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What is Plasma TV, and Why it is better
Plasma TV technology has been around for a while, but only recently have
Plasma TVs become popular as consumer electronics products. It provides another
option to TVs that is space-saving, bright, and ready for digital signals. The
major advantage of Plasma TVs are the following:
Sleek, space-saving design:
It is what most people like about Plasma TV. It is only around 3.5 inches in
deepth on 42" TVs and 4" for 50". Usually the frame is also very
thin. With the elegant and slim design, Plasma TVs can be placed almost anywhere
- above the fireplace, on any table/shelf, or even on the ceiling.
Exceptional Color Accuracy:
16.77 million colors! Can you imagine? There is just no other displays like
16:9 Wide Screen:
Perfect for HDTV and DVD playback. All Plasma TVs are HDTV ready (note: not
HDTV, just that it can display HDTV signal in some way). For 4:3 signals such as
conventional TV or computer video output, Plamsa TV displays it with the choice
of bars on the side or use a special program to enlarge it with minimal
No Scan lines, no dark corners, immune to Magnatic Fields:
Each pixel on the Plasma TV screen has its own transistor electrode, so every
pixel is evenly lit, unlike the projection TVs which is brighter in the center
and darker in the corner. No electron beams involved, so there is no lines on
screen and nothing will change even if you put a large subwoofer beside it.
High resolution, universal display capability:
Most plasma displays have high resolution screens and can accept any video
format including the standard NTSC, PAL, and SECAM compatible composite video, S-video and component video
inputs, and DTV signal inputs such as XGA, SVGA and VGA signals from a computer.
Plasma TV vs. LCD TV (and shortcomings of Plasma TV)
Both are space-saving and good looking and accepts multiple inputs, but which
Plasma TVs Good at:
- Size, cost - LCD TV is usually at 20" to 30" range. The
largest on the market is 37". While Plasma TVs can be upto 63".
And Plasma TVs is much cheaper than similar sized LCD TVs (sometimes half
- Contrast, view angle, color - Plasma TVs has contrast upto 3000:1,
160 degree view angle, but the current highest for LCD is only 700:1 and 160
degree view angle is still hard to find. LCDs display different color
according to the different speed of controling light waves and color is much
less accurate than Plasma TVs.
- Display fast moving objects - LCD is slow in response. If the
object is moving very fast, it may leave "ghost" (or trace)
behind. Plasma TV, like ordinary TV, never acts like that.
LCD TVs Good at/Plasma TVs bad at:
- Screen Burn-in, computer display - If you leave a static image on
your Plasma TV for a while (more than 15 mins mostly), the picture will
begin to burn-in, i.e. be there no matter what other input you send in. It
doesn't actually hurt the screen and it can be "washed out" with
gray images or continual full color ranges in several hourse, but this is a
major shortcoming of Plasma TV - you can't just pause and leave for 15 mins!
That is why it is not suitable for ordinary computer display (not including
computer video playback) because mostly images on computer screen will stay
the same for a while. No other TV has this effect.
- Long-lasting - The rare gases used in each pixel of the Plasma TV
will fade and finally become inadequate for the display in 25,000 to 30,000
hours. Once it is out, it is out. It can't be replaced, recharged or
recovered in any way. LCD lasts about 50,000 to 75,000 hours, which is the
lifetime of the blacklight bulb inside, and the blacklight bulb can actually
be replaced if needed.
- Altitude - strange as it sounds, the performance of Plasma TV will
change according to the altitude. If you live in some place with altitude
higher than 6500 ft, think twice before you buy a Plasma TV. The pressure of
gases inside the Plasma TV screen will increase as the outside pressure
decreases, and it requires larger amount of energy to operate, which causes
louder buzzing/fan noise. No other TVs are affected by altitude (though may
affected by magnatic field).
Things to consider when buying a Plasma TV
Size of screen:
Plasma TVs come with different sizes, the most populars ones are 32", 42" 50" and 61".
While most people find larger TV more attractive, there are something you need
to consider before you go for the largest TV you can afford.
Room Size - Always allow enough distance between your seating and Plasma TV.
- 6-10 ft for 32-37" screens
- 10-14 ft for 42" screen
- 12-16 ft for 50" screen
- 15+ ft 61-63" screens
Space around the unit - allow at least 3" above the unit and plenty
space behind for proper ventilation. Also leave 3-6" on each side for
attachable speakers which is pretty popular for Plasma TVs.
Yes, HDTV resolution displays are more expensive, but unlike most people
think, it is not always better. It is claimed that there is 10-15% increase in
image quality in HDTV (all other factors the same) when receiving HDTV signals.
But depending on the manufacturer, the specific contrast ratio, brightness
factors, even for HDTV signals, some non-HDTV/EDTV displays work better. Also,
for conventional TV and DVD, mostly non-HDTV provides better image quality
because less tempering is needed.
Then, why HDTV? There is 2 major reasons 1) ready for the future when more
broadcasters offer HDTV signals 2) the high-resolution of HDTV displays is
better for DTV signals, e.g. computer display. In the world of DTV (digital
signal), higher resolution = better quality, period. Most computers use 1024x768
resolution and the typical 853 x 480 resolution for most non-HDTV is obviously
not good enough for it. HDTV plasma TVs 42" and up uses 1024 x 768 or
greater resolution and allows better quality computer video playback.
Where to buy? Popular mistakes:
- B&M local stores is always better? Actually not. Plasma TVs are
pretty expensive and local stores tends to carry only few of these. And
mostly each store tends to carry only a few brands. Plus, the price is
usually higher, sales tax is always charged and sales person is usually not
so good at product details. The good, though, is that it is always easy to
return and they are always authorized dealers, not cheaters.
- Free shipping is a great deal? Not really. If they didn't just add
the shipping cost to the price, free shipping usually means they will
ship it with the cheapest way they can find. Plasma TVs are expensive and
delicate and you certainly don't want the hassle to go through the returning
procedure when you receive it with a broken screen. Shipping may be
expensive, but it is what it should cost. Pay it willingly because with the
online order, usually you already saved a lot on sales tax.
For more online shopping tips, see our online
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