Plasma is still king of the really large screen TV (42"+) market. This is because plasma gives a much clearer picture than LCD when the size is 42" or larger. The picture quality is fantastic.
However, one 42" plasma TV is not identical to another and you might not be getting either the TV or bargain you thought you were.
We'll try and set out some of the things you should be looking for.
Many of the large screen plasmas are in fact little more than very large monitors so if you're looking for a TV rather than just a display screen make sure that speakers are integral. Some don't even have a TV tuners.
Many of the TVs on offer are not High Definition (HD). Whilst the screen size is the same the pixels are larger and there are fewer of them so the picture isn't crystal clear. As a minimum, for a TV to be high definition it should have a resolution od 1024 x 768 pixels. This is known as XGA, as opposed to the lower resolution VGA.
If there is a 'W' in front this just denotes that it is widescreen; generally 16:9 ratio rather than the older 4:3. SO watch out for things like WVGA which don;t have enough pixels!
HD is the TV of the future It means that the screen resolution will allow you to watch HD films and sport. This summer the World Cup and Wimbledon will be broadcast in this new format as well as many films. If you have an HD SKy box you will be able to enjoy HD.
Brightness of 1,000 candela gives a clear, crisp picture in all light conditions. Don't accept less!
Its quite important to make sure that the TV has a viewing angle of over 175 degrees so that all the family can easily watch without loss of colour or brightness.
Make sure your TV has one! Whilst not necessarily quite as important a multi-standard tuner means you can use the TV anywhere in Europe
Although 42" LCD TVs are starting to come on the market they are still commanding a hefty premium that isn't yet worthwhile for a picture quality that isn't any better than plasma.