When you’re watching TV, whether it’s your favorite sitcom or the big game, you may start to question the quality of picture you’re seeing. Before you can find the right HDTV, you have to know the difference between plasma and LCD screens.
Plasma TVs are known for having deep black color, creating some of the clearest, most detailed pictures. However, plasma screens are also known to be darker in general, making them less ideal if you’re using the TV in a bright room. If you like movies with darker tones, plasma TVs are larger and have wider viewing angles. Although older models were accused of burn-in, which is where an image permanently burns into the screen if left on too long, this was resolved with newer plasma screens.
The biggest difference between plasma and LCD screens is that LCD TVs are brighter than plasma, so they work better in well-lit rooms. LCD TVs typically use LED lights, which can sometimes cause ununiformed coloring or blooming, where one light is brighter than the surrounding lights. If a TV uses LED lights, it usually isn’t ideal for viewing things that move quickly, thus sports shows may not be the highest quality. LCD TVs have great color and a full matrix LCD television can have a darker black than any plasma out there, creating detailed pictures.
Now that you know more about plasma and LCD screens, check out these TVs before you head to the store. One of them is sure to meet your needs.
Best HD Plasma TVs
$1,600 – $2,500
The Panasonic TC-PVT50 series boasts some of the best color on the market, with the darkest black and accurate coloring. The screen is even a little brighter than most plasma screens, making it good for well-lit rooms. Reviewers consistently put the PVT50 at the top of the list for its unmatched picture quality.
Much like the above Panasonic model, the PST50 series has great color, exceedingly dark blacks, and works well in brighter rooms. However, it uses up a lot of power and still struggles in a lot of light. Although not quite as high quality as PVT50, it is cheaper and provides great viewing for someone working within a tighter budget. This TV is a great deal because it offers similar PVT50 picture quality and a reasonable price.
$1,600 – $1,700
Although Samsung has not been known as the go to for plasma screens, the PNE6500 has been a top contender, rated almost identical in picture quality to Panasonic’s PST50. The contrast on the screen is only barely lacking and it has a clean, classy design. For those looking for more than just function, with a TV that completes any room, the PNE6500 is a top pick.
Best HD LCD TVs
Sharp Elite PRO-X5FD
$4,450 – $4,550
This LCD television maintains its deep black coloring, even in brighter settings and it has better contrast than almost all other TVs, plasma or LCD. Blooming is not an issue either. The TV is pretty pricey, ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 more than comparable plasma screens. If money is not a factor, and you are looking for a TV to wow your friends, this Shape screen is a must buy.
$2,200 – $3,600
The Samsung UND8000 series has largely been praised for its style. The super sleek screen has a minimal frame that makes the TV almost entirely picture. The color is accurate and it contains a Smart Hub Internet portal for apps and streaming. The uniformity of color is not the greatest, however, and its Smart Hub has a few kinks that still need working out. This TV makes the list mainly for its style, but the Smart Hub capabilities are great for those looking to get more out of their television than just the basics.
This Vizio TV is LED backlit and includes integrated WiFi for smart TV capabilities. As with many LCD TVs, it can struggle with green levels, but it produces solid blacks. The price for the M3D651SV is right, siting below the $2,000 mark, making it more competitive with other TV options. This TV makes the list because it can keep up with nicer LCD models without breaking the bank.
To complete your new TV, DISH HD offers over 200 HD channels, along DISH Cinema and Video On Demand in 1080p HD to get the most out of your TV viewing experience.
Now that you know where to start, what other HDTVs have caught your eye? How do you decide between plasma and LCD?
-andy / February 12th, 2013