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Co-operative Inroduces Guide to LCD and Plasma Televisions


Long gone are the days when you can buy brand new bulky cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs. Just walk into any high street electrical store you will see banks of HD flat screen TVs all on display. However, only upon closer inspection will you see that some of those flat screens feature LCD technology and others plasma construction. The obvious question is ‘what is the difference?’

Quite simply, in terms of their construction LCDs use millions of crystals suspended in liquid contained between two transparent panels through which a fluorescent backlight is passed. That light is either passed through the crystals or blocked creating an image.

Plasma screens, by contrast rely on chemistry and the use of phosphors. Each of the screen’s millions of pixels is made up of three phosphors displaying Red Green and Blue and when struck with an electron beam emits light that forms the image we see on the screen.

However, the technology is probably of little consequence when deciding which to buy, instead you will probably wish to compare size, weight, expected operating life, cost and performance.

When it comes to size there is little difference between the two alternatives. Both are slimline but LCDs are slightly lighter as they don’t contain heavy glass panels and gas-filled chambers found in plasma screen construction.

Currently LCD TVs are predicted to out their plasma counterparts with an estimated lifespan placed at around 20 years of average watching i.e. four hours per day. Plasma variants are given a life span of half that term, although manufacturers of brand new models are claiming that their TVs can now last the same length of time as an LCD model.

At the moment LCD TVs are slightly more expensive than an equivalent sized plasmas up to around 32 inches. But, once you start getting beyond that size plasma screens are by far the cheaper option. However, as more LCD TVs beyond 37 inches are built prices are predicted to fall. And when it comes to running costs Plasma TVs consume approximately one third more power than an LCD TV, due to the high voltages needed to control electrons within the unit.

However, performance can vary, especially when it comes to the viewing angle. As not everyone in the room will be viewing the screen from directly in front for those sitting to the side, viewing angle is important. In general plasma screens offer a wider viewing angle, typically 160 degrees, although some new top of the range LCDs claim to offer wider viewing angles they still struggle to compete with plasmas.

LCD TVs are flicker-free whereas plasma screens are not; for people sitting too close to the screen that can lead to eye fatigue.

Because LCD technology is brighter pictures appear more detailed, but they can suffer from poor contrast. Plasma screens can produce better defined contrast, and although not as bright produce more realistic colouring. Finally, movement on plasma screens is better defined - ideal for sports fans.

Choosing between plasma and LCD will be purely a matter of choice. There are so many pros and cons for each version that it really will be down to individual choice and your individual viewing preferences.

However, whatever type of slimline HD TV you opt for leading online retailer The Co-operative Electrical stocks huge amounts of both versions; most at massive discounts compared to high street prices and available with free rapid delivery.


 co-operative electricals
 plasma televisions

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