LCD Vs. Plasma

Filed Under: Plasma and LCD Displays

Today one of the big questions in Home Theater, is which is better LCD or Plasma technology? Let’s have a quick rundown of the positives and negatives of each technology, then I’ll give you hard and fast recommendations.

LCD Vs. Plasma
Typically have had motion blur issues, though newer models are less susceptible.
More expensive than plasma, but prices have leveled well, except for the largest screens.
Usually have a matte finish screen which reduces glare and reflections.
Use less power, typically 25-30% less than plasma.
Often claim longer life spans. 60,000 hours anyone?

Glossy finish, which some like due to perceived increased image clarity.
Often these sets have superior images to LCD, however some purists claim the image is overblown.
Typically have better viewing angles, but newer LCD models are overcoming this.
Larger screens are cheaper.

So where does that leave you? It depends on which features matter the most. Glossy screens may be a deal breaker if you have a lot of light in your viewing room, or image burn-in may be a problem for heavy gamers, for example.

LCD vs Plasma in general though, the image-bang-for-your-buck factor depends on which size you want. If you’re looking for one of the larger sizes, such as 50-inch or larger, Plasma will get you more for your money. Smaller sizes are much closer in price, and you’ll need to consider the various trade-offs. Be wary of viewing screens in local retailers for your decision-making process – these sets are usually not calibrated. A 30-minute calibration that you can do yourself may make all the difference.

2 Responses to “LCD Vs. Plasma”
  1. Myles Says:

    Why are you telling customers that they can calibrate their own tv’s? Unless you have access to a sencore machine, and service menu codes, a $20-40 disk is not a true calibration. By telling customers that they will save a couple hundred bucks, and get the same result as an ISF calibration tech is untruthful.

    It is impossible to correctly calibrate any tv without first setting the monitor to true pure white. Service menu codes and a calibrated white camera is nessisary to do this properly. All user menu settings will do some of the basic’s, but until you pull back the overwhelming amount of blue in the picture and bring it back down to pure white, any color or tint adjustments are a waist of time.

    Please don’t tell your customers that they will get the same results from a $20-40 dollar DVD as if the were to hire a ISF calibration Tech.

    Also, depending on what kind of DVD player the customer has, the image display that the DVD player produces is only as good as the picture that you can “tweak”. A $20 DVD player without any good Video control will not properly reproduce the intended video quality of the DVD for image tweaking.

    There is a reason ISF has spent so many years perfecting the technique of calibration. It really is a science of video, and the nessisary tools are required to properly calibrate a monitor, any monitor.

    Instead of “selling” the idea of self calibration, educate the customer that paying a ISF calibrator when all is said and done is cheaper than buying a top-of-the line DVD player to reproduce the pureist picture possible to “tweak” a tv properly. Also, if you calbrate off of a DVD player, you are only “tweaking” tht specific input, because you don’t have acces to service menu.

    If the customer is trully interested in what calibration is all about and want to learn from it, the ISF calibrator will explain step by step what he/she is doing and why as the process takes place.


  2. Home Theater Dude Says:

    Hi Myles,

    Thanks for the input.

    First off, a couple of clarifications. I don’t have “customers,” this is just a hobby site of mine.

    Secondly, I never said anything in this post about an ISF calibration, much less about getting the same result of one by doing it yourself.

    A home user can calibrate their own set. Not to the degree of an ISF tech, I agree, but *most* people aren’t interested in spending hundreds of dollars for someone to professionally calibrate.

    If I can get to 85%, maybe 90% of what an ISF tech can get, for a fraction of the cost, that’s what I’m going to do. I suggest others who spend less than multiple thousands on their sets (which is the target audience of this site) do the same.

    If a user wants to get the absolute best picture, no matter the cost, ISF is definitely the way to go. But for many people, especially those who enjoy getting their hands dirty with technology, DIY calibration is where it’s at.

    With ISF calibrations out of range for many budgets, a user calibration is far better than no calibration at all.