How a Plasma TV works
A plasma display consists of two transparent glass panels with a
thin layer of pixels sandwiched in between. Each pixel is composed
of three gas-filled cells or sub-pixels (one each for red, green
and blue). A grid of tiny electrodes applies an electric current to
the individual cells, causing the neon and xenon gas in the cells
to ionize. This ionized gas (plasma) emits high-frequency UV rays,
which stimulate the cells' phosphors, to glow the desired
Because a plasma panel is illuminated at the sub-pixel level,
images are extremely accurate, and the panel's light output is both
high and consistent across the entire screen area. Plasma
TVs also provide very wide horizontal and vertical viewing
angles. Picture quality looks sharp and bright from virtually
anywhere in the room.
Most flat-panel TVs are progressive displays - they draw the
entire image at once. Panasonic's 1080p plasma displays illuminate
over two million pixels for true high-definition clarity, deeper
blacks and warmer colours.
How an LCD TV
Light in an LCD panel
isn't created by the liquid crystals themselves; instead, a light
source behind the panel shines light through the display, while a
white diffusion panel behind the LCD redirects and scatters the
light evenly to ensure a uniform image.
The display consists of two polarizing transparent panels and a
liquid crystal solution sandwiched in between. The screen's front
layer of glass is etched on the inside surface in a grid pattern to
form a template for the layer of liquid crystals. Liquid crystals
are rod-shaped molecules that bend light in response to an electric
current - the crystals align so that light cannot pass through
them. Each crystal acts like a shutter, either allowing light to
pass through or blocking the light. This pattern of transparent and
dark crystals forms the image.
LCD TVs use
the most advanced type of LCD, known as an
"active-matrix" LCD. This
design is based on thin film transistors (TFT). Their job is to
rapidly switch the LCD's
pixels on and off. In a colour LCD TV, each colour pixel is
created by three sub-pixels with red, green and blue color
One of the biggest challenges for LCD TV manufacturers has been
speeding up the pixel response time (how fast an individual pixel
switches from fully off to fully on) to ensure that fast-moving
objects don't exhibit "motion lag" or ghosting. It's especially
critical for larger-screen LCD TVs where much of the
viewing will be DVD
movies and/or HDTV.
An important difference between plasma and LCD technology is that an LCD screen doesn't have a
coating of phosphor dots (colours are created through the use of
filters). That means you'll never have to worry about image
burn-in, which is great news, especially for anyone planning to
connect a PC or video game system. LCD TVs are extremely
energy-efficient, typically consuming 60% less power than
comparably-sized tube-type TVs.
Which type is right for you?
Plasma TVs have been around longer than LCD TVs, and their technology
is a little further along. Plasma screens use a phosphor coating
like tube TVs, so they have the natural colour we're used to with
Plasmas have better contrast and black level performance than
LCDs, and offer slightly wider viewing angles. People often
describe plasma's picture quality as richer or more "cinematic," so
it's a great choice for a home theatre, or your main TV.
A plasma TV might be for you if:
- You want really rich, warm colors and deep blacks
- You like to watch sports and other fast-action TV
- You'll be sitting off-axis when you watch TV or movies
- Your viewing room doesn't have a lot of ambient light, or you
can easily reduce the light by closing blinds.
If you're looking at screen sizes over 42", Plasma would be the
A flat-panel LCD TV
might be for you if:
- You watch a lot of TV shows or play lots of video games with
static images on the screen for extended periods of time, multiple
days a week
- Your TV room is relatively bright, or you do a lot of daytime
Plasma and LCD
In Australia, Great Britain and several other European markets,
independent surveys have been conducted on the perception of Plasma
Initially 56% of those surveyed thought LCD would offer better picture
quality than Plasma with 42% thinking Plasma was better.
These viewers were then shown both Plasma and LCD TVs in normal home
lighting conditions and the swing to Plasma was very marked - up to
69%, with only 31% believing that LCD looked better.
At Panasonic, we recognise the relative strength of both
VIERA Plasma's are the choice for living rooms and larger
spaces. With their wide viewing angle, deep rich colour, VIERA
Plasma sets also stand up to the rigour of family life with their
full glass front.
Our LCD sets,
manufactured in a range from 32" to 42", have two key technologies
of Motion Picture Pro and Intelligent Scene Controller.
Motion Picture Pro takes a 50Hz signal and doubles it by
creating an intermediate frame between each original frame, thus
making the signal 100Hz and greatly reducing motion blur, a
previously common problem with LCD.
Intelligent Scene Controller adjusts the level of backlight on a
frame by frame basis. It will bring up the backlight for a bright
scene and lower it for a darker scene, bringing a massive 8,500:1
These sets stand up extremely well in daytime lighting and with
their smaller sizes (32"-42") suit smaller rooms.
Because plasma TVs are self-illuminating, the images are
beautiful when viewed from any angle. Black areas do not fade, and
colours remain almost identical regardless of where the viewer is
Take a look at the Panasonic Viera range of Plasma & LED LCD TVs to
find which best suits your viewing needs.