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Should You Ditch The Plasma Or The LCD?


With all the talk about high definition broadcasts about town - given that trials should begin in the middle of the year - the great debate goes on. Which is a better buy: a plasma or LCD flat screen TV? Much has changed since plasma and LCD technologies first came on the scene. Both have improved by leaps and bounds, and snags of the past are no longer an issue.

For instance, the lifespan of plasma display panels used to be a bugbear. Today, a plasma screen has a 60,000hour lifespan - equivalent to nearly seven years if the TV set is playing 24 hours a day non-stop. Slow response time, an LCD woe, is now a thing of the past. The newer series of LCD panels possesses 8-millisecond timing, rivalling the response times for a plasma screen.

Here Are The Key Differentiators To Help You Make Your Buying Decision Easier.

Size Of Display Panels

Plasma panels are generally 32 inches and above. Anything smaller and you will be looking at a LCD panel. The greater choice of plasma display panels can be found in the larger sets of 52 inches and above.

Price Per Sq Inch

Plasma panels have the advantage as you go up in size.

Color Fidelity

An interesting observation using a side-by-side visual comparison is that a lower resolution (852 x 480) plasma panel displays more vibrant colors than the higher resolution (1,024 x 768) models. If you are primarily going to use your display for watching DVDs, VCDs and TV or cable programs, then plasma screens are the way to go.

PC Connectivity

If you are going to hook up a PC or laptop most of the time, then the LCD panel is your best choice. The ideal pairing is a laptop with a 16:9 WXGA resolution of 1,280 x 768. Most plasma panels can only manage XGA resolution of 1,024 x 768 or less. Text on a plasma screen looks less crisp and more muddled when compared with a like-for-like LCD display,

HD-ready?

Despite the lower native resolution of plasma displays, the internal circuitry down-samples the 720p or 1080i video signals displayed. All the plasma TVs tested are HD-ready. The "p" denotes a progressive scan mode; "i" denotes an interlaced scan mode. In most cases, a display with a 720p native resolution is able to play video signals at 1080i setting. Side-by-side visual tests show that there were no discernable resolution differences between the XGA plasmas and the LCD screens. High-definition videos of 720p and 1080p resolutions from network-DVD players appear just as crisp and detailed on the XGA plasma as on the LCD panel. If anything, given a well-rendered video clip, a low-resolution 852 x 480 VGA plasma panel will win over an LCD in terms of the excellent range of colors it is able to produce. Clouds with silver-golden linings appear more dramatically over a clear blue sky, and sunsets are that much more vibrant. The overall picture has a captivating 3D effect that jumps right out of the screen at you.

Super Save With the crop of LCD and plasma panels tested, the general observation is that power consumption of the LCDs are about half that of plasma screens of the same size.

 

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