Plasma display: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A 103 inch plasma display panel by Panasonic.

A plasma display panel (PDP) is a type of flat panel display common to large TV displays (80 cm or larger). Many tiny cells between just two panels of glass hold a mixture of noble gases. The gas in the cells is electrically turned into a plasma which emits ultraviolet light which then excites phosphors to emit visible light. Plasma displays should not be confused with LCDs, another lightweight flatscreen display using different technology.[1][2]


General characteristics

Plasma displays are bright (1,000 lux or higher for the module), have a wide color gamut, and can be produced in fairly large sizes—up to 3.8 m (150 inches) diagonally. They have a very low-luminance "dark-room" black level compared to the lighter grey of the unilluminated parts of an LCD screen. The display panel itself is only about 6 cm (2.5 inches) thick, generally allowing the device's total thickness (including electronics) to be less than 10 cm (4 inches). Plasma displays use as much power per square meter as a CRT or an AMLCD television.[citation needed] Power consumption varies greatly with picture content, with bright scenes drawing significantly more power than darker ones - this is also true of CRTs. Typical power consumption is 400 watts for a 50-inch (127 cm) screen. 20 to 310 watts for a 50-inch (127 cm) display when set to cinema mode. Most screens are set to 'shop' mode by default, which draws at least twice the power (around 500-700 watts) of a 'home' setting of less extreme brightness.[3] Panasonic has greatly reduced power consumption by using Neo-PDP screens in their 2009 series of Viera plasma HDTVs. Panasonic claims that PDPs will consume only half the power of their previous series of plasma sets to achieve the same overall brightness for a given display size. The lifetime of the latest generation of plasma displays is estimated at 100,000 hours of actual display time, or 27 years at 10 hours per day. This is the estimated time over which maximum picture brightness degrades to half the original value.[4]

Plasma display screens are made from glass, which reflects more light than the material used to make an LCD screen. This causes glare from reflected objects in the viewing area. Companies such as Panasonic coat their newer plasma screens with an anti-glare filter material.[citation needed] Currently, plasma panels cannot be economically manufactured in screen sizes smaller than 32 inches. Although a few companies have been able to make plasma EDTVs this small, even fewer have made 32in plasma HDTVs. With the trend toward larger and larger displays, the 32in screen size is rapidly disappearing. Though considered bulky and thick compared to their LCD counterparts, some sets such as Panasonic's Z1 and Samsung's B860 series are as slim as one inch thick making them comparable to LCDs in this respect.

Competing display technologies include CRT, OLED, LCD, DLP, SED, LED, and FED.

Plasma display advantages and disadvantages


  • Slim profile
  • Can be wall mounted
  • Lighter and less bulky than rear-projection televisions
  • Achieves better and more accurate color reproduction than LCDs (68 billion/236 versus 16.7 million/224)[5][6]
  • Produces deep, true blacks allowing for superior contrast ratios (up to 1:2,000,000)[5][6][7]
  • Far wider viewing angles than those of LCD (up to 178°); images do not suffer from degradation at high angles unlike LCDs[5][6]
  • Virtually no motion blur, thanks in large part to very high refresh rates and a faster response time, contributing to superior performance when displaying content with significant amounts of rapid motion[8][9][5][6]


  • Earlier models are susceptible to screen burn-in and image retention (however, newer models have green phosphors and built-in technologies to eliminate this, such as pixel shifting)[7][10]
  • Phosphors in older models lose luminosity over time, resulting in gradual decline of absolute image brightness (newer models are less susceptible to this, having lifespans exceeding 60,000 hours, far longer than older CRT technology)[4][7][10]
  • Susceptible to "large area flicker"[11]
  • Generally do not come in smaller sizes than 32 inches[5][6]
  • Susceptible to reflection glare in bright rooms
  • Heavier than LCD due to the requirement of a glass screen to hold the gases
  • Use more electricity, on average, than an LCD TV
  • Do not work as well at high altitudes due to pressure differential between the gases inside the screen and the air pressure at altitude. It may cause a buzzing noise. Manufacturers rate their screens to indicate the altitude parameters.[12]
  • For those who wish to listen to AM radio, or are Amateur Radio operators (Hams) or Shortwave Listeners (SWL) , the Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) from these devices can be irritating or disabling.[13]

Native plasma television resolutions

Fixed-pixel displays such as plasma TVs scale the video image of each incoming signal to the native resolution of the display panel. The most common native resolutions for plasma display panels are 853×480 (EDTV), 1,366×768 or 1,920×1,080 (HDTV). As a result picture quality varies depending on the performance of the video processor and the upscaling and downscaling algorithms used by each display manufacturer.[14][15]


Enhanced-definition plasma television

Early plasma televisions were enhanced-definition (ED) with a native resolution of 840×480 (discontinued) or 853×480, and down-scaled their incoming high definition signals to match their native display resolution.[16]


  • 840×480
  • 853×480

High-definition plasma television

Early high-definition (HD) plasma displays had a resolution of 1024x1024 and were Alternate Lighting of Surfaces (ALiS) panels made by Fujitsu/Hitachi.[17][18] These were interlaced displays, with non-square pixels.[19]

Modern HDTV plasma televisions usually have a resolution of 1,024×768 found on many 42 in plasma screens, 1,280×768, 1,366×768 found on 50 in, 60 in, and 65 in plasma screens or 1,920×1,080 found in plasma screen sizes from 42 in to 103 in. These displays are usually progressive displays, with square pixels, and will up-scale their incoming standard-definition signals to match their native display resolution.[20]


  • 1,024×1,024
  • 1,024×768
  • 1,280×768
  • 1,366×768
  • 1,280×1080
  • 1,920×1,080

How plasma displays work

Composition of plasma display panel

The xenon, neon, and helium gas in a plasma television is contained in hundreds of thousands of tiny cells positioned between two plates of glass. Long electrodes are also put together between the glass plates, in front of and behind the cells. The address electrodes sit behind the cells, along the rear glass plate. The transparent display electrodes, which are surrounded by an insulating dielectric material and covered by a magnesium oxide protective layer, are mounted in front of the cell, along the front glass plate. Control circuitry charges the electrodes that cross paths at a cell, creating a voltage difference between front and back and causing the gas to ionize and form a plasma. As the gas ions rush to the electrodes and collide, photons are emitted.[21][22]

In a monochrome plasma panel, the ionizing state can be maintained by applying a low-level voltage between all the horizontal and vertical electrodes–even after the ionizing voltage is removed. To erase a cell all voltage is removed from a pair of electrodes. This type of panel has inherent memory and does not use phosphors. A small amount of nitrogen is added to the neon to increase hysteresis.

In color panels, the back of each cell is coated with a phosphor. The ultraviolet photons emitted by the plasma excite these phosphors to give off colored light. The operation of each cell is thus comparable to that of a fluorescent lamp.

Every pixel is made up of three separate subpixel cells, each with different colored phosphors. One subpixel has a red light phosphor, one subpixel has a green light phosphor and one subpixel has a blue light phosphor. These colors blend together to create the overall color of the pixel, the same as a triad of a shadow mask CRT or color LCD. Plasma panels use pulse-width modulation to control brightness: by varying the pulses of current flowing through the different cells thousands of times per second, the control system can increase or decrease the intensity of each subpixel color to create billions of different combinations of red, green and blue. In this way, the control system can produce most of the visible colors. Plasma displays use the same phosphors as CRTs, which accounts for the extremely accurate color reproduction when viewing television or computer video images (which use an RGB color system designed for CRT display technology).

Contrast ratio

Contrast ratio is the difference between the brightest and darkest parts of an image, measured in discrete steps, at any given moment. Generally, the higher the contrast ratio, the more realistic the image is (though the "realism" of an image depends on many factors including color accuracy, luminance linearity, and spatial linearity.) Contrast ratios for plasma displays are often advertised as high as 5,000,000:1.[23] On the surface, this is a significant advantage of plasma over most other current display technologies, a notable exception being OLED. Although there are no industry-wide guidelines for reporting contrast ratio, most manufacturers follow either the ANSI standard or perform a full-on-full-off test. The ANSI standard uses a checkered test pattern whereby the darkest blacks and the lightest whites are simultaneously measured, yielding the most accurate "real-world" ratings. In contrast, a full-on-full-off test measures the ratio using a pure black screen and a pure white screen, which gives higher values but does not represent a typical viewing scenario. Some displays, using many different technologies, have some "leakage" of light, through either optical or electronic means, from lit pixels to adjacent pixels so that dark pixels that are near bright ones appear less dark than they do during a full-off display. Manufacturers can further artificially improve the reported contrast ratio by increasing the contrast and brightness settings to achieve the highest test values. However, a contrast ratio generated by this method is misleading, as content would be essentially unwatchable at such settings.[24][25][26]

Plasma is often cited as having better (i.e. darker) black levels (and higher contrast ratios), although both plasma and LCD each have their own technological challenges. Each cell on a plasma display has to be precharged before it is due to be illuminated (otherwise the cell would not respond quickly enough) and this precharging means the cells cannot achieve a true black. Some manufacturers have worked hard to reduce the precharge and the associated background glow, to the point where black levels on modern plasmas are starting to rival CRT. With LCD technology, black pixels are generated by a light polarization method; many panels are unable to completely block the underlying backlight. However, more recent LCD panels (particularly those using white LED illumination) can compensate by automatically reducing the backlighting on darker scenes, though this method — analogous to the strategy of noise reduction on analog audio tape — obviously cannot be used in high-contrast scenes, leaving some light showing from black parts of an image with bright parts, such as (at the extreme) a solid black screen with one fine intense bright line.[5][6][7]

Screen burn-in

An example of a plasma display that has suffered severe burn-in from stationary text

With phosphor-based electronic displays (including cathode ray and plasma displays), the prolonged display of a menu bar or other static (fixed in place and unchanging) graphical elements over time can create a permanent ghost-like image of these objects since phosphor compounds which emit the light lose their luminosity with use. As a result, when certain areas of the display are used more frequently than others, over time the lower luminosity areas become visible to the naked eye and the result is called burn-in. While a ghost image is the most noticeable effect, a more common result is that the image quality will continuously and gradually decline as luminosity variations develop over time, resulting in a "muddy" looking picture image. Most plasma display producers state a 100,000 hours time before brightness halves, theoretically allowing for over ten years of normal viewing before the display dims significantly.

Plasma displays also exhibit another image retention issue which is sometimes confused with screen burn-in damage. In this mode, when a group of pixels are run at high brightness (when displaying white, for example) for an extended period of time, a charge build-up in the pixel structure occurs and a ghost image can be seen. However, unlike burn-in, this charge build-up is transient and self corrects after the image condition that caused the effect has been removed and a long enough period of time has passed (with the display either off or on).

Plasma manufacturers have over time managed to devise ways of eliminating the past problems of image retention with solutions involving gray pillarboxes, pixel orbiters and image washing routines.[7][10]

Environmental impact

Related terms:
Electronic waste

Plasma screens have been shown to contribute to climate change because nitrogen trifluoride, a very potent greenhouse gas, is used during production. [27][28] Plasma screens have also been lagging behind CRT and LCD screens in terms of energy consumption.[29] The latter is however more of a problem when energy is used generated from fossil fuel power plants. To reduce the energy consumption, new technologies are also being found.[30] Although it can be expected that plasma screens will continue to become more energy efficient in the future, a growing problem is that people tend to keep their old TVs running and an increasing trend to escalating screen sizes.[31][32][33][34][35][36]


Plasma displays were first used in PLATO computer terminals. This PLATO V model illustrates the display's monochromatic orange glow as seen in 1981.[37]

In 1936 Tihanyi described the principle of "plasma television" and conceived the first flat-panel television system.

The monochrome plasma video display was co-invented in 1964 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by Donald Bitzer, H. Gene Slottow, and graduate student Robert Willson for the PLATO Computer System.[38] The original neon orange monochrome Digivue display panels built by glass producer Owens-Illinois were very popular in the early 1970s because they were rugged and needed neither memory nor circuitry to refresh the images. A long period of sales decline occurred in the late 1970s because semiconductor memory made CRT displays cheaper than the US$2500 512 x 512 PLATO plasma displays.[citation needed] Nonetheless, the plasma displays' relatively large screen size and 1 inch thickness made them suitable for high-profile placement in lobbies and stock exchanges.

Electrical engineering student Larry F. Weber became interested in plasma displays while studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the 1960s, and pursued postgraduate work in the field under Bitzer and Slottow. His research eventually earned him 15 patents relating to plasma displays. One of his early contributions was development of the power-saving "energy recovery sustain circuit", now included in every color plasma display.[39]

Burroughs Corporation, a maker of adding machines and computers, developed the Panaplex display in the early 1970s. The Panaplex display, generically referred to as a gas-discharge or gas-plasma display,[40] uses the same technology as later plasma video displays, but began life as seven-segment display for use in adding machines. They became popular for their bright orange luminous look and found nearly ubiquitous use in cash registers, calculators, pinball machines, aircraft avionics such as radios, navigational instruments, and stormscopes; test equipment such as frequency counters and multimeters; and generally anything that previously used nixie tube or numitron displays with a high digit-count throughout the late 1970s and into the 1990s. These displays remained popular until LEDs gained popularity because of their low-current draw and module-flexibility, but are still found in some applications where their high-brightness is desired, such as pinball machines and avionics. Pinball displays started with six- and seven-digit seven-segment displays and later evolved into 16-digit alphanumeric displays, and later into 128x32 dot-matrix displays in 1990, which are still used today.


In 1983, IBM introduced a 19-inch (48 cm) orange-on-black monochrome display (model 3290 'information panel') which was able to show up to four simultaneous IBM 3270 terminal sessions. Due to heavy competition from monochrome LCD's, in 1987 IBM planned to shut down its factory in upstate New York, the largest plasma plant in the world, in favor of manufacturing mainframe computers.[39] Consequently, Larry Weber co-founded a startup company Plasmaco with Stephen Globus, as well as James Kehoe, who was the IBM plant manager, and bought the plant from IBM. Weber stayed in Urbana as CTO until 1990, then moved to upstate New York to work at Plasmaco.


In 1992, Fujitsu introduced the world's first 21-inch (53 cm) full-color display. It was a hybrid, the plasma display created at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and NHK STRL.


In 1994, Weber demonstrated color plasma technology at an industry convention in San Jose. Panasonic Corporation began a joint development project with Plasmaco, which led in 1996 to the purchase of Plasmaco, its color AC technology, and its American factory.


In 1997, Fujitsu introduced the first 42-inch (107 cm) plasma display; it had 852x480 resolution and was progressively scanned.[41] Also in 1997, Philips introduced a 42-inch (107 cm) display, with 852x480 resolution. It was the only plasma to be displayed to the retail public in 4 Sears locations in the US. The price was US$14,999 and included in-home installation. Later in 1997, Pioneer started selling their first plasma television to the public.

2006 - Present

In late 2006, analysts noted that LCDs overtook plasmas, particularly in the 40-inch (1.0 m) and above segment where plasma had previously gained market share.[42] Another industry trend is the consolidation of manufacturers of plasma displays, with around fifty brands available but only five manufacturers. In the first quarter of 2008 a comparison of worldwide TV sales breaks down to 22.1 million for direct-view CRT, 21.1 million for LCD, 2.8 million for Plasma, and 0.1 million for rear-projection.[43]

Until the early 2000s, plasma displays were the most popular choice for HDTV flat panel display as they had many benefits over LCDs. As well as superior brightness, faster response time, greater color spectrum, and wider viewing angle; they were also much bigger than LCDs, and it was believed that LCD technology was suited only to smaller sized televisions. However, improvements in VLSI fabrication technology have since narrowed the technological gap. The increased size, lower weight, falling prices, and often lower electrical power consumption of LCDs now make them competitive with plasma television sets.[citation needed]

Screen sizes have increased since the introduction of plasma displays. The largest plasma video display in the world at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., North America was a 150-inch (381 cm) unit manufactured by Matsushita Electrical Industries (Panasonic) standing 6 ft (180 cm) tall by 11 ft (330 cm) wide.[44][45] At the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., North America Panasonic introduced their 152" 2160p 3D plasma.

Notable plasma display manufacturers

Notable manufacturers that abandoned Plasma

See also


  1. ^ - Plasma display
  2. ^ Gizmodo - Giz Explains: Plasma TV Basics
  3. ^ - How to Calibrate Your Plasma TV
  4. ^ a b - How Long Do Plasma TVs Last?
  5. ^ a b c d e f Crutchfield - LCD vs. Plasma
  6. ^ a b c d e f CNET Australia - Plasma vs. LCD: Which is right for you?
  7. ^ a b c d e - Plasma Vs. LCD
  8. ^ Google books - Principles of Multimedia By Ranjan Parekh, Ranjan
  9. ^ Google books - The electronics handbook By Jerry C. Whitaker
  10. ^ a b c - Plasma TV Screen Burn-In: Is It Still a Problem?
  11. ^ "Reduction of Large Area Flicker in Plasma Display Panels"
  12. ^ Plasma TVs at Altitude
  13. ^ eham Amateur Radio Forum [1]
  14. ^ - Step 3: Is a 1080p Resolution Plasma TV Worth the Extra Money?
  15. ^ - Native Resolution
  16. ^ - EDTV Plasma vs. HDTV Plasma
  17. ^ CNET UK - ALiS (alternate lighting of surfaces)
  18. ^ Google Books - Newnes Guide to Television and Video Technology By K. F. Ibrahim, Eugene Trundle
  19. ^ - 1024 x 1024 Resolution Plasma Display Monitors vs.853 x 480 Resolution Plasma Display Monitors
  20. ^ - Are All Plasma Televisions HDTVs?
  21. ^ HowStuffWorks - How Plasma Displays Work
  22. ^ Google books - Phosphor handbook By William M. Yen, Shigeo Shionoya, Hajime Yamamoto
  23. ^
  24. ^ Google books - Digital Signage Broadcasting By Lars-Ingemar Lundström
  25. ^ Google books - Instrument Engineers' Handbook: Process control and optimization By Béla G. Lipták
  26. ^ Google books - Computers, Software Engineering, and Digital Devices By Richard C. Dorf
  27. ^ Your Flat Screen Has (Greenhouse) Gas
  28. ^ Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3): Calls to monitor potent greenhouse gas
  29. ^ Plasma screens energy consumption
  30. ^ Dramatic improvement that can be integrated in pdp displays
  31. ^ CNET - The basics of TV power
  32. ^ CNET - The chart: 150 HDTVs' power consumption compared
  33. ^ Yahoo! Tech - Part I: Do Flat-Screen TVs Consume More Power?
  34. ^ Yahoo! Tech - Part II: Which Is More Energy Efficient, Plasma or LCD?
  35. ^ G4techTV - Plasma vs LCD power consumption shootout
  36. ^ - Power Consumption Tests
  37. ^ Google books - Michael Allen's 2008 E-Learning Annual By Michael W. Allen
  38. ^ Bitzer Wins Emmy Award for Plasma Screen Technology
  39. ^ a b Ogg, E., "Getting a charge out of plasma TV", CNET News, June 18, 2007, retrieved 2008-11-24.
  40. ^ "What is gas-plasma display?". Webopedia. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  41. ^ Mendrala, Jim, "Flat Panel Plasma Display", North West Tech Notes, No. 4, June 15, 1997, retrieved 2009-01-29.
  42. ^ "Shift to large LCD TVs over plasma", MSNBC, November 27, 2006, retrieved 2007-08-12.
  43. ^ "LCD televisions outsell plasma 8 to 1 worldwide", Digital Home, 21 May 2008, retrieved 2008-06-13.
  44. ^ Dugan, Emily., "6ft by 150 inches - and that's just the TV", The Independent, 8 January 2008, retrieved 2009-01-29.
  45. ^ - Panasonic's 150-Inch "Life Screen" Plasma Opens CES
  46. ^ - Pioneer Announces Display Business Change

External links

Simple English

A modern plasma screen television. These televisions are light-weight and save a lot of space

Televisions with plasma display are much thinner than cathode ray tubes and are usually higher definition.

Plasma screens are made of 2 sheets of glass with 2 gases stored between the sheets. The gases are xenon and neon and they fill thousands of tiny chambers, or spaces. Behind each space are a series of red, blue and green phosphors (substances that give off light when struck by light). When electricity connects to the plasma chambers the colored phosphors produce the right color on your screen. They work in a very similar way to fluorescent tubes used for lighting.

Plasma screens may seem to be a new technology but actually they have been around since 1964 but only 2 colors could be produced then. Now we have high definition Plasma screens up to 150 inches in size. Japanese engineers are currently working on a 270 inch model.


= Advantages


Plasma TV's have more pixels (tiny dots that when put together can create an image on a picture) per inch than the old fashioned cathode ray tube (CRT) screens so they can produce a much sharper image. In the old style of CRT screens the pictures were made up of lines. If you look closely at a Plasma screen you will not see any lines. You will find out that most Plasma screens have a wide screen option so you can see movies in the way they were intended for movie theaters. They are also ideal for the latest digital broadcasting methods.

One of the big advantages is the space saving. The problem with old cathode ray tubes is that they needed a lot of space so that the rays can fire upon all areas of the screen. The wider the screen, the larger the volume of the television would be. The average Plasma television is around 6 to 8 inches deep. Moving your Plasma onto the wall can really increase the amount of floor space and they can be looked at from any point in the room (usually 180 degrees)

Plasma screens are also very light especially when compared to a rear projection TV. A 40 inch Plasma TV will weigh from 50 to 80 pounds and provided you purchase a suitable bracket (that can hold the TV up to the wall) they can be hung very easily to a suitable wall. When fixing to the wall you need to make sure you choose a bracket which tells you the highest weight it can carry. Most brackets can be tilted if you want to view from a different angle.

Plasma TV's can display up to 16 million colors so not only are they great for watching TV programs, they also make a good screen for the latest computer games consoles. Most Plasma TV's have inputs for HDMI and laptop computers connections making them ideal to use to display products and sales messages in offices and shops.

You will also find out that they are very easy to watch even on a sunny day or a very bright room. Unlike the old CRT screens they aren't hard to see in bright areas.


Because of the phosphor technology in Plasma TVs (see How Plasma TVs Work), it is possible for traces of an image to be 'burned-in' to the display, meaning you might see little traces of it even while watching other images. This is really only a concern in commercial uses, where images are shown for long-periods of time. Burn-in can generally be avoided by making sure that you do not keep a constant image on the screen for a long time (sometimes as little as 20 minutes), either by turning the television off, or changing the channel.

Although still much brighter than rear-projection TVs, direct view and LCD TVs often are able to provide a brighter picture. Latest generation Plasma TVs have improved on brightness, but a warning is don't view where it is too bright or sunny.

Although Plasma TVs are MUCH lighter and thinner than direct view and rear projection TVs, anLCD TVs is lighter and slimmer. LCD TVs use the same technology as used in most laptop computers. You should know that LCD TVs are not really available in the same sizes as Plasma TVs, and if they are, they usually cost much more.

Plasma screen TVs cost much more than CRTs and a little more than LCDs.

Compared to other television technologies, Plasma TVs have a shorter life span. Most Plasma TVs have a life span of 20,000-30,000 hours based on maker's estimates. This life span is commonly referred to as the Plasma TV half-life, as it is the number of hours over which the Plasma TV will lose approximately half of its brightness.

Plasma TVs break easily and it is possible to break them if you are not careful, and the parts are quite easy to damage. You must take a lot of care when moving them.

How Long Do They Last?

As technology has been made better, Plasma screens have a much longer life and you should expect 30,000 hours of use. In other words your television would need to be on for 16 hours a day, every day for the next 5 years. By the time your TV needs replacing higher definition models will have become available. Most of us should not be worried as it will give years of enjoyment

Is it Worth Spending Money On?

When the first Plasma televisions were designed for home use you didn't get much change from $5000 dollars for a basic small model. As the technology has improved and production has increased, prices have been smaller. You can now get a 37 inch model for as little as $1000 or even less so they are great value. Soon buying a CRT television will be a thing of the past as the new digital age is upon us.



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