What Happens If You Crack a Plasma TV?

Updated April 17, 2017

Plasma televisions are susceptible to cracks along the screen, mainly from improper shipping and storage techniques. Cracked plasma televisions are normally unusable or at least unwatchable, but you can avoid these issues by taking the proper precautions. Cracking a plasma television will have specific repercussions but will also likely not result in some scenarios predicted by common myths.

Outer Screen Appearance

Cracked plasma screens resemble broken mirrors, with a single crack spanning the stress point on the television. The set can also display a "spidering" of the outer glass, with smaller fragments in various places. This screen breakage, generally the first trait noticed on a cracked plasma, typically results from laying the television flat during shipping.

On-Screen Images

Typically, when a plasma screen cracks, half of the display still functions. Since each cell in a plasma television operates independently, some clusters may cease to function while the remainder appears normal. Cracked plasmas, using phosphor chemicals, also display a symptom called "bruising," wherein sections become discoloured from the phosphor colours mixing.


To avoid finding out what a cracked plasma panel looks like, follow proper shipping and storage techniques. When shipping plasma sets, orient them vertically, preventing the glass inside the set from flexing along its weakest point. Do not accept plasmas upon delivery if the ink-filled tip indicators are broken or purple, an indicator that the set has tipped more than -1.11 degrees Cor a sufficient period during shipping and thus potentially suffered stresses to the internal glass panels.

What Doesn't Happen

When used in televisions, "plasma" has a different meaning from that of the plasma liquid, as found in blood. Plasma is the state of a gas when electrical current passes through it. Although a small amount of this harmless gas may escape, it is not refillable, nor does it "ooze" from the screen, as a common assumption inaccurately holds. Plasma panels must operate cohesively and as a whole. Therefore, a cracked panel cannot have new plasma injected or pumped in; you must have a new panel installed.

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About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.