Plasma vs. LCD

October 23, 2004

LG 60in PlasmaThe current crop of flat screen display’s are dominated largely by two technologies, LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and Plasma. Both offer their own pros and cons. For example, LCD has matured a lot recently while plasma may have already done so. Recently LCD’s reached a before unheard of 65″, easily large enough for use in a home theater application, while plasmas top out in the 80″ range, mind you an 80″ plasma may run well over 20k. So for the purposes of this comparison, we’ll discuss the more common size ranges, those between 42″ to 61″.

Plasma displays excel in color saturation, motion reproduction (sporting events), black level (over all image accuracy), and a wider viewing angle than LCD’s. While LCD’s typically offer better image brightness (daytime viewing), HD resolutions at smaller screen sizes, and a broader range of screen sizes in general. Up until recently plasma displays were pretty much the king of large screen high resolution displays, however LCD has made significant gains of late. Many of the large displays capable of 1080p are LCD’s, that’s not to say that plasma should be discounted. Plasmas have dropped in price greatly in the last 12 months and that trend should continue forward.


Ok, so where should one start their search for a flat panel, large screen display? When a client asks me which technology to go with, I recommend plasma. Plasma still offers a larger, higher resolution image for less than a comparable LCD, however the plasma’s days as king of the screen may be numbered. LCD’s can be produced under a less costly manufacturing process and a wider range of screen sizes. Also, as LCD technology has its base in the computer monitor field, higher resolutions such as 1080p are already available and coming in at lower price points than some plasma’s.

Another way to look at this battle is a simple manufacturing and demand issue. As LCD’s become available in more screen sizes, and when the cost of any LCD panel falls below that of an equal size plasma, a plant manufacturing both would have little reason to continue producing the plasma, as it would be redundant.

So as I stated before, I currently still recommend plasma display technology for most of my clients in the market for large screen display. That’s not to say LCD hasn’t made significant advancements and is likely the display technology to watch as prices drop and screen sizes grow. If you’re still having a hard time deciding, Hewlett Packard hosts a nice page aimed at helping the consumer choose which display type is right for them. The page also delves deeper into the differences between the technologies themselves.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Display Technology


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