What is an LCD Display?
LCD is short for liquid crystal display, and while LCD technology has been around for quite some time, it has been only in the last decade or so that the technology became suitable for the high quality flat panel television and computer monitor displays we see today. The most notable feature of displays using LCD technology, of course, is the thinness of the unit, but the power behind that thin design is actually quite extensive.
The display on an LCD panel is comprised of picture elements, or pixels as they are known to computer geeks everywhere. The resolution the flat panel display is capable of is determined partially by how many pixels are contained in the display. A typical LCD panel display can range from hundreds of thousands of pixels to millions of pixels, and the higher the number of pixels the better the resolution will be. LCD televisions come in a number of different shapes and sizes, but they are typically designed to accommodate a 16 to 9 display ratio. This ratio makes them perfect for watching widescreen displays like DVDs, as well as traditional television shows.
What are the Differences between LCD and Traditional TVs?
LCD televisions, flat panel computer monitors and other devices have a number of built in advantages, and it is these advantages that have made them such a hit with technology buyers everywhere. Some of the many advantages of LCD technology include:
Brighter display – the displays on LCD televisions are brighter than those on a traditional CRT television, due to the special way these displays work. While a traditional CRT television or monitor uses a tube to create the display, the LCT TV uses pixels, providing for a brighter display.
Flicker free performance – the display of the LCD television or computer monitor will also be free of flicker, since the LCD display will have a constant source of light throughout the entire screen. Once the pixel is turned on it remains on. Contrast this to the design of the CRT television or monitor, which must refresh the screen periodically with a ray of light moving down the monitor or TV.
Low power consumption – another big advantage of the LCD TV is its superior energy efficiency. LCD televisions will be up to 65% more energy efficient than traditional televisions, helping to protect the environment while saving you money.
Ultra slim design – it is of course the thin and sleek design that turns heads and gets the attention of buyers. LCD displays can be as thin as 49mm (just over 19 inches), meaning that these TVs can be placed virtually anywhere.
Wall mountable designs – Many LCD TVs are so thin that they can be hung on the wall as you would hang a picture. It is important of course to purchase a wall mounting bracket that is suitable for holding the weight of the unit.
A Guide to Some LCD TV Terms
If you are in the market for an LCD TV, you will likely hear a number of new, and sometimes confusing, terms bandied about. It is important to understand what these words mean to you, the television technology shopper.
Aspect Ratio – the aspect ratio of the TV helps to determine its suitability for watching movies and television programming in true widescreen format. While the traditional television has always used a aspect ratio of 4:3, i.e. 4″ wide, 3″ high, the typical LCD television uses an aspect ratio of 16:9, providing a truer widescreen picture perfect for watching DVD and VHS movies, as well as traditional television programming.
Candela – one of those words you may hear from time to time is candela. Put simply, the candela is a standard unit of brightness, and it is equivalent to the number of candles that would be required to produce the same intensity of light. Therefore a rating such as 450 cd/m2 means that it would take a concentration of 450 candles in a square meter area to produce the same amount of light.
Contrast Ratio – the contrast ratio is simply the difference in intensity of light between the darkest black and the brightest white on the display. The higher the contrast ratio the sharper and cleaner the picture will be.
HDTV – high definition television, or HDTV for short, is quickly becoming the standard for television signal technology, and it is important to look for an LCD TV that is HDTV ready.
Inputs – the TV inputs are important if you plant to connect a DVD player, VCR, game console, computer or other device to the LCD display panel. There are many different types of inputs, and it is important that the TV you choose provide a number of different options for getting signals to the device. A TV with a great many inputs will allow you to connect a number of different devices to the TV, greatly enhancing its versatility and its value.
It is also important to make sure that LCD TV you choose has the proper tuner for playing the TV signal you have coming in to the house. Many plasma screen and LCD TVs will lack a built in tuner, meaning that they will need to pick up that television signal from a cable box, satellite TV box, DirectTV signal or other similar device. It is important to make sure you understand the type of tuner that comes with the TV you are considering, and it is important to purchase all the accessories you will need when buying the TV.
Speaking of accessories, it is important to buy only the highest quality component cabling to connect that LCD display to your DVD player, VCR, Laser Disk player, computer or other device. The highest quality cables will provide the best picture and sound quality, which will further enhance the display of the LCD TV you have chosen.
It is also important, of course, to get the very best price you can on the LCD TV you want. The suggested retail price of the typical LCD TV will vary according to a number of factors, such as the size of the display, the thinness of the display and the quality of the manufacturer. It is important to shop around as much as possible, and to read the reviews of all the models you are considering.
Finally, the ability to play several different television signal formats, such as PAL, NTSC and SECAM, is an important consideration. Different parts of the world use different formats for television signals and video products, and buying one of these multisystem LCD TVs is a good way to make it more versatile and useful while getting the best value for your money.