Plasma TV's World

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Do Not Touch That Screen

If you own a plasma television you have most likely heard the many horror stories of something called "burn-in". Perhaps this has even deterred you from purchasing a plasma television because you are afraid this might be a regular occurrence. Is this something that a consumer should be worried about or is it a technical myth?

If you have purchased an older model, burn-in may be a very possible threat. Through trial and error, manufactures have discovered what cases this phenomenon and can now take measures to maintain plasma’s bright and definitive picture.

What is burn-in?

If you have a plasma television, you may or may not know what exactly makes your television work. You might not even have the desire to know how it works, but in the case of burn-in, it is important that you know how the technology works and how to prevent burn-in from taking place in your new set.

A plasma television has two panels of glass and in between those panels are millions of tiny little cells. Those cells contain natural gases such as argon, xenon and neon to be exact. When the plasma television is turned on, the gases will ignite and turn into plasma, which is the main component of florescent lights. Florescent lights or pixels are essentially what forms the picture you see on your screen.

A burn-in happens when one of those tiny pixels gets damaged causing the plasma screen to retain and burn an image onto the screen, hence the name "burn-in". This should not be mistaken for ghosting or etching where the color is affected and comes back over time. A burn-in is an image that permanently embeds itself onto the on the screen and will remain visible on every channel you watch. This damage cannot be repaired easily, although it is annoying, it can be avoided.

Methods to prevent burn-in

There are ways that you the consumer can prevent burn-in from happening to your brand new plasma. It has been said that burn-in is most common within the first 200 hours of viewing a new set.

Be sure that you get your new television home that you read the manufacturers user manual to be sure you properly set up your television. While setting up the television be sure to check if it is calibrated before using it. Newer models will sometimes come already calibrated but there are many that do not.

Most newer plasma television models will have a built in anti-burn feature already installed and information and how this feature works will be user menu. It may also be referred to as a pixel orbiter. A pixel orbiter’s job is to continually shift the image properties on the screen to reduce a burn-in from occurring. Older models will not have this feature so you may want to buy a model that has been made within the last year or so. If your television doesn’t have this feature, make sure you set your contrast below 60 percent and do not constantly change or fiddle with this feature, as this will affect your overall picture.

When trying to avoid a burn-in it is recommended that you do not pause a screen image for longer than 15 minutes, this is especially important when playing video games. Video games have multiple screen capture features that make a plasma more susceptible to a burn-in, and not only that, you are also at risk of developng a ghosting or etching problem. Refresh your screen when you can and always turn off the set when you are not watching television.

There is another lesser-known problem with pixels burning out in a plasma television but this is not considered to be too much of a problem. There are millions and millions of pixels in a plasma screen and if only a few burn out or dissipate it is normally not noticeable to the human eye. It would take a whole host of pixels for the screen to actually show damage. This is commonly related to burn-in and is actually a more common occurrence.

Now don’t get too depressed. Iif you have a newer model you will most likely never have to worry about burn-in happening to your plasma television. As stated before, it is a common occurrence in older models, so beware of where you buy your plasma television. Buying from online retailers that are known to peddle older models such as auctions sites or refurbished electronic stores isn’t recommended. Online deals might be enticing but do you really want to risk having to scrap your plasma television down the road because it develops a burn-in? I think not, plasma televisions aren’t as expensive as they once were when they first came out almost ten years ago and for this reason you shouldn’t worry about price as much as protecting your new purchase.