What to Consider When Buying a Used Plasma Television

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What to Consider When Buying a Used Plasma Television

Given the astounding picture quality that modern plasma televisions are capable of delivering, it's no surprise that they are a popular item. Unfortunately, brand new models aren't cheap. Many people would love to own one but find that they're financially out of reach. As a result, a huge market in used plasma televisions has sprung up to satisfy the demand of consumers looking for high-quality televisions at affordable prices. Many first-time buyers of a flat-screen television aren't clear about the differences between a plasma television and other commonly available types of flat screen television, such as LCD, so a little familiarity with the basics of plasma televisions can help in choosing a good one.

About Plasma Televisions

Plasma televisions are large, flat-screen digital televisions that use a unique method of producing images. The screen comprises millions of tiny gas-filled cells or chambers. The incoming video signal, which contains the constantly changing digital picture information, selectively ionises the gases contained in individual cells. The gas in the cells, which in this electrically charged state is called plasma, glows, and a combination of red, green, and blue phosphors filter the light to produce a complete range of visible colours as determined by the video signal. The intensity of emitted light and extremely short response time of the plasma cells ensure extremely sharp, high definition images and smooth on-screen movement with vibrant colour and impressive contrast range. In short, plasma televisions are the highest quality consumer-level televisions commonly available.

Used Plasma Television Features

Having a much shorter history than traditional cathode-ray tube (CRT) television technology, plasma television technology is still rapidly evolving. While the picture quality of plasma televisions is unsurpassed, at least in the domestic market, other features are less well-developed. These shortcomings are constantly being addressed by manufacturers, however, and every new model released by major manufacturers usually offers improvements to one or more of those shortcomings. This is important for anyone buying a used plasma television, as it means older models will lack more recent improvements. The following points include common shortcomings of plasma televisions, but keep in mind that the newer the model, the less pronounced some of the shortcomings will appear.

Screen Size

Plasma televisions are large, with screen sizes ranging from 30 inches (measured diagonally) to 60 inches or even more, with 42 inch plasma television screens being a common choice. Unlike LCD televisions, their closest rival in digital flat screen television technology, plasma televisions can't be made much smaller than 30 inches. When buying a large-screen television, whether new or used, it's also important to ensure that the television isn't too big for the room. Don't forget that with such large screens, a minimum viewing distance between viewer and screen is required in order to see the picture in its full glory.


Plasma televisions are also heavier than LCD televisions of the same size due, in part, to their having large glass-fronted screens. If the set is to be mounted on a particular wall, it will need a wall bracket or mount capable of taking the weight of the television. The television's printed operating instructions and specifications will give the exact weight of the television. The wall also needs to be solid and firm enough to hold the bracket firmly in place.

Energy Efficiency

The earliest plasma television models weren't at all efficient in terms of power consumption and heat emission. Newer models have improved somewhat, but overall, energy efficiency has never been a plasma television's strong point. In general and throughout their history, they have been no more efficient than older style CRT televisions. In most cases, a used plasma television's age won't have a major bearing on its energy efficiency. That is, however old it is, don't expect it to be energy efficient compared to other television technologies. Things are slowly changing, however. Manufacturers have been keen to address this issue, and real advances are being made with some major manufacturers now claiming impressive reductions in power consumption and heat emission for their latest plasma television models. As these newer and more efficient models gradually enter the used television market, power consumption and energy efficiency are becoming more important selling points for plasma televisions, which, previously, couldn't compete with LCD televisions in energy efficiency. Older, less efficient, plasma models are often cheaper in comparison to newer, more efficient ones, but keep in mind when choosing a used model that newer and more efficient plasma televisions are becoming cheaper to run.

Image Burn-In

If a static image is shown on-screen for overly-long periods of time and repeatedly, it can cause that image to become faintly, but permanently, 'etched' on the screen. This can occur if the television has been used extensively to watch and play a particular video game, for example. While all the action in a typical video game is fast-moving in the centre area of the screen and is constantly changing, some edge areas may not change at all, or only very infrequently. This is a very similar situation to that of CRT computer monitors, which addressed the problem with screen savers. For most people, it's not a consideration as it doesn't occur in normal use. Keep in mind, however, that older models are more susceptible to the effect than newer ones due to manufacturers having made significant improvements in this area. As with computer monitors, image burn-in effects on plasma television screens are actually quite rare, but it's always worth checking when buying a used model that it doesn't have burn-in effects visible on the screen. If it does, then the price should reflect that. Many people find slight image burn-in effects no more than a minor irritation that they can put up with.

Where to Find Used Plasma Televisions for Sale

While it may be possible to find the occasional used plasma television locally, such as in a high-street audio & video shop, the greatest choice by far is to be found online. The range of models, specifications and prices is huge. If buying online, it's highly recommended to buy from a UK-based source to avoid expensive international delivery charges and, more importantly, to ensure that the television complies with British electrical and broadcast standards. Most used plasma televisions for sale are being sold privately by their owners, but others may be refurbished models sold by retail outlets.

How to Find a Used Plasma Television on eBay

Plasma televisions are in no short supply on eBay, and the fastest way to see them is to enter "Used plasma TV" into the search box on eBay UK. Just about every page on eBay UK has the search box available, but start from the homepage for a cleaner sweep of the results. The results that are returned now need to be categorised and filtered to avoid having to wade through literally thousands of listings, many of which will be unsuitable for one reason or another. At the left-hand side of the page, the categories under which plasma televisions are most popularly listed by sellers can be seen. Sound & Vision is the main category, and its two most relevant subcategories, Television and TV & Home Audio Accessories, are where the greatest number of used plasma televisions can be seen grouped together in the search results. If the number of listings returned is still too large, use any of the check-box filtering options listed below the categories to exclude plasma televisions that are, for example, too large, too expensive, too far away, and much more.


Whatever inherent shortcomings any particular used plasma television may have, if it's in full working order, it can be expected to deliver very high quality pictures for a long time to come. Finding a suitable and affordable used plasma television isn't too difficult given the numbers available, and buying one (before someone else does) makes good sense.

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