What is Plazma TV?

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Updated January 19, 2023

Plasma TVs rose to prominence following those using cathode-ray tubes. Compared to cathode-ray tube TVs, plasma technology including its many cells made it easier to make large, thin screens. Plasma TVs resulted in a higher-quality picture and made the best TVs because they had a higher refresh rate and definition.


  • Plasma TVs replaced cathode-ray tube TVs, introducing better image quality in a thinner, larger screen.
  • Plasma TVs provided better quality for screen sizes larger than 42 inches compared to LCD TVs.
  • Plasma TVs were better for lower lighting levels than LCD TVs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Plasma Versus LCD TVs

Since cathode-ray tube TVs are no longer being made, people began comparing plasma TVs to liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs. When LCD was first developed, it was designed to display static images.

However, the invention of plasma TVs allowed consumers to view active images, like those shown in movies and TV shows. Plasma displays are known for producing deeper blacks and brighter and more vibrant colors than traditional TVs. This is due to the fact that plasma televisions use tiny cells filled with gas to emit visible light. This allows the displays to show more accurate color and picture quality than other TV types.

While most of these comparisons will be plasma vs LCD, another screen type competed with plasma, DLP. Digital Light Processing (DLP) was usually used for screens that were larger than plasma TVs. It used a light source, often an LED light engine, and a digital micromirror device. DLP has the advantage of excellent color accuracy and deep black levels, but has the disadvantage of higher power consumption than a plasma display panel. On the other hand, the light source used in DLP TVs is light and more efficient than those used in plasma TVs. This means that DLP TVs can be thinner and lighter than their plasma counterparts.

You can learn more about these two technologies with our comparison of DLP TVs vs plasma TVs. Continue reading to learn more about plasma TVs.

Advantages of Plasma TVs

Within a few years, LCD and plasma TVs both provided good-quality images. According to Panasonic, who manufactured both LCD and plasma TV screens at that time, plasma screens were better for larger screen sizes (more than 42 inches or 106.7 cm.) It should be noted that nowadays, 42-inch TVs are not considered large screens anymore. They are considered small, you can learn more in our article on what sizes TVs come in. While you are at it, you may want to look into what TV screens are made of as well to see the different types and what they are best for. For instance, in lower lighting levels, plasma screen TVs surpassed LCD screens because of the difference in technology. They were also great if you wanted to find out what is streaming tv and how it works since they offered some bright images.

The contrast on plasma screen TVs is greater than that on LCD TVs. Plasmas provide vibrant colors and deep blacks. Additionally, viewers sitting at greater angles see a similar picture to those that are looking straight on. Since the discontinuation of plasma TVs, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs became the option that provided this increased contrast. In fact, OLED TVs offer better image quality than the best plasma TVs. And you may also check out what is a nanocell TV if you want an image quality that’s better than an LCD TV.

Plasma screens initially cost less than LCD TVs. However, screen quality and size caused a plasma TV to become more expensive. But, if you’re interested in getting a plasma from a reliable source, you’ll want to know how to choose the best plasma TV.

Disadvantages of Plasma TVs

Plasma screens suffered from image retention. This issue arises when a still image remains on the screen for an extended time. Image retention causes problems for avid gamers. However, the picture may fade away after a few days. Although image retention also affects LCD screens, it is much less common.

Overall, consumers looking for energy efficiency could find it more easily in an LCD TV. The power of a plasma TV depended on the light content of the videos played on the TV. Brighter images required more energy.

Although the plasma TV contained many electronics, it wasn’t as bright. This limitation could cause issues for fans of daytime viewing. Even when they were first introduced, LCD screens were brighter and performed better during the day.

What TV Type Is Best for Plasma TV Owners?

In 2015, manufacturers announced the discontinuation of plasma televisions. At this point, plasma TVs became much less common. Consumers with plasma TV sets will have to look at LCD or OLED televisions when it comes time to purchase a new TV. Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs offer better image contrast with vibrant colors and deep blacks than regular light-emitting diode (LED) LCD TVs. In addition, OLED TVs may provide owners of plasma screens with a better option in terms of image quality.


Is burn-in still a problem for plasma TV screens?

Plasma screens still face challenges when it comes to image retention or burn-in. This issue stems from the method used to make the image on the screen.

Who invented plasma screens?

Plasma screen TVs were invented in 1998 by Donald Bitzer and Gene Slottow. The inventors created a TV that would allow larger screens to show the Winter Olympics in Nagano.

Is there a difference in picture quality between plasma and LCD screens?

Plasma screens feature a cellular grid of pixels filled with gas. Electricity passes through these pixels, illuminating them and creating the image on the screen. On the other hand, LCD TV screens use liquid crystals that are lit up by backlighting. The light passing through the liquid crystals creates the image on these screens.

STAT: According to Panasonic, who manufactures both LCD and plasma TV screens, plasma screens are better for larger screen sizes (more than 42 inches or 106.7 cm). (source)

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