Thin is in when it comes to today’s TVs, and plasma is the King of Thin. Michael Miller outlines what you should know before taking one home.

Right now we are in the middle of a digital video revolution, with DTV, DVD-Video, HDTV, computer games and computer video content leading the way into the future. So as analog TV starts its decline and digital TV becomes a reality, the one way to enjoy the real ‘digital experience’ is with a large widescreen digital display. Welcome, plasma.

A plasma display consists of hundreds of thousands of ‘cells’, each an individual glass compartment injected with neon-xenon gas suspended in plasma. These cells are the basic coloured elements that comprise a picture and are called pixels (picture elements). When the gas in the cells receives an electrical charge it produces ultraviolet light that strikes red, green or blue phosphors in the cell, which then glow to make the pictures you see on the plasma screen.

Before stepping into a retail store it is best to understand a little about plasma technology, its pros and cons and what you should look for when auditioning such a display for your home.