HDTVs – Screen Technology Differences

LCD (liquid-crystal display)

LCDS can use one of two backlight technologies. CCFLs (cold cathode fluorescent lamps) are the most common, but LEDs are the latest backlight technology to hit the LCD scene.


• The thin profiles and light weight of LCDs make them easy to mount on a wall.

• Power demands are a bit lower than comparably sized plasma displays and considerably lower than CRT televisions.


• Fast-moving images may suffer from a slight trailer effect, but with improved

LCD technology, the effect is barely perceptible.

• When pixels stick on or off, they show up as either a pinpoint of bright light or black, which can be distracting on-screen.

• From certain viewing angles, LCDs will lose video contrast and color.

• LCDs with CCFL back- lighting suffer from leaking light, and unlike LEDs, they can’t dim certain areas on-screen. This may result in blacks and whites that appear to be more gray in color.

Best For

• Streaming PC content

• Bright, sunny rooms

LED (light-emitting diode)

LED TVs are actually a type of LCD TV. These sets use one of two LED backlight technologies:

• Full-array lighting places LEDs behind the screen in a grid pattern, letting the TV dim certain LEDs for the best contrast ratios available.

• Edge-lit sets have LEDs placed around the frame of the TV, and light is directed toward the center of the screen. Edge-lit models cost less than full-array sets and are a lot thinner.


• By using LEDs, these sets use a lot less electricity than other HDTVs, and they don’t contain harmful mercury.

• Overall, LED TVs are one- third thinner than other LCD TVs and have longer life spans.

• Plasmas are well-known for their deep blacks, crisp whites, and fast response times, but LED TVs closely match in performance.


• These sets are costly because they feature a relatively new technology.

• Blooming, or a halo effect, may encircle bright images that are on dark backgrounds.

Best For

• Eco-conscious viewers

• Fast-paced gaming



• A plasma TV’s phosphors light up evenly across the screen to create images, which are consistently bright and clear with vibrant colors.

• The contrast ratio is high, so you’ll see some of the darkest blacks and brightest whites.

• The design and technology of plasma TVs lend themselves to large screen sizes—typically 50 inches or greater.

• Rapid pixel response means no blurry motion.

• Wide viewing angles give you the same high-quality images on-screen no matter where in the room you happen to be sitting.


• Some plasmas are susceptible to image bum-in if not cared for properly.

• Low air pressure and high altitudes may cause plasmas to buzz.

• Some plasmas ha highly reflective glass, which isn’t ideal in sunny settings.

Best For

• Large groups who watch TV together

• Movies or sports with nonstop action

RPTV (rear-projection TV)


• RPTVs are surprisingly lightweight for their sizes.

• You’ll find exceptional picture quality on very big screens (65 inches and larger).

• As screens get bigger, RPTVs tend to be more cost-effective than an LCD, LED, or plasma TV.


• With depths of 16 to 24 inches, these TVs are far too big and bulky to mount on a wall.

• RPTVs require lamp replacements every few years.

Best For

• Anyone who wants to bring a cinematic experience home

• Big, roomy home theaters

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