As modern televisions look very similar to each other with pleasing to the eye, shiny and stream lined designs, you could be forgiven for thinking that LCD, LED and plasma TVs are all the same. They even have similar features such as the ability to access the Internet or display photos.
But despite their similarities and as televisions are sizeable investments, knowing what you want from your television is essential to buying the right model. With the more simple characteristics of the available televisions seeming to be so alike, which set is the best for you?
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) televisions have back lamps behind the screen which shine white light through millions of coloured liquid crystals to create a black and coloured picture. LCD TVs are perfect for the smaller to average sized screens (typically up to 32 inches) as the technology really suits the display, with images appearing sharper and clearer. It is only recently that the LCD TV has expanded beyond the 32-inch option with many manufacturers now providing models over 40 inches.
As well as using less energy than the plasma TV, the LCD also produces less glare and is therefore more suited to natural daylight conditions meaning the need to close the curtains to hide your early-evening soaps from the late afternoon sun is greatly reduced.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) televisions work very much the same way as the more common LCD option. The LED TV is relatively new to the market in comparison to the plasma and LCD, however it has gained a fast following for its energy efficiency and size. An LED TV can be much slimmer than the standard LCD or plasma TV due to its backlight structure that separates it from the crowd. Traditionally, televisions had large back lamps used to light the screen, LED televisions offer two alternatives:
- The back lamps which usually feature are substituted for lots of tiny LED lights
- The back lamp format is removed completely and small LED lights are used around the sides of the screen, creating what is called an Edge LED TV.
Although many buyers are opting for LCD or LED televisions, the plasma TV remains an old favourite. The plasma TV works as mini fluorescent tubes are lit by a stream of ultra-violet light which hits various dots of colour to create an image. This process takes place between two pieces of glass, which causes the infamous plasma TV glare.
Sleek and stylish, Panasonic are considered the authority on this type of HDTV but plenty of other manufacturers still produce this breed of box, as well as concentrating on LCD and LED alternatives.
This is due to the fact that plasma TVs are able to produce deeper blacks and stronger colours as well as a quicker image response time in comparison to LCD and LED TVs. This also puts the plasma TV at an advantage for the next generation of home entertainment: 3DTV.
According to the BBC, the average Brit spends 3.8 hours a day watching TV, so making sure you get the right set can make sure that time is well spent.