For plasma TVs, one of the biggest potential negatives is the “burn in” effect. Burn in is when an image stays on the screen for an extended period of time and then gets somewhat burned in to the screen. This might happen, for example, when you watch a movie that places black bars on the edges in order to keep the original theatre ratio. To avoid this with movies, you can zoom in one click to fill the screen. But burn-in might also occur if you leave your TV on a news channel that runs a news ticker across the bottom. The better plasma TVs have a feature called “white flash” that allows for correction if burn-in occurs; however using this function is said to shorten the TV’s lifespan. For most TV viewers, however, burn-in will not be an issue. Unless you keep your TV constantly tuned to a news channel, or run movies 24 hours a day, you won’t have to worry much about this. For LCD TVs, burn-in isn’t a problem.
It’s generally thought that plasma TVs handle fast-moving action better than LCD TVs. On an LCD TV, when watching a football player moving down the field, for example, it might seem as if the edges of his body are somewhat fuzzy – a jagged and blocky line rather than a crisp, clean one. This is a delay caused by the TV not being able to keep up with the action. LCD TVs are improving in this area, however, and the problem lessens considerably when watching high-definition TV. This is something for sports fans, especially, to consider. But many sports fans with a large plasma or LCD TV will already have HDTV. As mentioned, an HDTV signal increases picture quality dramatically.
Both LCD TVs and plasma TVs may suffer from pixel problems – when a pixel is either always “on” (lit up when the screen is black, for example), or the pixel is always “off” (black when it should have colour or be white). A few dead pixels here and there are not going to be noticeable, and companies usually state that a few dead pixels are “allowed.” One of the best ways to avoid problems with dead pixels is to go with reputable manufacturers. If you go with a reputable manufacturer, you’re less like to have the problem in the first place, and if for some reason you do have the problem, a reputable manufacturer will take care of it.
Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.