In this week's Giz Explains—if you haven't noticed, it's a weekly series that breaks down a sticky piece of tech into something more digestible for people whose bellies aren't quite made of nerd steel—we're looking at plasma TVs. Plasma. It just sounds sci-fi.
The basic explanation of how plasma sets work is that they've got a cocktail of noble gases (think back to high school chemistry) in tiny cells crammed between two glass panels. The cells are zapped with electricity, which makes them light up. Phosphors coating the cells make the color magic happen. (The gas is turned into a plasma during the process, hence the name.) Since individual pixels can just be turned off (more or less), plasma can inherently produce much better blacks than LCDs,