Titbit: Plasma Screens Dying Out

Up until about 18 months ago the decision on whether to buy an LCD or Plasma flat-panel screen was a 50:50 call. If you wanted a screen that performed well in well-lit areas, had ‘harder’ blacks, and handled fast motion video without any noticeable motion lag, then you went with Plasma. Another upside for the Plasma flat screen was that they were generally about 30 percent cheaper than the same size LCD screen.

But if you wanted a screen that appeared overall slightly sharper (especially when a screen up around the 50” or 55” was to be used in a smaller area) and had truer more solid colours, then you would probably go for LCD. But with LCD back then you needed to use it mainly in subdued lighting locations.

For people conscious about energy usage LCD screens also pull about 20 percent less power than the same size Plasma. Additionally, Plasma screens then had a faster ‘warn up’ time than LCD. A quality Plasma screen would warm up to ‘full’ colour within about a minute of being turned on, whereas earlier LCDs took 5 to 10 minutes to reach peak colour.

But in recent times the rules have changed. LCD technology now provides much improved blacks, and improved refresh rates have all but eliminated any noticeable issues with motion blur lag. LED backlit LCDs, which would be about 80 percent of all new LCD panels, no longer have issues working in well-lit areas and the peak colour warm up times are less than two minutes.

The price difference between LCD and Plasma is now only about 10 to 15 percent except when it come to panels about 60” or larger where LCD is still about 30 percent more expensive. This is because very large Plasma screens are much cheaper to manufacture than very large LCD panels.

Because of these recent improvements with LCDs over three quarters of all flat panel sales worldwide over the last six months were LCD panels and this ratio is expected to increase.

This might all change when Quad-density screens start to hit the market because the price difference between Plasma and LCD Quad-density screens might go back to 30 percent. The problem is that, at this point in time, there is nothing being transmitted in Quad-density so there is not much point is trying to buy one—assuming you could find any for sale anywhere.