A reader writes: I need a good TV for my living room, and I’ve decided that LCD, particularly LED, is the way to go. I’ve heard that some plasmas can look better than LCDs, so I definitely want good video quality, but I heard they use up a lot of energy and I don’t want to break the bank if I can avoid it. Also, I’d like something that doesn’t use up too much power. Please… just tell me what to get!
What up, reader? Indeed, the Plasma vs. LCD conflict is a tough one, as plasma does traditionally provide better black levels, which can translate to superior contrast between dark and light onscreen, especially valuable when watching high-definition movies now in the Blu-ray era.
The good news is that LCDs are continuing to evolve, with the switch to energy-saving LEDs (light-emitting diodes) as their light source (versus more common cold cathode fluorescent lamps, if you want to get technical). The Next Big Thing in energy-efficient televisions is local dimming LED, which can make specific areas of the screen lighter or darker depending upon the picture being displayed. The improvement can be absolutely stunning, imparting more drastic blacks and a much-needed boost to the dynamic contrast ratio, rated at a mind-boggling 2,000,000:1. Unfortunately, a lot of these LED TVs are pricey, but we’ve found one from good ol’ bang-for-the-buck Vizio.