Differences Between LCD, Plasma and LED Televisions

Differences Between LCD, Plasma and LED Televisions

Many people still use cathode ray tube, or CRT, TVs. These boxy sets take up a lot of space, cannot be viewed clearly from all angles and don’t display high-definition picture. If you and your family watch a lot of TV or play video games at home, investing in a flat-screen television is a smart choice.

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Flat-screen TVs may look the same, but there are important differences in technology between different types of HDTVs. If you’re looking to buy a new television for your home or office, you might not be sure where to begin.

HDTV technology has improved dramatically in the few years since it was first introduced, and the variety of choices offered to the consumer can be overwhelming. Any of these options can be an excellent choice, but one may be a better fit for your needs than the others. Here is a brief guide to choosing the best television for your home.

Differences Between LCD, Plasma and LED

How an LCD TV Works

LCD stands for liquid crystal display. LCD screens first became popular as computer monitors before being adapted as televisions. The screen consists of two sheets of polarized glass; sandwiched between these is a solution made of liquid crystals. The glass is back-lit by a fluorescent bulb.

When electrical current flows through the liquid, the crystals move, and the polarized glass allows certain wavelengths of light from the bulb to pass through. This creates thousands of tiny dots, or pixels, of color that ultimately make up the picture on an LCD TV.

Benefits and Drawbacks of an LCD TV

LCD TVs are a good choice for people looking for an affordable HDTV. They have a much better picture quality than old-fashioned CRT televisions, and they’re relatively light-weight. They’re also ideal for watching television in any light condition; they work equally well in dark or well-lit rooms.

One problem that some people have with LCD technology is that it is limited when compared to other types of HDTVs. The display has a low contrast ratio, and there is no way to get “true” black on the screen. This leads to LCD TVs having a slightly washed-out look that some people do not like.

Additionally, some of the crystals in the display can burn out, leading to “dead pixels” on the screen. These blank flecks are irreparable and can be very distracting. Because of this, LCD TVs are not as long-lived as other types of HDTV technology.

How a Plasma TV Works

Plasma TVs were developed in response to the weaknesses of LCD displays. Like LCD displays, a plasma screen TV has two panes of glass that make up the flat screen. Rather than using liquid crystals, plasma TVs have chambers filled with xenon and neon. When electricity runs through these chambers, the gas converts into plasma; as the plasma moves through the chamber, it emits photons that display in various colors.

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Plasma TV

Plasma televisions have excellent picture quality. The colors are very sharp and precise thanks to the reaction of gases, and the televisions also display very deep blacks. The screen can sometimes experience a “color burn” if they get a lot of use. When the television is turned off, a shadow of images may stay on the screen, and the color may be slightly faded in the areas that are burned.

Nevertheless, a plasma TV should last for approximately 60,000 hours of viewing time, which should offer ample life for most television viewers. Plasma TVs use less electricity than traditional CRTs, but they do have a slightly higher power draw than those using LCD or LED technology.

One of the primary drawbacks of plasma technology is its cost. These TVs are somewhat heavier than others of their kind, and they cost more to produce due to the use of noble gases. They are also prohibitively expensive to repair and sometimes cannot be repaired at all. Plasma TVs also look much better in low light than in bright light.

How an LED TV Works

The newest type of HDTV on the market uses LED technology. Similar to an LCD display, an LED screen utilizes a liquid crystal display sandwiched between two sheets of polarized glass. Rather than using a fluorescent back-light to illuminate the picture, however, LED screens use light emitting diodes. This makes LEDs more energy efficient and greatly improves picture quality.

Benefits and Drawbacks of an LED TV

LED TVs have better color contrast and brightness than either plasma or LCD displays. Blacks are deep and rich rather than seeming washed out, and the display is bright enough to watch in any light. They also draw less power than either LCD or plasma displays, and the energy efficiency helps to compensate for the technology’s fairly high cost.

The greatest drawback of an LED TV is its cost. Because the technology is new, it is more expensive than its competition. Additionally, LED TVs still sometimes suffer from the “dead pixel” issue that haunts LCD screens.

Putting it All Together: Which Television to Buy

The type of TV you choose will depend on what you’re watching, how often you watch TV, what conditions you’ll watch TV in and how much you’re willing to spend. The superior picture quality may make an LED or plasma display superior for some viewers, but the lower cost of LCD technology might be a selling point for some. If you’ll be watching your television during the day or in a bright area, you’ll want to avoid a plasma screen. If you want a rich, dark picture and cinematic experience in a darkened room, plasma might be the best choice.

The best way to buy a television may be to look at several different models and screen types to see how they look in person. You can also take the time to compare price tags and decide how much you’re willing to pay for the high picture quality. No matter what you choose, your new television will have a better picture than your old CRT set, and it will save you money on your energy bills for many years to come.

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53 Responses to “Differences Between LCD, Plasma and LED Televisions”

  1. Subhankar Sarkar says:

    tell me the difference between LCD vs LED vs PLASMA TV ??……………….

  2. G. Brian Johnstone says:

    Your explanation has done much to enable me to decide on the type of TV that would suit me.
    Thank you so much !

  3. Philip says:

    This Article is rich and has informed me a great deal about choice of TVs i have been battling with. Now I know what I want.


  4. Jessie Clay says:

    downside – sounds, unless you hook it up with a decent home theather system. Thanks to this article. in my country the LED is still quite pricy compared to the Plasma and LCD. thanks to your comments I am going to get the Plasma for now.

  5. yolanda says:


  6. AM says:

    I am really curious about the differences of these TVs, now I know. Thanks to this article. Another thing that I am curious about is the difference on their energy consumption. It is explained here but I really curious on the details and an example would be very helpful. Eitherway, I enjoyed the article and it’s great.

  7. Tim says:

    Paul, what have you experienced or understood about viewing quick movements/sports on an LED set? I really appreciate your break-down of the characteristics.

  8. dominque says:

    thank you so much for this info. my boyfriend and i have been talking about what size and kind of tv to get and we kept seeing that bigger plasma tvs for than a smaller LED tv. of coarse he wants the bigger but this my help me in changing his mind. so thank you again

  9. bipin singh kandari says:

    well LEDs are clearest of all consume far lesser energy and produce no heat what about the cost of manufacturing, i think it is much cheaper to manufature LEDs than CRTs. NOW can not the governments of various countrys SUBSIDIZE LED TVs so that we the citizens could enjoy crispy pictures and our countrys could SAVE ELECTRICITY in great amount. thanks for the enlightening us.

  10. John Jokinen says:

    Thanks for the great info. I found a fantastic deal on a LED this weekend at K-Mart. $299 for a 39″ LED plus 10% off. I put it in lay-away until I found out more about LED. I was also told that it did not distort as bad al Plasma & LCD while watching live sports with a lot of fast movements.

  11. Linda says:

    Hi, thanks for the info. We are looking for new tv but didn’t know about the differences. This has helped so much. Thanks again.

  12. Utkarsh says:

    Many Thanks for the enlightening Articles & all of you reviewr’s comments. Keep on writing & doing social service!!!
    Thanks once again & have a GREADT day ahead!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Dan says:

    Give credit where credit is due. Thanks for the info

  14. Heather Holdgate says:

    Thank you for the perfect explanations between the differences of the two styles. Now, I am better informed.

    Thank you.

  15. Carey A. Lawrence says:

    It’s a very informative blog. lcd tv is necessary for everyone on the contrary many people think that on the contrary which is totally a wrong idea. Please keep on doing such a wonderful deed of sharing such information like this.

  16. Rajesh Kapoor says:

    ok friends thanks for the valuable suggestions , but it will be of great help if more light will be thrown , i heard that Full HD LED TV with 3D is better than all the TVs , Few people are confusing not to go for 3D yet , few are telling to go for 3D if good quality picture is required. Also what is the role of 1080 resolution and Hz in all this TV technologies ? I hope this will conclude the discussion.

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  18. migz says:

    cheapest LED TV would probably be CDR King, hd ready 32″ and below, full hd 1080 40″ and higher. downside – sounds, unless you hook it up with a decent home theather system. warranty 1 year, free service up to less than 5 dead pixels, more than that service fee becomes chargeable.

  19. james says:

    Nothing beats LED! LCD comes close, PLASMA comes a distant 3rd; consumes more power, generates so much heat, no wonder it is the cheapest of the lot. Moreover of all the models, LED has the brightest, most solid picture (more pixels per inch) followed by LCD then PLASMA which has a very grainy picture. Verdict: LED rocks!!!

  20. Dilip Bhowmik says:

    I brought a Sky worth 24″ LED HDTV, China made, Chinese brand

    Cheaper, good design and superb picture quality. Panasonic , LG or Sony of same size is very expensive. Sky worth user may kindly share their comments.

    • James says:

      Cheap is always cheap, not a good buy! Wait until you suffer a power surge, then…
      There is always more satisfaction with proven performance. Like Samsung, 2 year warranty and an inbuilt power surge protection, and that picture!! Worth every penny. As for chinese stuff, well….they are chinese.

  21. Hi. I ran upon this article today after work. I just learned the difference between 720p and 1080p on cNet, not the big choice is Plasma, LED, or LCD. I wanted to get a 50″, and my viewing distance is 8 to 12 feet, and the room is very dark and cool. I went to Best Buy and they had a few that were floor models, and some new, around $500 to $650 (Plasmas). LEDs were significantly higher.

    Rumors: I keep hearing this thing about this burn in thing. And I also hear that they are so delicate, one bump, or a wrwong nudge while setting it up, and they will go out. And also the life span is only a few years. I play XBOX 360 shooters a lot and you guys are scaring me that I am thinking one day, that image of Halo will be permanent only the screen.



  22. ecogreen4us says:

    I think now the price of an LED TV is getting cheaper. LED TV also has lower power consumption . Everybody should consider now getting an LED TV instead of LCD or Plasma. 🙂

  23. Sifiso Nzimande says:

    The technical aspects of the review are good, however I really appreciated the comments from every one because at the end of the day it is the practical feedback that counts. in my country the LED is still quite pricy compared to the Plasma and LCD. I would therefore need to see some day light in value between the LED and Plasma to make it worthwhile to buy the LED. thanks to your comments I am going to get the Plasma for now. Does anybody know what the power consumption difference is in Kwh?

  24. Jason Campbell says:

    I’ve been told that plasma technology has improved to the point where the energy it uses is comparible with LCD/LED tvs. Another silly question (though not so silly for me) is that I’ve been asking questions as to which technology is better for watching sport?

    • Ofiroz says:

      Hi Mr.Jason,
      In my opinion Plasma is better to watch sports and play Video games. The quick movements will be seen in split seconds unlike LCD or LED, especially in LED there are some faint traces when you see some really quick movements on screen, sort of ghost images. Not so prominent but it is there, though it won’t spoil your watching experience; as normally we will be more bother about our team’s win than mild defects of our TV sets at that time! Plasma’s Electricity consumption is still higher than that of LCD and LED, consequently the Plasma screen produces more heat than LCD/LED. But for pure viewing pleasure you got to go for PLASMA. Less power consumption, stylish, thin and brighter pictures, go for LED. LCD is out of the race!

  25. Manasvi Kadam says:

    I have purchased TOSHIBA 32” LED Tv. Shopkeeper said it’s same in quality as LG or Samsung. Is it true? have i made a good choice by purchasing TOSHIBA brand?

  26. Techie Salsan says:

    Leave LCD because its outdated. Its always better to go for LED TVs because plasma’s price is very high even has better features. But as a common man we don’t feel any great difference between both LED and LCD displays. So definitely its not wise to go for Plasma TVs.

  27. Jake Roberts says:

    Ok so the real question is LCD or Plasma the better choice going into 2012?

  28. srinivasan says:


    You have mentioned LED TV consumes less power than others… Is it true for both Full array and Edge lighting LED Tv’s..

  29. Kaisho says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the clarification. I didn’t know plasma’s only last for a certain amount of time. That’s interesting because it’s as if as soon as you buy one they had a timer that starts counting down.

    Sounds like LED is the best bet. Thanks.


  30. Laura G. says:

    Do any of these types of tvs come with a glass front? We had an LCD tv but my son threw a match box car at it and the screen stopped working. Now I’m nervous to get another tv that could have a flimsy cover over the screen.

    • Ofiroz says:

      Plasma TVs are having glass screen, the disadvantage of having glass screen is the glare, if you are watching TV in a well lit up room you get lot of light reflections on the screen. Unlike the reviewer said Plasma TVs got lesser life span than LCD TVs. But picture quality is better, movements (fight, car chasing etc.) in Plasma is much better than LCD and LED. Hope I cleared your doubt.

  31. R V Divakar says:

    I understand that the LED TVs consume more power than that of LCD TVs.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      LED TVs generally use less power, but in reality it all depends on what you are watching. Darker images/movies tend to use less power than brighter images/movies on any type of HDTV.

  32. Toni says:

    For today, LCD TV is cheaper than LED TV so for small budget LCD TV is best for you.

  33. Andrew Walker says:

    I love my new LED TV, it’s better than my old LCD TV. It gives me a brighter and sharper images. Nice one!

    • Paul Salmon says:

      LED is a great technology, and the fact that it is even brighter is a bonus. the one other thing I notice is that the contrast ratio is much higher with an LED TV compared to a LCD TV.

  34. Techie Salsan says:

    Sorry, need a correction on my previous comment. Change LCD TVs to LED TVs..

    • Paul Salmon says:

      Where I live, LED TVs are about 50% more expensive than plasma, mainly because they are newer, but once the price drops more in line with plasma, I’m sure they will sell better.

  35. G.S.Dewaa says:

    Good article that really pin points the difference between the major technologies in today’s Television marked. I have LCD TV at the moment, but will for sure consider a LED TV in the future.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      When I upgrade to a new HDTV, I’ll probably look at either an LED or Plasma. Not sure which one, yet.

      • Techie Salsan says:

        Performance wise both Plasma and LCD TVs are almost same. But money wise LCD TVs are cheaper than Plasma TVs. So no need of confusion here to buy which one. Its always better to buy LED TVs.

  36. Techie Salsan says:

    Thanks for the information. LCD TVs are typically more costly than same-sized Plasma TVs. Plasma TVs generate more heat than LCDs, due to the need to light of phosphors to create the pictures. Plasmas had 30,000 hours or 8 hours of viewing a day for 9 years, which was less than LCD.

  37. Nemmar says:

    This article helped me a lot! Thanks!

    I bought a LED T.V. and it’s very nice!

    Now check out this article:

  38. Good info Paul. I like how simply you explained it. 😉 I bought a new LED this year and am incredibly happy with it. Honestly wouldn’t have bought anything else, LED is by far superior to both plasma and lcd.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      Thanks Daniel. I have been thinking about getting a LED television, but plasma is still a pretty good technology, and at a much lower price. LED should be coming down in price closer to being on par with the other two.

  39. Phil says:

    And to think I’ve been calling LCD technology Plasma for a while now … Thanks for pointing out the differences sir!

  40. Thomas says:

    Great article that really pin points the difference between the 3 major technologies in today’s Television marked. I have LCD TV at the moment, but will for sure consider a LED TV in the future.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      The LED TVs are nice, and are the more expensive of the technologies because they are newer. They have come down drastically in price over the past several months, and they will be on par with the other technologies soon.

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