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I often receive questions about whether Plasma or LCD is better for gaming applications. Often you will find conflicting stories on which is better. Each technology has its own fans. I’d first like to point out in the effort for full disclosure that I happen to be in the plasma HDTV category. This article is going to make the attempt to help you make a decision as to whether or not you want to choose a plasma or an LCD display when selecting a gaming flat screen.
There are two resolutions that progressive format plasma and LCD HDTVs come in today. These are 720p and 1080p. Most everyone favors 1080p because it is a higher resolution, also called true HD, but these are a bit more expensive than their 720p counterparts. For gaming purposes I would not recommend anything less than the 1080p models if you are looking for top quality video output to your HDTV.
Video Quality
Personally whenever I am playing on my gaming systems I like to have as sharp a picture as possible. Plasma 1080p HDTV’s are able to provide the sharpest pictures. This is because plasma HDTV’s are able to display deeper blacks, thereby increasing its contrast ratio. Some plasmas are capable of 5000000:1 in this area. In non geek speak, the picture looks sharp. Plasma HDTV displays are also able to display higher frame rates than most of their LCD counterparts. They are able to do this because the pixels that make up a plasma display are backlit individually, whereas LCD HDTV’s utilize rows upon rows of back-lighting LCDs for multiple pixel points. One area in which LCD’s have held a stronger video quality score is that they are not as susceptible to screen reflection and glare. However, plasma HDTV’s are getting better with new anti-glare coatings that they are applying to the display screens.
Viewing Angle
Another consideration that someone should be aware of is viewing angle. Plasma 1080p HDTVs outpace their LCD cousins by far in this regard. Nearly any plasma HDTV on the market boasts a 160 degree viewing angle or better. Being that you can only get to 180 degrees of deflection without being behind the display makes a strong case for getting a Plasma display. Most LCD HDTV’s only have a 90 degree viewing angle before the picture becomes blurred or darkened
Plasma Burn In
There has been a lot of misconception and myths spread about plasma screen displays. Chief among these is that Plasma HDTVs suffer from burn in. This used to be a true statement, but with the newer technologies used to manufacture plasma displays you would actually have to work at it in order to burn an image into the screen of your plasma display. It would require you to actually go into the internal settings and adjust them to help burn the image into the display.
The cost issue is by far the biggest deciding factor when choosing what display technology you want to use for your gaming system. This can be a tricky question when you are deciding on what type of HDTV you want to buy. At smaller sizes LCDs can be found which are less expensive than plasma HDTVs. As the screen size of the display increases the cost of an LCD will increase in cost at a greater rate than a Plasma HDTV. Eventually plasma displays become less expensive than LCD’s in larger sizes.
The “You” Factor
In the end it really comes down to what you want, and what you are willing to pay for. If money is no object and you want a large display, then a plasma 1080p display is probably the best fit for you. If you are on a budget and are looking for a smaller display I’d recommend the LCD. If you want one of the larger displays the best bang for your buck also lies in a plasma HDTV.