Now a status symbol among the rich and wealthy, a plasma TV is a high-definition (HDTV) alternative to the standard cathode-ray televisions sold today. It gives viewers sharp images and vibrant colors, particularly when used in conjunction with high-definition broadcasts. A quality plasma TV, however, does not come cheap. Its price ranges from $4,000 to $15,000 plus.
One of the main attractions of a plasma TV is a flat screen, which can be mounted directly on a wall. Manufacturers often employ surround-sound theater speakers and high-end receivers to complete the feeling of luxury. No wonder plasma TVs are such a craze these days.
In terms of science, 'plasma' refers to inert gases like neon and xenon that glow when in contact with an electrical field. Televisions usually rely on thousands of small 'picture elements', abbreviated as pixels. A bundle of three distinct colors, usually red, green and yellow, constitute one pixel in a color TV. Properly controlling the level of each color, all of the other colors of the spectrum can be produced in each pixel. The distance between the viewer and the screen is usually such that the individual pixels blur into each other and the illusion of motion is created as they change color. Plasma or not, this holds true for any television system.
The individual pixels in a plasma TV are made from three tiny containers of an inert gas like neon or xenon. There are thousands of these tiny tubes on an average plasma TV screen. All of them are sandwiched between two electrically charged plates. And plasma glows when exposed to an electrical current. A cable or broadcast antenna dispatches signals to a computer-processing unit. The antenna instructs the unit how to reassemble the entire picture hundreds of times per second.
A plasma TV screen contains more pixels than a standard television, so the image is noticeably sharper. If light conditions are ambient, a plasma TV will perform at its best. As flat screens have a viewing angle of 160 degrees, one can watch TV from almost any position in a room.
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