Top 10 Differences Between a LCD TV and a Plasma TV

By soumitra, Gaea News Network
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

plasmavslcdPlasma TV and LCD TV are the two close contenders in the current scenario of TV markets with CRT TVs dumped in the corner of the shops. Anyone these days seems to be waiting to buy one of these large but slim and flat displays. But what is the difference between them? Have we ever thought that where does the difference lie between these two similar looking gadgets? Here is a simplified guide to these complex technologies that you must read to know the truth.

The Technology


Plasma TV

There are tiny cells between two glass plates where xenon, neon and argon gases are injected and sealed in plasma form during the manufacturing process. The gas is electrically charged at specific intervals so that gas is ionized and form plasma state. This ionized gas when hits the red, green, blue colored phosphors, they produce the colored images correspondingly. It does not use the electron gun architecture which is used in CRTs.


Pic Source : Wikipedia

This is why the plasma TVs are not that much bulky as the older CRT TVs. But still they use the phosphor burning technique to show the colors. So, they are able to produce extremely accurate colors are better motion pictures as the CRTs.


300px-lcd_subpixel_enPic Source : Wikipedia

In between two layers of transparent oppositely polarized materials, a special polymer is used that holds liquid crystals. The crystals can block or pass light according to the amount of current passed to them. Each individual picture element or pixel is divided into three red, green, blue colored subpixels. These subpixels when appropriately illuminated can produce vast array of colors. Unlike the standard CRT or Plasma, there are no phosphors to be lit. This is why the LCDs are much cooler and requires less power and there is no radiation from the screen.

The Comparison

1. Screen Size and Price

This is the most important point to consider before you buy a TV. Normally, the plasma TV sizes range from 32 inches to 65 inches and the LCD TV ranges from 14 inches to 46 inches though more larger sizes of both are readily available. The comparative prices for the larger size plasmas ( ~ 52 inches) are lesser than same sized LCD TVs. On the other hand, the smaller LCD TVs ( ~ 32 inches ) are cheaper than the same sized plasmas. Though the larger size LCD TV prices are falling off rapidly, still I would ask you to buy a plasma TV if you want a real big screen.

2. Color Accuracy and Saturation

The LCD TV reproduces colors by subtracting colors from white light. This is somewhat more complex and slow technology than that used in Plasmas. The colors displayed in plasma TVs are more vibrant and accurate than the LCD TVs. LCD TVs are efficient in producing colors when producing static images.

3. Picture Resolution

The small sized LCDs have more pixels packed into them than the plasmas. The small sized Plasmas are not so good at displaying high resolution pictures as they have less number of pixels per square inch. So, I again repeat that go for LCDs if you want small sized ones and go for plasma if you want bigger picture as there is no resolution difference in case of the larger plasma and LCDs.

4. Contrast Ratio

It is the ratio of luminance of the brightest white and the darkest black. Normal plasma TVs have contrast ratio of 3000: 1 whereas the typical LCD TVs have contrast ratio of 1000:1. But there is some problems in measurement standard followed by this two technologies. For that reason, it is not that simple to weigh their display capabilities.
The plasmas TVs are able to generate deeper black levels due to their technology. This is why the low light movies are better enjoyed in plasma TVs. Although some people say that there is some problem of leak-out in the plasma TVs when displaying high contrast scenes. Now, what is leak out? Suppose the TV is displaying one fine bright line on a full black screen. The line will look thicker than it is. The reason behind this is that the adjacent pixels draws some charge from the bright pixels.
However I find LCD TV images are enjoyable even in places where there is more than enough light falling on the screen, whereas the plasma TVs are enjoyable in dim light conditions.
800px-plasma_burnin_at_dfw_airportPic Source : Wikipedia

5. Burn-In

If the plasma TVs are used for same static image showing off constantly, the same phosphors are being used always. This literally burns the phosphors which can no longer show off the colors accurately. There is no such problem with the LCD TVs. This is why the LCDs are extensively used as display unit for computers where it needs to show static images continuously for a prolonged time. Any way you don’t have to worry about the burn-in problem very much because under normal TV watching purpose there is least chance of burn-in to occur.

6. Pixel Response Time and Screen Refresh Rate

The LCD display is slow to change the pixel color states though the technology has improved a lot. There is no such delay in changing the color states of the phosphors. So, the screen refresh rate can be much higher in case of plasma TVs. The LCD TVs, when displaying highly moving pictures, show a trailer effect of the moving parts which fails to represent the fastness of the scene.

7. Power Consumption

The Plasma TVs are fairly power hungry. Each of the pixels in a plasma TV acts as a light source, so it requires a lot of power to light the whole display. LCD TVs use fluorescent backlighting to produce images, so they require much less power than the Plasma TVs. The power requirement for LCD TVs are nearly half of the plasma TVs.

8. Viewing Angle

The viewing angle offered by the Plasma TVs were always greater than the LCD TVs but now the high end LCD TVs are no worse than the Plasma TVs. However some cheap LCD TVs still has viewing angle less than 160 degrees. So, when buying cheap unbranded LCD TVs check if the viewing angle is better than 160 degrees or not.
9. Weight

Plasma displays are fairly heavy and also fragile. When mounting on wall or ceiling they should be installed by professionals and the supports should be able to take good loads. LCD TVs does not weigh that much.

10. Performance at High Altitude

Plasma TVs have buzzing noise like the old neon signs when used in high altitudes. This is because the gas inside the plasma TVs has to work in a stressed condition. On the other hand the LCD TVs are not affected by high altitude at all.
Thanks for reading with such a patience. If you have any suggestion please write to us.


November 26, 2010: 2:39 am

I love any divice If It does not arm to the environment after use

November 26, 2010: 2:36 am

I’m now well understood about lcd tv
whereas the plasma TVs are enjoyable in dim light conditions.

November 26, 2010: 2:33 am

I’m now well understood about lcd tv

Prabu gi
October 29, 2010: 12:23 am

Clear explanation..
Thanks for sharing.

September 24, 2010: 5:40 am

Hey, did you dudes come to this website to pick a fight, or to learn something? Give this fella (or gal) a break; he’s probably from Pakistan or another “3rd world country”, and is trying to help you with your questions. Being judgemental is certainly a way to show your stupidity and ignorance to what really makes the world go around, and what does NOT make the world go around is dumbasses like you. Besides, I imagine a lot of you are like over paid GM and Chrysler workers who kept their hands open for a “bail-out”. Whoever wrote this article at Wikepedia: “Kudos”, I say, and thanks.

September 5, 2010: 1:04 pm

V.nicely explained… :-)
Even beginner in engg lang can get it clear

March 6, 2010: 3:10 am

Its very much informative & need the structure clearly

February 4, 2010: 4:11 pm

Informative comparison Soumitra. Thanks! But I hope you didn’t pay the translator too much.

October 3, 2009: 11:41 pm

You’re right about the noise on the plasmas. I thought I could deal with it, but it drives us crazy.

August 21, 2009: 10:12 am

This plasma versus LCD TV comparison explanation are so useful.I had some good new information from this blog.


April 21, 2009: 2:03 am

Dude, work on your English. It reads like a 9-year-old wrote it.

pooja kaul
March 24, 2009: 3:37 pm

Thank you Ruthresh :)

March 24, 2009: 3:16 pm

ya .. i think that i have got a good opinion about both the tv’s….

March 23, 2009: 4:01 pm

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March 23, 2009: 3:43 pm

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