HDTVs: Is LED better than Plasma?

Posted: December 28, 2010 by ryanlecocq in Off-topic

I’ve gotten a few emails from people who read my HDTV guide and want to know if the new LED sets replacing Plasmas and DLPs are better.  The short answer is it depends.  The long answer starts with it depends if you mean better picture period or a better set for your money overall.  As I mentioned in my HDTV guide, LED tvs use as many Light Emitting Diodes as there are pixels on the screen.  These diodes light each individual pixel giving much better contrast than plain LCD which is lit by lights behind the panel.  The advantage this gives over plasma is that the failure rate of these LEDs is low, meaning it has similar life to a plain LCD (5-10 years or more).  Plasmas need to have parts replaced every 2-4 years at about 25-50% of original cost.

When it comes to quality LED sets are much better than plain LCD sets.  Since the unlit diode is almost totally dark, the blacks are much darker than LCD tvs which always light the pixels, even when they are black.  The color is also slightly better as dark colors are lit less than bright ones.

Does it look better than Plasma?  Hell no.  I honestly doubt any backlit screen technology ever will.  There’s a reason these sets use the same technology as the warp reactor on the U.S.S. Enterprise.  Because it’s high effin tech.  Until screens are panels that contain single celled, color changing organisms, I don’t think we’ll see something with better colors or blacks (black is not a color, that is not up for discussion).


  1. lagunawsu2 says:

    Just for my 2 cents, I don’t think your going to see plasma’s around much longer, unless they find some miracle cure for their incredibly short life span. (How many TV’s have you owned for less than 2 years?)

    Black is the hardest “color” (tone?) to replicate, since its the absence of all colors.

  2. ryanlecocq says:

    True that. Though I would still say, if you can find a 50″ plasma on sale for $500 buy the shit out of it. It looks soooo good and as long as you don’t leave it on a lot or put it on it’s side, it will last for 3-4 years.
    I’m playing Batman:Arkham right now and when I ‘become the night,’ I can still see myself. Priceless.

  3. LG 42LD450C says:

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