Plasma TV Buying Guide - Best Buy Canada

Jenny Yu September 18, 2014

What are the Benefits of a Plasma TV? Getting down to the details of plasma TVs

If you’re shopping for a new TV, a plasma TV might be in the picture for consideration. Whether you’re up-sizing from an old TV or creating a man cave in the den, a plasma TV might have all the features you’re looking for. Boasting incredible contrast, wide viewing angles, and exceptional performance in low lighting, a plasma TV is an ideal centrepiece for any home cinema. Best Buy carries a vast selection of plasma TVs from trusted brands like Samsung and LG.

How does a Plasma TV Work?

If you’re unfamiliar with TV technology, you may be wondering, what is a plasma TV, exactly? Unlike an LED TV, a plasma TV uses electrically conductive gas to illuminate the display. Packed with millions of red, green, and blue fluorescent light cells, a plasma TV lights up when electrical currents pass through the ionized gases, or plasma, of these cells. Because these light cells are fast-acting, they’re able to turn on and off rapidly to produce superior contrast and blur-free images. With the ability to display ultra-deep black levels, plasma TVs are ideal for dimly lit rooms, including man caves, basements, and other home theatre setups.

Benefits of Plasma TVs

If you’re deciding between a plasma TV and an LED TV, here are some benefits of plasmas that may help sway your selection.

HD or Full HD Resolution

One of the main factors to consider when buying a plasma TV is resolution. Plasma TVs are available in either HD 720p or Full HD 1080p resolution. An HD 720p TV has a resolution of 1280 x 720, while a Full HD 1080p TV has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. Although plasma TVs aren’t available in 4K resolution, both HD and Full HD plasma TVs present an incredible amount of clarity and exceptional picture quality.

Blazing-Fast Response Time

A TV’s response time determines how smooth the picture appears on screen, whether you’re watching a gripping hockey game or playing an action-packed video game. One of the biggest advantages of plasma TVs is that they boast near-instant response times to make pictures appear ultra-smooth and crystal-clear. Unlike LED TVs that measure response time with refresh rate (how many frames the TV can display in a second), a plasma TV features a subfield drive that determines response time. The subfield drive measures how many electric pulses are sent to the individual sub-pixels of the plasma display, with more pulses sent being better. A plasma panel with a refresh rate of 60Hz typically delivers 10 pulses per frame, equating to a subfield drive of 600Hz. Most modern plasma TVs are equipped with a 600Hz subfield drive that enables a picture that’s so smooth, you won’t see any blurring.

High Contrast Ratio

Contrast ratio can determine the depth and vibrancy of what’s on screen. Plasma TVs are generally known for their high contrast ratios, showcasing the deepest blacks to make visuals appear more natural and dark scenes more detailed. With the ability to produce such dark black levels, plasma TVs are well matched for dimly lit environments, making them perfect for recreating a cinematic experience in your own home.

While plasma TVs generally boast superior contrast ratios to LED TVs, their main challenger in the market are OLED TVs. OLED TVs feature millions of self-illuminating cells that can turn off completely to produce absolute blacks. They don’t require a backlight and produce beautifully lifelike images in any lighting environment. To learn more about OLED TVs, check out the OLED TV Buying Guide.

Wide Viewing Angles

A plasma TV makes a great addition to any living room, man cave, or home theatre setup because of its wide viewing angle. Whether you’re sitting front and centre or off to the side, you’ll enjoy the same spectacular picture quality without distortion or colour fade. The only other TVs that boast the advantage of a wide viewing angle are IPS LED TVs and curved TVs.

Additional Features

Smart TV Capability

A Smart TV can expand your entertainment choices with a world of TV shows, movies, music, and more. With built-in WiFi, a plasma Smart TV connects to your home internet network so you can stream movies on Netflix, watch YouTube clips, update social media, and so much more. Each Smart TV often features a unique Smart TV platform that makes it easy to navigate your entertainment choices.

3D Capability

Some newer models of plasma TVs offer 3D capability, bringing movies, games, and other content to eye-popping detail. A 3D plasma TV is ideal if you have 3D-compatible peripherals like a 3D Blu-ray player.

What is the Burn-in Myth?

You may have heard that plasma TVs suffer from a problem called “burn-in” or image retention. This is the idea that a TV retains a permanent “ghost image” when it’s left with the same picture on screen for a long time. While burn-in may have occurred on older plasma TVs, this is no longer an issue on current models. Advances in plasma technology have debunked the burn-in myth, so you don’t have to worry about pausing a movie, leaving a video game on the start screen, or watching the same channel for a long time. However, burn-in can ultimately exist on any TV, so make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on usage and setup.

Add-ons for your Plasma TV

Whether you’re upgrading your home theatre system or setting it up for the first time, there are lots components you can add to your plasma TV setup.

Speakers

Speakers can really enhance the audio from your plasma TV. A surround-sound speaker setup is ideal if you want to create a cinematic experience in your home to make movies, music, and video games come alive with amazing clarity.

Sound Bar

If space is an issue, a sound bar is a great solution for boosting audio without taking up much room. Most sound bars can be mounted on the wall, making them a sleek, space-saving addition to any living room or home theatre setup.

Blu-ray Player

Whether you’re a film buff or enjoy the occasional movie night in, you can make the most of your plasma TV with a Blu-ray player. A Blu-ray player takes full advantage of the TV’s HD or Full HD resolution, showing off movies in gorgeous high-def detail. Some Blu-ray players feature 3D capabilities while others have built-in WiFi.

Wall Mount

If you want to showcase your plasma TV on the wall, a wall mount is essential. This can create a clean, seamless look in your home theatre, and eliminates the need for a TV stand. Before buying a wall mount, ensure that it is compatible with your TV. Use Best Buy’s handy MountFinder tool to find the right mount for your TV.

TV Stand

A TV stand is convenient if you have various home theatre components to connect. From Blu-ray player to your collection of game consoles, a TV stand can provide the storage space you need without cluttering up your space.

Take the Next Step

If you’ve decided to add a plasma TV to your home theatre setup, take the next step by shopping online or visiting your local Best Buy store. Best Buy offers a large selection of plasma TVs from LG and Samsung that can transform your entertainment experience.