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If you're planning on buying a plasma screen television, take in to account your viewing needs. If you're going to need a small to moderate screen (30-40 inches) and you plan on sitting more than 10 feet away, then an EDTV might be your most cost worthy option. There won't be much noticeable degradation in image quality, and DVD playback should be fine. If you're going to be buying a large sized screen (greater than 40 inches) or you are planning to sit fairly close to the screen, then you should opt for an HDTV. If you plan on purchasing a plasma screen television for professional use, then you should always opt for an HDTV.
A few years ago, flat panel LCD televisions lasted longer than plasma screen televisions. With recent advances in technology, plasma screen televisions now last just as long as LCD screens. Both technologies deliver about 60,000 hours of continuous playing time before they have to be replaced. Plasma screens use their illumination power more efficiently than LCD displays, as each phosphor of a plasma screen television is illuminated individually. LCD displays use bulbs that do not illuminate as accurately.
When buying a plasma screen television, you have to realize that only the largest screens can produce true-to-life HDTV resolution. The standard resolutions for HDTV are 1080i (1920x1080) and 720p (1280x720). Both these resolutions can usually be displayed on a plasma screen television of any size. However, if you want true pixel-to-pixel matching of signal and display, you have to go with a larger plasma screen television. Only screens of at least 50 inches physically have the number of pixels to display HDTV signals in true size.
Plasma screen televisions boast excellent contrast ratios. Retailers often use a screens high contrast ration as a selling point. It is important to remember that there is no real standard test for a screen's contrast ratio. While some manufacturers boast ratios as high as 5000:1, there is no real way to verify this. Your best bet is to look at a myriad of different screens and trust your own eye to tell you which one has the best levels of contrast.
Most plasma screen televisions support an array of standard definition and HDTV formats. The standard definition formats occur at two primary resolutions, 704 x 480 and 640 x 480, at either the 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios. The HDTV formats have resolutions of either 1920 x 1080 (referred to as 1080i) or 1280 x 720 (referred to as 720p), an both are shown at 16:9 aspect ratio. The 1080i signal is interlaced, meaning that the odd screen lines are scanned first, followed by the even ones every 30th of a second.
One common worry that plasma screen television owners have is that the quality of their older media will not look as good on the screen. If you invest in a high quality plasma screen television digital media, such as DVDs, will look the best that they can. VHS and older television signals will also look the best that they can, but their quality will not approach that of newer digital media and signals. In order to ensure that you can make the most of older media, be sure to purchase a plasma screen television that has a very wide range of compatibility.
By 2006, all television broadcasts within the USA will be delivered with DTV broadcasting. The signals will be broadcast in both HDTV format and other standard definition formats. In order to ensure compatibility, many television manufacturers are now producing units that support multiple formats. Television owners must upgrade to these new standards by the 2006 deadline. Purchasing a plasma screen television is an excellent way to ensure that your television remains compatible with these changing standards.
Often, EDTV plasma televisions will appear better than HDTV plasma televisions when displaying DVDs. This is because DVD technology currently produces a picture that is closer to EDTV resolution than HDTV resolution. Widescreen DVDs only display at a resolution of 704x480, which is similar to the EDTV resolution of 852x480. This, however, is not a reason to avoid buying an HDTV. DVD technology is changing all the time, and within a few years the resolution of DVD recordings will most likely increase to meet the demands of HDTV users.
Plasma screen televisions are known for their exceptional brightness. When buying a plasma screen television, you want to look for the screen that offers the brightest picture. Be careful to note that plasma screen televisions often have adjustable brightness levels. Some manufacturers and salespersons adjust the screens to their highest brightness settings so that they appear brighter in the store. Using a plasma screen level consistently at this maximum level will reduce its life span. When examining televisions in the store, be sure to adjust the televisions' brightness levels to a moderate setting, in order to ensure that you are buying a quality product.
Plasma screen televisions, while aesthetically pleasing in terms of design, are also literally easy on the eyes. Due to the screen's superior brightness, a plasma screen television remains visible under almost any light condition. The picture won't fade in bright light, so you don't have to watch them in the dark. Also, the picture is viewable from a wider angle than that of a normal television. Both of these factors make watching a plasma screen television a less straining experience.
When buying a plasma screen television, you will have to weigh many options, one of which is screen resolution. By far, the best resolution of current plasma screen displays have either 720p (progressive) or 1080i (interlaced) resolution. This resolution level is referred to as high definition. Some screens offer slightly lesser capabilities, displaying either 480 interlaced or progressive resolution. These screens are referred to as enhanced definition television or EDTV. Both standards are better than the resolutions offered by conventional televisions.
Choosing the plasma screen television that is right for you involves balancing several factors. The first is space – make sure that you have ample space to both display the plasma screen television and allow room for your home theatre system and viewing area. Second, make sure you determine the uses of your plasma screen television. If you plan to use it with your computer as well as standard digital media, you have to be careful in selecting your resolution. Select a plasma screen television that matches your computer's resolution. Also make sure that the screen has enough flexibility to remain useful should you decide to upgrade your computer.
Choosing to buy an HDTV ready plasma screen television is the most flexible buying option. Once you have the television, you'll need a few other accessories in order to display a television signal. You'll first need to acquire a satellite receiver, a cable receiver, DVD player, or an HDTV receiver. This will allow you to acquire a television signal. You will also need an appropriate cable to connect the device to your plasma screen television. Once you have this setup, you should be able to display standard or HDTV television signals on your plasma screen.