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Plasma TV or LCD - Which Should You Choose?
By Jim Johnson

When it comes to high quality flat screen TVs, there are a number of choices available these days and the technology is constantly improving.

However, as each competing TV screen technology matures and improves, the differences between them become more difficult to detect. And so it is with the comparison between LCD and plasma TVs.

The big advantages of both kinds of TV monitors is that they are very thin, only a few inches thick.

Because of that you can choose to either place them on a stand, as you have with televisions you have owned in the past, or mount them to the wall instead. They both also produce stunningly beautiful visual displays, especially when coupled with high definition television programming. But there are some subtle differences that you will want to be aware of though.

Plasma TVs have been in use for many years and they use inert gases that are illuminated to display colors on individual pixels on the screen. Their best feature is the high contrast image that they reproduce. The colors are extremely vivid and sharp and this is mostly due to the fact that plasma TVs are able to exhibit true saturated blacks, whereas other monitors, LCDs included, usually have some compromise in how much true black they display.

Plasma screens are also easily viewed from almost any angle and so if you have a wide room with seating that extends out at an angle from the front of the television set, you may want to consider this advantage, although recently many LCD TVs have been steadily improving in their accepted viewing angle.

One area that plasma TVs have historically had a disadvantage is in the amount of electricity needed to power them and how hot they run. It can cost more to run a plasma TV if you use it very regularly, and it can generate quite a bit of heat inside, enough to warrant most manufacturers making use of a fan to cool them down as they run. This is not a noticeable problem unless the fan makes noise that can be distracting. So be sure to actually view a plasma TV before buying that particular model and see if the fan noise is a problem.

Another quirk of plasma TVs is that they can be susceptible to screen burn-in, which happens when one image is left on the screen for a very long time and it then becomes "burned into" the screen so that you can still faintly see it even when another image is displayed. This can happen on some TV channels that display an image that stays in a certain part of the screen for a long time, and if you play video games, there may also be a possibility that some games can cause this problem. So ask yourself before buying how you intend to use the TV, and if you happen to view programming that may have static screen images a lot of the time, it may be wise to choose an LCD screen as it does not suffer from this problem.

LCD TVs may not produce deep contrasty images like plasma monitors do, but the colors are still very pleasing and they can also be a better choice for brightly lit rooms since their display is not as susceptible to ambient light influences. However, they can tend to get more pricey than plasma TVs once you go above the 40 inch screen size.

All in all though, either type of TV screen technology will do a great job for you. The best recommendation is before you buy, visit a local electronics retailer and view representatives from plasma screens and LCDs. Bring along your own movie that you are familiar with and look for the differences. Then choose the one that makes the most sense to you. There is no need to buy from the store as you can often save lots of money by making your purchase online instead, but by doing your homework you can make a more informed buying decision.

Jim Johnson is a successful author and publisher on consumer related matters. You can find out more about the best plasma tv and getting a plasma wall mount  by visiting our HDTV website.

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Thursday, Oct. 01
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