Tuesday

Display Technologies - The Quick Non-Geek Version

I'll state right now that I am not an expert on all kinds of media technology - but I thought it would be helpful to strain my brain and explain a few commonly-used terms to make browsing the store websites a wee bit easier - terms like HDTV, LED, LCD and the like.


HDTV - now pretty well established, an HDTV is simply a television set that can display a specific (high) resolution image properly. The type of display used can vary, but the goal is to faithfully reproduce a high resolution TV signal - a "regular" TV signal typically won't look much better. You will sometimes see references to 720 p or 1080p (or 1080i), and these simply refer to the vertical number of "pixels" - the teeny-tiny dots that make up an image. The more the better - the more clear and sharp the image should appear.



Plasma - for quite a while the vast majority of "flat screen" TVs were of the plasma type. Plasma is an ionized gas, and is the same technology used in fluorescent lamps - although in the TV incarnation, each "lamp" is very, very small and has a colored phosphor coating (red, green and blue to represent the primary colors). These displays are self-illuminating, there is no "backlight" required to view the images.


LCD - Liquid Crystal Display - this is another type of flat screen that utilizes an electronic "sandwich" of materials that can be switched on and off quickly enough to be able to represent flicker-free moving images. Most notebook and tablet screens are LCD screens. LCD screens for TVs and notebooks typically need a backlight to produce a bright display.


LED - Light Emitting Diode - a tiny solid state lamp that can be switched on and off by digital circuits. You can have a display constructed from LEDs (early calculators used them), but most times when a TV is or notebook screen is referred to as an LED screen, it typically means that the backlighting of the LCD panel is handled by several LEDs (rather than the more traditional fluorescent strips).


OLED - Organic Light Emitting Diodes - this is currently the "new wave" of display technology, and is self-illuminating. This technology uses organic compounds and polymers, and is becoming very popular on mobile devices. Large screen OLED TVs are also becoming available, although the first waves are expensive, as with most new technologies. OLEDs also lend themselves to higher-resolution displays such as...


4K - (four kay), which stands for 4 thousand (pixels) - this is a bit confusing and is an emerging standard for digital cinema and television, and the two are measured a bit differently. The short version is that it should basically double the resolution currently available for HDTV signals. There is also a QFHD (Quad Full High Definition) TV standard that you may see referenced as well - pretty much the same thing.


If you want to see a 4k movie, this year's "The Hobbit -There And Back Again" will be available in 4k in many theaters. *shameless geek plug*

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