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The different types of flat panel TVs.

Plasma TVs are usually found in larger screen sizes, 42" and above, and are usually much cheaper than their LCD counterparts of the same size. The construction process makes plasma TVs relatively cheap to produce in larger screen sizes, whereas the cost of smaller screens is very prohibitive, especially when compared to the cost of similar sized LCD TVs.
Plasma TVs have a number of benefits which can help in choosing the right TV:
* Natural colours, help to reproduce a true to life image.
* Deeper blacks, makes dark scenes look really black as opposed to a washed out grey.
* Subtle colour tones, even subtle changes in the darkest areas of the picture can be seen.
* Great motion handling, means the TV can keep up with even the fastest action with no screen blur.
Plasma TVs are best suited to rooms that do not have a lot of natural light and are not in direct sunlight, and are ideal if you watch a lot of movies in a darkened room. Whilst these TVs can be used for anything they are best suited to movies and sports, where the subtle colour changes and the fast action will be brought to life by the TV.
If a still image is left on the screen for a long period of time the screen may suffer with ‘screen burn’.
* Heavy, not ideal if wall mounting a possibility.
LCD TVs are the most common type of flat panel TV currently available. There are available in a range of different sizes, from as small as 20" going all the way up to a massive 55". Whilst the cost to produce an LCD TV in a small screen size is very low they become very expensive to produce in large screen sizes, anything above a 40".
LCD TVs have a number of benefits which can help in choosing the right TV:
* Brighter images, makes them suited to well lit rooms with lots of ambient light.
* More vivid colours, helps bring the images to life.
* Sharper image, great for using with a PC or games console.
* No screen burn, makes them great for PC use or gaming where there will be a lot of static images.
* Non reflective screen, reduces the amount of screen glare.
* Lighter unit, makes the TV easier to wall mount.
LCD TVs make very good all round TVs, being able to be used in bright and dark rooms alike. They are best suited to day to day viewing, game play and being used in brighter rooms where there may be a lot of natural light.
Blacks are more like greys.
Although LED TVs use the same screen technologies as LCD TV’s they have some distinct advantages over both LCD and Plasma. This is due to the backlight technology.
The backlight in an LED TV is adaptive, meaning that the light to different parts of the screen can be turned on and off depending on the display. This is different to an LCD TV as they have a constant backlight. This results in better blacks than an LCD TV. The adaptive backlight is also better for fast movement as it makes it appear smoother.
In many LED TVs the LED blubs are placed around the edge of the TV allowing the TVs to be made thinner. Because of the lighting technology, LED TVs are also much more energy efficient than LCD or plasma.
LED TVs have all the key benefits the same as plasma and LCD above, but with:
LED TVs typically use less energy than LCD and Plasma.
* The TVs are thinner, so great if short on space.
TVs are available in many different sizes, ranging from a small 15" up to the hughe 106" which means choosing the right size TV can be a challenge. There are a couple of simple considerations to make when choosing the right size of TV.
Check the dimensions of the space the TV is to fit into. TVs over the past few years have gotten smaller (for similar screen sizes) due to the border around the TVs getting thinner. So if you had a 26" TV a few years ago, you may now be able to put a 32" TV in that same space.
This is the primary factor that should determine the size of your TV, with the further away you sit the larger the screen needs to be. It’s not law, but if your TV is too big or too close, you will see all of the imperfections in the image.
The guideline shows the ideal viewing distances for each size of TV.
32"1.2 metres2.5 metres
40"1.5 metres3 metres
42"1.6 metres3.2 metres
46"1.7 metres3.5 metres
50"1.8 metres3.8 metres
Typically it's recommended that you sit between 1.5 and 3 times the diagonal screen size away from the TV.
This is a big myth. Plasma screens are sealed units meaning that the gas can neither be re-filled nor escape. The gasses inside a Plasma over time will degrade, and the picture brightness will begin to fade -this is called the TV’s lifespan.
All the TV technologies have the same lifespan these days at around 60,000 hours. Watching any type of TV for 8 hours a day will give you over 20 years of use.
All TVs can be affected by screen burn. It used to be a major problem for plasma TVs but as the technology has improved, the problem has been significantly reduced. Although LCD & LED TVs can get image retention this is very rare, and is why LCD & LED TVs are ideal for use with games consoles and as a PC monitor.