practical tips on buying LCD TVs.Practical tips on buying LCD TV & Plasma TV

Practical LCD Plasma TV
Buying Tips

How to Buy an LCD, Plasma TV (Flat Panel TV)

LCD TVs are not the same as LCD computer displays (monitors)!
Read This Page in Full To Understand The Difference.

Flat screen televisions are ubiquitous, aren't they? It's easy to see why. LCD displays are elegant, save space and show gorgeous images rich in color. If you are thinking of dumping your old television (CRT, tube TV) set and jumping on to the LCD television bandwagon, you need to clearly understand what you are getting into.

First off, LCD TVs are not LCD computer monitors. Think of the difference this way. When you connected your computer to your old TV, you saw a crummy image, did you not? The same will happen when you buy an LCD TV and connect your computer to it. Why? Because, even though they share the same underlying LCD technology, there are significant differences between the two. Let us review one important one below.

Resolution: LCD TVs do not have the same type of resolution that LCD monitors have. A monitor's resolution is measured in pixels (example: 1280 x 1024 pixels) whereas a TV's resolution is measured in lines (example: 720 lines of resolution), unless the LCD TV manufacturer specified the monitor-type resolution. If you notice, even a big LCD TV will have a very low computer monitor type resolution (example: a 20" LCD TV might have an 800x600 pixel resolution) resulting in poor computer images.

Contrast/pixel pitch/Brightness etc.: These specs are usually the same between the two types - LCD TV or LCD monitor.

So, if you want an LCD TV, buy an LCD TV. Ditto for an LCD monitor. Moreover, in my opinion, it is always a mistake to buy any unit with combined functionality. Engineers when designing have to make tradeoffs (I am one, I know). And the shortcomings will become evident in time.

(gas) Plasma TV Or LCD TV?

Merits of LCD TV
LCDs offer higher resolutions than plasmas of the same size. They also have excellent image stability. In other words, you can sit close without experiencing eye fatigue. Additionally, LCDs boast a longer lifetime than plasma televisions – on average about 50,000 hours versus 30,000 hours. Also, if you are contemplating a home entertainment setup involving a PC--perhaps running Windows XP Media center Edition - or other activities involving text as well as graphics, you'll get a crisper, brighter image from an LCD. LCDs are also space-efficient and because they operate at much cooler temperatures cost less per hour than plasma televisions. The smaller and better transistors found in LCDs give them another advantage over plasma – higher resolution.

Demerits of LCD TV
LCD TV viewing angles cannot match those of plasma displays. You tend to see some brightness and color shift when you’re sitting at too far an angle from your LCD, while a plasma’s picture remains fairly solid. LCDs also have lower contrast ratios than plasmas and are not as good at rendering deep blacks. Additionally, they are not as good as plasmas in tracking motion and fast-moving objects may exhibit what is called, lag artifacts.

When To Prefer LCD TV to Plasma TV
The area where LCD is king over any other flat-panel displays is, of course as we noted above, computers. LCD monitors can now be used for many applications (games, office applications, and photo editing). But it's another story for LCD televisions. LCD lags plasma, but it's available in more reasonable display sizes. In terms of absolute video quality, plasma is still king, because it offers deeper blacks as good as what old CRT monitors can display, exceptional viewing angles, and unmatched color. LCDs are closing the gap slowly with constantly evolving technologies.

Here is a table that highlights the important ones:

Latency Not Applicable Exists
Contrast Excellent Acceptable
Brightness Better than best CRT Better than Plasmas
Color Quality Better than CRT or LCD, but flickering present
No flickering. Blacks not deep
Consumption 250W for a 42-inch screen 150W for a 42-inch screen
Viewing angles
Superior to LCD
Life expectancy
30,000 hours
50,000 hours
Defective pixels
Availability in larger sizes
Greater than LCD
Less than plasma

With either purchase, be sure to get your TV from a reputed dealer, not from a source with the cheapest prices because when you need service, boy howdy', will you be in soup! The retailer I list below is known for cheap prices AND EXCELLENT customer service. See what they have today (great holidays deals and clearance in progress now).

TigerDirectReputed LCD TV & Plasma TV Retailer (Great Customer Service)

Try Seized Electronics Bargains (really great deals on used LCD/Plasma TVs, and a lot more electronics, great holiday gifts for lot less))