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Plasma or LCD? HD or 3D? The Changing Face of Televisions

If your TV looks like this, it’s time to update. If your TV looks like this, it’s time to update.

Televisions have come a long way from the little box with bunny ears displaying a fuzzy black and white picture. As technology improved, the quality of the picture gradually got better and televisions became more advanced. Today there are more choices than ever – plasma, LCD, LED, HD, 3D – the list goes on and on. How do you decide which TV is right for you?

Advantages and disadvantages exist for most of the televisions on the market. It can be challenging to determine which features are important to you and exactly what kind of TV fits the bill. Cost is another aspect to consider when buying a TV; prices range from $200 to well over $2,000.

While LCD TVs are a hot item among consumers, plasma TVs are often a better value. Plasma TVs generally have the ability to render deeper blacks than LCD, more color depth, better contrast ratio and motion tracking. Reports suggest plasma televisions are well suited for individuals who like rich, warm colors and deep black levels, who sit off-axis when watching TV, and for sports fans who want the smoothest, most natural motion with fast on-screen action.

The disadvantages of plasma over LCD are: more power consumption and heat generation, does not perform as well at higher altitudes and screen glare in brightly lit rooms. In years past, plasma TVs had problems with image burn-in and had a relatively short display life. Current technology seemed to have solved these issues; Panasonic, for example, offers a plasma with 100,000 hours of life before the image dims to 50% of its original brightness. (It would take you more than 60 years to watch 100,000 hours if you had your TV on every night for 4 hours.)

The pros of owning an LCD TV are: no burn-in susceptibility, cooler running, functional at higher altitudes, ultra-thin and light, and increased image brightness. An LCD may be ideal for you if you generally watch TV during the day; the bright picture of LCD screens looks better in light. LCDs also use less power, making them more energy efficient than plasmas.

Although LCD televisions aren’t susceptible to burn-in, individual pixels can burn out, causing small dots to appear on the screen. LCDs are also not as good at tracking motion, although some higher-end LCDs have improved this issue. LED TVs are LCD HDTVs that use an LED backlight instead of the conventional fluorescent one. LED TVs generally have better contrast and more accurate colors, although they tend to be pricier than the standard LCD – suggesting you may be better off with a plasma. Also, there are two types of LED TVs: full LEDs and edge LEDs. The former uses a bank of Light Emitting Diodes to backlight your screen, while the latter only has LEDs around the edge of the screen, making for a thinner TV, but a bit less illumination.

Modern HDTVs use HDMI cables as the standard connection method, so before you decide on your purchase, figure out how many HDMI inputs you’ll need. If you’re going to connect a Blu-ray or DVD player, an audio receiver, a digital video recorder, and a video game console, that could mean as many as four.

If you’re looking at a 3D TV, determine whether you are buying a full 3D TV or 3D Ready TV. The retailer may tell you 3D accessories are optional, but without them you will not be able to view 3D. The newest 3D technology utilizes a new format for delivering 3D content, and you will need up-to-date and compatible consumer electronics and 3D glasses. 3D Ready TVs purchased before March of 2010 may not be compatible with this newer 3D format, although some manufacturers have developed an adapter for older models. Read as much as you can about 3D and 3D Ready televisions so you know what you’re buying.

No doubt televisions will continue to change and become even more advanced as time goes on. Should you spend thousands on a television today when superior technology may produce a better one tomorrow? The key is to be happy with what you choose - as chances are a nicer, bigger, better TV will come out as soon as you get yours on the wall. Once you’ve done your research and made your purchase, fully commit to the television you bought. When a commercial comes on advertising the newest, best TV to hit the market – change the channel.

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How to choose the best TV for you
Last modified on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 09:59

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