How to Buy a Used Plasma Television

Views 4 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful
How to Buy a Used Plasma Television

Plasma television screens are made up of thousands of gas cells. When they are energised, they emit light which builds up to form a picture. Plasma televisions are popular for their accuracy in colour portrayal and colour contrast. This makes them suitable for larger formats and for providing exceptional cinematic experiences or viewing high-paced sporting events.

About Plasma Televisions

The gas cells in plasma television screens are compartmentalised between two panes of glass. There are thousands of the cells, and they work in a similar way to fluorescent lamps. Both contain small amounts of mercury, which is vaporised when energised. The gases in the cells of plasma screens form plasma through which electrons flow. The inside of the cells are treated with phosphor, and as the electrons pass through, they alter the phosphor molecules and create visible light. The amount of voltage applied to cells determines which colours are perceived.

Plasma televisions have a number of advantages over liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions and light-emitting diode (LED) televisions. LED televisions are simply LCD televisions with LED backlighting. In comparison to both, plasma screens produce more accurate colours, high colour contrast and deeper blacks. They also have a fast response time, which means they are ideal for watching fast paced action scenes on, and have wide viewing angles. In many ways they are superior screens. They are also often available in larger sized formats and are often cheaper than LCD and LED screens.

However, they also have a number of disadvantages. Their energy consumption is far higher for the equivalent sized screen. They also have a limited lifespan. The lifespan of newer models is far better than that of older models and not something to be overly concerned with, but it is something to be aware of when purchasing older used plasma televisions. Part of the reason for this is that brightness can fade over time. Plasma televisions may also suffer from screen burn-in. This occurs when retention, the image or words left on the screen which can be seen when it is turned off, becomes permanent. Be aware of this if watching programmes with static logos in the corner or if using the television as a monitor. Many brands do not manufacture plasma televisions any more.

Choosing a Used Plasma Television

There are various factors to consider when purchasing a used plasma television. These involve decisions about the quality of the television and its functionality.

Quality of Used Plasma Televisions

As explained, plasma televisions, more than other types of television, such as LCDs and LEDs, are subject to deterioration in picture quality as they age. This is especially true of older models, though newer models have longer lifespans and better picture quality. Picture quality is largely dependent on the quality of the television's digital processing software. To a good extent, this is indicated by brand, with top brands containing superior digital processing software that results in sharper, clearer pictures. When choosing a plasma television, look for newer models, leading brands, and those sold by reputable sellers with solid feedback and thorough product descriptions. By shopping around, it is quite possible to find good-quality plasma televisions at very reasonable prices.

Functionality of Used Plasma Televisions

As well as quality, age, condition, and brand, there are a number of general and specialist features that may be more or less important to the user's viewing experience. The availability of certain features will depend upon how old the television is and the particular model. General features include size, user interface, and electronic programme guides. Other features include options such as high definition (HD), smart and 3D capabilities, automatic volume control, and picture in picture. Some televisions have special eco or energy saving functions, which are especially applicable to plasma televisions. Other options are specialist accessibility features for people with impaired hearing or vision. The table below outlines some of these features.


Plasma televisions typically have excellent colour depiction and contrast as well as superb motion tracking. This all makes them suitable for viewing on large formats. Plasma screens are often available in large sizes, for example, around 50 inch or larger , as well as smaller sizes. Consider where the television is to be placed when choosing a screen size. Larger rooms often require larger screens, especially if the screen is placed at a distance from the viewing position. However, large screens can also dominate small rooms, and it is often preferable to choose slightly smaller screens in these circumstances. Size will, of course, affect cost, so it is also dependent upon budget.

High-definition (HD) televisions

HD televisions can display images in sharper resolution than standard definition allows. HD televisions can also display images in standard definition. Most programmes are broadcast in standard definition, and it is only for those broadcast in HD, or for HD films or programmes viewed on blu-ray or other devices that HD applies to. HD televisions must support both HD formats, 720p, and 1080p. They display the image in different ways. 1080p is the best form of HD with a superbly smooth resolution. It can be obtained through blu-ray players, gaming consoles, or devices like digital cameras. Viewing in HD can significantly enhance the viewing experience and is a feature well worth considering when purchasing a television, especially for people that like to watch films or sporting events.

Smart televisions

Smart televisions stream online content directly to the television. This can be used for an array of purposes´; for example, watching films, photographic slideshows, listening to music, watching on demand services, or listening to the radio.

3D televisions

3D televisions are capable of displaying images in 3D, putting the viewer in the heart of the action. 3D programmes can be obtained from various sources, including some digital broadcasts and blu-rays. They usually require 3D glasses to be worn. 3D televisions can also display in ordinary 2D, enabling the viewer to switch between the two formats. The different types of 3D are active, passive, and auto-stereoscopic. Active is usually the most immersive, but the glasses used for passive 3D are lighter and more comfortable for longer viewing. Auto-stereoscopic 3D does not require glasses and is still rare and expensive.

Special viewing features

These include automatic volume control, picture in picture and similar features. Automatic volume control adjusts the volume between programmes or when advertisements come on. Picture in picture is a useful function that enables one channel to be fully displayed on the screen while another channel is shown in a smaller picture in the corner of the screen.

Energy saving features

Energy saving features include ambient light sensors, which alter the backlighting in response to room brightness, screen blanking, which can be used when listening to digital radio, and presence sensors, which automatically turn the television off if no-one is watching it. Be aware that some energy saving features can affect picture quality.

Accessibility features

Accessibility features are features designed to improve the viewing experience for visually and hearing impaired people. Audio description is one such feature, which has an audio narration describing important information that visually impaired people may miss. Another example is voice enhancement software. This helps to differentiate human speech from other sounds to enable them to stand out.

Find a Used Plasma Television on eBay

It is easy to find used plasma televisions for sale on eBay. They can be searched for using the tabs to the left of the screen. Go to the eBay homepage and open the Electronics & Technology tab, clicking on the option for Sound & Vision. Then click on the option for Televisions. The tabs can then be used to refine the search. Scroll down, and under Display Technology, click on Plasma . Scroll down further and click on Used under the Condition heading. Further features which can be specified if required include screen size, brand, resolution, and smart and 3D features. Alternately, search for used plasma televisions by entering specific terms into the search bar at the top of any eBay page. For example, to find a used 50 inch plasma television, type ''50'' plasma television'' into the search field, or to find a 3D plasma television, type in ''3D plasma television''.


Plasma televisions have a number of advantages over other types of televisions, but they also have some disadvantages, which should be carefully considered when purchasing a used plasma television. Also bear in mind features such as size, brand, special features such as 3D and HD capability, and energy saving functions. Buying a used television can be an excellent way to obtain a good-quality product at reasonable cost, but always check out information such as seller feedback and reputation as well as reading the product description carefully.

Have something to share? Create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides