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an overview of the new display technologies for television sets

Introduction

Television Sets

Gone are the days of heavy, clunky lugs of equipment and large tubes that required regular replacing. Those were the characteristics of what today's generation calls olden day televisions. Usually floor models encased in plenty of wood and embellished with fancy adornments, televisions were the focal point of any home's décor and often signified one's wealth.

Of course today, televisions are a necessity and there are probably very few homes without a TV set. In fact, today's televisions double as computer monitors, and are used to display a wide range of entertainment products. In addition to the changes in design, weight, and even purpose, newer televisions are clearly technologically advanced.

Consequently, this discussion will provide an overview of the new display technologies for television sets.

Plasma & LCD Technology

Plasma Television

Plasma displays were a huge advancement when the original cathode ray tube televisions were being phased out of existence. The main advantage of plasma was the television's size. Less bulky than traditional televisions, the plasma versions were very thin, often about five or six inches in depth. As a result, those types of displays meant that consumers could purchase very large screens and not have the weight of the CRT systems.

In regards to the mechanism of "plasma", the technology works by using red, green and blue lights to light up tiny pixels, causing an array of lights which forms images. The plasma is a gas within the fluorescent lights.

Liquid crystal display was the next type of display technology to hit the markets. Known as LCDs or flat panel screens by most people, the new technology was quickly embraced by consumers, as it was more energy efficient than plasma, it did not produce the dreaded "burn-in", it came in a wider variety of screen sizes, and it seemed to be easier on the eyes since it did not have the same sharp "glare" properties of plasma.

Although LCDs tend to be grainier in colors and images, today, because they are so cheap to buy, the quality doesn't seem to be an issue for many people. Further, current models of LCDs emit very little to no toxic substances.

The Process of Burn-In & Digital Light Processing

Digital Light Processing

Before continuing on in the discussion, I should explain the process of "burn-in". Basically plasma televisions and the first versions of computer monitors were susceptible to images being burned into the screen. That was the original reason for screen savers, to protect the display screen from burning in the images or text when someone was away from the screen for long periods of time. The televisions and computer monitors appeared to have white, floating strings on the screen, which in fact, ruined the clarity and quality of the pictures.

Digital light processing uses the Digital Micromirror Device which takes the reflections of light from very small mirrors and projects it or displays the light on a screen creating images. Each mirror corresponds to a pixel. Consequently, it is often called projector technology and is used in movie theaters. DLP televisions have two advantages over LCD and plasma that make them popular choices when purchasing a television.

First, the technology does not have a propensity for burn-in, and second, it does not create motion blur. Created in the late 1990s, DLP televisions are usually sized in the big screen variety, are less energy and heat intensive, and the pictures are crisp and clear.

HDTV & EDTV

EDTV

High definition televisions have become hugely popular in recent years. They are called HDTV because the pictures are clearer and sharper than other types of display technology. In fact, many manufacturers advertise as much as five to ten times higher. Much of this is attributed to the number of horizontal lines on the screen. Older televisions typically had less than five hundred, while high definition sets generally boast well over one thousand lines.

HDTV is also perfect for the home entertainment environment, as it produces a rounder, more pleasing picture, than the older squarish type setting. For those individuals who can't get enough football, the high definition system is the perfect fit. Lastly, sound is equally important with this display technology. As a result, the Dolby Digital Standard is usually incorporated into the television, creating an exciting experience using surround sound.

Enhanced definition television or EDTV for short operates on a "progressive scan" technology. Basically, it uses an internal mechanism called a "deinterlacer" to assemble the frames of the picture before placing the images on the screen. This makes the picture clearer because blur and static are omitted from the combining of the frames.

The method is also faster than HDTV which means it can actually complete the same process twice, thereby reducing the exterior garbage in the picture. Its format is generally found in a rectangle shape much like watching a film in a movie theater.

LED & OLED Technology

LED Television

Light emitting diode technology is creating light through the use of a semiconductor and electricity. As the particles move about when the electricity is applied to the semiconductor, light is produced. This type of display technology has been used in televisions for the last couple of years, and is commonly referred to as LED-backlit in advertisements. It is promoted as a step up from the LCD system. It is also very expensive and many believe that it might not be worth the extra money for a television set. But, it does have some advantages over LCD such as the ability to produce deeper blacks, which increases the sharpness of the picture. LCDs, on the other hand, use fluorescent light which is always bright and produces leakage. Some companies are manufacturing only "edge-lit" LEDs which means the lighting is placed around the perimeter of the screen. Another advantage of the LED technology is the cost savings in hydro and energy consumption.

Organic light-emitting diodes or OLED is said to be the television display technology of the future. This type of display system is incredibly crisp, and provides an improved color palette due to the organic material makeup of the individual pixels. The major difference between this technology and current or previous methods of lighting pixels to create images is the fact that the light source is contained within the pixels themselves. This feature also means that televisions can be a lot thinner than even an LCD model. The biggest drawback right now is the price. Most people could not afford the thousands of dollars for just the smallest unit. But, like all other electronics, as the technology is honed and as time passes, prices will drop to the point where OLED televisions will be produced for mass markets, making them the standard in television displays.

Indeed, there are many options available when choosing a new television. In fact, the selection process is so varied because of new display technologies for television sets that most consumers are at a disadvantage when purchasing. Many retail outlets are not much help in explaining the differences, so if you decide to go TV shopping, be sure to read up before hand, and make your decision before hitting the stores.

Still want some more details about the newest tv technologies before you go purchase one? The following wegpages are quite informative, and should you give you a better insight to which would suit your needs the best!