Why Plasma Is Better

Reviewer: Phil Conner

Digital television is now a reality—but you're not going to see it the way it was meant to be seen using yesterday's TV sets. Today, we're in the midst of a digital video revolution, thanks to HDTV, DTV, DVD-Video, digital satellite broadcasts and computer video. Plasma display technology is the only way to fully enjoy the dramatically improved image quality of all these digital video sources.

Here are some of the many advantages plasma displays provide.

Higher resolution
Plasma display devices have higher resolution than conventional TV sets, and are capable of displaying full HDTV and DTV signals as well as XGA, SVGA and VGA signals from a computer. For example, you can get plasma displays with a 1920 x 1080 pixel high-resolution that can display images at true 1080p and 1080i/720p HDTV resolution, as well as 480i and 480p HD signals.

No scan lines
Conventional CRTs use an electron beam to scan the picture tube from top to bottom at regular intervals, lighting the phosphors to create the image. In the case of standard (NTSC) TV, visible scan lines can be seen.

Most plasma displays include built-in line doubling to further improve image quality when viewing standard analog video sources such as TV broadcasts and VCR tapes.

Exceptional color accuracy
High-end plasma displays are capable of displaying billions colors -- providing superb color realism with exceptionally subtle gradations between colors.

Widescreen aspect ratio
Plasma display devices have a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio, the relationship between the screen's width and height. This is the proper aspect ratio for HDTV, and also allows many DVD-Video movies to be viewed in widescreen format, as originally seen in the theater.

Perfectly flat screen
Plasma display monitors have screens that are perfectly flat, with no curvature whatsoever. This eliminates the edge distortion that can occur in CRT displays.

Uniform screen brightness
Unlike some rear and front projection televisions that suffer from uneven screen brightness -- seen as "hot spots" in the middle of the screen or a darkening near the edges and especially corners -- plasma displays illuminate all pixels evenly across the screen.

Slim, space-saving design
Plasma display monitors are only a few inches thin-providing installation options never before possible.

In addition to stand mounting, they can be hung on a wall or from a ceiling, allowing you to enjoy big-screen home theater impact from a component that doesn't dominate floor space. Conventional TVs and front projectors, by comparison take up far more real estate and are much more limited in placement flexibility.

Plasma monitors have an elegant, understated "picture frame" appearance that blends inconspicuously with any decor; with a chassis not much wider than the display screen itself.

Because they eliminate the need for a front projection unit and a projection screen, plasma display monitors are also ideal for use in a wide variety of business and commercial applications where the use of a front projector would not be feasible.

Wide viewing angle
Plasma displays offer a viewing angle of 160 degrees (top to bottom and left to right) -- much better than rear projection TVs and LCD displays. This allows a larger number of viewers to enjoy proper image reproduction from a wider variety of locations throughout the room.

Universal display capability
Most plasma monitors can accept any video format formats. Typically, they will include composite video (NTSC, PAL SECAM) (standard RCA jacks), S-video and component video inputs, plus one or more RGB inputs to accept the video output from a computer.

Whether you want to view a sporting event on HDTV, a DVD-Video movie, a satellite broadcast or even surf the Internet with incredible big screen impact, chances are a plasma monitor will accommodate your needs.

Immunity from magnetic fields
Because plasma displays do not use electron beams, as conventional CRT displays do, they are immune to the effects of magnetic fields. Components such as loudspeakers that contain strong magnets can distort the picture if placed too close a standard TV (which has a CRT). On the other hand, plasma displays can be placed in close proximity to any type of loudspeaker and not experience image distortion.

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