Reader Question: Interference from Flat Panels?

Q: I am an amateur radio operator and I want to get a flat panel TV that will be in the same room as the radio transceivers. I am concerned about the new TV producing any interference for the radio. I do not get any noise from the LCD monitor on my computer in the room, though I did with the regular CRT monitors. Are plasma models as free of RF noise as the LCD units?

A: It’s an excellent question. I do know that most LCD TVs are going to be exactly like your LCD monitor in terms of RF (radio frequency) interference. The only question I would have would be about the new models that try to reduce motion blur by pulsing the backlight at 120 Hz.

I’m less certain about the plasma, because the way they generate images requires high voltages. Having said that, however, I will also point out that many plasma TVs have Class B FCC certification, so presumably any RF emissions would be limited. I also cannot find many sites on the Web that cite complaints about RF emissions from plasma panels.

Being an empiricist, I’d be tempted to take a cheap AM radio to a show room, tune to an empty frequency, and wave it around the screen to see if it’s generating much “static”. My suspicion is that you’ll find both LCDs and plasma to be clean, but if one of the technologies is more likely to give you problems, I’d bet it will be the plasma.