRT TV. The giant flatscreen has only one reason to exist - size. If you really must have a huge TV, there is no option other than LCD or plasma. But neither are yet satisfactory, especially with Sky transmitting too many channels at the lowest possible bit rate they can get away with....

Remember how poor UK colour TV was when it first came out - all those comet tails and wishy-washy colours on studio shots? And how people with 26" TVs were seen as rather 'low class' (why, I don't know). To my mind that's the stage large screen TV is at right now - technology for its own sake which isn't actually all that good.

27th Jan 2006, 07:10
Plasma screen life is in the 3000 to 5000 hr range...as a replacement guide for commercial installations...

This equates in domestic use.. say 2/3 hours per day... on average to say 1000-2000 days....

After that the quality downgrades ...whether or not its an issue for domestic use remains debatable, but for commercial use they would need to be replaced then.

Remember also that that no matter how large the screen is the amount of information displayed is the same....until its goes to HD....all the others are merely electronic fill-ins...

There is an optimum dimension which hovers around the 36 inch...where you can get the relationship between perception, quality, sound pressures etc all to work on domestic scale very well. The next stage up is a small cinema type screen.. not the 40- 70 inch plasmas... they suufer from lower resolution to the human eye and so forth... nice gadets but not the best....

27th Jan 2006, 07:24
LCD - Reliable - matrix lasts a long time - Flourescent backlight can be replaced upon failure for a reasonable amount. Bright and sharp. Mature technology (we are in 2nd or 3rd generation by now)

PLASMA - Limited life span - when the plasma goes - time to get a new screen=time to get a new set. Vivid colors and excellent response time (LCD's can subtly blur movement). Burn in issues - those 'flying logos' (think ESPN, CNN, CBS, BBC) will damage the screen after time.

DLP - new technology (Thomson (GE-RCA)) - vivid colors, sharp with good contrast and no burn in issues. Reliability data still being collected.

CRT - If you can get past the size and weight - this is still the best output for Video - contrast, color, true black levels and response time all better than the flat variety. - There's nothin' like firing electron beams at phosphors for the creation of a moving picture. Think Sony WEGA !

HDTV Projection sets - overpriced - other than the video circuitry - o-l-d tech.

27th Jan 2006, 07:56
I have a Sony 32" LCD and also a Sony 36" 100Hz CRT. Can confirm the picture quality is far superior on the CRT TV. The major difference is the CRT weighed 120KG with the stand. The LCD weighs about 10kg and happily lives on the wall.

Was reliably informed that plasmas are heavy, fragile and have a 5 year life span before they "burn" out. Sounds about right - most of the plasmas in my office look VERY tired after 2 years 24/7 use.

27th Jan 2006, 08:32
I looked at the Plasma and LCD but in the end went for the 32" Sony Wega CRT, it took two people considerable effort to lift it into position but the picture is sharp and never ghosts. The downside is the sound, for a £1200 TV it should be a lot better but I bought a wireless speaker system and I can now hear all the sounds at a lot lower volume than I would need on the TV. I could blame jet engines for the hearing loss but I am sure it is just that the speaker in the TV are too close together.


27th Jan 2006, 08:40
Anybody else notice that 'digital TV SOUND' is inferior to analogue TV (stereo) sound?

27th Jan 2006, 09:13
The problem I’ve noticed with my plasma is “burn through” of the channel logo. Last week during the whale escape the wife had Sky News on all afternoon, when selecting a different channel later in the day you could still see the “Sky” ticker mark along the bottom of the screen. It has gone now, the screen is 18 months old, and I’m suspecting this problem will get worse over the next year or so.:hmm:

27th Jan 2006, 12:28
I prefer a projector and screen. I found Panasonic's PT-AE100 to be quite good

27th Jan 2006, 13:44
I only ever watch TV news and documentaries on a 4:3 classic TV. When I watch a movie though, it's always in the 'home cinema', equipped with two 35mm projectors and an operator. I'm not sure of the sound system but it's loud. The only inconvenience to this setup that I've found so far, is that you can't just nip down to the local video store for a movie. Yer have to order it weeks in advance from the distributor... :} ;)

Loose rivets
28th Jan 2006, 03:46
There's something magic about film projectors. I can still remember the sound of my little centre hole 8mm hand crank. It was got for me when I was 5ish from a sale room. (No new stuff after the war.)

When the kids here inherited an old 16mm projector, I gained a lot of brownie points by knowing about loop lengths and the like. I even remembered there was a loud speaker in the lid. Aaaah...the smell of hot valves and rubber insulation.

Back to tellies. My old 27" Sony, was a gem. My old chum from T/V school days, said that he would not sell them cos they had the biggest tube in the world, and he wouldn't put his customers at that much risk. I got one from Colchester, and it was about 550 quid...quite a lot in those days. But it was carried out, still warm, when I was clearing out my house there after 27ish years. I got a new 27" Sony for the house here recently, but by the time the top and bottom have been cut off, and there are less lines anyway, I'm left with about five lines viewed through a letterbox.

When up in Austin, we use a house with a 60" in, and connected to Tivo. As you walk into the room it's like entering a cinema, it totally intrudes into your space, but lights out it is pretty fantastic. What was on? Dawn French as the Vicar....her head twice life size!!

Don Esson
28th Jan 2006, 07:03
Before parting with your hard earned readies, it's essential to compare both LCD and plasma with a real live TV signal. The demo DVD's that are used in the shops have been so enhanced it ain't funny...all done to suck you in. Both are certainly great space savers but everyone I have spoken to agrees that you can't beat a good old CRT.

28th Jan 2006, 08:22
One of the minor drawbacks not mentioned above for LCDs is that they are better suited to light environments. The reason for this is that they are backlit and will all have some light bleedthrough in areas that are supposed to be black. So in darkened environments the black areas of the screen will look less black than with plasmas.

I personally have a projection system with a 100" screen and a HD set top box. That said there is still a shortage of HD transmission. The cost of projector globes is a big consideration as well $400 each down here and the first only lasted 1700 hours. The current one is up to 2200 hours and still going though. I've also seen off one prism in the projector in theory because we use it so much, but the manufacturer backed off on that one when I asked if they would leave a home theater idle and watch TV on a conventional telly having spent all that money on setting up a theatre. Bad news for them is I extended the warranty to 6 years.

John Eacott
30th Jan 2006, 04:11
Watching this thread, I was tempted to post that after three years my Sony 50" plasma has been a model of perfection, without a problem.

Trouble is, even the dog woke up Saturday night when something inside exploded whilst watching The Bill :rolleyes: Now I've got a $220 call out charge, plus whatever needs fixing :sad:

But it saved me from having to listen to/watch the Tennis last night :ok:

30th Jan 2006, 13:15
Having just recently done some research on this, but having not made a purchase, I can add some perspective to this. Actually I think this posting is more me venting my fustration at the current TV quality....

Is anyone who just spend over a grand (1000UKP) on EITHER a Plasma or LCD going to tell you its not very good. The average guy will rave about any purchase at that expense.

Go into any reputable store and ask, "is either plasma or LCD better quality than CRT". The answer I got many times, and all over the few forums I looked at is NONONONO.

BUt there are a few rules of thumb which may help.

HD is awesome, and almost here for real. If you are going to buy anything, make sure it is HD ready. Most important, make sure it has at least 2 digital inputs and a digital tuner. Otherwise you will need to replace it in a year or so.

Picture quality depends alot in input quality. Analogue and NTSC looks awful on both plasma and LCD, large or small. Digital satellite still looks better on CRT. It is only at the DVD level that larger LCD and plasma looks interesting.

Remember with widescreen, you have to buy bigger to get the same size (height) picture. ie 26" 4:3 is the same 'height' as 28" widescreen.

The optimum size for a typical living room is 32", where the viewers are about 10-12feet from the screen. Any larger (or closer), and you WILL see the pixel edges on both plamsa and LCD.

If you want BIG, and are prepared to have inferior quality, then move away from CRT.

If you want BIGBIG, go for Plasma. At the large end, LCD technology has always lagged behing plasma. LCD around 37" and over does not look as good as plasma.

Plasma screens do deteriorate, as above. If a manufacturer states 3 years, half it, as they will test it under the best conditions. Some of my friends plasma screens which are only 2 or 3 years old look really poor now.

LCD screens are no longer slow and blurred during action scenes (ie sport).

Plasma colour is natural. LCD is typically sharper and brighter.

LCD screens are brighter, so better in bright rooms.

Pursists seem still to go for plasma. There is a strong // here to the vinvl vs CD arguments in the music business.

You get what you pay for. Cheaper plasma and LCD screens look cheap. The picture will annoy you most of the time. Avoid cheap deals.

On the assumtion that you, and many others, didnt go wild and splash out over 10 grand for a larg(ish) plasma some years ago, then you are probably a realisitc and more typical buyer.
If you had wanted a big screen to impress friends etc, then you would already have bought one.

The bottom line is that for a typical sitting room, I would go for a 32" or 37" fully HD ready.
Why havent I bought one yet??

The price-point for this is around 1500UKP.
The manufacturing costs for LCD at this size a dropping fast.
I will buy when when they get below 750, and spend the other 750 on other things....

30th Jan 2006, 13:36
Maybe in a few years CRT's won't be available anymore. Philips/LG tube factory went bankrupt last week, due to ever slowing sales of CRT tv's.

30th Jan 2006, 14:29
We recently acquired a Dell 37" HD-Ready LCD to replace a 26" JVC Widescreen CRT. Picture is surprisingly good but as mentioned before, not best suited to dark rooms due to the backlighting (although it looks fine to me ;) ). The black levels are good, but not as good as I've seen on plasmas and nowhere near CRT quality. On the plus side, the picture is as good as can be expected from a Telewest cable box, I havn't noticed any ghosting/motion blur and DVDs upscaled over component out from even a really cheap DVD player look great.
I've downloaded HD video from the internet and played it via a laptop through both the VGA and DVI sockets and it looks stunning...can't wait for HD to be broadcast in the UK - TV has HDMI, DVI and Component connections, as well as digital audio in/out for the new Sky HD/Telwest TVDrive boxes.

Sound is surprisingly good too. Clear but plenty of bass from speakers that don't look up to much, but sound more substantial than they appear. There's an auxilliary subwoofer connection as well though, for crazy bass :cool:

Completely unrelated, I managed to bag two 20" Dell widescreen monitors for the PC around Christmas. They're beautiful but backlight bleed on the smaller screens is quite evident when viewing a dark image :ugh: May look into replacements.

Not a single dead/stuck pixel on all three of the screens though, I think Dell are quite good for this. :ok:

30th Jan 2006, 15:13
Having recently been tempted to buy a large LCD or plasma HD ready screen, I am now reading that 1080 line HD is the next thing. Almost all the screens available now are 720 lines, which is what an Xbox360 will display to, yet the Sony Playstation 3 out later this year will go to 1080 lines. Apparently the difference between 1080 and 720 is as impressive as the difference between 720 lines and the current displays. SO the next quandary is.......is it worth holding for a while for the 1080 standard to come in? It really will be the best. How can we find who and when will 1080 broadcasts be made?

30th Jan 2006, 17:13
Our current television can only represent 720 line progressive HD, due to a pixel resolution of 1366x768. It can accept and downscale 1080 line interlaced HD, but the difference between the two is not noticable. The "high end" is 1080 line progressive High Definition, which, as far as I know, hardly any "affordable" HDTVs can display. My computer monitors, with a resolution of 1680x1050 pixels, are 30 pixels shy vertically, and a few hundred horizontally, of being able to display 1080p video, but I would imagine still provide a pretty good representation. Having seen such video on these displays, and played via a laptop on the 720p/1080i television, I cannot honestly tell the difference. It's probably just my eyesight and the reduced resolution of these disalys however :p As displays get bigger and bigger (upwards of 50" I would imagine), the difference between 720p and 1080p on a true 1920x1080 display should become more evident, as pixels themselves get necessarily larger and the resolution has to increase to compensate.

Apparently the difference between 1080 and 720 is as impressive as the difference between 720 lines and the current displays.

It all depends; on most displays the difference between 720 progressive and 1080 interlaced is minimal, because progressive scan is generally regarded as better quality than an interlaced picture. The difference between 720p and 1080p however should be more noticable, but I can't imagine it being as big as the leap between PAL/NTSC and 720p.

30th Jan 2006, 17:58
I was going on an article in Feb 2006 UK issue of 'T3' reviewing the Philips 37PF9830. Apparently there are only 3 screens on the UK market that will display true HD which is 1920x1080. It's compatible with 1080p which is the top of the range. I don't want to spend these eye-popping figures for 720HD to find in a couple of years I was wishing I'd waited until 1080HD was out. Does anybody know when 1080 broadcasts may start? Sky is about to start with 720.

30th Jan 2006, 18:49
Telewest have recently (as of last Friday, perhaps) started extending their TVDrive trial and calling customers who have registered an interest in HD on their website. As with Sky, content should be in 720p or 1080i. The difference between 576i (the current SD standard) and 720p/1080i is about a 50% increase in data. 1080i has more than twice the resolution of 720p, but at half the frame rate as an interlaced signal. This means they both use roughly the same bandwidth, with 720p being better for fast moving images like sports events.

1080p on the other hand, requires almost twice the bandwidth a 720p/1080i broadcast needs, having double the resolution and full progressive frame rate. The processing power required to process such signals would, at the moment, send the prices of the set top boxes "Sky high" (no pun intended :)), and as such I wouldn't expect to see 1080p broadcasts from Sky and the like for at least another year, probably two.

Playstation 3 and Blu-Ray/HD-DVD on the other hand, will support 1080p content, and most feature films are being/will be shot to this standard. These formats are where the real advantage of 1080p will be seen, at least in the near future, but somewhat typically of new tech, release dates are uncertain and early-adopters will no doubt suffer with the lack of content in the new formats.

30th Jan 2006, 19:13
If bandwidth is going to be so tight, it makes you wonder why so many crap channels are allowed to stay in existence! And can we afford the luxury of +1 channels with the same programs going out one hour later, only to be repeated other days? I think it's true for most of us that TV watching has gone down inversely in proportion to the number of channels going up! There has to be a message in there somewhere.

30th Jan 2006, 21:52
There has to be a message in there somewhere.
That most of it is absolute crap? :ok:
I notice a difference in picture quality between Freeview and Telewest/Sky, and it's simply because subscription co's are trying to cram in as many channels as possible, at as low a bitrate as possible. So we get more low-quality programming, with a lower quality picture, whilst they get more advertising revenue.
Hopefully HD will change this, as the footage takes up so much bandwidth that they'll have to go for quality over quantity to make it worth the effort.
I disagree about "+1s" however :p I find them invaluable when two programmes clash. With the advent of PVRs (Tivo and the new High Def boxes), there should be no need for "+1" channels though.

30th Jan 2006, 21:59
they'll have to go for quality over quantity

Does this mean that "Babestation" will be even better quality!?!?

I'll get my coat...

DW :ok:

14th Feb 2006, 21:34
Might want to wait for one of these (http://news.com.com/Toshiba+adds+new+TV+tech+to+the+mix/2100-1041_3-5482129.html?tag=nl).