Buying a TV can be a stressful thing nowadays. With so many options to choose from and so many sizes to consider, what is the best buy? And they also don’t come cheap so you want to make sure you don’t screw this up. Well there is really no best buy for everyone, it all boils down to where you want to put your TV, and how bright your room gets. Even though Plasma TVs are becoming obsolete, you can still buy them in retail stores, so they are still considered for this comparison.

Related: Just How Affordable Will 4K TVs be in the Future?

Before we get started, let me just give you a little background on each TV design and what makes them different and actually makes them the same.

Understanding the Difference Between LED, LCD, and Plasma Screens

Plasma

It might not seem like it, but Plasma TVs have a strange design behind the screen. Plasma screens work by exciting pockets of Xenon and Neon gas and changing them into a plasma state. In that plasma state the electrons of that gas emit an ultra violet light, which is not visible to the human eye, but there is a whole chemistry lesson going on in your TV. The ultraviolet light then gets absorbed and re-emitted to the spectrum of light by the phosphor in each cell. The higher gas being emitted, the brighter the colour when it is emitted to the spectrum of light. Each of the pixels have three sub pixels in it, a red one, a blue one, and a green one. Thus setting the base colour for your picture, and when the gas is excited in short pulses, it passes and creates an image.

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LCD

An LCD TV is made up of two parts, the liquid crystal display, and the backlight that is the source of your brightness. With the help of a light diffuser, your TV is backlit across the entire screen. Pixels are then activated and by applying an electric field, the TV controls what is passed through the light and displayed. A backlight and electric field uses less energy compared to that of a plasma TV and exciting gas.

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LED

An LED is essentially an LCD with a different backlight. Instead of a CCFL backlight which LCDs use, an LED uses light-emitting diodes as a light source behind a screen. LED is much smaller and uses less energy than LCD, making it the more visually appealing and greener option. OLEDs are the pricier versions of LEDs. Instead of a few LEDs acting as a backlight, each pixel has its own 3 coloured LEDs. Unfortunately this method is very expensive and is rather used for smaller screens like smartphones and tablets.

Samsung 65″ SUHD Curved LED

Although it has a very steep price range of R70 000, Samsung’s SUHD LED is a massive 65″, with 4K support, and runs on the Tizen OS, making it more than just a TV.

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LG 60″ 3D Smart Full HD LED

This beauty is a massive 60″, it’s full HD LED, and 3D capable. It retails for R17 900.

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LG 55″ 3D Smart FHD OLED

This is a perfect example of the price of OLED TVs to produce. The 55″ OLED TV from LG costs well over R30 000. Compared to the model above, the LG 55″ OLED TV is double the price of a smaller sized screen. It sure is a beauty though.

 

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LG 60″ UHD Smart LED

When you add in the technology of the LED design, and the new 4K resolution, you get the LG 60″ UHD LED. It is thin, large, and beautiful all in one package. Retailing for R20 000, this TV would be the ideal buy compared to the OLED above

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What suits you?

It all depends on what your lighting conditions are in your viewing area. LCD, LED, and Plasma TVs all have their own disadvantages and advantages to consider.

Plasma

+Looks better in darker environments

+Better for dark rooms

+Plasmas are becoming increasingly cheaper

+Have the best black levels

+Larger sizes for the same price as smaller LEDs

+Great viewing angle

– Cannot be placed facing away from a window, it will reflect against the screen and obscure your vision

-More power usage

-Bulkier

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LED

+Works great in bright rooms

+Cheaper local brands

+Very bright and vivid

+Lower power consumption

+Thinner and lighter

-Limited viewing angle

-Overall picture quality does not match a plasma TVs picture

What you watch on TV is also important when deciding on what TV to purchase. Plasmas with their better contrast and deeper blacks are the most ideal TVs for sports, whereas LCD/LEDs could be better for gaming.

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Get a plasma if you:

  • Are concerned about viewing angles
  • Have a low lit room
  • Prefer smooth natural motion
  • Are not concerned about power consumption

Get an LED-LCD if you:

  • Prefer a visually appealing TV design
  • Have a bright lit room with windows either facing your TV or near it
  • Want to save power as LEDs use less power
  • Prefer bright vivid picture that will not be compromised in bright conditions

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So when purchasing a TV you need to take more than just your price range into consideration. It will be a pain owning a plasma TV if your room is bright and your viewing angles are all over the place. It really does matter what you want to do with the TV, be it watch sport, play games, or stream content.