With great prices on Plasma TVs, I'm often asked, which is the best flat screen TV— Plasma or LCD LED TVs? Many home theater geeks believe that there is nothing better than the picture on a Plasma TV. Many others like the brightness and energy-saving features of an LED TV. While it's best to compare Plasma and LED TVs by viewing them in a store, here is an update on the differences between these two types of TVs that might help you to choose the right TV for your family.
Back in March, I wrote a comparison of LED and Plasma TVs, in which I explained some of the technical differences. Over the past couple of years, Plasma and LED models have improved and prices have shifted so that Plasmas are much less expensive than they were just a few years ago. Many of the features available on LED models are also available on Plasma.
Plasmas have gotten thinner and lighter. While Plasma TVs were originally over 5 inches thick and weighed nearly 100-pounds, today they are much thinner and closer in size and weight to LED TVs of a comparable size. The Samsung 55-inch 7000 series LED weighs about 54 lbs and is 1-inch thick. The 51-inch Samsung 7000 series Plasma is 1.5-inches thick and weighs 61 lbs. Yes, it is a little thicker and heavier but if you like the picture on the Plasma, and if you get real about it, it's only half an inch. The extra half inch is certainly not enough to make the Plasma model too big to fit in the same spot as an LED.
LEDs have faster refresh rates but Plasmas are the best flat screen TVs for sports. You will have to be the judge whether the picture is clear enough on the LED. Try to watch a fast-moving sport or action movie if you get a chance to view the TV in a store. If you feel that the picture is clear, the bright contrast of an LED LCD TV might be better suited for sports events.
If you plan on mirroring your tablet or laptop's desktop to your TV, choose an LED. One of the biggest problems with Plasma TVs has been a phenomenon called "burn in." When an image is static on the screen for an extended period of time, the pixels can retain the image. A color, word, or object could be permanently burned into the screen, looking like a ghostly background in your display. In the past couple of years, Plasma TVs have a feature called orbiting pixels, and technologies for reversing burn in.
Still, if you have a Plasma TV, be careful not to leave the TV on with a static picture like a mirrored display of your laptop's desktop or tablet's home screen, or a video game with a background that doesn't change. If you expect to use laptops, tablets or video games, an LED TV is a better choice.
LED is only slightly better at energy savings. Since 2010, Energy Star compliance has brought down a Plasma TVs energy use. You will no longer feel the heat off the screen as you brush past a Plasma TV. In fact, research shows that you will probably save only $13 a year by watching the same amount of TV on an LED LCD TV. But, if you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint, you may
The choice of which flat screen TV is the best one for you to buy comes down to personal preference and priorities. If you are unsure, consider going into a store rather than buying a TV online. It is usually best to compare TV picture and sound quality to see what you like best. Today a Plasma TV is considerably less expensive than the same LED-LCD model. But be sure to check that the Plasma has all of the features of the LED model. If you will have static images on the TV, or you need to move it around and the extra 10 lbs makes a difference, buy an LED. If not, a Plasma TV may be the best flat screen TV choice for your needs.