Thursday, October 15, 2009

Plasma TV Review

By Joe Kingman

Plasma TV's and LCDs (liquid crystal displays) are both kinds of flat screened televisions. Plasmas work by transforming noble gases into plasma, which then discharges light to shape the display on the screen. Each small compartment of gases constitutes one pixel. LCDs, on the other hand, form their displays by placing liquid crystals in front of fluorescent or another type of backlighting.

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.

Flat screen televisions also have a longer life span than CRT televisions. Most plasma manufacturers now assert that their televisions have a life span of up to 60,000 hours, where CRT televisions have a life span of at least 5 years. Assuming that a consumer watches 3 hours of television a day, a plasma TV can last up to 55 years!

Plasma televisions have both a better color ratio and more contrast than LCDs. For plasma TVs, each pixel can virtually be turned off to produce truer blacks. However, LCDs use a backlight, which will shine through the "black" pixel and damage the contrast quality. CRT televisions have the best contrast, but both plasmas and LCDs surpass them when it comes to color reproduction.

Viewers may also have to take into consideration the angle at which they look at the television. Plasmas can be viewed from either side, the top, or the bottom without significant change in the image. LCDs, on the other hand, cannot; their backlighting causes problems with large viewing angles.

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.

Unlike tube or LCD TVs, plasma TVs are not limited in size. Consumers (with large enough budgets) can order plasmas up to any size. However, CRTs and LCDs are usually restricted to about 52 inches in diagonal.

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