LCD, LED or Plasma TV? Which is Best?
When considering purchasing a flat panel TV, the decision as to whether to buy an LCD, LED or Plasma HDTV is a common one. All of these types of technology can display High Definition in stunning detail. But there are differences. The top LED and Plasma sets are now 3D Ready TVs.
LED HDTVs – The latest technology in HDTVs is referred to as LED. This type of TV is the most popular today. This actually is an LCD TV with an LED backlight instead of the traditional fluorescent backlights that had been used on almost all LCD HDTVs in the past. LED backlights improve contrast, use up to 40% less power, and allow super thin (1.2 inch thick) TVs. There are two types of LED TVs. One is Edge Lit, which illuminates like traditional backlights. The other is “Local Dimming” which means that the LEDs are behind the screen and can turn off or dim to give the greatest level of contrast. Another type of local dimming is a side lit (leds mounted on the side of the set) set. In 2013 Samsung’s Micro Dimming is a side lit led TV with local dimming. Sony and LG in 2013 have also introduced side lit local dimming LED TVs. You will notice that for 2013, all of the high end LED TVs now are 3D ready. We expect this to continue, and 3D eventually will be standard equipment in most larger LED TVs. LED TVs are brighter than Plasma HDTVs and so are better suited in well lit rooms during the day than plasmas.
Smart-Review’s Best “Top-Picks” in LED TVs are the:
Samsung F6300 LED TV Series (2013)
Samsung F6400 LED 3D TV Series (2013 model)
Samsung F7100 LED 3D TV Series (2013 model)
LG Cinema LA6200 LED 3D TV Series (2013 model)
LG Cinema LA6900 LED 3D TV Series (2013 model model)
Sony R550 LED TV Series (2013 model)
Smart-Review’s Best “Top-Picks” in High End LED TVs are the:
Samsung F8000 240Hz LED 3D TV Series (2013 model)
LG Cinema LA7400 240HzLED 3D TV Series (2013 model)
Vizio M-Series 240Hz LED 3D TV Series (2013 model)
Related Article: LED TV Roundup and Comparison
Plasma TVs – Plasma displays are very popular as well. They have higher contrast than LCDs (although that gap is closing), and can display HDTV with stunning clarity. Plasmas have wide viewing angles. Plasma sets also display fast action (sports, action movies) better. Panasonic has announced it will stop making Plasma sets in 2014, so the 2013 models are the last ones available while supplies last. The disadvantages of plasma are that they take more electricity than LCDs and LEDs, and can generate more heat (Recent plasmas now use less electricity and generate less heat). Many have built in fans. Plasma screens in the past were susceptible to screen burn-in (new models now have re-formulated phosphors and compensate with various screen-saving methods). Heavier than LCDs. Plasma HDTVs are commonly used for home theaters where outside light is subdued.
Smart-Review’s Best “Top-Picks” in Plasma are the:
Panasonic VT60 Series (3D Plasma 2013 THX Certified)
Panasonic ZT60 Series (3D Plasma 2013 THX Certified)
Samsung F8500 Series (3D Plasma 2013)
Samsung PN F5500 Series (3D Plasma 2013)
Related Article: Plasma TV Roundup and Comparison
– LCD TVs were once the most popular technology (now LED TVs are). LCD TVs use Fluorescent lighting for its backlight, LED TVs use LED lights. LCD TVs use more electricity and are not as bright as LED TVs, but use less electricity than Plasma. The fluorescent tubes have a shorter lifespan and will start dimming over time, more than do LED TVs. LCD has lower contrast than LED or Plasma. We expect LCD TVs to disappear over time in favor of LED TVs, and in 2013 we are seeing very few LCD TVs. LCD (liquid crystal display)
See our Top Pick selection of LED backlit LCD TVs above.
Picture Contrast – The higher the contrast, the bigger the difference between the brightest and darkest images. Whites look whiter and blacks look blacker. The higher the contrast ratio, the greater the ability to show subtle color details. There are two types of contrast. Native and Dynamic. Most manufacturers give the Dynamic contrast ratio, as this is a much higher number. the dynamic contrast ratio refers to the range between bright and dark over time. the native contrast ratio measures the brightest and darkest images a TV produces at the same time.