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Flat Panel Technologies

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Essay title: Flat Panel Technologies

Intro

It's a very good idea to do your homework before going forward with the purchase of a new high definition television as technologies sometimes increase in complexity, while other aspects become more similar between the current display technologies available. Before even considering what brand to buy, you should first determine the type of technology that best suits your needs. Choosing one can prove to be confusing, but the technology you ultimately decide on, will depend on factors such as size, viewing conditions, price and your perception of which ones looks best. A basic understanding of both technologies is also helpful in order to alleviate concerns of not knowing what you're buying.

Technology

Flat panel televisions are created mostly using two technologies. First, there is LCD (Liquid Crystal Display). LCD displays have crystals within the liquid (located between two transparent panels within the display screen) that reposition themselves when they are activated by voltage. This action is performed to permit or obstructed light. This process is, in a way, similar to switching on and off, a million (or more) tiny light bulbs within the screen. The television also requires a fluorescent tube behind the panels to provide a light source. The then (lit and unlit) visible crystals form the pixels (a small dot of light on the display panel, which grouped together, comprises an image) from which the images on the screen are made up of.

Plasmas technology is composed of millions of small glass cells that are charged with a mixture of neon and xenon. These cells are placed in front of a chemical compound that emits light when electricity passes through it. These are called phosphors. Each of these cells is made up of 3 phosphors; red, blue and green that when motivated by an electrode, (the plasma) produces an invisible UV light. When this UV light hits the red, green and blue phosphors, it creates a pixel. When all pixels within the screen are processed at the same time, we get an image on the screen.

Advantages and Disadvantages of LCD and Plasma

The advantage of LCD technology is that they are available in sizes that range from small (such as the ones seen on digital cameras) to sizes comparable to Plasmas. They provide very bright and crisp images, especially when viewed from a center position. For watching in a room with a lot of light, then certainly, LCD has the advantage over plasma due to its brightness and a surface coating that reduces room reflections. The disadvantages of LCD technology is that they tend to have slower video response for which fast moving objects look pixilated ("blocky") or the images seems to tear because the screen can't keep up. This is most noticeable on screens 37+ inches in diameter. Since the back is lit by a florescent light, these panels usually have a hard time displaying deep black levels, where black objects can sometimes look more like a dark gray. This back light also hinders the panel's ability to produce true color saturation since a pixel can never be fully "off". Viewing angles are another issue, as viewing the set from an angle can diminish the quality of the image.

Currently, plasmas are being known to have more advantages than LCD's due to advances in technology that increase substantially with every year. Plasmas have viewing angles of 180 degrees, meaning you can watch from virtually any angle without loss of picture quality. They produce deeper blacks, since there is no light behind the panel to illuminate the pixels, and which give way to more detailed images. There is also no delay as with LCD's, so fast moving objects

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