Many people are confused and a little overwhelmed at the choices to be made when buying a new HDTV. What are differences among the screens such as Plasma, LED, and LCD? How do I figure out what the resolutions mean? Is 720p better than 1080i? Here is a basic guide I have put together to at least get you started if you are not familiar with the differences among the technologies. It is possible for a plasma screen to suffer the same burn-in images that can affect the old-time CRT tubes. Generally, plasma screens have a somewhat shorter life than an LED or LCD tv. To those of you that know a lot about this technology I apologize for oversimplifying but I am trying to help folks that are just beginning to learn. Plasma screens: Plasma screens have phosphor that directly emit light. These sets are likely to be a bit thicker than LED and LCD tv sets and will tend to have less brightness than LED or LCD. Plasma tvs, on the other hand, are generally going to be a little less expensive. If you want a very big TV, such as an 80", a plasma may not be the best choice. Plasma tv have very wide viewing angles and excellent black levels. They make good home theater tvs. LED screens: These screens are much brighter than plasma screens but they do cost more. You can get an LED screen in very big sizes and the sets can be less thick than a plasma. LEDs are a subset of the LCD screens. LEDs are little diodes that directly emit light. You may hear of "edge lit" vs "back lit" LED screens. The edge lit are a little better. LED tvs will cost more than plasma or LCD tvs. LCD screens: These are not quite as good as LED but somewhat better than plasma. LCDs have poor black levels than LEDs. The viewing angle is also more narrow than an LED. Somewhat sitting off to the side may not see as good an image as those sitting more directly in front of the televison. Screen resolutions tend to come in either 720 lines of horizontal resolution or 1080 lines (there is also a lower resolution of 480).. Old style CRTs have about 525 lines. Along with the numbers of lines of resolution there is also how the lines are made. If the number is followed by a "i" then half the lines are "painted" across the screen and a second pass is used to go in between those lines. Two passes get you to your 720 or 1080. If the number is followed by an "p" than all of the lines are accomplished in one pass. P stands for progressive and this will give you the best image and will less flicker. In general, a tv that can do 1080p will provide the highest resolution. Now, there are other variables that work towards how crisp and clear an image will be but this is a good basic starting point. If you can afford it, I would recommend a 1080p LED edge-lit tv for a typical living room. If you are building a home theater with lots of seats than a plasma tv would be better because of the wider viewing angle and the black levels are the best. With this basic information you can make a more informed buying decision. It is worthwhile to go online and read reviews about various models and brands and maybe even look a little deeper into other specifications that can affect the performance of a tv. Good luck!!
One more thing to note with the plasma tv's is that they leave a pixel trail with fast motion pictures, but as mentioned you can save a lot of money if it doesn't bother you, or if you don't watch many action flicks.