LCD vs. LED vs. Plasma -
What is what?

A buyer usually faces the problem of choosing a LED TV or a LCD TV or a Plasma TV. Let us see which is what.

Plasma TV screens are made up of tiny plasma cells that light up when an electrical charge is applied through it. LCD TVs are liquid crystal displays that turn on when an electrical charge is passed through it and are lit from a light source (like those fluorescent tubes in your office) directly behind the screen. LED TVs are similar to LCD TVs except for the way they are backlit. Instead of the fluorescent tubes they have a multitude of LED lights directly behind each LCD. The trend in super thin LED TVs have these back lights positioned around the edge of the screen so that they don’t stick out at the back.

A lighter shade of pale

A test of a TV’s true greatness is how well it displays whites and blacks, i.e. the contrast ratio. Look out for that on your TV specs.

If the white is too strong it can wash out the details in bright areas; if it’s not capable of producing wide shades of dark colors then dark scenes will have large swathes swallowed up in black.

It used to be a rule-of-thumb that Plasma TVs have terrific contrast ratios because when a movie scene requires darkness, the individual plasma cells can be turned off. LCD TV’s backlighting doesn’t cater to this and although it can dim down extremely well, it is noticeably less dark than Plasma TVs. LED TVs can achieve contrast ratios similar to Plasma TVs but it depends if you’re going for a backlit or sidelit models; the side-lit models tend to have less contrast than the backlit ones.

Screen size & viewing distance indicator:

Screen Size
(inches)
Viewing distance
(feet)
Screen Size
(inches)
Viewing distance
(feet)
Screen Size
(inches)
Viewing distance
(feet)
< or 26 3 – 5 37 5-8 46 6-10
32 4 -7 40 5-9    

Consider Safety

Avoid placing the TV on a trolley stand near an open window. Wind blow can push the trolley and TV might fall. If the trolly is standing on a carpet, it is more dangerous as the trolley can slip easily.

It is always advisable to fix the TV on a wall mount that's made to accommodate your TV's weight and size.

Also, be sure that your TV is placed properly on the stand, and that it's balanced left to right, and front to back. Since TVs tend to be heavier towards the front, you should avoid setting them too close to the front edge of the stand.

Room lighting and your TV's picture

Light from tube light, lamps and sun-light through windows can also affect your TV's picture quality. In most cases it can have a negative impact, creating on-screen glare and making your TV's colours look faded.

LED Checklist

Viewing angle

A wide viewing angle of 180 degrees will allow everyone to get a good view. This is becoming more of a moot point as major manufacturers of all different TV types have made great strides to make the viewing angle as equal as possible.

Refresh rate

Sports lovers will be looking for a TV with a high refresh rate. The higher it is the smoother the action will be. Plasma TVs are able to refresh at very high rates to produce silky smooth motion. LCD TVs refresh rates are usually lower than Plasma TVs due to the way but the manufacturers have all kind of tricks to improve their lot. They’ve been able to up the refresh rate using the TV to process at 100Hz, 200Hz, etc.

Power

It’s a tricky question to answer which type of TV is the most power efficient. It used to be that Plasma TVs were easily the most power hungry. But they are now able to control the power usage to match, and in some cases lower, than LCD TVs.

There are other factors you’d want to consider like the number of HDMI ports are available to plug in all your other gadgets, does it come with DLNA WiFi connectivity, Internet access, etc... These things will add to the premium you pay for your TV.

However, given the trend, the LED TV has emerged as the champion of the TV war. They are light, thin, energy efficient and are capable of producing some truly stunning pictures.

Before choosing the right TV, you should also consider the following inputs that may help you decide what product suits your requirements best.

  • Size of the Room
  • Viewing distance
  • Budget