Is it true Plasma TVs burn out or get dull after a few months of use?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Hypnotoad1234, May 22, 2006.

  1. Hypnotoad1234

    Hypnotoad1234 Nintendo WIIIIIIIIIIIIII

    Wisconsin is the deal.
    I will be buying a new tv and I want it to have that " oh wow you have a flat panel tv.. you must be cool" look to it and I noticed that plasms are a good bit cheaper than lcd tvs. My dad says thats because they burn out, start fires, and get dull after a few months of use. Is that true?
  2. fitz

    fitz Just Floating Along Staff Member Political User Folding Team

    in a word:


    They don't burn out.. There is a myth out there that says that plasma tv's "leak" the gas. Hogwash! Plasma tv's are sealed systems made up of many thousands of individually contained cells of gas, while, i suppose it is possible in theory that one of the cells might leak the inert gas contained within, it would be the same thing as a LCD that had a pixel burned out.

    start fires? Never heard of a plasma tv that started a fire. The gases (Xeon & Argon, I believe) are noble gases which don't react with other elements (remember your Chemistry classes?).

    Understand that all TV's (including LCD's, plasma, and CRT's) eventally "wear out". Ever wonder why the new TV at the store seems so much brighter than your TV at home? That's because all TV's gradually lose brightness over time. Usually too slowly to notice until you compare it with something brand new. Most quality Plasma TV's have a rated half life (the time it takes for the display to "dim" to half the brightness when new) of 30,000 hours - which, if you watched TV for 5 hours a day, every day, it would take over 16 years.

    Plasma TV's have been known to experience image burn in if you leave a static image on the screen for a long time, but, even then, newer displays are a lot better at handling this (and how often is a static image displayed on your screen when you are watching TV? Unless you watch C-SPAN non-stop or plan on using your large screen plasma as a computer monitor/gaming console, I wouldn't worry about burn in..)

    So... why plasma over LCD (or LCD over Plasma?) That can be a lengthy argument on both sides. Me.. I have a small-ish LCD (34") that I am very happy with. I would probably be just as happy if I had gone plasma.. but they don't make plasma's in the smaller sizes very often.
  3. LeeJend

    LeeJend Moderator

    Fort Worth, TX
    All electronics are subject to burning out, catching fire and all TV's are subject to getting dull. So your dad is sort of right. The correct question is what types last longest.

    Plasma TVs are subject to burn in, not burn out. The newer sets are supposed to be better than the old sets. I have not seen any personal testimony to that effect yet but I have seen some of the original plasma sets after 1 year where the playboy bunny or SCiFi is visible in the lower left corner no matter what channel is currently selected. The plasma screen itself tends to remember what was displayed and after a while the image quality degrades as old images cloud the new. Plasma lasts a lot less time than a CRT lasts. We're talking 1-2 maybe 3 years VS 10-15 on a CRT TV set before the image becomes unacceptable. There is no economical fix for a Plasma screen. There used to be a trick to re-energize the CRT electron guns but it is not worth the cost anymore.

    LCD, Projection, DLP and CRT (the classic picture tube) are all subject to wearing out. The first 3 use (expensive) high intensity light bulbs for projection or backlighting that loose intensity and/or burn out eventually. The electron guns in the CRT loose intensity with age.

    I have not heard of LED TVs wearing out but they are limited in size due to the inherent size for the diodes, image resolution and graininess. They are also pricey for the screen size.

    To fix a fading or dead bulb you replace it. They are not cheap. Some sets you can do yourself, some require paying a tech $100 an hour or more. Check before buying on bulb price and if the consumer can do the work themselves.

    Last extended thread we did here at OSNN generally recommended DLP type TV's for large screen. Do a search on "Plasma" to find it.

    Also be aware that DLP is new and there is no "significant life data" yet. i.e. Nobody knows what will really go wrong with a million plus sets after 3, 5, 10 years. I know that I have a 20 year old CRT set, a 12 year old CRT and an 8 year old CRT all working just fine. My 5 year old CRT monitor seems to be starting to DIM a little.

    Research whatever you decide to buy thoroughly, Web, FAQs, reviews, etc. And make sure that screen glare and image brightness are adequate for the room where you intend using the TV. My family room and living room have the "glare from hell". Store display areas have the lights turned out above and black or dark walls to make the sets look good. I will give Walmart an atta boy here. Their TV display area is just as brightly lit as the rest of the store. BB, Circuit City, Frye's all have blackout areas for TV display.

    If you hadn't guessed I've been shopping for a new big screen TV for a few months now and am not impressed. (That includes CRT's. They don't seem to care much about antiglare coatings anymore.)
    Last edited: May 22, 2006
  4. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

    Lehighton, PA
    on a side note: good to see someone else is heavily lookin forward to Wii... and not afraid to show it. i may not show it.... but i don't hesitate to say it. YAY WII!!!

    on-topic: like they said.... only thing you gotta worry about with burn-in is the news and stuff like that. most dvd players now, if you pause for too long, they switch to a screen-saver-ish thing where it constantly changes where the logo is. if you're playing games...... could probably just turn the TV off if you have the game paused, and plan on it being paused for quite some time. News..... no way to turn off their little feed at the bottom.
  5. Hypnotoad1234

    Hypnotoad1234 Nintendo WIIIIIIIIIIIIII

    RIGHT ON! :p