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LCD Screen TVs - Pros and Cons


LCD Televisions – Advantages:

Size: The lack of width and weight is a tremendous advantage over direct view and rear projection models. Flat panel televisions can be picked up by one person, carried between the arms like a fence post or school book and hung like a picture.

Selection: The choice of available flat panel models is overwhelming as sizes range from handheld up to 84”. Most models will fall in the 20-42” range with the more common sizes being 26” 32” and 42”.

  • Note: Plasma flat panel televisions begin at 42”. It is safe to assume that all models smaller than 42” are LCD.

Aesthetic Appeal: It is amazing how thin flat panel televisions are, especially considering what was being sold a decade ago. These days are totally different. Now, anyone can own a television no thicker than a two-liter bottle of soda. People can hang their TV on a wall like a Picasso, put it on a mantle or take it from room to room with little strain.

Dual Use: What is an advantage for LCD is a disadvantage for plasma. LCD flat panels are great purchases for people who want to combine TV with their PC because these models are specifically designed to provide computer interactivity while doubling as a television.

  • Note: It is not recommended to use a plasma display panel as a computer monitor or video game display unit because of burn-in possibilities.

Picture Quality: Plasma is arguably the best picture outside of direct view televisions. High definition content displayed on a plasma is extraordinary. LCDs are not far behind in terms of displaying high-end content, but some flat panel LCDs struggle in their ability to display cable and satellite programming.

  • Note: Contrast ratio and black levels on flat panel displays are not comparable to CRT direct view television. While most models thrive, this could be a disadvantage for some units.

Picture Life: Plasma and LCD televisions should last a minimum of 30,000 hours up to 60,000 hours. This means a minimum of 15 years of watching with an expected life rate much longer. There is no lamp to replace, which is an advantage in long-term cost over rear projection models.



Price: Expect to pay around $1000 for a good 32” model, $1500-2000 for a good 42” model and over $2000 for models over 50”. This estimate is on the low end, and will vary according to manufacturer and display type. For example: A 42” Enhanced Definition TV will cost considerable less than a 42” High Definition model of the same specs and manufacturer. The same holds true for LCDs.

Hit or Miss: This is something that mainly applies to LCD. Plasma technology is pretty reliable in terms of ‘you get what you see.” But, it appears that  LCDs are not the same. In my limited experience of reviewing flat panel LCD TVs, some fail to display a good picture with cable or satellite.

  • Note: While it is difficult to point out the models that are suspect in quality it may be suggested that if a price seems too good to be true it probably is. If a flat panel television is priced considerably below the standard price for a model of similar value and it is not on sale then something is probably missing inside the unit. The missing piece could be something that limits the picture performance. Video game play can be sluggish on some LCDs, which is a result of a low response time.

Connectivity: This is a mild disadvantage, but worth noting. Working with audio and video cables can be an issue when mounting a flat panel television to a wall. Cables coming and going from a direct view and rear projection television can be hidden behind the set, but wall-mounted flat panels have nothing to hide them. Instead, a person is left to either run cables through the wall or camouflage them somehow. Then there is the issue of what to do with the cable box, DVD player, etc, when foregoing a typical entertainment center setup.

  • Note: This does not apply to flat panel televisions being placed on a tabletop stand as the display unit will hide cables coming and going into the unit.

Burn-In: This only applies to plasma. Static images can leave a permanent mark on the screen. This is why nobody should use a plasma TV as a computer monitor or video game display. Burn-in should not be a problem if the plasma display panel is used solely for watching TV and movies.


Submitted by Mike Sundberg - 2/21/06

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