Plasma vs LED vs LCD TVs
How TVs Work
Before explaining the differences between each technology, it’s important to understand how each TV displays an image.
Plasma TVs contain tiny pockets of gas, and when a voltage is applied to them, they turn into a plasma state. The voltage then strikes the mercury within the plasma to emit ultraviolet (UV) rays, which pass through phosphor cells to produce an image. Each pixel in the TV contains three phosphor cells: red, green, and blue, and these three colors combine to produce a color. Essentially, plasma TVs don’t require a backlight, and each pixel is self-emissive as it produces its own light.
Unlike plasma TVs, LCD TVs use a backlight. Initially, LCD TVs used Cold-Cathode Fluorescent Lamp (CCFL) as their backlight. These are long tubes that are placed horizontally across the screen behind the LCD panel. When the light is turned on, it applies a voltage to the pixels, which makes them rotate a certain way to allow light through and produce an image. When it wants to display black, the pixels are rotated to create an opaque screen so that light doesn’t get through. This is what makes them different from plasma TVs because each pixel isn’t self-emitting.
Light-Emitting Diode (LED) TVs are the same as traditional LCD TVs, but instead of using CCFL backlights, they use many smaller LED lights. It produces an image the same way as a regular LCD TV because it still uses an LCD panel, but it has more control over the backlighting. The LEDs can be placed along the edges, which is called edge-lit LED, or all over the back panel, which is either called direct LED or full-array backlighting. You can see the differences between LCD and LED TVs below.
It’s also important to note LED is simply a marketing term used by manufacturers to describe their backlight. They’re still technically LCD TVs, but since calling them LED is so common now, we even label them as LED, and we’ll continue to do so throughout this article.
Learn about differences between full-array and edge-lit local dimming
LED full-array backlight
LED edge-lit backlight
The Main Differences
Plasma and LED TVs each present their own advantages and disadvantages in terms of picture quality, price, build, and availability. It’s generally thought that plasma produces a better picture quality due to their superior contrast ratio, but LED TVs became more popular because of other factors, like a lower cost and greater availability.
Below you can see the differences in picture quality between two older TVs from 2013. It’s clear the plasma was better at the time, but LED TVs have also gotten better since then, so picture quality has greatly improved.
Plasma TV – Samsung N5300
LED TV – LG LN5400
Contrast ratio was one of the main advantages and selling points of plasma TVs. Since each pixel emitted its own light, it simply turned itself off when it wanted to display a black image. This allowed the TV to display very deep blacks, but because there was always a bit of charge left in the plasma, it still wasn’t a perfect black level.
On the other hand, LED TVs can’t achieve a perfect black level because the backlight is always on. However, technology has evolved to greatly improved the contrast of LED TVs, even to the point where it’s also as good as what plasma once was. There are two main types of LCD panels in TVs: Vertical Alignment (VA) and In-Plane Switching (IPS). VA panels produce a better contrast than IPS, and high-end TVs also have local dimming features that turn off certain zones of the LED backlights. Still, you won’t get a perfect black level, but most modern LED TVs produce such deep blacks that even in a dark environment it looks like perfect black levels. For reference, plasma TVs had a max contrast of about 4,000:1, according to DisplayMate.com, but some recent LED TVs can reach a contrast of over 20,000:1 with local dimming enabled, like the Samsung QN90A QLED.
Learn more about contrast ratio
Brightness and reflection handling
LED TVs are a clear winner here, and it’s one of the reasons why they surpassed plasmas in terms of popularity. LED TVs get significantly brighter, so they can fight glare from light sources easier. Additionally, plasma TVs had to use glass on their front panel, which caused intense glare if you had any lamps or windows around the TV. LED TVs can use a coating on their glass panel to help reflect and diffuse light, making it a better choice for well-lit rooms.
Plasmas were designed for dark-room viewing, but since most people don’t have dedicated home theater setups and often watch with a few light sources around, they weren’t that useful. As you can see below, the plasma TV had pronounced reflections, to the point where it’s even hard to see the image, and instead you’re watching yourself watch TV. Reflections are still noticeable on an LED TV, but at least you can see the image.
Plasma TV – Samsung N5300
LED TV – LG LN5400
Learn more about peak brightness and reflection handling
Pixels on plasma TVs emitted light in all directions, creating extremely wide viewing angles, much better than most LED TVs. This means that the image remained accurate when viewing from the side, which was great for watching sports or a show with a few people. Out of the two main panel types for LED TVs, IPS has wider viewing angles than VA panels, but it’s still not as good as plasma.
TV manufacturers have tried different technologies to improve viewing angles on VA panels. Samsung has an ‘Ultra Viewing Angle’ layer, and Sony uses their ‘X-Wide Angle’ technology to increase the viewing angles, both at the cost of a lower contrast ratio. It’s still not as good as plasma, but they’re wide enough for watching TV in a fairly large seating area.
Below you can see the differences in viewing angles between a plasma and a VA panel. These TVs were tested on different test benches, so you shouldn’t directly compare the videos, but we included them to give you an idea of how each technology affects the viewing angle.
Plasma TV – Samsung N5300
VA Panel – Hisense H9G
Learn about viewing angle here
Response Time and refresh rate
Plasma TVs were great for motion handling, like with sports and video games due to their quick response time. Since each pixel had to retain a certain charge at any given moment, it was ready to display an image almost instantly. This meant fast-moving scenes looked crisp and smooth, with no motion blur behind them. However, for LED TVs, it can be a toss-up; some lower-end models have a slow response time that causes motion blur, while other high-end TVs have a really fast response time.
Some LED TVs also use Pulse Width Modulation to dim their backlight, and this causes the backlight to flicker, which may create image duplication in fast-moving scenes. This can be particularly annoying, especially if you’re watching sports with fast-moving content.
In terms of refresh rate, plasma TVs had a higher internal refresh rate, up to 600Hz, while LED TVs tend to be 60 or 120Hz. However, the refresh rate depends on the content, and since most content doesn’t go past 120 frames per second, having a higher refresh rate TV isn’t very useful.
Learn more about motion handling
Screen uniformity is another area where plasma TVs win. Since they didn’t have a backlight, they could evenly control each pixel. LED TVs can suffer from uniformity issues, like darker edges or Dirty Screen Effect in the center, because the backlight output may not be even across the panel. However, this is only really noticeable when watching content with large areas of uniform color, like a hockey or basketball broadcast, or if you’re going to use the TV as a PC monitor. It shouldn’t be noticeable with other types of content, and since uniformity can vary between units, you shouldn’t worry about it too much.
Learn about gray uniformity here
Burn-in and image retention
One of the reasons plasma TVs didn’t last too long at the top of the TV world is because of their risk of temporary image retention and permanent burn-in. Plasmas lose their brightness over the years, and in the worst case, would have permanent burn-in with certain colors staying on the screen, as you can see here. Even after watching content with static elements, like the news, for an extended period, the outline of the static elements would stay on the screen for a few minutes after changing the channel.
These problems are particularly annoying, especially if you watch a lot of TV. There was no way to help reduce this issue, and after a few years, depending on how much you used the TV, your plasma would need replacing. LEDs don’t suffer from this same permanent burn-in, so you won’t have to worry about replacing your LED TV down the line because of burn-in.
Learn more about image retention
Thickness, weight, and Power
Due to their different technologies, LED and plasma TVs are built differently. Plasma TVs tended to be heavier and thicker because the panel itself was larger. Although plasmas were the first flat-screen TVs available at a consumer level at the end of the 20th century, LCD TVs quickly became even thinner, easier to package, and lighter to carry from the store to your house. These days, LED TVs are as thin as 1″, like the Samsung QN85A QLED.
Plasma TVs also required a lot of power to work and tended to get very hot. With the growth of environment-friendly consumer practices, it became clear LED TVs would win out since they required a lot less electricity, and in a way were better for the environment.
Size, availability, and resolution
Both plasma and LED TVs were made with larger sizes, but LED had a slight advantage because they were also made in displays smaller than 32 inches, like with monitors. Although small TVs are rare now, you can still find a basic 28 or 32 inch TV for a kitchen or bedroom with an LED panel. Plasma TVs weren’t made that small. LED TVs also cost less to produce and are cheaper on the market, so at the end of the day, the lower cost drove LED sales.
When 4k TVs started to become the norm over 1080p and 720p TVs in the mid-2010s, manufacturers started to produce 4k LED TVs, while plasma TVs were stuck at 1080p. This presented a major advantage for LED TVs, as a higher resolution helps create a crisper image, and this essentially was the nail in the coffin for plasma TVs. Since manufacturers were focused on making 4k LED TVs, plasma TVs became less available, and by 2014, Panasonic, LG, and Samsung all stopped their plasma production. LED TVs surpassed plasma sales in 2007, and they haven’t looked back since.
Learn more about resolution
Other problems with plasma
There were a few other problems that contributed to the decline of plasma TVs. First of all, plasma TVs didn’t work at high altitudes because of the change in air pressure with the gasses inside. They would create a buzzing noise, and the image wouldn’t look the same, so this could have been problematic if you lived at a high altitude. LED TVs can be used at any altitude; you shouldn’t use them in extreme cold or extreme heat, but this is standard practice for any electronic, and temperature is easier to control than your altitude. Also, plasma TVs emitted a radio frequency that could have interfered with other devices around, like if you had a radio in the same room. Each of these issues are simply inconvenient for most people.
Should You Replace Your Plasma?
The simple answer is yes, but it doesn’t mean you should go out tomorrow and buy a new TV just because you read this article. If you aren’t experiencing any issues with your plasma, then you probably don’t need to replace it right away. However, if you notice your plasma is starting to show some signs of permanent burn-in, it’s probably a good idea to get a new TV before the burn-in becomes worse.
There could be other advantages if you upgrade your TV, like technological advancements and a higher 4k resolution. Modern TVs come with a built-in smart system, which isn’t something that most plasmas had, and this allows you to directly stream your favorite content without the need for an external streaming device. As mentioned, LED TVs aren’t very costly, and you can easily find the best 4k TVs for under $500.
OLED vs Plasma
At the same time that plasma TVs met their end, OLEDs grew from the ashes of their predecessor. After LG released the first commercially available 55 inch OLED in 2012, it soon competed with LED TVs. OLED, which stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode, is different from plasma, but shares many of the same characteristics, while also avoiding some of plasma’s downfalls.
OLEDs use self-emissive pixels, but what sets them apart is how the pixels completely shut off, creating an infinite contrast ratio and perfect black uniformity. This is an improvement from plasma because it was never able to reach those perfect blacks. OLEDs also have wide viewing angles and a near-instant response time like plasmas. Sadly, they don’t get extremely bright, but they’re still better for well-lit rooms than plasma because they get a bit brighter and have much better reflection handling. Also, OLEDs have the same burn-in risk as plasma, but this only happens with constant exposure to the same static elements, and we don’t expect it to be a problem for people who watch varied content.
Another advantage for OLED is how thin they are, especially compared to plasma, and they aren’t as heavy. For example, the LG GX OLED is a TV designed to sit flush against the wall and it’s only 0.94″ thick!
Compared to LED competitors, OLEDs are much more costly, and even though they offer superior picture quality, LEDs are still the favorite. Also, LED TVs are available in smaller sizes, while the smallest OLED TV we’ve tested is 48 inches. LEDs are generally the better choice for well-lit rooms since they still get much brighter, but OLEDs are a fantastic choice for dark room viewing.
Learn more about OLED vs LED
Although plasma TVs once dominated the TV market for a short time at the turn of the 21st century, their disadvantages outweighed their advantages, and LED-backlit LCD TVs soon held the market share of sales. There were a few reasons for this, like burn-in issues, low peak brightness, and a thick and heavy design compared to LED TVs. Despite plasma TVs’ superior overall picture quality, improved contrast, and very quick response time, it wasn’t enough to convince consumers to keep buying them once 4k LED TVs became readily available. If you still have a plasma, it’s likely you’ll need to replace it within the next few years, and you’ll probably buy a new LED TV.
Plasma TV: why Samsung and Panasonic ditched the technology for good
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(Image credit: Panasonic)
You don’t hear much about plasma TVs these days, and for good reason: no one’s made them for several years. But for a TV technology that was once the pinnacle of picture quality, where did plasma TVs go?
Writing about a much-loved technology that’s been and gone feels like writing a love letter to an ex. You remember the reasons you loved them, and you also remember how they annoyed you. It’s a soul-cleansing exercise.
But what do we recall when we talk about plasma TVs? The technology that made flat screens an everyday reality for you and I originated in a humble lab in the University of Illinois. The potential of what started as an academic experiment to create a display for educational computers became very apparent to TV manufacturers, which had been struggling to find a realistic solution to take over from cumbersome CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) TV sets.
Plasma screens feature millions of cells, filled with gas, sitting neatly between two sheets of glass. When they’re charged with electricity, the cells – or pixels – lit up to form the image. That charged-up gas is called plasma, hence the name of the screens.
CRT models, on the other hand, feature a single tube that defines the size of the screen. The move to plasma technology and its use of millions of cells made it far easier to enlarge screen sizes, while also making them thin – far more slender than normal CRT sets. In addition, the higher definition and refresh rate resulted in a much higher-quality picture.
To understand the lure of plasma and how it managed to conquer hearts and living rooms alike, you must look beyond the pretty screen and deep into the heart of the technology behind it.
- Next-gen TVs: the OLED, Micro LED and holographic TVs of the future
Plasma TVs: how do they actually work?
(Image credit: Wikipedia / Jari Laamanen)
Think of a plasma TV as a neon lamp. It’s built on an emissive technology that uses plasma to excite phosphors to emit light.
“The glass is comparable to window glass, unlike LCD. There are horizontal and vertical electrode grids and a phosphor array. The connection between the two is scanned, firing the discharge at the intersection and causing the phosphor to glow,” says analyst Paul Gray, who leads TV research at Omdia, a global firm that provides analysis across the technology ecosystem. “The phosphor side is similar to CRT, while the plasma is a glow discharge like a neon lamp.”
But the genesis of the technology had nothing to do with the entertainment industry. Larry F Weber, a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers wrote the following in IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science:
“As with any invention, it all started with a need. In this case, it was the need for a high-quality display for computer-based education. The University of Illinois started a project in 1960 called PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations) to conduct research on the use of computers for education… The plasma display panel (PDP) was invented by Prof. Donald L Bitzer, Prof. H Gene Slottow, and their graduate student Robert H Wilson in 1964 to meet the need for a full graphics display for the PLATO system.”
The technology evolved fast – literally from lab glassware to the best TV screens – in a very short space of time.
Plasma TVs: the early days
(Image credit: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science)
However, as would be the case with any technology product for the consumer market, there was a long period of low-volume but high-cost production.
The first manufacturer to take the dive into making plasma in serious numbers was Fujitsu, making a 42-inch screen in 1997. That screen was selling for $20,000 (around £15,000 / AU$26,000), according to San Francisco Business Times.
Philips and Pioneer followed suit, and other manufacturers piled in shortly afterwards.
“The starters were Fujitsu and Panasonic, but NEC, Pioneer, Samsung, LGE and Chunghwa (CPT) all made the displays,” says Gray. “Most brands had plasma in their ranges. It’s important to remember that in the early 2000s, the PDP [Plasma Display Panel] was in the lead in large-screen TVs such as 42-inch models, and there was serious concern whether 42-inch LCD was economically feasible. Sony and Sharp even worked on a hybrid technology called PALC, Plasma-addressed Liquid Crystal.”
It was the first time that a large TV was available in a form that could be mounted on a wall. This was a huge leap forward from the furniture-piece CRT TV sets that were boxy and heavy, although sturdy. Remember, also, that it was a strange world where small screens and large screens (LCD and projection respectively) were flat, but the ones in the middle (14-inch to 37-inch) were curved.
Plasma TVs: picture quality
(Image credit: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science)
Plasma TVs had come a long way since its first iteration. It went on to dominate the consumer market for TV screens and provided one of the best viewing experiences available.
Plasma TVs had panels that lit up small cells of gases (xenon and neon) between two plates of glass, offering very bright and crisp images even on a large screen surface, according to Samsung, which was one of the main manufacturers of plasma TVs. The screens contain phosphors that created the image on the screen light up themselves and don’t require backlighting.
The technology meant that large screens (typically from 42 inches to 63 inches) “offer high contrast ratios, gorgeously saturated colours, and allow for wide viewing angles – meaning every seat in the house is a great one,” according to Samsung, while it worked “well in dimly lit rooms, which is great for watching movies. ” It could also “track fast-moving images without motion blur,” making plasma “ideal for watching action-packed sports or playing video games. The sharpness of visual detail is astonishing.”
However, there were some disadvantages. Plasma was more of an electricity guzzler than LCD (Panasonic had got the consumption pretty much to parity, and plasma’s power consumption depended heavily on the amount of light in the video content). It was heavier, with many more power electronics packed in each set. It wasn’t as bright, meaning that to enjoy it fully, you really needed to like your dimly lit, cinema-style watching experience – which wasn’t a disadvantage if you weren’t a fan of daytime telly. Burn-in was an issue, too, especially for avid gamers.
The plasma boom and the new kids on the block
(Image credit: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science)
By 2005, six million units of plasma were being shipped globally per year, according to Omdia’s data. “The business peaked at 18. 4 million in 2010,” says Gray.
But then other technologies started to catch up. LCD screens were lighter and brighter. They consumed far less energy and performed better in daylight.
“Essentially, the fundamental problem was the pace of innovation,” says Gray. “Plasma needed to counter the LCD industry, which had more players working on development. It faced either an uneconomic level of R&D or, alternatively, slowly falling behind. Samsung and LG were only in the PDP [Plasma Display Panel] market as an insurance policy, while the Japanese were unwilling to make big bets. In fairness, they acted rationally – while Korea Inc got its money back in LCD, Taiwan Inc only broke even and China Inc’s chances of ever making a positive return on its LCD investment are slim.”
The end of plasma TVs
The plasma honeymoon didn’t last, then, and there were some basic factors that had a severe impact on sales – including one of the criticisms commonly levelled at OLED, being low brightness.
“Plasma wasn’t as bright as LCD. Critically in US retailers, the TV area was brightly lit and PDP looked washed out,” says Gray. “Plasma – like all emissive displays – struggled with fine pixel densities. Only Panasonic managed to make a 1080p 42-inch, and even then it wasn’t a great product commercially. Manufacturing yield was reportedly poor. In the end, LCD had massive manufacturing capacity and the advantage of scale. PDP simply wasn’t unique enough.”
As manufacturers started making huge losses, they began to phase out plasma. Pioneer putting an end to the production of its much-loved Kuro screens was notable. When Panasonic announced that it would no longer make plasma screens, everybody knew that the end was near. LG and Samsung followed suit shortly after. And just like that, the light went out on plasma.
- What is OLED? The TV panel tech explained
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What is the difference between a plasma TV and LCD TV and what to choose? — magazine LG MAGAZINE Russia
When it comes to choosing a new LG TV, many buyers do not know which device is better to choose: a plasma model or an LCD model. To figure out which of these TVs is better, you should know what each technology is and compare their characteristics. Consider the difference between an LG plasma TV and an LCD TV, and which one is better to choose.
LG TV Plasma Matrix is a collection of miniature fluorescent lamps that glow when current is passed through them. Each pixel of such a matrix is a capacitor with electrodes, consisting of three light bulbs with ionized gas. When the cell is activated by an electric charge, one of the lamps glows, emitting light of one of the three primary colors of the matrix: blue, green or red. The dots of a plasma TV produce their own light and are therefore called radiant displays. The speed of changing color rendering and the order of operation of the lamps is at least 400 Hz, this frequency exceeds the speed of LCD matrices, where black pixels are added to improve this parameter.
- Deep black.
- Natural colors.
- Wide viewing angles.
- Short response time.
Disadvantages of the plasma TV panel:
- Due to the not too strong brightness, it is better to watch TV and a movie on it in a shaded room.
- After 20 thousand hours of use, the brightness may decrease by 2 times.
- Large panel weight.
- Restriction in dimensions. The Plasma TV cannot be smaller than 32 inches and larger than 65 inches.
- More energy costs.
- The device is heating up.
- Does not work at high frequencies.
- Screen sometimes mirrors as it is more reflective and susceptible to ambient glare. Therefore, we recommend buying models with an anti-reflective coating if you opt for a plasma panel.
As for LCD TVs, they can be divided into two main groups according to the technology used. Previously, LCD only meant screens that used fluorescent lamps to illuminate pixels. Nowadays, LED TVs are being used more and more. They work on the same principle, but LEDs are used instead of fluorescent lamps.
An LCD TV is a matrix of pixels containing red, blue and green liquid crystals. Under the influence of voltage, the pixels of the matrix change their location, pass or block the backlight. LCD crystals do not produce light themselves, they are called transmissive. Therefore, they need an external source, which can be of two types:
- LEDs act as an external source.
Depending on which source is used, different types of LCD screens are obtained. The modern market offers three leading LCD TV technologies, each of which differs in the principle of operation and cost:
- LCD is the first type of LCD panel. Its difference lies in low cost and a simple set of functions. Currently, such TV models are considered obsolete. Illumination in such devices is carried out using fluorescent lamps.
- LED panels are improved LCD models based on LCD, but with higher clarity and resolution. LED models are equipped with LED backlighting, while the LEDs can be located in the end part or evenly distributed throughout the matrix. At a cost, an LED TV is more expensive than an LCD TV, but the image quality will be higher.
- OLED is LG’s latest technology. The difference between OLED technology and LED is that OLED devices do not need additional display backlighting, which takes the picture quality on the TV to a new level. The price of OLED TVs will be higher than the previous types, but OLED TVs are of high quality and the TV diagonal can be more than 55 inches.
General advantages of LCD TV:
- High image contrast for LED and OLED models.
- LED backlight makes the image as close to natural as possible, with a natural variety of colors.
- The brightness of the screen during operation of the device does not depend on the lighting in the room.
- Use less electricity.
- LCD TV does not overheat.
- Longer display life than plasma.
- Reasonable price.
- LCD TVs are lighter and therefore require less effort and money to transport. Light weight allows you to easily mount them on a vertical surface.
- Not deep enough blacks.
- Medium color and contrast.
- Dimming over time.
Disadvantages of LED displays:
- High price.
- Uneven illumination.
Of course, picture quality is a key criterion when choosing a TV. Many users are wondering: which of the devices is capable of providing the best picture quality, and what is the difference between the image of a plasma and an LCD panel? Image quality is largely dependent on the backlight. Plasmas are better able to cope with dynamic scenes. There is no blur effect. This is especially noticeable when watching movies or while playing games on the console. Plasmas have an impressive viewing angle. This suggests that if you move a little away from the edge of the device, the image will still be as clear as possible. The picture does not change depending on where you watch the movie on the TV.
In terms of brightness and contrast, Plasma displays feature blacks that are as deep as possible, as well as sharp and vibrant color images that look equally bright when viewed from any angle. LCD TVs have LED backlighting, which makes colors appear paler and the darkest tone dark gray. Plasma models feature a vibrant and vibrant color palette. Plasmas are able to reproduce much more different shades, which is so important for broadcasting a lively and rich image. As an exception, the latest models of LCD TVs with OLED technology, in which there is no LED display backlight, can be considered. If you prefer films with a lot of special effects, you should get a plasma. On the plasma panel, you can observe the same quality image from any viewing angle.
The answer to the question of which TV is better to buy, plasma or LCD, largely depends on the room in which it is going to be installed. If it’s a private room like a home theater with subdued lighting, it’s better to buy a plasma. It will provide a high quality image. The disadvantage will be high power consumption and the price, which is higher than the old LCD models. For living rooms where you can watch TV around the clock, including during the day, LCD TVs are more suitable. The disadvantage of the LCD model can be attributed to the viewing angles, which are not large enough.
Screen resolution is also an important consideration when choosing a TV. Plasma TVs with high resolution do not yet exist. The difference between the LCD screen is that it has a better resolution, since it is easier to reduce a pixel than a cell with gas. LCD TVs with 4K resolution first appeared in 2013. The number of points in such models is 4 times more than in the old Full HD 1080p format. Therefore, image clarity and detail will be much higher. The refresh rate has increased from 50-60 to 100-120 Hz, as a result of which the viewer’s eyes get tired less. The disadvantage of 4K and 8K models is their high price. But with the development of these technologies, the number of OLED TVs will increase, and their cost will decrease.
The functionality of each display type varies by model. The set of options and capabilities is almost the same, but at the same time, liquid crystal models will still be cheaper than plasma ones.
Consider the difference between the characteristics of a plasma panel and an LCD TV:
- Screen size. LCDs have a larger assortment: from small kitchen models to billboards. The maximum diagonal reaches 100 inches or more.
- Contrast. Plasma panels convey contrast better, as they can emit light on their own. In liquid crystal models, the contrast depends on the intensity of the glow and crystals, and this does not allow you to achieve the same level of contrast as in plasma.
- Brightness. The brightness in plasmas is high, but has limitations. In conventional LCD LCD TVs, the brightness is lower than in LCD models with LED backlighting.
- Black depth. Plasmas have better black depth as each pixel can glow separately. In LCD TVs, if the picture is quite dark, some parts of it will disappear.
- Viewing angle. Plasma screens have a viewing angle of up to 180 degrees in all directions. Older models of LCD TVs have a viewing angle of 45 degrees, but in modern models it reaches almost the same parameters as plasma. However, all the same, at a certain angle, the contrast in LCD displays decreases.
- Screen resolution. The LCD screen has the best resolution, since it is easier to reduce a pixel than a gas cell. Plasma TVs with high resolution do not yet exist.
- Light uniformity. Each of the plasma cells is a separate light source, in connection with this, the screen is illuminated evenly. In LCD models, the uniformity of illumination depends on how good the backlight is.
- Weight. Although both types of screens are similar in appearance, LCD is lighter than plasma counterparts, the design uses transparent plastic instead of glass.
- Functionality. Both models have identical control functions.
- Energy efficiency. Plasma consumes much more electricity, as it needs the constant operation of the fans to cool the device. In this case, the advantage will be on the side of liquid crystal panels, since they consume several times less energy than plasmas with a power of 350-450 W.
- Response speed. In plasmas, electricity passes through the gas at maximum speed, which allows you to increase the response speed. In LCD models, liquid crystals do not transfer electricity as quickly, but thanks to the use of transistors, it was almost possible to achieve the same response speed as plasmas.
- Service life. Plasma TVs work no more than 30 thousand hours. However, from overheating, the device may last less. The service life of LCD TVs is up to 100 thousand hours. When the backlight burns out, it can be replaced, but there is a possibility of “broken” pixels.
- Security. For the environment and humans, plasma and LCD TVs are absolutely harmless.
- Appearance. Both models are thin and flat, can be hung on the wall and connect to the Internet and local network. But do not forget that LCD models are lighter.
- Reliability. Plasmas are less susceptible to mechanical damage.
- Cost. Plasma TVs with a large display diagonal are not so expensive. A large LCD screen is quite difficult to manufacture, so a TV with the same diagonal as a plasma will cost significantly more.
- Watching movies and programmes. Both models allow you to watch TV programs, movies and other content in different screen sizes and resolutions.
There are a number of features to consider when choosing a TV. They are not related to technical specifications, but are important when choosing equipment:
- Presence of multimedia connectors. HDMI, SCART, USB connectors greatly expand the possibilities of using technology. Using HDMI, you can broadcast a picture to a TV from a computer, smartphone or laptop. USB allows you to connect a flash drive to the equipment and read information from the media. SCART is a connector that is compatible with all known multimedia. It allows you to both transmit information and record it. When choosing, pay attention to where the connector is located. If it is displayed externally on the panel, it will be much more convenient to use the TV.
- 3D and Smart TV support function. Plasma TVs have this feature. 3D mode allows you to see the image in three dimensions. But you can watch movies and programs in this format only after recording them first.
- Manufacturer. Currently, different companies are engaged in the production of TVs. The main producing countries are South Korea and Japan. One of the most famous TV companies in South Korea is LG. The manufacturer received an award in Las Vegas for the release of the best device. LG production is the best combination of price and quality. When buying products from little-known and dubious companies, there is a risk of getting equipment with a short service life.
principle of operation and differences from LCD
- What is a plasma TV and technology
- How a plasma TV works
- How a plasma TV works
- Screen cleaning
- Plasma or LCD TV?
- Should I take plasma?
Plasma technology is the first to realize the dream of a “flat-panel TV” that can be hung on the wall like a picture. The first full-fledged plasma TV was created in Japan in 90’s. In 1997, Panasonic launched such panels into mass production. They had a screen resolution of no more than 852 x 480 pixels with a diagonal of 42 inches.
What is a plasma TV and technology
The schemes of modern plasma TVs, while similar to LCD TVs, have their own characteristics. In 20 years, plasma panels have grown in size and resolution, but the technology has reached its limit. Plasma is significantly inferior to LCD and OLED technologies, both in image quality and in production costs.
Plasma TV device
A Plasma Display Panel (PDP) consists of millions of pixels-cells filled with gas (xenon or neon). The cells are placed between two glass plates. When an electric charge is applied to the cells, the gas passes into the state of aggregation, which in physics is called plasma. That’s what plasma TV means. Hence the name of the technology.
How the Plasma TV works
The principle of operation of a plasma TV is based on the phenomenon of the glow of gas in cells when an electric current is passed through it. In essence, a plasma panel is a matrix of miniature fluorescent lamps. Each cell is a kind of capacitor with electrodes and consists of three microlamps with ionized gas.
After a discharge, the plasma emits ultraviolet light. The red, green or blue microlamp starts to glow. The ultraviolet radiation is blocked by the glass, and the visible light is converted through the scanning electrode into an image that appears on the plasma TV screen.
The built-in minicomputer controls the electric field. The brightness of the glow of each cell determines the level of the applied voltage. In this way, almost any color and shade can be obtained from the three primary colors.
The resulting image is bright and clear. Each cell emits its own light and additional illumination of a plasma TV, unlike its LCD counterparts, is not required.
The size of the plasma cell is large enough. It is technologically very difficult and not economically profitable to create a small high-definition TV. Basically, devices are made with a diagonal of 42 inches or more.
Contrast is one of the most important characteristics of image quality. The picture on the screen with high contrast will look more realistic and spatial. This is the biggest advantage of plasma compared to conventional LCD technology. Modern OLED TVs have a higher contrast display.
The main advantages of plasma TVs:
- high contrast ratio;
- widest viewing angles;
- deep rich black and white;
- high-quality image with high color reproduction;
- softer picture;
- high refresh rate;
- low quality signal tolerance;
- improved transmission of dynamic scenes, this is important when watching sports and action movies;
- long service life – up to 35 years.
- no small screen models;
- heating during long viewing;
- high power consumption. A 42-inch Plasma TV consumes approximately 160 – 190 W / h and 0.5 W in standby mode;
- Burn-in anywhere on the screen with a constant static pixel. Occurs due to prolonged heating of the phosphor and its subsequent evaporation. In early models, the effect is much more noticeable than in modern ones.
- brightness is inferior to LCD TVs made using OLED technology. With conventional LCDs, about parity. It all depends on the quality of the backlight and the matrix of the LCD TV;
- The maximum resolution for 65 inch panels is 1920×1080 pixels (FullHD). For smaller models, it is even lower;
- unsuitable for gaming due to high screen response to user actions (at least 40 milliseconds).
Plasma contrast decreases over time, and after a few years of use, the image becomes less colorful than at first.
Cleaning the screen
Improper care of the TV will result in various stains on the screen, glare, scratches, which will not contribute to comfortable viewing. Dust on the screen accumulates static electricity. It should be taken into account that the screen of a plasma device consists of several layers, each of which is sensitive to the effects of aggressive chemicals.
General advice on how to clean the screen surface of a plasma TV:
- clean in a room with adequate lighting;
- unplug the TV from the mains – safety rule, wait until it cools down completely;
- Use a soft, lint-free cloth to remove dust: cotton, fleece or flannel;
- use recommended cleaning agents to remove dirt;
- do not press on the screen, use scrapers;
- do not spray directly onto the screen. A microfiber cloth or a soft, lint-free cloth is fine for this. The napkin is made damp, but not wet;
- do not turn on the TV until the screen is completely dry.
The body of the TV should also be cleaned regularly with a soft cloth.
Wet wipes for cleaning the LCD TV screen are sold in specialized stores. Wipes impregnated with a special composition do not contain alcohol and abrasive components and can be used for any type of screens.
How to clean a plasma TV at home. Prepare a soap solution from baby soap. Laundry soap is not recommended for use due to the high alkali content. Use a soft, lint-free cloth dampened with the solution to wipe the screen. Use a well-wrung cloth to remove soap residue and wipe the screen dry.
Which is better – plasma or LCD TV?
Here I will post comparative photos of the operation of a modern OLED TV and one of the latest models of plasma TV. Where necessary, I will comment.
We will compare Panasonic HZ2000 and Panasonic ZT65 Plasma.
So OLED vs Plasma.
Difference in white color quality between plasma TV and OLEDSupported gray-white gamutBrightness Plasma vs OLEDDifference between SDR and HDR technologies that improve the juiciness of the imageDifference in screen response to user actions
Should I take plasma?
Panasonic exhibited its largest plasma TV in 2010 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.