rough guide to modern television sets

hawkish

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There are many different choices to be made when it comes to buying a television, and I mean many many different options and features that will lose the average buyer in a sea of jargon, with the main two options being:-

1, going to currys / comet and having same poor badly trained chap feverishly reading the (mis)information off of the ticket to you, then launching into the extended warranty hard-sell for 20 mins
or
2 Browsing the internet sites that just seem to have have the product specs pasted in from the manufacturers homepage - then a shopping cart to click on.

So with that in mind I will be giving you all of the info that I have picked up throughout the years within the sales and service industry and keep it as accurate as possible without pushing my personal preferences (too much!)
so with this in mind I will start by going over the main popular mis-conceptions that you may have heard of from a friend or neighbour (or spotty lazy journalist )




1 POPULAR MISCONCEPTIONS
2 THE TECHNOLOGY OF TELEVISIONS
3 WHAT SIZE
4 WHEN SHOULD I BUY
5 WHAT IS COMING IN THE FUTURE






POPULAR MISCONCEPTIONS

LCD IS NEWER THAN PLASMA
False! LCD was released at the same time that manufacturers decided to mass-produce plasma technology - and the reason was that plasma could not physically operate below an absoloute minimum size of 32", so LCD was originally introduced to fill the size gap on the lower size sets.

THE HIGHER THE CONTRAST THE BETTER - RIGHT?
Yes this is a true statement, HOWEVER be very careful about the incredible claims on the price tickets and in the spec sheets. They do not actually mean anything. A bold statement indeed, so let me explain a little further. Sadly there is no industry standard for measuring the contrast of televisions - this means as long as they can show the workings then they can put whatever they want in the spec! Another cheeky recent addition to this issue is the appearance of the term "dynamic contrast" this means that on the sets dynamic setting it is different (massive ratio i.e 2,000,000:1) to normal viewing. The trouble is invariably the dynamic modes are used for shop demo and look too garish once in your home.

WILL I "SCREENBURN" MY PLASMA?
I very much doubt that you could - as they have built in protection these days, the screenburn issue comes from the plasmas using phosphor for the picture display. It is the same stuff used in the old big CRT technology and as im sure you remember from the days of CRT screens on the old cashpoints that had image the "insert card" image retained over the other menus. The original plasmas of some 10 years ago could suffer from a bit of retention, but the only ones I have seen artifacts etched into the background permenently are the ones in currys that have a static demo on them 8 hours a day. these days the panels all have protection on them to protect them fully from this happening.

ITS IMPOSSIBLE TO SCREENBURN AN LCD?
Actually it is possible to display an image on an lcd for so long that the crystals freeze in position effectivly leaving an image on there permanently. It is impractical to do so and so you run the same risk of doing it than with a plasma.



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THE TECHNOLOGY OF TELEVISIONS




LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY (L.C.D)


LCD is most popular in sizes from 10" to 46", it works on the basis that when you pass an electrical current through an individual crystal, then that crystal will naturally twist until the electrical current releases it back to its normal state.
Each pixel on the screen has at least 4 crystals controlling it, at the back on the lcd set is a backlight and this light is blocked out by the colour filtered crystals in different angles to achive the required colour when viewing from the front.
It works as follows [ FRONT / / / / * BACKLIGHT ] this represents the red green and blue crystals and the extra row to help control the backlight. now consider that for an HD READY Television there is about a million of these pixel groups and for a FULL HD there is two million(ish).

THE ADVANTAGES
. Colours are bright and crisp - some people prefer this image type
. Edges appear defined and sharp
. The technology is widely available and cheap to make and buy


THE DISADVANTAGES
. If a crystal freezes it messes up a whole pixel, if your lucky it will freeze black but can equally freeze coloured and stick out to the viewer, however due to the amount of pixels in a modern panel you probably wont notice e.g DEAD RED PIXEL [ FRONT / / | / * BACKLIGHT ]
. The crystals can never block out all of the light from the back panel and gives milky blacks that can be hard to make the detailing of the source out properly - the more you pay for a screen the less apparant this is, but it is always there.
. The movement is rather jagged in fast moving sports and wide pans - this is due to the physical movement of the crystals, for example if a voltage is sent to a particular blue crystal that will cause it to open to 80% of its gateway, and on the next frame it only needs to be open 70% it cant make that small factor of 10 adjustment, it will need to fully close and then re-open to 70% to achive this and this is where "joggy" motion occurs. (some screens interpolate extra frames between the normal frames to minimise this effect - look at the efforts of sony and philips for smooth LCD pics.







PLASMA DISPLAY PANEL (P.D.P)


PDP is most popular in sizes from 42" to 65" it works by using electrical current to illuminate different coloured phospher in the screen. Imagine a potato waffle on a dinner plate (stay with me on this!) - this basic shape is what the metalwork in the plasma looks like on a microscopic level. Within each waffle hole lies the 3 differently coloured phosphor coatings (red green and blue) and depending on the type of voltage sent to each cell depicts the combination and intensity of colour for that one pixel. To achive a white colour all phosphor colours are lit at once - as before HD READY televisions have about a million of these "waffle holes" and FULL HD has about two million.

THE ADVANTAGES
. Colours are more 'accurate' to real life and tend to be more realistic, (albeit less striking than the LCD method)
. Due to light only being created when it is needed dark and cinematic scenes are incredibly detailed and easy to watch. There is no milky effect.
. Due to the extremely fast rate that an electrical voltage can change and the instantanious effect this has on phosphoric reaction, the panels are good for fast sports.
. You can see the image totally accuratley from all front angles.
. Phosphor is a tried and tested medium and lifespan is accurate due to this

THE DISADVANTAGES

. If one of the millions of electrodes in the panel fails you will have a dead pixel :( however they always die black (a good thing) and you probably wont notice it
. They usually use more electricity than LCD , but with >2009 panels the gap is negligable.
. The technology is expensive to produce and the cost is higher as a result
. they are heavy - not a problem unless you have stud walls - that takes a bit of thinking to wallmount, but is possible.
. Phosphor degrades with usage, blue goes faster than red or green ( they put more blue in and enough to give a halflife of 20 years to help)
. The edges of the cells are tapered so you cant see the "waffle" this means the pic is not as sharp as the competition
. Preferably transported upright or at a push on its back - but NEVER on its front as the phospher will get knocked as it is transported

LIGHT EMITTING DIODE (L.E.D)


LED is fairly new on the scene and is essentially the same as an lcd but with the backlight chopped out and replaced with either sidelit or backlit LED's
The sidelit versions are the ultra thin ones but can suffer from a searchlight effect on high contrast scenes.
The backlit versions dont suffer from the searchlight effect.
They let through too much might, smoothing details out from pictures
Lifespan is uncertain




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WHAT SIZE?

Only you know what size will be right for you, however for living room applications there is a few tips to help.
If you are upgrading from a square (4:3) television measure the HEIGHT of the screen, not width - and compare this to the height on the new television - this will give you the modern equivelent (26" 16:9 is basically a 20" 4:3 but with the widescreen added on)
There is a sticky that explains the common rules in more detail


Oh and ditch that old tv cabinet will you! there is no sence squinting at a tiny panel just because it has the required width to fit in there :)

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WHEN SHOULD I BUY?


If you want the best deal then the hot weeks in the year are the last week of december, first two weeks in janurary, all of july.

Keep an eye on discontinued televisions - pick them up cheapest in end of march/ beginning of may sales.
After these times the prices always rise again - its the way of the industry.

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WHAT IS COMING IN THE FUTURE?


Organic light-emitting diode (O.L.E.D)

is a polymer based organic printed material that emmits light - so no backlight required - sort of a metting of methods of the best of both plasma
and LCD. however lifespan is very uncertain at this time as the organic compounds tend not to last longer than 6 or 7 years at most.

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domnplod

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well its wrong i have a samsung 55 in led and wat u sayin is wrong your taking about a rear projection innit the led has the best picture and u can watch it from sides please check ur facts mate how is a 20.000 to 1 contrast on a lcd better than a 3million to 1 on a lcd
if you read your defo taking about a rear projection tv which r proper poh
led tv are the future google search samsung led 7020 your facts are well wrong
my tv is better with just normal freeview tv than my partners 50 lcd with sky hd .....
no plasma lcd will come close to the full 1080p 100hz 24fps 3,000,000 to 1 contrast ov the new led tvs
 
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hawkish

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No, im right. Its obvious from your contrast argument that you havent read it properly :grayno: have another look

and enjoy your new TV
 

lee789

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Hi Hawkish,

I love your write up, I posted a bit of information based on "LCD vs Plasma" Domnplod I think you need to read the post again, also maybe not be so quick to poke a stick at things when you clearly have not understood them.
 
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