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Like older CRT televisions, plasma TVs create pictures by lighting up thousands of tiny dots called pixels. (Your computer screen uses pixels, too).
Also like older TVs, plasma models use a combination of red, blue and green at varying intensities to create all the colors of a picture. On a plasma TV, each pixel contains very small fluorescent lights in red, blue and green.
The "plasma" in a plasma TV is the gas (xenon or neon) inside the little fluorescent light cells. When the TV passes an electrical current to the cells, the gas atoms become "excited" and emit "photons" (units of light energy).
The gas-filled cells, along with the electrodes that manage the power, are sealed between two panes of glass. (If you're comparing LCD vs. plasma TVs, one thing to note is that plasma TVs, requiring those two panes of glass, tend to be heavier.)