plasma, flat-screen, HDTV...what's the difference?

If I had the money to buy one of these toys (if), it seems to me that an HDTV makes the most sense. Why would you buy a plasma TV if it’ll be obsolete in 5-10 years? Has anyone purchased a plasma over an HDTV, and if so, why? Is the difference in price that great?

Zardoz you may be getting confused by some terminology here.

HDTV means High-Definition TV, and has to do with the display resolution of the set. Any style (format) of display can be HDTV: regular tube, big projection, the somewhat-thin DLP and the ultra-thin plasma displays.

Plasma refers to one specific technology that it used to make very thin displays. Plasma displays can be HDTV or normal NTSC. The expensive plasma displays are HDTV, but I think Gateway is selling some 42" plasma displays that are NOT HDTV (and retial for $699 or something).

So, HDTV refers to the display capability of the set.

Plasma is one specific way of displaying images.

Got a cite for that ?

My wife and I recently purchased a 42 inch panasonic Plasma HDTV…It has the most amazing clarity I have ever seen. We watched the extended edition of The Two Towers the other night and I though Gollum was going to jump right out of the set.

Obsolete in 5-10 years??? I have not heard that, as a matter of fact I heard plasma screens are the wave of the future. I do not know how much clearer they will be in 5 years…but what we have now is simply amazing!

Things I like:

From any angle or height you can see the clarity, there is O distortion. Sound quality is enhanced by our Bang & Olufsen surround sound (gift to my wife two years ago). We have been grappling over which tv to get for a while now. We waited and waited…until a deal came up at Best Buy and we jumped on it. :slight_smile:

Plasma technology is not going to become obsolete. But what will happen is that the tube for the plasma screen will eventually burn out. If you leave it on 24/7, it will burn out in about 5 years according to most sources I’ve come across.

I have a flat panel LCD screen and it’s supposed to last 7 years if I leave it on 24/7, which I won’t.

I’ve heard something similar; that the phosphors burn out after about 20-30 thousand hours and become dimmer. See this article or this FAQ and expand the bullet point about plasmas wearing out. Whether that means plasma’s a waste of money, I don’t know.

What I meant by “plasma will be obsolete” is the emergence of HDTV. In 5-10 years, HDTVs will phase into the market and replace the “normal” TVs we have now, plasma or not.

I guess what I’m asking was prompted by a trip to Best Buy. I went around to the electronics dept. and looked at the TVs, both plasma and HDTV. Plasmas are great, but not HD, and the price between the two seemed comparable. So again I ask, why get a non-HD plasma TV instead of an HDTV?

Why not get an HDTV Plasma? Plasma screens are not incompatible with HDTV.

Jeez, Zardoz did you not read my reply (the first)?

Plasma and HDTV are two completely separate things.

Plasma is completely capable of HDTV; you just have to buy an HDTV-capable plasma monitor.

Think of HDTV like color on a TV. There are the old (B&W) TVs, and the fancy new color (HDTV) TVs. Some are color, some are B&W. Every system you are familiar with (console, projection, plasma, DLP) is capable of displaying the fancy new format.

Some choose to stick to the old display format, but put it in a new case. Thus you get a plasma TV (new case) showing NTSC (basic TV). Just because a Best Buy drone tells you that plasma doesn’t display HDTV doesn’t mean it’s true!!!

What the Best Buy drone told you about prices, though, was technically true: a non-HD plasma is about the same price as an HD-capable projection TV. So what. This just means that you can either have a flat TV or an HD one. There ARE HD plasma displays - in fact these are always the ones most prominently displayed because of how good they look. You CAN buy an HD plasma display today. Expect to pay about $5K for a good one, but it can be done.

Once again: HDTV is a broadcast format that ANY type of display available today can handle.

Plasma is ONE type of technology to display moving pictures. It’s flat and thin. It also can be basic US TV (NTSC) or HDTV. Higher resolution means higher prices, JUST LIKE other formats (tubes, LCDs, DLPs).

So: Basic TV (NTSC) Tube TV = $300
Basic TV (NTSC) Projection TV = $900
Basic TV (NTSC) Plasma TV = $1200

HDTV Tube TV = $500
HDTV Projection TV = $1500
HDTV Plasma TV = $3000

You pay more for the new (HDTV) technology, but that’s nothing new. (And my prices are for illustration purposes only!)

Once again, just for the Best Buy drone: Plasma can do HDTV!!!