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of the Winter Olympics in Nagano (1998) as a means of showing sporting events on larger screens than is possible with CRT technology. It was thus developed from the ground up for showing video as opposed to static pictures. LCD technology is actually an older technology dating back to 1904 and was primarily developed to display static images on digital calculators and watches, before being adopted by the IT industry for computer monitors and eventual development into TV sets. COLOUR REPRODUCTION With Plasma technology, every individual pixel (3x cells or sub-pixels) contains all the elements necessary to make colours, which helps Plasma produce a wider colour palette with more natural tones. With LCD technology, colours are made by manipulating the light coming from a constant, fixed backlight then passed through colour filters. This reliance on a fixed backlight source and colour filters may make it difficult for some LCDs to produce consistently natural and believable colour saturations and tones. Because Plasma TVs can produce more viewable colours than LCD, Plasmas are able to bring the colour of your world to TV. If you want to see more vibrant colour on your TV we recommend that you choose a big screen Plasma TV. INTENSE BLACKS With Plasma screens, a pixel can be made to look almost completely black by stopping any electrical current from entering it. Panasonic are now so good at this that our Plasma’s routinely boast a dynamic contrast ratio of 30,000:1 (native contrast), helping to create a truly cinematic, deep image. With LCD, some unwanted light from the backlight may seep through pixels that are supposed to be black, meaning that dark areas may look grey and flat If you are a movie buff and love the cinema experience, we recommend that you choose a big Plasma TV to deliver a more cinema-like experience in your home with deeper and truer blacks which enhance depth and richness of colour. RESPONSE TIME Plasma technology works on the rapid electrical discharges in the individual cells to produce an image, which can react almost instantly to changes in picture content. This makes a Plasma screen’s response time practically zero. Moving objects are rendered vibrantly and crisply. With LCD TVs, response time describes the time it takes for a liquid crystal cell to go from active (white) to inactive (black) and then back to active (white) again (the LCD molecules have to physically move). Because this whole process can take considerably longer than a Plasma cell to refresh itself, LCD TVs may blur moving objects as the LCD cells fail to go through their active/inactive/active cycle fast enough to keep up with the rapid changes in the source image. Some large LCD TVs now utilise frame interpolation technology in an effort to reduce the effects of monitor blur. The larger the screen, the more noticeable this motion blur may become – and this is why we recommend Plasma for larger screens.
If you’re looking for a big screen TV to view sport and action movies, Plasma should be your choice. VIEWING ANGLE Because Plasma screens emit light directly from each cell, their pictures retain high contrast and picture quality even when watched from extreme angles.
THE PRACTICAL WORLD The wonderful world of TV is somewhat confusing for most people. The concept of several new technologies evolving at roughly the same time to replace a single TV technology has dumbfounded many. We have been watching CRT based televisions for more than 50 years and now consumers are being bombarded by many new technologies including Plasma and LCD. The obvious question for most people is: “Which one is the best?” The key point to recognize about TV technologies is they all excel under certain conditions. It is simply a matter of matching the right TV to the right application. For example, one obvious advantage with Plasma and LCD TVs is their ultra-thin design, (average depth of a LCD/ PLASMA television is about 10 cm), which makes them very versatile.
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Plasma Suitable for smaller screen sizes Perfect for a kitchen, bedroom or office Best for very bright lighting conditions Produces a bright picture
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Suitable for larger screen sizes Perfect for a family room, living room, or home theatre Best for typical home lighting conditions Best choice for fast motion Offers high contrast Delivers natural, true-to-life colour
Questions to consider before purchasing an LCD/Plasma television Which screen size is right for you? To get the best performance from your new flat panel TV, you must consider 3 factors:
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Viewing Distance Screen Size Screen Resolution (EDTV or HDTV)
HDTV Panel: The minimum viewing distance recommended for an HDTV panel and HDTV video signal is 2x the diagonal screen size. For example, a 42” HDTV panel’s minimum viewing distance is 7’. What will be the most common video signal? (Cable TV, HDTV or DVD Video) Always try to provide your TV with the best signal. Better quality cables and a high-definition signal will offer the best picture performance possible. What is your lighting environment? (Lots of sun, incandescent or fluorescent) Plasma TVs perform best under incandescent or halogen lighting while LCD TVs are very similar to plasma under fluorescent lighting. Lots of sunlight will wash out any TV display, but a good set of lined drapes will solve that problem. Where will the TV be located? (Mounted on a wall, on a shelf or floor stand) Both plasma and LCD TVs from Panasonic can be hung on a wall, using wall brackets specifically designed for this application. It is a good idea to consult an install technician to ensure proper support for the TV and to neatly hide the wires. Most Flat panel TVs come with a matching pedestal stand for placement on a credenza or in a wall unit. Matching floor stands are also available for select plasma models.
LCD TV Application
Plasma TV Application
Panel Structure The material enclosed between the two glass plates is in a liquid crystal state. When voltage is applied, the LCD molecules change their direction, thus increasing or decreasing the amount of light they will pass. Light Emitting Principal Since the LCD panel itself does not emit light, fluorescent lights (backlight) are used to display the image. Liquid crystals change the degree of transparency when the applied voltage is varied. The LCD TV draws on this unique characteristic of liquid crystals to vary the amount of light passing through the colour filters on the front surface in order to display the images we see. and The LCD display can be thought of as a panel with more than 1 million miniature shutters opening and closing to display the video image.
Panel Structure Each cell within the panel is coated with either red, green or blue phosphor, and covered with a front glass substrate that is embedded with display electrodes. The space between the two substrates is filled with a combination of noble gases. Light Emitting Principal The data electrodes initiate a pre-discharge, which triggers a discharge action with the display electrodes and causes a change of state in the gas mixture. This process produces ultraviolet light. When the ultraviolet light strikes the phosphor, visible light is generated and this illuminates the screen surface. The Plasma TV can be thought of as a panel whose entire surface is covered with tiny arrays of R, G, and B fluorescent lamps that turn on and off to display the video image.
Myths vs Reality
Power Independent studies have found that longterm power consumption is approximately the same (per square inch) for both types of TV (LCD & Plasma). Power consumption for a Plasma TV changes based on the image on-screen (higher for bright scenes and lower for dark scenes). LCD televisions use an almost constant amount of power because the backlights are always on, regardless of the video image. Life Span and Burn In Life Uneven phosphor aging (otherwise known as “burn-in”) was a problem on early generation plasma displays (5-7 years ago) due to a shorter lifespan and use in industrial applications. The lifespan of the latest generation of plasma TVs has dramatically improved (60,000 hours) and an improvement in phosphors has almost eliminated the possibility of uneven phosphor aging when used in a consumer’s home. Most people watch a variety of programming ranging from movies to news and reality TV. This variety in programming results in an evenly aged panel.
Plasma Gas The gas in a plasma TV cannot be replaced, nor does it need to be replaced. The plasma TV panel is permanently sealed just like the old-fashioned tube TV and the light bulbs you use in your home.
LCD Backlights The backlight system in an LCD panel does not need to be replaced. It is an integrated part of the panel and typically a non issue. The bulbs can last up to 60,000 hours. At 6 hours per day, that works out to more than 27 years. By that time, you’ll probably be looking for a new TV!
Conclusion Now, which product is right for you? From a technology standpoint, LCD is better suited for smaller screen sizes and regular TV viewing because of its bright clear picture. Plasma works best for living/family room or home theatre style applications because of its faster response time, natural colour reproduction and high contrast in typical home lighting conditions. Fast action sports and movies with dark scenes always look best on a plasma television. It really is all about the application and not about the technology.
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