Pick your HDTV Poison: LCD, Plasma or LED LCD

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HDTV Choices

With all three of these HDTV technologies readily available at your local electronics store, what factors does it come down to for your decision on choosing a new Plasma, LCD or LED LCD HDTV?

I have to admit, after spending about 45 minutes in the local Best Buy store I came away a bit confused after the sales-person, who made it apparent that he does not get paid commission, attempted to explain the differences in all three types of HDTV’s that they had on display. I already knew the basics about each type of TV, I just wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth so I could make a decision of what type of TV I wanted to purchase in 2010.

Really, what is the difference in Plasma, LCD and LED LCD?

All about Plasma

To start off, the biggest difference would be found in a Plasma TV when compared to LCD technology. Although each of the technologies do offer 1080p native resolutions and the prices are very comparable right now, Plasma is set off from LCD in the way it produces an image on the screen. Plasma uses a Plasma Gas, hence the name “Plasma”. Plasma screens contain a gas that is excited by an electric charge (negatively charged electrons). Once they are charged it releases photons of energy in the form of ultraviolet light photons to produce visible light to humans through phosphors. The photos react to phosphors that give off light. The whole process can be rather confusing and complex if you decipher the whole process that a plasma screen goes through to display a picture. The process actually happens fast, so fast that we don’t realize what is actually happening. All we see is a fluid color image being displayed on a panel of glass.

Other factors that set plasmas apart from other HDTV technologies is the fact that plasma TVs use more energy and generate more heat than LCD TVs. Burn-in has always been a concern among older Plasma sets but on newer models it is not much of an issue. Plasma TVs are also heavier than LCDs and tend to be more reflective to ambient light due to the glass (glossy) screen. Plasma TVs are very comparable in price to that of LCD HDTVs.

All about LCD

LCD technology has been around for a very long time, even since the first LCD screen calculator. The acronym “LCD” stands for Liquid Crystal Display in case you are wondering. Basically, LCD screens are made up of a liquid crystals that are more like a liquid that is sensitive to temperature variations. The pixels are made up of the usual three colors and dependent on the filter level of each pixel it releases light. The light for and LCD screen is provided by a backlight, or in the case of a CCFL LCD TV, an array of florescent type lights that stay on. LCD screens never reach a deep black level because the backlight is always on.

In newer LED LCD screens, they use LED lights, or Light Emitting Diodes. Some newer LED LCD TVs have the ability to darken or lower the light output of areas of the screen depending on the picture. This will yield a better black level in the picture quality. LED backlighting has been used in the past in cell phones screens and where it first started, in small lights usually found in indicators or control panel buttons on electronics. Today LED is widely used in electronics and is growing by leaps and bounds.

So what is your poison? Will you choose a new LED LCD HDTV or will you save a few bucks and opt for the traditional LCD or Plasma screen?

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