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Although you may think Plasma TV technology is a recent phenomenon, the science has been around since 1960, and the first plasma display prototype appeared back in 1964.
Plasma TV screens, as the name suggests, use a matrix of tiny gas plasma bubbles coated by phosphor and charged by precise electrical voltages to create a picture. Plasma technology operates on the premise that each subpixel within a plasma display is a microscopic fluorescent lamp that emits one of the primary colors (red, green or blue).
Plasma TV screens can create a multitude of tints by varying the intensity of the light from these three subpixels. When itís time to display an image signal (RGB or video), a digitally controlled electric current flows through the flat screen, causing the plasma inside designated bubbles to give off ultraviolet rays. This light in turn causes the phosphor coatings to glow the appropriate color. The millions of RGB bubbles glowing and dimming combine to make a rich, vivid image. Because the light emitted by the plasma is ultraviolet radiation, which is invisible to humans, it must be changed into a visible form of energy. To achieve this transformation, the walls of the plasma tube are coated with a UV-sensitive powder that emits white light. This powder, often called a phosphor, is known as a scintillator - a material that converts one type of radiation to another. CRTs also contain scinitillators that convert the electron beams into visible red, green or blue light.
The most striking advantage that HDTV Plasmas TV currently has over LCD televisions is their availability in the largest screen formats. However, it wonít be long before some manufacturers produce LCD screens that will be comparable in size to the biggest plasmas. Plasma TV contrast is also superior to those of LCDs, and equal to the best CRT televisions. Plasma TV is quite versatile; capable of displaying full HDTV and DTV signals as well as XGA, SVGA and VGA signals from a computer. Furthermore, plasma televisions present a much wider range of richer colors due to their huge choice of scintillators. High-end plasma screens can display 16.77 million colors, providing superb realism with exceptionally subtle gradations among colors. In fact, color saturation represents one of the most dramatic advantages that plasma screens have over other display technologies. Their big size and video performance make them excellent for viewing DVDs, high definition or otherwise.