What type of television screen do you need?

If you are in the market for a new television, there’s a good chance you have been looking at purchasing an HDTV, but with so many different types of HDTVs, it can be difficult to know which type is the best for you. There is a good chance some confusion exists around the differences between plasma, LCD, or LED television sets. It can be hard to tell the different just by viewing the sets in the store. Many times, if you ask an employee, their answers could be confusing and full of technological jargon. So, we have the answers to help you purchase the television set that meets your needs.

Want this information in an easy to read chart? Jump to our side-by-side comparison of Plasma, LCD, and LED TV sets.

What you need to know about Plasma TV Sets

In the simplest terms, a plasma display panel (PDP) is a flat-screen display that uses small cells containing electrically charged ionized gases. When an electrical current passes through the gases, it emits different wavelengths which produces the colors seen on a television screen. There are many advantages to using plasma. The picture quality is superior, there is less visible motion blur due to the high refresh rates and response times, and it is capable of producing deeper color saturation.

There are many advantages to using plasma. The picture quality is superior, there is less visible motion blur due to the high refresh rates and response times, and it is capable of producing deeper color saturation.

The disadvantages include screen burn-in, which means the screen will continue to show an image even if the television is turned off, more electrical power usage than other HD types, and limited screen pixels.

What you need to know about LCD TV Sets

LCD display technology has allowed flat panel televisions to be thinner and lighter than previous sets currently available on the market. LCDs uses liquid crystals, which do not emit light themselves, but are backlit to project an image. LCD televisions were most commonly used in computers prior to being released in a television set.

LCDs are by far the highest selling televisions due to their bright images, low electric emissions, screen shape, and LCDs will also cost you the least amount of money to purchase compared to other TV types. They too have disadvantages. The aspect ratio and resolution are fixed and cannot be adjusted, the black level is not as sufficient as the plasma, producing duller grays and blacks, and it has a slower response time than the plasma, which can make for image degradation for moving or rapidly changing pictures.

What you need to know about LED TV Sets

To improve upon LCD screens, LED televisions were released. These televisions are more expensive but offer an LED backlighting instead of the cold cathode fluorescent (the lighting used in an LCD screen). The picture quality is based off of technology called TFT LCD, which is an independent backlight. So the main difference between an LED and LCD is the back light used to produce a bright picture.

The advantages of an LED are that they last longer, emit a brighter picture with better color contrast, is thinner, uses less power, and is more efficient than an LCD or Plasma.

It comes, however, at a much higher cost. In addition, the heat from the LED chip can actually cause it to deteriorate over time. Too much heat can also cause the LED to shift colors and change the screen solution.

Side-by-Side TV Comparison

Display Type Screen Size Viewing Angle Contrast Ratio Pros Cons
Plasma 42"-65" 9/10 (Excellent) 8/10 (Very Good) Great Color and Refresh Rates Screen Burn and high energy usage
LCD 19"-70" 6/10 (Good) 6/10 (Good) Bright picture and Low energy usage Poor Black-level and slower refresh rates
LED 19"-70"  7/10 (Very Good) 9/10 (Excellent) Brightest Picture and Best color contrast Higher costs and long term heat damage


So what type of HDTV that is best for you depends on how much you are willing to pay, what kind of picture quality you are looking for, and how long you want the life of the television to last. If you are on a budget, LCDs offer you a lot of the qualities an LED has without the cost. If you are looking for a quick fix, plasmas are reliable televisions that will offer you decent picture quality and last for a long time.