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The Basics of Plasma Displays

Blaze Display Technology Co., Ltd. | Updated: Aug 31, 2015

【R&D Department of Blaze Display】Plasma display technology is a new "emmissive" flat panel display technology which gives you the rich, accurate color fidelity of conventional Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors in a large display that is thin enough to hang on the wall. It$$$s the best way to achieve flat panel displays with excellent image quality and large screen sizes viewable in any environment. This technology known as "plasmavision" is an array of cells, known as pixels, which are composed of 3 sub-pixels, corresponding to the colors red, green and blue.

Gas in a plasma state is used to react with phosphors in each sub-pixel to produce colored light (red, green or blue). These phosphors are the same types used in conventional cathode ray tube (CRT) devices such as televisions and standard computer monitors. You get the rich, dynamic colors you expect. Each subpixel is individually controlled by advanced electronics to produce over 16 million different colors. You get perfect images that are easily viewable in a display that is less than 4 inches thick.

Step 1: Address electrode causes gas to change to plasma state.Step 2: Gas in plasma state reacts with phosphors in discharge region.Step 3: Reaction causes each subpixel to produce red, green, and blue light.

Conventional Plasma Displays

Basic plasma display technology has been around since the 1960$$$s, and works this way: a mixture of neon and xenon gas fills the space between two parallel sheets of glass, which contain millions of tiny cells filled with the gas mixture. This mixture is stimulated by electrical current and is changed into a plasma. As a result, ultraviolet (UV) light is emitted. Red, blue, and green fluorescent substances in the cells absorb this UV light, then re-radiate this energy as visible light to produce the colors and images you see on the screen.


This process creates a bright, vibrant picture. And since these individual cells are creating light and color, there$$$s no need for the large cathode ray tubes (CRT$$$s) used in conventional and projection TV$$$s, and the display can be very thin and relatively lightweight. Plus, the flat screen eliminates the problem of images bending at the edge of the picture, as seen in conventional TV$$$s.

Flat Screens Are Not All Alike

Plasma displays are not the same as an LCD screen, like those on laptop PC$$$s or the ones that you see on commercial jetliners. Among other differences, an LCD screen uses backlighting for its illumination; plasma displays are self-lit, which produces a far brighter picture. Nor should the "flat panel TV$$$s" you may see in stores be confused with a plasma display. These flat panel TV$$$s, like plasma displays, do have a flat screen, so they don$$$t have the edge distortions of a conventional curved screen. But their use of CRT$$$s gives them the same bulky "behinds" of regular TV$$$s, and they cannot offer the same practical advantages of plasma displays.

Is This A TV Monitor, Or A Computer Monitor? Yes.

A Plasma Display is a television monitor, capable of displaying high definition TV, regular TV, and home video. AND it$$$s a computer monitor, capable of doing everything a regular computer monitor can do. Just bigger and better.

Here are examples of how you can use a plasma display and a description of each, where applicable.

Watch Digital TV And Regular TV

Most of the television we see now is analog TV, based on standards set decades ago (called NTSC, or National Television System Committee). But you$$$ve probably noticed that more and more shows, particularly sports and prime time shows, are also being broadcast- actually, simulcast- in high definition. What$$$s the difference between regular and high definition TV? And, what is digital TV? Since Plasma Displays reproduce virtually every kind of broadcasting, here$$$s a brief explanation that will help sort things out.

What Is Digital TV?

Digital TV represents the future of broadcasting, and will ultimately replace analog television, though not for while. It encompasses standard definition television (SDTV) and high definition television (HDTV), plus potential data broadcasting capabilities. SDTV delivers approximately the same resolution as regular analog TV, but without the annoying snow and ghosting, so the actual picture quality is higher. HDTV delivers five times the resolution of regular analog TV, with photograph-quality images that you have to see to believe. Digital TV (both SDTV and HDTV) also provides broadcasters with the capability of multiple channels of digital surround sound, so you$$$ll have great audio, to go with great video.

Another advantage of digital TV is that it allows for a widescreen presentation of "16:9". This 16:9 (read: 16 by 9) figure is the aspect ratio of the width of your TV to its height. Most current TV$$$s are 4:3 (think of it as 12:9 reduced to its lowest common denominator). Comparatively, a 16:9 ratio gives you more width, more picture, more fun.

And of course, you can view all of the regular TV shows you$$$re receiving now. A Plasma Display is ready for all current television and video formats, plus those in the foreseeable future.

How To Receive Digital TV

So, how do you get digital TV? You can receive it off the air, with a UHF antenna and a digital tuner (both are widely available). Or, you can get it via satellite broadcasting companies like DIRECTV, DISH Network, and others, and through cable operators like Time Warner Cable and others. Contact your local cable or satellite operator for more details.

Watch Movies On DVD, Videotape, Laser Disc, And Camcorder

Movies- in whatever format you choose- will look better on Plasma Displays. You$$$ll find connections for all major home video formats on the unit$$$s back panel. And you can set the screen size and shape to match the type of movie you$$$re watching (more about that later).

Play Video Games

With the screen$$$s large size and high resolution, video games will reach a new level. Your plasma display can reproduce games on a multitude of formats, including PC, Mac, and console-based games like PlayStation and the new X-BOX.

Use It As A PC/Mac Monitor

As stated earlier, the Plasma Display is also a monitor for a PC or Mac. You can use it as the primary monitor for your desktop computer or connect it to your laptop computer. Either way, it$$$s able to process signals up to and including 1280 x 768 ("Wide XGA"), so charts, graphs, the Internet, and full-motion DVD$$$s (movies or data) will all look clean and crisp. Like any computer monitor, plasma units allow you to display several personal computer applications simultaneously. For example, you can run a full-motion DVD from your DVD drive in one window, the Internet in another, and your personal calendar in a third.

The plasma-to-laptop connection

If you want to connect your laptop computer to the display, all you need is a standard computer monitor cable, with the 15-pin connector. Connect this cable from your laptop to Input1 or Input2 of the display, and select the corresponding input with the display$$$s remote controller. Last, you$$$ll probably need to push the "Laptop Screen/External Monitor/Both" button on your laptop till an image appears on the display.

Zoom In And Out

Here$$$s a useful feature for when you$$$re running a personal computer or laptop as the main source: let$$$s say you$$$re playing a computer-based video game and want to inspect a character$$$s darkened room more closely. With the Point Zoom feature, you can zoom in on nine select areas of the screen for extra focus. Just hit the Point Zoom button on the display$$$s remote and follow the easy on-screen instructions. When you$$$re done, hit the same button to zoom back out. This feature is also useful when playing movies on your personal computer$$$s DVD-ROM/Video drive.

Experience The Web

Whether you$$$re using a personal computer or a TV-based web browser system, plasma displays are perfect for reproducing the web in your home. And as web sites increase their use of full-motion graphics, displaying them on a high-quality monitor will become even more ideal.

Home Theater And Speakers

A basic home theater system includes a television with at least a 25-inch screen, a surround sound A/V receiver and at least four speakers, and a video source like a DVD player. So, where does a Plasma Display fit in? It makes an outstanding centerpiece for a home theater system, and when wired to a digital television tuner, DVD player, THX-capable A/V receiver, and other home theater components, the result is a level of entertainment that even the best movie theaters cannot match.

What To Consider Before You Shop

Now that you know more about plasma displays, here are a few factors to consider before you go shopping.

The Position Of The Display

Have a good idea of where your new plasma display might best be located: in which room, and if you will wall-mount it, on which wall. (Read more about installation and mounting options in these two sections: Shopping for a plasma display and Delivery and installation.

Since the plasma display takes up little- or zero- floor space, you don$$$t need a lot of room for it. Also, because your new plasma display is a highly valuable piece of merchandise, you$$$ll want it in a position where it can$$$t be disturbed by dogs, kids, or excited sports fans.

The Amount Of Ambient Light

As mentioned earlier, a Plasma Display performs better than TV$$$s or monitors in bright rooms, so feel free to position it in a well-lit room. However, for best viewing, you should avoid placing it so that it faces a large window, or where sunlight will shine directly onto the screen.

Your Other Home Theater Components

Your plasma display doesn$$$t have to be in the same room as the rest of your home theater components; there are ways to control these components via remote from another room. But you should consider the relative position of your display and these components, because they$$$ll need to be connected to one another. If you$$$d like assistance in wiring up your system, ask your dealer if this service is offered.

Shopping For A Plasma Display: 
Ok, we are biased but we think you should buy online.  However follow several rules you have to follow and scams to watch for.

1: DO NOT BUY FROM A ONLINE AUCTION: !!!! The vast majority of ALL fraud occurs at ebay and other auctions. Most dealers on there have never seen a plasma and for the "the really good deals" you will end up sending your money to support a Nigerian or Romanians family and never see a plasma. Also there are several dealers selling overseas models. It may say it comes with one year does ..but you have to send it to Japan at your cost. Even if it is USA warranty , it can be B stock or serial. This is too big a investment to try to save 50 or a hundred dollars on by buying from a unknown dealer whose total investment is 5 dollars Also watch out for Yahoo Stores. They can be set up for 50 dollars and come and go like the wind.

2 : Do not fall for the best price scam or bait and switch and get nailed with inflated shipping costs. Several dealers online quote shipping at 150 for ground and 350 for 3 day. Don$$$t fool yourself.. you will get stuck with the three day charge. You are always outside the discount shipping area ( even if you live across the street) If you buy from any online dealer and they try to hit you with surprise charges cancel the order.  Some even hit you days later claiming that it was shipped 3 day by mistake.  Also watch for inflated accessories. Biggest scam on and offline is overcharging for accessories.  ALWAYS LOOK AT THE FINAL COST OF EVERYTHING TO YOUR HOUSE, NOT THE INITIAL ADVERTISED  PRICE.

3:   Every website out there claims to be the number one source and claims to have 200 years experience. Anyone can make these claims. Many online dealers have never seen a plasma  and there online experience consists of surfing the net.

4: False buying guides: Do not be fooled by " impartial buying guides" These are directly or indirectly related to sites. A common practice is do set up what appear to be impartial sites and then recommend dealers who strangely enough all have very similar sites located on the east coast. and then throw in a few sites that have super high prices to try to look impartial Don$$$t be fooled, if this was done in in a magazine they would have to state "paid advertisement" across the top of each page.  Although many legitimate websites have multiple stores, If they try to mask the connection...keep away.

5: Do not buy from any online dealer that does not have phone support and make sure the person who claims to be a specialist knows what they are talking about. Plasma TV$$$s and projectors can be a confusing subject.. If you want a sales person with no knowledge you can get that at any big retailer.

6: Ensure the website has a clearly posted return policy and that the product is shipped insured. Many online sites have a return policy that requires you to pay shipping back if the unit is faulty or damaged in shipping.  This is unacceptable and gives you a idea of the service you can expect. Also watch the privacy policy. Many privacy policies state they WILL USE YOUR INFO FOR MARKETING. The longer the policy the more fine print.

7: High pressure sales.Do not rush into any purchase and do not allow the salesperson to give you the
 " there is only one left " line. If there is only one left, that means a new model may be coming out. You have lived for years without a plasma, a week or two more won$$$t kill you. Commission salespeople are a very bad sign.

8: Don$$$t fall for store ratings on Bizrate, Nextag etc. Many stores have huge number of great ratings mixed with absolutely poor ratings. It is a common, although highly unethical, practice for many stores to pad their reviews.

9) No Name plasma screens: There are several legitimate companies who rebadge  plasma screens ( Sony Toshiba, JVC  etc) and provide top notch service and support  however there more and more "no name" products hitting the market  ( most from China) Many are based on obsolete technology and provide little, If any, support or warranty. If you can afford a plasma, you can afford a good plasma. 
 $$$In addition to blenders we now make plasma screens"

Advantages Of Plasma Displays Over Regular TV$$$s

While at a retail store, you$$$ll probably see dozens, even hundreds, of other displays and TV$$$s, and it may become a little overwhelming. Here is a quick list of advantages of a Plasma Display over conventional CRT-type TV$$$s:

  • 4" thick, and can be hung on a wall

  • Much larger picture

  • Higher color accuracy

  • Brighter images  ( 3 to 4 times brighter)

  • Better resolution

  • High-definition capability

  • 16:9 aspect ratio vs. standard 4:3

  • Can be used as a monitor for a PC or Mac

  • Images don$$$t bend at the edge of the screen

  • Reflections from windows or lights are minimized

  • Wider viewing angles

  • Takes up less space (zero, if wall-mounted)

  • not effected by magnetic fields

Advantages Of Plasma Displays Over Projection Monitors

Like plasma displays, the best rear-projection monitors are great for viewing TV and video. However, a Plasma Display has certain key advantages over rear-projection monitors:

  • Ideal for any room, even rooms where space may be limited

  • 4" thick, and can be hung on a wall

  • Can be used as a monitor for a PC or Mac

  • Higher color accuracy than most PTV$$$s

  • Brighter images than most PTV$$$s

  • Better resolution than most PTV$$$s

  • Wider viewing angles , not stuck sitting in a sweet spot

  • DLP and LCD rear projectors need bulb replacement every 4 to 5000 hours. They may seem cheaper initially but are vastly more expensive over time.

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