Plasma TV buying guide

What to look for when buying a plasma television

What is 1080p and do you need it?

When talking about high definition, it's not quite as simple as it used to be. There are many different resolutions that are considered HD and when buying a TV you need to decide what resolutions you need the panel to display. If you only want to watch DVDs, then a standard definition panel is for you. If you want to watch HDTV or play HD games at 720p then a high definition panel is right up your alley. However, the third type is the 1080p television. It offers greater resolution than a regular high-definition television and is sometimes referred to as full high definition. A 1080p television has a native resolution of 1920x1080 which means that it is 1920 lines of pixels long and 1080 lines high. This is an emerging technology, and one that is growing in support. At the moment, everything from video cameras to game consoles is making the move to 1080p. The Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 both support 1080p gaming and the new Blu-ray and HD-DVD movie content are both authored at 1080p resolution.

Since 1080p televisions are still in their infancy, we are seeing some confusion in the way the panels are marketed to consumers. This is a little different to the whole "HD ready" and "HD capable" confusion when it comes to 720p panels. While any television that is 1080 lines high is technically called a 1080p television, but if they aren't 1920 lines wide, we would suggest you think twice about purchasing them. From our experience with these panels, we found that without the benefit of 1920 lines of pixels, images suffered from vertical pixelation. Therefore we feel that the only true 1080p television is one with a resolution of 1920x1080. That being said, a panel below that resolution should still be able to display a 1080p signal, but it will have to scale it down which leaves it open to all manners of image quality issues.

While a little confusing, this is a vital point to consider before buying a plasma TV. We suggest that you seriously think about how you plan to use your TV moving forward.

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Dave Jansen

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