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There are distinct advantages to using a plasma TV. Some of the most important ones are a wider viewing angle than an LCD TV; great color quality and better contrast. More importantly there is very minimal motion blur. In a high-resolution action movie the screen image can seem to shiver or get blurry as there is rapid camera movement. Making the purchase of a really large screen TV, bigger than 65 inches, a plasma TV makes the most sense in terms of value-for-money. Motion blur could be really irritating on such large screens.
However, there are also a certain number of disadvantages of plasma television, mainly because of the plasma technology. The display unit is like a million tiny fluorescent lights sandwiched by glass films; created by neon and other noble gases trapped between the glass films. So before committing to buying one, it is important to know what the disadvantages of a plasma TV are.
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What are the disadvantages?
When plasma TVs came out initially, they had more issues than they have now. A couple of the issues discussed here (burn-in and low lifespan) are no longer major issues, and we note why this is so.
In older plasma televisions if the same image was on the screen for long, the image used to get “burned-in" onto the screen. However, with newer models, there is in-built technology to avoid this, such as pixel shifting.
The earliest batches of plasma TVs had a life of less than 30,000 hours, which was not comparable to say CRT TV sets. However, the technology has been improved such that they now have an expected life of more than 60,000 hours.
Plasma televisions are fragile units and need to be handled carefully because they can be easily damaged. They are also heavier than LCD TVs. They are therefore not suitable for the frequent mover.
They are currently not available at sizes smaller than 32 inches.
On average, plasma TVs consume more power than LCD TVs.
Since the brightness of a plasma TV screen is always less compared to LCDs, they are more susceptible to reflection glare, with the screen not being able to produce the desired amount of brightness. Please note that this is really an issue for daytime viewing, and in rooms that receive direct sunlight. If you can keep the sun out, you should be fine.
At high altitudes the high pressure of the gas can exceed the external atmospheric pressure, causing the screen to misbehave, as well as a buzzing noise to emanate from it. This is usually an issue at more than 6000 feet.
A plasma TV’s image is affected by radio waves, especially AM waves. This can be an issue if you are located close to a radio source – such as Ham radio or an AM radio station.
Unlike LCD screens, a plasma TV will generate heat.
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In spite of the disadvantages discussed here, at large screen sizes the advantages (especially the minimal motion blur and the beautiful picture quality) tend to outweigh the disadvantages. But certainly one thing to keep in mind is that if you plan to move around a lot (or up into the mountains) then plasma may not be the best choice.
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More on Plasma Televisions...
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Discover the ultimate viewing distance and height for a plasma TV.
HDTV Buyer's Guide - Choosing Between LCD and Plasma will help you decide which TV is best for you.