Thursday, September 16, 2010

Plasma or LCD? The best TV for your video games

You've had enough of your old tube TV. You want to take full advantage of the HD capacities of your new Playstation 3 or XBox 360. You want to buy a new big flat screen TV for your gaming room, but there are so many models! Before you can even choose a size (we all wish we could get the big 60 inches home theater screen, don't we?) or extra options (plug in your computer, direct access to Internet, internal DVD reader, etc), you will need to choose between a plasma or a LCD TV.

World largest 103
Photo: mikeleeorg

When looking at televisions for gaming, the most important factors are color rendering and the ability to show fast-moving action accurately. The colors on a plasma TV will always look better because it does not rely on the backlight technology. However, a LCD will perform better than a plasma when there is a lot of light around; the plasma screen will look dark and you will have to turn off the lights. So if you like to play with a lot of light, you are better off with a LCD. However if you like dark gaming rooms, plasma is the better buy. Plasma also renders fast action better as its refresh rate is higher than the LCD.

If you play a lot of horror survival-type games, you know that contrast is essential to seeing the zombie you have to kill before it eats your brain. Again, plasma has the advantage here. The contrast is higher since the colors don’t blend in each other. But high-end LCD televisions have achieved a similar result, with a somewhat higher price tag however. You should ask to try the television in the conditions you will use them and see which one you like best.

When you invite your buddies for a night of gaming, not everyone will be able to sit directly in front of the screen (unless you have that huge 60 inches screen I mentioned earlier). In that case you want to make sure that there is enough viewing angle for everyone. A plasma TV has a 160 degrees viewing angle (meaning that the image will not change even if you stand almost completely on its side) while LCD has a 90 degrees viewing angle. Fortunately it is rare that there is so much people that you need the full 160 degrees, so both plasma and LCD work well.

The main problem you will find with plasma screens is screen burn. If you leave a game on pause for more than 10 minutes, the image will start etching itself on the screen. We’ve all seen old screen-burned computer monitors, and the result is not pretty. Screen burn is much less likely to happen on a LCD screen, so this is something to consider when choosing.

In conclusion, plasma is usually slightly cheaper than LCD, however this is changing as LCD technology is getting cheaper and cheaper. You will probably need to go to the store and try it for yourself; a lot of electronics stores have a room where they display the different models and let you watch movies or play video games. I hope you choose the right television for your needs, and have fun with your video games in full HD!


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