Television technology has greatly evolved over the years. It can be a little intimidating for people when they go shopping for a new TV. What is the Difference between Plasma and LCD? How does picture quality differ? What exactly is high definition television and how is it different from the old TV technology we grew up with? These are some of the questions that many people have when it is time to upgrade. These questions will be addressed in this post.

High Definition

Also known as HDTV, high definition television has much more detail than the old traditional standard definition (SDTV). In addition to providing more than double the visual detail, it offers images that are sharper looking and larger, along with surround sound that is movie-quality.

Unfortunately, traditional TVs cannot be modified to provide TV and movies in high definition. One must have an HDTV-equipped monitor or TV set, HD programming, HDTV-capable set-top box or antenna, and a home theater AV system. When they first came out they cost a small fortune, but now with the almost monthly TV deals you can get an amazing TV for under $500.

Plasma vs LCD

To the uninitiated, the pictures and quality of plasma and liquid crystal display (LCD) screens look quite similar. Technologically speaking, plasma TVs have been described as a matrix of gas plasma cells that are tiny. These minute cells are precisely charged with electrical voltage which creates colored pictures.

LCD technology is composed of a liquid crystal sandwiched between two glass plates. Colored images are made by varying the quantity of electrical charge that is applied to the crystals. Here’s a good Youtube video talking a little more about the two.

Comparing Pictures

Although proponents of both technologies claim that one particular technology is better than the other, the two technologies are fairly comparable and each has strong points to be considered. In the past, plasma screens could handle contrasts a little better, had better viewing angles and produced brighter color. Recent improvements in the technology seem to have solved those weaknesses and leveled the playing field as far as viewing is concerned.

Refresh Rate and Soft Screens

One of the things to look for when shopping for an LCD TV is the refresh rate. It is important to have the sales representative explain the different refresh rate options in detail to make sure you can identify the system that you will be the most happy with. Generally speaking, plasma TV seems to handle faster moving scenes better, maintaining a high quality image throughout the duration of the scene.

Conversely, plasma screens are generally softer and therefore scratched easier than LCD screens. This is why manufacturers often cover plasma screen with various types of protective glass.

Cost and High Definition

Perhaps the single biggest advantage of Plasma TV’s when looking for a large flat panel screen is that they tend to be less expensive than LCD screens. Another feature is that they typically last longer than LCD screens. LCD’s on the other hand, have a better ‘native resolution’ or higher definition.

Those who have a source that provides 1080i/p images and would like to have them reproduced at that rate, need to look seriously at the LCD technology. Ultimately, as far as the quality of the technology and the images produced, it is really up to personal preference. One needs to go and compare the two screen technologies side by side.

Read more: