Plasma Television Guide
Our Plasma Television Guide provides all the information you need to make an informed choice when buying your next Plasma TV. Understand the basic technology that drives the prices, which are the top manufactures, top sizes and of course price comparisons. As well as a highly recommend company in Houston with 5 star reviews Multimedia tech
Basic Understanding of the Technology
There are four areas you will need to have a little understanding of before buying your plasma television. These areas not only impact the price but also determine if the television will be a good fit for your needs.
Resolution – Although your cable and satellite companies will most likely broadcast HDTV in 720P or 1080i because of bandwidth limitations, 1080P (1920 X 1080 lines) is the future. The new Blu Ray and HD DVD players along with the Playstation 3 all support 1080P. Therefore if your television watching is mostly cable or satellite feeds, look for 720P or 1080i, which should do the trick for now. But if you are looking toward the future and want to get the most from your new movie players or video games look for a 1080P television. For additional details see our article on 1080P vs 720P.
Aspect Ratio – Refers to the ratio of width to the height of your screen. Although there are several other sizes available by far the most popular are 4:3 and 16:9. Movie and television content is moving to HDTV, which is in the 16:9 format, so we suggest purchasing 16:9 based items. When you watch an item that is not in the same format as your screen you will see black lines either on the sides or on the top and bottom. Some televisions provide the ability to compensate this by stretching the image to fit the screen, but this results in images being wider (fatter) or taller (skinner) then they really are.
Size-Although the size of Plasma Televisions range from 42” to over a 100”, the popular sizes are 42” and 50”. If you are looking for something smaller then 42”, consider a LCD TV. They have picture qualities similar to Plasma along with a thin flat design that can hang on your wall.
Connections-HDMI is the video connection of the immediate future, however DVI and Component are also reasonable choices. See our Video Cables page for additional details on connection options.
Why Plasma? Limitations and Other Technologies
Although Plasma televisions are an excellent choice, like all technologies they also have a few disadvantages.
One disadvantage of a Plasma television is called the Screen Door effect. This effect makes the television appear as if it was on the other side of a window or sliding glass door screen. The closer to the screen you are the more visible this effect will be. Manufactures are working on this and it is getting better. But definitely something you will want to consider if you plan on sitting close to the television or planning on getting a large size (over 50 inches). This becomes less noticeable with the higher resolution televisions because they provide more pixels. See the article on 1080P vs 720P.
Another disadvantage of a Plasma television is that it has a limited lifespan and will fade over time. Most Plasma televisions will start to fade (will not be as bright and colors lose saturation) around 30,000 hours of use then become unwatchable around 60,000 hours. There is no bulb that can be replaced therefore once this happens the television is no longer useful. Because of this, we strongly discourage buying a used Plasma television.
Plasmas are susceptible to the Burn in effect. The Burn in effect is what happens when an outline of an image remains on the screen even after the image is gone. This can happen when you have the same shape on a screen for long periods of time. Screens that display the same thing often, like stock tickers, can cause this. In most cases this will not impact users. And some of the new Plasma televisions have what is called white wash to clear the burn in, but using this will decrease the life of the Plasma TV.
Price Search and Comparisons
Prices vary greatly, especially for rapidly developing technologies like Plasma Televisions. Do not make the mistake of purchasing your next home theater item without taking a minute to do a price comparison. Through our partnership with PriceScan, we can provide you with immediate unbiased price and product availability information.