Plasma TV buying guide

What to look for when buying a plasma television

Since the 1990s, the word plasma has been synonymous with flat panel television. The first of the plasma displays were ultra-expensive and subject to all kinds of burn-in problems and short life spans. As each new generation rolls out of the world's plasma plants, the innovations have become numerous and accompanied with a leap in quality and capability. This poses a unique problem for consumers that they have never really had to face before when buying a television. The market is flooded with choice, and with the high price of flat panel televisions, it is hard to make the right decision with confidence. The purpose of this Buying Guide is to show you what to look out for so that you will take home the panel that best suits your needs, budget and lounge room.

How does plasma work?

Plasma works pretty much the same way as an LCD television. Two layers of glass and a matrix of electrodes are used to heat small chambers of gas -- one for each sub-pixel. LCD panels need the back light to create an image because Liquid Crystals can't create light. However, plasmas don't have a back light because the process of charging a sub-pixel creates light. This is why blacks look better on plasmas. On LCDs they tend to turn a little grey because of the backlight.

Each sub-pixel has a gas chamber and the gas inside reacts to an electrical current and emits Ultra-Violet light. This light then hits the coloured phosphorous layer. Like LCD, each sub-pixel has either a red, green or blue phosphorous layer. When the UV light hits the phosphors they become excited and emit their specific coloured light. The level of UV light will determine the intensity of a particular colour so the voltage being pumped into the gas chamber needs to be strictly regulated.

What people call "burn in" is caused by dead phosphors that are stuck in the one state and cannot change. This is not that common any more. What people see these days is actually called "image retention" or "phosphor retention". This is where the phosphors remain excited because they are not properly discharged between frames and so retain the information they were previously given. This can be easily corrected by discharging all the phosphors with a completely white screen for an hour or so.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dave Jansen

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2018

With determination and drive, you achieve outstanding performance! Get Bitdefender Total Security 2018 Now!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?