Plasma TV Buying Guide

For years, television images have been created by firing beams of electrons inside a large glass tube which is known as the cathode ray tube or CRT. The technology has been around for more than 75 years, have been developed into near perfection, had been squeezed every ounce of its potential in order to create a "box" than can provide endless entertain.

But despite the engineering developments and scientific breakthroughs, the CRT technology has already reached its limit. New breakthrough in science and technology introduced the world to a new viewing experience: the plasma TV.

We have no qualms with CRT TVs in terms of producing crisp, vibrant images. As far as I was concerned, the image quality was superb. It does, however, have one major drawback. The television sets are quite bulky. The bigger the screen, the bigger the CRT set, the bulkier the set and the more space it takes up.

Now enter plasma flat panel television sets. With their wide screens and yet very convenient space saving size, a set can only be about 6 inches (15 cm) thick, people are turning to the plasma flat TV as their home theater center piece.

Instead of firing electrons against phosphors to light up the images on the screen, the plasma television set uses gas inside tiny fluorescent lights which is transformed into a plasma state which in turn forms the image.

Each pixel is made up of three fluorescent lights, red, green and blue lights. By varying the intensity of the different lights, like the CRT technology, a full range of colors can be produced.

But since in plasma televisions sets the plasma can be shot more precisely, more pixels can be lit up thus producing clearer and better picture quality.

Other features which makes the plasma a better choice is the viewing angle. At 160 degrees of viewing angle you can still see the same picture quality as the person viewing the screen at dead center. The flat screen also reduces that really annoying glare that we see in CRT sets.

Despite the superior quality and the amount of mechanical and technological effort put into the creation and development of the plasma television set, there are still issues that need to be addressed. One is the emergence of a burned-in image when the plasma is tuned to a static image for long period of hours.

Also, plasma televisions are said to burn a little dimmer after a few thousand hours of use. Although full proof solutions have yet to be introduced, consumers can easily prevent these by simple and practical care. For the burned-in image, not keeping their plasma tuned in on a static image for so long would easily prevent this to occur.

But aside from the concerns above, one more thing that can prevent you from buying one is the hefty price tag that comes with the set. Prices can reach as much as $2,500 for a 42-inch plasma TV.

With that price, for now I have to be content with my CRT set.

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