What HDTV technology is right for me?
You've decided that HDTV is for you and you're ready to hit the high street. You've heard about LCD, Plasma, and Rear Projection, but what are the differences? what are the pros and cons of each technology? and which one is right for me?
Plasma TV’s screens are perfectly flat. They produce natural, vibrant colours while maintaining a very high level of detail. Pixels on a Plasma screen are ‘lit’ at once, unlike normal TVs, where the image is scanned across the screen. The image is therefore sharper and brighter.
This is great for regular room lighting and can be watched from most distances and angles without affecting your viewing experience. Even as you get closer to the screen, you will not be affected by changes in picture or colour quality. They are only a few inches thin which provides a lot of options when it comes to installation.
In addition to stand mounting, they can be hung on a wall or from a ceiling. All plasma TVs are designed in widescreen.
Plasma displays do not use electron beams, as conventional TV displays do. They are therefore immune to the effects of magnetic fields. This allows for speakers to be placed quite close and will not compromise your home cinema set up.
Main advantages of Plasma over LCD are:
Larger screen size availability – Plasma screens range from 37" up to 60" (although the choice of LCD TV's up to 50in is growing rapidly).
Better contrast ratio and ability to render deeper blacks.
Better colour accuracy and saturation.
Better motion tracking (little or no motion lag in fast moving images).
Main disadvantages of Plasma over LCD include:
Plasma TVs are more susceptible to burn-in of static images.
Plasma TVs generate more heat than LCDs, due to the need to light of phosphors to create images, and consequently use considerably more power.
Does not perform as well at higher attitude.
LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. This means that the screen is made up of millions of tiny liquid crystal molecules, called pixels. These function like a camera shutter, allowing light to either pass through or be blocked as voltage is individually applied so they change state to create an 'image'. The colour is added to the LCD display through three filters (red, green, and blue) that are applied to each pixel. LCD TV screens always maintain sharp, clear pictures without reflection from artificial lights or bright sunlight through windows.
LCD technology is extremely lightweight therefore products are both highly portable and versatile. With screen sizes ranging from 13" (4:3) to 40"+ widescreen, this means you can watch LCD TV wherever you want!
This means flicker-free images for a more comfortable viewing experience with less eyestrain, even when viewing close-up. Also, since no static electricity is generated on a LCD screen it remains virtually dust free and clean for perfect viewing all the time.
Main LCD television advantages over plasma include:
No burn-in of static images.
Cooler running temperature.
No high altitude use issues.
Increased image brightness over plasma.
Main disadvantages of LCD vs. Plasma televisions include:
Lower contrast ratio, not as good rendering deep blacks.
Not as good at tracking motion.
I hope this guide has provided you with a brief insight into HDTV's :)