Plasma Televisions

Plasma TVs

Great TVs but cost a blood sacrifice

Plasma is the most highly coveted TV display type. Perhaps there is such a mystique surrounding the plasma display because of its high price. Plasma TVs are very expensive, although prices are dropping all the time - and competing digital display technologies like LCD are already well ahead in the price-drop game. Plasma's closest competitor in the flat-panel display is LCD, which is usually about half the price of plasma for any given size.

Advertiser Links for Plasma Televisions

A plasma display is made up of tiny fluorescent lights; each pixel is literally a separate light.

Plasma is the only fixed-pixel display that actually gets its light source from the pixel itself and not from a lamp shining through it. Each pixel is actually three separate lights - a red, green and blue making up the primary colors. The result is simply amazing image clarity that many plasma converts will tell you surpasses any other display technology.

Plasma Pluses
  • Flat-panel display type can fit almost anywhere.
  • Bright, high-contrast images some say are the best in the business.
  • Plasma displays look equally bright from any viewing angle.
  • No screen door or rainbow effect suffered by other display types.
Plasma Minuses
  • Expensive. Cost-conscious consumers need not apply.
  • Plasma displays can suffer burn-in, just like a CRT.
  • Rumors that life expectancy is less than other display types.

Plasma falls under the flat-panel display category. This means that a plasma TV can be only a few inches wide, giving you a wafer-thin device with an incredibly large surface viewing area. Theoretically they say you can hang a plasma display from the wall, but it's an attraction best kept theoretical. A plasma TV is an expensive device to trust to bolts in drywall - since it can weigh upwards of 80 lbs. you'll need very secure anchors before you try this at home. Plasma TVs are best used on the sturdy shelf or TV stand made by the manufacturer.

There are no dead pixel considerations for a new plasma display as with other flat-panel technologies, so plasma displays have expanded in viewing area surpassing LCD by far. Plasma TVs get much larger than LCD displays. You can get a flat plasma TV in the 70" range, but LCD will have to wait awhile before it can reach those proportions.

On the minus side we see the obvious high cost. We already knew they were expensive. Hey! This is plasma we're talking about here, plaything of the wealthy. The other grave consideration is the burn-in effect, which can ruin your display. Burn-in is suffered just like in a CRT, but with plasma it's when your fluorescent lights get burned out from displaying the same bright white image for extended periods. Make sure you have images varying on your display. Of particular concern are TV network logos, as these are difficult to get rid of and if you're watching the same station all the time you might find it's a permanent feature of your monitor.