back to article Euro consumers favour plasma over LCD

Ask consumers which HD TV technology they think delivers the best picture quality and they'll put LCD and plasma on a par. Get them to try the two out first, and they quickly favour plasma. So claimed research company Synovate last week after conducting tests with punters across Europe. Up front, we should say the research …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Chris Croughton

    Important attributes

    They missed out two attributes which I consider key -- power usage and weight. On both of those LCD scores very highly over plasma (and over CRT) and they were major reasons for me buying a LCD TV. Oh, price as well, plasma screens seem to be still more expensive than LCD ones. But then I'm not in the market for 40" or 50" screens, a 26" widescreen one (equivalent in height to a 21" CRT TV) is perfectly adequate as far as I'm concerned.

  2. Simon


    Maybe i'm old fashioned but I have never understood the fuss about these modern plasma or LCD flat screen TVs.

    My current (Flat screen, but big behind) CRT set sits on its stand in the corner of the room, I don't care how thick it is, because i'm only interested in looking at the front of it. Maybe someone will tell me I can stick a plasma or LCD on the wall and save even more space, but hey, my walls are for sticking pictures on.

    Maybe when they get really cheap I may splash out on a HD TV, which I have seen in CRT flavour as well.

  3. Marco

    Power consumption

    Tell the same consumers how much power a plasma uses and how much an in size comparable LCD, and let's see how the favors go then.

  4. Matt Black

    Freeview made my mind up

    I intended to purchase LCD. Helpful chap in shop got the set I had picked, and showed me Bugs Life from DVD with direct digital to the LCD - it looked great. Then I asked to view output of a freeview box since in reality this is 99% of my viewing. The LCD looked terrible - flesh tones of the news reader made her look like a dummy. So I looked at the same output with a plasma and the results were natural. I bought the plasma.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So Plasma looks less bad than LCD? Great! How very surprising. One would certainly wish companies would not focus their powers on developing thinner displays that wear out within five years and look crappy while quickly crapping out, and sticking more pointless crap to them (have you seen my ammmmbiliiight) while they're at it, but on developing good products. They don't. They are not interested. You cannot even buy a good CRT anymore, you'll get a pathetic excuse for a TV that has software-related issues up to its neck. Bah. You're better of buying a RPTV or a front projection system, get over the fact that there's next to nothing worth watching on TV anyway, and get friendly with your local DVD rental institutions.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Samsung Ultra Slimfit Z50 HD CRT's possibly in October

    All the benefits of a CRT at over 40% reduction in size. Rumoured to have none of the geometry problems that plagued the Z40's, 2 HDMI inputs and maybe built in upscaling.

    Now to see if they actually appear anywhere...

  7. Nigel Jones

    Another factor

    Which TV would you prefer to MOVE to another place in the room

    On that metric I'd guess LCD is the best, followed by plasma with CRT last.

    Seriously... I have a Sony 32" CRT which I could never move and weight would be a factor in my decision.

  8. Steffen Sørensen

    RE: Important attributes

    Come'on dude, don't tell me you actually asked the sales man the following question, how much does the tv weigh? and power consumption is a bit of a discussion subject. if you watch very dark movie, the LCD is likely to consume more power then a plasme and otherwise if you watch a tv-show about antartica the plasma will consume more power.

    as a foot, a year ago i bought a pioneer 50" plasme, and i have'nt seen a lcd or a plasma tv with a better picture.

  9. Rupert Stubbs

    Crucial difference...

    The big difference, IMHO, is when watching non-HD stuff, like SKY or Freeview. Which is what most of use our tellies for most of the time.

    There, plasma kicks LCD's butt all over the pitch, as LCD just can't handle the SD content without artifacts, plasticity or smearing. The very latest LCD sets say they're better, but I'll believe that when I see it.

    Too many people fall for the salesmen trying to flog these things (and only using HD demo material), and then wonder why their picture looks so rubbish.

  10. Andy Turner

    I doubt it

    "Maybe when they get really cheap I may splash out on a HD TV, which I have seen in CRT flavour as well".

    I think Toshiba do a CRT which will take a HD *signal* (it has HDMI ports), but that doesn't mean it can display it as HD. I'm fairly sure you'll never see a consumer level CRT that can display HD properly.

  11. AndyB

    CRT as well

    IMO, the current fashion for 'flat screen' TVs is just that, marketing led fashion hype. I have yet to see an LCD TV for under around £800 that can come close to even a £150 budget CRT for colour fidelity. The pictures are either washed out or over saturated and, despite manufacturers claims, vary considerably with viewing angle. Their major selling point (apart from the size) is that they are "HD ready", but what is the point of watching an HD broadcast if everything about the picture, apart from the raw number of pixels, is crap.

    Plasma screens seem to equal CRTs for colour fidelity, but they are as expensive as top end LCDs and suffer from burn-in problems.

    So, for now, I'll refuse to be an 'flat screen' fashion slave and stick with my trusty Philips 28" CRT.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re CRT

    The fact that I could easily pick up a 26 inch LCD TV persuaded me when my rather old CRT TV went Pete Tong.

    Too thin for my cats to sit on, but they've forgiven me.

  13. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    Re: I doubt it

    By Andy Turner : I'm fairly sure you'll never see a consumer level CRT that can display HD properly.

    Why, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever not to have an HD CRT - even 10 years ago you routinely got CRTs with 70Hz, 80Hz or faster refresh and at least 1024 lines. Flat Panel is just a 'fad', and things will probably swing around sometime - probably when people find out how expensive it is to repair (oops, sorry - throw away and replace) them.

    Someone has already pointed out that in many (most ?) homes, the TV sits in the corner and the space behind isn't really an issue - swap a CRT for a flat panel and you just end up with an unused space behind.

    And CRTs have one ability that LCDs and Plasmas will never match - they don't need signals resampling (with all those nasty artifacts) to convert from one resolution to another. The scan rate can be adjusted to match the signal - so got 720 line images, display 720 lines; got 1080 lines, display 1080 lines; heck, got 625 line SD material (actually about 500 lines of image), no problem !

  14. Rupert Stubbs

    Plasma no burn-in these days

    You'd really have to be dumb to get burn in on a plasma these days - basically leaving a high contrast image up for many, many hours - and that would cause burn in on a CRT, too.

    Where plasmas suffer in comparison to CRTs is they are just not as bright - which means day-time telly won't be as good unless you draw the curtains a bit. Otherwise, a decent Panny plasma will look great.

    One other thing: don't go to large. If you're looking at normal SKY on a 50" screen from 10 feet away, you will see artifacts. 42" should be large enough for anyone at that distance. Otherwise you will really see a major difference between HD and SD stuff (though SKY and BBC stuff originally filmed in HD looks way better even in SD).

  15. Andy

    SKY picture quality

    Sky pictures are not what to use when comparing any tellies, the symbol rate is so low the picture just looks a mess on anything larger than a 28" across the room.

    I had this argument when Comet tried to sell me HD.

    How much truth is there in the rumours that Sky dropped the symbol rates on their SD channels to make their mediocre HD stuff look better in comparison?

    So far most (not all) freeview channels have respectable quality, I'll stick with that thanks, rather than have my pocket picked for high definition turds to be pumped straight into my living room.

  16. Trevor Watt

    90 Seconds?

    quote - 'a 90-second 1080i HD video in conditions that the researcher reckoned "replicated home viewing conditions" '

    Hardly something to base a decision to buy something costing over a grand on then.

    Lets see the experiment repeated with a 37 inch, 1600:1 contrast, 4ms LCD against a similar sized plasma. On no, you can't because that is too small for plasma to do 1080i.

    Horses for courses comes to mind.

  17. Neil

    About LCDs 'plastic' colours

    It's a fact that when manufacturers set up the defaults on LCD sets, everything from the backlight to the colour saturation is turned right up. This is so it can grab your attention in a dimly lit shop sales area but the picture you're looking at isn't natural.

    I've got a 40" Toshiba and when I first started using it, newsreaders had orange faces. To correct this, you need to calibrate the set (which is true of most LCD screens). Searching on the net led me to instructions on how to do this manually and this made a tremendous difference to my viewing experience - backlight down by 24% and colours corrected using a DVD as source material. I also found out that for around 20 quid, you can buy a professional calibration DVD that outputs through your player and leads you through proper calibration on screen. The results are supposed to be very good.

    This is something about LCDs that nobody seems to be aware of - especially the salesmen who flog the things.

  18. greg

    60hz & 100hz LCDs?

    Someone needs to get their technology knowledge right! LCD's dont have a refresh rate thats measurable in Hz. They work on response times (measurments of which vary with manufacturer), contrast ratio and brightness.

    And plasma for gaming? Correct me if I am wrong, but they dont make plasma displays for PC's, and plasmas have this thing called burn-in, which occurs after a couple of years due to fast-changing colours (i.e. lots of movement on screen).

    LCD is a better all round technology compared to plasma, althouth plasma still has it's perks, which remain solely in the consumer TV market.

  19. Ross Fleming

    RE: Samsung Ultra Slimfit Z50 HD CRT's possibly in October

    I've got a Slimfit Samsung, the one mentioned on this site about 18 months ago:

    In short, it's not the best. I think they'll struggle to get a CRT that is capable of 32"+ with HD, the geometry is bound to suffer at the extremes of the screen (this one is starting to, and also suffers the "bleeding" around bright colours). If you think of the physics and tolerances required to guide an electron beam across a screen that size and at that resolution, it's hardly surprising. Having said that, it still copes with SD a lot better than most LCD's I've seen.

    Basically the manufacturers are just killing time until they nail SED or FED screens - bring it on!

  20. Simon Brown

    Take it with a pinch of salt

    Given that this comparison seems to have been sponsored by the plasma manufacturers I'll take the results with a pinch of salt. I'd like to see the results of a truly independent study where it has been verified that the TV's had all been set up with equal care

    All TV types need properly calibrating when you get them out of the box, not just LCD. And the truth of the matter is that lots of people don't know (and worse, don't care). I've been in people's houses where they had quite expensive 32" CRT's and they had clearly never bothered to set colour, contrast and brightness as the picture just looked unnatural. Likewise you can't just stroll into Currys or Comet and judge the relative merits by what's on display there. Chances are the sets haven't been set up properly and are probably all being fed from the same RF feed.

    Regarding Sky not being the best thing to use when demoing TV's - well it is the best thing to use if that's what you watch most. Any set should look fabulous if you're feeding it a CGI movie by digital connection as there's seldom the amount of image noise that trips up TV processing that you get from film derived sources.

    I wouldn't hold my breath for HD CRT's - you'll probably have to go through dozens of sets to get one with decent geometry, regardless of how good the picture is otherwise, and you're always going to be limited as to the maximum screen size.

  21. AndyB

    Of salt and vinegar

    "Likewise you can't just stroll into Currys or Comet and judge the relative merits by what's on display there"

    Oh, really. And how else are you supposed to judge?. Take the advice of some review or other? For every review that praises a particular piece of consumer electronics there's one that rubbishes it.

    The only way you CAN judge how good a TV picture is is to look at it on display in a showroom. If the LCD pictures are so piss-poor because some sales muppet can't set it up properly then said muppet needs sacking as he isn't doing his job properly and showing the goods off in the best light.

    Also, how come most plasma screens, (and the few remaining CRTs) on display all seem to be showing pictures with near identical (and correct) colour rendition, while the LCD panels are all widely different (and mostly horrible!!)?

  22. Charles Hammond

    Plasma vs LCD

    I dont own either one at the moment.

    However, I would rather see some more data. The screen may look better in a store than at home. If you dont have HD service, then the point is irrelevent. Also I have not seen any 52" LCD's. Maybe There are some, I dont really know.

  23. steve

    Flat panel smat panel

    What about LCOS displays? DLP? Seriously, as an ex TV seller I don't think you can beet LCOS (such as sony's SXRD) for value for money and picture quality.

    Flat Panel (as opposed to flat screen - which we've had for years) is a fashion thing. For years flat panel had crap picture but people still paid a huge premium for them. Today they're still paying a premium, which unless you're going to hang the TV on the wall, then it's an unnecessary one.

  24. Shuntfield

    Burn in on Plasma...?!

    I have a Panasonic 2006 model Plasma.

    The picture is fantastic.

    But I feel burn in *is* still an issue. I watched BBC News 24 for an hour, and also watch the footie on HD, the graphics on BBC News 24 are highly contrasting and so are the scores on HD footie on the BBC.

    After a 90 minute game the BBC logo had burned into my display, it took around 3 to 4 *days* for it to slowly fade away.

    This is after 90 minutes. Anymore I think would be worse. So, its not me being dumb, I think its just not as good as they say it is. Speaking to Panasonic they quote:

    "I would explain that as specified in the operating manual, there is the potential for permanent images to be retained on screen if displayed for long periods of time."

    "The most effective method of preventing this occurrence is to turn down the brightness and contrast levels, and/or zoom out any logo's where possible. We would also recommend switching the channel during the adverts where possible."

    and the Old fallback.....

    "If it does not disappear, the image has been retained permanently and cannot be removed. In this case, we would advise that you check the policy on your home contents insurance since regrettably this would not be covered under the terms of the warranty."

    Nice get out...

  25. Ian Sneyd

    All hype?

    Not sure I agree with this one, LCD's woek very well as PC monitors, I was impressed by the better (perceived) quality of TV on my PC TV tuner (higher res than my Sony 32") and so bought a cheap 32" LCD HDTV which wasn't great but you get what you pay for...

    I'm now typing this on my media PC connected to a recently purchased 42" LCD (1080P) and it's perfectly readable 6 feet away, I play Xbox360 and PS3 games on the same screen with no visible blurring and way better than the Sony CRT it replaced, and yes my legacy Humax DTV box doesn't look fantastic if you get up close but guess what, when I'm watching TV I sit on the other side of the room on my sofa...

    Oh and PS3 BluRay on 1080P, a phrase involving canines and their reproductive danglies springs to mind...

  26. Mike Pellatt

    Wait for the technology we really need

    I dunno, all this arguing about technologies that take the electronic signal, mutate it into photons, send them across the room to the retina just to regenerate an electronic signal. How quaint.

    Me, I'm waiting for direct-to-brain transfer before replacing my Bush B&W VHF 405-line TV (valve-powered, of course)

  27. Cortland Richmond

    Plasma vs LCD: Radio Interference an issue

    Plasma, alas, is notorious for high power consumption, with its high voltage pixels, and for radio interference; each pixel is an electrical discharge point that produces wideband noise. Of course, if you've already got PLT you might never hear it.


  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @greg re burn-in

    "and plasmas have this thing called burn-in, which occurs after a couple of years due to fast-changing colours (i.e. lots of movement on screen)."

    You've got the wrong end of the stick. Burn-in occurs due to *static* displays, which result in the phosphors on different areas of the screen being activated for grossly different times. If you don't believe me, just look at the patterns burnt into CRT platform displays at railway stations.

    Phosphors (whether on CRT or plasma displays) slowly age and produce less light as they are used. If all the phosphors age at approximately the same rate, (because you are displaying moving pictures and hence, on average, they are all used the same amount) then you won't notice a problem - the drop in output is insignificant. The eye is, however, very sensitive to a minute change over a large area so you will notice *differential* ageing due to static displays like those dreadful DOGs (logos), if left on for too long.

    Phosphors age more rapidly when first used than later on. This is why CRTs are less problematic than plasma displays, because they can be over-run briefly in the factory to pre-age all the phosphors slightly. You can't do this with plasma displays, and it would be too expensive to have them sitting there for weeks (?) being aged at the normal rate.

    Apparently LCDs aren't immune to burn-in either, but this is a different mechanism.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Plasma, alas, is notorious for high power consumption"

    As has already been pointed out: plasma power consumption varies with picture content because the amount of light generated varies with picture content; LCD power consumption is constant because the source of the light, the back-light, is on all the time. So making comparisons based on the figures on the rating plates on the back of the sets, which are the peak values, is naive. While I don't deny that plasma displays may consume more power on average, I would be surprised if the difference justified the use of the word "notorious".

  30. bill murray


    i completely agree with some of the crt comments above. the crt technology is FAR superior, i was gaming at 1600x1200 at 80HZ years ago. and most lcd's still cant handle this. no bluring either

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like