Plasma was once a popular type display technology used in TVs, computer monitors and other devices. Over the past decade, though, device manufacturers have been transitioning to alternative solutions, including liquid-crystal display (LCD). So, what’s the difference between LCD and plasma, and why is LCD is the preferred technology among manufacturers?
How They Work
LCDs and plasmas work in completely different ways. LCDs use a backlight to illuminate a layer of liquid crystals, thus producing an image. In comparison, plasmas feature groups of phosphor-coated cells that are activated with gas. As a result, the pixels within plasmas produce their own light, whereas the pixels within LCDs must be illuminated from a backlight.
There are different types of plasmas and LCDs, but they all use these same basic designs. LCDs have liquid crystals that are illuminated with a separate backlight, whereas plasmas have phosphor-coated cells that are activated with gas.
LCDs offer a superior level of brightness when compared to plasmas. While some of the early-model LCDs suffered from low brightness, manufacturers have since corrected this fault. LCD devices sold today feature bold, bright displays to enhance their image quality.
Higher Native Resolution
LCDs also have a higher native resolution than plasmas. This is important because native resolution represents the maximum number of pixels the device can display. With a higher native resolution, LCDs are capable of displaying more pixels than plasmas. Along with a superior level of brightness, this is one more reason why LCD technology has surpassed plasmas.
Screen burn-in is a common problem encountered with plasmas. This occurs when an image is displayed on a plasma for a long period of time, resulting in the phosphor compounds changing unevenly. Since LCDs don’t use phosphor compounds, though, they don’t suffer from screen burn-on.
Statistics show that LCDs use about half the amount of power as plasmas. This is important because energy efficiency can affect the battery life of portable display devices. By using LCD technology, manufacturers can create portable devices that last longer on a single charge. And even for traditional, non-portable display devices, energy efficiency will affect operating costs.
To say LCDs last long would be an understatement. When used in conjunction with an efficient backlight, such as light-emitting diode (LED), an LCD can last for up to 100,000 hours — or even longer in some cases. Plasmas, on the other hand, have an average lifespan of about 40,000 to 60,000 hours, meaning you’ve get twice the use out of an LCD.