What is Plasma Display and how it works?

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DISPLAY INDUSTRY NEWS AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION      More at the United States Display Consortium
What is Plasma Display and how it works?                                      See New 3D LCD Technology

Flat panel plasma display is the latest display technology and the best way to achieve displays with excellent image quality and large, flat screen sizes that are easily viewable in any environment. Plasma panels are an array of cells, known as pixels, which are composed of three subpixels, corresponding to the colors red, green, and blue. Gas in the plasma state is used to react with phosphors in each subpixel to produce colored light (red, green, or blue). These phosphors are the same types used in cathode ray tube (CRT) devices such as televisions and standard computer monitors. You get the rich dynamic colors that you expect. Each subpixel is individually controlled by advanced electronics to produce over 16 million different colors. All of this means that you get perfect images that are easily viewable in a display that is less than six inches thick.

Superior Performance

With flat panel plasma screens, in addition to bright, crisp images, there are other advantages. Unlike projection screens, which are designed to concentrate reflection to a narrow viewing area for brightness, plasma screens permit an exceptionally broad viewing angle -- over 160 degrees. This means that no matter where audience members are in the room, the brightness and clarity come through. And unlike conventional television screens, plasma panels are absolutely flat. This reduces glare and permits viewers to see the entirety of the screen from a broader perspective. Since panels are backlit rather than reflective (as in projection), they perform exceptionally well in bright environments.

Versatile and Ready

Plasma panels are available in a variety of configurations. Along with varying resolutions, panels come in two aspect ratios: 6:4 and 16:9. 6:4 ratio is the same as conventional televisions and computer monitors. Where, as is the case with current broadcast standards, the media has been formatted for these devices, 6:4 ratio delivers a quality picture that fills the entire screen. Presentations that have been prepared on conventional monitors will appear as they did on the original authoring platform, completely filling the screen. In the 16:9 ratio, plasma panels are capable of delivering wide-screen media without "letterboxing" or blanking of parts of the screen. Wide screen panels are typically capable of higher resolution in data modes and capable of displaying wide screen video formats such as HDTV. What's more, 16:9 panels are also capable of displaying media prepared for traditional 6:4 screens via letterboxing. With video cards users can take advantage of the larger perspective by preparing presentations and other media for wide-screen showing.

A Note About DTV and HDTV

On April 4, 1997, the FCC ushered in digital television (DTV) by giving 6MHz of spectrum to approximately 1,500 stations for DTV broadcasting. The decree required the three commercial networks in the top ten markets to broadcast digitally by May 1, 1999, with markets 11 through 30 online by November 1, 1999. All stations must broadcast digitally by 2006, when their current analog spectrum is scheduled to revert back to the Fed. While there is only one standard, there are 18 different video formats. The first split is between high definition and standard definition TV. Six of the video formats in the ATSC DTV standard are high definition TV: these are the 1080-line by 1920-pixel formats at 24 and 30 frames per second (1080i) , and at 60 fields per second for interlaced HDTV, and the 720-line by 1280-pixel formats at 24, 30 and 60 fps (720p). The HDTV formats have a 16:9 aspect ratio. The 12 video formats which compose the remainder are standard definition television -- not high definition. These consist of the 480-line by 704-pixel formats in 16:9 widescreen and 4:3 aspect ratios (at the 24, 30 and 60 pictures per second rates); and the 480-line by 640-pixel format at a 4:3 aspect ratio at the same picture rates. The formats which represent HDTV are 1020i and 720p. The "i" and the "p" in the format names refer to interlaced and progressive scanning. In interlaced scanning, half of the lines in a full frame are scanned onto the screen in a sixtieth of a second, followed by the remaining half of the scan lines in the next sixtieth. The odd lines are scanned first, then filled in by the even lines. In an attempt to meet expectations


The United States Display Consortium was established in July of 1993 as a partnership created from public and private industry. The Consortium provides a neutral forum for flat panel manufacturers, developers, users, equipment and material suppliers.
USDC's mission is to support our member companies and affiliates in building a world-class competitive display industry.

We're accomplishing this mission by:

supporting and developing an infrastructure for supply of next generation process equipment, materials and components to the worldwide markets;

analyzing, benchmarking, and reporting on commercial and military market trends and opportunities;

presenting member views on issues such as public policy and standards;

providing opportunities for member participation in technical and financial forums;

fostering international cooperation among display makers, integrators, and equipment materials and components suppliers;

Facilitating and leveraging relationships between member companies and academic communities.

Promoting innovation and opportunities in display applications through various media outlets.

We invite you to take a tour of the USDC website, and explore our unique industry/government partnership.


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