How to Find the Right Flat-screen TV

Flat screen TVs have gained popularity as technology has improved and prices have come down. How do you decide what one is right for you? Due to LCD and plasma technology a flat screen TV can be made much thinner than the old style TV. The screens can be wall-mounted and are more elegant than the old CRT TVs [source: Which]. Here's a short synopsis of the differences and considerations of the two types of screens available.

  • Size There are different size screens available. The smallest screens are about 40 inches (102 centimeters), and the largest ones are really huge. Measure the space on the wall where you plan to mount your TV screen before shopping for your flat-screen TV, so you don't accidentally get a screen that's too big for your wall.
  • Audio Don't take quality audio for granted. Not all screens come with built-in speakers.
  • Color contrast Plasma screens generally produce sharper contrast and darker blacks than LCDs, giving a more detailed and realistic picture. However, LCDs give higher definition than plasma screens.
  • Picture quality Plasma screens tend to be larger than LCD screens and have a more filmic look to the picture [source: Phelan]. Therefore plasma screens can be viewed from a wider angle with no difference in the quality of the picture, i.e. the picture doesn't get distorted when viewed from a distance. However, LCD screens are better in a room that's brightly lit, as they have integral anti-glare technology.
  • InstallationLCD screens generally weigh less than plasma screens and are therefore easier to mount on the wall.
  • Cost LCD screens are generally less expensive than plasma screens. They also use less electricity and are cheaper to run than plasma screens [source: Riggs].