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How to Choose between Plasma, LCD & LED HDTVs

Flat-screen TVs look similar on the outside, but vary dramatically on how they are constructed. Engineering affects picture quality and longevity. Choose the one that satisfies all of your demands.


  • Step 1: Select a high contrast ratio Select a TV with a high contrast ratio. Plasma and backlit LED models have the best contract ratios. They show the most detail in high contrast scenes that are very bright or dark.
  • TIP: Sidelit LED TVs typically have lower dynamic contrast ratios.
  • Step 2: Choose plasma for speed Choose a plasma TV if your priority is speed. Plasma TVs have the ability to refresh individual cells faster than LCD TVs, making them the better option for watching sports or action movies.
  • Step 3: Watch for color Watch for color variations among all the makes and models. LED and plasma TVs tend to offer a wider range of color and are brighter than LCD models.
  • Step 4: Test viewing angles Test the viewing angles. Plasma TVs usually rate the widest viewing angles, but each television will look different regardless of ratings.
  • Step 5: Conserve energy with an LED Conserve energy with an LED set. Plasma TVs use 50 percent more power than LCDs, but LEDs use 40 percent less power than LCDs.
  • TIP: Look for additional power-saving features on many models. A plasma may be just as affordable to use as an LCD.
  • Step 6: Select LED for longevity LED sets are rated to last the longest of the three. All types will fade with time, but LED sets will stay brighter for longer.
  • Step 7: Determine the size first Determine the size of the TV you want before deciding. LCD and LED TVs have higher resolution capabilities and are usually cheaper than plasma sets that are 42 inches or less. If you want a set larger than 42 inches, pick a plasma for the best picture quality.
  • Step 8: Shop around and compare Shop at stores where you can compare many models side by side to truly see the differences in color, brightness, and overall quality. Now enjoy your bright, new picture.
  • FACT: Electronic television was first successfully demonstrated in San Francisco on September 7, 1927.

You Will Need

  • High contrast ratio
  • Speed requirements
  • Color and brightness requirements
  • Viewing angle tests
  • Energy conservation requirements
  • Longevity requirements
  • Size requirements
  • Comparisons
  • Power-saving features (optional)

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