HDTV Truth Patrol: Plasma Bulbs?

HDTV Truth Patrol
From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, by Scott Taves: “Don’t know where to begin? Here are tips to sharpen your focus”
Online at http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/tv/248038_hdtv12.html.

Quote: “Older plasmas were subject to burn-in, meaning a static image, such as a video game icon or stock ticker, left a permanent ghost image. The costly bulbs also would lose luminescence after a few years. Current models have features to defeat burn-in and the bulbs now burn brightly for 10 to 20 years, depending on use.”

Okay. The part about the burn-in is accurate. The implication is that the problem is solved, which is not exactly true, but plasmas are much less prone to burn-in than they used to be. It’s the part about plasma “bulbs” being costly and losing “luminescence” over time that gets to me. Well, first of all, luminescence typically refers to “cool” light, such as that produced by fireflies, and not the light produced by hot glowing gases or metal, which is how most “bulbs” work. (If people only tried to write simply, and not try to impress us with their extensive vocabulary, they wouldn’t make silly mistakes like this.)

But the biggest problem is the part about the bulbs, as it indicates that the author doesn’t understand how plasma displays work. The entire panel is the bulb; there’s no separate bulb, costly or otherwise. It is true that most plasma panels are now rated at about 60,000 hours to half-brightness (which is the industry-standard measure for display lifetimes), but there’s nothing you can change to restore it to its original brightness. So please don’t let articles like this lead you to think that you can change a bulb to fix a plasma panel that has gone dim with age.

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