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LED, LCD or Plasma – which flat screen TV is best?

General News

This is a very frequently asked question here at Gerald Giles. So we’re going to attempt to answer it in a clear jargon free way – none too easy in an industry littered with acronyms, abbreviations and just general geek speak.

Here goes. First up – LED, LCD and Plasma TVs are all what is known as HDTVs – or High Definition TVs. This simply means that the picture quality is supposed to be good.

So we’re trying to work out which of these HDTVs is the best.

These are some of things you’ll need to be considering when you’re thinking about buying a TV –

The difference between LED, LCD and Plasma

This is basically about how the screen is lit up. With plasma TVs the phosphors light up themselves. So they don’t need a separate light source.

LED and LCD TVs do not light up themselves so they need a separate light source to produce the image.

This is a bit complicated so read carefully. Both LED and LCD TVs have LCD screens. The difference is in how they are lit. LCD TVs use cold cathode florescent lights (CCFL) like the florescent tubes you have on the office ceiling.   Whereas your LED TV use light emitting diodes (LED) to illuminate the screen.

So the difference between LED and LCD TVs is not the screen but how they are lit. One (the LCD) uses CCFLs and the other, uses LED.

To judge the quality of the picture we normally look for really black blacks and white whites which gives the widest gamut of colours.

And the LED wins on this score. The plasma generally outperforms the LCD but as you’d expect LED is the most expensive and LCD the cheapest.#

Verdict – LED wins here

Sound quality

Because these flatscreen TVs are getting so thin, there is simply no room for decent speakers – so oddly whilst picture quality has been improving, sound quality has taken a Bose Digital TV sound systembit of a dip. Generally the slimmer the TV – the poorer the sound. LEDs tend to be uber slim – so the sound is not the best. If slim is important then you should think about the Bose SOLO digital TV sound system which is an immense bit of kit you simply stand the TV on the top of, plug it into the back and the sound is amazing. If the Bose doesn’t take your fancy, check out our soundbar range, where  you will be able to find a variety of soundbar options for any TV.

Verdict – fat wins.

Energy efficiency

This is easy. According to our friends at Which? a 42″ LED is going to use (on average) 64 watts costing (on average) £17 a year. The LCD will use 107 watts and cost you £28 a year and the plasma is going to munch through 195 watts and cost £49 a year.

Verdict – LED win again.

So in summary the LED is the most expensive type of HDTV but it is also the best. Coupled with a Bose SOLO – you’ll have a brilliant cinematic experience.