The Plasma display panel was invented at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by Donald L. Bitzer and H. Gene Slottow in 1964 for the PLATO Computer System. The original monochrome (usually orange or green) panels enjoyed a surge of popularity in the early 1970s because the displays were rugged and needed neither memory nor refresh circuitry. There followed a long period of sales decline in the late 1970s as semiconductor memory made CRT displays incredibly cheap. Nonetheless, plasma's relatively large screen size and thin profile made the displays attractive for high-profile placement such as lobbies and stock exchanges. In 1992, Fujitsu introduced the world's first 21-inch full color display. It was a hybrid based on the plasma display created at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and NHK STRL, achieving superior brightness.
In 1997 Pioneer started selling the first Plasma TV to the public.
Today the superior brightness, viewing angle, and the lower cost (compared to LCD) of color plasma panels have caused these displays to become one of the most popular form of HDTV.