Friday, August 7, 2015

HDTVs : Features and Specifications - What Does It All Mean? - Display Types

So you're interested in purchasing a new HDTV.  Get ready for an awesome movie night!  But wait, what's 1080p, 4K, 240hZ sub-motion, 4ms refresh rate, LED, LCD, plasma? - wait, isn't that in blood??!!  I know, it gets confusing pretty quickly.  Unless you're looking to get the latest and greatest, chances are most of these "features" you won't even notice.  In this article we'll dive into the specs sheet and explain what everything is so you can decide whether or not you really need it.  Hopefully this information will demystify the marketing games so you can be happy with your purchase.

Lets start with display type.  The two most common types you'll see are LCD, and Plasma.  LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display - technology that has actually been around for awhile (think your clock radio or digital watch).  LCD screens themselves don't emit light, they just change colors.  There are lights behind the liquid crystals that shine through them, creating a glowing, colorful screen.  A regular LCD TV uses Cold Cathode Flourescent Lamps, or CCFLS for light.  An LED LCD TV uses LED lights for the backlighting.  The main advantage of LED vs CCFL is reduced power consumption and thinner overall construction.

Plasma screens are made up of positively charged gases in side a bulb that electricity passes through, lighting up and creating colors.  Plasma screens generally have better picture quality than LCD screens.  They are also heavier, larger, and use more electricity.  Plasma TVs are less popular than LCDs.

The newest kid on the block are OLEDs or Organic Light-Emitting Diodes.  OLEDs are thinner, lighter, can be flexible, and have higher resolutions and larger display sizes than an LCD display.  OLEDs work like LEDs except instead of being bulbs, they are made up of films - which allows flexibility and size reduction.  OLEDs can create richer blacks and have better picture quality than LCDs.  This is the latest technology and consequently it is the most expensive.

So which one should you get?  Right now you'll see a lot of LED LCDs on the market.  They are the most popular and come in a wide range of prices and features.  Plasmas are a bit harder to find, and while their picture may be a touch better than an LCD, their weight and power consumption may be less attractive.  The fancy curved screens use OLEDs, so if you're looking for the bleeding edge check those out.  Since OLEDs are new, they are the most expensive.  In a few years their price will come down as manufacturing costs reduce.  Currently you'll find the best value in LED LCDs.

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