March 22, 2006 2:13 PM PST

Plasma or LCD? Size matters

SAN DIEGO--Your next television will probably be big and flat. But the industry is divided on what technology you'll choose to improve your view of the world.

Flat-panel televisions are taking over the world, according to executives speaking here at the DisplaySearch U.S. FPD Conference on Wednesday. Old CRT (cathode-ray tube) televisions are quickly becoming obsolete as high-definition LCD (liquid crystal display) and plasma televisions turn heads with high-definition images.

Plasma TVs dominate the market for flat-panel televisions larger than 40 inches, while LCD televisions reign among smaller sets. The line is starting to blur, however, as LCD TVs grow larger and reduce the cost advantage of plasma displays.

Big-screen TVs

LCD televisions are making inroads because the cost of manufacturing LCD screens larger than 30 inches has fallen, said Tim Alessi, director of product development and advertising for LG Electronics. LG, as the world's leading LCD company through its joint venture with Philips, and the second-largest plasma TV company behind Panasonic, is in a unique position to evaluate the competing technologies, he said.

Potential customers who are thinking about purchasing a large television will note the quality of moving images on a plasma screen as well as the wider viewing angle, said Yoshi Yamada, chief executive officer of Panasonic North America. High-definition plasma displays also tend to cost half as much as comparably sized HD LCD displays.

However, LCD panels are lighter, and the cost advantages could disappear in the coming years as technology improves, as it did in the market for LCD monitors and notebook screens.

Plasma should continue to be the choice for sets that are larger than 45 inches or so, while LCD TVs are quickly replacing CRT sets smaller than around 35 inches, Alessi said. The battle lines have been drawn in that middle ground, which coincidentally is expected to be the average TV size toward the end of the decade.

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Industry Hyperbole
"Old CRT (cathode-ray tube) televisions are quickly becoming obsolete as high-definition LCD (liquid crystal display) and plasma televisions turn heads with high-definition images."

Industry hyperbole. Just a couple days ago I was reading how CRTs are still 82% of TV shipments. Why? Cheaper. Better picture.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/LG+regains+worldwide+TV+crown/2100-1041_3-6050080.html" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/LG+regains+worldwide+TV+crown/2100-1041_3-6050080.html</a>

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Plasma or LCD? Neither.
Bingo. Plasma and LCD both have significant drawbacks IMO. Plasma is expensive but worse than that it leaks, as any closed gas system does. Nothing like losing up to 50% of your picture's brightness within 5 years to make you curse the day you dropped a barrel of money on flawed technology. I'll skip the (very short) planned obsolesence thank you. I'll take decades of refined technology (CRT) any day.

LCD looks like crap. They are better than they used to be -- they've largely licked the ghosting problem -- but when I'm watching a movie the last thing I want to see is pixelation, and I've yet to see an LCD TV that didn't look grainy/pixelated. Also, LCD simply can't produce true black well enough to due justice to film. This is where CRT kicks LCD to the curb IMO, besides providing a better balance between sharpness and softness.

When I bought a new TV a couple of years ago the choice was obvious: CRT widescreen. The only drawback compared to plasma and LCD is that the cabinet is deep compared to the flat panels. I'll take that over pixelation (LCD) or leaks (plasma) any day. And if I was buying today it would still be CRT for me.

Another reader mentioned DLP. Don't like 'em. It has the opposite problem from LCD -- picture is to soft.
Posted by mansfield3 (7 comments )
Link Flag
We of the 82%
That 82% of us are just waiting for the technology to mature and for CRTs to start disappearing from stores before buying a pricey set we'll have to replace in a couple years. From all the displays I've seen, give me a Trinitron any day over these flat displays that will require me to re-arrange my living room.

When I can buy a 35" flat panel (of any variety) for less than I can currently buy a 35" CRT, I'll start shopping.

And can someone tell me why it is that on a regular CRT television, the HD commercials look better than anything else on TV? If they can do that for commercials, why not just do that for everything? Besides, a highly compressed cable channel is going to look every bit as pixelated in HD (if not moreso) than it does on a CRT.

It's like that with most electronics, they never push the limit of what a device can do until it's just about to be replaced. Unless you just have gobs of cash to throw at it, it's just not worth the upgrade.
Posted by DaClyde (96 comments )
Link Flag
Your hyperbole
You guys who are offended that you can't afford these new toys yet are offering up a pretty weak attempt to justify your position by picking on 3-year-old non-issues. I own 27" and 20" LCD's and their picture quality is far superior to my crt's. The latest LCD's have more and smaller pixels and built-in features like progressive-scan and 4:3 automatic pulldown that cure all the old problems you allude to. Additionally, the LCD's all have filtration that does away with the snow and ghosting that crt can't eliminate from cable tv reception on bad days. Large crt's are an excellent value for the money but can't be said to offer a better overall viewing experience to LCD (unless sitting around watching tv while feeling relieved about your smaller credit card balance is part of the viewing experience!)

As for LCD vs. plasma, when I did my serious shopping last fall I noticed that plasmas were heavier and ran much hotter than equivalent LCD's and decided those problems would pretty much kill the hang-on-a-wall option. I suspect these issues, along with the burn-in question and energy cost problem, will slowly turn the tide in favor of LCD in the long run.
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Link Flag
Industry Hyperbole
"Old CRT (cathode-ray tube) televisions are quickly becoming obsolete as high-definition LCD (liquid crystal display) and plasma televisions turn heads with high-definition images."

Industry hyperbole. Just a couple days ago I was reading how CRTs are still 82% of TV shipments. Why? Cheaper. Better picture.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/LG+regains+worldwide+TV+crown/2100-1041_3-6050080.html" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/LG+regains+worldwide+TV+crown/2100-1041_3-6050080.html</a>

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Plasma or LCD? Neither.
Bingo. Plasma and LCD both have significant drawbacks IMO. Plasma is expensive but worse than that it leaks, as any closed gas system does. Nothing like losing up to 50% of your picture's brightness within 5 years to make you curse the day you dropped a barrel of money on flawed technology. I'll skip the (very short) planned obsolesence thank you. I'll take decades of refined technology (CRT) any day.

LCD looks like crap. They are better than they used to be -- they've largely licked the ghosting problem -- but when I'm watching a movie the last thing I want to see is pixelation, and I've yet to see an LCD TV that didn't look grainy/pixelated. Also, LCD simply can't produce true black well enough to due justice to film. This is where CRT kicks LCD to the curb IMO, besides providing a better balance between sharpness and softness.

When I bought a new TV a couple of years ago the choice was obvious: CRT widescreen. The only drawback compared to plasma and LCD is that the cabinet is deep compared to the flat panels. I'll take that over pixelation (LCD) or leaks (plasma) any day. And if I was buying today it would still be CRT for me.

Another reader mentioned DLP. Don't like 'em. It has the opposite problem from LCD -- picture is to soft.
Posted by mansfield3 (7 comments )
Link Flag
We of the 82%
That 82% of us are just waiting for the technology to mature and for CRTs to start disappearing from stores before buying a pricey set we'll have to replace in a couple years. From all the displays I've seen, give me a Trinitron any day over these flat displays that will require me to re-arrange my living room.

When I can buy a 35" flat panel (of any variety) for less than I can currently buy a 35" CRT, I'll start shopping.

And can someone tell me why it is that on a regular CRT television, the HD commercials look better than anything else on TV? If they can do that for commercials, why not just do that for everything? Besides, a highly compressed cable channel is going to look every bit as pixelated in HD (if not moreso) than it does on a CRT.

It's like that with most electronics, they never push the limit of what a device can do until it's just about to be replaced. Unless you just have gobs of cash to throw at it, it's just not worth the upgrade.
Posted by DaClyde (96 comments )
Link Flag
Your hyperbole
You guys who are offended that you can't afford these new toys yet are offering up a pretty weak attempt to justify your position by picking on 3-year-old non-issues. I own 27" and 20" LCD's and their picture quality is far superior to my crt's. The latest LCD's have more and smaller pixels and built-in features like progressive-scan and 4:3 automatic pulldown that cure all the old problems you allude to. Additionally, the LCD's all have filtration that does away with the snow and ghosting that crt can't eliminate from cable tv reception on bad days. Large crt's are an excellent value for the money but can't be said to offer a better overall viewing experience to LCD (unless sitting around watching tv while feeling relieved about your smaller credit card balance is part of the viewing experience!)

As for LCD vs. plasma, when I did my serious shopping last fall I noticed that plasmas were heavier and ran much hotter than equivalent LCD's and decided those problems would pretty much kill the hang-on-a-wall option. I suspect these issues, along with the burn-in question and energy cost problem, will slowly turn the tide in favor of LCD in the long run.
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Link Flag
Plasma or LCD?
Both can work but both have inherent problems. I prefer DLP as a
better answer than either Plasma or LCD.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Plasma or LCD?
Both can work but both have inherent problems. I prefer DLP as a
better answer than either Plasma or LCD.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The best is not LCD or Plasma
the best picture quality and value, bar none, is DLP. True 1080p, and the only solution that offers an all digital signal path to the screen.
HP, Smasung, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, RCA and others all make DLP screens.
DLP technology is superior to LCD and Plasma, period.
Posted by NoNoBadDog! (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
2 points
First, no video is broadcast in 1080p. Sure you will get the slightly enhanced picture, and prepare yourself for tomorrow, but it's nothing major.

Second, yes the picture quality and technology is superior, but DLP loses in dimensions.

All depends on what you want.
Posted by dewalt25 (57 comments )
Link Flag
Try for $2 ?
Errt.

DLP is not true 1080p. The content is about as available as Vista. And wobbilation? Please, check the facts.

We are currently the R&#38;D for HDTV manufacturers.

There is no ONE-BUY solution for us. The content is mostly SD (standard definition). The HD movies (still bickering over BluRay (beta) vs HDDVD (VHS) ) are what, 5 titles available, and in May?

Aspect ratios, picture quality, signal, cables, copy-protection, ...

Wake me when I'm virtual. And in Super Hi Def!
Posted by Below Meigh (249 comments )
Link Flag
DLP is cheaper NOT Better
DLP is cheaper not Better, I dont see how you can call DLP better than LCD or Plasma when they both have mutch greater viewing angels than any DLP set out there.

DLP does offer more screen for less green,

But I will take a LCD or plasma over DLP anyday...
Posted by Migraine (95 comments )
Link Flag
The best is not LCD or Plasma
the best picture quality and value, bar none, is DLP. True 1080p, and the only solution that offers an all digital signal path to the screen.
HP, Smasung, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, RCA and others all make DLP screens.
DLP technology is superior to LCD and Plasma, period.
Posted by NoNoBadDog! (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
2 points
First, no video is broadcast in 1080p. Sure you will get the slightly enhanced picture, and prepare yourself for tomorrow, but it's nothing major.

Second, yes the picture quality and technology is superior, but DLP loses in dimensions.

All depends on what you want.
Posted by dewalt25 (57 comments )
Link Flag
Try for $2 ?
Errt.

DLP is not true 1080p. The content is about as available as Vista. And wobbilation? Please, check the facts.

We are currently the R&#38;D for HDTV manufacturers.

There is no ONE-BUY solution for us. The content is mostly SD (standard definition). The HD movies (still bickering over BluRay (beta) vs HDDVD (VHS) ) are what, 5 titles available, and in May?

Aspect ratios, picture quality, signal, cables, copy-protection, ...

Wake me when I'm virtual. And in Super Hi Def!
Posted by Below Meigh (249 comments )
Link Flag
DLP is cheaper NOT Better
DLP is cheaper not Better, I dont see how you can call DLP better than LCD or Plasma when they both have mutch greater viewing angels than any DLP set out there.

DLP does offer more screen for less green,

But I will take a LCD or plasma over DLP anyday...
Posted by Migraine (95 comments )
Link Flag
DLP nice but...
you must never have spent enough time looking at a high-end plasma, like a Pioneer Elite or Zenith. DLP is nice, accurate and bright, but nothing is as theatrical, black and natural-looking as a high-end plasma.

i will agree in the price regions most of us hover around, DLP is better looking than the bargain plasmas.

but go to a ritzy high-end store and get to know better plasmas and you will see.
Posted by DoughboyNJ (77 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Depends what you want...
Plasmas are nice, but they have severe issues such as burnin. If you want to play video games on it, I would never choose plasma. They also leak, blur, and other undesirable things. Nothing is perfect. If you game and want the best of plasma without the burnin, dlp microdisplays like lcos or sxrd have the best of all worlds. They aren't perfect, either, though so it all depends on what you want to do with it. If wall mounting is a must and you are primarily interested in movies and tv only, then plasma might be just perfect for you.
Posted by guinnessguy (8 comments )
Link Flag
I went, I saw, I compared....
... and I bought a DLP for picture quality and color range. It wasn't
much of a contest.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
DLP nice but...
you must never have spent enough time looking at a high-end plasma, like a Pioneer Elite or Zenith. DLP is nice, accurate and bright, but nothing is as theatrical, black and natural-looking as a high-end plasma.

i will agree in the price regions most of us hover around, DLP is better looking than the bargain plasmas.

but go to a ritzy high-end store and get to know better plasmas and you will see.
Posted by DoughboyNJ (77 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Depends what you want...
Plasmas are nice, but they have severe issues such as burnin. If you want to play video games on it, I would never choose plasma. They also leak, blur, and other undesirable things. Nothing is perfect. If you game and want the best of plasma without the burnin, dlp microdisplays like lcos or sxrd have the best of all worlds. They aren't perfect, either, though so it all depends on what you want to do with it. If wall mounting is a must and you are primarily interested in movies and tv only, then plasma might be just perfect for you.
Posted by guinnessguy (8 comments )
Link Flag
I went, I saw, I compared....
... and I bought a DLP for picture quality and color range. It wasn't
much of a contest.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
LCD Rocks!
I purchased a 37" Philips LCD TV from Costco. It rocks! The
whites were whiter than any of the other plasma displays in the
store, but still with incredible detail. The plasma whites were a
bit warm and almost yellow tinted. Ask your TV sales person to
put in Disney's Bambi (the snow sequences) or any other live
action DVD with shots of snow and you'll see what I mean. I've
been a loyal Sony CRT customer for years and was also
impressed with their 40" Bravia LCD - arguably a notch better
color than the Philips (especially in the blue areas). As LCDs get
as large and as cost competitive as plasmas, then there will be a
consumer shift. The two HDMI ports on the Philips are also
handy for watching either hi-def programs from my Cox DVR
(the NCAA tourney is phenomenal...you can see all the detail on
the players' tatoos, the sheen of the hair gel on the coaches
heads, or the wood grain on the court) or newer DVDs (Lord of
the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Fifth Element, etc.). For older
(digitally restored) films like Gone With The Wind, Robin Hood,
Bambi, Fantasia, an S-Video connection is best for color and
detail - and for purists - to watch in the original 4:3 format that
the films were made in - not stretched wide. CRTs have been a
very reliable technology...but now destined for obsolesence. It
doesn't make sense to watch Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago
or Ryan's Daughter in letterbox on a CRT with ambient room
glare, when for a little bit more money you can upgrade to
plasma or LCD and see detail in the image that the David Lean
originally intended to have you see.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
LCD Rocks!
I purchased a 37" Philips LCD TV from Costco. It rocks! The
whites were whiter than any of the other plasma displays in the
store, but still with incredible detail. The plasma whites were a
bit warm and almost yellow tinted. Ask your TV sales person to
put in Disney's Bambi (the snow sequences) or any other live
action DVD with shots of snow and you'll see what I mean. I've
been a loyal Sony CRT customer for years and was also
impressed with their 40" Bravia LCD - arguably a notch better
color than the Philips (especially in the blue areas). As LCDs get
as large and as cost competitive as plasmas, then there will be a
consumer shift. The two HDMI ports on the Philips are also
handy for watching either hi-def programs from my Cox DVR
(the NCAA tourney is phenomenal...you can see all the detail on
the players' tatoos, the sheen of the hair gel on the coaches
heads, or the wood grain on the court) or newer DVDs (Lord of
the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Fifth Element, etc.). For older
(digitally restored) films like Gone With The Wind, Robin Hood,
Bambi, Fantasia, an S-Video connection is best for color and
detail - and for purists - to watch in the original 4:3 format that
the films were made in - not stretched wide. CRTs have been a
very reliable technology...but now destined for obsolesence. It
doesn't make sense to watch Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago
or Ryan's Daughter in letterbox on a CRT with ambient room
glare, when for a little bit more money you can upgrade to
plasma or LCD and see detail in the image that the David Lean
originally intended to have you see.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Neither
I've been looking for over a year and just cannot justify pulling the trigger on flawed technology. With DLP rainbows, LCD screen doors, and Plasma burn-in, the only good tech out right now is LCOS, and it's way too big and expensive. When they come out with a 42" LCOS for under $1500 then maybe I'll buy it.
Posted by HammerRock (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RE: Neither
Since LCoS is derived from DLP, using LCD Panels instead of mirror movements, it is no better than DLP. In fact, it brings the problems associated with LCD into the mix. The reason there is no raimbow with LCoS is because LCos is hundreds of times slower than DLP. Only 3% of the population can see the rainbow effect; if you fall into that category, I am sorry. If you don't fall into that category, then the rainbow effect is a moot point.
Posted by NoNoBadDog! (13 comments )
Link Flag
Neither
I've been looking for over a year and just cannot justify pulling the trigger on flawed technology. With DLP rainbows, LCD screen doors, and Plasma burn-in, the only good tech out right now is LCOS, and it's way too big and expensive. When they come out with a 42" LCOS for under $1500 then maybe I'll buy it.
Posted by HammerRock (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RE: Neither
Since LCoS is derived from DLP, using LCD Panels instead of mirror movements, it is no better than DLP. In fact, it brings the problems associated with LCD into the mix. The reason there is no raimbow with LCoS is because LCos is hundreds of times slower than DLP. Only 3% of the population can see the rainbow effect; if you fall into that category, I am sorry. If you don't fall into that category, then the rainbow effect is a moot point.
Posted by NoNoBadDog! (13 comments )
Link Flag
CRT still gives best PQ
You can't get black levels like you do with a good CRT. Although bulky, CRT still rules as far as PQ...it just no longer is "cool" to own one.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
CRTs are dead. SED is the replacement.
Heavy metals, heat, focus (sharpness), weight and power consumption are CRT downfall.
Yes, the contrast and blacks are better, but not for long.
You can't pickup a 40" CRT and place it on a table. You can pick up a 42" LCD and place it on a table.
It's nothing about "cool". It's about cost and waste.
With SED production starting 1st QTR of 2007, the consumer will see the death bell of the CRT once SED is real.
Plasma has limits (burn in, screen door and inoperable at elevation). And LCD is catching up (faster refresh, better contrast, better gamut with LED backlighting).

I welcome the format competition. I just wish the CRTs don't end up as pollution.

RECYCLE!
Posted by Below Meigh (249 comments )
Link Flag
CRT still gives best PQ
You can't get black levels like you do with a good CRT. Although bulky, CRT still rules as far as PQ...it just no longer is "cool" to own one.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
CRTs are dead. SED is the replacement.
Heavy metals, heat, focus (sharpness), weight and power consumption are CRT downfall.
Yes, the contrast and blacks are better, but not for long.
You can't pickup a 40" CRT and place it on a table. You can pick up a 42" LCD and place it on a table.
It's nothing about "cool". It's about cost and waste.
With SED production starting 1st QTR of 2007, the consumer will see the death bell of the CRT once SED is real.
Plasma has limits (burn in, screen door and inoperable at elevation). And LCD is catching up (faster refresh, better contrast, better gamut with LED backlighting).

I welcome the format competition. I just wish the CRTs don't end up as pollution.

RECYCLE!
Posted by Below Meigh (249 comments )
Link Flag
Power Consumption isn't a factor?
Sure a great picture means a lot, but if you use your tv/monitor a lot, one should also consider how much power it's going to draw.

Very few if any of the mfg's list power consumption in thier online specs. Now ask yourself why this is?
Posted by webdev511 (254 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Power Consumption isn't a factor?
Sure a great picture means a lot, but if you use your tv/monitor a lot, one should also consider how much power it's going to draw.

Very few if any of the mfg's list power consumption in thier online specs. Now ask yourself why this is?
Posted by webdev511 (254 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I am still waiting
I will wait for SED, until then, I will keep my CRT.
Posted by Fengpost (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I am still waiting
I will wait for SED, until then, I will keep my CRT.
Posted by Fengpost (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
SIgh
Your retired and you have money. Is it neccessary to feed your ego upon that? To bad you retired at 50, I sold my company when I was 30 something but I'd never sit and say I can afford anything. Who cares Mr. Ego! Your insecure and brazen. Your next review leave out what you can buy/spend because no one cares about your net worth except you. It makes your comments worthless. Just review. Leave out your personal details. Because we don't care about what year and if you can afford(I'm sure you'd tell us) about your newest Bentley. Please has more class.
Posted by Dellidiotresponseteam (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
SIgh
Your retired and you have money. Is it neccessary to feed your ego upon that? To bad you retired at 50, I sold my company when I was 30 something but I'd never sit and say I can afford anything. Who cares Mr. Ego! Your insecure and brazen. Your next review leave out what you can buy/spend because no one cares about your net worth except you. It makes your comments worthless. Just review. Leave out your personal details. Because we don't care about what year and if you can afford(I'm sure you'd tell us) about your newest Bentley. Please has more class.
Posted by Dellidiotresponseteam (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I can't WAIT to kick my CRT to the curb. I'll give it away if someone just comes and takes the piece of junk. Blurred edges, fuzzy text, watery borders, yuck. Maybe yall should throw the VCR's and BETA's away and hook a BluRay player up to an LCD or plasma unit. You might see what the rest of the world is talking about.
Posted by jrgray6 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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