Understanding the technology behind a plasma TV screen

Plasma televisions provide several benefits over LCD, LED and 3D TV models, but why? How do plasma TVs work to bring you a sharp picture in such a small space? We'll explain.

Did you know that a plasma TV contains neon and xenon gases? Even though plasma televisions are just a few inches deep, the two gases are in hundreds of thousands of tiny cells sandwiched between two pieces of glass. Electrodes are also sandwiched inside; they're on both sides of the cells containing the neon and xenon. The electrodes are placed vertically and horizontally. Based on the incoming signal received, the TV uses the electrodes to charge the neon and xenon, producing light invisible to your eyes. However, as they light up, they light interior surfaces coated with phosphors. Phosphors can only produce light after being struck by another light source. And the human eye can see the light produced by the phosphors. A plasma TV screen is made up of thousands of pixels (aka dots). Each pixel has three subpixels. Each is filled with either red, yellow or blue light phosphor. Depending on the pulses of the current, the TV decreases or increases the amount of red, yellow and green to make every hue in the color spectrum. In fact, plasma can produce 16 million colors that bring shows, movies and video games to life.

Benefits and drawbacks

Because plasma technology produces so many colors, they're not only great for TV and movie watching, but also gaming. They usually have inputs that allow you to use your laptop with the television. Light flooding in a sunny room won't affect the view on the screen. High-definition plasma TVs produce detailed images. When you're viewing from the sidelines, you still see a good picture because plasmas produce a wide viewing angle.

In older models, images could be "burned in" to the display. Today's models aren't as prone to burn-in. Even though plasma works in a well-lit room, an LCD provides an even bright picture. On the flip side, a plasma does better than LCD in low light. Plasmas cost more than other televisions. Plasmas have a life span of about 30,000 hours, which is shorter than other models. Plasmas also break more easily than other televisions.

When it comes to a plasma TV, screen replacement is costly. In fact, it's usually less expensive to purchase a new television than to repair it. Securely mounting the TV on the wall will not only keep it from being knocked off a TV stand, but it will also free up space in the room. Take proper care of your screen, according to the manufacturer's guide. See if the manufacturer recommends a particular plasma TV screen cleaner. If not, find out how to clean the screen properly. You might want to consider purchasing a plasma TV screen protector. Several brands are available. In general, a protector is clear, easy to install, cleanable and some even allow air to cool the TV screen, preventing overheating. Plasmas are filled with the technology to create a great viewing experience, just remember to take care when handling and installing them.

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