What is the Difference Between Plasma TV & LED TV?

Although LED TVs are the latest in television technology, plasma TVs still hold a large portion of the market. LED TV's may be thinner and lighter, but plasma TVs have their advantages. It is important to weight the pros and cons of each display before making your purchase decision.

Plasma Display

A plasma display consists of hundreds of thousands of tiny gas-filled cells, pressed between two sheets of glass. The cell mixture is turned into plasma through the use of electrical currents. Once turned to plasma, the tiny cells become luminous.

LED Display

Although LED and LCD displays both use liquid crystal technology, they utilize different light sources. An LCD display uses fluorescent light as a backlight. The light through the liquid crystals produces the imagery, whereas an LED display uses.light emitting diodes as the backlight. An LED backlight uses less power and creates better picture quality compared to an LCD TV.


Although the LED backlight improves upon the contrast ratio of a fluorescent backlight, CNET says the advantage still goes to the plasma display. PC World also says that plasma displays have an advantage in capturing fast motion programming, such as sporting events.

Viewing Angle

According to PC World and CNET, plasma TVs have wider viewing angles than an LED TV. Plasmas can be viewed from many different angles without losing picture quality, while an LED TV loses color and brightness from pronounced side angles.

Overall Value

Due to the newness of LED technology, LED TVs are still quite expensive. Plasmas are less expensive than both LCD and LED TVs for the same screen size and features. According to CNET, the average LED TV costs approximately $400 more than the non-LED version of the same model.