The most important decision when buying a new TV is which type of display to choose: a plasma, an LED, or an LCD TV. As shown by the pictures below, they all have their advantages. However, most people will prefer an LED TV unless they have a dark viewing environment.
Update: Plasma TVs are now officially dead. Panasonic stopped producing them in 2013. Samsung and LG announced that 2014 will be their last year. If you are looking for a picture quality equivalent to a plasma TV today, your best bet is an OLED TV. Check out our OLED vs LED TV comparison for more details.
We removed LCD TVs from the comparison because they are obsolete and practically the same as LED TVs. As explained here, the only difference is that an LCD TV has a different light source behind the screen. The picture quality of an LCD TV is the same as an LED TV.
LEDs (which are basically the same thing as LCDs) are the biggest sellers. Their picture quality is not as good as that of plasma TVs, but still good enough for nearly everyone. They also offer greater practicability and they can get a lot brighter. The majority of people should opt for an LED TV - especially if the TV will be located in a living room with a lot of windows.
Plasma TVs have the best picture quality hands down, and are also cheaper. However, they are not very bright, so they are only suitable for dark rooms. They suffer from occasional but not permanent image retention and have a slight buzzing noise on bright pictures. Go for a plasma TV if you want no compromise on the picture quality and if it will not bother you each time an image is retained for more than two minutes.
To help you compare, the following table shows the major differences between a plasma and an LED television. Each difference is explained in greater detail in the next pages of this article.
You can see our top picks for the best LED TVs of 2015 that we reviewed here.
A lot of people are wondering why LED TVs have greater sales despite having worse picture quality. A big reason is that most people have bright living rooms, and not a dedicated dark room. LEDs perform better in this kind of environment because they can get significantly brighter.
I am looking for a 60 - 70" for living room with lots of windows. I watch sports and some movies and will be mounting it on the wall. My concerns are glare, motion blur and TV thickness. Cost is not a main concern. How do I choose between plasma and lcd?
Because your room is full of windows, go for an LED. It will be a lot brighter than a plasma and with less glare (check out the reflection pictures of the 2014 models that we reviewed). Motion blur will not be an issue if you go for a top model.
Why does an LED TV look so much better in a store than a Plasma TV does?
The lights in a retail store are usually really bright, so to compensate and sell more TVs, the store brings the brightness of their TVs to the max. Setting a TV's brightness to a high level in a store will make it "pop", which translates into increased sales. Because Plasma TVs cannot be as bright as an LED TV, they will often look faded in comparison to an LED TV in a store. Keep in mind that in a retail store environment, you cannot see the LED TV's biggest flaw: poor blacks. Once it is in your living room at night and you turn down that brightness, you should start seeing the difference.
Is burn-in still an issue with Plasma TVs like it was at the beginning?
Permanent burn-ins are not an issue anymore. However, temporary ones can still occur (as shown here). It even occured to us in a few of our reviews of plasma TVs. If you will sweat every time a logo stays on for more than five seconds, buy an LED TV instead.
If plasmas have better black levels and picture quality compared to an LED TV, why aren't more people opting for plasma technology? In my country, as in the rest of Asia, nine out of 10 of all TVs sold are led/lcd. Even on the internet, mostly everybody is talking about whether to buy a 46" lcd of x company or y company and there is absolutely no mention of plasma TVs. Agreed, there are fewer companies and fewer sizes available, but why not go for a 50" plasma instead of a 46" led if both are around the same price?
Picture quality is not the top priority for most people (even if this is what they claim). The truth is, LEDs have a good enough picture quality for the majority of people. LEDs are thinner and creates more of a wow factor in a retail environment due to their higher brightness. Also, LEDs are a lot brighter so more suitable for a normal living room setting (plasma TVs are better for basement-type rooms). Plasma is more affected by image retention and even though it is very rarely permanent, it does scare people off. For all these reasons, LEDs are indeed the best choice for 90% of the population. Plasma TVs are more for videophiles.
I can't stand the poor blacks and the poor backlight uniformity of an LED, but I am also afraid of image retention on a Plasma. What should I do?
Unfortunately, only the very high end LED TVs can offer blacks and uniformity that are close to Plasma TVs, but even those are not perfect. You should not be really worried about image retention issues on a Plasma. It does happen from time to time, but it will usually go away within minutes.
What is the difference between neo-plasma and plasma? Is neo-plasma better, or is LED?
Neo Plasma is Panasonic's marketing name for their new plasmas panels introduced since 2009. It is present in their top three models for 2012: ST50, GT50 and VT50. They have better blacks than their standard panels, but a few people reported an increased occurrence of temporary image retention on them. As for if it is better than LED, you can just consider Neo Plasma the same as a Plasma TV and follow this guide.
I keep seeing that the Samsung PN60F5500 plasma has a pentile display and is not true full 1080p. Is that true and should I steer clear of that display?
Pentile display is not as bad as it seems. Yes, it doesn't have the full resolution with all colors, but it does with the important ones. Unless you are sitting really close to the TV, you will most likely not see the difference. We haven't seen the PN60F5500 yet in person so cannot comment on if it is pentile or not, but the PN51F5500 that we tested was not pentile (see the close up of the pixels in our review).
What is the risk of leaving a plasma ON all the time compared to an led? I'm looking at a 50" Panasonic plasma because I do a lot of gaming, so I want the 600hz refresh rate. Ambient lighting is not a big problem. I also do not want to watch a movie and it feel like I'm watching a soap opera, I want it to look and feel like an action packed movie, I don't want it to seem like I'm standing there IN the movie.
Both a plasma and led TV could end up with image retention if it stays on all the time. Plasma will be worse though, so if you intend to do that you should go for an led. As for the soap opera effect, you can always turn that option off if you do not like it.
I am looking to get a new TV for my new home. I currently have a 50" plasma which I put in the bedroom. I am looking for at 65" or 70". I like plasma, but the cost seems to get pretty high at that size. Any thoughts on Vizio versus Sharp for the larger sizes? I watch a lot of financial news and movies.
Vizio and Sharp are more barebones TVs with limited extra features. They are a great value overall, especially for the size. They may not have the best picture quality (except for the Sharp Elite series), but it should be more than enough for the average person. As for the comparison between them, it will mostly depend on the actual model being compared. Check out all our reviews of the 2015 Vizio TVs here.
OLED technology has the potential to dominate all the others. It has all the convenience of LCD/LED coupled with the contrast of plasma.
Unfortunately, it is not widely available yet. Only very big and very expensive OLED televisions are currently available to general public. We will update this guide once it becomes more affordable to the mainstream.
I love the realistic image quality of high-end Panasonic Plasma and I watch movies most of the time. Unfortunately, the new 65 inch TV I intend to buy is for my living room, which has lots of windows. Would I be disappointed with the latest Samsung LED?
It depends on how picky you are. During day time, you will more likely prefer the Samsung LED. At night, though, and when watching dark scenes, you could be bothered by the less good (but still good) blacks. If budget is not an issue, check out the Samsung F8500 plasma. Its blacks are very good (although not exactly like the Panasonic VT60), but it can get even brighter (almost as bright as LEDs).
I am really leaning towards a Panasonic Plasma, maybe the ST60 series, for my dark basement living room. I was talking to a TV repairman today, and he advises against plasmas. He claims they run hot and have shorter lifespans than LEDs. I do watch a lot of DVDs and on some weekends the TV stays on pretty much all weekend, especially in the winter and anytime the weather is wet or cold outside. I would like a TV that can make it ten years. Would I be foolish to go with plasma? Not necessarily opposed to LEDs, but I know plasmas give the best picture in dark rooms like mine.
They indeed run significantly hotter than LEDs. Technically, plasmas do have shorter lifespan than LEDs, but in practice it wouldn't matter. Both should last over 10 years and they are more likely to break from either accidental causes (like moving it) or electrical component failure (common to both) than the actual panel wear. Unless, of course, you intend to leave it on 24/7 (like airport monitors).
I just purchased a refurbished 26" flat screen TV. I really do not know much about it. Like, for example, whether it is an LCD or plasma TV. How do I tell the difference?
An easy test is to touch the screen. If it is soft and bends, it is an LCD. If it is as hard as glass, it is likely a plasma. This test is not true for all LCDs though, because manufacturers sometimes put a glass panel even on an LCD/LED. In your case, it is an LCD, because no plasma TV was ever produced in the 26" size.
I have a Samsung 51 inch plasma TV that was recently hit and broken by a friend's child. I have had no problems with the TV otherwise and wouldn't mind buying the same TV, however, I'm worried about it being broken again. Are LED TVs any harder to break from an impact or are they all about the same?
They are about the same for resisting impacts. LEDs are softer to the touch than Plasma TVs (they rarely have a glass panel). However, I doubt any of them would resist to a big impact, they would just not shatter like glass. If you are really worried about that, you could always buy a separate protector (google search 'TV screen protector'). They are not pretty but get the job done. Also, make sure the TV can't fall off your table by mounting it to the wall.
Which Samsung TV is better for a living room with windows: the H7150 or F8500?
Both are really good in their respective category. But if you have a lot of windows in your room and watch TV during the day, go for the H7150. Even if the F8500 can get very bright for a plasma TV, is still can't compete with the H7150's brightness.
I live in a hot climate during the summer months which turns very cold in the winter months. Will this have an effect on a plasma TV, and how long should I expect a plasma to last in these conditions? I heard heat affects plasmas.
All electronics are affected by heat and have a reduced lifetime if they get too hot. The reason you probably heard Plasmas are affected more by heat is that they themselves generate more heat than an LED TV. Most plasmas even have little fans inside to help dissipate the heat. If your room gets hotter than than 40 °C (104 °F) for a Plasma or 50 °C (122 °F) for an LED, we suggest that you do not use your TV (it depends on the actual model though; some generate more heat than others). Leaving it turned off is not a problem with these high temperatures, and using your TV under these temperatures will have little effect on the lifespan - the actual model will have a lot more impact. As for the cold, unless your room goes below 0 °C (32 °F), you do not worry about it. The main thing that affects electronics in the cold is condensation.
I'm looking at the new Samsung pn60f5500 plasma for my basement. Seems like a lot of people are talking about Panasonic's, but I've heard Samsung's plasmas are just as good for picture quality and have fewer image retention issues. Is that true?
Both are really good Plasma TV brands. You will not be disappointed with either of them. Panasonic does have better picture quality (mostly from the deeper blacks), but the difference isn't big. The same is true for image retention; it is more common with Panasonic, but by only a slight margin. Choosing between the two brands is mostly splitting hairs.
I am told that plasma TVs may need to be recharged. As you can see, I am not really sure what I am talking about. I am still using a Toshiba 36" TV. Any truth to the recharging?
No, plasma TVs do not need to be recharged. The phosphor in a cell of a pixel on a Plasma TV does wear out slightly over time. It cannot be refilled, but you shouldn't worry about that because the other electronics parts will die long before the phosphor.
I game a lot and am thinking of buying a 50 inch plasma TV since it will be in my basement. Would image retention be much of a problem if I play around five hours at a time every week and also watch movies, or should I get an LED since I will also be using it as a monitor for my gaming PC?
It depends on your actual unit, but you will probably notice some temporary image retention from time to time. Plasmas are great for gaming because they handle motion way better than LEDs, but you do have to live with the occasional retention. If you do plan on using it as a computer monitor a lot, we do suggest you go with an LED.
I have a living room 20ft length by 17.5 wide, 9ft ceilings with three big windows on the left. I would like to mount the TV over the fire place, either a 65 or 75in TV. I'm leaning towards an LED but worried about viewing angle when we host parties. Do you recommend LED or plasma?
You should go for an IPS LED panel, they have a greater viewing angle (but at the cost of a lower contrast). You can find these in LG and Panasonic TVs. Samsung TVs offer better blacks, but they also have a more limited viewing angle. Check out viewing angle results of the LED TVs that we tested this year.
In one of your responses to a question concerning sound, you recommended buying a "sound bar". What is that? I have found the sound quality in the new thin TVs to be extremely poor. What is the best way to obtain acceptable sound?
It is a compact form of a surround sound system. It is called a sound bar because it looks just like a horizontal bar, which you usually put below or above your TV. The main advantage over a real surround sound system is the ease of installation - it's just a box next to your TV compared to five speakers distributed around you. Obviously, the sound is not as good as a real sound system, but it is a nice improvement over the TV's built-in sound.
I have a 51" Samsung plasma (pn51e550) I believe. I bought it in 2012 and I'm wondering whether a 2013/2014 led might give me better picture and better 3D. I use the set in my basement mostly for watching movies, as well as some sports and occasionally for PS3 games. Any thoughts? I have read recent reviews that don't give the Samsung the greatest reviews.
No, your TV is pretty good already. It's better than most LED TVs even of today (besides for 3D).
Which technology (lcd, led or plasma) is best for a TV used in a lobby?
Usually, lobbies are well lit rooms and not a dedicated TV area. You will appreciate the high brightness of an LCD/LED over the deep blacks of a Plasma in such an environment. As for an LCD vs an LED, they are basically the same technology - they are just at a different price point.
I recently bought a Dynex 60". Sound was terrible compared to my older sony 55". Are the speakers in all TV's now made for surround systems?
The problem is that manufacturers care more about the thickness of the TV than the sound. It is also a good way to reduce cost. If you really care about sound, you should at least invest in a sound bar.
I want to buy a 51 inch Samsung Plasma TV. Is there a big difference in picture quality between PN51F5300 and PN51F8500? I'm more concerned with picture quality than any other feature.
The difference is big. The black level is about the same, but the F8500 can get more than twice as bright. It also has an anti-glare filter and it flickers less. If you can afford it, you won't regret upgrading to the F8500.
I am torn on which is better for me. My TV will primarily be used for my computer and video games, as well as sports events. I am looking at an led, but am starting to lean towards a plasma.
If you will be using it as a computer monitor, you are better with an LED. It is risky to use a plasma in such a way due to image retention issues (a computer picture has a lot of static images, like the toolbar).
I recently purchased a secondhand Samsung PS-42p3s plasma TV. It was purchased by the owner around the end of 2006. Worried about how long it will last. It is running well now. What should I do to ensure its longevity?
Is there any image burn in/retention? If not, it could still run a few years. Eight years is already a long time for a TV though. But as long as you don't set the luminosity to the max, it could still be good for a few more.
I still watch my Samsung 27" CRT TV. It works fine. I don't understand what I am missing by not buying a new skinny TV and tossing this one out. Do you hate me for being happy with my TV?
Haha no. In fact, compared to today's TVs, old CRTs are still better in some aspects. For example, they have better contrast ratio, very low motion blur and minimal input lag. They were discontinued not because they don't have a good picture quality, but because they don't scale well in size (too bulky).
What are the qualities of LED over plasma which makes it more costly than plasma?
I am looking for a TV for my living room, which has windows. A 43in plasma is much cheaper than a 40in LED, but I am interested in buying the LED. What do you suggest?
The higher cost just means that the technology is pricier to produce in large quantities. LED is more suitable for rooms with a lot of windows because it usually has less reflectivity and the picture can be brighter. So in your case, you should opt for an LED if the price isn't out of reach.
I am looking at a 60" 3D HDTV. I am leaning toward plasma. Since our TV is on 10-12 hours per day, can you give a ballpark percentage difference in power consumption between plasma and LED LCD (used in low ambient lighting and assuming same content, mostly off air SD and HD)?
It would be about $185 vs $60 for an LED. Keep in mind though, that this is the worst case scenario of displaying really bright content on a plasma, because their power consumption changes depending on the brightness of the picture displayed. Check out our calculator for more info.
I currently have a 42" 720p plasma from 2008. I want to upgrade to a 60+" from this year, but I'm having trouble deciding if I should settle for a low end, name brand plasma or spend extra for something like the ST60. Is it really that much better? Most review sites do a great job of comparing models of the same year, but it would be nice to have a section like "How it compares to models from five years ago".
Contrary to LED TVs, the plasma technology improved a lot in the last few years. The biggest improvement is in terms of blacks. There is a noticeable difference between a mid-level 2008 plasma and a mid-level 2013 one.
I am looking for a 60 inch TV for my firm's lobby area. I will be running advertisements, about us, meet our team, company logo, etc, on the TV. It is not surrounded by windows but has lights. What is best? Plasma or LCD/LED?
Definitely LED in this case due to lower image retention. Also, try going for a IPS panel (LG or Panasonic usually). It has a wider viewing angle, which will be useful in your setting. The downside is lower contrast, but you do not need great contrast in an office's lobby.
Are you saying that you can't watch a plasma TV with the lights on?
It depends on the model and how much light is on. Entry level models do not have an anti glare filter, so they are quite reflective. A small light is OK with them. Mid to high level models should have very little reflection, but they still can't get very bright. These will work in a standard living room with a window. Check out the pictures that we took under lights for a better idea.
Why does your power consumption in the comparison say $45 (plasma) vs. $15 (LED), when your own power estimator says they should be ~$11 and ~$8 for a 40" display, respectively? Using your power estimator you linked above, it would take a 72" screen to get to the $45 annual cost stated for a 40" display in your comparison. Could you please update one or the other to reflect the proper power consumption of these TVs?
Thanks for pointing out this error. We forgot the table when we updated the numbers to 2014. It is fixed now.
What TV specification represents whether the screen is glossy or matte?
I have 42 inch Vizio tv with a matte finish and my sister has a 42 inch Vizio with a glossy finish. I like hers much better and want to buy a new TV with a glossy screen, but can't figure out how to tell the difference.
Manufacturers don't usually mention the screen finish. You will either have to see it in person or check out our pictures of reflections.
I have a sensitivity to certain lighting. I can watch TV for hours on my old TV, but it seems like when I'm on my computer or watching TV on a new model with LED lights, it bothers my eyes more. Why is this? How is the lighting different?
Usually this is due to the backlight flickering. Some screens flicker their backlight while others are always lit. You can control this on some TVs via settings like LED motion.
I want to buy a TV specifically for gaming and for watching HD movies, I would usually keep it on for a long time as I want to connect my Mac to it as well. Energy consumption is not an issue, however, as far as plasmas go, I'm worried about the image retention you've mentioned. The lighting in the room can be controlled. How should I go about this?
If you want to use it as a computer monitor, you should opt for an LED. There is a lot of static content on a computer monitor (bar at the bottom and top for example), so it will be more prone to image retention.
I am considering a 55" LED, to be mounted 12 feet from where I will sit. I'm concerned that the picture may not be as sharp at 75 degrees versus a 90 degree angle. Should I be?
It depends on the model. If you get a Samsung, it is borderline. The colors will be slightly washed out at that angle. If you get an LG though, you should have no problem. Check out our videos of viewing angle here (although they are horizontals).
What are your concerns / recommendations regarding mounting TVs over a fireplace that has a cast iron propane stove insert (that has a blower to better circulate the heat outward)? I'm planning to buy a 65 inch LCD TV and use a 2" slim wall mount. The top of the stove is 28" and the bottom of the TV will be 23" higher (51"). The stove comes 13" from the fireplace wall cavity and there is a 9" mantel (so the stove sticks out 4" more than the mantel). Therefore the front of the 3" thick TV will still be 4" back when flush (not tilted or swiveled). And what about potential damage to a sound bar on the mantle? Should I be so concerned about TV performance or longevity that I spend money on a warranty?
You should try measuring the temperature first at that place. The TV itself already generates heat. LED TVs are usually rated up to 122 °F. If the temperature above your stove is more than that, you shouldn't put an LED there. If it is hot but less than that, an extended warranty is definitely a good option due to the added risk.
What would you recommend using to clean TV screens?
Start with a dry soft cloth (no liquid, especially no window cleaner). This should clean almost everything if you rub it for a while. If there are still some spots left, add a little bit of water to your cloth (but not much).
Just converted my garage into a theater room (16x16). With that I have two questions: how big of a TV can I go with, and which do you recommend? I currently have two plasmas and love them, but due to the size I know I will have to go with an LED, preferably backlit. Suggestions?
You can pretty much go as big as you can afford for a room of that size. It will therefore depend on your budget. Check out the Samsung UN75J6300.
Update: Updated to newer model for recommendation.
I am thinking of getting a new TV and displaying my computer on the TV. The reason for me doing this is to get a bigger viewing screen to do some work, surf the net, watch HULU, Youtube, and watch TV shows. What TV brand and model should I be looking for? I am also going to connect my Xbox 360 to the TV. Thanks for your time.
If you are sitting at a normal PC monitor distance, you will want to go for an IPS panel for the colors to stay accurate even on the edge of the TV (because they are at a wide angle when you sit close). You will probably prefer a 4k TV also, assuming your computer can drive it. As a rule of thumb, go for an LG TV that fits your budget and target size.
What does IPS panel mean? And why an LG TV? Would any LED TV be able to display information from a computer?
IPS means In-Plane Switching. It is a category of LCD panels, usually found in LG LED TVs. Any TV can work as a computer monitor. However, if you sit very close, non-IPS TVs lose saturation in the colors on the edge of the screen due to the angle. Which is why most people prefer IPS panels for PC monitors as far as color accuracy goes.
Hi! Very helpful website indeed! I have been to see the OLED TVs and they do look absolutely stunning. I am interested in what you think of the reports that Samsung is going to chase QD-LED instead of OLED. It seems to me the future is still uncertain for OLEDs.
From a business perspective, it definitely makes more sense to stick with LCDs than go for OLEDs. They can keep their current factories. The R&D cost of improving just the backlight is a lot lower too. Even if this approach doesn't yield the best picture quality, it is more profitable. LG is taking a big risk by opting for OLED. The picture quality is better, but can they be profitable with them? If they can't bring the cost down enough, it doesn't really matter if the picture quality is better. Most people want a bigger TV, not a better one.
I just purchased a Samsung HU8550 4K 3D flat screen. I already have a PS4 that I use for gaming, but when it comes to Blu ray, is there a player that is superior to the Playstation and would be more compatible with the Samsung's 4K capabilities?
No, your PS4 should work fine. It doesn't upscale to 4k, but the TV does. The end result is about the same.
All this is somewhat academic now, given the demise of plasmas. But one point of interest that you do not cover is pixel pitch: the high-end LEDs always have a crisper picture than even the best plasmas because of the finer pixel pitch that is possible with LCD screen technology. Even the Samsung F8600 series--the sharpest plasma every made--is not quite as crisp as the better Samsung LED sets. I mention this only because that extra detail can be quite alluring, even addictive, for some people, eclipsing the slightly better pop and contrast you get with plasma. Your thoughts on this?
Plasma and 1080p LED TVs of the same size will have the same pixel pitch. Here is a photo of the Panasonic S60's pixels vs the Samsung J6300pixels. You can see that the pitch is pretty much identical.
Still, now that higher-end TVs are 4k, those will have finer pixel pitch, so you're right that those TVs will be much more attractive in that way. Hopefully someday we'll get the best of both worlds.
How do I find a TV that is 1080p/24 Compatible?
I have a video camera that records 1080p at 24p frames per second (23.98fps) How can I be sure the TV I buy can display this video natively?
Look for the specification called "24p playback" or "3:3 pulldown" (in the settings menu. It is sometimes called Smooth Cinema or CineMotion). Most 2013 models have this option now. Check out our article here for more info about this.
Bought a 42 inch plasma for the basement. It gets kinda cold in the winter. Will the plasma be ok down there?
It depends how cold it gets and if it is in used during that time. The operating temperature range is usually 50°F to 104°F (10°C to 40°C). The storage temperature is -4°F to 113°F (-20°C to 45°C). As for humidity, operating range: 10% to 80% and storage range: 5% to 95%.
How many hours of gaming (Black Ops 2) would cause serious image retention on a Panasonic 50 inch Plasma TV?
It is hard to tell. What will most likely happen is after a long gaming session (like 5+ hours), some HUD elements like the minimap or the ammo count will stay on the screen for a few minutes before slowly disappearing.
Something burnt up in the plasma in my living room and the picture is now "not quite right" for lack of a better description. I'm looking to replace it and am unsure how "bright" my living room is. The tv hangs on a wall at a 45 degree angle from the north wall with windows. It's never really hit with direct light. Thinking back, I can visualize sometimes where the view was likely too dark for the lighting in the room. We rarely watch movies, mostly watch sports (day and night on weekends)/sitcoms (mainly at night). Viewing angles would be within 45 degrees. Should I go for the plasma again (51" Samsung 1080p) or look at a Vizio like LED? Based on all the reviews for picture quality, I was convinced of plasma. Am I underestimating the daytime pros of the LED and/or overestimating the night time viewing/sports motion cons of the LED? Any suggestions based on that?
This is a hard one. How happy were you with your previous plasma? The Samsung F5300 plasma reflects a significant amount of light, so it isn't ideal in a bright room. For daytime viewing or even sports at night, an LED is more than good enough. Therefore, you should probably go for an LED.
I'm looking to replace my old Sony 42-inch plasma TV with another of the same size, but newer, so that it can receive OTA signal (we have rooftop antenna) and to accommodate 2 HDMIs (for Roku and Apple TV). We watch Roku at night, and sometimes my husband mirrors (via Apple TV) sports. I'm willing to buy used on Craigslist, but wonder: 1) Is it worth waiting to find a suitable plasma TV? 2) Would we be just as happy with a new LED? 3) If we go with LED (40-43 inches), do we spend the extra $150 to get a "smart" TV, or is the older "dumb" TV just as good? Best Buy salesman says Sony is hands-down the best quality, however the Sharp (dumb) TV is $200 cheaper and picture looks just as good. [We don't use extra sound bar, so audio is also a consideration.] Thank you. [And absolutely no gaming / very rare daytime viewing].
1) Used plasma TVs are riskier than LCD TVs because the picture quality degrades over time. 2) You will most likely be just as happy with an LED as with a Plasma TV. If it wasn't the case, LED TVs wouldn't sell well. 3) Dumb is just as good, but in most cases, models with better picture quality are only offered with smart features. Therefore, you might end up with one even if you don't plan on using the extras. 4) We didn't test a Sharp TV yet, but if you find the picture quality just as good, get it.
Most of the content I watch is classic black and white movies on an ancient 20", 4:3 aspect ratio Magnavox.
What would be the best technology for that content with the minimum size 16:9 format to maintain the same physical picture dimensions and the same (equivalent) resolution?
Lower resolution contents will always look best on a screen with the same native resolution (a 4:3 CRT TV in this case). A 16:9 TV will make lower resolutions look blurrier unless the movie is remastered for higher resolutions. To keep the same viewing size of a 20" 4:3 TV, pick a TV that has the same height as your TV. Or if you have the diagonal size, multiply that by 1.22 to find the HDTV size you need to keep the same viewing area. Rounded up, you would need a 25" HDTV but there is not much choices at that small size. You would get more choices if you go with a 32" TV. The Sharp LE653U would be a good choice although a little part of the screen is cropped at low resolution (it is zoomed in). For that size, it won't be better with other brands. We don't think it's a major issue neither but if you really want to avoid this, only the bigger Sony 40" R510C would display a complete picture.
I am replacing my 25" CRT tv that I have had for the last 13 years. After doing LOTS of research I had hopes of finding a plasma TV (ST50) but I've given up. When I scour the current offerings of LED TV's I am disappointed by the numerous negative aspects. I've been looking at Visio's M50-C1, Sony's 800 and 830, as well as Samsung 6300 and 6500. However it's not until the Samsung 7100 that I feel I'm no longer compromising. We watch one or two DVD's a week and that's about it. My four children sit in a row so low marks for viewing angle scare me off but since we watch movies primarily I want that good contrast and 24P playability. Considering what I am coming from, what is really likely to bother me and what low scores should I ignore? Can I have contrast and viewing angle?
The only way to have both contrast and viewing angle is on an OLED TV. In your situation, the Samsung JU7100 should satisfy you (as long as you don't expect the same picture as your CRT).
I have an opportunity to get an LG 55 inch SMART LED TV with HDMI cable. My current TV is a flat screen, but every 2-3 years I have to replace a large light bulb in the back of the TV. Would I have to do the same for this LG SMART LED TV or is it maintenance free?
It should be maintenance free and last at least over 5 years without the need to replace any parts.