Updated Feb 17, 2014 By Cedric Demers

What is a Plasma Anti-Glare Filter?

A plasma anti-glare filter is worth it if you have a window in the same room as your television. It will reduce the reflection of the light on your screen. If you are watching your TV in a dark room, you do not need it.

The following pictures compare a plasma with an anti-glare filter, one without, and an LED television. As you can see, a normal plasma is almost as reflective as a mirror. The filter does a good job at both diffusing the light and reducing it.

Plasma with anti glare filter
The Samsung F8500, a plasma with an anti-glare filter
Plasma with no anti glare filter
The Samsung F5300, a plasma without an anti-glare filter
LED
The LG Samsung F6300, an LED TV
We take these pictures for every TV that we review. Check all of them out here.

A plasma anti-reflection filter is a thin film applied on top of a plasma screen to reduce the reflection of the ambient light. Compared to an LCD, which can have either a glossy or matte finish, plasma absolutely needs a glass panel to contain each gas cell. Glass is a very good reflector of light, so if your room contains, a window you will most likely see the reflection of it on your television.

Learn how a plasma works here.

Is a Plasma Anti-Reflective Filter worth it?

A plasma anti-reflective filter is definitely worth it, unless you do not have any windows or lights where or when you are watching television. It does offer a considerable reduction in the amount of reflection on the television.

That said, an anti-glare filter for a plasma television will reduce the brightness of the picture at a vertical viewing angle. To further reduce the reflection, manufacturers assume you will only watch your television at relatively the same height as the TV itself. This assumption is useful for them, because they can block more of the light coming in and out of the television at a vertical angle, like most reflections of lights and windows would. Therefore, if you are watching your television at a big vertical angle (like if it is hung on top of the fireplace and you are on the ground with your kids), a plasma anti-glare filter might actually be worse for you.

For the plasma TVs with an anti glare filter that we tested, the vertical viewing angle is on average 30°.

How do you fix glare on a plasma TV?

If you already own a plasma TV with a lot of glare and reflections, you can still fix it by buying a third party anti-glare filter and applying it to your television. For example, ViewGuard makes filters that goes up to 65" in size. It is not cheap, though, depending on the size of your television.

Of course, the best solution is to adapt your room accordingly. Installing curtains on your windows or moving your television to a better spot is an effective method of reducing glare and reflections on your television.

What is the Panasonic Infinite Black Panel with Louver Filter?

The Panasonic Infinite Black Panel with Louver Filter is the anti-glare filter of the top of the line Panasonic plasmas. It is available on the following 2013 models:

The ZT60 has the Ultimate Black version, the VT60 has the Infinite Black Ultra, and the ST60 the Infinite Black Pro.

What is Samsung's Real Black Panel and Real Black Panel Pro?

Samsung Real Black Panel is Samsung's anti-reflective filter as described above. There is only one 2013 model that includes it:

What is LG TruBlack Filter?

LG's TruBlack Filter is LG's term for the anti-glare filter that comes with its higher end plasma models. There is no 2013 model that includes it.

Conclusion

Unless you have a complete dark room when you are watching television, an anti-glare filter for a plasma television is worth the upgrade. It does not remove all reflections, but it offers a noticeable improvement.

The best plasma that we tested with a filter is the Panasonic ST60. Unfortunately, like most Panasonic plasmas, it is out of stock everywhere. We suggest the Samsung F8500 instead.

Questions & Answers

20 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
14
Is the louver filter available on 2013 Panasonic models?
Yes. See article for the list of 2013 models it is included with.
6
Which has a better picture quality, a matte screen TV or a glossy one?
A matte TV screen does affect a the picture quality a little bit. Unfortunately, a matte screen does not only diffuse light coming at the TV, but also from inside of it. That diffusion will create a small blurry effect. In a glossy screen, like a Plasma TV, the light goes out without diffusion, producing a clearer image. A matte screen has its downsides, but if you have a room full of windows then it might be the only option suitable for you.
6
It is just a small spot that got rubbed off. Is there a way to fix this, and how?
Not really. This is a somewhat common problem on the 2011 Samsung plasma models where the anti glare filter was pealing of the corners. Some people had success exchanging their set for this issue, so you might want to try your luck if it bothers you.
6
I have lots of small dark patches on my new Samsung E8000 visible while panning on light backgrounds (DSE). Is this caused by the anti glare filter or will it get better as the phosphors age?
It depends what they look like exactly. For example, you can see horizontal lines in our review of the Samsung F8500. They were caused by the filter and they would move depending on your point of view. If it looks more like spots and they stay exactly at the same place, this is a defect. It won't get better with time. Call Samsung to see if you can get a replacement if it is pretty bad.
4
Is there any way to apply a filter or something to an existing plasma TV?
Yes, you buy a third party filter and apply it on top of an existing television. For example, ViewGuard makes filters that go up to 65" in size.
4
How much does a filter cost?
A third party filter's price will vary depending on the size and manufacturer. A 65" filter will cost about $200.
4
Where on the plasma screen is the built-in filter placed - the outer surface of the screen? If so, does cleaning rub it off?
It is usually in form of an adhesive layer added on top of the glass. It doesn't rub off if you clean it, so do not worry about that.
3
The filter on my Panasonic GT50 has a crack. Can it be replaced?
If it was due to your wear, no. If you bought it that way, the store will generally exchange it.
2
If I put my TV on the side of my window and don't have a window behind it, what type of TV should I be looking at? I am thinking of LED 40" as my room is about 16x16. I need a little bit of a wider angle but mostly we sit in front of the TV or just off to the side.
Go for an LG LED. They have a wider viewing angle than other LEDs (see our viewing angle videos), while still reflecting less than a plasma TV without an anti glare filter.
1
Which TV models were the pictures taken with?
The plasma with the anti-reflective filter was a Panasonic VT50 and the plasma without was a Panasonic UT50. The article has been updated to reflect this. Thanks.
0
Do the AR filters on these plasma TVs also serve to block UV radiation and light emitted from the display?
The myth about Plasma TVs generating UV radiation is false. While it is true that they do emit some, it is very negligible and you should not worry about this. That being said, yes, anti reflection filters also block a small amount of the light generated by the display. This is not intentional, though. Ideally, you want all the light to pass through so as not to experience a diminished picture quality. As mentioned above, this is especially noticeable at a vertical viewing angle where you could perceive a reduced brightness of the television.
0
Do the Louver Filtered Panasonic models have lower picture quality than the Panasonic models without the Louver filter?
It is actually the opposite. Panasonic only applies the louver filter on its high end panels. However, as mentioned in the article, the louver filter will lead to a slight decrease in the vertical viewing angle.
0
Does a room have to be completely dark and if it is, is the anti-glare filter then a hindrance? Obviously one will not use the TV in a porch or a sunroom, or with a lighted overhead light as shown above, but what about rooms in which a side lamp is used, such as a bedroom with a night lamp, as opposed to a classroom lighting setting above? Are third party filters better than what Panasonic and Samsung use for their models? Please note that the main difference between the UT50 and ST50 is the filter, and Panasonic charges $300 more for the ST50, so what are your thoughts?
Even if you have a Plasma without any filter, like the UT50, you can watch it in a room that is not completely dark. If you really look for it, you could be able to see the reflection of a small source of light, especially in black scenes, but it will not bother you when actually watching the TV. It will mostly depend on your angle to the TV and the object's angle with it. You will see it more when you move than when you are still, because the reflection does not move the same way as the TV. Do you have a smartphone, a laptop with a glossy finish, or an old CRT TV? It will be very similar to this. Third party filters are not really better than built-in ones.
0
In a mostly dark room, is an AR filter a hindrance? Of course you mentioned that an AR filter can affect viewing angles and brightness, but in a mostly dark room, all other things being equal, would one prefer no AR filter? For instance, on an LCD computer screen such as the new Dell Ultrasharp 2711 and 2412, people do not like the anti-glare filters. In many instances light is being shown in dark rooms, as opposed to earlier Dell models, such as the Ultrasharp 2407, that didn't have those anti-glare coatings. I understand plasma TVs are different, but is there a similar principal, in that anti-glare filters are designed for compromise situations, since lighting will affect the quality? Do you have know if the Samsung e533 has a true AR filter? Samsung advertises a "real black" filter as opposed the "real black filter pro" on, say, the e6500 series, however a description of the "real black filter" mentions "advancement of software technology" while the 6500 series mentions "advancement within the panel structure."
Yes, going without an AR filter will be preferable in a dark room, all other things being equal. However, in practice, most TVs with an AR filter are superior, so people will actually prefer the one with the AR filter, even in a completely dark room. Also, the anti glare filters used on TVs perform better than the ones on some computer monitors because they are less aggressive (for a computer, you can mostly assume people will be exactly in front of it, but not for a TV, since those are often viewed by multiple persons at once). The Samsung E533 doesn't have a true AR filter (or if it did, it doesn't do its job). There is a lot of reflections on that screen compared to the E6500.
0
I assume I have an anti-glare on my Panasonic ST60 plasma, but I still see a lot of glare in a very lit room. Is that normal?
Yes, it doesn't remove everything, so if your room is brightly lit, there will still be reflections. Check out the pictures that we took of multiple TVs here. You can see that even the best matte screen has glare.
0
I am about to buy the Samsung 64" F8500, but I'm concerned about the vertical viewing angle. What are your thoughts if I am sitting 8.5 ft away with the top of my head aligned with the bottom of the screen?
You should be fine, given your setting (which require 20°). While we haven't tested the F8500 yet, we measured a vertical viewing angle of about 30° on the Panasonic ST60. I expect the Samsung F8500 to be in the same ballpark.
0
Does LG PH6700 glossy screen present a real problem with reflections?
Yes, unless you have just a small overhead light. If you have windows during the day, you will definitely see yourself in it.
0
Is it possible to remove a screen filter thus correct dse?
Unfortunately, no.
0
I have a Panasonic ST60 and I removed some of the ar filter by accident. There's a small, almost unnoticeable smudge. Most of the times I watch TV in a dark or semi-dark room. Should I try to remove the filter? I know I'm being a bit anal about it but I would really like to hear your advice.
We never tried to remove one, so we do not know how easy it is and more importantly, if it leaves any trace on the screen. If the mark is small and unnoticeable, why not leave it as is? Even if you successfully removed all of the filter, you will have to deal with a decreased picture quality as soon as you try to view the TV in bright lights (or if you move it to another room).
0
I purchased the 50ST60 Plasma TV with a one year warranty (paying with my hard-earned money) but two days after the first year, I accidentally damaged the panel (spider crack). Now I am depressed. The Panasonic ST60 Plasma TV is not available anymore. I am very upset.
There isn't much you can do, especially given that you broke it. You could sell it for parts on Craigslist, but you won't get a lot of money back. The closest plasma TV still in production is the Samsung PN51F5300.
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