by Victor Yap

Pix Credit:
Rows and rows of flatscreen displays...what is the perfect choice?
Flatscreen TVs have been experiencing price cuts all year round since LED-backlit LCD TVs were introduced into the market three years ago. With prices for the smallest LCD TVs dropping at an escalated rate, consumers are certainly encouraged and somewhat compelled to ditch their old TV sets for these fancy new ones.

So here’s the scenario: It’s roughly a month before Chinese New Year or Hari Raya (or some other upcoming festive season) and you feel it is the right time to change that old TV set that is cluttering up the new fancy living room cabinet. Determined for change, you now have enough motivation to part with some hard-earned cash and have decided to buy a brand new flatscreen TV with all the innovative features and intuitive functions one can cram into that super-slim chassis. This, of course, includes 3D rendering capability - a must have!

But wait…there is a problem: which one to get?
The question doesn’t refer to the brands since that is a matter of preference. The real focus is on the type of flat-screen panel TV that one has to consider: LCD, Plasma or LED.

In order to save you countless hours of research and frustrating headaches looking at rows and rows of TV displays, Kuihlapisku has compiled a handy summary list on the bells and whistles that these fancy TV panels offer.

Great as a comprehensive purchasing reference, this check sheet will help you to be mindful of the essential details that need to be considered before making the purchase of a new TVpanel.

As a whole, this is the shebang everyone needs if they want a quick crash course in understanding the difference between the three display panel TVs and what each can offer.

Pix Credit: Sharp
The Sharp Aquos Quattron LCD TV is one-of-a-kind and have been considered as very unique

LCD TVs: Affordable and Versatile
These TVs, especially the smallest (32-inch), are the most sought after in the market due to their low price-point, which is basically the primary factor for their popularity and rise in demand.

But what are LCDs really?

As the name implies, LCDs are display panels that use liquid crystals and a white fluorescent lamp backlight to produce a coloured image. While the technology driving these panels may be simple, there are still many areas to consider if you want to purchase a LCD TV.

When you’re at the TV shop, always keep these points in mind:
·         ANSI Lumens - important to determine brightness, and so as such is a critical aspect for visual performance as well as colour processing
·         Refresh rates - 240Hz being the best there is, though 120Hz is considered adequate for watching HD content
·         Dynamic Contrast Ratio - claiming to go as far as 100,000:1 and most TVs have it up to 200,000:1 now, with some claiming 1,000,000:1. However, a higher range does not necessarily mean having the best of all platforms
·         Native Contrast Ratio - this is important for colour reproduction quality but should be nowhere near the range of its dynamic counterpart
·         True HD features - take note, HD Ready is definitely not 1080p and make sure there are at least four HDMI ports since that is de-facto standard configuration. Hint: always keep an eye out for the TrueHD/FullHD badge
·         3D capabilities - check to see if it can really render 3D content
·         Price ratio to size - the larger the screen usually means the pricier it gets
·         Reflective levels - many LCD screens use reflective screens now, which disrupt the TV viewing experience. Try to look for LCD TVs that have the least reflection
·         Green-tech - energy saving functions, now a very important part of the TV industry  

Pix Credit: Samsung
The Samsung PDP6900 Plasma TV is one of the brands rare ventures into this space

Plasma Display TVs: Evergreen and Niche
Plasma Display Panels (PDPs) - famous for being market leaders at one time - offer superior picture reproduction and colour performances. It was the flat panel display to purchase as it offered stunning visual clarity that is incomparable.

Some had, and still do, considered the PDPs to be the world-beaters. Among the PDP's popular characteristics are its slim chassis designs and the best features and functions it offers over most LCDs in the market. Even LEDs have a hard time competing in the colour-rendering department. 

Pix Credit: LG
The LG PenTouch PZ850 Plasma 3D TV's name hints at an exclusive function: whiteboard function

However, it seems that the entire TV industry has put much of its funding behind LCDs, causing the PDPs to become a niche product that only audio/video enthusiasts will ever appreciate.

Even so, there are some who may still be keen on buying a PDP TV. If you happen to be one of them, always remember these few points:
·         ANSI Lumens - while the brightness levels are close to most display panels in the market, anyone who is worth their salt will tell you that the brightness and deep blacks of PDP TVs cannot be matched
·         Refresh rates - 240Hz being the best there is with 120Hz being the lowest. PDP TVs are also known for their exceptionally smooth refresh rates and having the capability to render videos - both Digial 2D and 3D - very well
·         Dynamic Contrast Ratio - claiming to go as far as 5,000,000:1 now, with the famous perception of PDP TVs having those “deep blacks” that produce unbelievable rich depths of pitch black
·         Native contrast ratio - no less than 1,000,000:1and certainly beyond that minimum benchmark
·         True HD features - PDP TVs only offer 1080p and should have 4 HDMI ports (the minimum). Hint: always keep an eye out for the TrueHD/FullHD badge
·         3D capabilities - having known to offer the best colour reproduction, 3D is definitely a must for any PDP. That is if manufacturers would ever consider 3D functionality on a PDP
·         Price ratio to size - the larger the screen usually means the pricier it gets, but in the case of a PDP TV, it is second only to LED TVs in price
·         Green-tech - energy saving functions and instant warm-up features
·         Plasma display life - the total number of hours it can operate
·         Power consumption levels - PDP TVs are usually high energy consumers
·         Presence of anti-glare coating on glass - very important for better viewing experience
·         Viewing angles - PDP TVs have great viewing angles from almost all viewing zones
·         Niche market - PDP TVs have very few vendors left that manufacture these panels so do not be fooled with cheap pricing or knock-offs that try to be PDP TVs

Pix Credit: Sony
Sony's Bravia EX720 LED TV redefines TV innovations in terms of design and performance

LED TVs: Cool and Overkill
As LCDs snatched away the top spot for TV sales from the feuding PDP TVs and CRT TVs, many manufacturers and consumers can only wonder what else can LCDs offer in terms of innovation and performance.

While a long time coming, those who asked got their answer in the form of a major breakthrough innovation that further pushed LCD TVs market life expectancy: LED-backlight.

While it sounds remarkable, LED-backlit TVs were high-priced when it was first released and with good reason since the colour gamut, overall performance, form factor, and power consumption have improved tremendously. Thankfully, the prices of LED TVs have dropped significantly since then and has now further confused buyers on the issue of what TV they should consider buying.
Pix Credit: Sharp
The Sharp LE830 Series Quattron LED TV has always championed the concept of rich colour reproduction

LED-backlit LCD TVs still have a long way to go, especially in terms of innovation and price points, but for those who are keen to buy them anyhow, always remember the following:
·         ANSI Lumens - similar to LCD TVs in terms of brightness but due to the LED-backlight, the luminosity rate has shot up to insane levels
·         Dynamic contrast ratio - no less than 5,000,000:1, it is also sometimes called Mega Dynamic Contrast Ratio
·         Native contrast ratio - no less than 1,000,000:1
·         True HD features - only TrueHD functions for LED TVs and nothing less
·         3D capabilities - is a must for all LED TVs as it is a common bundled feature
·         Price ratio to size - the larger the better; that is how LED TVs do it
·         Green tech - energy saving functions, instant-on functionality, and zero-power emission are some of the cornerstone designs for LED TVs
·         Operational life expectancy - on paper, LED TVs have longer display lifetimes than LCDs and PDP TVs
·         Different Technology Innovation - LED backlight comes in two formats: Edge-LED and RGB Dynamic LED. The former places LED around the bezel of the TV while Dynamic installs a full LED panel behind the colour quartz
·         Refresh rates - 240Hz being the best there is and 120Hz on the opposite end though LED TVs are known to push for the highest refresh rates possible
·         Additional features - check for on-board Blu-ray player, media players, and harddisks with Wi-Fi/wired connectivity
·         Innovation at its best - includes a new colour gamut as well as an advance interactive user dashboard that provide enriched Internet connectivity, offering enhanced multimedia functionality and features

Now go forth an terrorise the malls in search of the best flatscreen TV for your home!

Look! Here’s a collectible sticker (Right click to save). Collect them all!