Plasma television technology is based loosely on the fluorescent lightbulb.
The display itself consists of cells. Within each cell two glass panels are separated by a narrow gap in which neon-xenon gas is
injected and sealed in plasma form during the manufacturing process. The gas is electrically charged at specific intervals when
the Plasma set is in use. The charged gas then strikes red, green, and blue phosphors, thus creating a television image. Each
group of red, green, and blue phosphors is called a pixel (picture element).
HOW LONG DOES PLASMA TVS LAST?
A plasma television has a half-life of about 60,000 hours. This means that it will lose approximately 50% of its brightness during
that time. Basically, if your Plasma television is on for 8 hours a day, its half-life would be about 9 years - or, if on 4 hours a day,
the half-life would be about 18 years. Keep in mind that a standard television loses about 30% of its brightness after about 20,000
hours. Since this process is very gradual, the consumer isn't aware of this effect, except for the need to periodically adjust the
brightness and contrast controls to compensate. Although the performance of individual Plasma TVs can vary, overall, as a product
class, a Plasma television can deliver many years of acceptable viewing.
This technology is different from that of a traditional television. A traditional television has a Cathode Ray Tube, or CRT. A CRT is
basically a large vacuum tube in which an electronic beam, emanating from a single point in the neck of the tube, scans the face
of the tube very rapidly, which, in turn lights up red, green, or blue phosphors on the tube's surface in order to create an image.
DO PLASMA TVS LEAK?
The gas in a Plasma television does not leak in such a way that more gas can be pumped in. Each pixel element is a completely
sealed structure, including the charging plates and plasma gas. If a pixel element fails, it cannot be repaired physically or by
"recharging" the gas. In other words, if a large number of pixels "go dark" (for whatever reason), the entire panel needs to
DO PLASMA TVS GENERATE HEAT?
Yes, since one of major components of a Plasma television is charged gas, the set will be warm to the touch after being in operation
for a while. Since most Plasma TVs are wall or stand mounted, with plenty of air circulation, heat generation, under normal
circumstances, is not an issue (refer to previous question on high-altitude use).
DO ALL PLASMA TVs HAVE TUNERS?
Although there are some Plasma TVs that have onboard television tuners (either standard NTSC and/or HDTV types) most Plasma
televisions are actually classified as monitors and require outboard tuners to receive broadcast, satellite, or cable television signals.
When shopping for a Plasma television, make sure you ask your dealer what is required for the units you are considering to receive
either standard or HDTV signals.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED FOR MY PLASMA TELEVISION?
Basically, here is what you need to budget for in addition to your Plasma television in order to use it to its full potential:
- A place to hang it or place it on a stand.
- Input sources: DVD, VCR, video game console, satellite or cable box. In addition, some Plasma televisions will accept an input from your PC.
- A sound system. Although some Plasma televisions have an internal sound system, it is best to connect it to a home theater receiver for optimum home theater enjoyment.
- A surge protector (which is good advice for any component in your system).
- Connection cables to connect your Plasma television with your other components.
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