Like any new technology, plasma televisions have generated their fair share of misconceptions and misinformation. The truth is, even many of the supposedly "trained sales consultants" promoting these products at major electronics retailers have been misinformed. So before you start shopping for a plasma TV, make sure you know the truth about the 5 most popular plasma myths:
1. Plasma TVs only last a few years.
Considering the fact that plasma technology has only been on the market for about 6 years, it's difficult to say with authority how long the average TV is really. Plasma TVs from quality manufacturers are typically rated at about 30,000 hours. This means that – according to the manufacturer – if you watched your TV five hours a day, it would last over 16 years! While that may be a high estimate, you should count on at least 10+ years from a good plasma set.
2. Plasma TVs leak gas, and need to be re-filled.
Many people mistakenly believe that plasma TVs slowly leak gas, and that this gas needs to be re-filled periodically. This is a popular myth with electronics salesmen at a number of national chains, as they can use this to pitch extended warranties on plasma sets, claiming gas refills are covered by the warranty. In reality, each plasma TV is a completely sealed unit, down to every individual cell in the panel. Without you shatter the panel, they will not leak and will never need to be "re-charged."
3. All plasma TVs can display HDTV signals.
Like any number of other technologies, plasma TVs come in a number of different quality levels. If the TV you are considering is not specifically labeled "HDTV" check the resolution. If the resolution is 1024 x 768 or higher, it is considered an HDTV.
4. Plasma TV gas is poisonous.
The gas in a plasma TV actually consists of two "inert" gases: neon and xenon. Both are non-flammable and harmless, both individually and if combined. Regardless, the amount actually used in a plasma TV has been described as "barely a thimble-full." The bottom line: if this gas were to somehow escape (refer to myth # 2), it will not harm you.
5. Plasma TVs emit dangerous radiation.
While plasma TVs do generate a very small amount of UV (ultraviolet) radiation, they actually give off less than a traditional tube TV. The FDA issued guidelines for TV radiation emissions in 1969, and all manufacturers are required by law to meet these standards.