The area where LCD reigns supreme over any other flat-panel display is of course computers. LCD monitors can now be used for most applications including games, office applications, and photo retouching.
But it's another story for TV. LCD is lagging behind plasma, but it's also cheaper and available in more reasonable display sizes. In terms of absolute video quality, plasma is still tops, because it offers blacks as good as what CRTs can display, exceptional viewing angles, and unmatched color. However, LCDs are closing the gap little by little with technologies that are constantly being refined.
This article has tried to explain the operation of plasma and LCD video display technologies, and highlight the qualities and shortcomings associated with each technology. While it's not a good idea to compare apples and oranges, plasma seems to have the upper hand in terms of absolute quality. Still, the future seems to be turning towards LCD - the market for LCD TVs is poised to explode, and a boisterous crowd of hawkers are all offering LCD TV displays, some of which are good, some not so good, and some just plain shoddy. Confirmation of this trend, which started less than six months ago, is in the number of manufacturers from the computer industry who have gotten on the LCD TV bandwagon. But a TV set is not a computer monitor, and that's something manufacturers will have to contend with.
Which technology will win out? That choice may not be up to us. Manufacturers clearly prefer LCD because of the similarity to semiconductor fabrication techniques, which most of them already have well under control.
|Brightness||better than the best CRTs|
|Color quality||better than CRT, but flickering present||no flickering; blacks not deep|
|Consumption||250W for a 42" (107 cm) screen||150W for a 42" (107 cm) screen|
|Viewing angles||good||variable between X and Y axis|
|Display size||>32 in (81 cm)||> 2 in (5.1 cm)|
|Price||still high compared to CRTs|
|Life expectancy||20,000 hrs.||40,000 hrs.|