There is another Plasma TV technology known as EDTV, but I am not going to discuss the ED type since it is not HD.
1. Screen Resolution - you have to decide if you want 720p or 1080p which refers to the lines of resolution. The higher the number the greater the number of lines of resolution and the higher the picture quality. Both the 720p and the 1080p have stunning picture quality. I would spend a little extra and get the 1080p.
2. Screen Size - for any big screen TV you need to have a certain amount of distance between you and the TV. Plasma's have the best viewing angle in that you can watch them from the side, unlike other types of TV's where you have to sit almost directly in front of them for the best picture quality. If you are going to be getting a 42 inch then you need about 6 ft and you can add a foot to for each 2" after that as a general rule of thumb. So if you have a 50 inch then you'll want about 10 ft.
3. Weight and Thickness - the Plasma TV's are heavier and thicker than LCD or LED HDTV's. They are probably about twice as heavy and twice as thick so if you are all about the slim look then you may want get the LCD or LED. For my money it's not worth it. If I can live with a behemoth 2 ft wide rear projection screen I can learn to easily live with a Plasma TV that's a few inches thick. If you really want thin then you just might want to wait for the LED (LCD) screens that will be as thin as a piece of paper.
4. Power Consumption - Plasma TV's consume almost three times the amount of energy as a comparable size LCD or LED HDTV. Newer models of Plasma TV's are more energy efficient than their predecessors. If you want to know how much the difference will cost you in electricity you can look at the wattage sticker and then it's just a matter of a little math, if you know what electricity cost in your area to figure out the cost.
If you would like to compare the power consumption and annual cost for the various types of HDTV's including Plasma, LCD and LED you can click here for a very good chart.
If you are just replacing a similar sized TV and type of TV you won't realize much of a difference in power useage unless the set you're replacing is much older. However, if you are swapping out an old cathode tube type TV for a large screen of any type then your electric bill will be larger too. If you would like to read a rather technical article on power consumption of various types and sized of HDTV's you can click here. Basically the bigger the TV the greater the power consumed.
|Clothes dryer (electric)|
|Water heater (electric)|
|Dishwasher (washer heats water)|
|Electric oven, 350°F|
|Electric oven, self-cleaning mode|
(takes 4.5 hrs, 5.3 kWh total)
|Dishwasher (dry cycle)|
|200 watts||Dishwasher (no water heating or drying)|
|60-watt light bulb (incandescent)|
|CFL light bulb (60-watt equivalent)|
|LED night light|
|Computers (see more about electrical use of computers)|
|Desktop Computer & 17" CRT monitor|
|Desktop Computer & Monitor (in sleep mode)|
|17" CRT monitor|
|17" LCD monitor|
|Televisions & Videogames|
|50-56" Plasma television|
|50-56" LCD television|
|50-56" DLP television|
|42" Plasma television|
|42" LCD television|
|32" LCD television|
|19" CRT television|
|HD cable box (varies by model)|
|Nintendo Wii (source)|
|Microwave oven or 4-slot Toaster|
Power consumption compared (Source - CNET)
Average plasma: 301 watts
Average LCD (standard): 111 watts
Average LCD (LED): 101 watts
PlayStation 3: 197 watts
PlayStation 3 Slim: 96 watts
Xbox 360 Elite (2007): 185 watts
Nintendo Wii: 19 watts
Xbox 360: 187 watts
Average PC: 118 watts
DirecTV HR20 DVR: 33 watts
Nintendo Wii: 19 watts
Slingbox: 9 watts
Wireless router: 7 watts
And there you have it. Those are the 4 most important variables when trying to decide which Plasma HDTV you want to buy. I hope this article will help you too sort out what can be a very complex number of variables when buying the right HDTV.
When you are ready to buy check out these sources for some outstanding values on Plasma HDTV's of ever type: Amazon Plasma TV's, Best Buy Plasma TV's, Buy.com Plasma TV's
Sources - longer electrical usage chart is an excerpt from a very good article on energy consumption on MichaelBlueJay.com found here. "Tips & 'Warning" are from the eHow article "How to Choose a Plasma TV"
Note: Make sure when you buy a Plasma TV that you check to make sure that the manufacturer states that there is not an issue with "burn-in". "Burn-In" is what happens to some types of TV's, including Plasma's, when a static image is left on the screen for a long period of time. Newer Plasma TV's