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Why LCD Vs plasma is a phoney war

April 5th, 2006 · No Comments

LCD panel LG Philips

The Editor of technology magazine T3 recently asked me to fact-check an upcoming feature for his magazine, which pitched screens against TVs. The format of the piece, a regular in the publication, is fairly simple, with pros and cons for each and a winner declared at the bottom of the page. Naturally, there has to be a winner with this type of stuff, because it enables editorial to quip rudely at the ‘loser’. All good fun.
Well, I was quite pleased to be asked, and dutifully set about the page layout, scribbling comments and suggestions. I don’t know what the team made of my scrawl, or if any of my dry and pedantic observations will survive to the final proof. But, whatever the outcome, it made me reflect on how these two technologies are being pitched against each other in what’s increasingly being portrayed as a ‘faux’ format war.
In truth, when it comes to screens (and the task of choosing one), it’s not a question of technology at all, more a question of usage.
So, LCD or plasma? My retort is: how do you want to use the screen?
If it’s as a (larger) home cinema display, and you intend to dim the lights, pop the corn and watch movies on it, then plasma is easily the better option.
If you want a TV for general viewing, expect to use it in relatively high ambient light, or need a screen for HD gaming, then LCD is the sensible choice. It’s pretty much as simple as that.
Nigel Thomas, Panasonic’s long-standing tech whiz, recently told me that on the shop floor, people are choosing LCD over plasma purely because they perceive it as the newer technology. This is bizarre, as it’s actually a good deal older than plasma. But it shows what a great job the LCD marketeers are doing. Ultimately, my advice is to buy a screen only when you know how you want to use it; then you’ll be far less likely to feel hard done by after it’s been installed in your home. By Steve May

Tags: LCD TV · Plasma · Trade

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