Dear Stripe and Elemental1
Plasma displays for computer readouts (numerical) have been out since the 1950's. Look up the Nixie tube. Burroughs, Sperry and others have made segmented plasmas since the 1970's. Early gas pumps and pinball machines used them long before even the LED readout. Full matrix plasma (640x200, 640x400, etc) were made by Matsu****a, NEC, AT&T (yep, but they got out quickly) and Dixy (long dead supplier), during the 1980's.
Your comment on noble gas... is not really correct. Back in the 1980's and before, plasma DID use noble gas (neon, etc) but they glow a monochrome color, usually red. When plasma got into the color display game, new they could not use a noble gas and use the inherent color, since they glow monochrome. Plasma shifted to a technology that uses phophors. With a phosphor technology, the plasma (using high voltage) causes an electron avalanche throw the gas. The gas will ionize and glow UV (ultraviolet light). The UV charge with then exite the phoshor and the phosphor will glow red, green or blue. I DID incorrectly say "mercury vapor" because this is the gas used in fluorescent tubes which use the exact same "ionized gas" concept as described above. I was corrected and my associates feel that plasmas use Argon gas to produce UV.
Color LCDs and color plasmas have been in a technolgy horserace since the early 1990's. Plasmas have the node for size (LCDs are size constrained for the $), plasma switch data really fast (we all know LCDs are dirt slow...6mS response only if you play games with the numbers.... I CAN explain) and the plasma glow is spherical, so they have tremendous viewing angles (LCDs suffer from birefringence which kills off viewing angles). But, come on....to deny that plasma have their baggage is just not being honest. Are the issues with plasmas enough to cause pain and suffering with their owners....of course not. In average TV viewing plasmas are fine.... for years... (but I would not use them in digital signage).
Look, you guys like plasmas. I truley have been in the industry as long as I have been and I "almost" went with plasma (I like the softer pixels) and one of my "LCD associates" did side with plasma. I know the strengths of both technologies and their weaknesses. Both technologies have both.
Is Chevy better than Ford....yes......and no
But just accuse me of being misinformed and we'll get along fine.