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How can I compare 50-inch plasma TVs?

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Plasma TVs can be distinguished primarily by their resolution, brightness and integrated features. According to PC Magazine, with pixelated-display devices, like plasma screens, resolution is essentially a measure of the number of picture elements contained in the screen's area. The higher the pixel count, the finer the details the screen can display.

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Brightness is an especially important consideration for plasma screens, which have traditionally had difficulty rendering true blacks and operating effectively in brightly lit environments. One trick, PC Magazine relates, is to observe the dark bands at the top and bottom of the screen during a letterbox-format movie. If the bands appear gray, it is likely that the screen is either turned up unnaturally bright to be visible under store lights, or that the set uses older, less capable technology.

Many plasma TVs come with various helpful features integrated into their systems. Depending on how the set is used, these features can be very important to making a purchasing decision. Extra HDMI slots, for example, can expand the versatility of the set beyond a single network connection, according to PC Magazine. Likewise, an external A/V input box can help reduce clutter by limiting the number of cables that have to be connected to the set.

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