Product Resources



Flat-panel TVs: plasma, LCD, and how they compare

Having trouble discerning between plasma and LCD televisions? This handy chart can help you determine which technology is best for you.





Screen sizes

42-65+ inches

5-65+ inches

Cabinet depth

3+ inches

3+ inches

Power consumption

Less-efficient per square inch

More-efficient per square inch


Similar to LCD for same screen size

Similar to plasma for same screen size


PC connectivity

Less common but still included on many models

More common than with plasma

Other features

Varies per model

Varies per model

Picture quality

Motion blur caused by display


Difficult to discern on most models, although subject to more blurring than plasma. 120Hz and 240Hz models subject to less motion blur

Black-level performance (depth of "black" displayed)

 Varies, although excellent on many models.

Varies, although generally worse than plasma on many models. LED backlights with local dimming offer significantly deeper blacks.

Color saturation

Varies, although generally a bit better than LCD due to black level and off-angle advantages

Varies, although the best models can equal the best plasmas


1080p is standard in all but entry-level models.

1080p is standard in all but entry-level models.

Off-angle viewing

Excellent from all angles

Image fades slightly when seen from extreme angles from sides or from above or below

Reflectivity of screen

Glass screens can reflect lots of light, so may be an issue in very bright rooms. Some models have glare-reducing screens that are more or less effective

Matte plastic screens usually reflect less light. Some models have screens that are actually more reflective than plasma


Burn-in (faint after-images left on-screen)

Possible with still images left on-screen with very bright settings for hours, although new models much less susceptible, and most burn-in is temporary and goes away after watching moving images

Occurs only in extreme circumstances

Lifespan (hours until fades to half-brightness)

Typically 60,000 hours, or about 20 years if used 8 hours per day.

Typically 60,000 hours, or about 20 years if used 8 hours per day.

Program type


Excellent, although the rare EDTV models can look a bit softer because of lower resolution

Excellent for HDTV-compatible models.

Standard-definition TV

Dependent mostly on screen size. The smaller the screen, the better standard-def usually looks

Dependent mostly on screen size. The smaller the screen, the better standard-def usually looks

DVD Movies

Excellent given a model with good black-level performance

Very good, although models with worse black-level performance are less desirable


Excellent for most users, although burn-in might deter gamers who leave screens paused for hours or overnight

Excellent, although motion blur might deter the most sensitive gamers


Types of Televisions:

In Plasma technology, the display itself consists of cells. Within each cell two glass panels are separated by a narrow gap in which neon-xenon gas is injected and sealed in plasma form. The gas is electrically charged at specific intervals when the Plasma set is in use. The charged gas then strikes red, green, and blue phosphors, thus creating a television image. Each group of red, green, and blue phosphors is called a pixel.

Some Advantages of Plasma Televisions are:

TV Viewing Distance Chart

Diagonal Size

Minimum Viewing Distance

Maximum Viewing Distance


3 ft.

6 ft.


3.5 ft.

7 ft.


4 ft.

8 ft.


5 ft.

10 ft.


6 ft.

12 ft.


6.5 ft.

13 ft.


7 ft.

15 ft.

High Definition vs. Standard Definition

Standard definition is analog signals with resolution of 480i (480 lines drawn onscreen in an interlaced pattern, odd lines separately from even), the format in which TV content is delivered over regular analog broadcasts and basic (non-digital) cable. On the best TVs, the picture quality can be very good or even excellent, but it doesn't compare to the best that HD can offer.

Enhanced definition falls between standard and high definition. ED signals are digital, with resolution of 480p (480 lines scanned progressively). This is equivalent to DVD quality, which is a little better than standard definition but not as good as high definition. Some ED sets can accept HD signals, but they convert them to a lower resolution that they can display, so the picture quality won't match that of true HD. On the best EDTVs, it can be quite good.

High definition offers the best TV viewing possible. HD is a digital-TV format that contains more and finer detail than other formats, so images can have almost lifelike clarity. The picture quality can be stunning, especially on a large, wide-screen set. In technical terms, HD images have higher definition, meaning more picture elements (lines or pixels) make up each image. Most HD broadcasts today are either 1080i (1,080 lines drawn on-screen separately in an odd/even pattern, then interlaced to form one image) or 720p (720 lines scanned in one sweep, or progressively). Another HD format, 1080p, has 1,080 lines drawn in a progressive pattern, which potentially yields the finest detail. 

The below chart explains further the difference between Standard and High Definition Signals.

Resolution and Picture Quality Table

Picture Quality

Good Quality

Better Quality

Best Quality

Standard Definition TV

Standard Definition DVD

Enhanced Definition TV

720p High Definition TV

1080i High Definition TV

1080p High Definition TV/Blu-Ray

Aspect Ratio

Full Screen 4:3

Full Screen 4:3/Widescreen 16:9

Widescreen 16:9

Widescreen 16:9

Widescreen 16:9

Widescreen 16:9


640 x 480

720 x 480

854 x 480

1280 x 720

1920 x 720

1920 x1080








Which Audio/Video Connection is the best?

Connector Type


Signal Type





HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is an uncompressed, all-digital signal that combines both audio and video. This connection gives you the optimal 1080p signal and up to 7.1 channel sound.




DVI (Digital Video Interface) is a video connection that will deliver 1080p video signal, but it does not carry audio signals.

Component Video



Component Video, or RGB, is an analog signal connection that splits the video into 3 separate signals, 2 for color and 1 for brightness. The maximum resolution on this connection type is 720p or 1080i.




S-Video (S for Separate) is a type of component video signal because the color and brightness signals are transmitted on separate wires. S-Video is not used for high definition resolutions.

Composite Video



Composite, or RCA, connections can be found on almost all video components. Color and brightness pass over the same cable. Although it is the most common connection found, it is also the least quality.