A plasma television is any television that uses plasma technology, which allows them to be crafted on a larger scale. Despite their larger design, plasma screens are thinner than more conventional television sets, and require less room for set up in modern day homes. Oftentimes, these televisions are created with the idea of being mounted to a wall, as opposed to being placed on or within a bulky entertainment unit. The technology these televisions utilize incorporates the use of fluorescent light in order to produce a higher quality image by using a current to individually light each pixel of the screen. You can find all the latestet TV technology at this website.
The Concept of Plasma
The technology that plasma screens employs was originally conceived of in 1936 by Hungarian engineer Kálmán Tihanyi. He described the principle of a plasma screen, and was the first to actually conceptualize what a modern day flat screen could look like given the right tools and technology.
In Tihanyi’s concept of plasma technology, the display would consist of cells, and within each individual cell, there would be glass panels. These panels would be separated by a small space filled with a plasma concentration that would later be turned into a gas. This gas would be electrically charged, and would in turn highlight in various colors (red, green or blue). On a screen display, these cells would then turn one of the corresponding colors.
Compared to conventional televisions, the plasma screen is thinner and not as bulky. Additionally, because of its design, plasma screens eliminated the need to incorporate picture tubes and electron beam scanning. These aspects of conventional television would require additional layers and ultimately resulted in the bulkier design. However, plasma screens still require the burning of phosphors like its bulkier predecessor. As such, plasma screens still have some of the more traditional drawbacks typically associated with conventional televisions, primarily massive heat generation and screen-burning of static images.
Plasma through the Years
After Tihanyi’s conceptualizing of the plasma screen in 1936, many would try to better improve the idea and bring the concept to life with the available tools and technologies. The idea of the plasma screen was both challenging and exciting, and encouraged engineers to think outside of the traditional way of applying science. However, with Tihanyi’s concept as the starting foundation, many engineers, universities and marketing companies would expound upon his idea gradually and eventually create the modern day version.
In 1964, Donald Bitzer, H. Gene Slottow and undergraduate Robert Wilson from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign would design the first monochrome plasma video display—the PLATO Computer System. This differed greatly from Tihanyi’s original multi-chromatic design, but was among the first designs to transcend theory.
In the 1970s, this idea would further be expounded upon by the monochromatic Digivued display panels, which utilized the glass panels produced by Owens-Illinois. These panels were popular because they used neither memory nor circuity to refresh images. Unfortunately, sales for the PLATO display panels dropped dramatically as CRT displays became cheaper to afford commercially. Still, their large screens and thinness made them ideal for advertisement in high-profile lobbies and stock exchanges.
Additionally, Burroughs Corporation would develop the Panaplex display and use the plasma technology initially for the screens in adding machines, as was the company’s original product design. The Panaplex display would later be used as the display screen for cash registers, calculators, pinball machines and navigational instruments, completely replacing the original technology (nimitron displays)that had been used previously. This trend would continue throughout the next twenty years, extending into the early 1990s, remaining the preferred choice until LEDs became more popular due to their module flexibility and generally lower draw on current.
The popularity and design of plasma screens would change slowly throughout the 1990s, with Fujitsu introducing the first full-color plasma display in 1992. Fujitsu’s design combined technologies from the University of Illinoi and the NHK Science & Technology Research Labs, ultimately creating a smoother running hybrid. In 1997, Philips was the only plasma screen manufacturer to display plasma screens to the general public, with a price of $15 and free in-home installation. This had been the first time that plasma screens were offered to the retail community, and would ultimately start a trend, with Pioneer selling their first plasma screens to the public and encouraging other plasma screen retailers to follow suit.
With the beginning of the 2000s, the fate of the plasma screen seemed uncertain. Until then, plasma screens had been the primary consumer choice for HDTV flat panel displays, primarily due to besting LCDs in this regard. By comparison, plasma screens had darker and sharper blacks, and provide a more even display of color across the screen. Additionally, the response times of plasma screens were much quicker than their LED counterparts. These were the primary reasons that LEDs were believed to only be suited for smaller television sizes. However, with the increase in technology and a better understanding of how to improve the performance of LEDs, this gap in preference dwindled significantly. LEDs became cheaper, lighter and larger, and consumed less energy than their plasma screen competitors, making them a competitor for plasma displays.
The Plasma Screen Today
In 2010 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Panasonic introduced their newest and (at the time) largest plasma screen television. The 152” display was met with a renewed interest in plasma screen televisions. That year, Panasonic shipped over 19 million plasma screens. Unfortunately, after peaking globally at 18 million units sold (across all plasma screen manufacturers), the interest in plasma screens drastically fell. With the rise of LCD televisions and the vast improvements in LED television technology (both of which were generally cheaper than the retail for plasma TVs), plasma screens were unable to maintain their vice on the large-screen television market.
In 2013, Panasonic, one of the largest plasma screen television retailers, announced that as of 2014 they would no longer produce plasma screen televisions. Shortly thereafter, both LG and Samsung would follow suit, effectively destroying the plasma screen.
Although plasma screens aren’t sold in the larger retail stores, there are still many available from online retailers, new and used, including Amazon.