PUBLISHED: 14:40 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:57 20 February 2013
This Christmas, don't fight over the best seat from which to watch all those television specials. Just buy an LCD or Plasma screen and sit back and enjoy with all the family
PLASMA or LCD? That is the question still on everyone's lips, and never more so than on the run-up to Christmas when family and friends congregate in front of the beloved box. According to a recent Which? consumer magazine report, LCD now offers the widest array of screen sizes - surprising considering for many years technology restricted LCD televisions to small portable sets and the 32-inch market. Today, it is a very different story. Massive manufacturer investment in research and production has led to LCD screens becoming bigger and bigger. Some manufacturers have abandoned plasma altogether and LCD screens are now common in all sizes.
Size isn't everything
The million-dollar question is which flat-panel actually looks better on the screen. There are a couple of general observations to be made. Many LCD sets don't do blacks well, so darker pictures can look a little washed out, and plasma sets typically have wider viewing angles.
Adrian McDowell of Video Guru Ltd says, 'The main reason why people choose plasma screens TVs is to save space in their living room. They can be hung like picture frames and all of the wires can be easily hidden. Of course, there is also the aesthetics. They look slick and stylish, creating a contemporary, high-tech element to your interior very quickly and relatively easily.'
When it comes to versatility, both types of flat-panel TV can be wall-mounted. However, kits usually cost more the bigger the TV. Plasma sets weigh a lot more than LCD TVs so setting them up or moving around could prove problematic.
All about the money
Prices have plummeted for flat-panel TVs in general and cost is now much less of an issue than it was. LCD TVs tend to be cheaper purely because of a smaller average screen size. However, 42-inch plasma TVs for under 1,000 are now easy to come by. Prices for comparable screen sizes are now pretty similar.
Why not check out any shortlisted televisions you have read about on the internet before visiting your local audio visual specialist? It will be a real eye-opener and they will help you make the right decision when you come to upgrade to a home entertainment system.
But according to Which? magazine's rigorous testing, LCDs have an edge over plasma. In terms of power consumption a 42-inch plasma TV typically uses 277 watts when switched on, compared to a 180-watt average for the 40-46 inch category. That's 50 per cent less energy than plasma. Some manufacturers point out that the power of the plasma is directly dependent on the brightness, whereas LCD pictures require a constant source of illumination.