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Plasma or LCD?

I am putting together a small presentation system for a church, and have run into a question that does not fall withing my strongest area of expertise :). This is something I am doing on my own, not through my company; besides we mostly do residential work so I'm not as familiar as I coud be with this type of system.

In a nutshell, there are two displays: a Proxima projector in the sanctuary, and a yet-to-be determined flatscreen in an overflow seating area. Normally, both will have the same source material, but not necessarily always. The primary source is a multi-media PC (laptop, so the person doing the programs can take it home), and there will be a secondary souce of a VHS VCR. I am distributing signal to both displays via an Extron twisted pair distribution amp and receiver combination, and sending YPrPb and composite to both. The system may on occaision be used for videos, but that will be an exception rather than the rule; mostly we are talking Powerpoint type slides, visual aids (charts and maps), announcements, and song lyrics.

My question is about the flat-screen display in the overflow area. I need something in the 37-42" range, but I am not at all certain whether I should be going plasma or LCD here. Costs these days are pretty close, and not the deciding factor in the decision. What I am wresting with in my inexperience on this end of things is longevity of the displays, viewability, and screen burn in. I know that I will get a better picture on the plasma, but I also don't particularly need anything fancy...the bulk of the program is going to be text.

Any helpful suggestions?


  • Dave,

    My recommendation would be to go with the LCD.

    The company that I worked for this past year had mostly used plasma displays. I still work there on a contract basis now and we are generally using an LCD if the screen size is in the 40" range and only using plasmas for 50" and larger. For really large displays, we are beginning to use video walls made up of DLP cubes.

    When LCD displays get to be more common in the 50" and above range we will probably switch to them as well.

    We have seen the plasmas get burned-in images during the first week of use. The screen-savers, orbiters, and other techniques do work, but generally we will have something go wrong and an image will stay up on a plasma overnight or through a weekend. At that point it is gone.

    We have used plasmas from NEC, Fujitsu, Hitachi, and Pioneer and LCD screens from NEC and Christie Digital. All have similar choices of inputs and features. My only complaint with the early NEC LCD displays was that the RS-232 interface was very limited. You could turn it on and off, and switch inputs.

    The LCD display also seem to run a bit cooler than the plasmas.

  • Hi Dave
    I agree with Danny, LCD is your best bet. Plasma is very prone to burn in of static images. I belive that they are also heavier(on average), consume more power and run hotter. We postphoned a huge display project a few years ago on campus due to the above. A few dead pixels you can live with but a burnt screen is very noticable. The next up and coming display technology I'm really interested in is from a company called i-fire(i-fire.com) Their product is suppose to be better and cheaper.
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