Gone are the days when CRTs were the default choice as far as television technology was concerned. In fact, today we have a problem of plenty with a range of display technologies ranging from LCD, LED to Plasma TVs. All these new technologies fall in the 'Flat Screen' variety. A superior technology to CRTs and a comparable one to LCDs is the plasma display technology. The modern tech lingo related to televisions which includes words like 'High-Definition' (though nobody cares to define what that means!), contrast ratio, 1080p or 780p or 1080i can only serve to confuse the non-techie consumer.
About Plasma TVs
Such a television screen is made up of thousands of tiny cells each filled with non reacting noble gases like Neon and Xenon, which emit ultraviolet light on the application of an electric potential across them. This ultraviolet light excites the red, green and blue phosphor coatings on cells, causing them to emit light in the red, green and blue frequencies (the component frequencies that form all colors) to make a single color pixel on screen.
Each of these cells are supplied with varying amount of electrical voltages through a grid, to create a high quality picture, pieced together by every one of the individual cell's light output. Hence, these televisions are capable of emitting a high luminosity picture. Contrast ratio is a ratio of the brightest white and blackest black color that a television set can produce.
Compared to LCD displays, plasma TVs provide richer black colors, due to their high contrast ratio. These TVs can be manufactured in particularly large sizes, which the highest diagonal sizes being greater than 100 inches. Unlike LCD displays whose viewing angle is limited, another advantage of having this TV set is the greater viewing angle it provides, up to 160°.
Choosing a Plasma TV
When choosing one, you must compare the most important specifications of the products that are on offer in the market. Here are the prime features you need to look out for.
First and foremost, size is an essential feature to check out. According to the size of the room where you plan to install, you must know what your viewing distance will be. These TVs come with a diagonal size starting from around 30 inches or lesser to more than 100 inches. For any plasma TV with size exceeding 30 inches, the viewing distance has to be in excess of 8 feet. For screen sizes in excess of 40 inches, it has to be 9 to 10 feet. Otherwise, at a short distance, the picture may seem slightly pixelated. So, take the viewing distance into consideration while buying one.
It's all About Resolution
These television sets come in various resolutions, ranging from 1024×1024, 1024×768, 1366×768 to 1920×1080. These can be primarily divided into 720p and 1080p resolutions. The best choice among all these is 1080p (1920×1080), as it can provide the highest clarity and is ideal if you are using it with gaming consoles and DVD players. The 1080p resolution is what you call 'High-Definition', as it provides amazing picture quality. Also, look for surround sound systems with high wattage speakers.
HDMI Connectivity & Other Features
Other than size and resolution, look for HDMI connectivity in particular, as it lets you connect laptop and desktop computers with it. HDMI cables provide high quality audio and video signals. Look for wall mount attachments, if you plan to hang it on a wall. Other than that, USB connectivity, built in satellite TV compatibility, etc. are some of the other things to look out for.
To summarize all that was discussed, when you are looking for a plasma TV, the prime features to look out for are its size and resolution. Other than that, features like HDMI and VGA connectivity, surround sound, DVD and game console compatibility are other things to look out for. Some of the best brands to look out for are Samsung, LG, Philips and Panasonic. Once again I would suggest that you take the viewing distance into consideration while buying large screen (30 inch plus) TV sets.