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We all know the most popular flat panel televisions are Plasma and LCD. Which is best for you?

A Plasma TV makes picture using an array of small cells of phosphor gas, charged by precise electrical voltages. When voltage is applied the cells light up, creating a picture. Each cell (or pixel) has three parts (red, blue and green) that become illuminated when voltage is applied to deliver varying degrees of contrast, brightness and color.

LCD (liquid crystal display) screens create a picture by applying precise electrical voltage to a crystalline matrix sandwiched between two glass panels. When the electrical charge is applied to the crystals, they will twist and untwist, blocking and unblocking light from the backlit panel. Each pixel is divided into red, blue and green sub-pixels that work to make millions of different colors.

Many experts say Plasmas produce the best overall images for movies; others feel LCD is best for gaming and photos. Typically, Plasma produces better blacks and has better contrast and larger viewing angles. Sometimes with LCD you can see the brightness fall off as well as a color shift when viewed off angle, while plasma’s picture will remain fairly solid at off angles.

Some also feel plasma deals with motion better, important to sports fans. One of the biggest advantages of plasmas is price, especially in large sizes. LCDs tend to be lighter and use less power than most plasma screens, and many feel the LCD will outlast plasma, making your investment last longer.

With advances in LCD technology, like LED-backlighting, the gap between LCD and Plasma is narrower than ever. If you’re looking for a new TV and it’s going to larger than 50 inches, take a serious look at plasma. Looking under 50 inches? LCD is a good value.

In the end, consider your preferred size, room lighting, how you intend use it and price range to make the best choice.

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