What is a Plasma TV?

In the world of physics, there are four distinct states of matter. Most people are familiar with the first three — solid, gas and liquid — but may be unaware that plasma is actually the fourth. Plasma is most similar to gas, but it possesses certain qualities that gases do not. For example, plasma can conduct electrical currents, and it can also respond to magnetic influences.

Many people do not realize that they are surrounded by plasma. Neon signs are one example of the use of plasma in everyday items. Fluorescent lights are another example. Plasma televisions use the same principles of physics to create the view screen.

A plasma television screen consists of two plates of interconnected glass. Nestled between the two glasses are individual pockets that are filled with inert gases, typically xenon and neon. These gases glow when exposed to an electrical current, producing the picture.

Computer users may be familiar with the concept of pixels, which is shorthand for picture elements. The more pixels per square inch, the sharper the image on a computer monitor. The same concept is true for televisions. Most monitors and televisions combine the three primary colors — red, blue and green — into one pixel. With a plasma screen, however, each of these three colors is in a separate gas-filled pocket. This allows brighter colors, greater clarity and sharper contrast, which means that the images will be better defined.

Although plasma screens produce high-definition images with vivid colors, there are certain disadvantages associated with them. They are not as energy-efficient as most other televisions, such as those with LED or LCD screen. Plasma screens can be damaged from impact occurring while in transport or during installation. Impacts can “burst” the individual gas pockets, causing areas that are darkened, and if repair is possible, it is typically expensive. A plasma screen can also show “burn-ins” or ghosts of images that are displayed permanently. They also tend to have much shorter lives than other types of high-definition televisions.

What is the future of Plasma TV?

Well, there was already quite an uproar when it was reported that Panasonic would no longer be manufacturing plasma TVs back in 2013. While the specifics of this news were greatly exaggerated, it does pose the question of what comes next. As with all things in the realm of consumer technology, there is always something better – some new advancement or opportunity to improve.

Ultra HD is something that has been bandied about for a while as the next step in true HD. However, without the TVs boasting the capacity for superior picture quality, Ultra HD might just be a wash visually. Necessity is the mother of invention and, who knows? It could be the standardization of picture quality formats like Ultra HD that give rise to Ultra Plasma TVs.

This is all conjecture, of course, but it’s rather safe to say that it certainly can and most likely will get better than Plasma TV. People used to think it didn’t get any better than CRT and look where we are now!

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