Impressive Plasma TV

By: Betty Sexton/Consumer Reports
By: Betty Sexton/Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports has been testing TVs for more than 40 years. So when it comes to the televisions making news, who better to size them up than Consumer Reports. Testers just assessed plasma TVs and found that televisions have come a long way.

Back in 1960, portable TV sets were the latest in television technology. And Consumer Reports testers were there — evaluating the benefits of a smaller TV.

"The sample TV sets are first weighed and then measured to check their bulk."

And the tests didn't stop there.

"The engineers study picture quality with a standard test pattern."

Forty years later, plasma TVs are the hot, new thing. Consumer Reports just finished testing them.

"We tested 10 plasma TVs, ranging in price from 3,000 dollars to more than 10,000."

So what does that much money get you in a television? Well, for one thing, a great big picture — these screens are 42 to 43 inches. And their thin profile is a real space saver. These sets are less than six inches thick. And the plasma technology means you'll get a brighter picture. Compare this TV to a regular set. The plasma set on the right is much brighter.

But Consumer Reports' Gerard Catapano (Pron: cat-uh-PAN-oh) says plasma TVs do have some drawbacks. For one, they use a lot more power than a conventional set.

"You will see an increase in your electric bill."

Another problem — images can become burned in to plasma screens.

"Burn-in happens when a static image is left on a television screen for a long time, say when you're watching a television program that has its logo on the bottom."

Of course, the biggest drawback for most people is paying thousands of dollars for a TV. The good news — Consumer Reports says you can expect prices of plasma TVs to drop significantly in the next few years.

If you're looking for a space-saving television set, Consumer Reports says an LCD TV is an option to consider. Like plasma TVs, LCD sets are very thin. But they come in smaller sizes, and therefore can cost thousands less. Consumer Reports just tested more than a dozen. Tune in tomorrow night to hear which ones testers recommend.

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