So you’re looking for a new digital TV, but you’re not sure which way to go. LCD, Plasma, 720i, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, refresh rate, picture quality, price….. all of these things need to be considered in order to make the right choice. I’ll help you with your decision through research of my own to choose my TV for my personal home theater.
Resolution is a big factor as far as picture quality goes, for the standard definition there’s 480i, and 480p. For a slightly better picture there’s 720i, and 720p, and for the best picture to date there’s 1080i, and 1080p.
First the numbers…I’ll just make this easy on you and give you a rule of thumb for HD TVs. Up to 36″ a 720 is fine, anything above 36″ 1080 will make a more clear picture.
Now for the “i” and “p” portion of the article. I won’t get into too much detail I will just let you know that “i” means “interlaced scan” while “p” means progressive scan. We’ll just cut to the chase here and I’ll just tell you “p” is better. You’ll find that you need to pay more for it though, but it’s totally worth it.
That’s about it as far as resolution goes. True HD is 1080p, but you’ll find that cable companies and satellites only broadcast up to 1080i, so why bother having 1080p? Well when it comes to Blu-Ray disks and HD-DVDs, they are in a 1080p format and you can certainly tell the difference, what a crystal clear picture.
Refresh rate is how fast the screen changes in between scenes, so essentially it’s how smooth the picture rolls across. This is mostly important in fast paced scenes in a movie or something similar, in a slower refresh rate TV you may see some drag, or a trail. Plasma definitely beats out LCD as far as the fast moving action, but here’s another quick rule of thumb – simple, simple: Hz = higher number is better, ms = lower number is better.
Gadgets and Features
What’s a TV without being half computer? I mean come on people, get with the program! There are so many cool features out there on televisions, and I bet I don’t even know half of them. I will, however, tell you the ones that I’m a fan of. For instance the TV that has a computer USB port on it, what that basically means is you can use a flash (or jump) drive to take pictures or music from your computer and plug it into your TV to bring up those files. Or just cut out the middle man and there’s TV’s that will let you hook your computer right up to the TV, making it a huge computer monitor (LCD is best for that, by the way). Some have this neat feature called “ambiance lighting.” This feature will take the prominent color from the screen and project it onto the wall behind the TV.
LCD vs. Plasma Screens
First we’ll go over longevity. How long will my TV survive? Well the answer is really even. Both technologies have done wonders over the years as far as maximizing lifespan. Recent reports that I’ve read say that after about 60,000 hours of watching TV there will be some affect on the display. For LCD that means you may have to replace the bulb. That could be a few hundred dollars, depending on when and where you get them, all in all, not a terrible price to restore a TV picture. For plasma 60,000 hours is the half-life of the gas that creates the picture, therefor the screen will be about half as bright when you get to that point. There really is no cure for that other than purchasing a new TV.
Next is a big issue I’ve seen that people want to know about is, “Is my TV going to burn an image into it?” Well for an LCD TV that’s nothing you’ll ever have to worry about, and plasma, pretty much the same. A year ago I would have told you to be weary about plasma on this one, but, yet again the technology is just so much better recently. You would have to have the same image on a plasma screen for nearly 10 hours before suffering any permanent damage. So I guess as far as this goes, LCD takes the cake.
The final issue I see people discuss is the widest angle the TV could be viewed at. Plasma does have an advantage over LCD here, I don’t have any specific values, I just know from experience. But this could be defeated by proper organization of the living room, or “home theater” as it were. If you can provide sufficient seating within the boundaries of the angle, you’re set.As I said, plasma does beat out LCD here, but I’ve never heard any LCD owner complain about an angle issue, so you may not have an issue at all.
Well, that really sums up my evaluation of the 2 major types of televisions available these days. I hope what I’ve provided will help you with your purchase, I do accept tips – personal checks, money orders …. or my favorite form of compensation, tacos.And for those of you wondering…. my set up 42″ 1080p 4ms refresh LCD TV. Enjoy.