LCD or Plasma?

If you don’t have a large screen TV already, you are probably planning to buy one. That’s how popular they are. But the question you will no doubt ask yourself is: should I buy LCD or Plasma? Go to your local Betta Electrical for advice – until then here is a quick overview.


LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) panels are made of two layers of transparent material, which are polarised and ‘glued’ together. One of the layers is coated with a special polymer that holds the individual liquid crystals. Current is then passed through individual crystals, which allow the crystals to pass or block light to create images. LCD crystals do not produce their own light, so an external light source, such as florescent bulb is needed for the image created by the LCD to become visible to the viewer.

The Plasma technology is based loosely on the fluorescent light bulb. The display itself consists of cells. Within each cell two glass panels are separated by a narrow gap in which neon-xenon gas is injected and sealed in plasma form during the manufacturing process. The gas is electrically charged at specific intervals when the plasma set is in use. The charged gas then strikes red, green, and blue phosphors, thus creating a television image. Each group of red, green, and blue phosphors is called a pixel (picture element).

But that is all theory…how do they compare under actual viewing conditions?

Head to head

Under certain viewing conditions Plasma comes out better. More natural colours, better contrast and thanks to faster screen refresh rates there is less blurring of high speed action pictures. So if you are into sports and action films, plasma might be for you.

But…an LCD screen is brighter which is an advantage if you watch daytime TV or view TV in a very bright room. Another important LCD advantage these days is that they are slightly more energy efficient.

Plasma TVs are also slightly cheaper in sizes over 40” – the difference grows with the size of screen – so in theory the choice should be easy but…

The winner?

It all depends on your viewing situation and on the size you are after. The brighter the room, the more you should consider LCD. The larger the screen, the more you should consider Plasma. But there are also differences from one brand to another. See all the options at your local Betta Electrical…we’ll give you betta advice!

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