Plasma vs LED vs LCD

There is a lot of misconceptions when it comes to flat screen technology and this article will hopefully clear some of the misconceptions.

So let’s begin, each technology has different benefits and costs. So to help you make the right decision which flat screen is right for you, let’s take a look at each one, highlighting the pros and cons of each one .

Plasma TVs are made by Panasonic, Samsung, and LG, the screen size ranges from 42” to roughly 65”, although there are some larger models available  that range from 85” to up to 150” by Panasonic, but for most people 65 inches is enough, which we do stock here at AV Lounge and displayed in demo room to see first hand the picture quality and size of screen.

LCD TV size range from a couple of inches to up to 80″. All LED TVs are actually LCD TVs, they just use LEDs as their light source, instead of the traditional CCFLs. As they tend to perform a little differently, and are marketed way differently.

Light output (brightness)

LED TVs are the brightest panels you can buy. Some models are capable of well over 100 footlamberts. To put that in perspective, in a movie theater you’re lucky if you get 5. The down side to this is when watching TV in low light there is a lot of white glare on the screen which can make the colours somewhat faded.

Plasma TVs are not as bright but are more balanced in their brightness and contrast. Plasma TVs are still brighter than the big back CRT TVs. Some Plasma TVs are nearly as bright as their LCD and LED counterparts.

The question is, do you need that light output?

Some Plasma TVs are bright but other might struggle a bit with the brightness levels in the daytime. Another aspect to consider is an antireflective or antiglare material on each screen. A plasma with a really good antireflective coating may be better to watch with room lighting than a glossy-screen LCD or LED with no such coating and vice versa.

Winner: LED TVs, Runner-Up: LCD TVs, Loser: Plasma TVs

Black level

As far as black level are concern Plasmas still offer the best black levels. Yes, LED TVs can sometimes have an absolute black by turning off their LEDs (micro dimming) but when you’re watching a movie, Plasmas are going to seem darker and more balanced when it comes to low light images.

Winner: Plasma TVs, Runner-up: LED TVs, Loser: LCD TVs

Contrast ratio

Contrast ratio, or the ratio between the darkest part of the image and the brightest, not many people know this but the contrast ration of a screen is measured differently for each manufacture, so the best way to judge a image and its contrast is to see it live by coming in-store and seeing it first hand, but in saying that on average, Plasmas have a better contrast ratio, a display with a high contrast ratio is going to seem more realistic and have more virtual “depth”.

Winner: Plasma TVs, Runner-up: LED TVs , Loser: LCD TVs,

Viewing angle

There are couple of things to take into consideration i.e. How big is your room? and how tight are the viewing  angle?. This is important as both LED and LCDs will struggle with colour and glare when viewed “off axis” (as in not directly in front of the screen).

Winner: Plasma TVs, Losers: LCD and LED TVs

Energy consumption

No question, LED TVs have the lowest energy consumption, especially when you turn down the backlight. LCD TVs are a close second, with the same addendum.

Plasmas, especially when you turn up the contrast control (which you need to for them to look their best), just aren’t as energy efficient. They are, however, far better than they were a few years ago.

If you want to go green, get an LED TV. That said, it won’t save you money, because LED TVs are more expensive than other panels, it will take you years to make up that difference in energy savings (if ever). We’re talking a few pounds difference in a year at the most.

Winner: LED TVs, Runner-up: LCD TVs, Loser: Plasma TVs


As far as the price is concerned LCDs are the cheapest but they are slowing being taken of the market as LEDs are becoming more and more affordable.

Once the LEDs have fully taken over LCDs technology the Plasmas TVs will be the cheapest on the market, as they tend to have the best size/price ratio.

Winner: CCFL TVs, Runner-up: Plasma TVs, Loser: LED TVs

Lifespan and Burn-in

This is where it becomes interesting lot of people believe the Plasma TVs will run out of gas and will not work beyond 5 year. Well guess what they are WRONG. All LEDs, Plasmas, LCDs are now designed to last up to 25 year on average of 8 hours a day Multiple studies by a variety of sources have found flat-panel TVs to be extremely reliable and all of them are sensitive to “Burn-in”. All TVs can burn in. It’s unlikely you’ll abuse them enough for this to happen (think airport arrival/departure displays). Plasmas can have image persistence, which has the outward appearance of burn-in, but isn’t permanent.

And the winner is…

There is no right or wrong TV for one person as its down to the individual to decide what would best match their requirements. One might decided absolute light/ bright output is important , for someone else black level is above all else. These two performance aspects are for now mutually exclusive.

So don’t listen to those who say, “its brightest, it’s best” or “LCD’s black level is terrible. Hopefully reading through this article, you will be able to weigh up certain factors above others, which you were not aware of or notice at first. If you watch a lot of TV during the day, or have a room with lots of windows, an LED TV is probably best. If you watch at evening, and want the TV to disappear into the background, plasma is probably best.

If you still have a hard time deciding, pop in store to AV Lounge and our Staff will be able to advice you and answer any question you might have.


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