Thursday, December 13, 2007

Plasma Television: With Maturity Has Come Greater Dependability

During the holiday season of this year, millions of consumers will be considering the purchase of a new television. Those beautiful plasma screen displays will scream at shoppers from the display floor with their vibrant, life like colors and detail. But undoubtedly, wary shoppers will have heard the rumors or perhaps have known someone who bought a plasma television in 1999 which has already moved on to television heaven just seven short years later. It seems to a prudent shopper that perhaps a new plasma TV isn't the choice for them if a long term relationship is desired.

But are the rumors false? Has plasma undergone a bit of reinvention? Was this lack of longevity a symptom of a fledgling technology that has now perhaps matured? Is a plasma television now more reliable, a screen to be around for the long haul?

In a word...yes.

With lower power usage and changes with the mix of gases in the panels, the longevity of plasma televisions has been significantly enhanced. The lifespan of a television display is measured in "half life"; the hours of use before the screen has dimmed to only 50% of its original brightness. In recent years, plasma television manufacturers have been touting a half-life which is equivalent to that of other screens such as the higher priced LCDs; around 60,000 hours. From this, consumers can see that the lifespan of a plasma screen is dependent upon how much it is viewed. For instance, if a plasma television is on for 6 hours a day, 365 days a year (2190 hours per year), it should last just over 27 years.

Knowing this, it becomes clear that the life of the screen on a plasma television can be significantly influenced by how it is used. Turning off the television when no one is viewing it could certainly extend its life. Adjusting the brightness is important as well; maximum levels are seldom required or recommended and can unnecessarily cause pre-mature aging of the phosphors.

Additional changes over the years for plasma televisions include technologies aimed at reducing the risk of "burn in"; another significant concern about the "character" of plasma displays that developed during its youth. Features such as pixel shifting, pixel orbiter, and motion adaptation all describe methods of moving the image on a plasma screen which is imperceptible to the human eye but effective in reducing the risk of burn-in. With these added features, many plasma manufacturers now claim their screens have no greater risk of burn in than the traditional CRT, "tube" televisions.

As with anything, consumers need to compare brands as they aren't all created equally. Reviewing the facts from the manufacturer is important. In general, it is best to stick with the more reputable and well known brands as a bargain "off-brand" in the long term may not save money if the quality and dependability are lacking.

There are many excellent technologies to choose from when buying a new television. Which type of display is best is dependent upon each individuals wishes, but plasma televisions certainly deserve the full attention of buyers as they do not warrant the negative reputation developed during their formative years in regards to longevity.

Christine Peppler believes that consumers shouldn't have to possess a technology degree to be able to choose home electronics and entertainment devices. Take advantage of the wealth of simple to understand, useful information and shopping available on her website at

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