If you are shopping for a new TV this holiday season, especially a flat-screen to fit in your TV lift cabinet, and you have a naturally bright living area or den, it is important to know which kind of television works best for rooms with lots of light.

Between LCD TVs and Plasma screens, both will provide outstanding picture quality and major advances in technology, such as app-capable systems and 3D-viewing. However, each TV will give you entirely different results based on their environment and viewing angle.

If you plan on viewing your TV from an angle, an LCD screen is not the right choice, as the LCD screen uses backlight and pixels, which open and close like a shutter. The further you move to the side of this “shutter” the greater the variations in picture brightness across the screen.

Plasma screens are self-lighting, which means they contain two transparent glass panels with a thin layer of pixels between them. Each pixel contains three gas-filled cells – one for red, green and blue colors – and a grid applies an electric current to each cell causing them to ionize. This ionized gas (plasma) emits UV rays that glow in the desired color. And this translates into a screen that can be viewed from nearly any angle since there is no “shutter” effect, and it makes the plasma screen better suited for displaying dark colors in dark rooms.

LCD TV screen are much brighter, in general, and therefore better suited to brighter rooms. Additionally, they have less reflective screens than plasma TVs, which means less chance of reflecting the light from a lamp or window. As a viewer in a bright room, our pupils are smaller than they would be in a dark room, limiting our ability to discern finer shades of light. It’s why we can see a lit candle much better in a dark room than if it was outside at midday.

Another bonus to LCD screens is that they consume much less energy than plasma screens. This can be a benefit for anyone who prefers to minimize the use of overhead lights and lamps for the purpose of saving energy and instead open windows and draw back curtains to maximize natural light.

So as you shop around for your next TV, it is certainly worth understanding how much ambient light will be present in your viewing room. You wouldn’t want to invest in the latest and greatest TV and not be able to see it well at home.