What’s the Difference Between Plasma, LED and LCD TVs?

Shopping for HDTV’s can get confusing if you don’t know exactly what you want. Don’t get fooled by resolutions or prices, this is what you should consider. We have wanted to do this article for a while, now, and being that at this time, HDTVs are not so out of reach for the common man, and people might feel overwhelmed with all the options given to them all of a sudden, it’s finally the time to tackle this.


First, there is something that needs to be clarified, because it adds a lot to the confusion: LED TVs are also LCD TVs. Both screens are essentially a liquid crystal display which has two layers of polarized glass joined together. The liquid crystal then passes or blocks the light to display the television picture. Crystals do not produce light, and light actually comes from a series of lamps on the back of the screen, and this is what differentiates LCD from LED TVs: on LCDs the lamps at the back of the screen are fluorescent lamps, while on LED TVs the lights are Light Emitting Diodes (LED). In contrast, Plasma doesn’t actually require back lightning as the image is created by phosphors that light up themselves.

Now, onto what people care about the most: which has the best image quality? The answer is simple: LEDs. Plasmas look great but have the downside that there might be reflections or areas might look dark on the screen, depending on the angle the user is looking from. This is definitely not an issue on a computer screen, but it is on a big, living room TV. On the other hand, LEDs have a clear advantage when compared to LCDs, as LEDs have separate back lightning for different colors (red, blue, and green), while LCDs just use white light. As a result of this, LCDs tend to not have as good of a contrast and clarity as LEDs.

Now keep in mind that, while LED would technically work best most of the time, a lot of the experience depends on the source material, what are you watching, and what are you using the display for. Also, there’s the money issue: LEDs usually cost a couple hundred more than an LCD the same size, and it is your call if you want to spend a couple extra in your quest for image fidelity, when LCDs are already good. It all depends on what type of use you will be giving your new display.

As a final note, we can explain and talk about this for hours, but what will definitely do the trick is actually comparing the displays side by side at any store, which we advise you do before purchasing, now that you are armed with this precious information. We wish you the best of lucks in your quest for high definition, now. If you want to read about other uses for LEDs, check this LED Watch and these LED Light Paintings.