Plasma TVs Explained

By: Joe Kingman


Plasma televisions are an innovative new technology that provides flat screen displays. Using a variety of noble gases encased in small compartments (pixels), plasmas work by converting the gases into plasma. This plasma radiates light and forms an extremely clear picture. Liquid crystal displays (or LCDs) are also flat screened TVs. However, these use liquid crystals with backlighting to form pictures.
Plasmas and LCDs, flatter and lighter than tube televisions, are also less difficult to manage than traditional CRT (or tube) televisions. Though, on average, they are a hefty 5 inches thick and 100 pounds, recent advances in plasma technology will soon cut their thickness down to an inch and their weight down to 45 pounds. Consumers can now take some liberties in the placement of their plasma TV's. Plasmas can easily be mounted on walls or placed on smaller stands.
Resolution, the quantity of pixels on the television screen per square inch, is also a key component of televisions. Flat screened televisions boast a much higher resolution than CRT televisions, which yields clearer images on the screen. High definition plasmas have resolutions that range from 1024x768 to 1920x1080. This is much better than even the maximum resolution for tube televisions, a mere 480 lines.
Plasma television manufacturers boast a lifetime of up to 60,000 hours for their televisions, compared to a CRT television's life span of at least 5 years. Which is better? Depending on how much a plasma is turned on, its lifespan can range anywhere from 7 years (turned on for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) to 55 years (turned on for 3 hours a day). The lifespan of a plasma TV is significantly greater than that of a CRT TV.
Color reproduction and contrast ratio are two important components of a clear picture. Plasma televisions excel in both; they produce richer, more vibrant colours and truer blacks than LCDs. Due to the backlighting in LCDs, any pixel that should be black will have some light leaking through, which spoils the contrast.
The image of both LCDs and plasmas is comparable when viewed directly in front of the screen. However, plasma televisions have a wider viewing angle than their counterparts. Backlighting causes this problem in LCDs; the image on the screen degrades as the viewing angle increases. Plasmas can be viewed from the sides or top and bottom.
In older models of plasma TVs, the burn-in effect posed a significant problem. When an image (for example, a paused movie) is kept on the screen for too long, the image could be burned into the screen and still faintly visible afterwards. Plasma TV companies have worked to eradicate this problem with much success; while it is still possible for images to burn in, on newer plasmas the possibility is almost negligible.
Plasmas also have virtually no size limitations; depending on a consumer's budget, plasma screens can go up to any size. LCD and CRT televisions, on the other hand, are confined to approximately 40 inches diagonal.

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