Televisions today provide a sharp high resolution picture on ever increasing screen sizes. Technology has helped shape televisions in a way that they can now be found thinner than the average cell phone. In today’s market, trying to decide on a television can be a daunting task. To help get a better understanding as to what makes up today’s televisions I have listed below some key features to give you a better understanding as to what you are reading about on the TV’s box.

  • Analog-TVAs of June 12, 2009, the feed for Over-the-Air antenna broadcast of analog signals was turned off. Any person who did not have cable or satellite service and did not have a digital conversion box were affected. Analog signals were the original technology invented for audio and video transmissions. A weak analog signal would be easily interfered with electric noise; this in essence would cause a snowy unwatchable picture. In today’s market there is only one way to get analog signal still, this is through a basic cable service. This service is typically an entry level service offered by cable companies. There is usually no cable box/digital box used and the channel list is usually channels numbered 1-99.

  • Direct TV, DVR, television, HD, high definition Photo: Alex Washburn / Wired

    Direct TV, DVR, television, HD, high definition Photo: Alex Washburn / Wired

    The digital age of televisions is where we are today. Crisp crystal clear pictures free of interference. Digital television can come in many different ways, Over-the-Air broadcast, Digital cable, digital satellite, Blu-Ray DVD, standard DVD, and internet video subscriptions or downloads (Netflix, AppleTV etc). Digital signals in essence are a code of 1’s and zero’s that pass along the video and audio feed. This signal is read by the television which processes the information giving you the video and audio to both view and hear. If this code is lost or broken the picture is lost, which means you either get the signal, or you do not there is no grey area. Also with digital television comes pixel standards, the more pixels that a television can display the sharper the image it can produce. The number of pixels on display at anytime can be broken down into two separate categories Standard Definition and High Definition.      

  • Smart_TVThe digital age of televisions is where we are today. Crisp crystal clear pictures free of interference. Digital television can come in many different ways, Over-the-Air broadcast, Digital cable, digital satellite, Blu-Ray DVD, standard DVD, and internet video subscriptions or downloads (Netflix, AppleTV etc). Digital signals in essence are a code of 1’s and zero’s that pass along the video and audio feed. This signal is read by the television which processes the information giving you the video and audio to both view and hear. If this code is lost or broken the picture is lost, which means you either get the signal, or you do not there is no grey area. Also with digital television comes pixel standards, the more pixels that a television can display the sharper the image it can produce. The number of pixels on display at anytime can be broken down into two separate categories Standard Definition and High Definition.      


  • LCDLiquid Crystal Displays (LCD) are a form of flat panel display that as of 2014 was the most common type of flat panel display in the market. LCD pictures are produced by fluorescent lamps/tubes called a cold cathode fluorescent (CCFL) that shine light behind the liquid crystal display.

    The liquid crystal display itself, contains millions of shutters on a grid, these shutters open and close allowing the florescent light to pass through. Each shutter is also paired with a red, green and blue (RGB) filter which changes the color of the florescent light creating color for the individual pixel. The result is a high resolution very bright picture capable of producing full 4k resolution (3840×2160). Today’s LCD displays have a screen size that can range in almost any size but typical television displays will be between 15” to 108”, with some 2015 models displaying a thickness of 1/5th of an inch. LCD’S are by far the most common television available today.

  • LED_CurvedSimilar to LCD, LED is also an LCD display with a simple twist. Unlike LCD’S that contain a fluorescent lamp the LED display uses LED backlighting. With this type of backlighting, LED displays have the capability to turn on and off the LED lighting in different areas the television to help give the television better contrast (black levels) than a typical LCD display (where the backlighting is continuously on). LED’s have all the same characteristics and functions found in LCD’s models with sizes from 20” to 110”.

  • PlasmaAs of November 2014 the last major Plasma manufacture (LG) had announced that they would no long make Plasma displays. The plasma display is a combination on millions of pixels each containing electrically ionized gases which can produce a very wide color gamut. This wide color gamut with addition to very deep black levels and an extremely fast refresh rate give plasma televisions a very high quality picture. However do to their weight, burn in and lack of brightness compared to LED and LCD models the popularity of plasmas declined and are no longer being manufactured. Plasma displays can range in sizes from 32” to 150” and can also display high definition resolutions up to 1980×1080 (1080p). Many manufactures are now sold out of plasma displays with models only being found through resale. 

  • Front_ProjectionFront projector technology gives you the ability to create much larger viewing displays than a typical television. With a front projector you will have the ability to create screen sizes up to and even larger than 300”, giving you larger than life images which will be crystal clear. Front projectors are ideal for dedicated home theater rooms as ambient light will interfere with projector images causing the image to wash out. However there are new materials now available that will retain images in room lit areas. Below are listed the three main type of front projectors available. 

  • LCosLiquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) in a way is a hybrid between LCD and DLP technologies. LCoS uses Liquid Crystal chips with a mirrored backing. The light from the projection bulb is separated into three primary colors by passing through a polarizing beam splitter (PBS). The separated colors reflect off micro devices which send the light to a prism which creates a full color image. The image is then sent through the projection lens where it is magnified and displayed on the screen.

  • LCD_ProjectorSimilar to flat panels, Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) use three separate liquid crystal panels one for each primary color. When the projector is on, the image is projected through all three panels at once creating a full color image on the screen.

  • BenQ DLP ProjectorDigital Light Processor (DLP) is a projection technology that uses a DLP chip. The DLP chip, developed by Texas Instruments uses a technology involving micro mirrors. These micro mirrors reflect light towards and away from the screen, creating the image. Before the light shines on the screen, the light will pass through a color wheel. The color wheel will contain the primary colors red, green, and blue resulting in the color. DLP projectors come in two types; single chip DLP projectors and three chip DLP projectors. Single chip DLP projectors are the lesser of the two and will contain a single DLP chip along with a single color wheel containing the three primary colors. The three chip projector will contain three DLP chips along with a separate color wheel for each of the primary colors. These units will be significantly more than single chip units.