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Buying Guide

Flat Panel: Plasma

Flat Panel: Plasma


Plasma display
Flat panel TVs are all the rage now, with their slim profiles and large screen size. There are two types to choose from: plasma and LCD. Plasma TVs work by illuminating thousands of tiny fluorescent lights to create an image. LCD TVs operate like the screen of your laptop. While these TVs can't be beaten in terms of cool points, there are some things to consider. Here's the skinny...

Plasma TVs
Plasma TVs are not TVs in the traditional sense. They are more like monitors and need an external TV tuner to display broadcast signals.

Plasma displays are digital and have higher resolutions than CRTs. When shopping for plasma TVs, it's important to note that not all plasma displays can produce the full resolution of HDTV. Some Plasma TVs are considered EDTVs (enhanced-definition TVs), with a resolution of 852x480. On the higher end ($10,000 to $20,000), there are full-blown high-definition plasma TVs capable of a dazzling 1365x768 resolution.

Pros:

  • They have a large screen size.
  • They have a slim profile (3 inches thick!).
  • They can be wall mounted, ceiling mounted, or placed on a stand.

Cons:

  • They are very expensive (with no apparent price break in the near future).
  • The are very susceptible to burn-in (damage done to a TV screen as a result of the long display of a static image).
  • You can expect only about a year and a half of serious use before apparent loss in picture quality.
  • They have a poor black level (ability to render the color black, which affects picture detail).

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