LCD: A Bright Idea
LCDs (short for Liquid Crystal Display) are likely one of the most visible consumer products in the world. LCDs of some form can be found in calculators, cell phones, computer monitors, microwaves, various car audio and navigation systems, and many other consumer products. The popularity of the LCD can be attributed to the technologies many advantages. It allows for displays to be thin and energy efficient. LCDs are also capable of displaying an extremely high resolution in a very small space. These attributes make the LCD well suited for use as an HDTV display.
HDTVs that use LCD technology tend to have very sharp, clear pictures. Color accuracy can vary widely based on the quality of the HDTV in question, but the best LCDs can produce colors which are rich and vibrant. LCD HDTVs tend to be far brighter than plasma sets, which makes LCDs more suitable in bright environments. This becomes doubly true if an LCD with a matte finish is purchased. LCDs also have some advantages that are not related to the quality of the picture. They tend to be lighter than plasmas, sometimes by a significant margin, which makes them easier to move around. LCDs are generally thinner as well, which makes them appear more stylish, particularly when wall-mounted.
While the bright display of an LCD tends to make it leap out at consumers when in a brightly-lit store, that same brightness leads to the largest disadvantage of LCDs - black levels. LCDs are back-lit, which means there is a large light or series of lights behind the screen which shine through the LCD to create the picture. As a result, dark scenes in movies can be difficult to make out. For example, a night-time scene might feature a character walking down a dark alley. On an LCD the character's basic shape may only be visible, where as on a plasma it would likely be possible to see texture in the character's clothing and other finer details. Also, some LCDs have uneven back-lighting, which can cause certain parts of an image to appear brighter. Finally, LCDs tend to cost a little more than plasma televisions.