To LCD or LED? What about plasma?

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 2010

There are options abound for those shopping for a new flat-screen television this holiday season, but how does one decide which model is right for them?

“It’s easy,” said Wil Hart at the Andalusia Sears store. “It all depends on what you want to do with it.”

Hart explained there are three different types of televisions – plasma, LCD and LED.

Plasma television technology is based loosely on the fluorescent light bulb. The display itself consists of cells. Within each cell, two glass panels are separated by a narrow gap in which neon-xenon gas is injected and sealed in plasma form during the manufacturing process.

The gas is electrically charged at specific intervals when the plasma set is in use. The charged gas then strikes red, green and blue phosphors groups, or pixel, thus creating a television image, which causes these type models to put off heat.

LCD and LED models panels are made of two layers of transparent material, which are polarized, and are “glued” together. One of the layers is coated with a special polymer that holds the individual liquid crystals.

Current is then passed through individual crystals, which allows the crystals to pass or block light to create images. LCD crystals do not produce their own light, so an external light source, such as florescent bulb is needed for the image created by the LCD to become visible to the viewer.

“Plasma televisions are getting old now,” Hart said. “They have a good picture, and price-wise, they are much cheaper than your LCD or LED models. The new TVs nowadays are made to be compatible with all your gaming systems such as Xbox, PlayStation and Wii, as well as your home computer. That’s why it’s important to determine what you’re going to do with your television before you buy a new one.

“The easiest way to explain it is if you get a good picture with a plasma TV, you’re going to get a better picture with an LCD and the best picture with an LED,” he said.

Hart said with LED models, “it’s like watching real life on a screen, especially when you use HD. That’s when you get a crystal clear picture.”

Hart said models with a higher “p” rating or pixel rating, as well as those with a higher refresh rate or “Htz” number, will produce better pictures overall.

“Once you get that decided, all you have to figure out is how big you want to go,” he said.