What is the Best Type of Flat Screen TV?

There are a wide variety of flat screen TVs on the market and choosing the best one can seem like a daunting task. Generally speaking, however, there are three main types of flat screen TVs and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. Finding the right flat screen TV for your home depends on several different factors and what you want your TV to do.

Here are the three primary types of flat screen TVs and some of their features:

Plasma TVs

Plasma TVs are made up of a sheet of tiny plasma cells that generate a picture when an electrical charge is introduced.

  • Plasma TVs typically have a higher contrast ratio which provides better picture quality and are great at handling fast moving images like sports
  • Plasma screens do carry the risk of permanent damage from static images like a network logo or a paused screen being burned into the TV.
  • A plasma TV typically uses more energy and will cost about 50% more to run per year than an LCD TV.
  • Plasma TV’s have a shorter lifespan than the others; they have a half-life of around 60,000 hours (this means that the TV’s brightness will be half of its original brightness in 33 years).


LCD TVs (or Liquid Crystal Displays) contain liquid crystal that is compressed between two plates of glass that are backed by a fluorescent lamp. Images are created by applying an electrical charge to the crystal.

  • LCD TVs are typically the most affordable of the three types of flat screen TVs and come in smaller screen sized that the other two may not.
  • These screens may not be able to create as deep of blacks as plasma TVs, giving you a somewhat faded picture.
  • LCD TVs offer a wide viewing angle, typically 175 degrees, so that you do not have to be sitting directly in front of it to see the screen clearly.
  • With a cooler running temperature than plasma TVs, LCD screens do not run the risk of burned in images and typically last longer.


LED TVs are very similar to LCDs but use hundreds of evenly distributed LEDs instead of a fluorescent lamp.

  • Backlit LED TVs offer excellent contrast ratios and offer a picture quality that is close to that of plasma screens.
  • LED TVs use the least amount of energy, about 40 percent less than an LCD TV.
  • With a half-life of over 100,000 hours, LED TVs have the longest lifespan of the three.
  • Since they are the newest in TV technology, LED TVs are generally more expensive and more difficult to find in stores.

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