More exactly, plasma is just one type of display medium, like "rear projection" or conventional direct view tube television. Many sets that use these mediums (including plasma displays) are capable of displaying HDTV signals.
Savageone, I agree that if size doesn't matter (but it always does) a direct view CRT currently offers the best picture available. This is especially true with standard def or even progressive DVD, where current plasmas have issues with false contouring and black level. However with a HDTV signal, plasmas can look absolutely stunning.
I have to agree with jehelmes. Watching HDnet on a new JVC 50" plasma is an amazing experience. While the 50" plasmas don't display the full 1080 lines of vertical resolution, they are roughly equivalent to 720p. The BIG advantages are PERFECT convergence and PERFECT geometry, plus, because each pixel is indivdually addressed, no loss of horizontal detail because of "modulation transfer function" limitations.
The only major downside is poorer black reproduction than a CRT. Blacks tend to be somewhat noisy, particularly when the entire picture is dark (night scenes and the like). Plasmas are also much less forgiving of noisy analog source material than are CRTs because they reproduce all of the noise without softening it. They are also REAL good at accurately reproducing MPEG artifacts in hammered material like most of the DirecTV standard definition channels.
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