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Plasma vs LED: Cost and Longevity

Updated Dec 09, 2013 By Cedric Demers


plasma vs led tv price chart

Plasma televisions are about $350 cheaper on average than an LED TV of the same size. The chart shows the average price by size for plasma and LED televisions. As you can see, while cheaper, plasma TVs are available in less sizes than LED TVs. They range from only 42" to 65".

You can check out a dynamic version of that graph here, where all 2013 models are shown.
Winner: Plasma


In the earlier years of the technology, the life span of a plasma TV was really bad. Burn-ins were occurring frequently: leave the television open on a still picture and it will stay there forever. Burn-ins occur when the phosphor in a cell of a pixel wears down. This problem has been greatly reduced now with the help of technologies like cycling the pixels if it detects a still image and improving the quality of the phosphor. In newer models, only temporary image retention can sometimes happen. The image retention is not due to phosphor wear as for burn-ins, but to a residual charge that dissipates over time in a cell. It normally goes away by itself after a few minutes of watching TV. LCDs suffer a lot less from that problem and it is what made them very popular during plasma's early years.

What about the advertised life span? Most TVs are now advertised with a life span of 60,000, the equivalent of 6.85 years of continuous playing. Of course, this number is made up by manufacturers, they did not test a model for 7 years before selling it. That number is usually made by extrapolating a stress test on the assumed worst individual component of the television, tested separately. Comparing the advertised life span between television is not worth much.

Nowadays, you can expect your television to outlive your need for it. You will most likely want to buy a bigger and better television before it breaks.

This is of course assuming you do not get a defective model right out of the box.
Winner: LED

Best LED TVs by Size of 2014

Best 32 Inch LED TVs
Best 40-42 Inch LED TVs
Best 46-47-48 Inch LED TVs
Best 50 Inch LED TVs
Best 55 Inch LED TVs
Best 60 Inch LED TVs
Best 65 Inch LED TVs


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Due to the high volume of questions received, we no longer accept questions about specifics models outside of the United States. If you live in another country, you can still ask general questions though. Thank you for your understanding. Also, before asking for a recommendation, make sure you read our recommendations by size as well as use the search function of our website.