What is a plasma TV? Or instead, what was it? When the flat-screen TV revolution got off to a good start late last century, plasma technology brought home the charge and made the flat-screen TV a reality.
As with most emerging consumer electronics technologies, the first family plasma televisions were expensive, and their performance was hampered in many ways. But to be fair, the moment service customers saw a Fujitsu, Panasonic, or Pioneer plasma TV next to their big old tube TV, the desire to upgrade was inescapable.
Plasma has been a dead technology for several years, and today's OLED TVs are seen as a kind of spiritual successor, although the latent technologies are very different. But how different are they, and why did OLED perform better than its predecessor?
OLED vs. Plasma: an overview
First, a bit of history. Today, OLED is the quintessence of TV technology. It uses organic light-transmitting diodes to create images, and like plasma televisions, the technology has both disadvantages and advantages. However, users need only look at the very slim and slim profiles of OLED TVs to find them at desirable depth. Because if you want a flat-screen TV, don't you want the thinnest model on the market?
In its simplest form, an OLED screen consists of a layer of organic molecules (which can produce light) sandwiched between layers of voltage conductors. These are, in turn, clamped between a glass or plastic joint. Send an electric charge through the conductors, and the organic material creates light. By adding a color filter layer, the individual molecules can form red, green, or blue pixels on the screen.
What made plasma screens to be different?
Plasma works in a slightly different way but with some of the same advantages and benefits as traditional LCD screens. Because plasma feeds its pixels, it's possible to turn off a pixel entirely, meaning plasma displays can show true black in areas of the screen. Combine this with sometimes high peak brightness, and plasma displays can deliver extensive contrasts. Also, since plasma TVs have a high refresh rate, on-screen movement is generally smooth and responsive.
However, there are some disadvantages. Plasma technology is relatively ineffective. It is flawed in two ways. First, like an old lamp, a lot of heat is generated in addition to light. Plasma televisions get noticeably hot after a long drive, which is little reassurance for service customers. And because of this inefficiency, plasma TVs consume quite a bit of energy and are, therefore, more expensive to use.
Benefits of OLED TVs
One of the strongest advantages of OLED technology is the thinness of the displays. As long as you ignore the one part of the TV that houses each electronic component, OLED TVs are practically preternaturally thin, and that's very important in the showroom.
Another distinguishing feature is that OLED redraws its image pixel by pixel. The moment a pixel is not on, it is off and therefore black. As a result, OLED offers deep black tones and high contrast thanks to its relatively high maximum brightness values. However, unlike plasma televisions, it does not use a lot of electricity to illuminate its pixels, nor does it generate noticeable heat during operation.
OLED also doesn't need a glass screen. This makes it lighter than plasma, reflects less, and offers significantly larger viewing angles. So if you are not lucky enough to sit directly in front of the screen, you still have a good viewing experience.
The short answer favors OLED, which consumes less power and produces brighter images with a broader viewing angle. Nowadays, it has become cheaper than plasma technology. However, plasma technology has democratized flat-screen televisions to every household has one. We're grateful for plasma, even though we may not be using it.