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Table of Contents 

  1. What is the difference between Plasma and LCD ... ?
  2. Which is the best Plasma or LCD ... ?
  3. Which screen size should I choose ... ?
  4. What are HD Ready, HD Ready 1080p (FULL HD) and HDTV 1080p ... ?
  5. What is HDMI ... ?
  6. When is the Digital Switchover ... ?
  7. When can I receive HD (High Definition) broadcasts ... ?
  8. What are Freesat from Sky and FreesatHD ... ?

1. What is the difference between Plasma and LCD ... ?

Plasma & LCD are the two main types of Flat Panel Televisions. Each uses different technologies to display a picture.
Plasma uses inert gas sealed within tiny cells, sandwiched between glass plates. The heated cells illuminate phosphor for individual pixels.
LCD uses liquid crystal cells, back-lit by a florescent lamp. Individual cells may block or permit the light to pass to illuminate individual pixels.
Both technologies feature very high resolution displays, consisting of substantially more pixels than conventional cathode ray tubes.

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2. Which is the best Plasma or LCD ... ?

Both technologies are produced because each has benefits dependent on the environment and screen size.
Generally, Plasma has a faster response for fast action such as sport or action movies, whilst LCD performs better in natural daylight and brightly lit rooms.

Plasma offers: Faster response speeds, higher contrast ratios with much deeper blacks, richer and more natural colours and a wider viewing angle.
LCD offers: Brighter pictures, lower reflection, lower power consumption, slightly higher reliability and are compact and lightweight for portability.

Panel half-life expectancy:
(Half-life is a measurement of the brightness of the panel when it reaches half the brightness it was when new).
Both offer an approximate half-life expectancy of 60,000 hours*, which is equivalent to 6 hours use each day for 27 years.
This is twice the half-life expectancy of a conventional cathode ray tube.

* Panasonic's 2008/2009 range of plasma panels have a quoted half-life of 100,000 hours.
This is equivalent to 6 hours of continuous use a day for 45 years.

Power consumption:
Overall, Plasma have slightly higher power consumption. However, like for like screen size comparison shows very similar usage.
Plasma varies power consumption from scene to scene, illuminating pixels only as required thereby reducing power during dark scenes.
LCD consumes more consistent power due to its back light technology which may illuminate even during dark scenes.

An interesting article about Plasma & LCD technologies can be found at the Panasonic UK website, (To view the article, select the "Technology" link on their home page.)
Further information is also available at

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3. Which screen size should I choose ... ?

A picture size comparison of conventional 4:3 TV's against 16:9 widescreen displays:

21" 4:3 CRT = 26" 16:9 widescreen
25" 4:3 CRT = 32" 16:9 widescreen
28" 4:3 CRT = 37" 16:9 widescreen
32" 4:3 CRT = 42" 16:9 widescreen

Due to the flat panel design, you can usually move up to a larger screen size from an existing conventional CRT television without losing space.
A space saving (comparable footprint) comparison of conventional CRT TV's against Flat Panel displays:

21" 4:3 CRT = 26" LCD
25" 4:3 CRT = 32" LCD
28" 4:3 CRT = 32" or 37" LCD or Plasma
28" 16:9 CRT = 32" or 37" LCD or Plasma
32" 16:9 CRT = 37" or 42" LCD or Plasma
36" 16:9 CRT = 42" or 50" or 65" Plasma

Suggested viewing distances:

26" =  2 to 6 feet.
32" =  6 to 8 feet.
37" =  8 to 10 feet.
42" =  10 to 12 feet.
50" =  12 to 16 feet.
65" =  > 16 feet.

A good rule of thumb is to divide the viewing distance (in inches) by 3, to obtain the screen size.

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4. What are HD Ready, "Full HD", HD Ready 1080p and HDTV 1080p ... ?

Televisions with the or logos must meet specific minimum requirements to accept and display a High Definition signal.
HD Ready, HD Ready 1080p and HDTV 1080p televisions are capable of displaying far higher resolution pictures than traditional cathode ray tube televisions.

HD Ready and the logo...
The European requirements for a television to display the logo are ALL of the following:

1. A minimum resolution of 720p lines (1280x720 resolution) in widescreen format.
2. YPbPr (Component) Input AND either DVI or HDMI HD capable inputs.
3. The DVI or HDMI must support HD copy protection.

The minimum resolution to display High Definition is 1280 x 720 pixels.
Until recently, most Plasma and LCD TV's have used 1366 x 768 pixel 'HD Ready' panels, which catered for both 720p (progressive scan)
and 1080i (Interlaced scan) formats. 1080i formats are downscaled slightly to fit this pixel resolution but with negligible loss of quality.

Progressive scan, which displays all lines sequentially is desirable, as this provides a very smooth picture for fast moving images eg. sport & action.
720p progressive scan provides a smoother picture for sport & action but may appear less detailed than 1080i when displaying images which are more static.

(Full HD), HD Ready 1080p and the logo...

Full HD is a term (see HD Ready 1080p below), used by some manufacturers to label panels with a vertical resolution of 1080p (ie. 1920 x 1080 pixels for 16:9 widescreen panels).
Full HD
1920 x 1080 pixel, progressive scan displays, provide an exceptionally smooth picture with incredible detail from a HD source.
They may also correctly display 1080i without downscaling and consequently there is no loss of detail when displaying existing 1080i HD broadcasts (e.g. Sky HD).
1080p(1920 x 1080 pixels) panels are excellent for displaying images from high definition sources, such as the new Blu-Ray, HD DVD players
and some game consoles (eg. Playstation 3).

HD Ready 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels).
HD Ready 1080p encompasses Full HD but has very specific specifications as agreed by the EICTA.

You may see 'Full HD' displayed on 'HD Ready 1080p' panels.
However, a TV should not display the 'HD Ready 1080p' logo, unless it meets all of the HD Ready 1080p specifications.
(See HD Ready 1080p Specification).

HD Ready, Full HD, HD Ready 1080p televisions will require a separate HD Receiver capable of decoding HD signals, to be able to view High Definition Television broadcasts (e.g. freesatHD receiver). Terrestrial HD Receivers are expected to become available after the Analogue switch-off.

HDTV 1080p and the logo...

HDTV 1080p This logo is reserved for displays compliant to 'HD Ready 1080p' and capable of receiving and decoding High Definition television signals.
Panasonic have released (Autumn 2008) their LZD81 & PZ81 range of
freesatHD* LCD & Plasma televisions, in 32", 37"(LCD) & 42", 46", 50" (Plasma) models, alongside a television advertising campaign. These panels are able to receive and decode free High Definition satellite broadcasts without an external receiver, (although a satellite dish is required). Currently, only BBC and ITV are transmitting FreesatHD content.

* (Note: "freesatHD" is not the same service as "FreeSat from Sky").

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5. What is HDMI ... ?

High Definition Multimedia Interface - this is a new interface standard for the transmission of digital video and audio signals.
Transfer of signals is extremely pure and transmitted without compression and free of degradation and noise that can occur to analogue signals.
This also enables longer cable runs with negligible loss of picture or sound quality.

Televisions and DVD Players/Recorders featuring HDMI sockets permit the purest digital signal transfer between each other.
This removes the process of 'Digital-to-Analogue then Analogue-to-Digital conversion', ensuring signal transfer without any signal degradation.
Products featuring 'upscaling' go a stage further, converting DVD 480i video to the HD TV format of 720p, 1080i or 1080p, for superb playback of DVD's.

HDMI also carries control signals for easier communication between several appliances.
(eg. it may be possible to operated multiple appliances from one remote control).

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6. When is the Digital Switchover ... ?

You can check your post code for your switch over date & existing digital Freeview coverage here:

For Bridgend and surrounding area
Transmitters Group (including relay transmitters)...
(An aerial change may be required for digital tv reception).

Wenvoe............From Wednesday, 3rd March 2010 until Wednesday, 31st March 2010.
Carmel.............Wednesday, 26th August 2009 until Wednesday, 23rd September 2009.
Kilvey Hill..........Wednesday, 12th August 2009 until Wednesday, 9th September 2009.
Mendip.............Wednesday, 24th March 2010 until Wednesday, 7th April 2010.
Presely.............Wednesday, 19th August 2009 until Wednesday, 16th September 2009.

Relay Transmitter Freeview Switch On...
(An aerial change will not be required for digital tv reception from relay transmitters).

Llangeinor.........From Wednesday, 3rd March 2010 until Wednesday, 31st March 2010.
Ogmore Vale......From Wednesday, 3rd March 2010 until Wednesday, 31st March 2010.
Blackmill...........From Wednesday, 3rd March 2010 until Wednesday, 31st March 2010.
Gilfach.............From Wednesday, 3rd March 2010 until Wednesday, 31st March 2010.
Ton Pentre.........From Wednesday, 3rd March 2010 until Wednesday, 31st March 2010.
South Maesteg....From Wednesday, 3rd March 2010 until Wednesday, 31st March 2010.
Croeserw..........From Wednesday, 19th August 2009 until Wednesday, 2nd December 2009.

The Freeview digital signal is already available in most of the Bridgend area, dropping off north of the M4 motorway.

If you live outside the area covered by Freeview, you can still receive the Free channels via FreeSat from Sky or freesatHD
Only a Sky receiver and dish is required, as there is no monthly subscription to receive the FreeSat from Sky or freesatHD channels.

Transmitter Engineering Information (Digital UK)

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7. When can I receive HD (High Definition) broadcasts ... ?

HD (High Definition) broadcasts are already available via Sky HD satellite broadcasts and recently via freesat hd.
Provided you have a HD Ready or Full HD television and Sky Dish, you can connect a freesat hd or Sky HD receiver and watch some channels in High Definition now.

Terrestrial HD reception is not available at the moment, although BBC HD & ITV HD, CH4 HD broadcasts commence in some regions late 2009.
However, a separate HD decoder box will likely be required as most current LCD & Plasma televisions do not have the required hardware to decode Terrestrial HD.
In the future, terrestrial HD receivers will become available, which will connect to your HD television and enable HD terrestrial reception.
HD Televisions with fully integrated HD terrestrial and/or satellite receivers will then become more widely available.

More information on Sky HD reception is available here: sky hd

Or contact us for further information or to arrange installation.

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8.What are Freesat from Sky and FreesatHD ... ?
These are subscription-free services, requiring only a receiver and standard Sky mini-dish.
You can obtain more information about FreeSat and freesatHD:
freesat from sky

freesat hd

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