Let's face it: Thin is definitely in these days. If you're thinking of buying one of those super-slim, ultra-sharp, wide-screen displays, all you have to do is decide whether you want a plasma television or an LCD television. You no doubt want the best (looking and acting) TV, so you're probably asking yourself which one you ought to buy. Plasma or LCD?

This is a complicated topic, mostly because, when you're choosing between plasma and LCD TVs, you're actually choosing between two competing technologies, both of which achieve similar things (i.e., crystal-clear, color-filled pictures) and come in similar packages (i.e., super-model-thin cases). To complicate the decision-making process further, price is rapidly becoming a non-issue here.

En-e-me-ne-min-e-mo... what exactly must you know? Despite all these similarities, these technologies differ as to how they process and display incoming video/computer signals.

Plasma technology consists hundreds of thousands of individual pixel cells, which allow electric pulses (stemming from electrodes) to excite rare natural gases-usually xenon and neon-causing them to glow and, thus, produce light. This light illuminates the proper balance of red, green, or blue phosphors contained in each cell to display the proper color sequence from the light. Each pixel cell is essentially an individual microscopic florescent light bulb, receiving instruction from software contained on the back electrostatic silicon board.

Whether spread across a flat-panel screen or placed in the heart of a projector, all LCDs are pretty much the same. A matrix of thin-film transistors (TFTs) supplies voltage to liquid-crystal-filled cells sandwiched between two sheets of glass. When hit with an electrical charge, the crystals untwist to an exact degree to filter white light generated by a lamp behind the screen (for flat-panel TVs) or one shining through a small LCD chip (for projection TVs). LCD monitors reproduce colors through a process of subtraction: They block out particular color wavelengths from the spectrum of white light until they're left with just the right color. And, it's the intensity of light permitted to pass through this liquid-crystal matrix that enables LCD televisions to display images chock-full of colors-or gradations of them.

61" XBR?Plasma WEGA?TV, KDE61XBR950

Elegant, floating glass panel design enhances any living space. Stunning picture enhancement with Sony WEGA Engine® System. Direct Digital Circuitry for natural, rich image from any source. Enjoy amazing picture Resolution with Digital Reality Creation®. Scale the size of side-by-side P&P windows with MID®X circuitry. Movies will always look their best with CineMotion® technology. i.LINK® input provides access of hi-def content from D-VHS. Get deeper blacks and better depth with Sony's Plasma Panel Driver LSI. View Digital images on your TV with Memory Stick?media. Installation flexibility with Sony's 2-piece plasma design. Built-in ATSC tuner/QAM brings you all the glory of Hi-Def broadcast . Detachable speakers let you customize your space.

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