A plasma anti-glare filter is worth it if you have a window or bright lights in the same room as your television. It reduces the intensity of reflected lights on your screen. If you're watching your TV in a dark room, you don't need it.
TV manufacturers have stopped making plasma TVs, so this article is no longer relevant. If you have a plasma TV, an anti-glare filter can still be a good addition to your TV if you're planning on holding on to it for a little while longer. If you're ready to upgrade, check out our list of the best 4k TVs.
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 needs a glass panel to contain each gas cell. Glass is a very good reflector of light, so if your room contains a window or bright source of light, you'll most likely see the reflection of it on your television.
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.
We take these pictures for every TV that we review. Check all of them out here.
A plasma anti-reflective filter is worth it unless you don't have any windows or lights where or when you're watching television. It does offer a considerable reduction in the amount of reflection on the TV.
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 helpful for them because they can block more of the light coming in and out of the television at a vertical angle, as most reflections of lights and windows would. Therefore, if you're watching your television at a big vertical angle (like if it's hung on top of the fireplace and you're on the ground with your kids), a plasma anti-glare filter might be worse for you.
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 go up to 65" in size. It isn't 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.
The Panasonic Infinite Black Panel with Louver Filter is the anti-glare filter of the top-of-the-line Panasonic plasmas. It's available on the ST60, VT60, and ZT60, which are 2013 models.
The ZT60 has the Ultimate Black version, the VT60 has the Infinite Black Ultra, and the ST60 has the Infinite Black Pro.
Samsung Real Black Panel is Samsung's anti-reflective filter, as described above. There's only one 2013 model that includes it, the F8500.
LG's TruBlack Filter is LG's term for the anti-glare filter that comes with its higher-end plasma models. No 2013 model includes it.
Unless you have a completely dark room when you're 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.