back to article LCD to have killed all* other TV technologies by 2016

Bye-bye, plasma. Farewell, reverse projection. By 2016, the TV market will be a two-horse technology race: LED-backlit LCD and OLED. So said market watcher NPD DisplaySearch today, forecasting sales of 281m flat-panel tellies in 2015, up from around 245m this year, itself down from 2010's 250m-unit peak. For plasma, there's …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never been a fan. Always found the image to be a tad fuzzy which isn't really the objective of full hd. You want a clear sharp image. They weigh a ton too. Good riddance to them.

    I estimate we'l have fanboys telling everyone they're mad not to buy a plasma until around 2036 though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Still preffer CRT for quick starting speed!

      1. JDX Gold badge

        I reckon my plasma 'boots' faster than a CRT. Certainly if you include time for a CRT to properly 'warm up'

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      LCD is getting faster all the time. That's probably what you are trying to suggest by saying it is "fuzzy".

      My LCD is just about fast enough to play Sonic the Hedgehog which is famously fast at scrolling. My TV is a mid-range 42" LCD from about 2 years ago. It is an IPS screen so the viewing angle is great, perfect picture from all angles.

      I personally think most of the screen technologies are stop gap and unless you are wealthy I would always go for a mid range set as something better will arrive not long after.

      1. CheesyTheClown

        TV makers love you!

        The thing which the TV manufacturers fail to make a point of is the lifespan of an LCD. The advent of LCD was huge for the TV business since people would buy a CRT and use it until it died. I have recently seen a proper good old fashioned B&W 17" screen... Connected to a digital set top box providing HD service. People don't tend to upgrade their TV screens unless there is a damn good reason they should. LCD provided that reason for many since it would actually free up some space in the room. CRT screens took space and they were ugly. These days, people choose to buy 32" or larger screens that can be much closer to the wall. Probably less than 10% of all TV purchasers will actually buy a new screen to get a larger size or to get a new feature. In fact people like me like that a lot since it's insanely wasteful to get a new TV for a new feature. This is why I truly hope Apple does not release an Apple TV that is actually a TV. First of all, there is absolutely nothing Apple can do with a single device then they can do by providing a set top box that functions with an existing TV. Second, when the Apple TV functionality grows old, you'll have to replace the whole TV as opposed to a tiny set top box to get the new features. Third, people while actually throw away their old screens which most likely are less than 5 years old to get the Apple TV.

        You are part of the 10% that will buy one environment killer based on the fact that you know a new environment killer will be released shortly with better specifications. Ummm... Wait... I am too :(

        1. Joseph Lord

          Re: TV makers love you!

          Most people are increasing TV size. Certainly more than 10%. You couldn't get a CRT bigger than 36" (mainstream) and those that could do HD weren't available in the UK (well BBC R&D had one but it had slots for bars to go through to allow 4 or more people to lift it). Now 46" and bigger is a significant segment and 40"/42" is taking over as most popular size from 32". I think it was 26" fairly late in the CRT era.

          Regarding lifespan I don't think LCD's should be any shorter lived than CRTs (at least if you take the life to be the half effectiveness point of the phospors) as power consumption and/or picture quality will have deteriorated by that point.

          I agree it makes sense to add boxes for features during the life of the screen but they cannot change the picture quality/size and when you are purchasing the screen it is best to get the features built in if available to reduce clutter and save power. Add extra boxes only when the built in is obselete.

  2. Paul Shirley

    Samsung&Sony recently made strong hints that they want to keep OLED as a premium niche product rather than take it mainstream. The future does indeed look LCD dominated. Just have to hope they continue researching some of the other new display tech.

    At least LCD has started to look good at reasonable prices in the last couple of years, might be time to replace my CRTs.

  3. Graham Bartlett

    Digital haze - no thanks

    We're still on an old CRT that refuses to die - and we've yet to see a flat-screen TV that looks as good. Every flat-screen we've ever seen has nasty digital haze around moving objects. Until they look as good as CRTs, we're sticking with the old-school kit.

    1. Toxteth O'Gravy

      Re: Digital haze - no thanks

      How about any major-brand LCD released since 2010? I used to think as you, and held out for years, but switched when Doc Who went HD. Even SD is better - colours good, picture crisp (unless you set six inches from it, perhaps; but OK from the sofa) and no barrel distortion. Much better to look at - and carry - than the enormous silver PoS I replaced it with. CRT = crap retro tat

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: Digital haze - no thanks

      You're probably seeing artefacts of MPEG compression. This is an indication of how much detail modern sets show. CRT's soften everything up a bit.

      This is nothing to do with the TV, it is to do with what it is receiving.

      Freeview does tend to be compressed a lot on some channels. Watch a Blu-ray and you'll not see so much of these artefacts.

    3. Tubs

      Re: Digital haze - no thanks

      I'm still happily on CRT.

      I don't agree with the 'haze' comment, but I do think CRT does textures and tonality far better than LCD. LCD seems to lack subtlety somehow.

      It could I suppose be down to the average modern idiot who doesn't like TV looking natural, but instead prefers high contrast over-saturated images; and yes, that includes most of my friends and relations, too!

      1. John Bailey

        Re: Digital haze - no thanks

        Good observation. One often missed. Adjustment is vital to getting a good picture.

        And it is amazing what people will put up with for a tv picture..

        A friend of mine sat through a big circular mark on his TV for years, before I got a bit of kitchen towel and washing up liquid and cleaned the sticker glue off the screen.He was so amazed, he called hos wife to take a look.

        Disclaimer.. I'm not a videophile. Don't have high end super expensive kit. But I do know how to get the most out of what I have.

        A TV picture is adjustable. CRT or LCD. And the adjustment is what makes it good. Out of the box it is NOT adjusted for home use.

        Saturation turned up too high is common, So is having it too bright, or too sharp. And too sharp is like overdoing the sharpening filter on a graphics program. It causes artefacts every time.

        Sadly, many people take it out of the box and tune it in, and that is the last they do with it. So of course the picture is crap.

        They do the same with monitors, and wonder why their eyes hurt.

        The next "problem" is inputs.

        Composite is soft. Low resolution, and to be honest.. Not up to much. But a lot of people still use it. Digital sources are way better. Annoying perhaps, but it is the nature of the beast. The more mucking about at the TV side of the picture, the worse it looks. And LCDs are not good at showing lots of resolutions. CRTs are.

        If you still need to use analogue.. Get some decent cables. Not the oxygen free quantum polarised money extraction systems, but spend a few quid if you are using RGB or S-video, and get one that is properly screened. Good cables for analogue makes a noticeable difference.

        SCART should be used for tying ladders to roof racks. Nothing more.

        And if you spend more than a fiver on a meter long HDMI cable, you are an idiot.

        Get it right, and spend a bit of time getting a good panel, and spend a few minutes adjusting, and the picture is way better than CRT ever was. Get it wrong, and stubbornly insist on watching betamax through a cheap coax cable, with the factory defaults, and you deserve everything you get.

        1. Paw Bokenfohr

          Re: Digital haze - no thanks

          There's nothing really wrong with SCART, so long as you get fully wired and use it for RGB (as you say, Composite is really not up to much these days in comparison to other options). The only drawback other than its analogue nature really is that it's not locking (but then, neither are cinch ("RCA connectors") or HDMI for that matter).

        2. Joseph Lord

          Re: Digital haze - no thanks

          Generally good post, I upvoted it but...

          Almost all CRT TVs only support one resolution: 625 lines (576 visible) at 50Hz interlaced in the UK. They don't have pixels as such in the horizontal dimension as they can handle signals purely in the analogue domain (unless they are flicker free 100Hz models when that processing is almost certainly digital). Monitors are normally more flexible in resolution and framerate but CRT TVs rarely are.

          LCDs (and Plasmas and OLED*s) have a fixed resolution display and will always have to convert the input signal to that resolution for display. How well this is done is one of the tougher tests of the TVs video processing and where you are most likely to be able to tell the difference between major brand high end products and less good products.

          You are right about settings. Certainly until recently you needed to make significant changes to any TV out of the box. At least the Sony's are now bearable for me out of the box when set to 'Home' model (2010/11 anyway although I assume 2012 are OK too). For me the main one is to reduce the Sharpness. Having Sharpness too high will exacerbate any noise in the picture including MPEG artefacts and if much too high will create visible ringing on high contrast edges.

    4. Mike Flex

      Re: Digital haze - no thanks

      > Every flat-screen we've ever seen has nasty digital haze around moving objects.

      That's standard definition for you. It's not visible on HD (Freeview, Blu-ray).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    plasma fanboy

    Plasma for those in the know. LCD for bozo's that are easily influenced by big ad budgets and complicit AV press keen of freebies.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: plasma fanboy

      Rubbish, Plasma for those who want to spend £1200+ on a TV and worry about burn-in. LCD for those who want to spend less than £1200 and not worry (so much) about burn in.

      It has sod all to do with marketing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: plasma fanboy

        It's such a shame nothing has come of FEDs. They promised all the advantages of CRT and plasma without the complete absence of phosphorescence with OLEDs.

        Personally I find TV sized OLEDs pretty hard to watch due to the flicker apparent when you move you eye across the screen. Phone sized ones look lovely though.

  5. WylieCoyoteUK

    I notice that 3D is not mentioned ... at last.

    I'm sure I had my specs in this coat.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I want real 3D, not this stereoscopic vision nonsense.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Cant believe some people posting on here saying they are still happy with their CRT screens are they for real?!

    I'll stick with my radio thank you very much none of this CRT trapped souls in a box setup

    1. Martin Huizing

      <sent from my radioshack stereo transistor radio>

  7. Lennart Sorensen

    I never did consider plasma an option. Of course given I am only now upgrading from a CRT, I am personally skipping straight to front projection DLP. I will admit that is never going to be a huge share of the market for TV though. OLED would be nice if it gets cheaper, but LED backlit LCD is quite nice. Plasma can just go the way of laser disc as far as I am concerned. It won't be missed.

  8. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    So that's it then?

    Screen technology has hit the buffers. No fresh ideas round the corner maybe. No alternative light sources. I guess all the researches can just go home now.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: So that's it then?

      Are you for real? There has been more change in screen technology in the last 15 years as in the previous 50. Given that most of the manufacturing processes are now fairly closely related to chip making techniques there is no reason to suppose we won't be seeing a "moores law" of TV for the foreseeable future.

  9. Thorfkin
    Thumb Up

    Another Plasma Fanboy

    I'll start by saying I own a Panasonic 58 inch plasma screen so i am a bit biased. I did a ton of research before I purchased so knew what I was getting into.

    I think the predicted death of plasma is premature. LCD is indeed cheaper but black levels are still a problem with LCD screens. Some of the more expensive LCD screens come comparably close to plasma in black level detail but by the time you get there you're actually paying more compared to plasma. OLED and Sony's Crystal-LED both produce excellent black levels that meet or exceed what plasma can do but both are 10 times as expensive so again, plasma is still the winner for people who want excellent quality for a reasonable price. It was only a few months ago I recall seeing Panasonic announce they had produced a flicker free plasma display at 150+ inches and as I am a fan of plasma I am definitely interested in seeing larger models come to market.

    I love my current Panasonic screen. I use it for my home theater PC. The burn-in that people so often mention when discussing plasma has primarily been corrected with the more current models. My set is 2 years old now and there's no visible burn in despite the fact that I spend hours a day playing games with stationary on screen interface elements. Just remember to run the anti-image retention utility that every current plasma set comes with, regularly.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Another Plasma Fanboy

      Ermm two flaws :

      The average consumer doesn't give a shit about black levels as long as its vaguely dark.

      The average consumer is far too lazy to run a reset utility.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another Plasma Fanboy

      We've had our Pioneer Kuro plasma for 4 years now and see no trace of the dreaded burn-in. Love the great black levels and dynamic range, the power consumption not so much. In winter the screen is a great heat radiator!

      LCD technology will likely be as good as plasma by the time our telly dies.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a sports bar with 22 plasmas

    Some of them date back to 2005. Most are turned on about 100 hours a week. None has ever had a problem, none has any burn-in or even had to have the brightness adjusted from the default. This may be because I bought only Panasonic and a few LG, none of those bargain basement brands Best Buy and Walmart mostly stock that may have saved a couple hundred dollars in the short term, but probably would have cost me by now.

    For fast action stuff like sports, plasma is far superior to LCD. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool. A modern high end LCD that costs about the same as a plasma comes close, but if I were in the market for more TVs today, I'd still go with plasma as it has performed flawlessly for me in every way.

    Plasma will be around unless/until OLED can compete on price and lifetime - the blue pixels have a short lifetime, fine for a phone, not so good if your TV is on a lot and you want it to last for years.

    1. Greg 16

      Re: I have a sports bar with 22 plasmas

      I'm a big fan of plasma, but if I was running 22 TV's for 100 hours pw in a sports bar, I think that I'd go for LCD just for the energy savings.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I have a sports bar with 22 plasmas

        The place needs to be heated nearly half the year, so the excess energy is only wasted half the year. Most are newer, and are actually pretty efficient. Keep in mind that LCD's claimed energy usage figures at a brightness only appropriate for a dark room, so the difference is not as great as one would think based on reading the specs.

  11. sueme2

    another one

    Me too. I like black blacks and I did not see any LCD that came close to matching plasma when I was out buying. The LED TV it replaced looked good at the time, but the difference was clear as soon as the new TV was turned on. The house cats even vote 1 for plasma. I doubt if the LED people will ever get me again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: another one

      Black blacks? Why? I prefer to see details and textures on dark objects, not just a hole in the picture!

      Have you ever seen black in real life so absolutely black that you can't see any detail on it? Even in dim candlelight I can still see the grain on the wood effect on my black speakers - on some tellies (like yours) video of that would show as totally black. Why do you prefer to miss subtle detail?

      My TV is adjusted so that in the evening it looks ever so slightly grey when the picture is supposed to be all black. Not a lot, but every so slightly.

      So far I've been delighted with it (LG 37" LED-lit LCD IPS) because everything looks so very natural (after a lot of fiddling) - and I was one of those CRT-hold-outs who only made the switch a year or two ago :)

      I can't stand orange faces like so many people watch because they wouldn't recognise natural colour if it friended them on Facebook. When it's set up right you can tell the difference between film, video, studio lighting, outdoors, dull day etc... not even subtle differences but the kind of thing that all comes out radioactively bright on most people's tellies because they like their bright colours like a baby watching Tellytubbies!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OLED tomorrow, plasma today

    High-end plasmas might get mostly killed by OLED by 2016, but that is no reason not to buy a plasma now - this technology, too, seems like it gets perfected just before its demise (Kuro zealots may say this has already happened with the Pioneer plasmas). And budget plasmas from Samsung and LG have provided the best picture quality for a given size and cost for several years now, at least for screen sizes 50" and above. But it seems the days of big investments in plasma technology are over - even the main proponent Panasonic, in financial trouble, announced an OLED joint venture with Sony recently, while the other two, LG and Samsung, have been the main pushers of OLED for some time.

    Still no matter what happens and how good OLED sets get, I predict there will be quite a few of plasma grognards who will hang around for even longer than the CRT fans, still hanging on to their old sets until 2020 and beyond.

    1. AOD

      Re: OLED tomorrow, plasma today

      As an owner of two Pioneer plasmas (one Kuro Panel - 508XD and one TV - 436SXE) I've yet to see anything that would make me want to switch. Neither are full HD but they both look pretty good when fed a decent signal either from Blu Ray or $ky HD.

      Our reaction to features such as 3D or Smart TV is pretty much "meh!", so unless there's a truly compelling reason to change, there won't be any upgrades round our way for some time.

  13. Stephen Hurd


    Just bought me a massive 92" Mitsubishi DLP for under $4000 USD. LCD can't even get within a foot of that.

  14. bumpy

    Good old days

    To me CRT to LCD is like Vinyl to CD - it just seems warmer and more lifelike.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good old days

      You haven't tried the better sets in the shops then. There are some awful unnatural pictures I admit, but also some with colour balance even better than the CRT you love.

      I used to cling to my CRT too, until I changed over a year or two ago. I would NOT go back!

      And I cringe at the flicker from my bedroom CRT telly on the rare occasions I can face using it. The lounge telly just doesn't. I wonder how I put up with it all those years. Do yourself a favour!

      Just don't go too big - it shows up the transmission artifacts too much. Just like the small CRT portables used to look stunningly detailed in the shops compared to the big blurry 28"ers, be careful to get the right size for your viewing distance. Bigger is not better beyond a certain point.

  15. toadwarrior

    Anyone with a preference for crt monitors is mad. The quality of LCD screens are far better now and the savings on size, weight and energy can't ever be matched. If your content looks bad on LCD that's just because you're seeing what it's actually like.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DLP +1

    If LCD or Plasma is the bomb, then why did Mitsubishi drop making all that for Laser Driven DLPs? Plus the DLP mirrors move 1000 times faster than any other format. So no motion blur. And really no reason for MHz screen rates. I have a Samsung Lamp DLP that is past 7k hours, and to date I have never found a LCD nor Plasma that can match the picture and the only motion blur I have seen in 4 year is from bad feeds. Blu-ray is just plain nutz! It's breath taking. Absolutely amazing. I will never have any other format. Next is a Mitsu 70ish to 90+ LaserVue. Haven't decided how large. That's why my delay.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I was shocked when I went into WallyWorld last week. They have had up at the end of the checkout counters >40" LCD's. They show Wally commercials of course. Almost half of the 10 had burned out pixels. Huge lines of them, not just a spot here or there. These are name brand Samsungs too!

    Is this fairly normal for sets that are on a lot?

    1. Joseph Lord

      Re: Normal?

      I don't think that's normal. My guess is that they bought cheap returned stock. Either that or they all came from the same really dodgy batch.

  19. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Just moved out CRT out

    and got in a larger LED - which looked better than tha plasmas in the shop.

    The CRT really was a lot better and if it wasnt for some bizarre logistics would be back in place.

  20. Bunker_Monkey

    S. E. D.

    Well if Canon/Toshiba had been a bit better prepared.... SED would be ruling about now.........

    Damn Texas Judges...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I too would like a "281m flat-panel telly"

    Apparently I have to wait until 2015 though, which is a shame

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LCD TV for £75

    I got my Raspberry_Pi and decided to get an extra 1080p monitor - but while looking around noticed the Tesco 22" Technika TV at £75, with a 1080p display and Freeview-SD tuner. Picture looked fine in the store, but was not displaying live TV. It would be useful as an occasional spare TV, as well. But I endorse what others say that out of the box the picture settings needed a lot of adjustment.

    Last week I watched some Wimbledon on the £75 LCD TV, side by side with my Sony Trinitron CRT TV. The pictures were better on the £75 LCD TV, whether using its own upscaler off the built-in Freeview-SD tuner, or input from HD-tuners. There was no difference compared to1080p PC-monitors with HD-Freesat/Freeview tuners. No motion blur with 130mph tennis serves, and the blacks are good too. I'd agree that these were problems a few years ago, but not now.

    None of this should be surprising - the LEDs behind the LCD picture are perfected and fast, so properly adjusted there should be no picture problems in that respect.

    There is relatively little front end to the tuner, it is DSP based, so given a fair signal it supplies perfect input.

    It seems likely that JPEG processing is being done with a multicore GPU, rather than overloading a CPU as may have been the case with earlier digital TV tuners, which gave rise to some video artifacts. Look at what a dual-core ARM-MALI GPU does for video on a tablet, and they'd be daft not to use the technology in a TV system chip.

    I haven't looked, or searched, for what it is, but the TV system on a chip inside this £75 TV is well specified with connectors. It only lacks a DVB-T2 tuner., and maybe because of that it is being used at a bargain price.

    Maybe some of the critics here should take a look at recent LED LCD TVs - and The Register should review some.

  23. {'-,_Ultron6_,-'}

    LCDs v Plasma

    LCDs look great in the shop - not natural, just gawdy and bright.

    Plasmas look great and more natural.

    Both can be improved with some fiddling.

    Then when you watch a sports program or movie and the LCD screens completely fail to produce anything realistic, often they soften the background and retain a weird focus on the central image.

    Plasma (recent plasmas from Panny) are excellent with motion.

    LCD = cheap and not so cheerful.

    Plasma = good for those that care about realism, but can be expensive.

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