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Do You Prefer Plasma or LCD TVs?

This is the perennial question for all TV shoppers. Both types of flat panels have their pros and cons, so you must decide which pros and cons are important to you.

Plasma TVs have inherently sharper motion detail, though 120Hz and 240Hz LCDs narrow this gap, albeit at the expense of creating a "soap-opera effect," which makes movies look like they were shot on video. Also, plasmas have been traditionally cited as having deeper blacks, though LED-illuminated LCDs—especially LED-backlit models—often do much better in this regard than conventional CCFL (cold-cathode fluorescent) backlights. The one advantage of plasmas that LCDs can't match is viewing angle. If you move away from the center of an LCD, the picture quality suffers from color shifts and reduced contrast (as seen in the bottom two images above), while plasmas look pretty much the same (as seen in the top two images above).

LCDs have the upper hand when it comes to sheer light output, which makes them better in a well-lit room. Also, many LCDs have a matte screen, which reduces the appearance of reflections compared with a plasma's shiny screen. (Some LCDs, such as those from Samsung, have shiny screens, negating this advantage.) Finally, LCDs tend to consume less power overall, and their power consumption is more constant over time than a plasma's.

So which do you prefer: plasma with its sharper motion detail, often better blacks, and superior off-axis performance, or LCD with its brighter image, often less-reflective screen, and more economical power consumption?

Vote to see the results and leave a comment about your choice.

Do You Prefer Plasma or LCD TVs?
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Jarod's picture

I voted plasma. Im a plasma guy all the way, I own two with one being a Kuro, and always have been, at least since they've been invented. Although LED LCDs with a local-dimming backlight is getting closer and closer in pq to plasma; blooming and off-axis being the two shortcomings of LED local dimmers.

David Vaughn's picture

I voted plasma. The LED-backlit LCDs look nice, but they have a "digital" look to them I don't particularly care for.

WazNeeni's picture

There's no selection for "Whichever one Scott will give me for free, because I'm too broke to have ever owned either."

Well, I think I saw a plasma in a Costco once. And I've seen LCD's in friends' homes and sports bars. And, I watched a few minutes of a promo Blu-Ray at Best Buy. So, favorite is still FREE.

loop7's picture

I have an LCD and made the purchasing decision based on my extremely bright room and knowing I would be sacrificing a lot of fidelity. The off axis is really an issue.

Seth G.'s picture

A good plasma just looks more organic, and less artificial compared to the best LED driven LCDs at the moment from my experience, though our options on the plasma frontier continue to vanish

Dan Dagen's picture

I have had both and I must say I love my plasma better by far. The blacks are blacker and the color range is far superior than the LCD.

prepress's picture

Plasma for now, though LCD is improving. I had an opportunity to see the best sets, ISF-calibrated, in side-by-side comparisons a few months back and the LCDs were obvious, especially on video-based material.

tnbarlow's picture

i have owned a Pioneer Kuro, a Panasonic, and a Samsung plasma. each one started to image ghost after a year. I got so frustrated that as soon as the warranty went out so did the quality. I can also use my LCD as a computer monitor which i would never try with plasma. while the picture quality on plasmas is better, LCD allows me to expand my input options and not have to purchase a new one every year. I like to compare it to the old Harley Davidson joke; it may be the smoothest ride available but the fact that the mechanic has it more than you makes you wonder if you should just sell it to him and get a Honda.

rikhav123's picture

This is the perennial question for all TV shoppers. Both types of flat panels have their pros and cons, so you must decide which pros and cons are important to you.This information helps many to select which is best for them according to their requirements.

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