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Survey reveals TV picture quality confusion

Some viewers in the dark over LCD and plasma TVs


Plasma tv

Great screen-size for that home-cinema experience

More than a third of Which? members who don’t own an LCD or plasma screen TV think they offer much better picture quality than they actually do, a new survey reveals.

Around four in ten of those asked incorrectly believe the new technology offers much better picture quality than traditional televisions.

Our survey of 2,677 members found that nearly three in ten of those who do not own an LCD or plasma TV also believe only the best LCD or plasma TV can match a good traditional TV.


Which? Senior Researcher Michael Briggs says: ‘This last point largely reflects our research findings. When watching normal TV or pictures we’ve found that plasma and LCD sets rarely match the picture quality of the best CRTs of yesteryear. However the technology is improving and our latest tests have revealed some general improvements and the best LCD TV we’ve ever seen.’

A further one in five of those questioned said there was generally no difference in picture quality.

But our report into LCD and plasma TVs reveals that while many models have great potential for viewing high definition TV programmes, the picture quality isn’t so great for normal TV broadcasts or DVD viewing.

Both often suffer from a whole host of digital side-effects such as ghosting, smearing and picture-judder when showing standard definition broadcasts.

Digital side-effects

Michael Briggs added: ‘Plasma and LCD TVs rely on digital processing software far more than traditional TVs. Unless this software is spot-on it can lead to all sorts of unpleasant picture side-effects – the key difference between the technologies.’


TV picture quality: Flat-panel Vs traditional TVs
  Statement People who agree
Flat-panel and traditional TV Flat-panel TVs have much better picture quality 38% 38%
Only the best flat-panels can match a good traditional TV 28% 28%
No difference between flat-panel and traditional TVs 18% 18%
Don’t know
15% 15%

Table notes

The sample size of Which? members who do not own a flat-panel TV was 1,879 from a total of 2,677

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