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Buying a Plasma or LCD TV FAQs

By Philip Liu

This article focuses on frequently asked questions by buyers of plasma and LCD televisions.

Q: Does the "plasma" in plasma televisions need to be recharged or replaced over time?

A: No. The plasma gases are sealed in individual cells when they are manufactured. There is no way to recharge or replace the gases. However, plasma TVs, when used normally, will last you many, many years (up to 20 years) so you don't have to worry about the screen burning out for a long time.

Q: Are plasma and LCD TVs difficult to install?

A: While you may want to hire a professional electrician to help you with wiring if you are installing your plasma or LCD television on a wall, you can also easily place the television on a stand yourself and place it anywhere you like.

Q: Do plasma and LCD TVs give off radiation?

A: All electronic devices, including televisions, must comply with FDA guidelines (in the United States) and CSA guidelines (in Canada) on radiation emission before being permitted to be sold to the public. While there is radiation emission in the form of ultraviolet light, the amount is negligible and you are unlikely to be affected by it watching the television from normal distances.

Q: What are anamorphic widescreen DVD movies?

A: There are two common ways of recording wide format movies on a DVD: letterbox and anamorphic. Letterbox refers to a video played with horizontal black bars on the top and bottom of the picture. Anamorphic recordings are also commonly labeled "Enhanced for 16:9 TVs". Anamorphic recordings have over 30% more vertical resolution than letterbox format and elimates or significantly reduces the black bars found in letterbox pictures in order to fit to the screen size of 16:9 televisions.

Q: Do LCD's have a burn-in problem?

A: No. Unlike CRT and plasma TVs, liquid crystal displays do not use phosphor and thus have no problems with a still image becoming permanently stored on the screen. Instead, LCD TVs use a backlight on a colored, transluscent liquid crystal screen.

Q: Can I use a game console such as Sony Playstation 2, Nintendo Game Cube or Microsoft XBOX with my LCD TV?

A: Yes. If you intend to use a game console and/or watch standard TV broadcasts over cable, satellite or antenna, an LCD TV is a superior choice over plasma televisions. The repetitive image from games and unused black-filled borders will damage a plasma TV by burning a permanent image into the phosphor.

Q: Will leaving my LCD TV on cause the image to degrade?

A: No. Unlike plasma TV's, this LCD TV does not exhibit aging over time. The brightness of the image remains the same because LCD televisions use a florescent backlight.

Q: Can I mount my LCD TV straight into drywall or plaster?

A: No, drywall or plaster alone will not offer enough support. A structural beam or stud must be used as the anchor for the wall mount.

(c) 2005 Philip Liu - All Worldwide Rights Reserved

Philip Liu is a freelance author and publisher currently based in New York City. Philip publishes regularly on his websites dealing with cell phone reviews and news and plasma, LCD TV reviews and news .

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