Differences between led, lcd and plasma screens

The speed at which new technologies evolve means that more and more variables must be taken into account when choosing an advertising screen. Therefore, to select the monitor that best suits the needs of each business, it is convenient to analyse all the existing models on the market, evaluating variables such as image quality, size, energy consumption or price. Hence the importance of knowing the differences between LED, LCD and plasma screens.

To help you in your choice, in this article on our blog we summarise the main characteristics of these three most common types of flat panel monitors.

LCD screens

Although in Visual Led we have already talked about how an LCD screen works, it is worth remembering what it consists of. Basically, liquid crystal displays (LCDs) are a flat screen made up of a number of monochrome or colour pixels. These are liquid crystal molecules contained between two transparent electrode plates (as if it were a sandwich) and located in front of a light or reflective source.

Regarding its technical specifications, we can highlight the following.

  • Very good image quality. LCD screens use pixels accompanied by a backlight, which provide a standard image. If the monitor is NOT professional, we can perceive the lack of density in black and grey.
  • Dimensions. Due mainly to its backlight system, a professional LCD screen is usually large and somewhat heavier than an LED screen, as we will see below.
  • Electric power consumption is very low, lower than that of plasma, although higher than that of LED screens.
  • Regarding the differences between LED, LCD and plasma displays, LCD monitors are the most affordable of them all.
  • Its useful life is around 60,000 hours.

LED screens

On our website, we have also referred many times to LED displays for advertising, since they are the first product that we began to market, back in 2003. In any case, to refresh this concept, it is enough to point out that it is a device electronic made up of light-emitting diodes or LEDs, which allow the emission of data, texts, static images, videos, etc. This type of screen should not be confused with LCD screens or plasma screens with LED backlight, used in laptops and televisions.

  • Excellent image quality. LED technology provides a more accurate and homogeneous image than LCD screens. Diodes can be placed everywhere behind the screen (on models called Full LEDs) or just on the edge of the screen (Edge LED model).
  • The absence of a backlight system allows LED displays to be lighter than LCD displays.
  • Electricity consumption is lower than that of LCD and plasma screens.
  • The price of LED monitors is slightly more expensive than that of the LCD and considerably cheaper than that of plasma televisions.
  • The useful life ranges from 80,000 to 120,000 hours.

Plasma screens

Although in Visual Led we do not sell these screens, since they are impractical for commercial use due to their extreme fragility, it is good to keep in mind what they are and how they work. Basically, these are flat screens provided with two glass panels that contain a mixture of two noble gases: neon and xenon.

Plasma display technology broke into the 1970s. Plasma displays require an electrical current to function to illuminate the combination of gases they contain. As a result of this action, these two harmless gases are transformed into plasma. The light thus produced is ultraviolet and, therefore, invisible to the human eye. The red, green and blue matches scattered across the screen give way to visible coloured light in the form of pixels.

The plasma principle makes it possible to produce large and, above all, thin screens – just a few centimetres – unlike what happened with the old cathode ray tube televisions. In addition, it offers a good level of contrast, even at a 160 degree angle, and generates a wide spectrum of colours.

We owe this technology to two professors from the University of Illinois: Donald L. Bitzer and H. Gene Slottow, who wanted to develop a pedagogical method based on computing. Its plasma screen, the prototype of which was introduced in 1964, was monochrome. Although it could not compete in its origins with cathode ray tubes, its large size opened the doors of spaces such as stations, stock exchanges or large industries.

In 1992, the Japanese multinational Fujitsu took up Bitzer’s legacy and, in 1995, the American engineer Larry F. Webber created the first colour plasma screen, capable of reproducing 16.77 million colours. This was launched on the market in 1997 under the Pioneer brand.

Having made this short introduction about the history of plasma and its evolution, we now summarise its most important characteristics.

  • Image quality. It is similar to that of LED screens and superior to that of low-end LCD screens (we do not market them of this type), especially with regard to black and grey tones. However, the brightness of the screen may be insufficient.
  • The minimum size of a plasma screen is 107 cm. Therefore, it can take up more space than the LCD and LED.
  • Plasma screens consume more energy than LCD and LED.
  • Plasma screens tend to be somewhat more expensive than LCD and LED screens.
  • Its useful life is about 100,000 hours maximum, somewhat less than LEDs.