Plasma or LED: What’s the Best Choice for Your Sports Bar?
published onJanuary 25, 2012

As a sports bar owner, you want to keep your customers front and center during the big game and coming back each week for more. To do this, you need to provide your customers with an optimal viewing experience. But should you invest in plasmas or LEDs?

A professional AV consultant can help you make the right decision based on viewing angles, usage, your budget and other factors. But here are some facts to arm you with a bit of knowledge.

How Plasma and LED TVs Work

The picture on plasma TVs is created by thousands of individual cells or pixels that contain neon or xenon gas. These pixels are enclosed within two sheets of glass that are electrically charged. When the gas is exposed to electricity, it glows and produces the images. Since each pixel is lit individually, the image quality on a plasma TV is more true-to-life with brighter colors.

LED TVs use liquid crystal technology. Liquid crystals are contained within two glass layers that are polarized and bonded together. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are used to light the back of the glass screen. This light is then blocked or passed through the crystals in order to produce the images on the screen. LED TVs can have two types of backlighting – edge lighting or full-array lighting. Edge-lit TVs have LEDs along the outside edges of the screen, and the light radiates across the screen. Full-array-lit TVs have rows of LEDs covering and lighting the back surface of the screen.

The Pros and Cons of Plasma versus LED TVs

Refresh Rates – Both plasma and LED flat screens have fast refresh rates. This means your customers will be able to view the fast action in sports with less blurring and more detail. Technology has advanced tremendously in recent years in this regard.

Viewing Angles – Plasma screens have better wide-viewing angles, so customers watching a plasma TV from different angles will view solid, colorful images without any loss of brightness or shifts in color. LED screens have narrow-viewing angles, so customers sitting directly below or off to the side of the screen may see variations in the image’s brightness and colors.

Contrast Ratios – Plasma screens and higher-end backlit LED screens have comparable contrast ratios (the black levels within an image). Your customers will be able to see more details during night games or races. Edge-lit LED screens, however, have lower contrast ratios compared to backlit LED models. You’ll need to compare screens.

Image Retention (Burn In) – Plasma TVs used to be more susceptible to image burn in, when a ghost of an image would remain on the screen at all times, but it’s now a non-issue for most high-end screens used in commercial establishments.

Size and Weight – LED TVs are some of the thinnest, lightest flat screen TVs on the market, while plasma TVs tend to be bigger and heavier. LED screens offer a lower profile.

Power Consumption – LED flat screens are more energy efficient than plasma TVs, so they offer cost-savings in the long run.

Price – Since plasma TVs have been on the market longer, they are generally more affordable. For some large venues with dozens of screens, plasma may be the best choice for the budget.

So Which Is the Best Choice for Your Sports Bar?

A number of factors, including budget, viewing angles and how many monitors you’re going to hang, affects the decision of plasma or LED screen. But JD Systems is here to help. contact JD Systems Whether you need plasmas, LEDs or a combination of the two in your high-traffic New York venue, we’ll work with you to design and install the best video solution for your sports bar.