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What is a Plasma Display

Learn about 3D LCD Technology

What is an LCD Display
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17"-32" 720P computer monitors and 24"-80" displays 1920x1080 1080P

An LCD TV is a thin panel TV capable of hanging on the wall or sitting on a stand. It is comparable to Plasma only in the fact that it is a flat TV technology.

What does LCD stand for?
Liquid Crystal Display.

How does an LCD TV work?
LCDs work completely different than plasma TVs, though they look very similar. The primary light source behind an LCD display is a bulb, which can be replaced, which shines through the screen. The light from the bulb is cast through a panel which diffuses the light across the length and width of the screen, through the liquid crystal solution, which is located between two clear panels. The purpose of the solution is to either allow the light from the bulb to pass through, or to block its transmission, and the brain behind this decision is the TVs computer, which sends different electrical signals into the liquid crystal solution telling it to turn tiny section "on" or "off." This process happens so quickly that your eyes can't tell the difference: many times per frame. Manufacturers are always working on speeding this process up, and the faster these pixels can turn on and off, the better the overall image looks to the user.

If the light is allowed through in one particular section, it shines through a colored filter to turn sub-pixels either red, green, or blue, which, depending on which colors are on or off, produces the images that we see. If you have read the Plasma TV section, than you know that plasmas create the color in each pixel by illuminating a phosphor which, when energized, produces the correct color. Since LCDs produce the correct color by shining white light through a color filter, there is no chance for burn-in (the phosphors in plasma TVs are responsible for burn-in, so if there are no phosphors, there is no burn-in). This is a very attractive benefit of purchasing LCD technology over plasma. You can read our comprehensive Plasma Vs. LCD article for an in depth comparison between the two flat screen technologies.

Can an LCD TV hang on my wall?
Yes. LCD TVs are one of two dominant TV technologies (Plasma TV is the other) that are designed to hang on your wall like a painting. Almost all LCD TVs will require an additional wall mount in order to hang on the wall, many different types of wall mounts are available from Display Haven. There are basically three different types of wall mounts available; flat wall mount, tilting wall mount, and an articulating arm. Flat, obviously, holds the TV very flat to the wall and provides little to no space behind the TV consequently allowing for very little or no vertical tilt. Flat wall mounts provide a very low profile look and hold the TV close and tight to the wall. Tilting wall mounts hold the TV fairly close to the wall but hold the unit our far enough to allow for 10 to 20 degrees vertical tilt (angled up or angled down). Tilting wall mounts are recommended for those of you who intend on mounting your LCD TV in a higher area, where a down tilt is required. An articulating arm is a bracket that mounts to the wall with an arm extending from it that will hold a display up to a few feet out from the wall, while also allowing a large amount of maneuverability in several directions (up, down, in, out, right, left). There are several variations of each model, these are only the basic styles. A Display Haven sales associate can help you determine exactly what type of mount will suit your particular application.

Most LCD TVs come with, or have available, a table top stand that will allow the TV to sit upright on a flat surface if wall mounting is not desirable for your application.

Can an LCD TV display High Definition signal?
Yes. LCD TVs that are High Definition capable can easily display 1080i and 720p high definition signal. LCD TVs are available in Standard Definition Format (SDTV), Enhanced Definition (EDTV), and High Definition (HDTV). So, if you goal in buying an LCD TV is to be able to view High Definition broadcasts, then you need to make sure that the LCD TV you are looking at is an LCD HDTV.
For more on SDTV, EDTV, and HDTV see our Learn more about Digital TV section.

What is the lifespan of an LCD TV?
50,000-60,000 hours. Just to give you an idea of how much time that is, you could watch TV for six hours a day for the next 27 years before you capped 60,000 hours of TV viewing time. The upside to LCD Technology is that once you have reached the 60,000 hour lifespan you can easily have the backlight bulb replaced. For around $200-$300 a service center can replace the burned out bulb in your LCD TV.

Can LCD TVs have “burn-in” issues?
No. LCD TV technology, unlike plasma TV technology, is not susceptible to image retention or “burn-in”.

Can an LCD TV double as a computer monitor?
Yes. LCD TVs incorporate the same technology as the LCD computer monitor you are most likely using to view this website (assuming you are using an LCD monitor – thin). Many LCD TVs come with VGA and DVI inputs allowing for easy connection to a Mac or PC. In the case that you wanted a computer and a HD Receiver hooked to the same LCD TV you would plug them both into the TV and then oscillate back and forth between the two inputs to use each device.

Are LCD TVs thinner than Plasma TVs?
It’s pretty well tied in this area, Plasma and LCDs are very similar in depth. Both LCD TVs and Plasma TVs range from 3”-5” thin. If you add a wall mount to either of the units you will be adding depth to your setup. Some of the lowest profile flat wall mounts are around .5”-1” deep, and consequently that will add that much depth to your wall mounted LCD TV setup.

To help you find the best plasma screen for your application, we've put together this guide to the features you should look out for. You'll find most of these features listed for each screen we sell under the Buy section.

If your still not convinced about plasma screens, then take a look at how they compare to other display technologies

Plasma Screens compared to other technologies

What is Plasma?

Plasma screen technology consists of two glass panels approx. 0.1mm apart that compress thousands of tiny pockets of gas called pixels. Each of these pixels also contains colored red green & blue phosphor.

When a current is applied to each pixel, the gas inside reacts to form a state of plasma and Ultra Violet light is produced. This UV light reacts with the colored phosphor to produce a range of up to 16 million colors on the screen.

As all of the pixels emit light at the same time so there is no screen flicker unlike traditional display technologies. There is no back lighting or electron beam so the image is much sharper, brighter and consistent from edge to edge.

Why choose Plasma?


Larger viewing angle, 160º compared to LCD 40º & rear projection 120º. (Allows a larger audience to be able to view the image reproduction)
No projection throw distance limitations.
Brighter & able to tolerate higher ambient lighting. More accurate & distortion free images. (As plasma screens are flat, unlike the curve found with standard televisions, this eliminates the edge distortion that can occur on curved screens).
Universal Display Capability. (Most plasma models are able to accept video format. Typically they will include composite video (NTSC & SECAM), S-video & component video inputs, plus one or more RGB inputs to connect to a computer).
Digital technology.
Unaffected by magnetism. (Unlike conventional CRT displays, plasma screens do not use electron beams and so can be placed near loud speakers with out suffering any distortion).
Thin Profile to save on space - 3-6.5 inches thickness
Free standing or wall/ceiling mountable

Compared to CRT
Clearer sharper image.
Uniform brightness across the whole screen (no faded edges). (A CRT television will have what is known as a hotspot, where the picture is at its brightness, and then will fade out the nearer to the edge).
Flicker free images.
Consumes less power (some come with an ECO-mode).

Compared to LCD
Brighter viewing angle.
Better color quality.
Higher contrast ratio.
Better picture.

What do I need?
Plasma screens from any manufacturer can be connected to a video source (VCR), TV, DVD player, satellite system or a computer. Most plasma screens don't have a built in TV tuner so for a terrestrial TV signal, a connection to VCR is required.
You can connect more than one device to a plasma screen at any one time so you can swap between a PowerPoint presentation and a video clip using the plasma screen's remote control. Switch boxes are also available that allow several computers to connect to a plasma screen at once. On the switch box is a button for each input computer, which when pressed, will show that computer's display on the plasma screen.
Some plasma screens also have split-screen and picture-in-picture options. This can be used to display multiple video clips or presentations on the same screen at the same time.

How long will they last?
This varies considerably between manufacturers but usually from 20,000 to 30,000 hours. After this time the plasma screen will only be at around half the original brightness. If you used your plasma screen for 5 hours a day every day it would last over 10 years.
At the end of the plasma screen's life, the screen will be very dull and you will need to replace the plasma screen with a new one. This is one advantage plasma screens have over LCD projectors, which have a bulb life of usually 2,000 hours before replacement.

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