LCD displays hold all the technological cards

Flat screen technology has evolved in leaps and bounds over the last few years.

Not too long ago, any screen needed for presentations measuring over 30 inches had to be a plasma display, while 30 inches and under had to be an LCD.

"Newer technology has turned these markets on their heads," says Mark Campbell, GM of Tarsus Technologies Ltd. "Samsung (Electronics Co.), for example, has already shipped a 40-inch LCD, and we can see signs of LCDs starting to eat into the large display market. The question that buyers need to ask is, 'Which type of display will meet our needs, budgetary and otherwise.'"

Campbell recommends that customers consider four aspects when making an LCD versus plasma decision.

Firstly, plasma displays consume much more power than LCDs, requiring 295 watts, while LCDs are comfortable with 220 watts. This not only raises the electricity bill, but also the room temperature, as most of the excess power seems to be translated as heat. Add a fan into the equation for some models, and there is a noise factor to consider as well, making plasma unsuitable for quiet offices or reception areas.

The second consideration is the technology itself; plasma like CRT uses phosphors as fluorescent materials, which eventually lose their original optical characteristic. In contrast LCD, is a transmissive device, which makes use of a replaceable backlight that extends the life cycle of the product. Thus plasma monitors are more susceptible to burn-in than LCDs, which have an extended product life of 60,000 hours as opposed to 30,000 hours, Campbell claims.

Campbell notes that for moving pictures though, a plasma monitor currently produces better quality, because of its faster response time.

"Even the best LCDs have some blurring, due to limitations on the speed of lighting a liquid crystal pixel," he adds.

However, LCD screens display a higher resolution of 1 280 x 768 than the plasma screens, which come in at a resolution of 853 x 480. "A 30-inch plasma display cannot deliver the same resolution as a similar-sized LCD, and LCDs are likely to improve over time," says Campbell. Despite this, he adds, plasma monitors still have a clear advantage when it comes to a higher contrast ratio, even distribution of color and brightness, for now.

Thirdly, and most definitely not last on anyone's list, is cost. LCD displays use small transistors to produce their displays. The technology industry has a consistent track record of reducing transistor size and cost over time and this will apply in the monitor market as well, he says.

"We can expect LCD prices to fall faster than plasma over the next few years because of improvements in transistor size," Campbell notes. "We should even see larger LCDs coming to market at a lower cost than similar plasma devices."

The fourth advantage of LCD screens is their ergonomic value. Apart from being quieter than plasma screens, they are also less bulky and weigh a lot less. This promotes mobility, safety and versatility, as these monitors can be mounted on any wall to meet the requirements of its user, Campbell adds.

"When selecting a display solution that fits the pocket as well as the display requirements of a company, LCDs are becoming more popular and delivering more with each new generation. Most importantly, LCD prices have been and are dropping steadily," concludes Campbell.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Staff Writers

IDG Online
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?